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The current time is: 10/18/2017 7:15:05 AM
 (1939-1945) WWII Battles
AuthorMessage
BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/25/2017 1:26:34 PM
 In french, but one of the better chronologies I have seen for this campaign. Another site that has disappeared off the regular internet but that was fortunately archived.

Cheers

BW

[Read More]
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5289
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/27/2017 6:24:22 AM
Very good. My high school French comes in handy once in a while.

Cheers,

George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/27/2017 8:37:24 AM
Let's put 1940 in Europe in English for the rest of us non-French speakers!

[Read More]

Cheers,
MD

---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5289
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/27/2017 8:59:39 AM

Quote:
Let's put 1940 in Europe in English for the rest of us non-French speakers!

[Read More]

Cheers,
MD


--Michigan Dave


Not nearly the same thing Dave. Yours highlights all the major events.

BW's link referenced one particular period in the war with greater detail of the battles fought.

Sometimes it is fun to translate and find out what other people in the world have done to write the history of world events.

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/27/2017 10:09:17 AM

Quote:
Let's put 1940 in Europe in English for the rest of us non-French speakers!

[Read More]

Cheers,
MD


--Michigan Dave


Dave,

 I should have explained a bit of the background. The anglophone history of the 1940 campaign focuses on the events from the German invasion until the Dunkirk evacuation. The second month of the campaign, in France proper, is practically glossed over. Thus, sources like the one I linked to are valuable for those who wish to learn more about the second half of the 1940 campaign.

 I think if you copy and paste chunks of the text into Google Translate, you will at least get an understandable version of the text, although some nuance may be missing. Or, you can view this URL (Google translated): [Read More]

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/27/2017 10:45:03 AM
Hi BW,

Thanks for the translation, very interesting timeline, sorry no disrespect to the French meant!

Peace,
MD

And George,

Your right I need a world view to fully understand history, currently I'm trying to understand the "Canadian Perspective"!?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Mike Johnson
Stafford, VA, USA
Posts: 490
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/28/2017 5:50:53 AM

Quote:
sorry no disrespect to the French meant!
Michigan Dave


Dave, you are talking about the French, so you (and I) are treading on thin ice with these posts.

Mike

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/28/2017 6:35:14 AM
 It is not a matter of 'disrespect'; but that anglophone historiography of the 1940 campaign, as far as I know, do not cover the post-Dunkirk operations in the same detail as the events leading to the Dunkirk evacuation. For the British, they naturally focus on what they see as the next event (Battle of Britain), but for France, there was three weeks of campaigning on the ground still to be fought.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5289
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/28/2017 12:19:08 PM

Quote:
 It is not a matter of 'disrespect'; but that anglophone historiography of the 1940 campaign, as far as I know, do not cover the post-Dunkirk operations in the same detail as the events leading to the Dunkirk evacuation. For the British, they naturally focus on what they see as the next event (Battle of Britain), but for France, there was three weeks of campaigning on the ground still to be fought.

Cheers

BW
--BWilson



And for some British and Canadians who were sent to France after Dunkirk to be added to those who remained to the south.

Many were evacuated during Operation Ariel from ports like Brest and St. Malo.

And the French continued to fight.

Phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2475
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/28/2017 3:58:16 PM
Not a mention of the most horrific single episode of the entire campaign: the sinking of the Lancastria and the loss of several thousand lives as the ship was bombed off St Nazaire.

We take a kind of mea culpa approach: lamenting the excessively Anglo centric view of the events of 1940....yes , the French fighting is too often overlooked.

But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; the omission of that incident is a bit too much to pass by.

Apologies if I've failed to see it in the chronology.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Mike Johnson
Stafford, VA, USA
Posts: 490
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/28/2017 4:21:12 PM
I was having a bit of fun at the expense of Dave and myself and the French.

The French viewed the campaign more completely than the British, as the BEF was a smaller component integrated into the French-led allied structure. And they viewed the British with some degree of suspicion, but so did the Americans who had taken over the lead allied role in 1944-45. Much to the chagrin of many Americans studying the war, the US Army adapted French (modified by German) organizations and tactics and saw the British as needed allies but a bit of an aberration in how to fight a war.

I found the French account to be stimulating. Chrome translated if for me, although I did go back and forth between French and English trying to exercise my decades old French.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/28/2017 8:09:11 PM

Quote:

Quote:
sorry no disrespect to the French meant!
Michigan Dave


Dave, you are talking about the French, so you (and I) are treading on thin ice with these posts.

Mike
--Mike Johnson




Mike all I meant was that the "French were Toast" after the German's cut off their army!?

Hey "French Toast" for BF tomorrow!
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1303
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/28/2017 9:42:32 PM
Mike J, I agree with your comments. I think that those with an "English" focus tend to think that German success in the West was a "campaign". To Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, the German assault was the end of a way of life. Most of us have read comments from the English perspective, suggesting that it was "good" to be free of an awkward ally such as France. The French, of course, were equally scathing about their British allies who were largely gone by mid-June.

I think we tend to dismiss France too readily, though quite clearly their armed forces and strategic decisions were no match for German tactics. There were enemies – real or perceived – to the East (Germany), the Southeast (Fascist Italy) and Southwest (Falangist Spain).

Churchill made that dramatic (and rather whimsical, IMHO) offer to link France and England politically (I stand to be corrected on the use of "England" here; it was probably a union of France and Great Britain that he suggested). To what purpose, that would not play itself out through the Free French forces under de Gaulle? Churchill was prepared to squander assets necessary to Britain to continue the conflict on French soil. His offer of union was rejected by the French, for all kinds of obvious reasons. His offer of additional Hurricane squadrons was defeated by Dowding, at what might have been tremendous cost.

WSC was a Francophile. But when all was said and done, the fall of France was to Churchill just a "campaign" that the opposing eleven won. That's a bit flip, of course, but remember his words before the memorable bits:
Quote:
What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.

