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  #1  
Old 7th April 2005, 00:49
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1939-1940 fighting (split from: French books on the 1939-1940 fighting)

It is sad that there are almost no books in English that deal in detail with role that the Armee d'la Air played in the defence of France. Thanks for the heads up on Jackson's book, I'll try and obtain a copy.

Mind you it isn't the just the British who tend to concentrate on, and write about, their own achievements in war. Nor to build up their own impact and downplay their Allies. Both the Americans and Germans are as guilty.

For example according to most popular books dealing with the war in the Mediterranean (german and english) it was only the Germans that fought in the desert, over the convoys or over Malta. Rarely is there a mention of the role played by Italy - other than to denigrate. Yet the Regia Marina kept the Royal Navy fully occupied for almost three years. And the Regia Esercito had more men on the ground in the Desert than Germany did. The Regia Aeronautica was active from June 10 1940, and fought in teh Desert, Malta, the convoys, Gibraltar, France, BoB and Russia.

As for the Americans they won the war in the Pacific single handed, never mind the huge contribution made by Australia in that Theatre; by land, sea and air.

And by the by am I right in saying that when France and Germany signed an Armistice in 1940 almost all of southern France remained under French independant rule? Another point not often covered in English material. Can't remember though when the Germans finally did move in and take control - around the time of the Torch landings in Algeria no?
  #2  
Old 7th April 2005, 18:18
Hawk-Eye
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Re: French books on the 1939-1940 fighting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Oxley
And by the by am I right in saying that when France and Germany signed an Armistice in 1940 almost all of southern France remained under French independant rule? Another point not often covered in English material. Can't remember though when the Germans finally did move in and take control - around the time of the Torch landings in Algeria no?
SORRY I forgot to answer this. Yes the F-D armistice agreement divided France into several parts. All N, N-E and W France including Paris was German-occupied, was called "zone occupée" and comprised all coasts from the Belgian to the Spanish border (Atlantic / Pyrénées). I guess this was about 2/3 of the territory. The rest was the "zone non occupée" or "zone nono" because of the pronunciation (nonoccupée), it was mainly central, south and SE France including the Medit. coast and the harbours of Marseille (biggest French harbour) and Toulon (big naval harbour). As you know the Pétain puppet government was in Vichy, which was chosen because of the numerous hotels, which were used for offices. Vichy-France was not really independent but tried to give the impression it was.
Yes the Germans invaded the rest of France after the Allied landings in French N. Africa, around 20 November 1942 I think. This time they seized all military material, in particular all French aircraft, certainly well over 1,000 AC but by then obsolescent types.
Actually France was not divided in two but in many bits and pieces for along all coasts (thousands of kilometres) there was a land stripe which was strictly "zone interdite", forbidden except to the local population but even the latter was not allowed to move freely. Then there was Alsace and Lorraine, which very quickly were bluntly annexed by the Reich, their male inhabitants forced to become German soldiers, which many hated. Many of them were killed on the Eastern front. There were other special areas but I don't quite remember. Obviously it was "Verboten" around submarine and other naval bases, airfields etc. France was systematically exploited and looted like all other occupied countries, and the industry was forced to produce for Germany as well as the agriculture. Enormous quantities of food were sent to Germany and the French hungered. Well over one million French POWs were kept in Germany as slave labour both in industry and agriculture, later they also forced people living in France to work in factories in Germany.
A book published by a former high-ranking German civil servant (was it Saur? Perhaps, I don't remember) showed me two things :
1. French qualified industry workers were highly appreciated; this man wrote that they were just as good as their German counterparts, which, coming from an ex German nazi, is an almost incredible statement. But indeed this was true, otherwise the French would not have been able 1940 to already LAUNCH the mass production of several superlative fighters equipped with engines with fuel injection, hitherto a German exclusive production (Dewoitine D.523 and 524, D.551 and others), not to mention the remarkable airframes, which needed excellent manpower too (Arsenal fighters, Bloch 174-175, Dewoitine fighters etc.). Fuel injection demanded high-precision machining by highly-qualified manpower. The excellent French tanks - the best in the world - demanded excellent manpower too as well as all the remarkable artillery, AA and anti-tank guns etc..
2. The German top leaders were very keen NOT to have any sort of mass revolt, uprising or revolution in France for this would have brought Germany into an impossible situation. This is precisely what the French communist party, suddenly on the Allied side (for the first time) after their paradise the USSR had been attacked by Germany, after they even had sabotaged French armament production including aircraft 1939-40, systematically tried to trigger through killing German soldiers and hoping for massive German reprisals which would have started a French revolution. The communists didn't care how many French people would die in the process, even millions was no problem as long as it helped the Holy USSR. But the Germans were clever enough not to start any massive retaliation. They were very brutal and inhuman as usual but contended with shooting some "hostages" after every incident.
What I mean is that the German leaders' fear for a French uprising is an interesting element. They simply didn't have the necessary troops to fight an uprising all over France (which has many and very large mountains and forests) and the Red Army at the same time, not to mention the Western Allied air forces and armies. The Germans skilfully managed to exploit France as best they could without getting into real trouble, holding the whole country with but a few divisions.

