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  #21  
Old 19th August 2008, 22:50
Grozibou
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Causes of a unique defeat

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Originally Posted by CJE View Post
Franek, it's hard to sum up a quite complex issue in a few words.
Let's say that the French were intellectually inferior to the Germans in 1940.
For once I couldn't agree more with CJE - both sentences. I would just add : the French GENERALS were intellectually inferior... French aircraft, ship, gun and tank makers, engineers and workers were among the very finest in the world* but, sadly, not the top-ranking military leaders, in one word most generals from 2 to 5 stars (in France the lowest general rank has two stars).

* a very high-ranking nazi, I think it was Saur, who had been looking for skilled workers all over Europe, wrote in his book that French workers were just as good as German ones and he was generally full of praise for them. Coming from a genuine nazi this really was SOME statement! Saur (whom Hitler had appointed Albert Speer's successor as industry and armaments minister in his testament, Speer being no longer politically reliable in April 1945...) managed NOT to be hanged in Nürnberg. Indeed, even the production of aero-engines with fuel injection had started in France too (Hispano-Suiza 12 Z I think, no guarantee) and this demanded workmanship of top quality. This is what limited the supply of such engines in Germany (He 111).

About 1975 I wrote to my brother, who was a captain with the paratroopers : "It was an INTELLECTUAL defeat." In the meantime I learned a lot and it only confirmed this opinion more and more as time passed by.

Besides, it was hardly better 1914 and also 1914-18 but that time the French moustached generals had a little more luck. 1914 French first-line soldiers were wearing bright-red trousers - like old times! German soldiers called them "The red pants". Those red pants alone probably cost tens of thousands of French lives before the generals chose a less conspicuous colour - "bleu horizon"...

But WW I is off topic. Sorry!
  #22  
Old 20th August 2008, 11:12
Grozibou
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Figures, numbers

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Originally Posted by Juha View Post
Grozibou
why this tirade against Gillet?
- Because IMHO what he published is terrible, that's all. If the same Gillet published something great tomorrow I would say so, too : you know that (see my numerous comments on books and reviews). I know it's hard to understand but I am TOTALLY OBJECTIVE so what I say or post is independent of possible personal factors like sympathy etc. (see my reaction after CJE's latest post in this thread). I am not claiming to be TOTALLY INFALLIBLE at the same time! Oh no! Contrary to Gillet I am acutely aware that, as one of my good translator-colleagues put it, "I can produce bullshit with every single word". In his very recent last volume (RAF fighter victories in the French Campaign) Gillet clearly insulted me together with virtually all other French autors of books or articles and commentators on 1940 (I have given some details on this already). These insults directed at me don't influence me in the least when judging his work. For ex. I recognised that many photographs are interesting and that he did the right thing when looking at the archive documents in Germany and England as well as in France but - too bad - his conclusions are dead wrong. It is surprising, too, and typical of him, that in his recent big "British" volume (which should be extremely popular in the UK!) he stubbornely wrote "Air Fleet Arm" instead of Fleet Air Arm. No it's not just an isolated typo and an unimportant error for, as I said, it is TYPICAL of the quality and thoroughness of his work - and he contemptuously commented on those "historians" who don't visit the British archive... He published volumes which look extremely serious but are an amateur's work of low quality. See the various victory totals, even his own ones, with unexplained differences in the end result. Another typical example : I, and certainly many other persons, wrote to him to inform him that his idea of "firepower" was wrong. Instead of correcting this shocking error he insisted even more, very stubbornely, that the firepower is the number of rounds carried by (for ex.) a Hurricane for her machine-guns. This makes him absolutely ridiculous and untrustworthy. After I published Galland's book in French 1985 several readers wrote to me to point out some errors I had made in captions. I corrected these small errors as fast as possible (and this cost me money at the printers' because changing the existing text there is, or was, difficult and expensive). IMHO his four preceding covers showed a lot of bad taste and childish coloring of photographs, often even ugly. This, too, is not a proof of incompetence but an indication among others. The1st RAF-volume is the best of all five in this respect, with acceptable cover pictures (he probably received a lot of flak on this too but not from me).

