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France keeps fighting after June 1940


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#1 GdG**

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 1540 PM

Well, more precisely, the book deals with the elements PM Paul Reynaud had to deal with when it became obvious that the battle in Europe was lost, and that a decision had to be taken about if the government should let the Army capitulate in France and escape to North Africa with all what was possible to evacuate.

It's a serious book, much deeper that what can be found on the net, based on archives. And published by the very serious publisher Economica;

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After studying the balance of forces in the Med in 1940, the plans that the various belligerents had for that region and the tensions existing within the French government between the warmongers (Reynaud and most of the government) vs the ones in favor of an armistice (Petain and Weygand).

So it's not a what if. The author tries to consider how things could have evolved after the decisive date of June 16th 1940; that's the day Reynaud, close to a nervous breakdown decided to resign and left the door open to the defeatists, especially Petain, who replaced him as PM.

Even if the Allies had been defeated in Belgium in May, and that the front had collapsed on the Somme and Aisne after June the 12th, leaving to the French army no more than 40 diminished divisions, the retreat of to the South of Paris was still orderly. The Germans had "only" taken 400,000 POW in Belgium or on the Somme. The real collapse began (in real life) after June 17th, when Petain made his speech on the radio, telling that he asked the Germans an armistice, which was a considerable blow to the morale of the men and gave them 1,000,000 more POWs...

In his book, Reynaud doesn't resign. All the instructions really given before June 16th to ease the evacuation of the government & parliament to Algiers are not canceled. Same for men and equipment.

I've always considered that the resistance in North Africa would have been short lived; there had no industries able to support a war effort. Ammunitions or spare parts would have allowed North Africa to hold no more than 3 or 4 months. But actually, the author provides new facts found his the archives proving that the anglo-french purchasing commission in the US had unintentionally paved the way for the sustainability of the fighting in Africa: the investments made in the US to build factories producing French equipments or ammunitions to relief the metropolitan industry suited the needs of a force of 600,000 men in North Africa. I was aware that factories had been built to produce the HS 404 or Brownings... Not that it came with ammunition factories producing French ammunitions (7,5 mm, 13.2 mm, 37 mm, 47 mm and of course the 75 and 155 mm ammunitions which were already produced since 1917 in the US).

With his presentation of the balance of power existing in the Med on June 1940, you realize that;

-the Italian threat is bigger on the paper than it was in the reality; the combined forces already available on June 25th 1940 on both sides of Libya (Tunisia & Egypt + French reinforcements stationed in Syria) are largely superior to what the Italians have on the ground. Without any hope to reinforce Libya by sea since the Regia Marina would have confronted a force 2 or 3 times larger than it really did against UK alone. And we know that the Regia Marina was very shy, at least in 1940. On the air, since Armée de l'Air would have been evacuated to North Africa, with airplanes having higher performances than what the Regia Aeronautica could field, the balance would have been again in favor of the Allies.

-the German threat being the most serious one would not have been to come in time before the fall of the Italian possessions in Africa; the Germans have to deal with the Battle of Britain, monopolizing its Luftwaffe and a large chunk of the Wehrmacht. Their army was of course unable to cross Spain fast enough before the fall of Spanish Morocco and actually, the author considers Franco would have not moved from neutrality to the status of non belligerent if he would have been certain to not to loose Morocco.

These points have already been discussed here.

Just a few points treated by the author;

*Considering the OOB on June 24th 1940 on mainland France, the resistance could have continued until the first (or at best) the second week of July, in the case of an evacuation centered on the major Mediterranean harbors such as Marseille or Toulon. The Atlantic harbors would have fallen pretty much at the same time they did in real life.