Usually the "What General Weygand called..." part is omitted. But note the past tense of the verb. This WSC speech was delivered on 18 June 1940, the day after France ceased hostilities with Germany. With that simple past tense, WSC has already turned the page on France.

Just a few tropes later, WSC gave the world the clincher he wanted them to have:
Quote:
Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour'.

It should be pointed out that, 16 days after this speech (and only 17 since the French Government capitulated), the RN attacked the French fleet in ports across Europe. The worst was at Mers-el-Kebir, near Oran.

Churchill was clearly not one to be sentimental about old alliances or the collapse of a nation he felt warmly enough about to offer political union. Nope. WSC noted the rule changes and the alterations in agreements and acted as necessary. Britain is free to fight the next campaign: the Battle of Britain.

So the BEF (and other forces) pulled out of Dunkirk, and later from other ports. France was left to fend the enemy off, and ultimately to capitulate. Britain gets a PM with a way with words and France gets surrender, Vichy and the destruction of it's fleet. To steal a title from Robert Gildea, France is "Marianne in Chains".

Fascinating events, those six weeks between the German invasion and the British destruction of the French fleet. Much more complex at every level than the "Miracle of Dunkirk". And, IMHO, much more important to an understanding of the role of post-war France and the fabled "de Gaullism".

Cheers
Brian G

---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 7:45:17 AM
But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; the omission of that incident is a bit too much to pass by.

Apologies if I've failed to see it in the chronology.


 No, I don't think it is in the chronology. For me that was my original point; the chronologies we have are too nationally-based, even 77 years after the events. I daresay that the level of cooperation of French and Anglophone historians regards the 1940 campaign does not rise above that displayed by the Allies during the campaign itself!

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 7:48:06 AM
I found the French account to be stimulating.

Mike,

 I agree. It is, for me, unusual to see an account that actually enumerates all of the French field armies. Usually (if one gets that much), it is briefly mentioned there were three army groups in the French order of battle. It would be an interesting exercise to attempt to write a 1940 chronology in the format done by U.S. Army historians for the "Green Books" series.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

Phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2475
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 9:05:39 AM
The legacy of the early summer of 1940 is one of momentous Anglo French divergence, in a very literal sense.

The history we read is bound to reflect that.

In 1914, that divergence had nearly occurred; but the convergent impulse had prevailed and the "Miracle of the Marne " was to define the subsequent course of the conflict.

I wonder how many French people still feel that a Miracle of the Somme was attainable in 1940 , had the British chosen a different path.

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 460
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 10:17:23 AM
Not sure how accurate these figures are but I found 156,492 as the total number of German casualties from May 10, 1940 until the Armistice with France. Now its from the "German Propaganda Archive" at Calvin College so I'm not sure. But my point is it would be interesting to see the breakdown of where and when those casualties happened. Like how many in the days before the end of the evacuation at Dunkirk when from everything I've read the mainly French rear guards were putting up a hell of a fight? Or in the first few days of the "Battle for the Rest of France" after the evacuation of the BEF when again from what I've read the fighting was fierce? I guess what I'm trying to ask is who deserves the condemnation more the French Army or the leadership of the French Army?

Here is the article in whole.
http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/facts01.htm
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5289
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 10:33:38 AM
The British army fought one hell of a rear guard action to keep the Germans at bay while the rescue was effected.

For sure the 1st French Army put up great resistance.

But the Brits and the French set up defensive positions in a number of towns on the approach to Dunkirk.

1st Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders- wiped out at Le Bassée.

2nd Dorsets-stopped the Panzers at Festubert (famous WW1 battle site ) and made a retreat to Estaire where the French were holding out.

2nd Glosters and the Ox and Bucks Reg. made the Germans pay at Cassel. Cassel was surrounded and they held out for 3 days before ammunition ran out. Attempted breakout failed and most were captured.

2nd Norfolks and 2nd Royal Warwicks defended Wormhoudt. They were going against SS and the murder of about 80 POW at Wormhoudt is not often discussed when the topic of Dunkirk comes up.


Quote:
On the 27th May, British and French Commanders met to establish a strategy for the defence of the Dunkirk beachhead itself. It was quickly agreed that the French would be responsible for the line west of Dunkirk and the British, everything east of the town. Referred to as the outer perimeter, it was 25miles long and approximately eight miles deep and it made the best use of the canal and waterways around Dunkirk to aid defence




Quote:
British units defending the perimeter included, among others, elements of the following regiments: the Loyals, Leicesters, Sherwood Foresters, Warwickshires, East Lancashires, Borders, Coldstream Guards, Duke of Wellington's, Green Howards, Durham Light Infantry, King's Own Scottish Borderers, Royal Ulster Rifles, Grenadier Guards, Berkshires, Suffolks, Bedfordshire and Herts, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, East Surreys, Royal Fusiliers, South Lancashires and the Black Watch



So British and French rear guard units paid a heavy price to allow the rescue to continue.

[Read More]

Phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2475
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 11:34:15 AM
John,

Without having sources to hand, I cannot be absolutely sure here, but I'm fairly confident that the Germans took their highest casualties during the fighting against the French in June 1940 in the Somme region.

It's clear that the French were fighting effectively in this post Dunkirk phase.

It lends a degree of credibility to French claims that they were left in the lurch in a situation that was yet salvageable.

Much circumspection required here.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 11:36:43 AM
I guess what I'm trying to ask is who deserves the condemnation more the French Army or the leadership of the French Army?

John,

 You ask a question that IMO is not easily answered. Some of the answer may come down to poor luck on the part of the French (the deployment of B-series reserve divisions at Sedan, for example).

 From what I have read, there were instances of poor behavior by entire units, but in other instances, the French fought like lions. If the French Army leadership was poor in 1940, then what explains the competent practice of their generals in 1943-45 ? Surely there were dunces among their generals, but there were also men like De Gaulle and De Lattre de Tassigny.

