French Armour 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Owen, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Stig O'Tracy

    Stig O'Tracy Senior Member

    I was watching another Wochenschau, this one from 1943-03-24. Part of this episode concerns the Axis efforts to fortify the Mediterranean coast, obviously anticipating the fall of their forces in Tunisia. In one of the segments I caught this shot of the loading of a R-35 which has had it's turret removed.

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  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Yes, quite a lot of French turrets seem to have had that fate, both if their engines/chassis died - AND if the hulls were cannibalised for SPG or arty tractor conversions.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Just to add a few points I've picked up over this year from reading several books.

    The First is from all the books I've read so far the French S 35 seems to be the best tank on the battlefield during 1940. It seems to out armour and out gun most if not all of what the Germans were fielding at the time.

    The last couple of books speak quite highly of the Matilda II too and both have been mentioned in accounts given by Germans where rounds were bouncy off of them.

    Two areas I have noticed that have been repeated quite a few times where there were flaws was the lack of communications in the French armour. One of the French Generals (name escapes me and I was reading about him today) preferred the use of telephones on the battlefield for passing orders rather than radios due to his belief that radio signals could be intercepted.

    Another reason for French armour failing was (I know I'm being vague) that 3 Armoured Divisions were overrun/destroyed by the Germans. One was captured whilst being unloaded from trains and caught the French by surprise due to the speed of the German advance. Another was by passed and surrounded and the other was split up into small groups fighting isolated actions and were eventually picked off. Both authors feel regarding the later that the unit would have been far more effective if they had fought together rather than in 2's and 3's.

    Feel free to ask for more detail if you wish and I'll dig out the piece and quote the source.
  4. ayac

    ayac Junior Member

  5. ayac

    ayac Junior Member

    I don't think the French had a particularly good Army in WWI. Considering they would have lost had they not had British and American help.
    Owen, being English, How does French arrogance amaze you?

    About a man with such a nice pseudo, it would be better to ask Owen, "How does US arrogance amaze you?" US people think they won WWI ? Coming to the dinner just to have coffee ? And then, not even able to ratify the treaty of Versailles, thus cancelling all the work ?
    All is in the name, "herroberst", he talks about war, he doesn't know anything about the subject. He thinks playing "Heitmat Front, Panzerwaffen, Mission Kursk and Stalingrad" makes him a warlord ?
    As brave as the PC soldier with a Russian slogan ? I would be glad to see them telling a French soldier, face to face, the same remarks.

    The US soldiers were not here, in 1940, to show their own fighting ability, but if we considere how they fought in their first battles, we have the right to be very cautious about their initial capacity in 1940.
    For the Russian, they have a country and a weather which give a lot of opportunities to escape the consequences of their initial defeat.
    After left alone in june 1940, the French inflicted more casualties by day to the Germans than the Russians did in 1941, even with their patriotic slogans.

    « Allied human losses :
    · Belgian losses in 19 days : 7500 KIA and 15850 WIA
    · Dutch losses in 6 days : 2890 KIA and 6889 WIA
    · British losses in 26 days : 3457 KIA , 13602 WIA and 3267 MIA
    · French losses in 45 days : about 80,000 KIA and 120,000 WIA

    156,492 German losses (KIA and WIA) in 45 days, that's 3477 losses/day but in fact the French resistance is harder in June than in May :
    2499 German losses/day between the 10th May and the 3rd June,
    but 4762 German losses/day between the 5th and the 24th June.
    You can compare that to the 4506 German losses/day during operation Barbarossa from 22nd June to 10th December 1941.
    The Western campaign was much more deadly than commonly known. » (D. Lehmann)

    Would you please now stop the senile jokes from Alabamian guys, or infantile criticism from geeks addicted to German video games ? Thank you.

    Now I would like to remind that I don't write anything intended to be offensive or rude toward people who are proud of their military traditions, and just want to have a talk in good faith. But I think, en tant que Français, we have the right to expect the same respect for the brave men who fought gallantly during two world wars to protect our country and our rights, sometimes in the brotherhood of arms with their allies, sometimes left alone with their own forces.
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  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Wasn't sure where to put this, as it's got little to do with 1940, but as this seems to be the main French Tanks thread with 'digressions' aplenty...
    Nice footage of a French Schneider CA1 from Pathe (somewhat unfortunately labelled as a German machine):
    German Tank (Ooooh no it isn't) - British Pathe
  7. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The last couple of books speak quite highly of the Matilda II too and both have been mentioned in accounts given by Germans where rounds were bouncy off of them

    While this is quite true, and it remained the queen of the battlefield right through unto the snows of December 1941/january 1942 in front of Moscow...