*Considering the tonnage available at that time (the Brits were busy on the Atlantic coast) and the distance between Toulon and Algeria, roughly 80,000-90,000 men could have been evacuated from France. Mostly necessary to form the backbone of a modern fighting force in Africa; technicians, cadres, tank crews (who were abundant but had lost their rides). A hundred of (modern) tanks, same amount of AT guns and half of that of AA guns evacuated as well. Note that in real life, since Weygand was opposed to a continuation of war, he canceled any order to evacuate men or equipment in June 1940. Unlike the chiefs of the air force or the navy, who, since their forces were mobile, tried to move all what was possible to Africa.

*The Armée de l'Air would have been surprisingly the army branch which would have survived the most easily in North Africa; by the spring of 1940, the deliveries of US made airplanes to be assembled in Morocco were satisfactory and hopefully, was decided years ago to purchase thousands of US made engines to put them on French airframes (as a complement). 100% US planes such as the P40, P39, Hellcat, P 38 or B24 would have eventually replaced the attrited French designs. These were rather lower numbers, in comparison to the standards of the European theater, but enough for the Med theater of 1940-42, roughly 700 fighters, 400 medium range bombers and 100 long range bombers in 1st line units.

*The purchases (as a complement) made before May 1940 for automobile equipments would have suited the needs of the forces available in North Africa. The 3,500 75 mm field guns and 1,000,000 rifles shipped by FDR in June 1940 would have really been shared between UK & France for the reequipment of their troops. All of that being short term, before the end of 1940.

*The attack of Libya was a real option of the French staff and it had already been planned since 1938 in cooperation with UK. It was not as cautious against the Italians as it was against the Germans. The offensive would have probably begun by September 1940 with the available forces (the ones existing on june 1940 + the reinforcements provided by evacuated units already available such as the troops evacuated from Narvik). The Allies having roughly 450 modern (real) tanks opposed to 300 CV33 tankettes with no hope of being reinforced by sea.

If you want accurate OOBs or figures, you can ask, I'll check the book. There's just too much stuff to post here.

Edited by GdG**, 01 August 2009 - 1543 PM.

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#2 Marek Tucan

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 2349 PM

Just few stray ideas...
-Would it be possible that France replaces UK as a destination for most of supplies and aid? AFAIK by the early war it was France mostly who shopped in the US. Also with two LL recipients like that (IOW gutted france in Africa and Britain on its isle) less would be available for LL to USSR.
-Might having still two European powers fighting Hitler speed up or slow down the US war plans?
-There would be very few Czechoslovakians in RAF and British army, as large majority of them was in France before the collapse. Same goes for Middle East. (OK, irrelevant in the big scheme ;))
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#3 GdG**

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 0314 AM

Just few stray ideas...
-Would it be possible that France replaces UK as a destination for most of supplies and aid? AFAIK by the early war it was France mostly who shopped in the US. Also with two LL recipients like that (IOW gutted france in Africa and Britain on its isle) less would be available for LL to USSR.
-Might having still two European powers fighting Hitler speed up or slow down the US war plans?
-There would be very few Czechoslovakians in RAF and British army, as large majority of them was in France before the collapse. Same goes for Middle East. (OK, irrelevant in the big scheme ;))


-That would have indeed changed a few things if all the support UK actually benefited from the US would have been share with France. However, most of the ex-french equipments that was given to UK never really saw action or just a little, such as 75 mm guns. The exception being A20's turned into nightfighters and P-40's used by Aussies in Palestine (which would have anyway been allocated to the Med, but with French pilots). AFAIK, the ground equipment was kept in reserve in the case of an invasion of England. Which would have been impossible in the case of a second front in the Med.

Also, all the stuff shipped to France was not LL, it was paid before expedition, built in factories financed by France. The gold of the Banque de France evacuated to Dakar would have been enough to last 2 more years (IIRC 300 tons of gold).

Also keep in mind that a loss of Libya by the end of 1940 would have had an impact on Hitler's plans against USSR; just like Churchill, the French were in favor of actions in the Balkans.

-It wouldn't have changed much for the US in regard to their material preparation. If the US had joined the war in 1942 as they really did, that would have again pushed in favor of an intervention in the Balkans.