He also criticises the French law on archaeological diggings, which he doesn't like at all. I quite understand (I would love to dig everywhere myself) but the existence of this very restrictive law is fully justified by excellent reasons, French earth being literally full of millions, if not thousands of millions, of ancient items starting about 10,000 years ago and including all periods : Gaul, Roman occupation, Middle Ages, Renaissance etc. including WW I and II. If it were not strictly forbidden everybody, and foreigners too, would dig everywhere wildly and destroy or conceal millions of priceless items and historical information (this is what happened in Egypt and in South America). He, as a so-called lawyer, ought to be the first to respect the law. He attacks it viciously in his last volume instead.

Remark : 3 quotations are cut into two parts in this post, I don't know why. I made the necessary corrections but they changed nothing. I wonder what happened. Are you a warlock from the deep dark Finnish forest where bears and wolves chase each other?

Quote:
To me it is good that he presented different numbers that
Quote:
of “officially confirmed by French HQ”
- Sure, why not (and I did just that myself 1991 in "Invisibles vainqueurs"), I don't mind at all, quite on the contrary, but you didn't quite understand. In the French archive he unearthed the "authentic" official figures from French HQ and SHD to PROVE HIS POINT : "1940 French fighter victories are far less numerous", according to Infallible Him, than "Vichy-propagandists and liars", as he calls all of us French authors, have been claiming for nearly 70 years (and this includes great, authentic heroes like Accart and Pubeau, both of whom very nearly were killed in air battles and who both had to hit the silk**). Besides, I know what I am talking about and I can tell you that his end figures (for there are at least two different ones) are quite simply impossible if only you make the terrible effort of THINKING for just half a minute. I will not say more on this for I am fed-up.

** This means bailing out, taking to their parachute, jumping out of the aircraft.

Quote:
btw You had typo on officially. that
Quote:
of Confirmed by SHDand his own results.
- Yes, I saw that the day before yesterday and I corrected this error. Sorry. I hope there is no error left by now. Such things will happen : everybody who uses to have texts printed (no matter what texts : publicity, leaflets, bibles, whatever) knows this*. My message remained unchanged by that typo, though. I know I am NOT infallible but some people think they are.

* A few decades ago a world-famous, very big German firm was celebrating its 75th anniversary. In Spain they published a big ad, one whole page, in all main newspapers : "XXX, 75 years", which was intended to be very impressive. All members of the personnel except the top executives laughed themselves half dead for the actual ad said : "XXX, 75 assholes". (And most German employees replied : "What, only 75?"). Just a small typo! They had just mixed up two different Spanish characters : n with and without that funny little curve on it - anos...

Quote:
On decimals, they are clearly products of converting fractions to decimal numbers. .29 = 2/7, .66 = 2/3, in fact it should be .67 and .787 is probably typo from .778 = 7/9.
Quote:
When one sums up fractions, one gets rather odd fractions for ex 2/5 + 1/3 = 11/15 = .7333…
- Noooooo, really? You mean it?

The fact remains that publishing such figures is totally unrealistic and very naïve indeed. This is why everybody in the world - but not Master Gillet! - rounds figures off. Youy wouldn't say, "My car runs at 97,8654 km/h right now." Everybody would laugh and all these figures have no REAL MEANING, no sense and no interest. There is no point in giving them all. In fact you would say "almost 100 mk/h" and this would be fair enough. For French victories (A. Gillet's topic) there is a big uncertainty, I would say, even on the figure for multiples of 10 and, in this case, mainly on the figure for multiples of 100, so a figure like 354,787 is simply funny nonsense. Just 354 or 355 would make a little sense. The true, actual figure is most probably something between 600 and 1,200 (wait and see!). As you can see I am not giving any decimals!

Grozibou the Fat Owl - Hoo-Hoo!

