Paris 1940 & 1944

Discussion in 'France' started by Owen, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thanks to adam I found this at te USNA site.
    World War II Photos

    81. "A Frenchman weeps as German soldiers march into the French capital, Paris, on June 14, 1940, after the Allied armies had been driven back across France." 208-PP-10A-3. (ww2_81.jpg)
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Thanks to adam I found this at te USNA site.
    World War II Photos

    81. "A Frenchman weeps as German soldiers march into the French capital, Paris, on June 14, 1940, after the Allied armies had been driven back across France." 208-PP-10A-3. (ww2_81.jpg)
    :mellow:
    It's funny, I must have seen that chaps face, cropped in, many times when some light Anglo/French mockery was being indulged in, but placed in it's real context it's an exceptionally powerful image.
    I had no idea that was why he was crying.
     
  3. Arsenal vg-33

    Arsenal vg-33 Member

    Thanks to adam I found this at te USNA site.
    World War II Photos

    81. "A Frenchman weeps as German soldiers march into the French capital, Paris, on June 14, 1940, after the Allied armies had been driven back across France." 208-PP-10A-3. (ww2_81.jpg)

    This is quite incorrect. This scene is actually from a motion film taken in southern France (Marseille, I believe). The event taking place was a ceremony in which French regimental flags are being taken to North Africa to prevent their capture by the Germans. If I'm not mistaken, this occurred as the Armistice was being signed. Obviously, the man is overwhelmed with emotions at the symbolism of the army retreating to North Africa to save the regimental standards.

    If you ever see this footage, look closely at the people immediately behind him, particularly to his right. You will notice people are applauding. Definately not a scene from Paris. It is unfortunately, one of the most misinterpreted images of the war regarding the Fall of France.
     
  4. Arsenal vg-33

    Arsenal vg-33 Member

    I said that despite the bar on the British some got there. As to the French playing a great part in the freeing of the City? In fact they did very little, only coming to the surface as the Germans fled the City.


    Sir, I respectfully yet strongly disagree with you. May I refer you to an excellent book, "France the Dark Years, 1940-1944" by Julian Jackson, casualties during the paris uprising inlcuded over "901 members of the FFI and 582 civilians were killed; another 2,000 were wounded; German casualties numbered 3,200.". (pg. 567)


    As for the lack of British presence in Paris during the city's liberation, one reason given was the still possible resentment lingering in the populace over the British attack at Mers-el-Kebir. This is mentioned in small part in the book, "Is Paris Burning?", Larry Collins/Dominique Lapierre, which is also a very good book, if a bit romanticized.
     
  5. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    i understand ike,on his lofty perch wanted paris bypassed,so the paris lot did not use up army food etc,etc,but the french 2nd a/d under u.s command,could not help themselves.yours,lee.
     
  6. Arsenal vg-33

    Arsenal vg-33 Member

    i understand ike,on his lofty perch wanted paris bypassed,so the paris lot did not use up army food etc,etc,but the french 2nd a/d under u.s command,could not help themselves.yours,lee.

    True. There was a row because Eisenhower initially had plans to bypass Paris. Gen. de Gaulle threatened to withdraw the French 2e DB and order it himself to make the dash to Paris if the Allies planned to bypass it. The commander of 2e DB, Gen. Leclerc, was only too happy to oblige, and it seemed he was going to make the move himself if no one else gave the order.

    Gen. Leclerc had a habit of reviewing orders given to him by the Americans as suggestions, whereas orders from de Gaulle were usually to be followed to the letter. This attitude would be seen again during the Colmar Pocket battles and during the race to Berchtesgaden. However, Leclerc's decision to dash to Strasbourg was entirely his own I believe.

    I think the decision to go to Paris is for the most part undervalued. Militarily, Paris was symbolic as well as important. Politically however it was anything but symbolic. Ge. de Gaulle persuaded Eisenhower to give the go ahead very eloquently and made it quite clear there was a good chance that the communists powers within Paris itself could stand to gain huge politcal clout if they were to succeed in taking control of several key military and administratorial buildings. Eisenhower quickly realized the potential for political disaster in this scenario and it was surely a factor in his decision to let the 2e DB go. In the long run, I would say this decision certainly was a benefit to the Allied cause as a whole.
     
  7. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    To be far to Brian (Sapper) I suspect he is just voicing the opinion of British troops at the time. They had reason to think this way of the French, for as they journeyed north on the 'great swan' they encountered little example of French 'resistance' except in certain areas of the coal fields where communist inspired resistance amongst communist mining unions was strong. Mostly they found French people only interested in resistance since the landings in Normandy. The British never really trusted the FFI, which I suspect is one of the reasons British troops were not involved in the liberation of Paris.
     