-Indeed. The Czech (pilots especially) would have prolly remained with the Armée de l'Air. Same for the Polish brigade in Syria. However, most of the Poles would still have joined Britain, as they followed the BEF being evacuated from France.
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#4 seahawk

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 0416 AM

It would also mean that Germany gets full control of continental France and that they would most likely not fight the BoB or think about Sea Lion. This would leave the Luftwaffe in a better shape. But my biggest concern would be that the French would drag the Spanish into the war on the side of the Axis. The interests of both countries collide in Northern Africa and a still fighting France might see the Spanish parts a dangerous listening posts. Just a few border fights and Spain might be in the fight.
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#5 Murph

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 0940 AM

[email protected]! I don't read French, but I want this book. Sounds plausible, I think the French Armies of 1940 had a lot of fight left in them, and were really always under-rated due to Petain et al playing surrender monkey. I think a French Government/Army in exile in North Africa could have taken Libya, and have prevent Rommel from his glory in North Africa. Rearmed with better tanks, I think the French Army would have been something for the Germans to fear.
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#6 RETAC21

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 1349 PM

[email protected]! I don't read French, but I want this book. Sounds plausible, I think the French Armies of 1940 had a lot of fight left in them, and were really always under-rated due to Petain et al playing surrender monkey. I think a French Government/Army in exile in North Africa could have taken Libya, and have prevent Rommel from his glory in North Africa. Rearmed with better tanks, I think the French Army would have been something for the Germans to fear.


If it was able to walk on water, yes it might. The African campaign gutted the remaining Italian merchant fleet and forced Italy in a war of attrition. An early loss of North Africa means they can concentrate on continental defence. While the French fleet is the equal of the Italian, the arsenals of North Africa are not Toulon and the British yards are going to be overworked with British orders anyway and French escorts would have to be refitted with radar and modern asdic too.
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#7 GdG**

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 1409 PM

It would also mean that Germany gets full control of continental France and that they would most likely not fight the BoB or think about Sea Lion. This would leave the Luftwaffe in a better shape. But my biggest concern would be that the French would drag the Spanish into the war on the side of the Axis. The interests of both countries collide in Northern Africa and a still fighting France might see the Spanish parts a dangerous listening posts. Just a few border fights and Spain might be in the fight.



Certainly not. Hitler's goal was to take out UK as well. And obviously, he would have considered that if UK had been beaten, France would have given up as well.

The full occupation of France would have been a serious disadvantage too;

-it would have required more garrison troops than it really did between 1940 and 1942, making less men available for other operations, and the Wehrmacht was smaller in 1940 than it was in november 1942 when it eventually occupied all of France

-the plundering of the French economy (and its participation to the German war effort) was only possible thanks to the collaboration of the Vichy regimen which arranged the deals between the industries & Germans. Without such a collaboration, the Germans would have had to take direct control of the production, which is a strain

-I'm not sure the French government would have organized groups of partisans like the Russians did in the nazi occupied territories. At least not from the beginning. But the resistance would have emerged much faster and would have recruited more easily without Vichy.



The case of Spain isn't actually a problem;

From Franco's perspective (and it has been discussed ad nauseam here), little was to be gained from joining the Axis in the case of the continuation of war by France. His army was not able to much since the end of the Civil War. Keep in mind that even if he accepted the help of Germany in 1936-37, he was not a fan of Hitler and he personally saw their interference as negative.

Letting the Germans cross his country to take Gibraltar and maybe go to Spanish Morocco would have meant that his country & oversea territories would become a battlefield on which he wouldn't be able to impose his rules because of the weakness of the Ejercito. Just like the Italians in 1943 on their territory.

Plus, belligerence would have meant the immediate loss of Spanish Morocco (and other possessions such as Canarias or Rio de Oro); Franco comes from a generation of spanish officers who have been traumatized by the humiliating loss of Cuba & Philippines; he fought the uprising in Morocco in the 1920's and knew the overwhelming superiority of the French Armée d'Afrique had on the ground.