Last edited by Hawk-Eye; 7th April 2005 at 18:26. Reason: coasts not coats
  #3  
Old 9th April 2005, 20:56
Boandlgramer Boandlgramer is offline
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Re: French books on the 1939-1940 fighting

Hawkeyes wrote:

" French Air Force had not at all the impression of having been wiped out or beaten, ON THE CONTRARY. They felt they had won and rightly so. Won the air war of course not the campaign as a whole."



they won the airwar over france?
i always thought they french forces were beaten, because they lost the airwar.

but maybe the french were not beaten in 1940 , they took just an short break for few years.

Last edited by Boandlgramer; 9th April 2005 at 20:59.
  #4  
Old 9th April 2005, 22:36
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1940 air fighting

Quote :
Hawkeyes wrote:
" French Air Force had not at all the impression of having been wiped out or beaten, ON THE CONTRARY. They felt they had won and rightly so. Won the air war of course not the campaign as a whole."

they won the airwar over france?
i always thought they french forces were beaten, because they lost the airwar.

but maybe the french were not beaten in 1940 , they took just an short break for few years. End of quote.

- Very funny, and so new. Congratulations.
I admit maybe I should have written "won the fighting in the air" - maybe. Y'know, if you make a judgement after having counted the points like for a boxing fight. The Armée de l'Air beat the Luftwaffe 2 : 1. In the BoB it was more something like 1 : 1. The French were not there...
Sorry but I really can't give you one more university lecture on the 1940 air war. The reasons of the Dutch-Belgian-British-French 1940 defeat are completely different from what you think. Read the excellent book "Blitzkrieg-Legende". Schmidt bookshop in Munich sells it too.
It has been known for a number of decades by now that YOU CAN'T WIN A WAR WITH AIRPOWER ONLY (just look at the Dunkerque desertion : did the Luftwaffe make it impossible, hmmm? It did try very hard.). May I add : in particular 1940! You ought to refresh and modernise your ideas about this.
To make it short, the 1940 German victory over the 4 Allied countries, notably the "United Kingdom of Great-Britain and Northern Ireland", "a mouthful to say the least", as English authors use to write about German denominations, and also France, had entirely different causes. The ruthless use of airpower was only one of all the various causes, the most important of which were the violation of the neutrality of three militarily much weaker countries (which were well-armed except Lxbg. but could not resist for a long time) with the aim of 1. Taking the Allies by surprise at Sedan 3 days later, THIS was the core of the German plan, which was extremely risky for Germany. 2. Dodge the otherwise formidable French defences, formidable except around Sedan, which I am unable to understand. This gave Germany an immediate, immense advantage for the Allies, because of all their democracy etc., would never had dealt a preemptive blow and invaded Belgium-NL BEFORE Germany did, and also Switzerland, in order to invade South Germany!
The Germans won mainly on the ground with the effective help of the Luftwaffe, which mainly made their victory easier, faster and less costly but - I am certain - did not change the result. All experts including Adolf Galland later stated that the LW (never) was not suited for a strategic war. Beating both the UK and the French armies was a strategic result. The German army won because of a good plan which very easily would have ended in disaster if only the Allied command had been a little more clever and fast, because of German commanders (mainly Rommel and Guderian) who DISOBEYED strict orders and did NOT stop their fast advance. If they had obeyed orders the French would have had time to counter-attack and rout them from the flank, which is precisely what these commanders wanted to avoid and what the French wanted to do. One of the other main explanations of the ALLIED not French defeat is the desertion, the flight of the whole British army back to England as soon as it became difficult, in fact it started on 20 May already (after 10 days of fighting). French HQ was incompetent and slow but British HQ was hardly better. Panic and poor French organisation finished the French resistance, which had become much tougher and much more effective after the Dunkerque flight, but too many men had been lost already. It was mainly a GROUND battle with air support.
There are some other important causes to the Allied defeat.
Don't be so arrogant and remember what happened to the proud, invincible British forces in Singapore and their invicible heavy guns. They were just BLUFFED into surrender - for they, too, surrendered as soon as they were offered a chance - by a sly Japanese general, long before their strength was exhausted (contrary to the French, who ended with their backs pressed against the over 10,000 ft high Pyrénées). Remember Rommel and Libya, too. British forces (mainly from India, South Africa and New Zealand) eventually won - after a very long time and a protracted campaign against a much weaker enemy, and only after they had amassed a giant superiority in everything (Alamein battle) : men, artillery, tanks, airpower. In spite of this it was a difficult fight for the British and it ended only in Tunisia with American and a strong French help, Rommel being virtually surrounded! So when the Britishers fought alone, without the stupid French, they never fared better than the French did 1940 in France, possibly worse. As for airpower let me just remember you of JG 27 and H-J Marseille...
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Old 10th April 2005, 03:40
Boandlgramer Boandlgramer is offline
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Re: French books on the 1939-1940 fighting