 The answer, IMO, comes down to an ugly sum of many factors -- decision making cycle too slow for armored warfare, an immediate off-putting sense of surprise at how swiftly the Germans had bested the terrain and fortifications of Belgium and the Netherlands, almost no cooperation between their air force and army, some influence from the conflicts and politics of greater French society, poor design decisions regarding tanks, a doctrine lopsided to the defense ... just some things off the top of my head.

 It is easy, in hindsight, for us to "condemn" the French. But I always recall a conversation I had in the 1980s with a U.S. major when I was a young officer. We were discussing what could happen were the Soviets to attack West Germany. The interesting thing is that he had grown up in France with parents of U.S. and French heritage. His scathing assessment regarding NATO's chances was ... "it will be 1940 all over again."

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 11:48:31 AM
It lends a degree of credibility to French claims that they were left in the lurch in a situation that was yet salvageable.

Phil,

 I wonder. I have read discussions on French internet sites about the 1940 campaign by people knowledgeable of the action. They certainly believe in the courage of their soldiers, but the tone also suggests they understand the French were outclassed in some ways. One comment was, "our army established a defense at location X, but German aerial recce found other routes for their Panzers to use, and we were quickly outflanked".

 I also wonder about combat actions that were "come as you are". On paper, the French divisions look formidable -- over 16,000 men and two regiments of artillery. Yet, in a fluid action, would French artillery have been able to come into play given the limitations of communications systems of the time ? If the answer to that question is "often not", then it boils down to the organic resources at the regimental (=brigade in British terminology) echelon, and the Germans, in terms of war establishments, were clearly superior in that regard. Couple this with reasonably effective German air support of their ground units with the effective non-cooperation of the French air force with their ground units, and it looks like there would have been a lot of difference in the amount of firepower both sides could deploy.

 My take (without a lot of further reading) is that an attempt by the BEF to land in France once more and stand on the Somme would have only resulted in 200,000+ more British prisoners in German POW cages in 1940. From what I understand, the French believe that while they had to fight on, the decision of the campaign had been reached when the northern part of the Allied armies was hived off by the thrust of the Panzers.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

richto90
Bremerton, WA, USA
Posts: 394
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 1:07:00 PM

Quote:
Not sure how accurate these figures are but I found 156,492 as the total number of German casualties from May 10, 1940 until the Armistice with France. Now its from the "German Propaganda Archive" at Calvin College so I'm not sure. But my point is it would be interesting to see the breakdown of where and when those casualties happened. Like how many in the days before the end of the evacuation at Dunkirk when from everything I've read the mainly French rear guards were putting up a hell of a fight? Or in the first few days of the "Battle for the Rest of France" after the evacuation of the BEF when again from what I've read the fighting was fierce? I guess what I'm trying to ask is who deserves the condemnation more the French Army or the leadership of the French Army?
--John R. Price


Heer Losses in the Polish, Norwegian, French, and Balkan Campaigns (Organizationsabteilung d. Gen,Stb. d. OKH. 6 Feb 45, NARA T78, R414, F3226-3227) gives 27,650 gefallen (KIA&DOW), 115,299 verwundeten (WIA not DOW), and 13,607 vermisst (MIA). This report apparently refers only to losses within the Feldheer, although it may include Waffen-SS losses as well. It appears that it does not include losses in Luftwaffe ground or airborne formations. As far as the accuracy of the reporting systems goes, we have evidence from the Germans themselves. On 1 October 1941 a statistical study group had been set up within the Office of Armed Forces Losses (Abteilung Wehrmachtverlustwesen) to resolve problems with the “Central Statistics of Manpower Losses in the War” (Zentralstatistik der Menschenverluste im Kriege). On 30 August 1944 the group issued a report on the “Development and State of the Work” (Entwicklung und Stand der Arbeit) (T77, R780, F2114~). The report gave the following examples of problems in the reporting of deaths (Toten) through enemy action within the existing systems of the Heer:

French Campaign: the monthly summary by the Wehrmacht Fuhrungsstab (Armed Forces Command Staff) reported 26,455 dead, the Sanitats Inspektur reported 30,267 dead and the MIA committee reported 46,059 dead.

It appears that the greater part of the German loss was in Fall ROT the attack on the French defensive positions in June ending the campaign.

Phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2475
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/29/2017 5:36:54 PM
Thanks Rich.

What was Fall ROT ?

Interesting that there's such a huge disparity between the figures given by the Armed Forces Command Staff and the MIA committee.

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/30/2017 8:32:41 AM
 So here is a question for BEF experts. Is there a good chronology available on-line for the British actions on the continent in May-June 1940 ?

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

richto90
Bremerton, WA, USA
Posts: 394
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/30/2017 11:56:29 AM

Quote:
Thanks Rich.

What was Fall ROT ?


Fall GELB = the Wehrmacht plan for the assault on the Low Countries and France, aka "Manstein's Plan" or the "Sickelschnitt" (scythe cut). It ended with the Germans on the line of the Somme-Aisne and the evacuation of Dunkirk. It ran from 10 May to c. 1 June 1940.

Fall ROT = the follow-on attack on the Weygand Line, which ended with the French call for armistice. It ran from 5 to c. 22 June.


Quote:
Interesting that there's such a huge disparity between the figures given by the Armed Forces Command Staff and the MIA committee.


Mostly due to terms of reference. The Reports through the IIa {Adjutant) were to the Heerespersonalamt (Army Personnel Office) and generally tracked those KIA in the field reported through the operations sections (Ia) reporting on combat. Reports through the IVb (Heeresartz) were to the Heeressantitätsinspektion (Army Medical Inspectorate), which reported to the Allgemeines Heeresamt (General Army Office) and were collected from the medical establishment, including all aid stations and field and general hospitals. As such, the medical office reports would include died-of-wounds (only partly captured in the IIa reporting stream) and died-of-disease and injuries/accidents, which also would not necessarily be reported by the IIa since it was not as a result of combat.

The last reporting stream was a special examination to resolve MIA and was similar to those "findings of death" or "presumed dead" adjudicated by the U.S. Army Surgeon General postwar.

Phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2475
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/30/2017 12:08:35 PM
Rich,

Thanks for that rendition ; it clarified ....although I confess I should have googled it !

No doubt, then, that the German losses in the final onslaught against the French were more severe than generally acknowledged.

Using the MIA committee figure we might legitimately attribute a daily average of 1,500 deaths to the period of Fall ROT....five thousand casualties a day if we allow for wounded ?

A steep toll, redolent of WW1 and evidence that the French had plenty of fight in them.

I expect that the Germans - who were very adept at candid self criticism - would have applied lessons from this fighting and put them to good effect against the Soviets one year later.

Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/30/2017 12:36:11 PM
I expect that the Germans - who were very adept at candid self criticism - would have applied lessons from this fighting and put them to good effect against the Soviets one year later.

 They certainly were able to put a lot of former French ordnance in action against the Soviets. The Soviets complained bitterly about that, but in one sense they were hoist by their own petard as they had incited the French communist party to make problems for the French government and army in the run-up to the 1940 campaign.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

richto90
Bremerton, WA, USA
Posts: 394
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/30/2017 12:36:42 PM

Quote:
No doubt, then, that the German losses in the final onslaught against the French were more severe than generally acknowledged.


Found it. The Dekade reports (by the IIa) for the period were:

May: 8304 KIA + 5634 MIA + 36460 WIA = 50398)
June: 11548 KIA + 7253 MIA + 48658 WIA = 67459

Later accounting in July (IIa and IVb reconciliations) revised those figures to:

Fall GELB: 10,252 KIA&DOW, 8,463 MIA, 42,523 WIA = 61,238
Fall ROT: 16,822 KIA&DOW, 9,921 MIA, 68,511 WIA = 95,254

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/30/2017 12:43:39 PM
 Here is a 1940 chronology for the RAF. Not day-by-day, but better than nothing.

[Read More]

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5289
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/30/2017 1:02:48 PM

Quote:
 So here is a question for BEF experts. Is there a good chronology available on-line for the British actions on the continent in May-June 1940 ?

Cheers

BW
--BWilson


Not exactly a chronology but the text reads that way.

A concise history of: The Campaign in France

[Read More]

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1303
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/30/2017 8:47:35 PM
Bill (and others), IMHO the best "chronology" for RAF Bomber Command remains Bomber Command War Diaries, by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt. It combines daily ops with periodic assessments. Just to choose an obvious example, here is the entry for the first day of British hostilities:

"3 September 1939

North Sea

1 Blenheim reconnaissance plane, 18 Hampdens and 9 Wellingtons searched for German warships. The Blenheim photographed many ships north of Welhelmshaven but the 2 bomber forces made no contact. There were no loses. The Blenheim was the first aircraft of the war to cross the German coast. It was Blenheim N6215, crewed by Flying Officer A. McPherson, Commander Thompson, R.N., and Corporal V. Arrowsmith."

Dull. Boring. Tedious. Precise. Accurate. Impactful. Hell of a volume reflecting the cumulative impact of RAF Bomber Command. 1940 covers 88 pages, and includes some sweeping activities to cover aspects (e.g., aerial reconnaissance) of Bomber Command's mandate during the year.

As to specifics around the time of Dunkirk, I offer the following from BC War Diaries. One is a diary entry, the other is a summary:

"2/3 June 1940 [Note: in BC War Diaries, two numbers separated by a slash indicates night operations]

GERMANY, DUNKIRK

24 Whitleys and 6 Hampdens attacked oil and communications targets at many places between Hamburg and Frankfurt. 16 Wellingtons attacked positions near Dunkirk. No losses."

"3 June 1940

DUNKIRK

18 Blenheims bombed, no losses.
This day saw the end of the evacuation from Dunkirk. 2 Group's Blenheims had flown on all but 3 days – days when whether conditions had been bad – since the opening of the German offensive; they had also flown 1 night operation. A total of 956 sorties had been flown and 57 aircraft lost. This was a loss rate of 6.3 per cent, or the equivalent of 4 complete squadrons from the 9 squadrons in 2 Group which were operational during most of this period.
The Blenheims were given 1 day's rest before resuming operations, this time in support of the French Army and the few remaining British units further south in France."

As I say: not compelling reading but incredible information.

Cheers
Brian G

---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2475
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/31/2017 3:19:49 AM

Quote:

Quote:
No doubt, then, that the German losses in the final onslaught against the French were more severe than generally acknowledged.


Found it. The Dekade reports (by the IIa) for the period were:

May: 8304 KIA + 5634 MIA + 36460 WIA = 50398)
June: 11548 KIA + 7253 MIA + 48658 WIA = 67459

Later accounting in July (IIa and IVb reconciliations) revised those figures to:

Fall GELB: 10,252 KIA&DOW, 8,463 MIA, 42,523 WIA = 61,238
Fall ROT: 16,822 KIA&DOW, 9,921 MIA, 68,511 WIA = 95,254
--richto90


That is much appreciated , Rich, thanks.

When I suggested that the Fall ROT phase cost the Germans about fifteen hundred dead every day, on average, and an aggregate daily average of five thousand casualties , it seems that my guesswork was plausible !

It wouldn't surprise me if the German casualties against the French in that fighting were comparable with those they suffered in the first three weeks of Barbarossa, which should make some commentators reconsider their views of the intensity of the fighting in the Battle of France in 1940, and the resolve of many of the French troops.

I note that the French historical services now state that about 58,000 Frenchmen died in the campaign.

Regards , Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 460
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/31/2017 4:06:48 AM
Phil,

I found for June 41, 41,058. 8,886 KIA, 29,494 WIA and 2,707 MIA
July 41, 164,989. 36,144 KIA, 120,409 WIA and 8,435
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/31/2017 6:28:17 AM

Quote:
Not exactly a chronology but the text reads that way.

A concise history of: The Campaign in France

[Read More]
--George


George,

 Thank you. The beginnings of a chronology could be created from that book. (Oddly, the page header is "the campaign in Norway", but it appears very readable.)

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/31/2017 6:40:49 AM
As I say: not compelling reading but incredible information.