General Nogues, who was in charge of French Morocco (and was in favor of a continuation of war in real life) only waited for an order to come to attack. He however provided erroneous informations to the French government on how fast the Germans would be able to provide assistance to Spain; he over-estimated the Germans by arguing that their first divisions would arrive within 6 to 7 days in Andalusia. That's completely impossible, even in July 1940. The Wehrmacht is exhausted by 6 weeks of fighting. The width of Spanish & French railway tracks are different making transfers by train slow. The Spanish infrastructure after 3 years of civil war is in bad shape. If Hitler had decided to send planes to cover the shipping of troops between Spain and Morocco, he would have been forced to allocate it one of the two Luftflotten fighting the RAF. By the time the first troops would have reached Andalusia, the battle would have been over. Not that I underestimate the value of Spanish troops, but the aerial, naval and ground superiority belonged to the Allies in that area and it was a well known terrain on which almost all the French officers had fought on during the Rif rebellion.

Franco was too wise to not to join the war. And he didn't do it anyway without the French threat.

Edited by GdG**, 02 August 2009 - 1411 PM.

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#8 Murph

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 2101 PM

The 1940 surrender always suprised me in that the French Army was not really a beaten force, but was hamstrung by bad generals, and bad politicians. If they could have moved 80-100,000 troops to North Africa, most of the Air Force, and the French Navy, the Germans would have been in a terrible position. The French Army at Regimental and lower level had great soldiers, and good NCOs and Officers, but once they reached General rank, it seems something went wrong, terribly wrong.
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#9 Marek Tucan

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 2247 PM

Btw isn!t the 100,000 evacuees a "worst case" scenario? After all while the distances were longer, the Germans would be hard pressed to get enough forces to the area to intercept the evacuation, what with having to fight through rearguard action throughout the France etc...

Also what with Corse? Would it turn to Battle of Crete scenario? Would it be abandoned? Would it be turned into a fortress? I assume it would be pretty hard to resupply, though if the Allies managed it, it would be a nice base to bother Italian fleet and to strike at harbors in Southern France.
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#10 seahawk

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 0022 AM

Certainly not. Hitler's goal was to take out UK as well. And obviously, he would have considered that if UK had been beaten, France would have given up as well.

The full occupation of France would have been a serious disadvantage too;

-it would have required more garrison troops than it really did between 1940 and 1942, making less men available for other operations, and the Wehrmacht was smaller in 1940 than it was in november 1942 when it eventually occupied all of France

-the plundering of the French economy (and its participation to the German war effort) was only possible thanks to the collaboration of the Vichy regimen which arranged the deals between the industries & Germans. Without such a collaboration, the Germans would have had to take direct control of the production, which is a strain

-I'm not sure the French government would have organized groups of partisans like the Russians did in the nazi occupied territories. At least not from the beginning. But the resistance would have emerged much faster and would have recruited more easily without Vichy.
The case of Spain isn't actually a problem;


And because of that, the BoB and Sea Lion would not be an option, regardless what Hitler would want. The Wehrmacht lacks the troops and the Luftwaffe is unable to concentrate on the channel as they would need to protect Southern France as well. Considering the needs of Italy, I am sure the focus would switch on Northern Africa.

From Franco's perspective (and it has been discussed ad nauseam here), little was to be gained from joining the Axis in the case of the continuation of war by France. His army was not able to much since the end of the Civil War. Keep in mind that even if he accepted the help of Germany in 1936-37, he was not a fan of Hitler and he personally saw their interference as negative.

Letting the Germans cross his country to take Gibraltar and maybe go to Spanish Morocco would have meant that his country & oversea territories would become a battlefield on which he wouldn't be able to impose his rules because of the weakness of the Ejercito. Just like the Italians in 1943 on their territory.

