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Could France have survived?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by UN Spacy, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The Italian railroad system is intact and in friendly territory, the Messina straits is just a "speed bump" it a rvery short trip (less than one hour) and performed on train ferries, so no unloading of the carts. The Balkan railroads are in hostile territory for a significant part. Things like airfield security are easier in friendly country and the availability of local contruction assets, rather than having to go and drag them out of a hostile local popultaton helps too.

    The Hitler/Mussolini dynamics are hard to guess, (two megalomaniacs, one suffering from idocy, the other from paranoia comming to an agreement? would be fun to watch), but with France still in the war they will have to create some joint strategy against the common enemy though bad cooperation is a historical axis handicap, IIRC British/French cooperation was nothing to write home about but in the main probably better.

    We have to look realistically at what the missions for the air forces are:
    - Axis:
    support the ground offensive towards Tunis/Algiers (mostly from NA based planes)
    prevent naval interference with the supply convoys (when a force is spotted or against the ports if the alles try forward basing).
    attacking allied merchant shipping is not a priority, there are not going to be a lot of those around
    - Allies
    protect the ground forces
    protect the fleet
    intercept the supply convoys

    For the ground support missions, which is going to be the bulk of air activity, the two forces are on an equal footing, for naval fleet support the allies have an advantage as long as they can keep Malta operative, but Faith, Hope and Charity are obviously not enough against a major LW effort and it came close to going totally not operational agaist a single Fliegerkorps. If Malta is inoperative they are actually at a range disadvantage, the axis has Pantelleria as an emergency base right in the middle of the operational area.

    IMO the axis have little chance of preventing resupply of NA until they get near Algiers the allies have plenty of out of range ports until then. U-boats may get lucky with an occasional Gibraltar convoy, like historically happened in 1942, but there are a lot less u-boats in 1940 than in 1942 (also less escorts but the troop convoys are going to get priority).
    Anyway I see no need for the allies to push supplies forward by sea, with obvious exception of Malta, going by night would trade the LW for the light forces, Italy had plenty of MAS, until widespread naval radars are available not an obvious choice, Tunis is well within LW fighter range so sending ships there is high risk, I don't recall if there was a railroad from Algiers to Tunis but even a road would be better, night trains are virtually immune to anything the axis has just like the German ones in Italy were for most of the Italian campaign.

    So with those missions in mind the axis is at a disadvantage when bombing allied bases, including Malta, but is not worse off supporting ground troops that is going to be the major mission for both. If the allies try establishing standing naval patrols in the central med, something they historically didn't attempt even 1943, the LW is figthing on an equal footing, IMO actually better because of the long trip from the British isles, if they don't the troops and supplies are going to get through like they historically did and a few badlt equipped CW troops are not going to stop the German army that has nearly bottomless reserves.

    Malta resupply is not comparable to NA, it usually was "maximum effort" convoys with large naval support, something comparable to the Italian "battleship convoys", the Sicly NA route was a daily affair with ships at sea practically every day, during the Tobruk siege the bulk of the LW was in the USSR, they didn't send back 10th Fliegerkorps until 1942.

    The one allied advantage is ULTRA compared to having to rely on air recon, but it doesn't look like it's enough, ULTRA is a brittle weapon, use it too often and it will shatter.
     
  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Why would they create a joint strategy? They certainly didn't manage it historically in 1940! Thinking here of Mussolini's polite refusal for German interference in the Med, his not telling Hitler about his invasion in the Balkans later in the year....

    Yes Italy invaded the south of France - but it would be interesting to know more about the Italian decision making process on that...for instance - did they specifically wait until French resistance elsewhere was spiralling down? Getting their noses bloodied must have come as a rude shock then....

    How long - with Bomber Command operating from Malta as they did historically - would it remain so? ;) This ATL gives them a set of targets to impede Axis operations much closer to Malta...

    Do you really think that with the Luftwaffe in the area the RAF would keep Malta's air defence at the historical level in 1940??? When ATL it is less a defended outpost and more a forward, advance position in front of Tunisia?

    It's also perhaps worth remembering why the four Combined Ops' Commandos were in the Med by early 1941 ;) The British worked up various operations against Pantelleria that OTL events procluded.

    Actually, they did; coastal forces out of Malta, and don't forget Force K ;) It may have been a failure, but it was an attempt...