Brian,

 Good point, chronologies are often not compelling, yet they are damned useful as references. In retrospect I am a bit surprised the U.K. official history volumes don't include some kind of chronology as an appendix.


Quote:

23 October

U.S. -- Forces from the U.S. begin movement to N Africa in preparation for TORCH. First detachment of Western Naval Task Force, under Rear Adm Henry K. Hewitt, sails from
Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Guadalcanal -- After quiet day, Japanese arty opens up at 1800 with heaviest fire to date, after which assault force (tank co and infantry regt) makes determined but
futile efforts to cross Matanikau R mouth and overrun 3d Bn of 1st Marines. Japanese sustain heavy losses: 600 are estimated killed and at least 8 tanks are knocked out. 1st
Marines casualties are 25 killed and 14 wounded. Main enemy enveloping force, which was to have attacked simultaneously with coastal force, is not yet in position and
postpones for another day its attack on S perimeter.

Egypt -- Br Eighth Army opens El Alamein offensive at 2140. More than 1,000 guns pound enemy batteries until 2200, then switch to enemy forward positions as Br troops move
forward, 30 Corps on N making main effort and 13 Corps conducting diversionary actions on S. Heavy fighting continues throughout night.


- Account for 23 October 1942 in Chronology 1941 - 1945, United States Army in World War II, compiled by Mary H. Williams, Center of Military History, United States Army.


 And so that chronology is written, day for day from 7 December 1941 until 2 September 1945.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2475
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/31/2017 7:31:25 AM

Quote:
Phil,

I found for June 41, 41,058. 8,886 KIA, 29,494 WIA and 2,707 MIA
July 41, 164,989. 36,144 KIA, 120,409 WIA and 8,435
--John R. Price


Thanks, John !

If my arithmetic's correct that equates to a daily average of about 5,150 per day for forty days.

The Fall ROT figure for June 1940 exceeds five thousand per day....but, of course, that was sufficient to finish the French ; whereas the two hundred thousand German casualties in June and July '41 were just the start....

Adding an edit : Middlebrook's guide to the Somme Battlefields - obviously preponderantly concerned with the events of 1914-18 - gives an account of the WW2 battlefields as well, and cites a huge German cemetery at Bourdon, where 22,213 German soldiers are buried, sixty per cent of them being casualties of the 1940 fighting. A testimony to the very considerable price the Germans paid for their victory.


Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
Posts: 669
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/31/2017 8:39:46 AM

Quote:
John,

Without having sources to hand, I cannot be absolutely sure here, but I'm fairly confident that the Germans took their highest casualties during the fighting against the French in June 1940 in the Somme region.

It's clear that the French were fighting effectively in this post Dunkirk phase.

It lends a degree of credibility to French claims that they were left in the lurch in a situation that was yet salvageable.

Much circumspection required here.

Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade


Phil,
I must confess to a lack of anything more than the most basic understanding of the 1940 campaign and the Dunkirk evacuation.

The conventional wisdom, at least as I understand it, is that both British and French troops fought hard and well, but that French leadership was out of touch and compared to the Germans, still fighting the last war. The BEF ended up overextended, and eventually forced back against the Channel with no option but to evacuate.
Now, I'm sure "but there's more to it than that" applies, but conventional wisdom tends to take a simplistic view of complicated events.

One thing I do wonder about, the question of the British decision to pull out aside, is that of how well they would have been able to sustain active combat operations by the BEF over the long term, in terms of both material and manpower. It's a relatively short hop across the Channel, to be sure, and a large force was certainly sustained during WW1. But in 1940, the British lacked air superiority, and, the extensive array of purpose built logistical vessels that would be available in 1944. Everyone focuses on the tactical. What about the logistics?
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

Phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2475
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 8/31/2017 5:54:24 PM
Jim,

The sketchiest of knowledge is all I have, too, when it comes to the fighting leading up to the Fall of France.

I think you're right about the logistical implications.

In 1940 the deficiencies were more stark than they had been a generation earlier : in 1914, they had impinged more fatally on the Germans than on the Allies....given the track of the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1940, an attempt to sustain the BEF in France conjures up nightmarish images.

By clearing out of the Continent in 1940, the British suffered humiliation but preserved themselves from casualties on the scale of those they had suffered a quarter of a century earlier.

Regards , Phil



---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 1:14:37 AM
 I'm reading "The Fall of France" by Philip Warner. He mentions the BEF was experiencing serious shortages of ammunition early into the fighting, and the impression of British commanders that the Germans seemed to have "endless" supplies of ammunition. Reading between the lines, it sounds like those responsible for stockpiling enough ammunition were parsimonious while the high command expected the German enemy to think and act like them.

 Warner's book, at least in the title of the edition I have, is an example of the historiography I mentioned above. The book is hardly about the "fall of France" at all. It is about the campaign through the Dunkirk evacuation and the smaller subsequent evacuations, with about 10 to 20 pages devoted to the actual fall of France.

 Those interested in Warner may read his obit here. [Read More]

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1303
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 2:11:54 AM
Bill, there are a number of day-by-day chronicles I have used from time to time. None is official, I must admit, but all are useful. Most offer at least some editorial comment dealing with major issues or events, but I've always felt free to ignore that kind of commentary.

The two volumes which come to mind as general chronologies of the war are:

World War II Almanac: 1931-1945. A Political and Military Record, by Robert Goralski, Putnam's (1982). Not a true chronology, given that the first eight years are covered in 90 pages and even during the years from 1939-1945 Goralski misses a day or two.

2194 Days of War: An Illustrated Chronology of the Second World War, compiled by Cesare Salmaggi and Alfredo Pallavisini, Gallery Books (1977). Again, some days are missing, but what do you do with days where nothing happened?

Just throwing out a possibility of MHO developing its own chronology of WW2, which began some 78 years ago tomorrow. I'd be happy posting as daily a post as possible for RAF Bomber Command. Anybody out there willing to take on RN, Army, or other nations as they became involved in the war? Kai? Norway's involvement might be down your alley. Phil, willing to take on British Army? How about someone linked with the RN? George and Wazza: wanna take on Colonial/Commonwealth commitments?

