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  #226  
Old 13 Sep 17, 05:38
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I would think that the failure of France was a combination of their ineptness of its leaders at the top combined with a superior German operational and tactical doctrine. General Jules Decamp once told Daladier "Gamelin is a smart man, well educated, well versed in conversation. In short he possesses all the characteristics of a great military leader-except backbone"

"Order in Chaos", Hermann Balck page 193-

Quote:
Gamelin could not bring himself contrary to his convictions to say no clearly, which then bought about France's decision to enter the war. General Weygrand later opined that in 1939 the war was entered irresponsibly, without material, and without doctrine.

The same was true of French military leadership, vague and unclear. The army was administered, but not led. An army that is administered and not shaped by the hand of a strong leader and imbued with his spirit to the last man bears the seed of its own destruction. French defense administration was pathetic as well. France spent billions on fortifications and the maintenance of obsolescent equipment, instead of putting the money into modern armaments. The Maginot attitude "defense at any cost" had led the thinking within the French Army in the wrong direction. Forgotten was the warning "On ne perd que par la defense" (one only loses in the defense). Forgotten were the words of Marshall Foch, who had adopted Fredrick the Greats concept of "attaquez donc toujours"(always attack). As a result, an army marched into a battlefield poorly equipped, poorly led, without political direction and consequently without operational goals, and with people who did not comprehend the reason for war. The French approach then, was the very antithesis of Guderians famous principle "Nicht kleckern sondern klotzen" (do not dribble-pour).
Regards,Kurt
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  #227  
Old 13 Sep 17, 06:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
I would think that the failure of France was a combination of their ineptness of its leaders at the top combined with a superior German operational and tactical doctrine. General Jules Decamp once told Daladier "Gamelin is a smart man, well educated, well versed in conversation. In short he possesses all the characteristics of a great military leader-except backbone"

"Order in Chaos", Hermann Balck page 193-



Regards,Kurt
The Balck quotation is very ,very questionable : would everything that Balck was claiming and everything that happened in may not have happened if Gamelin was not chief of sttaff ?

Weygand had backbone and he could not save the situation .

Saying : it is the fault of Gamelin, is saying : with some one else, this would not happen .

The Belgian and Dutch chiefs of staff were replaced shortly before Fall Gelb, but this did not save their countries . In 1938 Fritsch and Beck were going ;if they had remained, would the outcome of Fall Gelb be different ?

When Auchinleck was fired in 1942 ,Gott was chosen as chief of 8th Army, but he died in an air accident and Montgomery came . If Gott had survived ,would the outcome of the war in NA have been different ?

The influence of generals on the outcome of a battle is much exaggerated: their influence is very limited . A general is as a football coach : if the team is not good, the coach can not save the situation : when Liverpool lost (by 5-0 ) from MUT,Klopp will be blamed, wrongly, the only to be blamed are the players of MUT .

Even with an other commander, France would have lost, or better: Germany would have won .

I am also very sceptical that Germany had a superior operational and tactical doctrine : they had an other doctrine and I doubt that this doctrine would fit for the Allies, because the Allies were defending themselves,while the Germans were attacking .
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  #228  
Old 13 Sep 17, 11:24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
I would think that the failure of France was a combination of their ineptness of its leaders at the top combined with a superior German operational and tactical doctrine. General Jules Decamp once told Daladier "Gamelin is a smart man, well educated, well versed in conversation. In short he possesses all the characteristics of a great military leader-except backbone"

"Order in Chaos", Hermann Balck page 193-



Regards,Kurt
Kurt, I always enjoy your contributions. lcm1
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  #229  
Old 13 Sep 17, 12:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
I was thinking of smaller units, ie squadron size, as my example clearly reveals.
Ah, ok. Regarding tank squadrons it's pretty simple. Shermans were produced in plenty different variants when T-34 existed only in 76 mm and 85 mm versions.
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  #230  
Old 13 Sep 17, 15:17
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It should be noted that up to and including 1942, the Germans had the best army in the world, period. This was due to the following:

After the Versailles Treaty, the Heer was limited to a mere hundred thousand souls, and of course they kept the best. This created a core of experts that studied the potential defense of Germany from their historical enemies - France, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Poland and the Austro-Hungarians. Because it was possible to be engaged in a war with one, another could take advantage and attack from the rear, thus German armies always needed quick decisive victories, and planned for such.

The Germans studied military problems in far greater depth, and quickly understood, that a mobile army would need to be motorized and wheeled, or at least the shock elements need to be. They also realised the necessity of radios, and other comms, to join up different elements, and the Luftwaffe could have 'divisions' within a Corps.

When Hitler came to power, the military suddenly got both finance and fanatical recruits to create a formidable army. Then they got around 3 years of being able to invade other peoples countries without actually fighting. This is important, because officer can actually concentrate on the combat, because other essential tasks are already second nature to them.

So with both theoretical and practical expertise amongst the officers, fanatical soldiers and prioritized funding from the government, it is no wonder that the Heer was as formidable as it was. At first, both the East and West tried to emulate the Heer but failed. Instead they had to learn to play to their strengths instead, which really started to happen late 42 onwards.
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  #231  
Old 13 Sep 17, 17:04
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Regarding "German invincibility", they didn't always have it their own way, for example would ya believe in France 1940 that the Brits attacked with Matildas and made SS-Totenkopf panic, how kool is that!..