    In the summer of 1940 the Uboat fleet was historically almost totally removed from operations for two months; they'd been at sea continuously since September 1939, and were in need of repair and recommissioning. OTL this was done for their role in Sealion - but the nonexistence of Sealion doesn't remove the wear and tear experienced since the outbreak of war! In other words, the Allies have a major window of relatively safe passage to North Africa over the summer.

    So the Allies - with Allied air and naval units operating out of Eastern Tunisia and Malta - can't impede daily Axis sea traffic the way the Germans impeded daily Channel traffic in 1940? ;)

    This isn't actually the case; the British ONLY had to be very careful that they didn't do anything based on Bletchley decrypts that couldn't have been obtained by any other "traditional" intelligence gathering means. This was the Mediterranean after all - a place where lips are traditionally far looser than western Europe!!!

    Remember, the Germans actually suspected that the British had compromised their signals security when they analysed their many failures during MERKUR; in the end they decided no because of this very reason!
     
  3. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Some sort of coordination is inevitable if they both are fighting the French, full cooperation is ulikely.
    Mussolini believe the war would end in mid/late 1940 with a negotiated peace. He went to war without mobilizing and with totally unprepared forces (as I said idiot), but if the Italians notice a British build up in NA, and it's nearly impossible to prevent it being noticed as long as they still have diplomats there, it's not sure if they will join in, if they wait they may actually develop a plan before doing so and that would be very bad news for the allies.
    Without the Italians German chances of getting across are scarce, they have no ships and bad bases, and would need to perform an assault landing, so they will probably setup a puppet goverment if France and leave it as that, very bad news for the French population. Of course if the British send too much to NA Sea Lion may actually become viable. On the other hand Hitler is not likely to attack the USSR with an unresolved French situation at his back, so he will pressure Franco and Mussolini to let his army get to grips with the NA forces. So it may come out as a showdown in 1941 with the axis opening the campaign with a DOW by either Spain or Italy (if not both) immediately followed by a well prepared attack, ouch!.

    Bomber command accomplishing interdiction from Malta in 1940? historically the Italian railroads continued to serve the Germans well into 1944 despite the much stronger and better based air forces the allies had then, railroads are relatively hard to knock out and easy to repair.

    Malta would be reinforced, but probably not enough, if the LW starts bombing it in 1940 it's more likely to be given up as a lost cause, the British don't have the pilots to spare.
    A commando attack against Pantelleria is likely to turn out as the historical ones agaist Castelrosso and Tobruk (not to speak of Leros that came much later).

    Both the Germans and the Italians knew something was wrong with intelligence, though both suspected traitors rather than SIGINT, if as likely, they will fight parallel wars, when as they realize that German led operations are getting intercepted but Italian ones are not .....

    They failed to do so in late 1942/early 1943, with a lot more forces and air superiority, why would they suceed in 1940? BTW the Germans did not stop coastal traffic in 1940 though they did cause losses.
     
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    1/ Don't forget the island's air "defence" did withstand the Italian blitz in that initial period ;)

    2/ don't forget how intent the British were OTL in hanging on to Malta; I don't just mean militarily...but they refused to countenance the Italian offer to mediate during DYNAMO because Winston expected Mussolini tio demand Malta as his price for doing so. Through the war they expended a LOT in total on Malta, supplying it and defending it.

    3/ As discussed before - the RAF does have pilots to sapre; in the absence of an OTL-style BoB, every fighter pilot coming out of OTUs in the UK that historically went to replacing BoB ongoing casualties over and above the ~750 required for Fighter Command were available.

    No worse than either the Occupation giovrnment OR Vichy post-'42.

    1/ well THAT'S hardly to be more than a few hours or days after the invasion of Southern France!!!

    2/ Depends where the Brtish choose to build up; they can for instance rush a screen to Tunisia to support Gen. Barre there...and concentrate in Algeria ;) Which also happens to allow the French to move forces from Algeria into Tunisia; for a period comparison - see how the Americans took over the defence of Northern Ireland in 1942, allowing the british to finally withdraw the "W Plan" division(s) held there against an invasion of Eire. In other words - dsplacement forward.

    Railroads yes...but marshalling yards, freight depots, railheads?? Even just forcing the Italians to timetable rail traffic to the hours of darkness would cause major delays.

    Castelorizzo was more a failed occupation than a raid per se. The inital Commando invasion however was one of the more successful elements of it...but would the Allies want to occupy Pantelleria in 1940....or merrily trash whatever the Luftwaffe and RA based on it, like the later commando raids on Cretan airfields and the SOE on Rhodes? Which is more practical - a trashed airfield or two, and a few dozen ruined aircraft - or an island enclave that has to be held and fed?
     
