Help support TMP


"If General Patton had commanded French troops..." Topic


40 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the WWII Discussion Message Board



Areas of Interest

World War Two on the Land

910 hits since 30 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2019 2:26 p.m. PST

….during the Battle of France, would he have made a difference?

Interesting what if?…

link

Amicalement
Armand

Legion 430 Jan 2019 2:30 p.m. PST

Well he probably couldn't do any worse …

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2019 2:49 p.m. PST

Here's the problem- Would Patton have been given the French forces as they were historically organized and deployed in 1940?

nsolomon9930 Jan 2019 3:01 p.m. PST

The author of the article admits in the opening few phrases that he hasn't done much reading about WWII.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian30 Jan 2019 3:30 p.m. PST

C3I in 1940 France would have hogtied anyone

Soaring Soren30 Jan 2019 3:40 p.m. PST

Might as well speculate about Napoleon being available…

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2019 3:44 p.m. PST

How about Joan of Arc with DEVGRU operators and a Minotaur?

deephorse30 Jan 2019 3:49 p.m. PST

That Minotaur is a beast!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2019 3:58 p.m. PST

Yeah, yeah, the French were tired and discouraged and had made a lot of mistakes prior to the start of the war BUT:

If Patton had been the commander of the French field armies in September 1939, the Germans might have had to cope with a real two-front war.

If he had command of French ground forces between then and May of 1940, they might have spent the winter training instead of complaining that it was too cold to play outdoors.

And if he'd been in charge of the counter-attack at Sedan, the attack would have been launched at the first opportunity with every man tank and gun he could find.

Lots of other stuff went wrong--some bad planning and some bad luck. But the cold truth is the French in 1939-40 were not well served by their generals. Could they have won? Don't know. Could they have done a lot better? Almost certainly.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Jan 2019 4:23 p.m. PST

Well, at least he spoke the language :)
But Patton had never commanded anything larger than a brigade prior to this. Trying to command multiple armies over a large front with numerous command and organizational defects built in might have been an impossible challenge for him.

Lee49430 Jan 2019 5:08 p.m. PST

How many French troops? ALL the French troops? Or just one army? He never commanded more than 9 or 10 US Divisions. I dont think giving Patton a dozen French Divisions in 1940 would have made much difference. Maybe bought the Brits another day at Dunkirk. Why not ask what if Eisenhower had been in overall allied command? Cheers!

Bill N30 Jan 2019 7:23 p.m. PST

Does making Patton a French commander give the French better guns in their R35s and H35s? Does making Patton a French commander put radios in the tanks? Does making Patton a French commander replace the one man turrets on the tanks? Does Patton in May of 1940 understand the importance of combined arms to the success of tanks? Can Patton reform and improve the French air force so it could be more of a factor in the ground war?

RudyNelson30 Jan 2019 7:41 p.m. PST

Patton commanded French troops during the Napoleonic Wars. He believed he was there and at Carthage plus other places of war.

William Ulsterman30 Jan 2019 7:55 p.m. PST

I suggest that aside from a great many frogs getting slapped, nothing would have changed.

Keith Talent31 Jan 2019 1:46 a.m. PST

I think if Patton had been in command of the French in 1940 he would have been beaten soundly as the average general he was. The Generals were not the entire problem.

Fred Cartwright31 Jan 2019 2:36 a.m. PST

If Patton had been the commander of the French field armies in September 1939, the Germans might have had to cope with a real two-front war.

I doubt it would have made that much difference. Patton was a one trick pony, excelling in the pursuit of a beaten enemy. When he was faced with a real fight such as Metz his performance was less than stellar. Also much of his success is down to the quality of his subordinates and the units under his command. He operated with complete air superiority, lavish artillery and communications support. Faced with the German Army at close to the peak of its efficiency, his units under air attack and struggling to get a clear picture of what is happening or implementing his orders in a timely fashion he would have struggled as much as anyone else did.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2019 2:42 a.m. PST

When the Maginot line was planned in the 1920's there were almost no tanks that could reach the nearest major city behind the lines, let alone drive from the Ardennes to the coast.

The lesson of WWI was that forts and defensive lines were incredibly hard to pierce and almost impossible to defeat if you managed to feed in reinforcements at a steady pace.

The French were cognizant of the fact that they had to defeat the German army before it could start to strike at the border so they not only built a line of forts, but also had a strong field army with plenty of tanks and aircraft.