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  8. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    does anyone know the american corps and army the french 2a/d was under the command of,when they moved to paris.yours,lee.
     
  9. Arsenal vg-33

    Arsenal vg-33 Member

    does anyone know the american corps and army the french 2a/d was under the command of,when they moved to paris.yours,lee.


    I believe French 2e DB was part of Patton's Third Army, specifically V Corps. According to "Is Paris Burning?" (Collins and Lapierre), Americans Lt. Dick Rifkind and Cpt. Bob Hoye were Leclerc's liason officers to General Gerow (Gen. Leclerc's immediate superior). (pg. 154)
     
  10. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    sounds about right.was that corps not ordered north to block germans escaping falaise.yours,lee.
     
  11. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    According to my information, the French 2nd AD was part of Gen. Gerow's V Corps, First Army (Hodge). The 2nd AD was assisted in the attack on Paris by Gen. Raymond Barton's 4th Infantry Division, also part of V Corps.

    The American unit in the victory parade in Paris on Aug. 29th was the 28th Infantry Division of First Army.

    JT
     
  12. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    oh i see.so was this corps not ordered north then.yours,lee.
     
  13. Arsenal vg-33

    Arsenal vg-33 Member

    sounds about right.was that corps not ordered north to block germans escaping falaise.yours,lee.

    The Falaise Gap was closed on the 21st of August, Paris was entered afterwards on the 24th. Also, if you look at a map you'll see that the Falaise-Argentan region is due west of Paris, not North. By the time Paris was entered, the Falaise Gap fighting was pretty much a done deal.
     
  14. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    back up a bit.the corps that leclerc was in was ordered northwards to block the remnants of 5 german divs from escaping the closing gap.they did not.afraid of friendly fire from canadian 1st army advancing south, apparently.yours,lee.
     
  15. Arsenal vg-33

    Arsenal vg-33 Member

    back up a bit.the corps that leclerc was in was ordered northwards to block the remnants of 5 german divs from escaping the closing gap.they did not.afraid of friendly fire from canadian 1st army advancing south, apparently.yours,lee.

    That remains a controversial point in the Normandy campaign. Eisenhower was indeed worried about running two armies into eachother. Some have even insinuated this was Leclerc's fault. However, I did find this exerpt from Bill Yenne's excellent book, "Operation Cobra and the Great Offensive"

    "Despite the staggering losses suffered by the Germans, the fact that so many survived to fight later is a controversial point in Allied military history.

    In retrospect, it seems obvious that the Americans could have closed the Falaise Gap on their own on or about Wednesday, August 16, had Genral Bradley not ordered a halt. *

    As General George Patton said, "This halt was a great mistake as I was certain that we could have entered Falaise and I was not certain that the British would. As a matter of fact, we had reconnaissance parties near the town [Falaise] when we were ordered to pull back"."

    (Pgs. 149-150)

    *italics are mine
     
  16. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    it was bradley,s folly ,the chance to stop 5 panzer divs or what remained of them.bradley later lamented,those troops were green.ireckon he was too conservative.dont worry i wont call him a ,you know what.yours,lee.
     
  17. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    it was bradley,s folly ,the chance to stop 5 panzer divs or what remained of them.bradley later lamented,those troops were green.ireckon he was too conservative.dont worry i wont call him a ,you know what.yours,lee.
    Well who was in overall command at that time, Monty or Ike? that is who the folly lies with. Personally I think it is too easy to say that it was someone's fault. Hindsight is a great Critic and I wonder if we were in Monty or Ike's shoes would we have done as well. The fact remained that the Germans as an Army were finished in France and Falaise ensured that there would be no repeat of the First World War nor would there be the problems of forcing river crossings. When Hitler ordered the attack towards Mortain he handed the Allies the keys to France.
     
  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I always feel that in this old debate about the closing of the pocket and the apportioning of 'blame' not enough credit is given to the sheer fighting ability of some of those German units that held the neck of the bag apart at the end. While I don't subscribe to the 'Nazi elite' point of view I have to concede that there were some of the most experienced soldiers in the world at that time fighting from within the pocket and despite the completely shattered state of their overall military situation they managed some surprising feats of arms with very little.
     
  19. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    so would you not agree that bradley/or patton should have blocked that experienced avalanche,when history shows that they could have with at least a corps.yours,lee.
     
  20. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Can we take this debate to a Falaise Pocket thread please and leave this one to Paris itself.
    Thank You.
     

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