  5. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    To have any "operatonal" effect you need to knock out Pantelleria, not just "raid" it. As long as the airfield is operational it will serve the axis well. IMO it was usually used as an emergency airfield, not to base planes so it's effect is to reduce losses of planes that would otherwise have to ditch not increase the mission range, it was not judged to be worth the effort to move the POL and ammo needed for sustained ops there. Crete was a relatively large Island with a population very hostile to the Germans, much easier to raid than a small island with hostile population and a sizeable garrison.

    BTW the Malta population was not that friendly to the British Empire before the war, read Larry Niven's the moon is a baloon for his experiences as part of the pre-war garrison, if the Regia Areonautica sticks to atacking the airfields and ships, the local situation may wel turn out badly for the British, the undisciminate bombing of La Valletta helped a lot to bring the, mostly Italian speaking, population behind the war effort.

    IMO Bomber Command's assets in 1940 were not capable of any sort of effective interdiction, after the initial heavy losses on daylight raids they switched to night operations and "dropping bombs in the hope of hitting something valuable", those tactics are unlikely to have any operational effects when performed with the limited resources available in 1940 and 1941. IMO the effects of aereìial campaigns can be grouped into four broad outcomes.
    - Failure: no effects
    - Pinpricks: they may cause occasional damage but are mostly ignored.
    - Shock: there is significant disruption and the damage is enough to cause the enemy to react (change schedule, switch additional forces to defence, etc.).
    - Diminishing returns: after the intial shock effect, and the enemy has adapted, continued bombing achieves little of military value compared to the effort.
    Bomber Command in 1940 would be hard pressed to achieve pinpricks especially if operating at night from a base subject to sistematic day bombing like Malta.

    German occupation was a lot worse than Vichy, German occupation with French troops fighting a "war to the death" resistance after having obviously been beaten is likely to be be really bad.

    My point was about significant troop movents to North Africa BEFORE the Italian DOW. You were speaking of May transfers.
    If the troop movements reveal a plan to put up a fight in NA, and British troops in a French colony are likely to give the game away, it may actually affect the DOW. No Italian DOW is going to reinforce the French hopes of holding out in Southern France and make an agreement to a joint move to NA more difficult.
     
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Certainly - but it of course also gives a very considerable scope for the nascent SOE to go straight from forming to supplying a very active guerilla movement properly used to military levels of dsicipline and liaison, something it OTL took them several years of slow networking and political minefield-negotiating to achieve.

    In Whitehall, Pantelleria's prospective value wasn't OTL judged as much in the depriving the Axis of it - as in what use the Allies could make of it ;) It was viewed as a way of disrupting lines of communication to Libya, and as an alternaitve aircraft staging post to Malta. Hence the planning for WORKSHOP october-december 1940, the OTL plan to occupy it. ATL...even as a listening post (with radar soon to follow) it would provide a useful stepping forward of the early-warning net for aircraft approaching Tunisia. And once radar arrives in-theatre, with its own RAF defence it's suitably far enough from the coast of Sicily for fighters to be airborne and at altitude (an advantage often ceeded to the LW during the LW due to the short hop across the Channel when fighters from Lymone, Hawkinge and Manston were put up) to meet them.

    Bomber Command as of 1940 consisted of both the Heavy Bomber Force and the tactical forces, still Blenheim-(and Fairey Battle) based. Yes, events over the German Bight in late 1939 had resulted in the heavies being relegated to night ops...although we shouldnt forget they were quite good at disrupting things in Norway during WESERUBUNG ;)...and while I noted before the tactical squadrons' efforts against LW airfields in Northern France and the Low Countries weren't too sucessful in the autumn of 1940 - they were however far more effective against not only barges but troop concentrations, dumps, and transport parks and rail facilities in the period.

    ...about the decision to move troops being taken as early as mid- to late May, and possibly the labour divisions and the forces that comprised BEF II being dispatched to North Afria instead of France - but if they delay at Gibraltar, or land as far west as Oran, then the chance for diplomatic "monitoring" is minimal...