Last edited by Grozibou; 20th August 2008 at 15:02.
  #23  
Old 20th August 2008, 12:14
Grozibou
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The causes of a defeat

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Originally Posted by CJE View Post
To sum up:
We were the best and we lost to a mostly inferior Luftwaffe.
Things turn out weirdly sometimes...
- The Luftwaffe was not inferior. It was NUMERICALLY (not technically) vastly superior and this is an important factor already! At least in theory they could, for example, send up to 20 formations of 40 bombers each at the same time, or 40 formations of 20 bombers each (something like one Bombergruppe), in all directions and to all possible targets to puzzle and confuse the defenders and overwhelm the defence. In fact they often sent even smaller formations, like one single Bomberstaffel or even one section of three bombers. French fighters often reported how they (3 to 27 fighters) attacked German formations of 300 aircraft and more but this was not really often the case. German fighter pilots for their part reported that "in most cases the enemy had numerical superiority", or something of this kind.

Remember that by May and June 1940 the Do 17 and the He 111 H, both types being the by far most numerous German bombers, were clearly obsolescent (not the Ju 88) - too slow, feebly armed etc. - and that any Me 109 E-mark would have been by October.

In May and June 1940 the French did possess some of the very best aircraft in the world but, as I stressed many times (and many other authors too), unfortunately just a little too late. This really is nothing new! The excellent medium bomber LeO 451 (cannon-armed!), the excellent light bomber Breguet 691-693 (cannon-armed too) and the superlative fighter D.520 (of course it was cannon-armed) were actually engaged in significant numbers - several hundred each but of course not all at the same time in one single formation - as well as, a little later, the excellent American-made medium bombers Glenn-Martin 167F and Douglas DB-7. The flaw was only that their very high production came a little bit too late in spite of frenetic efforts to raise it as fast as possible (at last). If you understand German just look at Jochen Prien's (or P. Rodeike's, or G. Stemmer's, and Hans Ring's too) victory lists and you'll see that German fighters claimed hundreds of top-class French aircraft as well as Potez, Moranes, Curtisses and Blochs. Phoney W. Balthasar's I./JG 1 alone claimed no less than 15 (fifteen) LeO 451s in ONE SINGLE MISSION on June 6, 1940 including 3 by Balthasar, and all were confirmed (!) so I presume they did meet some in the sky. "Ghostriders in the skyyyyyy?" In any case these German super-fighters carried at least 500 rounds for each cannon...

Jacques Lecarme, LeO 451's test pilot and an excellent officer at war, has clearly explained in the review "Icare" what terrible tactics French HQ used to engage their precious LeOs in useless missions which brought almost nothing useful. These excellent medium-altitude medium bombers, devoid of any armour (or almost so?), were often sent on assault missions at tree-top level or below 3 000 m, where their engines (optimised for higher altitudes) didn't give a good power and they had virtually no chance of success with their unadapted bomb-sights, which were excellent at 4-6 000 m.

In the 2nd edition of Paul Martin's book, published by you, we can see, by the way, that such German victory figures are not possible. The real losses were heavy enough.

And yes, technically even better, formidable French aircraft were being produced already. By September nobody would have felt like laughing any more within the Luftwaffe, especially if French HQ had switched to reasonable, not idiotic, tactics.
  #24  
Old 20th August 2008, 18:58
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Re: 1939-45 airpower and professional historians

Grozibou
Quote: “The fact remains that publishing such figures is totally unrealistic and very naïve indeed.”

I beg to disagree, that the end result ended .66 ie 2/3 is only a logical result of his method, using archival material of all combatants he had tried to figure out who shot down what, and the fact that LW a/c had many other opponents besides French fighters, ie sometimes a French fighter pilot got only ½, 1/3, ¼… credit of a shot down LW a/c.

IMHO his method is in principle accurate, of course there is always some subjectiveness in conclusions and some inexactness because much of the material was lost during the war and because it isn’t always possible to reconstruct fast aerial combats from combat reports etc. of different sides, but required very much work. Is it accurate in practice, I don’t know. I own only a copy of the first book of the series. BTW I ordered it because you recommended it warmly before you changed your mind. I should have bought also at least the second one also because of my interest on 19 May but that project is still on hold, waiting time when I’ll have time to continue it.