    It's worth remembering that the heavy machineguns of Matilda tanks that Rommel notes in his diary as hearing rampaging through his rear echelons at Arras were the .5in Vickers' of Matilda Is ;) The majority of 7RTR's IIs broke down on the battlefield, having just completed a ~130 mile "dash" back from Belgium with minimal maintenance!
  8. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Browser:- 'War Diaries 1939 - 1945 Google books result' The diary of Field Marshal Alan Brooke. Churchill on phone to Alan Brooke (France) What are you doing with 52nd Div, I told him, he told me he disagreed! He wanted me to support the French I told him It was impossible to support a corpse. Alan Brooke was brought home to take over as CIGS he left the army in command of Major General Montgomery. Alan Brook was not impressed with this first contact with Churchill a politician trying to influence a commander in the field, thank goodness Alan Brook was strong willed and put a stop to Churchill's 'hair brained schemes' Churchill said I shout and swear at Brooke, he just shouts back like the stubborn Ulster man he is.
  9. Peccavi

    Peccavi Senior Member

    Their losses in August 1914 make the First Day of the Somme look like a picnic.
    Verdun, for example.

    Sorry but the British losses on the Somme were greater than those of the French at Verdun.

    Somme British losses 420,000 French 195,000 German 650,000
    Verdun French losses 370,000 German 330,000

    British First day losses 58,000

    The really depressing thing is how the superb British Army of 1918, forgot all the painful lessons that it had learnt in combined arms, tanks, planes and artillery, with excellent preparation and thorough training (and even some wireless).
  10. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The really depressing thing is how the superb British Army of 1918, forgot all the painful lessons that it had learnt in combined arms, tanks, planes and artillery, with excellent preparation and thorough training (and even some wireless).

    They didn't just "forget" it - on one notable occasion they specifically threw it away. In the summer of 1940, when filling files in units after Dunkirk and the losses in France, a specific instruction was issued by the War Office that veterans of Dunkirk should be promoted in preference to any earlier (WWI) experience (Lavery, We Shall Fight On The Beaches) despite a considerable number of reactivated officers and NCOs.
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Does the author quote the source?

    I hardly find it surprising though when a WW1 vet would be in his 40's and 22 years out of uniform and or combat.
  12. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    These were the Army Officers Emergency Reserve, and had to start again as Second Lieutenants, and resented it, finding their experience undervalued...

    "...any NCO or man who evacuated at Dunkirk, is ipso facto an infinitely more worthy subject for commissioned rank, than one who was demobilised in 1919, after four years of commissioned active service in France or some other theatre of war."

    The reference Lavery footnotes is WO 216/61 - might be worth a look to see the context?

    ...a WW1 vet would be in his 40's and 22 years out of uniform and or combat

    Well, it could also be argued that these older guys had won the First World War....but the veterans of Dunkirk had just fought one of the UK's worse military defeats.... :(

    And also - when the said veterans flocked to join the LDV, there was no qualms in Westminster or the War Office about having them throw away their lives (and experience) on makeshift barricades ;) That's something that's often forgotten when people comment on the possible usefulness - or not! - of the Home Guard; a very significant percentage would have been the veterans of '14-' who had walked into machinegun fire, stood against gas attack...
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I'll see if I can find the file online first. Not sure what WO 261 is.

    Everyone feels under valued-I felt under valued when I was in the Police and they wasn't interested that I had done the British Army's NBC and the refresher CBRN instructor courses and my ticket was still in date and were paying around 25k to send someone on the course.

    Just tough luck in my book. Personally I'd rather follow a 20-25 physically fit NCO just battle hardened at Dunkirk than a 40 something NCO who has been swinging the latern down the Legion for the last 20 years getting free pints on how he won the war. I have know interest in WW1 but I know the tactics and fighting was noting like that of 1940 France.

    Ps this thread is about 1940 French Armour, so perhaps another thread maybe in order?
  14. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Certainly! The evolution of "Manual"-ised infantry tactics might also have some bearing on this aspect; I know for example the Australian and New Zealand infantry manuals didn't get a late 1930's update, and were regarded as pretty outmoded by the start of WWII...let alone Crete etc.!

    While the British Army was teaching and exercising in new tactics as per the 1938 manual (could be corrected on the date to '37?)....I wonder if anyone has studied indpeth how far these changes were actually taken on board by 1940...?
  15. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Anyone know what the big wheels are? My first guess is some sort of artillery limber.

  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  17. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Here's a better picture:


    Taken from here:

    282 TUNIS

    The trail design is different than the fuel trailer designed for the B1 bis so artillery limber seems a good guess.


    Note triangular trail at front of these trailers and the straight line in the first image posted on this subject.
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  18. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

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