Meanwhile Poland had been hit and miss for the Germans, they were starting to understand the full potential of their tanks and some began to suggest that a fast armoured thrust could be the key to defeating the French.

The problem was that they disagreed to which level they could defeat an enemy force, some believed that it was limited to a brigade or division, or at the most part of a corps, others believed they might be able to make a move through an unguarded sector and cut off a major part. Now the traditional post war narrative is that every German general was confident that the French could be devastated in one fell swoop, took Hitler on his lap and told him how to proceed … In reality they were gaining confidence, but were still unsure at which point Hitler made a serious gamble.

The French have been rearming since the early 1930's, and it's been a start and stop experience because of political troubles, where successive governments were either trying to deter Germany or defuse things by scaling down the military buildup. Production is mainly focused on designs that were laid down in the 1920's, improvements are being made and a new generation of tanks and planes is in the works as well as the promise that the US would provide extra military production to allow the French to build up their numbers for the great offensive after the great defense.

I can't emphasize enough the fact that from that point onward the French tend to accumulate mistakes and the Germans get all the lucky breaks.

The French make the same mistakes everyone has done in 1939-1940, they invested in new equipment believing that this was they key to modern warfare, but everyone, including the Germans missed a bunch of key features, mostly the need for troops that can now advance faster than ever before to remain in contact. The superb field telephone systems designed to give a commander every planning advantage before sending them off to battle worked fine in a war where your spearhead may advance a mile or two at the most.

The French turn out to have more radios than is commonly believed and the Germans make far less use of it than commonly believed. Most commanders don't trust them because they have this nasty habit of constantly breaking down in the field. Rommel barely makes use of them in his division as they indeed fall to pieces and while he has them changed a few times he gives general orders and a number of waypoints to his subordinates that they must reach at all costs. Generally the Germans have a much easier time figuring out what to do, while the French must watch their entire defensive line and an army ready to attack in Belgium, by the time they have figured out that the Germans are indeed breaking through in the Ardennes and Sedan they can't move their forces fast enough to threaten the advance.

Another problem is that the Maginot line is highly effective, they have a centuries old tradition of building forts on their borders and they have proven to be sterling defensive works. The Germans waver between attacking it directly as they did with the Belgian forts in 1914 or try to bypass them.

The French did believe the Germans could attack through the Ardennes, but inertia and the lingering belief that the Germans might be able to get troops through they would not be able to do so in numbers and keep them supplied.

The Germans break through at Sedan thanks to the lavish use of air power, sending only a fraction of their force without much support, just as the French had anticipated but discarded as a German plan C or D in the best of cases.

The French faced another problem, one that took most armies a few years to come up with an answer. Most divisions have AT assets, but when the Germans launch a massed armoured attack the amount of gun per mile of front is unable to hold the line. This is a critical problem that cannot easily be solved. Weygand in the last weeks of fighting pooled all AT guns into hedgehogs and set them up to delay the Germans on key road network points, but it's too little too late and lacking AA and infantry support they are reduced, though inflicting enough damage to German armour that some are concerned that the French might have an answer to their tanks and commanders start to rein in their tanks for fear of losing them to these rather dangerous AT hedgehogs.

The French make many other mistakes, their TOE is a classic tank heavy force with barely any support assets, the Germans are hardly better, but they already have implemented changes after Poland.

There are some political problems, notably that Reynaud's government is disunited with people more interested in maneuvering into power than actually fighting the boche. A critical mistake happens when DeGaulle makes a deal with the British for a united France and UK for the duration of the war, at a point where Reynaud's final attempt to continue the war, still hoping Churchill would release the RAF to support the French armies resulted in a deadlock upon which Reynaud resigned. Everyone urged President Lebrun to take him back, but he falsely believed that a figure like the legendary Petain might avoid future problems …

The fall of France was a conundrum for the Allies the British, Soviets and US struggled for a while to come up with an answer to a German massed armoured attack.

And we should not forget that the French had lost an entire generation in the Great War, it became a national trauma far greater than even Vietnam for the US, the French never lost their fighting spirit, but there was a general malaise as to the political and social future of France. France invested massively in its military despite economic problems, it did try to keep up with modern technology, but lacked the critical experience the Germans had gathered in the Spanish Civil War and in Poland, which prompted many changes, like getting rid of tank-heavy units, adding more support assets and a thorough retraining of existing officers and adding as many NCO's as possible.