Plus, belligerence would have meant the immediate loss of Spanish Morocco (and other possessions such as Canarias or Rio de Oro); Franco comes from a generation of spanish officers who have been traumatized by the humiliating loss of Cuba & Philippines; he fought the uprising in Morocco in the 1920's and knew the overwhelming superiority of the French Armée d'Afrique had on the ground.

General Nogues, who was in charge of French Morocco (and was in favor of a continuation of war in real life) only waited for an order to come to attack. He however provided erroneous informations to the French government on how fast the Germans would be able to provide assistance to Spain; he over-estimated the Germans by arguing that their first divisions would arrive within 6 to 7 days in Andalusia. That's completely impossible, even in July 1940. The Wehrmacht is exhausted by 6 weeks of fighting. The width of Spanish & French railway tracks are different making transfers by train slow. The Spanish infrastructure after 3 years of civil war is in bad shape. If Hitler had decided to send planes to cover the shipping of troops between Spain and Morocco, he would have been forced to allocate it one of the two Luftflotten fighting the RAF. By the time the first troops would have reached Andalusia, the battle would have been over. Not that I underestimate the value of Spanish troops, but the aerial, naval and ground superiority belonged to the Allies in that area and it was a well known terrain on which almost all the French officers had fought on during the Rif rebellion.

Franco was too wise to not to join the war. And he didn't do it anyway without the French threat.


I never said Franco would willingly join the Axis war efforts, but I think it would be likely that a cornered France might believe that Spain is about to attack them and would attack Spain to counter this danger. If France attacks Spanish Morocco Franco will have no choice. And from a strategic point of view, The French would have to deal with Spanish Morocco. If they want to move against the Italians, Spanish Morocco is always an open side which could quickly attack their supply lines and cut them off. After the Battle of France I doubt that they would take that risk. And the Canaries would also make potential U-Boot bases that can not be ignored if you want to secure the supply lines to French Northern Africa.

1942, when the Americans joined the battle, it was different. The US had no reason to fear the Spanish. Spain had not joined the war by then and Spain needed the food supplies it got from the US. Leaving Spain neutral was no risk for the Allies then. Leaving Spain neutral and hoping for it to stay neutral would have been a huge gamble for France in 1940.

Edited by seahawk, 03 August 2009 - 0225 AM.

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#11 Marek Tucan

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 0143 AM

Another consequences just came into my mind:
-bigger push for landing in France proper
-since French forces will be concentrated in the Med, more arguments towards the "soft underbelly" strategy.
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#12 RETAC21

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 0322 AM

I never said Franco would willingly join the Axis war efforts, but I think it would be likely that a cornered France might believe that Spain is about to attack them and would attack Spain to counter this danger. If France attacks Spanish Morocco Franco will have no choice. And from a strategic point of view, The French would have to deal with Spanish Morocco. If they want to move against the Italians, Spanish Morocco is always an open side which could quickly attack their supply lines and cut them off. After the Battle of France I doubt that they would take that risk. And the Canaries would also make potential U-Boot bases that can not be ignored if you want to secure the supply lines to French Northern Africa.

1942, when the Americans joined the battle, it was different. The US had no reason to fear the Spanish. Spain had not joined the war by then and Spain needed the food supplies it got from the US. Leaving Spain neutral was no risk for the Allies then. Leaving Spain neutral and hoping for it to stay neutral would have been a huge gamble for France in 1940.


Spanish Morocco was not undefended, and just in case, additional troops were deployed there in 1940, so that there were 2 Corps, one for each zone. The Canaries were more open to attack, but amphibious ops were not easy in 1940 (see Dakar).

As for the Spanish infrastructure, it should be noted that the destruction of bridges and railroads had barely touched the North-South axis since Madrid surrendered with little fighting after 1936 and Irun was conquered early in the war. The remaining line was never in the frontline. The different gauge would be a problem, but as Barbarossa shows, not an unsurmountable one.

