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View Full Version : Well. Is it time for a French Military Forum Here?



Nickdfresh
11-12-2010, 08:02 PM
Personally, I'd like to see one dedicated to the French armed forces whether they be prior to the fall from 1918-1940, Vichy, Marquis, or Free French forces fighting under various auspices. There are some threads here on French equipment and various topics to start things off, and perhaps some relevant discussion points as it seems this era interests not only me...

Churchill
11-12-2010, 11:27 PM
I think so. When the Italian section was under debate I proposed a Franco-Italian section, but this would be nice too. :)

Procyon
11-13-2010, 01:17 AM
I'm not sure! The Italian section is still fairly empty.

Churchill
11-13-2010, 12:00 PM
Hence the great idea of combining the French and Italian sections... :mrgreen:

tankgeezer
11-13-2010, 02:41 PM
A man Stole paintings from the Louvre, and sped off in his van, though in a few blocks he ran out of fuel and was captured. when asked why he had done it, he replied that he intended to sell the paintings as he didn't have the Monet to buy Degas to make the VanGough, and he figured he had nothing Toulouse. The police were surprised he had de Gaulle to pull it off.

Churchill
11-13-2010, 03:15 PM
Nice.

tankgeezer
11-13-2010, 05:45 PM
Its lame, I know, but its the only thing French related i could think of....:)

Nickdfresh
11-14-2010, 08:34 AM
Hence the great idea of combining the French and Italian sections... :mrgreen:

Bravo!

Churchill
11-14-2010, 10:32 PM
Its lame, I know, but its the only thing French related i could think of....:)

It'll do.

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-15-2010, 04:18 AM
As my Grandfather (Dunkirk Veteran) used to say...

"10,000 French Rifles for sale - Only dropped once'.


The first topic of course would have to be on 'French Flags of the 20th Century' though how you tell all those white ones apart is anyones guess...




*I am only kidding by the way... Being English, its genetic that I have to rib the French military, despite its real performance.

Rising Sun*
11-15-2010, 08:31 AM
As my Grandfather (Dunkirk Veteran) used to say...

"10,000 French Rifles for sale - Only dropped once'.


The first topic of course would have to be on 'French Flags of the 20th Century' though how you tell all those white ones apart is anyones guess...




*I am only kidding by the way... Being English, its genetic that I have to rib the French military, despite its real performance.

The French suffered far, far more in both wars than their English speaking allies, and bravely bore the brunt of the German attack in both.

From poor memory, the French suffered vastly more and perhaps something approaching twice the number of casualties that the British (as distinct from Commonwealth forces) suffered.

The French didn't have the luxury of pissing off at Dunkirk, being left to defend and live in inevitably surrendered France after the British and sundry French forces evacuated.

Meanwhile everybody who unfairly wants to portray the French as cheese eating surrender monkeys seems to overlook the Belgian surrender which was central to Dunkirk.

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-15-2010, 08:42 AM
You are having a bad day today aint you?

You knew it was a joke but cant help yourself... Is it some form of post-colonial malaise? Are you having some sort of Australian backlash to the Motherland? Or do you just dislike me in general? I dont mind which to be honest...

I shant bother commenting on your disrespect to those servicemen who served at Dunkirk, other than your comment shows your true colours.



By the way, the French lost 1,385,000 killed servicemen in WW1 and 217,000 killed in WW2. British (non-Commonwealth) killed servicemen were 703,000 for WW1 and 383,000 for WW2.

Personally I dont like to use casualty rates for a pissing contest... Seems rather disrespectful and Im not sure what it proves.

Rising Sun*
11-15-2010, 09:17 AM
You are having a bad day today aint you?

You knew it was a joke but cant help yourself... Is it some form of post-colonial malaise? Are you having some sort of Australian backlash to the Motherland? Or do you just dislike me in general? I dont mind which to be honest...

I shant bother commenting on your disrespect to those servicemen who served at Dunkirk, other than your comment shows your true colours.



By the way, the French lost 1,385,000 killed servicemen in WW1 and 217,000 killed in WW2. British (non-Commonwealth) killed servicemen were 703,000 for WW1 and 383,000 for WW2.

