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  •  Another great read (but in French only) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dem Beans, Margouillat, Jay C

    is Le Desastre de 1940 by Claude Paillet.  I was in college and studying abroad when I picked this book up in 1986.  It is big book with great research.  It's been a while since I read it and my French was better then than it is now, but I'm going to pull it out and take a refresher course.  What I liked about the book was that it pulled no punches but certainly took the French perspective (and side) as to how they lost so quickly and comprehensively.  But what I learned for the first time when I read this book is how good the individual French soldier was, how savage the fighting was, and how the officers (and the central government) lost the war not just on the battlefield, but in the years before.  

    •  French Planning Misfortune (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daninoah, Jay C

      The French high command believed that an armored force could not successfully be supported coming through the Ardennes.  Consequently, some of the less-than-adequate Class B divisions (equivalent to US National Guard units of the period) were deployed there and were assaulted by the cream of the German panzer troops.  Placing the best of the veterans against the worst of the untried produced the expected result.  Otherwise, the French armored forces fought the Germans to a standstill on the Belgian plains during the early phases of the campaign.  When the French infantry didn't need to worry about German panzer attacking from the rear, they badly mauled German attacks.  Most Americans don't know that the German campaign consisted of two phases (pre-Dunkirk and post-Dunkirk) and that the French, with about half the number of troops available as at the start of the campaign, ferociously defended northeast France against the Germans in that second phase with an adaptive hedgehog defense approach.  It was just unfortunate that the French defense plan was snake bit.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 08:29:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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