Juha
  #25  
Old 20th August 2008, 22:10
Andy Saunders Andy Saunders is offline
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Re: 1939-45 airpower and professional historians

I tried to follow this thread but rather quickly began to rather loose the will to live. However, many good points are no doubt made. The only thing I would take issue with somewhere in this thread is the suggestion that Peter Cornwell's recent work was based upon M.Gillet's work. Or I may have misread or misunderstood this in the morass of words I have tried to plough through, but I don't think I have.
  #26  
Old 21st August 2008, 20:22
Grozibou
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Gisclon and victories

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Originally Posted by FalkeEins View Post
....there is no controversy over Gisclon's book - and his 1,000 victories - his claims are just ridiculous ! (...) just check one date, 6 November 1939 (le combat des '9' contre '27') to see how he grossly inflates French victories..by a factor of two no less. Besides he can't even get his own score right - he maintains that he was an ace, although M. Lorant at the SHD (SHAA) only gives him four victories.
Obviously Mr. Anonymous FalkeEins (HawkOne) is a troll who is trying to destroy me again. Have you a name, you hero?

Here he is trolling again instead of contributing something constructive. I'll prove it now but after this I won't give him any reply for with such a charcter it will go on and on and on and on.

Firstly "Jean" Gisclon (actually Justin - I don't know why he felt like changing his first name, certainly not in order to hide behind it) was a very JUNIOR member of the 4th escadrille (12 pilots) of GC II/5 1939 and before : he was a sergent, which is the lowest NCO-rank, and he was, like many other pilots, a very young man. What he wrote about 30 years later no doubt was strongly influenced by his own impressions of the time, which possibly were not quite reliable. This is very common. The combat you mentioned, in France very famous (it was celebrated even in the mass media of the time), was fought by his own unit, GC II/5, but he didn't take part in this mission, which means that this time his CO Capitaine Reyné hadn't ordered him to taker part. In his first book he reported "ten victories, of which eight were certain".

Remember that Gisclon's book was published 1967 (41 years ago!), that it was some sort of a pioneer's work at the time and he didn't enjoy all the documents, knowledge and HINDSIGHT we now enjoy. At least HE was a fighter pilot and fought the powerful, very dangerous nazi enemy. It's easy to criticise others, hidden behind a pseudo. What outstanding historical work did you publish you nameless "Hawk"?

The fight which took place on November 6 was very vicious and involved 9 French fighters ("Curtiss") and alledgedly 27 Me 109 Ds but I never saw any clear indication of this number from the German side - I would like to; yes this is a question to all German readers. It could have been anything from 16 to 32 or more even though in theory 29 was possible too but not very likely because normally (except in the case of engine toruble etc.) they flew in 4s (Schwärme of 4). Gisclon wrote that the fighting "lasted for over 20 minutes", which is very long. Of course when the young French pilots came back they were extremely excited. There is no doubt that they had shot down, or hit, at least five 109s. In such circumstances it was very easy to shoot down the same E/A several times or to make many other errors resulting in overclaim. According to the very recently-published French book "Les Curtiss H-75 de l'Armée de l'Air", by Lionel Persyn, the unit - GC II/5 - filed official claims for 5 "victoires sûres" and 5 "victoires probables". Jochen Prien/Gerhard Stemmer/Peter Rodeike/Hans Ring mentioned four Me 109 D-1s "100 % destroyed", one "70 % destroyed" (considered destroyed) and three "damaged less than 10 %" (belly-landings in the countryside etc.). Four of the destroyed 109s fell on French territory, one (Uffz. Hennings) on German territory. This totals 8 but as we know Luftwaffe documents are not always entirely comprehensive and this would not be the first time that they would minimise their own losses, in particular after such a terrible licking (Göring summoned Hptmn Gentzen to his HQ to report on the same day!). This disaster had important consequences for this unit, JGr. 102. Even 5 destroyed and 3 heavily damaged, as compared to the French claims, filed by inexperienced French pilots (inexperienced in actual combat involving shooting in anger), is not really an enormous difference but I wouldn't be surprised at all if some day we discovered that 10 Me 109s were destroyed all right plus 5 damaged! In any case, even according to J. Prien et al, 8 were shot down including 5 which were destroyed. See Prien's volume N° 2 of his purple series, page 526. To be fair it has to be added that Lt Houzé, who brilliantly had led this mission in spite of a very unfavourable initial tactical situation (the German fighters being higher etc. and their pilots having won a lot of combat experience over Poland), had had half a dozen 109s constantly on his tail and he had to belly-land his fighter, riddled with bullets, on his own airfield at Toul. So the score reads at least 5 + 3 to 1. Two of the German flight leaders (Staffelkapitäne) were killed, two other pilots were taken prisoners by French troops. Uffz. Hennings made a belly-landing (70 % damage) on German territory and was badly wounded. Let us also remember that all involved pilots were aged about 20-28. Today you're almost considered a child a this age (which is mighty exaggerated)...