Personally I dont like to use casualty rates for a pissing contest... Seems rather disrespectful and Im not sure what it proves.

If you had any respect for the fallen, you wouldn't have made your stupid comments about unused French rifles for sale.

You're the only one showing disrespect to the fallen, of any nation.

And if you think I could be bothered rising to your bait about Australian backlash to the supposed Motherland, you merely demonstrate a sad and overbearing attitude which expired in Britain with its loss of its Empire. Which is even sadder for someone in Ireland, where my proudly independent forebears came from to establish a nation based on notions of equality and democracy which attracted British migrants in their droves after WWII.

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-15-2010, 09:37 AM
The comment came from my Grandfather, a Dunkirk veteran, who had a black sense of humour.

You take tongue in cheek comments way too seriously, Im surprised you didnt take issue with the other comments on the thread.

As for Ireland, just cos I live there, doesnt mean Im Irish... And its anything but equal and democratic at the moment.

Rising Sun*
11-15-2010, 09:39 AM
I shant bother commenting on your disrespect to those servicemen who served at Dunkirk, other than your comment shows your true colours.

I look forward to you explaining how my comments demonstrate disrespect to those who served at Dunkirk, and especially compared with the 10,000 French who dropped their rifles.

Which 10,000, exactly, of the French forces who provided the ring which enabled the British and French to evacuate from Dunkirk dropped those rifles?

Or were they dropped somewhere else?

If so, where, and by whom?


By the way, the French lost 1,385,000 killed servicemen in WW1 and 217,000 killed in WW2. British (non-Commonwealth) killed servicemen were 703,000 for WW1 and 383,000 for WW2.

Those figures don't support your disparaging comments about the French having 10,000 rifles dropped only once.


Personally I dont like to use casualty rates for a pissing contest... Seems rather disrespectful and Im not sure what it proves.

Why?

Because they don't support your offensive and idiotic comments about the French being cowards who didn't fight?

One of the worst types of arsehole is the supposed friend who makes offensive and unfounded disparaging comments and who, when challenged, says "I was only joking.".

You find the 10,000 mothers of the French soldiers who dropped their weapons and tell them you're joking about each of their 10,000 cowardly sons who refused to fight the Germans in preference for dropping their weapons and running away.

See if they find it funny.

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-15-2010, 09:51 AM
I never made any comments disparging the French. You just want to make it out that I did due to your fondness for me. ;-)

I merely offered a humourous comment that my Grandfather once passed on to me. As my caveat stated, it was tongue in cheek.

Incidently one of my closest friends is French. When I comment that the French always surrender, he comments thats its because "they always have to do all the hard fighting till the English turn up". Its the good natured ribbing that has existed between Allies for a long time...

I posted the correct casualty rates as I know how hard the French fought in both world wars, from Belgium, to Norway, in France, North Africa and on their return to France they served well. As did a myriad of resistance groups. I could go on about the actions at Gembloux Gap and many others, the rebuttal of German attacks in the face of heavy odds or the fighting at Bir Hakim. Or we can just utter the immortal word 'Verdun' and leave it at that.

Lets also not forget the British troops that landed in France after Dunkirk to do their duty and try to support the French. We left at Dunkirk because the Germans cut us off and we had little choice...

Churchill
11-15-2010, 07:02 PM
I hate to add gas to the fire, being both English and French, and wanting this useless bickering to stop, but the real people who see the French as cheese-eating surrender monkeys, are the Americans, whose casualties pale in comparison(talking about WWI and WWII combined for both).

The way most of them see it is that they had to come in and gallantly save the day, even though WWI had turned against the Germans by the time the States got in France in any number big enough to do serious damage(only a matter of time, I suppose...), and in WWII the Soviets were turning the tide, and the English/Commonwealth forces we pushing Rommel back by the time the Americans entered in great numbers.