GdG is right in saying that there was little gain for Franco, but the same applied to the French. Invading Spanish Morocco would only insure that Spain enters the war and the strait of Gibraltar is closed to allied traffic no matter what (even with Gibraltar on British hands, if it could be supplied).
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#13 Marek Tucan

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 0336 AM

I expect that as long as Allies do not do anything foolish to kick Franco into war, the fact that there would be two enemies instead of just Britain would lead Franco to give even cooler welcome to Hitler's suggestions of Spain joining in the war.
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#14 PCallahan

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 0413 AM

When were the 140,000 French troops evacuated from Dunkirk repatriated to France? Was there any chance of them forming the nucleus of another force on the British Isles if there was no capitulation? Could more French troops have been evacuated to Britain from the western French ports?

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#15 Marek Tucan

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 0425 AM

I think that as it would be clear in 1940 that leap back across the Channel is unlikely, any French troops would be sent to North Africa ASAP to bolster the defences there.
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#16 seahawk

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 0504 AM

Spanish Morocco was not undefended, and just in case, additional troops were deployed there in 1940, so that there were 2 Corps, one for each zone. The Canaries were more open to attack, but amphibious ops were not easy in 1940 (see Dakar).

As for the Spanish infrastructure, it should be noted that the destruction of bridges and railroads had barely touched the North-South axis since Madrid surrendered with little fighting after 1936 and Irun was conquered early in the war. The remaining line was never in the frontline. The different gauge would be a problem, but as Barbarossa shows, not an unsurmountable one.

GdG is right in saying that there was little gain for Franco, but the same applied to the French. Invading Spanish Morocco would only insure that Spain enters the war and the strait of Gibraltar is closed to allied traffic no matter what (even with Gibraltar on British hands, if it could be supplied).


The question however must be how rational would the French be under that circumstances. If they move against the Italians the Spanish forces are a dagger pointed at their supply lines. Considering that they had just had a nasty surprise by being outmaneuvered and must remember the Italians jumping on the German offensive, the Spanish must surely look dangerous. Now imagine Franco decides to bolsters the forces in Northern Africa to counter a possible attack.

Neither side would gain anything by starting a fight, however I believe it is not very unlikely that it would happen. Not out of a strategic or tactical need or politcal consideration but simply out of the line of events. The French would not risk another nasty surprise imho. The plans where in place and some officers were ready to move against Spain.
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#17 swerve

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 0557 AM

Btw isn!t the 100,000 evacuees a "worst case" scenario? After all while the distances were longer, the Germans would be hard pressed to get enough forces to the area to intercept the evacuation, what with having to fight through rearguard action throughout the France etc...

Also what with Corse? Would it turn to Battle of Crete scenario? Would it be abandoned? Would it be turned into a fortress? I assume it would be pretty hard to resupply, though if the Allies managed it, it would be a nice base to bother Italian fleet and to strike at harbors in Southern France.

1. Good point.

2. I assume that the garrison would be told to fight on as long as possible, to force the Germans & Italians to expend men & equipment taking the island. I don't think it could have been held, though. Too close to the Luftwaffe & Sardinia, with resupply having to get perilously close to both.

I assume the French would (in conjunction with the UK) take Libya using their most mobile forces, while using more static forces to cover Spanish Morocco, & reminding Franco of the vulnerability of the Canaries, & the advantages (i.e. not having to try to get the food imports it needed past the combined strengths of the British & French fleets) of neutrality, & that further reinforcement of Spanish Morocco would be considered a threatening act . . .
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#18 ickysdad

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 1055 AM

Another question if France fights on and there is no Mers-El-Kebir would the Rooslevelt & the US still provide Lend Lease as eagerly as per historical? One reason Rooslevelt supported the British so much was that Mers-El-Kebir told him that the British would fight on no matter what and would do anything to do so.
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#19 GdG**

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 1113 AM

Btw isn!t the 100,000 evacuees a "worst case" scenario? After all while the distances were longer, the Germans would be hard pressed to get enough forces to the area to intercept the evacuation, what with having to fight through rearguard action throughout the France etc...