The one thing we have to learn about France in 1940 is that modern mechanized forces can force a critical decision in a matter of hours under the right conditions, it's not easy to switch an army whose timetables are calculated in days and weeks to respond accordingly. France had almost no margin of error, all her efforts to keep the Germans at arm's length from her borders were to no avail. The two main campaigns we see in 1941-1942 in North Africa and Russia show how fast mechanized forces can move. Russia could afford to make half a dozen mistakes, the French only had one chance to do so …

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2019 3:05 a.m. PST

How can you attempt to fix 1940 ?

Patton would be a square peg in a round hole.

The French are in a similar situation as German would be on D-Day. They know the attack is coming, they are ready to react, but they have no clue, where, when and how, let alone if it's a main attack or a diversion.

The easiest solution would be to create rapid brigades, a mechanized regiment with a company of tanks, a company of self propelled AT guns, extra towed AT guns and artillery. The infantry needs AT-rifles and more HEAT rifle grenades. Their job would be to move to any any area of the front threatened by enemy activity. All this to give commanders enough time to release the armoured divisions for a counter-attack.

All this combined with static defenses that should cover 10-15 km in depth and can hold up German forces long enough to react.

Of course another answer would be to launch an attack against Germany while they are still tied up in Poland, forcing the Germans to fight with a reduced effectiveness and not give them time to rethink their doctrine.

All this relies on 20/20 hindsight and there is a good chance that France is defeated anyway, but this means moving up the timetable allowing other armies to build up their numbers and give them a better starting position.

Green Tiger31 Jan 2019 4:03 a.m. PST

Fred Cartwright = Nail on head…

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2019 4:50 a.m. PST

I also agree with Fred. General Patton just had one massive Ego trip to fill. Other generals but less noted ones also had better successes. General Wavell's understrength Western Desert Force comes to mind with victories against the Italians and taking thousands of Italian prisoners.

Who asked this joker31 Jan 2019 5:30 a.m. PST

Well said Patrick R.

In general, probably the most glaring mistake the French did was to not adequately defend the Dutch/Belgian frontier. Most of their better divisions were deployed behind the Maginot line.

Patton/any other general likely would have deployed their divisions better with first rate units along the undefended frontier deployed in depth. Would it have changed the outcome? Maybe. Maybe not. The conflict likely would have lasted a lot longer than 40 days.

emckinney31 Jan 2019 10:35 a.m. PST

"If he had command of French ground forces between then and May of 1940, they might have spent the winter training instead of complaining that it was too cold to play outdoors."

The actual amount of training by the British army over the winter was less than that of the French army. They were working on lines of communication, in addition to it just being cold.

Meanwhile, the French air Force was doing more training than anyone else, thanks to large training centers in North Africa. Unfortunately, a lot of it was type conversion training as new models came into service, so overall profiency stayed about the same, although aircraft got a lot better.

Andy ONeill31 Jan 2019 11:19 a.m. PST

I think fred's got a point.
Patton in 1940 would have what defensive experience?
He's supposed to have some sort of innate understanding of German strategy better than the commanders of the time?
Or is he supposed to totally re-organise the French army and imbue them with an offensive spirit?

Setting aside just how great or indifferent Patton was.

I think magical prescience would have been required of anyone to do much better with what the French had.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2019 11:31 a.m. PST

Good thread Patrick…!

Amicalement
Armand

Fred Cartwright31 Jan 2019 7:11 p.m. PST

In general, probably the most glaring mistake the French did was to not adequately defend the Dutch/Belgian frontier. Most of their better divisions were deployed behind the Maginot line.

They were rather hamstrung in defending the Dutch and Belgian frontiers by not being allowed to station troops there as the Dutch and Belgians wanted to remain strictly neutral until the Germans attacked. Most of the best troops went north into Belgium and Holland when the attack started.
Or do you mean they should have defended the French borders and left the Benelux countries to fend for themselves?

Skarper01 Feb 2019 1:22 a.m. PST

I don't want to reopen the Patton wound but his successes are more due to the tools he had, the relative strengths of the Allied and Axis forces at the time and being in the right place at the right time.

If he had been in Montgomery's position in June/July 1944 he would not have done any better IMO.