(both of those are IMHO)

Nickdfresh
11-15-2010, 10:43 PM
The French suffered anywhere from 94,000 to 130,000 war dead in only six-seven weeks of fighting. The higher figure counts the Frenchmen who died of their wounds -- a number which was quite high as the French medical system was wholly unprepared for a war of movement, so I think the number of fatally wounded in the campaign was around twice the number of Americans who died after reaching the aid station or hospital...

Rising Sun*
11-16-2010, 06:35 AM
Starts about 40 seconds in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViDk_ll04Eo

Nickdfresh
11-16-2010, 08:57 AM
I hate to add gas to the fire, being both English and French, and wanting this useless bickering to stop, but the real people who see the French as cheese-eating surrender monkeys, are the Americans...

Only in relatively recent times. Strictly IIRC, I think a certain animosity started between the Gaullist French and the U.S./NATO after the French decided to partially withdraw from active planning with the alliance largely because of what she perceived as American hegemony in Europe. I think this spilt over into a cultural backlash and the perception that the French were 'rude' to tourists (but this is mainly associated to Parisians rather than French as a whole if I'm told correctly) and this represented something of a collective ungratefulness that devolved into French-bashing jokes on American late night television (David Letterman once had a 'Top 10 List' of things France was doing in Anticipation of German Reunification: one of the things on the list was, "installing speed bumps to slow down the panzers").

I think the "cheese-eating, surrender monkey" rhetoric again reared its ugly head politically in response to what our fearless leader Bush termed "old Europe's" (France and Germany in this case) refusal to go along with the American misadventure in Iraq. It was rather annoying debating ignorant people over this by simply stating that the U.S. wouldn't exist without France as they largely bankrupted their national treasury to support the American Revolution. And French infantry were also fighting at the last effective British colonial redoubt in American at Yorktown in 1781. Or that the Frenchmen were dying in Afghanistan after 2001--largely on behalf of an ungrateful American political establishment. However, I would take issue with your overall characterization.

The fact is that much of the historical literature regarding the fall of France was written by British conservative males such as Alistair Horne and Len Deighton, who often, despite writing overall great works, often over focused on the societal problems, and social/political divisions within France to perpetuate the "moral failure" theory, while at the same time sort of overstating the omnipotence of the 'Blitzkrieg' German military machine. It is a notion that plays to the wartime interests of the British Allied command, and post-war epitaph --by deflecting away from their own incompetence of the 1939-1940 time-frame and giving the French generals, especially the more conservative ones who actively collaborated after the fall, a pass. It also ignores that fact that the French actually mobilized and put far more of her resources into defeating Hitler than their British allies did up until that point. And available evidence presented even by Horne contradicts the 'moral failure' idea, at least when it comes to the French Army overall, when in fact it was an intellectual failure by the upper echelon of the French military and their disregard of much intelligence (Belgian intelligence accurately predicted much of Fall Gelb, and the French G2 was also aware that something was afoot that the command hadn't anticipated) and dissent.


...whose casualties pale in comparison(talking about WWI and WWII combined for both).

The U.S. did suffer far less casualties overall. But for the individual Americans who fought in Europe in 1917-18, it would have been a bloodbath as the American military arrogantly disregarded all advice from their allies on how to keep casualties down in a modern war, and used many of the same idiotic infantry assault tactics of 1914. Secondly, the U.S. (in both wars, but mainly the second one) was able to compensate for the need to suffer heavy casualties with its massive industry and the use of firepower. However, I would point to instances where American forces suffered statistically about as heavy as anyone, on Okinawa or in the strategic bombing campaign. The overall numbers certainly weren't as high as suffered by the Red Army for instance. But for individual marines or soldiers who were actually there, they were as likely to get killed as about any other combatant in WWII...


The way most of them see it is that they had to come in and gallantly save the day, even though WWI had turned against the Germans by the time the States got in France in any number big enough to do serious damage(only a matter of time, I suppose...), and in WWII the Soviets were turning the tide, and the English/Commonwealth forces we pushing Rommel back by the time the Americans entered in great numbers.

(both of those are IMHO)

Some good points. But although things were turning against Imperial Germany, there's little doubt that the successful integration of U.S. ground forces in the theater assured the final defeat of Germany far more quickly and certainly helped lead to the collapse of the Kaiser's gov't. And I might point out that the Soviets and the Commonwealth were turning the tide in no small part with help of American aid and production...