I'm no talking about a harsh sentence or a major commitment here. I would probably base my comments on Middlebrook's War Diaries; I'm not talking about this being new research by anybody. I'm talking about a thread that simply was open to anybody with comments about WW2 day by day.

Scoucer, would you be willing to cover to some extent the German side of things? Do we have anyone who might be interested once the US enters the war, or once the Japanese destroy the British Empire in the East?

Please, folks, give this some thought. The war begins tomorrow with a faked Polish raid on a transmission station that by accident coincided with a huge build-up of German troops.

Cheers
Brian G

---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Phil andrade
London, UK
Posts: 2475
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 2:59:01 AM

Quote:
 I'm reading "The Fall of France" by Philip Warner. He mentions the BEF was experiencing serious shortages of ammunition early into the fighting, and the impression of British commanders that the Germans seemed to have "endless" supplies of ammunition. Reading between the lines, it sounds like those responsible for stockpiling enough ammunition were parsimonious while the high command expected the German enemy to think and act like them.

 Warner's book, at least in the title of the edition I have, is an example of the historiography I mentioned above. The book is hardly about the "fall of France" at all. It is about the campaign through the Dunkirk evacuation and the smaller subsequent evacuations, with about 10 to 20 pages devoted to the actual fall of France.

 Those interested in Warner may read his obit here. [Read More]

Cheers

BW
--BWilson


Bill,

How about Alistair Horne's book on the 1940 fighting ?

He died a few months back, and gave an excellent account of himself as a British historian who specialised in things French.

Editing here : An afterthought....I've emphasised several times on MHO how the Allied defeat in France and Flanders in 1940 saved several hundred thousand British lives : a sustained war on the Western Front was bound to have increased the length of names in the WW2 sections currently on our war memorials.

How guilty I am of the Anglocentric view here !

If several hundred thousand British lives were saved by the withdrawal from France, how many millions - or even tens of millions - of people on the European Continent might not have perished if the Third Reich had been pinned down in the West ?

Or would the atrocious nature of that regime still have enjoyed free reign after the conquest of Poland ?

Would Barbarossa have been abandoned, or deferred ?

And, given the German embroilment in the West, how much horror would the Stalinist Soviet Union have unleashed ?

These are immense speculations, and forgive me for indulging in the counterfactual.



Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 4:54:11 AM
Phil,

 I got the name of Warner's book wrong; it is "The Battle of France, 1940" ... but my comment still stands.

 I have not read Horne's "To Lose a Battle". Update -- "Sixty Days that shook the West" (published 1963) appears to be a day-by-day account. I'll see what level of military detail it provides.

 On edit: "Sixty Days" looks very good; every day appears to include a description of military and political events. This could well be what I've been looking for.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 5:01:22 AM
Brian,

 Thanks for the reminder. 78 years ago today (now 1 September in Poland). Somewhere on my mother-in-law's property, Polish AAA set up to fire at German aerial raiders. One of their neighbors (now deceased) was mocked after the war for stating he had "fought the Russians". Postwar, communist propaganda buried the accounts of Poles fighting the Russian part of the invasion. It was not until the end of the Cold War that my wife's family realized the poor man had very correctly stated what his war experience in 1939 had been!

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
Posts: 669
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 10:07:33 AM
It is interesting, and I suppose, rather typical, that from the Anglophone perspective at least the 1940 campaign in France can be summed up in a single word. Dunkirk. But then, both British and Americans can study WW1 on the Western Front, and it can be like the French were hardly there at all, save as hosts.

To Phil's speculation, I doubt that even had the BEF not evacuated, Germany could have been pinned down in the West. Neither Britain, with all its Imperial commitments, nor France, had the wherewithall to fix Germany in an extended campaign. They could really only do about what they did, put up a good fight. But with or without the BEF, I still see the outcome as a foregone conclusion, differing only in the specifics. Pinning the Germans down in the West wasn't going to happen until the Americans showed up, and that was still years away.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1923
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 11:43:39 AM

Quote:
Scoucer, would you be willing to cover to some extent the German side of things? Do we have anyone who might be interested once the US enters the war, or once the Japanese destroy the British Empire in the East? Cheers Brian G--brian grafton


Brian,

What I have is not so much a chronology but " Das OKW gibt bekannt". That is the weekly report of the OKW to the press. Id be happy to translate them on a weekly basis.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 12:08:29 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Scoucer, would you be willing to cover to some extent the German side of things? Do we have anyone who might be interested once the US enters the war, or once the Japanese destroy the British Empire in the East? Cheers Brian G--brian grafton


Brian,

What I have is not so much a chronology but " Das OKW gibt bekannt". That is the weekly report of the OKW to the press. Id be happy to translate them on a weekly basis.

Trevor

--scoucer


Trevor,

 I also have the "war diary" of OKW and can provide entries as needed. Good to hear you're up to this!

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 460
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 1:24:57 PM
Phil,

Would Barbarossa have been abandoned, or deferred ?

I think the better question would be, Would Barbarossa have been reversed with Russia attacking Germany and how long before it would happen? Remember that Russia got part of Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania as part of the Non Aggression pact, launched the Winter War against Finland and were demanding more territory in Romania and Hungary, bringing Polesti within artillery range of Russian guns before Barbarossa. Hitler wasn't the only madman leading a country that would enslave and murder millions in the 1930's & 40's threatening the peace of Europe.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 460
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 1:33:41 PM
Brian,

Brian I would think the US and Japan would have to be included long before Dec 7,1941. Japan was the first country to go to war with the invasion of Manchuria and then China. Plus the US engaged in political and economic pressure and sanctions against both Japan and Germany and really military actions against Germany in the Atlantic long before entering the war.

Aren't we all taking a Eurocentric view saying WWII started with the German attack on Poland? Manchuria and China don't count?

