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02 Aug 2016 09:11

You are right, 'happily' is not a good word to use. Nobody would be happy in those circumstances.

I just think there is a stark parallel between the Russian reaction to invasion and the French.
User avatar kwikki
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02 Aug 2016 09:25

Only the Yugoslav resistance was militarily significant, but that's one hell of a high standard to apply to all other resistance movements, which still did what they could in insanely dangerous conditions. That includes the French Resistance, which wasn't the universal movement some (who, though?) would want to believe, but still pretty important, considering.

To say that most of France cooperated with the Nazis is as much of a distortion of history as claiming they all were partisans or actively supported the Resistance. The Popular Front had won the 1936 elections - those voters didn't magically disappear, they were simply repressed and scared shitless.

Comments along these lines often go hand in hand with the myth that France cowardly surrendered without putting up a fight. It's baseless pop history.

The Russian reaction was determined by the geostrategic realities of the USSR: they could keep fighting because they could regroup. France couldn't. Still though, in the USSR there were millions of Hiwis and other collaborators motivated by everything from personal ideology to "crap, how am I going to survive this?" - just like in France.
Last edited by hrotha on 02 Aug 2016 09:29, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar hrotha
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Re:

02 Aug 2016 09:25

kwikki wrote:
I just think there is a stark parallel between the Russian reaction to invasion and the French.


France was a wonky republic, riddled with dissent, and the French Communists were instructed by the Soviets to describe any attempt to organise resistance to the Germans as a Capitalist war-mongering Plot against the workers... Meanwhile the substantial French Right were almost glad to be conquered by a Foreign Fascist in preference to being governed by French Socialists. The French lost more than anyone in wwi - can you imagine spending 4 years fighting the Germans only to be told twenty years later to cheerfully send your son* off to do it all again becuiase the Government allowed the old enemy to once again be a military threat? *or in some cases, where you were 20 at the end of wwi getting conscripted yourself, again!

The USSR was a monumental Totalitarian state with the absolute power of life and death over its citizens, and which was able to use the classic Russian Trade-Off (Space for time). It also had a huge amount of help from the US and Britain, weapons, equipment, food, boots, radios.... The Battle of Kursk included some divisions driving Churchil and Valentine tanks. Talk about bad luck.... 'welcome to the Russian Army Comrade.... ah yes, I see you admiring our wonderful T-34 tanks... however you will be in this , it's called a 'Lee'.......
deValtos;Ironically he's not the yo yo at all, everyone else is.
PatrickLeeds
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02 Aug 2016 09:36

The French surrendered so easily and quickly that the Germans weren't in a position to take control of the country. Hence Vichy.
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Re:

02 Aug 2016 09:47

kwikki wrote:The French surrendered so easily and quickly that the Germans weren't in a position to take control of the country. Hence Vichy.


Unkind and not really true. It was always the German method to run western countries using the powers-that-be, whether quislings or tolerably compliant parties of the right. The Occupied bit was to create a cordon sanitaire and to ensure easy access to the rest of france if they needed it. Much easier to milk France of her wealth with a ridiculous Mark/Franc conversion rate and leave it to the locals to run the country than spend money and men holding her down.

If Britain had had a land-border with Germany in 1940 we would have gone down just as fast, if not faster. It tends to be forgotten after we gloriously escaped** at Dunkirk, most of the French Soldiers we shipped out were shipped right back to continue fighting, which they did, pretty well considering.


*or 'ran away' as the French would put it - after breaking a promise to cover our section of the front without telling the French we were off.
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PatrickLeeds
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02 Aug 2016 09:55

As I said, it's pop history. The Battle of France was much shorter than expected, but it still saw some ferocious fighting and high casualties. It just so happens the French and the Brits (can't stress this enough) were DECISIVELY beaten on the field and thrown into disarray, their various attempts at regrouping and reforming a line being quickly thwarted by Germany's rapid advance. If they had continued to fight, from an absolutely hopeless strategic position (all their defenses having been breached and with the admittedly useless Italian army attacking their flank), it would just have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and dozens of destroyed cities, for exactly the same ultimate outcome. Of course, it's easy to look back now and say they should have bit the bullet and kept on fighting none the less - we wouldn't be the ones making huge sacrifices for nothing.

As PatrickLeeds says, the Brits were just as decisively beaten, they simply benefited from an infinitely better strategic position that allowed them to keep fighting. Same as the USSR.
User avatar hrotha
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Re:

02 Aug 2016 09:59

hrotha wrote:the admittedly useless Italian army


Oh that's not fair... the Italian army were really good at....ummmmm, well they were great at...... nope, got nothing. Help me out anyone?

Some of their Tankettes were really cute....... that's all I have got.

No! wait! Got one! The semovente! That's a cracking self-propelled anti tank gun, yes, the semovente. Viva Italia!

Image
deValtos;Ironically he's not the yo yo at all, everyone else is.
PatrickLeeds
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Re: Re:

09 Aug 2016 13:20

PatrickLeeds wrote:
kwikki wrote:The French surrendered so easily and quickly that the Germans weren't in a position to take control of the country. Hence Vichy.


Unkind and not really true. It was always the German method to run western countries using the powers-that-be, whether quislings or tolerably compliant parties of the right. The Occupied bit was to create a cordon sanitaire and to ensure easy access to the rest of france if they needed it. Much easier to milk France of her wealth with a ridiculous Mark/Franc conversion rate and leave it to the locals to run the country than spend money and men holding her down.