Rising Sun*
11-16-2010, 09:12 AM
Only in relatively recent times. Strictly IIRC, I think a certain animosity started between the Gaullist French and the U.S./NATO after the French decided to partially withdraw from active planning with the alliance largely because of what she perceived as American hegemony in Europe.

The Suez Crisis in 1956, being a British and French initiative and ultimately a magnificent **** up for Britain and France for their own purposes, was a significant contributor to post-war American animosity towards / distrust of France, and Britain.

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-16-2010, 09:35 AM
Yes... I think Suez was the bullet in the back of the head for the British and French attempts at trying to be superpowers...

As an aside, and in relation to the Arnhem thread, Brian Urquhart, the officer who tried in vain to persuade Browning of the danger to the operation from german armour, was the UN man on the ground during the Suez Crisis and organised the UN peacekeeping force to stop the Israelis and Egyptians from fighting. It was he who suggested that the civilian idea of a blue beret may be better replaced by a blue painted helmet in a combat zone... Instead of waiting for six weeks for some blue berets to be delivered, he got all the helmets painted overnight.

Nickdfresh
11-16-2010, 11:33 AM
The Suez Crisis in 1956, being a British and French initiative and ultimately a magnificent **** up for Britain and France for their own purposes, was a significant contributor to post-war American animosity towards / distrust of France, and Britain.

I suppose the French cluster**** in Indochina that ultimately became an American one didn't help either...

Churchill
11-16-2010, 11:55 PM
Going to your second to last post, I'm seeing it from the perspective of student*/internet troll, where as a student you only learn that France fell, and the Americans helped them back up(no major mention of the Commonwealth...), and as an internet troll, where France fell as soon as Hitler looked at it.

*Currently studenting** in Texas.

**Yes, I did just create a new verb. XD

Nickdfresh
11-17-2010, 10:52 AM
I'm assuming you're referring to me...


Going to your second to last post, I'm seeing it from the perspective of student*/internet troll, where as a student you only learn that France fell, and the Americans helped them back up(no major mention of the Commonwealth...), and as an internet troll, where France fell as soon as Hitler looked at it.

*Currently studenting** in Texas.

**Yes, I did just create a new verb. XD

I'm not really sure what you're specifically referring too and am wondering if your studenting' in Texas involves prodigious amounts of tequila and bad American beer. :)


France fell in a shockingly small time frame, but only after a spasm of intense, bloody fighting. I'm one of the last ones here to imply it happened as "soon as Hitler looked at it." Actually, if Germany had attacked France when Hitler wanted (as early as October of 1939), he'd have been defeated most likely and, speculatively, a German Heer coup would have killed him. Had they enacted the initial Fall Gelb plan in Oct.-Nov. of 1939 going into France through Belgium --as the French always believed they would, ultimately sealing the French doom when the plan was revised radically and the emphasis of Schwerpunkt (main focus) was shifted to the large Franco-Belgian weak-point in the 'impenetrable' Ardennes area-- the best case scenario is that Germany would have been caught in a strategic stalemate in Belgium, or on the River Somme in France playing into the hands of the Allied long war/blockade strategy and would have suffered a projected half-a-million casualties. It was his senior officers that delayed the attack until it was too late in the year, and then came up with one of the greatest, riskiest war plans ever devised out of sheer desperation: the Sickle Cut component of Fall Gelb, or Case (operation) Yellow...

tankgeezer
11-17-2010, 02:15 PM
" bad American beer." That is a redundant statement, I had no idea there was a good American beer (as American beer is presently defined.) I think American beer was the least known casualty of WW II. (We now return you to the regular scheduled topic.):mrgreen:

Nickdfresh
11-17-2010, 06:39 PM
" bad American beer." That is a redundant statement, I had no idea there was a good American beer (as American beer is presently defined.) I think American beer was the least known casualty of WW II. (We now return you to the regular scheduled topic.):mrgreen:

Avoid the 'big four' mass brew swill and try one of these, good sir:

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lbf7rpUGrh1qczlfu.jpg

Churchill
11-17-2010, 08:48 PM
I'm not really sure what you're specifically referring to and am wondering if your 'studenting' in Texas involves prodigious amounts of tequila and bad American beer. :)

I'm saying that when you are taught history in Texas, at least where I am, you are taught that Hitler conquered Poland, then waited until spring, where he turned his attention to France, which almost as soon as the command was given to go, capitulated.