---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


scoucer
Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1923
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 2:30:58 PM

Quote:
Brian,

Brian I would think the US and Japan would have to be included long before Dec 7,1941. Japan was the first country to go to war with the invasion of Manchuria and then China. Plus the US engaged in political and economic pressure and sanctions against both Japan and Germany and really military actions against Germany in the Atlantic long before entering the war.

Aren't we all taking a Eurocentric view saying WWII started with the German attack on Poland? Manchuria and China don't count?


--John R. Price


Of course you are right John but its a bit like asking when the ACW started when you include Bleeding Kansas and John Browns Raid.

In fact, many young european historians are tending to refer to a " Second Thirty Years War" 1914 to 1945.

I think the project Brian is proposing is difficult enough.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1303
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 6:44:03 PM
John R., you're dead right. Trevor captures the difficulty with determining a "start" date or a list of belligerents with his Thirty Years War notation.

It is true that belligerents of the European War (1939 - 1945) tend to mock US views that the war began on Dec 8, 1941, while at the same time ignoring the raging battles and atrocities occurring in various parts of Asia. For right or wrong, I tend to separate the European War from other conflicts, seeing the Asian conflicts as a "forgotten" war until Japanese expansionism began affecting European colonies and financial interests. US interests in Asia were strong, and not quite so obviously colonial, but you're obviously correct in suggesting that the economic pressures placed on Japan by the US appear to have been designed to force her either to back down or show the flag. Do you think it as interesting as I do that in 1939 Australia, New Zealand and even India were sending troops to support Britain against Hitler? That suggests to me – amongst a host of other things – that either the Japanese campaigns were not receiving attention or that they were considered as battles outside the political arena reflected by European nations and their satellites. I am perhaps speaking from ignorance in suggesting that the Roosevelt administration, while dealing with Japan's encroachments in Asia, was more concerned with the European menaces of Nazism and Fascism.

It's also true that I don't knew exactly when "World War II" or "Second World War" became commonly accepted terms for what really only became a global war after the entry of Japan and the US as official belligerants. We didn't have a "World War I" until we had a second world war, we had a "Great War".

Suggesting that today, Sept 1, marks the beginning of World War II is an error of self-indulgence and/or self-importance and/or regional arrogance. Nonetheless, it does mark the European beginning of armed conflict. There were only two nations involved that day, but within 48 hours the number had spread to four (or more, depending on how you determine the declarations by Australia, New Zealand, and other nations of the British Empire/Commonwealth). And it would take over 2000 days to run its course, leaving untold millions dead.

All I'm suggesting is that if MHO wants a project suited to the skills of various of its members, this might be a worthy one: a daily chronicle of WW2. Anybody could join in, and they could bring whatever they deemed interesting to the table. I think the key would be to keep the posts as succinct as possible while still being understandable.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1303
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/1/2017 8:00:14 PM
I thought To Lose a Battle a good read, but IIRC I was a bit surprised with the negative state depicted. Maybe that was Horne's particular point-of-view, or maybe he was simply trying to capture the chaotic nature of the French military against a radically different tactical and strategic approaches. IIRC, he gave the men of the armed forces distinct credit while noting the numerous ways in which their morale was undermined or betrayed by the politicians and military leaders.

Phil, some of your speculations are fascinating, just as some of Bill's comments based on Warner's book are fascinating. May I just throw out for speculation a few points concerning the fall of France and the low countries?

First, I think it important to keep in mind that treaties such as those between Britain, France, Belgium, Holland and any other nations you want to throw in were great treaties of peace but utterly shitty treaties of war. Seems to me that a "mutual assistance treaty" that does not allow military overflight or foreign troop placement is less than perfect as a wartime measure.

Second, I think it slightly arrogant to think that the number and quality of British troops in the 1939/40 BEF was going to make a major difference in the face of the German assault. While not suggesting British and German troops didn't face off, the three weeks between German invasion and British extraction were largely spend by British troops reacting – often too late or ineffectively – to German initiatives.

Third, while the withdrawal of the BEF from Dunkirk is given as a reason for British shortages of equipment, shells and the like, there are at least indications that those shortages were endemic. A lack of modern 25-pounders in July could be explained by losses in France; the continued lack of 25-pounders in November and December suggests a bad supply chain. Same with things as basic as ammo. George Blackburn's Where the Hell are the Guns makes all kinds of inferences:
"That the Regiment will not see a 25-pounder for months is not something anyone foresees until the CO returns from a meeting at 2nd Division Headquarters with the bizarre story that 1st Field RCHA, the only regiment in England equipped with 25-pounders, is being used as a sort of 'travelling circus,' crossing and recrossing the country to give the impression there is unlimited artillery still available to repel invaders."

Or, on a slightly different topic, try this:
"... a major in the 1st Anglesey Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers ... responsible for the defence of miles of beaches, Carpenter can arm only six of his men with rifles and hand them five bullets each (allotted him from a supply of 75,000 1914-18 Canadian Ross rifles and sixty million bullets rushed to Britain by Canada in May 1940."

I think saving those 300,000 souls from Dunkirk was indeed miraculous, and I think it changed the course of the war. But I don't think the members of the BEF would have altered the frame of the war one iota. German arms overpowered their allies to the north, separated them from their allies to the south, and made it clear that either the BEF could fight (and surely lose) or evacuate.

I honestly can't see any means by which Britain and France could have rallied against the German onslaught, either in union or separately.

Poland was being raped and pillaged long before the Battle of France. Poland had been separated into germanic and slavic parts before the Battle of Franch. Jews and Slavs had no place in the Third Reich, and Poland didn't exist long before the Germans turned west.

Barbarossa was deferred, of course, at least in popular mythology. But nothing was going to stop the Nazi drive for Lebensraum in the East. I think it contraindicative to suggest that Britain could have held out against Germany in France (whether on its own or as part of an allied force) for a month let alone a year, or that this would make a difference.