If Britain had had a land-border with Germany in 1940 we would have gone down just as fast, if not faster. It tends to be forgotten after we gloriously escaped** at Dunkirk, most of the French Soldiers we shipped out were shipped right back to continue fighting, which they did, pretty well considering.


*or 'ran away' as the French would put it - after breaking a promise to cover our section of the front without telling the French we were off.


That is of course true, but I would always counter that if Britain had a land border with Germany, then the material make up and experience of it's armed forces would have been very different. Britain's steel went into Warships not tanks, for good reason.
Winnats
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10 Aug 2016 10:12

Oh of course, no argument there - I am referring to this particular case rather than in General - the sneering at France for surrendering in '40 when we didn't.

Let's not forget that on Paper the 1940 French Army was in many ways 'better' than the german army. It didn't help much.
deValtos;Ironically he's not the yo yo at all, everyone else is.
PatrickLeeds
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Re: Re:

10 Aug 2016 11:53

PatrickLeeds wrote:
hrotha wrote:the admittedly useless Italian army


Oh that's not fair... the Italian army were really good at....ummmmm, well they were great at...... nope, got nothing. Help me out anyone?

Some of their Tankettes were really cute....... that's all I have got.

No! wait! Got one! The semovente! That's a cracking self-propelled anti tank gun, yes, the semovente. Viva Italia!

[img]

Altho late to the war(1943), the Fiat G55 was considered on par if not superior to the FW-190 and ME-109..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_G.55
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User avatar Bustedknuckle
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Re: Re:

10 Aug 2016 12:56

Bustedknuckle wrote:Altho late to the war(1943), the Fiat G55 was considered on par if not superior to the FW-190 and ME-109..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_G.55


Ahh, I know nuttin much about airyplanes or boats. If you can't fit it on a wargames table it's beyond my ken.
deValtos;Ironically he's not the yo yo at all, everyone else is.
PatrickLeeds
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Re: Military History

16 Aug 2016 18:43

The truth about the French Resistance is that it was sponsored by the Vichy state … at the highest level, which means Field-Marshal Philippe Pétain. I can name dozens of Resistance movement that got subsidies from Vichy or even directly from Pétain (the ORA, Combat, the Alsacian resistance, etc.) but the greatest act of Resistance from Vichy came when Pétain sent General Weygand to North Africa to reorganise the “Armée d’Afrique”, giving it more equipment, recruiting soldiers and making underground mobilization plans. Because of Weygand’s action, the African Army was operational right away after Operation Torch. If General De Gaulle could lead it through Italy, have it land in the Provence and lead it all the way to Berchtesgaden, he owes it to Weygand. Actually, Weygand was in the government at the Ministry of Defence, started a department for the dissimulation of military equipment, resumed intelligence services that ended up executing 1,300 German Spies (read Simon Kitson - The Hunt for Nazi Spies - Fighting Espionage in Vichy France). Weygand was disturbing, the Abwehr had plans to assassinate him and Hitler wanted him out of the Vichy government. Pétain pretended to accept, he was removed and that’s why they sent him to Africa.

Vichy had always played double-dealing. It took me a while to understand because I’ve always been a Gaullist (and I still think he did some great thing for France) but the vilification of Pétain by De Gaulle was full of lies. There were Fascist elements in Vichy but not Pétain and not Weygand. Pétain was right to call for an Armistice. An armistice is just a suspension of ams. It’s no surrender, no capitulation unlike what De Gaulle said. At that time France was done. There were so many refugees on the road, the situation was so chaotic, they had to stop the carnage. The idea that the French army was better than the German one is staggering. France only had a fleet but the air force was zero. They did not even have a dive bomber. They had poor radio equipment. They had nothing but a fleet. I mean read Anthony Sutton’s “Wall Street & the Rise of Hitler” in order to understand how US car manufacturers (Ford, General Motors, etc.), IT companies (Bell) and most of all oil companies (Rockefeller’s Standard Oil) made the Wehrmacht an almost unbeatable army. Without the technology that the Standard Oil sent to IG Farben to create oil from coal, there would have been no Blitzkrieg.

The idea that the French Right-Wing was glad to see the Fascist coming is insulting. As a matter of fact, the greatest French collaborationists came from the Left (Marcel Déat, Jacques Doriot, etc.) In 1940, the majority among Resistants came from Right-Wing monarchists, ultra-Catholic circles, including the former Right-Wing terrorist group La Cagoule. This is true about the underground resistance in France but it’s also true about those who joined General De Gaulle in London, including De Gaulle himself or Philippe Leclerc. They were Monarchists. The leftists were a minority and of course the Communists only came after Operation Barbarossa. Talking about Leclerc, he took Kufra, conquered the Fezzan in Lybia and helped Montgomery into Tunisia (Battle of Ksar Ghilane). The Free French Troops of General Koenig withstood Rommel’s Afrikakorps in Bir Hakeim for over a fortnight which paved the way for Montgomery’s victory in El Alamein. The Brits would never have won the Western Desert Campaign without the help of De Gaulle’s Free French Troops. French were fighting with 3,000 men against 30,000 Germans and made 3,300 victims and destroyed 200 tanks. An amazing achievement!

Finally, we cannot talk about the French Resistance if we ignore Churchill’s massive war crime in Mers-El-Kebir (July 1940) which understandably discouraged resistants from joining De Gaulle and of course if we ignore Lord Gort’s cowardice in Sedan when Weygand saw a break in German lines, he could have sandwiched the Wehrmacht along with the troops in Belgium but needed British help for that but the birds fleed.
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