PDA

View Full Version : To Lose a Battle



texag57
02-06-2010, 11:13 AM
This is a very good book about the invasion of France in May, 1940. It is very detailed, and I needed a good map to follow all of the different troop movements that occured. There are some French phrases I was not familiar with, so I got an inexpensive French/English dictionary. If you have already read this book, please give me your opinion.:army:

Nickdfresh
08-25-2010, 08:19 PM
Just got my copy tonight... :)

texag57
08-25-2010, 08:52 PM
Please let me know your opinion when you finish. I thought it was really well written.

Nickdfresh
08-25-2010, 11:02 PM
I will! Once I am finished that is. :)

texag57
08-30-2010, 09:54 AM
:army:I appreciate that.Thanks.

Nickdfresh
11-02-2010, 08:45 PM
:army:I appreciate that.Thanks.

I think I forgot something! Let me review the book a bit, and I'll give me my thoughts on Horne's much respected, cited (if imperfect) work...

Carl Schwamberger
11-09-2010, 08:39 AM
One of the best, even if the research dates from the early 1960s. Equal to Chapman or Jackson as a overview of the campaign. Lots of good background. In the English language I'd follow it up with books like Doughty's 'Seeds of Diaster' which analyzes prewar French military preperation, or his 'The Breaking Point' that decribes & analyzes the specific battle at Sedan. Gunmundson published two magazine articals describing the large massed armored battles in Belgium. May's 'Strange Victory' delves into the details of of of the development of the Sickle Cut plan and of French stratigic thinking.

Nickdfresh
11-09-2010, 11:28 AM
I agree the book is an informative overview of the operations which led to the catastrophic failure of the French defense plans. Horne also goes a long way toward explaining the process in which the Germans based their Fall Gelb and Fall Rot plans out of desperation more than as part of preordained "Blitzkrieg Legend/Myth" of war of movement and opposed to the WWI positional warfare, or what technology had done to prevent a war of movement by 1915 by making all offensive tactics essentially obsolete. My only criticisms are that he sometimes undermines his own arguments and often contradicts his overall statements with some of the very facts he himself writes. As Carl as mentioned, the book was written in the late 1960s and still was imbued with the "defeatist" or "moral failure" arguments that was propagated beginning under the occupation in the book Strange Defeat written by a French scholar and Resistance fighter who was killed by the Germans, in which May is alluding too as an intertext for his title. I also think he gives Hitler alternately too much credit for the successes of the German armed forces, treats Guderian as too much of a prophet even though he was one of many German and European military thinkers who were proponents of centralizing armor in a war or rapid movement in place of infantry, and sometimes misrepresents certain facts adhering to the defeatist arguments of the French generals who explained away their failures by blaming the previous succession of French gov'ts caricaturing the French left as indecisive, apathetic defeatists that sowed France's fate with incessant bickering and anti-military policies and the right and moral cowards and collaborationists who were treasonous quitters. For instance, I'm especially referring to the Armée de l’Air commanders who actually had more aircraft available at the end of the battle than they did in April of 1940, despite real problems with production and the fact that certain Luftwaffe types were superior. Horne relishes the shock of one of the key French air generals as he sees demonstrations of Luftwaffe air power in the late 1930s, yet fails to explain why this same general failed to mobilize his resources with the same intensity the Germans did. When one begins to read more critical texts on the Wehrmacht such as Freiser's The Blitzkrieg Legend. one gets a picture that many of the weaknesses attributed to the French Army also existed in the Heer circa 1939 to 1940...

Carl Schwamberger
11-19-2010, 09:04 AM
Yes, Horne touches little on the thinking behind the French AF operations. In the English language books thats not unusual. Even Doughty in 'Seeds of Disaster' spends little text on the subject. There is a essay by a USAF officer from years ago that addresses this. But, I have seen a French historian rip Kirkpatricks analysis apart.

http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1985/sep-oct/kirkland.html

texag57
11-19-2010, 09:18 AM
I see that I need to find the good books that everyone has mentioned. I look forward to reading those that you gentlemen named. I do hope they are still in print.

Best regards, texag57