Also what with Corse? Would it turn to Battle of Crete scenario? Would it be abandoned? Would it be turned into a fortress? I assume it would be pretty hard to resupply, though if the Allies managed it, it would be a nice base to bother Italian fleet and to strike at harbors in Southern France.


The 80-90,000 evacuees are the best case scenario. It took 3-4 days to rally Algeria from France. France had limited capacities for freight, and that's why the RN and the Marine Nationale collaborated closely during the Phoney War to escort anglo-french convoys. The Brits had limited (shipping) resources in the Med at that time. You also have to take in count that an evacuation like Dunkirk was impossible because the coastline is pretty different. Toulon or Marseille a surrounded by cliffs. So no boarding from beaches.

Corsica was reinforced by just a regiment and a few FT 17 tanks by May 1940, but it's unlikely France would have wasted its limited resources to keep it. Even if it had 3 decent airfields and that its mountainous terrain would have made it tough to conquer, it would have prolly been used to let short ranged fighters (such as Bloch 152's) to refuel before escaping to Africa. Anyway, I guess than outside of air raids, the Italians wouldn't have been able to set up a landing operation before a few months in Corsica. Maybe enough to embark what would have been sent in Corsica at the last minute after the loss of mainland France.

I don't think the Luftwaffe would have a been a threat to the evacuation; their bases were still mostly to the north of the Somme river by late June 1940 and they lacked units trained to deal with floating targets.


Another consequences just came into my mind:
-bigger push for landing in France proper
-since French forces will be concentrated in the Med, more arguments towards the "soft underbelly" strategy.


Indeed. Churchill's "soft underbelly" strategy was pretty much what had been decided in 1938-39 during the anglo-french strategical conferences.


When were the 140,000 French troops evacuated from Dunkirk repatriated to France? Was there any chance of them forming the nucleus of another force on the British Isles if there was no capitulation? Could more French troops have been evacuated to Britain from the western French ports?

Pat Callahan


Most of them returned to France within the 2 weeks following Dunkirk, via Brest or Cherbourg. The one belonging to the mechanized forces almost immediately returned on the frontline in ad hoc divisions created thanks to the then satisfactory tank production. The rest was captured waiting to be re-equipped.


And because of that, the BoB and Sea Lion would not be an option, regardless what Hitler would want. The Wehrmacht lacks the troops and the Luftwaffe is unable to concentrate on the channel as they would need to protect Southern France as well. Considering the needs of Italy, I am sure the focus would switch on Northern Africa.


No. You must take in count the grand scheme. After the fall of mainland France (still belligerent or not), the immediate goal of Hitler it to obtain peace with England. Churchill makes an agreement impossible. The military defeat of England is then the only solution he has.

Hitler's strategy didn't consider the Med as relevant in his war goals. Helping Italy in Libya was a pain in the *ss for him, same for the Balkans. His goal was to take out Britain and destroy USSR.

The Germans wouldn't have needed to place dozens of divisions on the French Riviera, since they knew that it was completely out of question for the Allies to return to France 2 months after they were defeated.

I referred to the strain a full occupation of France starting in 1940 because it would have caused problems to Hitler for his future invasion of USSR.

Let's take in count the German point of view;

let's say that:

-the Battle of Britain was eventually lost like in real life
-Spain remains non belligerent
-Italy has lost (alone, with little German assistance) its African possessions

The only operation the Allies can afford is to send in Greece a (joint) force in the case of an Italian aggression. They'd prolly loose like in real life, but would have been able to hold Crete (more men available).

From Hitler's perspective, that statu quo seems alright. The Allies are to weak to set a foot in Europe until the Americans join the game. He can focus on USSR without having to divert too many troops to bail out Mussolini.
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#20 Marek Tucan

Marek Tucan

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 1127 AM

The only operation the Allies can afford is to send in Greece a (joint) force in the case of an Italian aggression. They'd prolly loose like in real life, but would have been able to hold Crete (more men available).


Might they be able to hold the Peloponesos if there were more men?
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