Sir John Valentine Carden survives.


It'll be the second. Cut off and only able to be resupplied by sea, with the land and sea forces under constant air attack which isn't having to come from Italy or hundreds upon hundreds of miles away but a hundred at most. You'd be looking at risking a Stalingrad style disaster.
 
It'll be the second. Cut off and only able to be resupplied by sea, with the land and sea forces under constant air attack which isn't having to come from Italy or hundreds upon hundreds of miles away but a hundred at most. You'd be looking at risking a Stalingrad style disaster.
Given they started with 500,000, surrendering with 30,000 sounds a pretty good result
 
Maybe having a British/French holding out at Calais gives Percival just a bit more spine to hold out longer in Singapore
My favourite improvement to Singapore is to have General Ironside get sent out as Percival’s superior. I figure that guy should feature in more AH’s. For the name, If for no other reason.

It's usually because people choose to believe a meme, funny as it may be, instead of informing themselves of the actual events.
It's not to say there were some systemic flaws in the French military, but incompetence or cowardliness were not among those.
During those 6 weeks things could have easily gone the other way.
I don’t think anyone has suggested they were incompetent or cowardly. Things could certainly change in that time period, but the changes made so far are unlikely to be great enough to change France's fate.
 
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It's usually because people choose to believe a meme, funny as it may be, instead of informing themselves of the actual events.
It's not to say there were some systemic flaws in the French military, but incompetence or cowardliness were not among those.
During those 6 weeks things could have easily gone the other way.
Thank you for thinking for me and informing me of my opinions and knowing so much about my thoughts on the French military and accusing me of going LOL DEM SURRENDIUR MUNKIES..

The Anglo-French military at the time wasn't ready to stand up against the Germans, even with the numbers advantage they had. They were weaker in the air mainly due to the huge sortee rates the Luftwaffe was putting up compared to the French and British, the German's doctrine was superior to the Allies who were more prepared for a slower style of war. Yes when the French got to fight a battle their way, it went well. But they rarely got to do that, the Germans got so inside the French military's decision circle that it completely undermined it.

The French soldiers were brave and fought valiantly, but many of their political leaders and top military leaders were defeated psychologically very early on or were out and out defeatists regardless. It was rot at the top that largely doomed France, not at the sharp end where it was young men with rifles. Yes the Germans rolled an absurd number of Nat 20's, but this was aided by a lack of allied preparedness, of doctrines that were out dated at best, of poor intelligence, of poor coordination between the Anglo-French. The BEF was good, but it was too small, the main body of the French army was out of position or moving too slowly and their top leaders were sorely lacking, as were the British for the most part. Gort and Churchill made many bad mistakes and the ONE shining moment during the battle of France was Arras, which was basically a heavy local counter attack, nothing more. And, even if Arras had been a more significant win, with the disasters unfolding elsewhere for the French military and its people, it wouldn't have changed much. Yes Sickle Cut could have been defeated, and it was a closer run thing than most folks realise, but that's going to take a LOT of luck on the Allies (or a damn fine AH story which is also on this site.)
 
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I really don't get all the love given to what is essentially a 40 year old French Field Gun.

1, The fact Britain is likely going to be in a much better position regarding equipment means they are likely to rely far less heavily on American equipment. That means less exposure to the 75mm.
Maybe I am just being hard of thinking here but it seems the thread is being dominated by Schrodingers cannon which is simultaneously existing in multiple quantum states:
  1. A thoroughly unremarkable piece of equipment, probably the worlds most common artillery piece. Already in service for 40 years all over the world including currently with the UKs primary ally, with its primary supplier of outsourced manufacturing, with the Poles, etc etc Also served briefly with the UK in WW1 and was to turn up by the shipload post-Dunkirk. Even has a cocktail named after it.
  2. A potentially desirable foreign contraption for which ammunition supply is unfortunately an impossibility
  3. An unknown quantity about which the UK would know little unless somehow exposed to it while fornicating unprotected with foreign armour
  4. A tank-killing beast, capable of drilling through 66mm of armour at 1000m range and 40mm (is that any German-built tank up to 1941?) at 2000m.
  5. A mere lumpen HE chucker, ideal for blowing things up but rubbish for the glamorous work of tanking.
Odd how a big chunk of metal can be so flexible.
 