WW2 was not won by the generals – but by logistics combined with political will.

Who asked this joker01 Feb 2019 5:09 a.m. PST

Or do you mean they should have defended the French borders and left the Benelux countries to fend for themselves?

This one. Defend the French boarders. That should include the area around the Ardennes and Luxembourg. Anywhere the Maginot line did not extend.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2019 5:57 a.m. PST

Patton wouldn't make a difference, just like Stonewall Jackson wouldn't have made a difference at Sedan in 1870.

Let me give you one example of how the US fought WWII.

The Ordnance Board ended up employing about 350,000 military personnel and some 450,000 civilians. That's almost a million people dedicated to the logistics, design of military equipment and all that.

Germany has about 10,000 people running their operation. Georg Thomas, the only German General who really bothered with logistics and actually wrote articles about "Kriegswritschaft" rather than talk about romantic dashing assaults across no-man's land like Rommel and Guderian, was openly mocked by his peers for "dirtying" himself with affairs that was beneath the military aristocracy and only good for Bavarian middle-class who had dabbled in business.

Patton, like Rommel and Montgomery has a cadre of fellow officers he can work with, he knows what they are made of and they understand the way he thinks. His third army was a well conceived fighting force, lavishly equipped and supplied, equipped with state of the art C3 capabilities that it alone would probably rob France of one or two Maginot Forts and a few divisions in cost alone.

Give him a regiment or even a division and he'll do some damage, but he'll probably be unable to move a corps the way he would want to, not with the French army of 1940.

Patton might adapt his style, but the French army was not capable of the kind of mobile actions Patton became famous for.

What the French need is somebody at HQ who in 1920 assumes that France should build a strong border defense in depth on the assumption that if the planes of 1914 almost tripled in speed by 1918, they will continue to do so in the future, so that France should take into account that what is the best plane today will be obsolete by 1930 and the top plane of 1930 will be obsolete by 1940 etc. So France should assume that if war comes, they might have to fight an enemy force that is far more capable than what they might face today and plan accordingly. Maybe a less formidable and impenetrable Maginot line, but one that would cause the Germans headaches until the outskirts of Paris and well-equipped motorized forces to counter enemy attacks …

But again that assumes a true visionary, though some assumptions are not unrealistic.

Uncle Goblin01 Feb 2019 6:51 a.m. PST

it's a rather silly question.

In 1939-40, at France at the beginning of war having a commander in chief of a different nation would cause an inmense political problem. Probably many subordinates would not obey his orders or reluctantly comply with them.

If he means a magically french Patton with the ways he had in 1944-45; then he would probably have had the same results or worse: Sending the armoured divisions in a spearhead through Belgium while the germans outflanked them in the Ardennes.

Who asked this joker01 Feb 2019 10:24 a.m. PST

If he means a magically french Patton with the ways he had in 1944-45; then he would probably have had the same results or worse: Sending the armoured divisions in a spearhead through Belgium while the germans outflanked them in the Ardennes.

I took the question as this.

Instead of l'Patton, how about l'Eisenhower or l'Montgomery of the same stipulations? Heck, even l'Bradly…my favorite American general of the war?

Mark 101 Feb 2019 11:06 a.m. PST

I give Patrick R my vote. He is right on target (to my way of thinking) with this:

His third army was a well conceived fighting force, lavishly equipped and supplied, equipped with state of the art C3 capabilities …

Give him a regiment or even a division and he'll do some damage, but he'll probably be unable to move a corps the way he would want to, not with the French army of 1940.

… the French army was not capable of the kind of mobile actions Patton became famous for.

It's not just the man in the box. It's all the boxes around him, all the structure and doctrine and other players, the flow into his box, that enables him to be the right guy (or the wrong guy).

What the French need is somebody at HQ who in 1920 assumes that France should build a strong border defense in depth …

Well maybe not in 1920, but this level of thinking was present in the French military planning. But the failings of the French in 1940 could not have been solved by any man in any box, even at HQ in the years prior to 1940.

It would have taken many men, in many boxes, over many years, to fix all that was wrong in 1940. The problem was not the presence or absence of this line of thought, but the presence or absence of consistent consensus for many years around this line of thought. Of course, adding a foreigner (our erstwhile smarter-than-thou Patton) doesn't change this equation much at all.