You aren't taught the reasons behind the fall of France, just that it fell quickly and easily.

Nickdfresh
11-17-2010, 09:36 PM
I'm saying that when you are taught history in Texas, at least where I am, you are taught that Hitler conquered Poland, then waited until spring, where he turned his attention to France, which almost as soon as the command was given to go, capitulated.

You aren't taught the reasons behind the fall of France, just that it fell quickly and easily.

I'm sorry for that. I think you probably need some bad beer and don't ever rely on your instructors for the answers...

Rising Sun*
11-18-2010, 06:53 AM
I'm saying that when you are taught history in Texas, at least where I am, you are taught that Hitler conquered Poland, then waited until spring, where he turned his attention to France, which almost as soon as the command was given to go, capitulated.

You aren't taught the reasons behind the fall of France, just that it fell quickly and easily.

At the risk of pissing off Texans, and possibly receiving approval from other Americans, you have to remember that things need to be kept simple for Texans, for they are a simple people. I can think of no better example than Bush the Younger, even if he was a faux Texan. ;) :D

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-18-2010, 06:59 AM
I dont think Dubya is typical of Texans... But then Im not sure he is a typical specimen of the human race.

Maybe some form of primate, but Im not sure which.



I think all nations teach history, especially at junior levels, in a manner that best serves their country.

So in the USA, they saved the World. In Japan, their schools teach about the US attacks and poor old Japan suffering... No mention of Japanese Imperial tendencies of the 1930's onwards.

At least they teach about the war.

The UK has practically removed it, probably out of fear of offending someone! In Ireland its not mentioned at all.

Luckily a fair few UK universitys concentrate on it in both History and War Studies courses. In those instances I have found the teaching to be robust and relatively unbiased. Though all history is tainted with the bias of its writer.

Rising Sun*
11-18-2010, 08:38 AM
I dont think Dubya is typical of Texans... But then Im not sure he is a typical specimen of the human race.

Maybe some form of primate, but Im not sure which.

Perhaps this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXVIJB7AMLU&feature=related


In Ireland its not mentioned at all.

Which seems like a very good idea. The last thing the Irish need is anything that reminds them to fight, whether among themselves or anyone else they can find. ;) :D


Though all history is tainted with the bias of its writer.

That's the problem, and distinction, between primary and secondary sources. And between primary sources and a full record of the past.

Everyone on this site, and more widely on this planet, has done a vast array of things today, but almost none of them will be recorded for the future nor referred to by historians trawling through the past.

Meanwhile the doings and sayings of people of sufficient interest to what is (strictly, are, as it's plural) now called the news media will be recorded, as has been the custom in the past to record the sayings and doings of those prominent in societies.

So history is invariably skewed by the preponderance of coverage of the sayings and doings of the big end of town, because they leave the most records.

Yet the further back one goes and the less literate the bulk of the population was, the less we know about what people really thought and did. And the less we know about 'history' as a full picture of past periods and those who lived in them.

For example, did Hogarth or Johnson best describe London of their time, or did both give an inaccurate version?

navyson
11-18-2010, 08:42 AM
I'm saying that when you are taught history in Texas, at least where I am, you are taught that Hitler conquered Poland, then waited until spring, where he turned his attention to France, which almost as soon as the command was given to go, capitulated.

You aren't taught the reasons behind the fall of France, just that it fell quickly and easily.