If anything, I would suggest that the Battle of Britain was a greater down-draw on German forces than further resistance by BEF forces could ever have been. I'm not convinced that Stalin was interested in or prepared to attack Germany. Yes, there were nibblings around the perimeter of the German/Soviet wall that existed in 1939 and 1940. But don't turn that into an indication of how aggressive and vicious Stalin was. He was doing what Germany, Poland and a host of other nations had done during the period after the treaties which ended the "war to end wars". I see no need to make Stalin a bad guy here: he was a national leader covering his nation's ass.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson
, Posts: 3300
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/2/2017 2:10:28 AM
Brian,

 That was an excellent post about the 1940 campaign. I challenge, however, these statements.


Quote:
I see no need to make Stalin a bad guy here: he was a national leader covering his nation's ass.


 It was more involved than that in Poland. The NKVD and other communist authorities got up to very bad activities including mass deportation of people to Siberia. LOTS of those people died, often by freezing to death. Then there was the Katyn Forest massacre and other smaller massacres of anyone in Poland who could conceivably been an authority figure for the locals to rally around. None of that were simple nation-state power plays; they were actions designed to eliminate an entire people's collective memory of having been a nation.

 Likewise, the takeover of the Baltic Countries by the Soviets were events those countries are still outraged about. National histories were rewritten, children recruited as informers against their parents, families split apart by power games of the regime ... the works. All that was the product of a melange of sick aspects of Soviet communism and Russian notions of being "the big Slav daddy" who had the right to slap around less populous neighboring peoples.

Cheers

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
Posts: 669
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/2/2017 8:53:16 AM
There is a certain arbitrary element to setting an agreed start date for the water. Manchuria might seem a good candidate, but for whatever reason hasn't made the cut.

As to shortages of ammunition and material in France, Churchill's comment on what to expect from arms production in wartime would seem apt. "The first year, nothing. The second year, a trickle. The third year, all you want."
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Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1303
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/2/2017 8:18:34 PM

Quote:
It was more involved than that in Poland. The NKVD and other communist authorities got up to very bad activities including mass deportation of people to Siberia. LOTS of those people died, often by freezing to death. Then there was the Katyn Forest massacre and other smaller massacres of anyone in Poland who could conceivably been an authority figure for the locals to rally around. None of that were simple nation-state power plays; they were actions designed to eliminate an entire people's collective memory of having been a nation.

 Likewise, the takeover of the Baltic Countries by the Soviets were events those countries are still outraged about. National histories were rewritten, children recruited as informers against their parents, families split apart by power games of the regime ... the works. All that was the product of a melange of sick aspects of Soviet communism and Russian notions of being "the big Slav daddy" who had the right to slap around less populous neighboring peoples.

Bill, all I was concerned about at the time was to maintaining a focus on the immediate issues linked to the campaign in the West. I don't hold a brief for Stalin, and make no apologies for his conduct or the conduct of Soviet Russia.

I believe Eastern Europe between the wars was a mess designed to disintegrate, and that the creation and development of many countries was bound to fail given the times. Borders were relatively arbitrary; loyalties were often paid lip-service to or totally ignored. Germany's defeat in 1918, combined with the collapse of the Hapsburgs and the Romanovs, created opportunities that were squandered in treaty after treaty. With the political and miliritary instability of the 1930s, I don't see why increasing fragmentation should have taken place.

I wasn't condoning Soviet actions against Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. I wasn't ignoring Soviet impact on Poland. Nor am I forgetting that in some ways Poland was Czechoslovakia, except the negotiators who left the Poles out of the decisions weren't Britain and France. Discussions about some of that may come up later in September. But IMHO Polish borders were somewhat arbitrary and in one instance completely insane after WW1 (and yes I'm thinking about the fiasco of Danzig and the Polish Corridor). The three baltic republics – too fragmented to form a larger nation and with long-standing commitments to other national or cultural groups – were gifted to Stalin by Germany as part of the non-aggression pact. As an additional inducement, parts of Poland were thrown in.

I understand that Poles, Lithuanians, Letts and Estonians would have been pissed off, and – given their histories post-WW@ – I can understand why resentment would run so long and run so deep. But I bet the Czechs were a bit pissed off with the loss of the Sudetenland, thanks to Britain and France and their ways of determining the meaning of treaties. And when Poland bit off a small piece of Czechoslovakia before that nation ceased to exist.

I don't want to minimize or naysay any of your comments re Soviet behaviour, whether through the dismemberment of 1939 or the further destruction during the post-war years.

Stalin was nasty and ruthless and single-minded. He was also self-centred (or even egocentric). He was opportunistic and unapologetic, and his forces could be brutal on command, as they were in Poland. So were German troops: the 1SS LAH had an orgy of bloodletting during the first few days of the Polish campaign.

I could go on, as most of us with an interest in the European War could do. But IMHO, Poland was going to be raped in every possible way: culturally, religiously, linguistically and nationalistically. The Germans would have been fully prepared to do it all themselves. Katyn was ugly and Soviet-actuated, but it could have just as easily been a German show. I find it repulsive that the German military attempted to focus the eyes of the world on Katyn, given the number of mass grave sites for which they were responsible.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 460
Re: Chronology of the 1940 campaign
Posted on: 9/2/2017 10:20:36 PM
Brian,

I brought up Stalin and his territorial ambitions to answer the legitimate question of if France in 1940 had ended in anything like a WWI stalemate would the German invasion of Russia be postponed or call off. Even with France defeated he is making territorial demands on Germany and her allies so I think its fair to speculate that if Germany is tied down in France that if those demands aren't granted he would attack to take them by force.

I also have to say I think your comparison doesn't work. Yes GB and France should have honored their treaty with the Czechs but GB and France didn't invade and deliberately murder or send to slave labor camps in Siberia military officers, government officials and anybody who might oppose their occupation and domination and then lie about what they had done for 40 years. Plus if GB and France can't do anything to stop Hitler over Poland a year later what the hell are they going to do over the Czechs except start the war a year earlier when they are even less prepared? OK maybe I'm wrong there because maybe the German military would have done something to stop Hitler.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"