I think Arras, with Valiants (even if they only have 2pdrs) and a Matilda I with a 2 pdr will be a major defeat for 7th Panzer. This wont affect the fall of France much, but it could cause a lot of delay in the final envelopment of the BEF and 1st French Army. A bad defeat wont just cause the spearhead to pause while they sort it all out, the German command was already seriously worried about advancing too fast with open flanks.
One could argue that such a delay would in fact slow things enough that the French carry on fighting, but even if not, I can see a strong defensive perimeter around some ports, Calais at least.
Whether they try holding it would likely depend on how fast the French collapse in the south; once that has happened, there is no point in holding a lodgement, but even so evacuation will be a lot easier and they can get at least some of the equipment out. So less chance of an invasion panic, with probably a lot more confidence of how the Army can stop any German armoured attack.
I like this, I find it quite reasonable. The 'Evacuation at Calais' probably won't achieve the legendary status of the Dunkirk evacuation, but pulling out in good order, maybe even with most of your kit intact, will do a world of good for home front morale.

Even then I don't see how the strategic situation for France changes much, so I don't think it unfair to assume France surrenders essentially as OTL. The differences will be in details, not the broad strokes so early in the war.
Making a point to hold Calais for as long as possible ("Stalingrad of the West!" is the immediate meme that comes to mind) would be a nice thorn in Hitler's foot going forward but I would also assume that once the rest of France has been taken care of, and the Luftwaffe has proven it can't see the job done all on its own (that was Goering's boast about Dunkirk, wasn't it?) the whole of the German Army is going to bring the hammer down before the fun begins with Barbarossa. I just don't see Calais holding out past 1940 even if it becomes a great cauldron of a siege.
To that end I think it genuinely in Britain's best interest (maybe even the Free French as well), to concede Calais after an organized withdrawal across the Channel, then build up for a big push later on, much the same as OTL. In the end it'll come down to people high in the chain of command making the choice over how valuable a toe-hold on the continent is.
perhaps a young and up and coming German Officer is either injured, killed or captured during this battle.
Like how Yamamoto's career would have been over if he had lost an additional finger at Tsushima? A very fair point but one entirely at the discretion of OP's narrative and not something us audience members can really speculate on. Good idea to bring up though.
 
I do think that things might delayed in otl and as it is said , the evacuation wont be as epic of a acheivement as in otl is like 90% chance probably and the british will get stuff out and wont get into a super panic hopefully . I imagine most likely fall of france is delayed like a month and the free french faction might be bigger or atleast better organized thanks to this hopefully so it becomes abit of a alternative history story.

I do think that maybe blunting the sickle cut or atleast delaying it might be possible . And people dont understand that all the best french armies were deep in belgium and they basicly did almost nothing during battle of france and the sickle cut hit mainly 2nd rate french units and horrific commanders. If the brits can get themselves turned around and delay the germans few days then the french might get organized enough to try falling back hopefully is the main idea i think . I still think the germans would win but a month or two delay wouldnt be a unrealistic result.

And british kicking italian ass , the issue wasnt gear or commanders much . The main enemy was logistics since it was in the desert and the distances were horrific.

As i said earlier , instead of making all the heavy engineering firms build tanks , i would instead divert them into infantry carriers to take the mechanization thought to its logical conclusion earlier . Or atleast the idea would be to get the tank divisons or regiments organic infantry into them as the idea for early war ?

Another idea could be to try evacuate the czechslovakian and polish remnants wich were in french service but dissolved more or less in otl thanks to the delay maybe?
 
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If the Battle of France goes a little better and more troops and equipment are successfully evacuated, why would that then cause less to be sent back into France?
Seems backwards to me, a better "show" than OTL should lead to Churchill being either as willing or more willing to roll the dice.
 
Thank you for thinking for me and informing me of my opinions and knowing so much about my thoughts on the French military and accusing me of going LOL DEM SURRENDIUR MUNKIES..

You're quite welcome, i figured it was the least i could do.
Fun aside, i mentioned it is usually the case which implies there are exceptions to the rule.

The biggest flaws in 1940 were the terrible state of the communications and the Trench Warfare mindset of the French high command.
Let's just say that a certain German commander who would later become famous in the dessert does NOT disobey his orders and waits for his supply train to catch up. This action which is what a sensible commander would have done, could have allowed the BEF and French army enough time to consolidate their forces and stabilize the front. With the front line stabilized the fall of France is by no means a certainty.
 
The REALLY interesting question about a siege of Calais, is what effect will that have on the fall of France?
I feel its likely that investing Calais will cause a delay of something between 3-25 days, depending on which elements you are talking about and how worried the German High Command is.
The Germans can still certainly defeat the remaining French forces (particularly if they just do a minimal investment at Calais to stop the British getting frisky), but of it slows that fall down...would that encourage France to fight for longer, or result in a France Fights On scenario? Or at the least, inflict enough extra damage on Germany that any invasion simply isn't feasible in 1940?