So France should assume that if war comes, they might have to fight an enemy force that is far more capable than what they might face today and plan accordingly.

This was largely present, in both French and British thinking. The oft-criticized "no war for at least X years" policy was largely an effort to focus on continuing development for tomorrow's capabilities rather than building out today's. The Italians provide a visible example of a nation that re-armed too early, and went to war in 1940 with the best-equipped 1933 army in Europe.

Maybe a less formidable and impenetrable Maginot line, but one that would cause the Germans headaches until the outskirts of Paris and well-equipped motorized forces to counter enemy attacks …

But this was almost exactly the French strategy. The Maginot Line was ridiculously economical compared with the criticism it so oft accumulates today.

The key, though, to understanding the economy of the Maginot Line is to ask "economical in what way?". The Maginot Line was extremely economical in use of manpower and talent. These were France's most limited resources after the bloodbath of WW1. The Maginot Line substituted money and construction resources, spread over 8 years, for a million highly trained troops with modern equipment. The troops in the Maginot forts were few, and mostly reservists. They were an economy of force exercise in the extreme, allowing the majority of well equipped (ha!) current regulars to be concentrated into the reaction forces to both back the Line and cover the approaches not covered by the Line.

And … in terms of expenditures, I think it is far more productive to look at the Marine Nationale than the Maginot Line for wasted funds. The Mers el Kebir and Casablanca naval bases, and the Jean Bart and Richelieu battleships, cost more than the entire Maginot Line.

What could they possibly contribute to a war against France's most likely adversary (Germany)?

Even the Dunkerque and Strassbourg, considered somewhat under-gunned by world naval standards (except vs. German raiders), each could bring more gunpower onto a target than ANY combination of Maginot Line forts.

They were largely prestige projects, at a time when France should have been focused on mortal risks. But prestige projects, rather than practical needs, often win in times of see-sawing politics. Which is exactly the characteristics of inter-war France.

Or so my readings lead me to believe.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Fred Cartwright01 Feb 2019 11:39 a.m. PST

Even the Dunkerque and Strassbourg, considered somewhat under-gunned by world naval standards (except vs. German raiders), each could bring more gunpower onto a target than ANY combination of Maginot Line forts.

So what do you think the French Navy should have had Mark? Given that they had colonies and merchant shipping to protect. A German commerce raider could have wrecked havoc amongst the French mercantile fleet.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2019 4:42 a.m. PST

The Maginot Line was the expression of a very old tradition in France.

France has mountains on most of its borders, except for the big wide-open North European plain. Which has been the most favourable terrain for warfare in Europe and the reason why many of the major battles of history happened there from Agincourt to Waterloo and the Somme.

Given their experience with Verdun and the final tally in November 1918, combined with the fact that a big chunk of their coal and industry was in German hands for most of the war, building forts was a no-brainer.

They could not depend on numbers to beat the Germans as they always had down when they were the most populous nation in Europe and it took several nations acting in concert to contain French ambitions.

With their industry and coal situated on a vulnerable border with the strongest nation in Europe they needed a solution to prevent the enemy from gaining a big advantage in the early days of the war.

Most generals agreed that the next war would probably be one of attrition once again.

The conclusion was to build forts to force the Germans to go through another Verdun, WWI type scenario. Like Mark said, it saved on personnel, money and effort that could be spent to build a strong mobile army, which they did.

The French navy still operated in the Mahan principle and with the British fleet already weakening, the French saw the need to reinforce the Royale and to keep ahead of the Italians who were building new capital ships at an alarming rate, let alone the possible threat of German naval forces coming into play.

The French made some pretty solid assumptions, they figured they might not have direct allies in the next fight, they acknowledged their own weaknesses, they tried to implement force multipliers to buy them time to case of war to build up their forces …

What they lacked was a test case to weed out the mistakes and assumptions everyone had to make in the interbellum period.

Most of the "visionaries" of modern warfare got it wrong or failed to actually push through their ideas at the time.

Liddel-Hart alienated everyone by thinking he was the Emperor of the British army.

Guderian produced very little before the war aside from some general articles and took a sudden interest in motorization when he was taken into the staff of the Colonel Oswald Lutz, who oversaw the actual mechanization of the German army. Lutz died in 1944 leaving Guderian to take all the credit after the war.

Estienne in France was out of the picture almost immediately after WWI and the only one who actually published a somewhat extensive work on mechanized warfare, retained some influence and even tried to put his theories into practice was De Gaulle.

But Motorized warfare was pretty much figured out by the Soviets, but doomed by their top down command structure which resulted in huge numbers of tanks produced, but no spare parts, no training and no support for these new units a lesson they would have to learn the hard way in 1941. While the actually theory became highly radioactive after the purges and nobody dared to touch it again until the War of German Aggression …

Ironically the Japanese developed their own armoured theories and were quite advanced into the process, but the nature of their military campaigns meant that tanks had a very minor role if at all …

Maybe if De Gaulle had not fallen out with Petain, been promoted a little sooner and might have been part of even partial reforms at the right time he might have turned out to be more like the Patton suggestion of the OP.

Richard Baber02 Feb 2019 7:28 a.m. PST

Weygand appears to have understood mobile warfare better than most, his attempts to reorganise after Dunkirk also seem to have at least partially worked, only ended by the surrender!

He then went on to reorganise the forces remaining in North Africa, his work in creating motorised columns and mechanising units in Syria/Lebanon caused quite a headache for the Briitish and Aussies in 1941.

Legion 402 Feb 2019 8:02 a.m. PST


WW2 was not won by the generals but by logistics combined with political will.

General Motors
General Foods
General Electric

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2019 4:51 p.m. PST

The use of tanks was fairly well understood, the application was generally harder than many expected.

You have to remember that WWI ended at a point where most commander realized that those tanks might be really useful into the future, but before they could begin to reveal their full potential.

Much has been said about the select group of people who "got it right" though many more got it "mostly right" or "got quite far into a solution"

1920's and 30's were an age of thought experiments for lack of a "good war to test everything" except at the tail end of the 1930s.

Some thought tanks would be cheap tankettes either used in swarms or meant to be mobile pillboxes, some thought tanks were only to move to the pace of the infantry while others like Fuller thought that the infantry was now completely obsolete. Some believed in landships or that some new technology might render tanks entirely obsolete …

Many mistakes were only partial ones, the British and French both built slow infantry pace tanks, but also had their fast cavalry tanks. It made sense at the time and what may seem obvious today was not so clear back then.

Not to mention political and budgetary imperatives throwing a wrench into the whole thing.

Even if a general understood the basics of how to properly use tanks, they might not be suitable for the kind of operations they would have to perform. German and Soviet tank development showed forward thinking, especially on the Soviet side where tank designs were continually improved and upgraded and the pursuit of a better tank lead to the T-34. The Germans discovered that a full crew able to operate a tank effectively would be one of the most important features ahead of armour and firepower, and introduced a three man turret even if their tanks were still thin-skinned an under-armed. This proved to be a decisive factor in 1940, after which they had to make major improvements to armour and firepower to match the stronger enemy tanks.

So Weygand was not a rare visionary. Many generals understood that mobility was a huge advantage, but working out a suitable doctrine, military organisation and actual equipment was not an easy tanks and many countries ended up with a vague doctrine, poor organisation and legacy equipment that was obsolete by the time the first shots were fired.

Richard Baber03 Feb 2019 4:45 a.m. PST

I never said he was a "rare visionary" I said he seemed to understand the problems and how to use mechanised troops.

Mobius03 Feb 2019 5:02 a.m. PST

Why are the longest threads always on the stupidest what-if subjects?

Legion 403 Feb 2019 7:03 a.m. PST

The use of tanks was fairly well understood, the application was generally harder than many expected.
But the game changer was that the Germans actually effectively use them. Along with other elements of the mobile combined arms concept. This becomes clear when one realizes the French and UK had more AFVs and many superior to the models that the Germans field. E.g. many Pz Is and IIs were used in a number of Panzer units. Compared to the numbers of Pz IIIs, IVs and even 35Ts and 38Ts.

Murvihill07 Feb 2019 9:03 a.m. PST

I disagree that Patton's success was only because of the tools he had at hand. After all, he won with the same tools in North Africa that his predecessor lost with. And his performance during the wargames in Louisiana demonstrated what he could do with green troops. What could he have done with six months in France? I wonder what would have happened if French communications had been twice as effective as they were, or if half the armor in France was massed behind the north shoulder of the Maginot Line, along with enough gas to fight it. What would the loss of 200 more tanks done to Hitler's resolve?

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.