Only four victories were confirmed by French HQ with four "probables", which matches the German losses very exactly. What are you complaining about, you troll?


[qutote]It is obvious that you don't like Gillet because he doesn't say what you want him to say[/quote]

- You're right for once! What I want him to say is the truth - as far as it can be known - and at least publish no bullshit : the latter is fully possible, there is no excuse. Sadly he does the latter systematically, he seems to enjoy bullshit like others, and he, too, enjoys libelling and insulting those who do the job.

You have unmasked yourself as a troll. Don't expect any more replies from me.
  #27  
Old 21st August 2008, 20:42
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Re: 1939-45 airpower and professional historians

What outstanding historical work did you publish you nameless "Hawk"?

And what about yours?
  #28  
Old 21st August 2008, 20:47
Grozibou
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Peter Cornwell

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Originally Posted by Andy Saunders View Post
(...) the suggestion that Peter Cornwell's recent work was based upon M.Gillet's work. (...)
- I think P. Cornwell simply used Gillet's books as one of his French sources - and the most recent one, which to him certainly looked attractive - and this is perfectly all right just as long as you don't accept a particular author's nonsense. I think he found mainly details on particular fights, losses and victories. Just ask HIM! (I don't think he's so dangerous and is going to eat you).
  #29  
Old 21st August 2008, 20:48
Grozibou
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Historical works?

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Originally Posted by CJE View Post
What outstanding historical work did you publish you nameless "Hawk"?

And what about yours?
Reply : And what about yours Mr. CJE?
  #30  
Old 21st August 2008, 21:19
Andy Saunders Andy Saunders is offline
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Re: Peter Cornwell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grozibou View Post
- I think P. Cornwell simply used Gillet's books as one of his French sources - and the most recent one, which to him certainly looked attractive - and this is perfectly all right just as long as you don't accept a particular author's nonsense. I think he found mainly details on particular fights, losses and victories. Just ask HIM! (I don't think he's so dangerous and is going to eat you).
Grozibou

I was merely pointing out that a post in this thread seemed to indicate that Peter Cornwell's recent book was based upon Arnaud Gillet's work which is, quite patently, a suggestion that is utter nonsense. Peter acknowledge's Gillet in his Bibliography but that is rather a long way from basing his book on Gillet's work!!!

I am sure that Peter is quite able to answer for himself if he so desires. Frankly, I would not exactly be surprised if he does not wish to stoop to the level which some of the "discussion" and name-calling in this thread has descended to. Be that as it may, thank you for your advice that "..he is not so dangerous and is going to eat me." Frankly, that is something of a relief. Peter and I have been pals for thirty years or more and are not infrequent house guests with each other. It is comforting to know that I have not been associating with Hanibal Lecter II.

Last edited by Andy Saunders; 21st August 2008 at 21:32. Reason: clarification
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