"Englands Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy 1940-42"

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by rampant, Oct 24, 2009.

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  1. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    An interesting new release from Colin Smith, which is sure to add the eternal rumbling of Anglo-French relations.

    Although neither Britain or the Vichy regime never declared war on each other they were to clash many times in North Africa, Syria, Madagascar Dakar.

    Reviews Here: (In chronological order)




    Available here:

  2. Weren't the Vichy all collaborators?

    Battles against Vichy Ground forces were just the same as Mers el Kebir. They often occupied a strategic area, or posed a threat to the UK/Allies that HAD to be removed.

    Syria and Algiers were such battles. Worth noting that despite the French anger over such actions (ie the 1,000 odd dead French sailors at Mers el kebir) a French Sqn in Alexandria was unharmed, mainly because they were seen as non-threatening.
  3. Reading it at the moment. Well put together and gives a lot of good insight into that part of the conflict.
  4. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    It wasn't just us giving them a stuffing at the time - the Thais managed it as well:

    "The Franco-Thai War (1940–1941) was fought between Thailand and Vichy France over certain areas of French Indochina that had once belonged to Thailand.

    Negotiations with France shortly before World War II had shown that the French government was willing to make minor changes in the boundaries between Thailand and French Indochina. Following the Fall of France in 1940, Major-General Plaek Pibulsonggram (popularly known as "Phibun"), the prime minister of Thailand, decided that France's defeat gave the Thais an even better chance to regain the territories they had lost during King Chulalongkorn's reign.

    The German occupation of metropolitan France made France's hold on its overseas possessions, including Indochina, tenuous. The isolated colonial administration was cut off from outside help and outside supplies. After the Japanese invasion of Indochina in September 1940, the French were forced to allow Japan to set up military bases. This seemingly subservient behavior convinced the Phibun regime that Vichy France would not seriously resist a confrontation with Thailand."

    Full article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French-Thai_War (Wikipedia, so treat with caution).

    Talk about kicking a chap when he's down. If it had been anyone other than the (Vichy) French I'd remain suitably outraged even today. But it was the French, so bollox to the lot of them.

    Anyway, it's St Crispins' Day tomorrow :)
  5. But once N Africa fell didn't the former Vichy areas then form the basis for the French Armies in Italy with their arab forces? Without them the Free French would have remained a very small fish in the Allied sea.

    And I am shocked that it has been only sixty odd years since the last scrap. It's high time we gave them another kicking.
  6. LOL. :p

  7. Er, this one shows the British Lion fighting the Russian Bear... with the French :muhaha: :muhaha: Chicken :muhaha: :muhaha: behind the Lion (they were on our side in that one). Not sure where the Ottomans are in the cartoon.
  8. Yes I know. The Crimean War was the closest match from my google search for amusing cartoons about the French vs. the British. In a way it kind of fits. The French were on your side during the conflict but the commander in chief of the U.K. Forces, the Peninsular War veteran Lord Raglan, kept calling the French "the enemy". Mad as a box of frogs he was. :wink:

    I assume the female form in the Russian bear's paws is supposed to represent Turkey.
  9. They certainly did. Within a month or two former Vichy French troops were fighting in Tunisia against the Germans and Italians. Later they were reequipped by the US and formed by far the greater part of the CEF in Italy and then the French 1st Army in France and Germany. Though by the end of 1944 large numbers of Resistance fighters had been integrated into the French regular forces so the army's composition was now more French than North African. There remained tension between the "old" and "new" Free French. General Leclerc, who commanded the French 2nd Armoured Div in the North-West Europe campaign and had been one of the first officers to rally to de Gaulle, refused to serve under de Lattre, who commanded the 1st Army, because he saw him as a "Johnny-Come-Lately". His division remained under US command until the end of the war.