Army Vichy France - WWII

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by CrashTestDummy, Mar 19, 2012.

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  1. Read the same article, not really bizarre, one has to remember that certain parts of the cabinet and military had doubts that the war could be won, offering Vichy something may have also been a sop to the destruction of the French fleet and the taking of Syria and Lebanon.

    The article does talk about only arming them in the event Germany was forced to withdraw from France, a power vacuum in that event, with the rise of communism et al could have been very dangerous.

    The whole Vichy thing is locked so tight in the secrets chest that much will not be released and is potentially explosive with the French. Many years yet before we get the whole truth, if we ever do.
  2. Totally agree, I can't see the french ever releasing the truth of their total capitulation and collaboration.
  3. Some is deemed too sensitive ever to be seen. Historians will be busy over the next few year as documents fall out of the banning process. For years we thought the British and US were capable of taking Berlin, the more accurate version is that we had already agreed USSR could have it. So many history re-writes will be done in the next 10-20 years.
  4. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Not only could the Russians have Berlin, they could have the associated casualties too. It would not have gone down well at home if we had crossed the Elbe and pressed on, taken a whole lot of extra casualties, and then gone back again. For us there was a severely practical side - WSC's memoirs clearly record how we were running out of men - and we still had a war to fight against Japan, certainly in Malaya; even those tiny few who knew about the A-bomb could not know (1) if it would work or (2) if it did, what the Jap reaction would be. Some people thought the war in the East might drag on for the rest of the decade.

    As it was, we did go for the corner flag to close off the Danish peninsula so as to save Denmark from going Communist which would have been a strategic disaster.

    This newly-discovered memo is a bit of surprise, one can only wonder what will get let out later.
  5. As Seaweed says the UK was running out of bodies, I believe plans were afoot to use RN personnel as land forces.
  6. I know RAF aircrew in training were already being transferred to the Army, I wouldn't be surprised if the RN were being asked if they could spare anyone too.
  7. Yes.This is from the book Through Adversity (a history of the RAF Regt):

    How many of these RAF and RN personnel were actually transferred I don't know. But this was all a long time after the effective end of Vichy France in November 1942.
  8. One division (the 50th?) had to be disbanded to supply replacements to other units. Ken Tout makes the point in his books that the tanks were short of infantry to protect them. Infantry were seen as a "luxury" in 1945.
    The Red Army were running out fast too. A recently published book suggests Hitler thought he may yet be able to fight them to a standstill.
  9. Correct me if I am wrong but who got to get Berlin was decided before D-Day.

    The fact that we then ran out of infantry merely confirmed that it was good fortune we did not have to go that way.

    But in Monty's memoirs he makes no mention of either running desperately short of infantry or that Berlin was not the objective. Otherwise Market Garden would have been a complete waste of manpower.....
  10. My Dad started the war in the Navy and then was transferred to the Army as the demand for men for the invasion of europe started.
  11. If you have the patience to deal with the academic style of writing, look for 'Colossal Cracks' - not a book about NAAFI slappers, but an analysis of Monty's operational methods, and the factors behind them.

    One of which was a clear awareness that the manpower pool was running dry, and there was a peace to be won, when it was all over.

    An entire arty AA division was converted to inf in late '44. Likewise crabs were converted to grunts (let their historians winge about it, the war was about beating Adolf - not about building a light-blue empire, FFS)

    On the fight for Berlin: think about this little statement (sticks with me 33yrs on, from a MILAN course I did, under Chris Keeble of later Goose Green fame, who had Chris Donnelly - later the senior adviser to NATO on matter Eastern European, and at the time UK's foremost expert on the Red Army - come and teach us for an afternoon) "In the last 6 weeks of the war, the Red Army lost more men than did the Americans and the Britsh, combined, in the entire 6 years of the war"

    and if Adolf reckoned he'd enough manpower by late '44, to kick Stalin's ass, it was only because by that time he was a permanent resident of Wolkenkuckucksheim - and (let's face it) he was never a devotee of methodical, rigorous planning, in any aspect of his 'leadership'.

    Take a look at the photos of 14 yr old Volkssturm lads, on the German border, in Max hasting's latest best-seller, to get a taste of what I mean.
  12. IIRC, I read that the Army of Vichy at least considered the armistice to be a temporary thing, and continued to hide and stockpile arms, tried to Build Armored Cars on US truck chassis and used a youth org Chantiers de Jeunesse? as a Military prep course while hiding units from German inspectors.
  13. To fight whom?

    Shure as hell not the Hermans.
  14. A|lanbrooke's diaries have evidence of some communications with Vichy. His entry for 26 Dec 1940 has a reference to a meeting with the Canadian envoy to Vichy France .

    De Gaulle was not popular with the British or, particularly, the Americans. Alanbrooke's notes on his diary mentions that de Gaiulle gave the impression that the liberation of France was a British problem - his concerns were how to govern it.

    After Nov 1942 we did rearm the French. In 1943-4 A small army fought in Italy under the command of General Juin, who had served Vichy. His unites were mostly formed around ex Vichy units, supplemented by North African volunteers.

    In the final attack on Germany the French had around 10 divisions making up C 10% of the forces available. It would have been unhelpful to have asked too closely where their allegiances lay four years earlier.

    It is easy for Britons to sneer, but one guide to how the British might have behaved is in the channel islands - the model occupation.