Guderian quote from 'Panzer Leader' page 114-
"On the 21st of May a noteworthy event occurred to the north of us: English tanks attempted to break through in the direction of Paris.
At Arras they came up against the SS Division Totenkopf which had not been in action before and which showed signs of panic"


Below- Heavy metal! The Matilda II was slow but built like a fortress, and had the excellent (for 1940) 2-pdr gun-

http://www.mission4today.com/index.p...iewforum&f=134

Last edited by RichardS; 13 Sep 17 at 20:11..
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  #232  
Old 13 Sep 17, 17:24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
Ah, ok. Regarding tank squadrons it's pretty simple. Shermans were produced in plenty different variants when T-34 existed only in 76 mm and 85 mm versions.
Actually I think you will find that is wrong about the T34.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-34_variants
T34M40
T34M41
T34M42
T34M43
OT34
T34M
T34-57
T34-85
OT34-85
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  #233  
Old 13 Sep 17, 18:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcm1 View Post
I cannot imagine either of those gentlemen standing in a queue up to there chests in sea water I'm afraid, I can only see them leaving in a far more graceful manner, a little bit of the sands of Dunkirk on there boots perhaps but that is about all. lcm1
I cannot argue that lcm1 The details of the specific manner in which both the gentlemen left Dunkirk is not recorded in my reading matter. Most likely they boarded a ship that was alongside the mole.

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  #234  
Old 13 Sep 17, 19:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Just pointing out that the BEF was only well equipped on paper. Tanks were not just going into action without ammo, but in some cases without guns as well.
I have no doubt that there is truth in your statement.
There is also the strange case that during the evacuation, albeit not from Dunkirk as such: A tank transporter cpl with tank were shipped back to Blighty. Which makes me wonder if that was worth so much more than carrying an extra number of men instead.
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Last edited by dutched; 13 Sep 17 at 19:16..
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  #235  
Old 13 Sep 17, 19:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljadw View Post
There was a queue of abandoned lorries that was stretching out to Belgium ,not just outside of Dunkirk .
Of course there was and as you well know Dunkirk is not that far from Belgium. 10 km (6 mls) if I am correct. On foot that would be a two hour walk
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  #236  
Old 13 Sep 17, 22:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianE View Post
Actually I think you will find that is wrong about the T34.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-34_variants
T34M40
T34M41
T34M42
T34M43
OT34
T34M
T34-57
T34-85
OT34-85
You should read more in detail instead of simply pasting. T-34M was a prototype, not a serial produced tank. 40,41,42 and 43 versions were all similar and equipped with a 76 mm gun, similar armor and mobility. OT-34 and OT-34-85 were flamme tanks. Finally T-34-57 were produced in two short series. So, as I said the two variants present in tank units were the tanks with 76 mm and 85 mm guns. Shermans on the other side get at least four versions employed in tank units: with 75 mm, 76,2 mm, 105 mm and 17 pdr guns.
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  #237  
Old 13 Sep 17, 23:11
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Still on the theme of German "invincibility", it took another knock when the panzers first encountered Russian T-34's in 1941:-

German battle report, Finkel, June 23rd 1941-
"Half a dozen anti-tank guns fire shells at him (T-34)..but he drives staunchly through our line like an impregnable prehistoric monster... Lt Steup's tank [Pz III short 50mm] made hits on a T-34 once at 20 metres and 4 times at 50 metres without any noticeable effect"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_...4_and_KV_tanks

Guderian writes in 'Panzer Leader' page 162 (July 3rd 1941) about his panzergruppes first encounter with T-34's-
"..an attack by Russian tanks and aircraft on the Beresina crossing at Borissov...here for the first time the enemy deployed his T-34 tank against which our guns at that time were largely ineffective"


Below- the T-34/76 ruled the roost in Russia for about 9 months from the German invasion in June 41 until spring 1942 when upgunned Panzer IV's began arriving-


http://www.mission4today.com/index.p...iewforum&f=134

Last edited by RichardS; 14 Sep 17 at 10:39.. Reason: Please place large images under a spoiler-ACG staff.
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  #238  
Old 13 Sep 17, 23:18
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I think the picture shows a later model T-34 with a longer 76mm main gun. Even the shorter gun penetrated all German tanks. Also I doubt they had Tank Riders with PPSh's during the initial invasion. That came later.

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  #239  
Old 14 Sep 17, 00:23
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Quote:
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Of course there was and as you well know Dunkirk is not that far from Belgium. 10 km (6 mls) if I am correct. On foot that would be a two hour walk
We could do 4Mls an hour as an afternoon stroll 5 as a forced march ( which involves jogging on flat ) depending on the terrain But there we were 'Bootnecks' need I say more? lcm1......( And anyone who takes offence at this, has no sense of Humour. )
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  #240  
Old 14 Sep 17, 00:37
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[QUOTE=lcm1;3403916]We could do 4Mls an hour as an afternoon stroll 5 as a forced march ( which involves jogging on flat ) depending on the terrain But there we were 'Bootnecks' need I say more? lcm1......( And anyone who takes offence at this, has no sense of Humour. : )
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