All sorts of interesting butterflies, I hope Allen has his butterfly net ready!
 
I may have been overly optimistic in past posts; however, looking at OTL, the A27L Centaur started issue at the end of 1942 (and A24 Cavalier was ordered off the drawing board in June '41) Now there could still be confusion over the size of the new Vickers gun and the cruiser turrets, as with OTL Vickers 75mm HV. But if Vickers produce their own Valiant follow-on, they should avoid this themselves. So the new Vickers tank (Vanguard?) might be ready for Torch but should certainly be for Husky?
 

Ramp-Rat

Donor
Yes the Battle of Arras will make a difference in TTL, to the British evacuation of France, and subsequent events. However due to failing in British tactics and doctrine, it won’t stop the eventual success of the Germans. Rommel, whether he is killed, seriously wounded, slightly wounded, or unharmed, is going to be in the dog house. He has despite direct orders, run of into the blue, got caught out, and his devision been seriously mauled. He is not going to be sent to North Africa, if the Germans decided to intervene and attempt to pull Benitos nuts out of the grinder. The principal port of embarkation for the evacuation of British forces will be Dunkirk, not because its the best option, but because of the disposition of British forces at the time. Holding Calais for longer, will help, if only in splitting the efforts of the Luftwaffe between two objectives, along with supporting the continuing battle in France. Despite myth, the majority of troops that were evacuated from Dunkirk didn’t come of the beaches, or were saved by the little boats. The majority were picked up from the east mole, buy British and French destroyers and fast channel ferries.

And extra two days, will allow much better preparations to be made for the evacuation. The earlier that the British can establish a port captain in both ports, with hopefully secure communications to Dover Castle. Getting more of the useless mouths, supply troops etc, embarked earlier, will allow for better results later, as they will not be mixed in with the fighting formations. Also the extra time will allow some sort of anti-aircraft defence, ie guns to be put in place. Given that the majority of AA guns in France at the time, were the old 3in 20cwt, there eventually loss is not a complete disaster, provided that the few 3.7in modern guns are evacuated. Better control over the ports, so that every effort is made to prevent the entrance becoming blocked, will see larger numbers of troops and equipment being evacuated. And more time will allow better defence lines to be established, and some of the old heavy guns to be put in place and used to support the perimeter, plus flooding of low lying areas.

France is going to fall no matter what, as has been said by meany, the rot was principally at the top, though not completely. While the majority of French troops tried to do a good job, and despite poor equipment, inadequate communications, the French to a great extent relied on the civilian telephone network. And poor transport, the majority of French artillery still relied on horse power as did most infantry units. And all were reliant on the railways for long distance movement, or there feet. They were when given the opportunity, brave and effective, they had little opportunity to show their best. And a few formations, thanks to poor pay, bad leadership, and the political problems that France had had in the last few years, let the side down badly.

Can the evacuation go better, yes, can the British generals keep Winston from being a complete tit, and sending more troops to France, in a mad heroic gesture, hopefully. Will if things come to pass, and there is a more effective evacuation, and more troops are not wasted in France have a significant impact on events, oh yes. The invasion panic will be reduced, though Winston will play up the treat as he did. Winston as the former First Lord of the Admiralty, knew very well that any invasion had little or no chance of success, but used the fear of one to unite the country. To invade Britain from France, the invasion forces have to cross the English Channel, and this has to be done at night, it was the same for the Anglo-American forces in 1944. Given the state of the German Navy after Norway, and the fact that the Luftwaffe didn’t until after the Battle of Britain, operate at night. The RN destroyer forces would have had a glorious killing time, against any invasion force, you didn’t need to sink the barges by gunfire, just speed past and let your bow wave do the job.

RR.
 
The REALLY interesting question about a siege of Calais, is what effect will that have on the fall of France?
I feel its likely that investing Calais will cause a delay of something between 3-25 days, depending on which elements you are talking about and how worried the German High Command is.
The Germans can still certainly defeat the remaining French forces (particularly if they just do a minimal investment at Calais to stop the British getting frisky), but of it slows that fall down...would that encourage France to fight for longer, or result in a France Fights On scenario? Or at the least, inflict enough extra damage on Germany that any invasion simply isn't feasible in 1940?