- Very funny, and so new. Congratulations.
I admit maybe I should have written "won the fighting in the air" - maybe. Y'know, if you make a judgement after having counted the points like for a boxing fight. The Armée de l'Air beat the Luftwaffe 2 : 1. In the BoB it was more something like 1 : 1. The French were not there...


if you feel it was funny, than i had more success than you with your joke about alfred price. ( remember horrible englishman ? ).

ok to your post.
do you see a reason to being insulting ? ( called me arrogant)
if somebody here is arrogant, then its you.

according to the Generalquartiermeister der deutschen luftwaffe.
losses from 10. may 1940 - 1. 7. 1940

635 bomber
147 schlachtflieger
457 jäger / zerstörer

= 1239 planes ( combatplanes only, all causes ,destroyed or damaged more than 10 %


how many shot the brits down ?
how many the AAA ?
how many are lost due assidents ?
how many damaged ?
and last but not least how many the french ?


so, sir hawkeye, time for you to post some numbers.
but to make it short, i dont need a novel just hard numbers.

and not to forget , the french losses.
if possible the british too.


edit : i found some speeling errors.

Last edited by Boandlgramer; 10th April 2005 at 08:21.
  #6  
Old 10th April 2005, 05:53
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Re: French books on the 1939-1940 fighting

The RAF recorded a loss of just under 900 aircraft in the period from 10 May to 12 June 1940. Of that number 318 were Hurricanes and 143 Spitfires, the balance being a mix of Fairey Battle, Wellington, Blenheim, Boulton Paul Defiant and some FAA aircraft.

106 fighters alone were lost over Dunkirk.
  #7  
Old 10th April 2005, 12:32
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Re: French 1939-1940 fighting

Having been away in Holland for a few weeks and returning only a few days back i am very sad to see this site has dropped to a low level on some threads.

Hawk-Eye you obviously hate us English and its a shame as so many of us died and are buried in your land after fighting for it....but please keep your racist comments of this site. Remember we all have nasty sides to our countrys past, France had Napoleon, bent on European domination. But he fortunately for all got a good beating in Spain, Portugal Russia and finally defeated at Waterloo.

I guess you will not be celebrating the Battle of Trafalgar 200yrs birthday / English victory with us in October ?
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Old 10th April 2005, 12:41
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Post Re: French 1939-1940 fighting

(original thread: http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=546)

Note the Review forum should preferably be used for book reviews, a more general campaign analysis doesn't fit in.

I've split the orginal thread and moved the campaign material to the appropriate forum. However since this subsidiary thread has developed into the same level of mudslinging as the previous threads on that topic, I am closing it down.



Enough is enough...

Let all be warned that continued writing in this manner will result in administrative action.
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