    And of course - how freely...as in unmonitored themselves...were Italian diplomats allowed to wander in Allied countries and possessions after the beginning of the war, and particularly after May 10th??? In little neutral Ireland, for instance, every one of the 600 Germans in the country were minitored/followed by the Irish Army's G2 Branch, and a sizeable part of WWII Eire's Italian population too! :eek:
     
  7. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    There are two things that France could have done that should result in a victory. Keep the 7th army in reserve and there fore able to meet the German Ardennes attack. The second is more of a doctrinal change. The French thought the Germans could attack in the Ardennes, but thought that the tanks would wait for the infantry to catch up before forcing a crossing. This mistake meant that the reinforcement went in piecemeal and were not organized. So if either A there were more reserves near Sedan or the Frnch waited to organize a proper response they may have halted the crossing. The main French weakness was their tanks were capable enough, but with out radios like the Germans did they could not react as quickly to situations. The French also were planning for WW1 again so they were not ready to think in terms of days or hours for reactions.
     
  8. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Diplomats, especially military attaches are always monitored, not always succesfully, that is a big part of HUMINT to use a modern term, the advantage of diplomats over conventional spies is that you can't legally interfere with their comunications. IMO keeping the arrival of several thousands of troops that do not speak the language secret is close to impossible, leaving aside the effect on the morale of the troops if, after a defeat, they were confined to camps or ships for weeks.
    Harrassing diplomats is bad publicity, something the British have to be very careful about before US entry, it is an accepted practice to let diplomats gather some intel to reduce the "paranoia" level, after all the one objective of diplomacy is keeping the peace and you need to be able to report home they are not planning a surprise attack to do that.

    There were lots of things the French could have done to prevent German victory, but they would not have been the 1940 French to be able to do them, going into Belgium, so as to avoid fighting the main battle on French soil was a political imperative, witholding a sizeable reserve when going head to head with the Germans, that had a field Army roughly equal to all combined allied forces in theater, was risking getting defeated piecemeal. As many have noted the French biggest problems was terribly slow reaction times, not just at the tactical level (radioless tanks), but at the operational one as well, by the time they managed to launch a counterattack the Germans had usually consolidated, the local successes the French and British armour did achieve, most German forces had nothing that could deal with a B1Bis or a Matilda, were always prevented from becomming something more significant by the German's capability to react faster than the allies could reinforce.

    The one thing that surprises me about the campaign is that Army Group B was not stopped cold as it was attacking a much larger force, IMO the failure of 7th Army and the BEF to prevent the Dutch and Belgian surrender was as much a turning point of the campaign as the breakthrough at Sedan.

    As to bomber command ..... a few bombs may be effective in Norway, after all the Gemans commited about two corps of troops there so the scale is small, though it doesn't seem to me they affected the German timetable or end result. Being effective against a completely undamaged rail network requires a lot more effort, and of course going by day with associated losses, to have at least a chance of hitting something, I don't see that capability in 1940, the Regia Areonautica and LW have a much better chance against the Malta air bases than BC against the Italian railways (or sicilian airfields that would be a more logical, if better defended, target).
     
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Actually - the Germans were "halted" at the Gembloux Gap...the only problem was it used up Rene Prioux's forces doing so - and the position had already been compromised anyway by events to the south-east ;)

    It's perhaps worth noting that the RAF's successes in Norway were against German airfields...

    And that a large part of BC's tactical force's raids on targets in France and the Low Countries in the summer of 1940 were by day, together with high losses; war is hell...but high attrition rates didn't stop either Bomber Command in the summer of 1940 when survival was at stake, just as it didn't stop Cunningham in the Med from putting his ships in harm's way.

    Weeks to get from the UK to Algeria???

    And only the French would be coming to North Africa after a defeat; British troops fresh from the UK, however...

    But you can intercept, and possibly decrypt, and know what impressions/details are going back to Rome...the British did this with German diplomatic codes in various Neutral nations (Ireland and Afghanistan come to mind...) under PANDORA, later incorporated with the overall Bletchley project, the Americans monitored Japanese diplomatic traffic and decrypted it under MAGIC...

    ...and thus you can control what they see and report - such as lettting them see French evacuees from Dunkirk arriving in North Africa, and unload the first British troops at smaller ports...

    Which is all moot anyway, for the Italians are in the war a week after DYNAMO ends; after that "diplomatic monitoring" in Algeria and Tunisia stops...
     
  10. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The Germans were not "halted" at the Gembloux Gap all that Prioux's managed to do was delay for two days a German force of around equal strength if not weaker, the Germans were fighting his Somuas with Pz IIs and the bulk of the German armour was further south. In the end he lost a lot of his tanks in the ensuing retreat while the Germans repaired most of their damaged vehicles and continued to push forward eventually joining the other divisions in the "Panzer corridor". While his DLM escaped the fate of the DCR further south if that's a a success then Villiers Bocage is an outstanding German victory ;).
    The aggressive spirit of the RAF and RN is not in doubt, problem is that, like the Fairey Battle squadrons in France, 1940 BC squadrons are not likely to survive long if going head to head against well organized air defences by day, doing so from an exposed base like Malta only makes it worse.
    BTW on at least one occasion (Harpoon/Pantelleria) the RN heavy units didn't "go in harm's way" but rather chose to turn back instead of risking further air attacks, had Da Zara's ship's shells exploded as designed it could have turned pretty badly.
     
  11. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    That's why "halted" was in inverted commas;

    As were the bulk of France's heavier tanks - to be wasted by Billotte.

    Which is only a function of who possesses the field after the battle is over in the days of solid AT shot. In turn, in North Africa the British took enough Italian armour in similar circumstances to fully equip 8th RTR IIRC, and recovered their broken Matildas after CRUSADER.

    I certainly wouldn't advocate basing Blenheims on Malta for day work...but in Tunisia behind the Allies air defences....

    1/ Operation HARPOON was in 1942... I.E. after the losses of 1941 which forced the RN to be more conservative.

    2/ the important word there is "further". Vian turned back because his ships' AA munitions were nearly exhausted I.E. not simply because they were at risk of air attack - but because they couldn't defend against air attack. Not quite the same thing...

    And if you look back I noted that one of the cases that DID permit the RN to operate under air attack was if they possessed enough AA munitions. This was the lesson they learned off Crete. During HARPOON, Vian turned ONLY when this advantage was no longer at his disposal.

    Conversely - it was the Italian fleet that turned and ran on June 16th when attacked by RAF and USAAF aircraft...
     
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    DOUBLE POST (see rant)
     
  13. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    All the Somua "cavalry" tanks, IMO just as good as the B1Bis, were in the DLM facing Army Group B, they still failed to stop it or even to prevent it from sending it's panzers to reinforce the corridor. But IMO their greatest failure was in their assigned "cavalry" role for not detecting they were not facing the main trust before Army Group A showed it's cards at Sedan.
    IMO the B1Bis is overrated, AFAIK it was too unreliable for mobile warfare, historically units lost 10% of vehicles a day just moving and each tank was assigned 2 or 3 mechanics in addition to it's four men crew just to keep it operatonal.
    The Germans, after the "march to Vienna" debacle, has setup a very efficient field recovery system within the panzer divisions, the allies didn't catch up until much later. That's a big difference from battlefield recovery after the battle, for example the Germans recovered 161 B1Bis (out of less than 400 produced) and had 125 in service in 1943 but none during the 1940 Canpaign.

    Actually I was thinking about the Harpoon not the Vigorous branch of the resupply attempt, AFAIK the HMS Malaya group forces were not low of ammo and HMS Eagle and HMS Argus stiil had their fighters when they turned back leaving the convoy with just HMS Cairo and the destroyer escort to push on. They just thought sending capital ships within escorted axis air strike range too risky.
    A similar "cautious" strategy was employed for Pedestal, in that instance the Italian cruiser squadron did turn back when the air cover failed to materialize as all available fighters were all performing bomber escort to allow air attack within the Malta fighters range (had the axis known both fighter direction equipped ships had already been knocked out they may have risked more but they had no ULTRA ;)).

    The Italian mission was to turn back the convoy, once it was accomplished there was no further reason to risk losses. They did turn back without accomplishing the mission in August (see above).

    [RANT]
    Hate IE9 it crashed again eating half my post ... have to find a way to roll back tio IE8 or some other browser, or start using the new system that has not been "upgraded" for browsing, but it's too nice browsing with the old one while doing serious work with the new one.
    [/RANT]
     
  14. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Or just as bad, depending on your POV; the French Cavalry divisions actually weren't that keen on it, and were waiting with baited breath for the improved version...despite its wondrous reputation, it had just as many inbuilt flaws as the Char B!

    Well, arguably that was the Belgians' failure, not the French ;) The French were reliant at that point on information/intel coming from them....even as they reached the Gembloux Gap there were still Belgian units in front of them both recoiling back through the French and recce'ing in front of them.

    But see comments earlier about 1940-1942/3 still being the era of AP rounds and solid shot; unless a pentrating round actually hit something that went bang or up in flames - all you had to deal with was a perforated doilly and maybe some parts to be replaced.

    Look at the events at Stonne on the 16th of May for instance - a single tank, Eure, frontally attacked and destroyed thirteen German tanks lying in ambush, all of them PzIIIs or PzIVs, in the course of a few minutes. The tank safely returned despite being hit 140 times.



     
  15. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    AFAIK total tank casualties at Stonne were 25 Panzers and 33 French tanks, I assume this to be complete write offs not including recovered vehicles and possibly not including "non tank" AFV like the French Panhard A/C lost on the first day or the German 47mm SP on Pz I chassis of which there was still a wreck in the village's main road months later. Many losses are well documented, like the 5 Pz IV lost on the previous day and whose wrecks were photographed in 1941, the 13 "kills" by Bilotte's Eure were probably mostly recovered, AFAIK it was mostly Pz IIs in the column, so not just Pz III and IV. Looking at pics taken long after the battle a lot of vehicles, from both sides, seem to have suffered catastrofic explosions but those that didn't were problably recovered, Bilotte's unit lost 2 B1Bis to one of the PzIV "knocked out" the previous day but that still had a functioning gun.
     
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    As an example - I don't think it can include later recoveries; Montefiore notes that the 1ieme DC went into the seesaw events of the 14th/15th/16th/17th in the area with ~160 AFVs...but came out with only 36. That's ~120 "left on the field"... Only 11 of 1ieme DC's battalion of Char B1bis left the field...but he notes the majority of Char Bs left behind had actually run out of fuel in combat, so I assume these later were recoveries and weren't counted as write-offs. Or else the figures would look very different.
     
  17. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    There are a couple of recent publications on Stonne, Zaloga's B1Bis vs PzIV duel and Eric Denis's monography in the Batailles magazine, but getting exact figures for losses would really mean following each individual tank's fate. 3DCR had a token establishment of around 160 tanks in four batallions two (41 and 49 BCC) with 63 (official TOE was 69) B1Bis and two with H39 (45 BCC and ?? missing one company that was part of the Norway expedition).
    The reported availabilty reports for the B1Bis are interesting.
    - On 13/3 3DCR set out from Rheims to Stonne with 63 B1bis but on the evening of the 14th only 53 were operational after a 90Km road march.
    - The tanks were then dispersed as "plugs" and when they tried to regroup for the attack on the following day only 41 were made it back.
    - From the action reports the B1Bis attack groups were company sized.
    Zaloga reports the 3DCR was pulled out of the line after suffering around 50% tank losses, this differs significantly from your 36/160 ratio but the difference may be tanks under repair, it was commited again on 10/6 in another sector.
    Running out of fuel looks a strange cause of loss for an attacking tank force like 3DCR, mechanical breakdowns (apparently the steering system of the B1Bis was very fragile) look more likely.

    BTW what is 1ieme DC ??? in French you have première (first), deuxième (second), troisième (third) ... so first would be shortened to 1ere. The unit at Stonne was 3DCR (troisième division cuirassé de reserve), 1DCR was facing Hoth's corps (5th Panzer and Rommel's 7th) further North and was practically destroyed in the same perion as, contrary to 3DCR it was fighting defensively and so "soft kills" became total losses.
     
  18. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Nevertheless, according to Montefiore there were two occasions this hit the Char Bs in this four-day period; first when they went into action without the chance to fill up (their bowsers and maintenace crews, wheeled vehicles having to keep to roads, were stuck way behind on crowded roads), or because of slow filling...and the second when they were ordered into action without being given the chance to replenish. I'll have to dig back into him for specifics and the period sources for each.
     
  19. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    IIRC the biggest fuel issue was with the 1DCR that was cought refueling, it's 28BCC lost 23 tanks on the 15th when they had to fight 5th Panzer low on fuel, not the 3DCR. It's a bit ironical as the 1DCR, contrary to 3DCR, had it's full complement of fully tracked Lorraine TRC 37L fuel carriers. 3DCR didn't attack on the 14th because not all vehicles had refueled but AFAIK whe they did they had full tanks.
     
  20. sebfrench76

    sebfrench76 Dishonorably Discharged

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    Waaaah...Obviously you like France...Always my pleasure to read such an accurate explanation,without any of the stereotyps that the whole world is using about France,hehehe..Sorry to dig up an old thread but this one is a bit bitter for the frogs here..
     

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