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If I remember correctly, France had one of the largest tank forces in the world in 1939. But it was planned to be used in a re-run of world war I, with slow heavy tanks dispersed among infantry. And that reflected the whole war plan, which was to re-run world war one, and this time avoid the front going through France. Thus France would be spared, so no revolution in France, but Germany would be blockaded again like in world war I. And eventually Germany would fall.

A Swedish historian I read argued rather convincingly that the war in Denmark and Norway was to a large extent caused by the Allied attempts to cut Germany of from the Swedish iron ore supply, which in turn was motivated not only by starving Germany of iron, but also by creating a northern front to in advance take the load of the French-Belgian front. The attempts to get an Allied force to occupy the ore fields in northermost Sweden failed when the pretext of sending it to Finland wasn't believed. Closing the Atlantic Sea route form Norway by the UK placing mines in neutral Norway's waters triggered a crisis, but the German attack on Norway and Denmark was to fast to really serve. This should have been a warning that the strategy was flawed.

So I see the fall of France mainly in terms of a failure of imagintation within the organisation. Then again, one needs to remember that the German army was also lucky. The German high command and Hitler worried about exposed flanks during the fast advance, and had the advance stopped, or had the French been able to use the expose flanks and knock out the fast moving tanks, then the story would have been different.

by fjallstrom on Wed Jun 9th, 2021 at 12:37:27 PM EST
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