Hmm... must have "dumbed" down the History textbooks since my years in school. And it's probably not only the textbooks here in Texas. :(

navyson
11-18-2010, 08:45 AM
At the risk of pissing off Texans, and possibly receiving approval from other Americans, you have to remember that things need to be kept simple for Texans, for they are a simple people. I can think of no better example than Bush the Younger, even if he was a faux Texan. ;) :D
Yep.... we're a bunch of bible thumping, redneck, hayseeds down here....;):mrgreen:

navyson
11-18-2010, 08:48 AM
As for a French Military Forum, I wouldn't mind it. Or, having a combined Italian/French Forum. I've enjoyed reading Panzerknackers threads on French armor and weaponry. It would be interesting to know more about French war plans and tactics and such that you don't find information about.

Rising Sun*
11-18-2010, 08:50 AM
Yep.... we're a bunch of bible thumping, redneck, hayseeds down here....;):mrgreen:

I only said you were simple.

The bible thumping, redneck, hayseed stuff isn't limited to Texas. ;) :mrgreen:

navyson
11-18-2010, 08:57 AM
I only said you were simple.

The bible thumping, redneck, hayseed stuff isn't limited to Texas. ;) :mrgreen:
I'm actually a transplanted Yankee. I used to never hear the end of it if I told people where I was from. Not so much nowadays with so much migration coming to TX. Both from the North and South.:D

Churchill
11-18-2010, 11:51 AM
^I know, about keeping all of that in mind RS and Nick. XD

I was just bringing up the point that education in Texas about France and its role in WWII is quite shoddy, and terrible at best.

Nickdfresh
11-18-2010, 09:15 PM
I dont think Dubya is typical of Texans... But then Im not sure he is a typical specimen of the human race.
....

Dubya was born into New England blueblood family and spent much of his life on the East Coast along with assorted "liberals" whom he probably had more in common with than the average Texas kid. Some would go so far as to say his homespun Texas drawl was acquired more by practice than habit. I was going to say that Bush is more like John Kerry than he is John Wayne. But then Kerry actually saw combat in Vietnam while Bush took the typical rich kid avoidance serving in the Nat'l Guard...

Rising Sun*
11-19-2010, 07:40 AM
I'm actually a transplanted Yankee.

Do you have to take anti-rejection drugs daily? ;) :D

Or do the Texans, as the host body, have to take them? ;) :D

Iron Yeoman
11-19-2010, 08:31 AM
I dont think Dubya is typical of Texans... But then Im not sure he is a typical specimen of the human race.

Maybe some form of primate, but Im not sure which.



I think all nations teach history, especially at junior levels, in a manner that best serves their country.

So in the USA, they saved the World. In Japan, their schools teach about the US attacks and poor old Japan suffering... No mention of Japanese Imperial tendencies of the 1930's onwards.

At least they teach about the war.

The UK has practically removed it, probably out of fear of offending someone! In Ireland its not mentioned at all.

Luckily a fair few UK universitys concentrate on it in both History and War Studies courses. In those instances I have found the teaching to be robust and relatively unbiased. Though all history is tainted with the bias of its writer.

And as a graduate of said course, I would whole-heartedly like to support a French forum on the site. France herself and French forces in all guises were a major player in the conflict and I think a forum dedicated solely to them would be appropriate.

Rising Sun*
11-19-2010, 08:41 AM
And as a graduate of said course, I would whole-heartedly like to support a French forum on the site. France herself and French forces in all guises were a major player in the conflict and I think a forum dedicated solely to them would be appropriate.

I agree, from the viewpoint of France's contribution, but so far as the site is concerned I'm not sure that there's enough interest to justify it.

But that can be gauged only if we open it and let it run for a while.

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-19-2010, 08:48 AM
Which Uni Scaley?

Iron Yeoman
11-19-2010, 08:54 AM
KCL - the original war studies course!

I was a student at KCL when I joined this site, hence the name. Although now i'm not a student or a scaley anymore so the name has little meaning behind it.

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-19-2010, 08:56 AM
KCL - the original war studies course!


Oh... You one of the Ruperts. ;)

Blooming poshboys... :mrgreen:

Iron Yeoman
11-19-2010, 09:02 AM
Oh... You one of the Ruperts. ;)

Blooming poshboys... :mrgreen:

A rupert! Behave I work for a living :lol: