My English teacher said today that France got squashed in both the First and Second World Wars. I argued against him about that for a bit, but now that I think about it, they did lose at Verdun.
What does /his/ think? Did France 'lose' the First World War, even though the Énténte Powers won overall?
A German once told me that Germany sees France as its primary enemy in the First World War, and not Britain, Russia, or the US.
The French performed incredibly well for the circumstances. The troops held out at Verdun for months by sheer will, and the First Marne was a feat of tactical genius on the commanders' parts.
France was on the winning side, but suffered grievous losses
They gave as good as they got, and in WWI terms, that's victory.
They did get squashed in WWII, though, largely because they never refilled the population gap created by the first war.
This. One reason that is frequently stated for the harsh terms laid upon Germany in the treaty of Versailles was that the French were worried that the Germans would recover from the war earlier then they did, and attack them while France was still weak.
The French lost a huge part of their population, and since most of the war was fought on their soil, there was a great devastation and loss of infrastructure in the east of France.
It's true that, for the first few months of the war, France was pounded hard, and lost a lot of troops. Its army was in ruin and the officers had to execute soldiers to motivate them.
But then, happened the battle of the Marne :
Because the german's advance was immediatly halted, they could not execute their beloved Schlieffen plan. Basically, they lost the war at la Marne.
The rest of the war was bloody and harsh, but you can't say the french did nothing and almost lost.
First of all, they won Verdun. It was hard, they had a lot of deaths, and almost dropped, but Philippe Pétain saved the day (Yes, the same Pétain from WW2. In fact, he was such a hero that it explains why he was given the keys of France after June 1940).
The french also contributed in many ways to the war :
-They built a really modern army with the first mobile tank with maneuvrable turret (The Renault FT), and small squads linked with radios, fighting with the support of airplanes. Basically, in 1918, they were the most modern fighting force of the world.
-Their navy, though extremly inferior to the British' (It was the UK who did most of the fighting in Africa and in the colonies), fought against the Ottoman Empire, and even saved hundred of thousands of armenian lives
-It was a French general, Ferdinand Foch, who was appointed general of all armies of the western front. Though Foch wasn't that much of a great tactician, he was a shrew diplomat and managed to unite all of the western armies together.
So, no, WW1 was a French/UK victory, with France doing the most in the western front. Don't forget the UK started conscripting their soldiers only by 1916, before that they only had volunteers on the western front and mostly fought on other continents.
>First Marne was a feat of tactical genius on the commanders' parts.
It was a feat of German incompetence and French efficiently seizing opportunity.
Von Moltke panicked about the Russians attacking, and pulled 2 corps and cavalry to the east, where they weren't even needed.
Von Kluck didn't stick to the plan, instead chased the 5th army to the southeast, creating a crucial gap between him and Von Bülow, which the French then exploited.
Not bashing on the French here, they did a really great job in exploiting the weakspot, but it was Von Klucks retard-tier hunting mentality that created it
It boggles my mind as to the casualty figures for both the Battle of the Frontiers and the First Marne. A million combined casualties in about a month? Jesus Christ.
Does anyone have any sources as to how the European public coped with these losses?
>My English teacher said today that France got squashed in both the First and Second World Wars. I argued against him about that for a bit, but now that I think about it, they did lose at Verdun.
Either you are baiting
or your teacher is dumb.
France literally won both the battle of Verdun (pretty much alone in fact) and the war (being the most significant allied power throughout its four years, although with a noticeable wane in the last year and a half or thereabouts).
The French did not loss the war, but they suffered grievously throughout, not only was the French army losing vast quantities of men but the war was actually taking place on French territory which was costly to repair to say the least. Despite this it was still a victory. Nobody questions the overall allied victory in WW2 despite the horrific Russian losses.
This was not however due to the French army lacking in professionalism or competence, sure the upper command was sometimes a bit stupid but that was present on both sides. France was prepared for the last war. The equipment given to its soldiers whilst seen was adequate was considerably outdated. And the tactics where firmly stuck in the 19th century. This only really changed later in the war but too late to make a difference, trench warfare had already been established making terrible loss of life inevitable.
>France was prepared for the last war. The equipment given to its soldiers whilst seen was adequate was considerably outdated. And the tactics where firmly stuck in the 19th century. This only really changed later in the war but too late to make a difference, trench warfare had already been established making terrible loss of life inevitable.
you are incorrect
france was as much prepared for the war as anyone, better in some regards actually
such as their field 75 mm gun which was a top of the line, the finest field gun available when the war started
whatever you mean by "19th century tactics" was either employed by all sides - in 1914 - assuming you mean standard dispersed platoon of riflemen tactics of very late 19th century, or an outright stupid statement if you mean anything resembling "napoleonic" warfare
the so called infiltration tactics developed by most sides were making rounds in french doctrine in 1915 already
Well considering the rifles they where fielding where mostly extended designs from the 1890's model and the troops still wore line infantry grade uniforms, PIC related. The pistols still used the 8mm labelle round which proved inadequate for modern war. And the French army was considerably lacking in machine guns or even employing machine guns into their strategy causing massive loss of life in the start of the war. It in fact caused the largest single loss of life of any nation in one day in the start of the war however I cannot remember the specific battle.
>the rifles they where fielding where mostly extended designs from the 1890
you mean literally like germany?
not to mention the lebel rifle had a very good reputation and performance
>the troops still wore line infantry grade uniforms
what does that even mean? not to mention that they have embarked on the process of replacing their uniforms with the horizon blue ones before the war, although its outbreak made things rather slow, obviously
literally a non factor
>And the French army was considerably lacking in machine guns
this applies to every combatant other than the germans at the outbreak of the war
The lebel rifle was by no means an effective weapon. It shot just fine but its loading system was easily clogged with dirt, it could only load three rounds of ammunition at once (which compared to other nations was pretty poor) and it was a very long and cumbersome weapon, ideally used in line tactics which at the start of the war was still in use.
The uniforms where brightly coloured blue tunics with read trousers and a red felt cap. Ideal for colonial warfare but not so much for a modern European war. It made the French very easy targets for German machine gun emplacements and snipers, the blue uniform was being phased in but a bit late and that still means they where not prepared.
Pistols where relevant as it was a tool used to save soldiers lives. Don't me so ignorant.
Just because other nations lacked machine guns does not excuse the fact that the French didn't have any.
you know how i know you don't know much about ww1?
i mean in addition to your entire post here: >>585245
because you think linear warfare tactics were used in ww1
and because you literally do not know what the main french service rifle of the war was, as evidenced by the ENTIRETY of your first paragraph
not only was the lebel literally renown for its sturdiness in the environment of the trenches, it also held eight rounds
why do i even bother with this board really
Even if the Lebel gun had 8 rounds, it had a major flaw, this would be that the Magazine used would cause explosions when the nose of the cartridge was forced onto the base of another.
So, it was still quite a shit gun.
My apologies on my incorrect wording of my statement, what I was finding difficult to describe was the initial tactics of mass movement in lines across the battlefield, not static line tactics, however an evolution of them. This was used by French forces at the start of the war. And considering you have been unable to comment further on my information regarding the uniforms of the soldiers, use of modern machine guns and side arms I can say that I do indeed know about the first world war. The lebelle rifle was by no means an easy gun to manuvere which is why it was replaced on mass as the war progressed. Just because the German gun was more cumbersome doesn't mean the French gun wasn't. It's British counterpart was a 10 round standardised carbine, much lighter and easier to use in confined trenches. The French gun WAS made for open mass line combat. It's large size was needed to not effect the individual in the row ahead of you when fired, this is a fact. The French did eventually replace the gun with a lengthened cavalry carbine which I had mistakenly mixed up for the lebelle . this carbine did have a three round capacity however later war variants where changed to a five round capacity. Nevertheless both rifles where considerably outdated by the wars introduction.
Yes ? What about that ? The strikes were against stupid offensives that brought no results. The French soldiers never said they wouldn't defend the country, but wanted to change the strategy. Pétain took care of that and in 1917 it was again the french who stopped the germans at the second battle of the marne. On the other hand, the german army completly collapsed, same can be said about the austro-hungarian one and the russian.