All sorts of interesting butterflies, I hope Allen has his butterfly net ready!
The problem in France was that the high command and politicians had bottled it. Whilst the idea that a calais pocket may slow down the Germans makes some sense it is unlikely to much alter the whole bottle it situation. If Britain sits in the pocket the Britain is shirking and letting France carry the load. If Britain evacuated they are abandoning France.
Yes the French troops may be more willing to fight but that does not matter if the politicians surrender
 
I may have been overly optimistic in past posts; however, looking at OTL, the A27L Centaur started issue at the end of 1942 (and A24 Cavalier was ordered off the drawing board in June '41) Now there could still be confusion over the size of the new Vickers gun and the cruiser turrets, as with OTL Vickers 75mm HV. But if Vickers produce their own Valiant follow-on, they should avoid this themselves. So the new Vickers tank (Vanguard?) might be ready for Torch but should certainly be for Husky?
I think you are still being far too pessimistic.
WW2 tank designs show you need a couple of years from spec to tank, and the next year you will still have issues to deal with. How many depends on how much new stuff was in the tank.
The Valiant 2 would seem to be a bigger better Valiant, so no massive influx of new ideas. Carden has the Valiant going into production in 1938, so we should see him start design of the Valiant 2 in 1939. First models would be available (assuming an Army order) early 41, and a debugged model end 41/early 42.
If they are still fighting in Africa in 41 (as OTL), I would see more pressure to get the new tank off to the middle east, they'd want to see it in combat and note any issues that need fixing or improvement.
Deciding they don't need it yet in 1939 isn't a huge slowdown, as that lets the first development stages - design, mockup, test model in mild steel, testing suspension and engine stuff - carry on, after all Vickers already have a tank design department.
After fighting in France, I think there will be a perceived idea that the germans have better tanks (they don't, they have better tactics), but that idea will actually push the Valiant 2 forward. Sometimes its about the perceived threat, not the actual one.
 
I feel some people are underestimating the effect of 7th Panzer getting badly mauled would have on the german attack.
The High Command was already very nervous about the speed of attack and the undefended flanks. Guderian had already been ordered to stop once. Now a Panzer division is stopped in its tracks and badly mauled, quite possible effectively combat-ineffective for some time.
Look at it now from their pov.
They don't know that this was basically the only attack like this the BEF can mount. What can be done once, could, they think, be done again. They have trapped two armies, but it now looks like they are still capable of counter-attack.
In these circumstances, you really don't keep your armoured spearpoint swanning off into the unknown where it can be attacked in the rear - you reign it back, consolidate, and set up to advance again. They will still be confident of victory, but a little more caution seems indicated.
This is why I think the delay will actually be long enough to be important, and a delay in these units gives the BEF time to fall back and support Calais. Its not so much about the damage the attack does, but the perception.

Now how long and how strongly Calais is held is difficult to say. Digging the British out will take a while - I'd expect an attempt to bounce the defences, lead by panzers. Which will almost certainly run into heavy 2pdr armed tanks, AA guns, and a very large artillery park with more than ample ammunition.
So the next thing to do is invest the port while they bring up the heavy guns and ammo, which takes time - and you're still attacking France in the south, so logistics are, to put it mildly, strained already. I really don't see that winkling out the BEF, with armoured and artillery support 9and possibly, if the Admiralty feels bored, the addition of 15" shells to discourage the germans) is going to be easy. Sure, once France falls, Calais is untenable, and a retreat will be done, but still under far better circumstances than Dunkirk.
 
Hopefully the additional time that they can buy at Arras or similar will allow the UK to pull out more heavy equipment; the 6-pdr (or possibly the Vickers 75mm) might not be delayed from the invasion scare if they save more 2pdrs...

Additionally, more equipment saved could slightly reduce Barbarossa (though not by much) due to the German use of captured equipment.
 
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Is it just me, or are a lot of posters taking the fall of France for granted?
It probably is.

1, The fact Britain is likely going to be in a much better position regarding equipment means they are likely to rely far less heavily on American equipment. That means less exposure to the 75mm.
The fact that they're not going to be begging for any scraps of equipment they can get means much less production of the M3, and thus, earlier widespread adoption of the M4 by the American forces. This means the 75mm M3 in a proper turret will show up sooner, not later. I'm say first exposure will be by mid 1942, as the Sherman OTL began production in February of that year.

2, True, any requirement for fitting the Vickers into a tank is a long way off. Any requirement for a MV 75mm gun however is even further off. Also just because the requirement for the new vickers gun does not exist yet does not mean Carden won't look at pre empting it.
Carden is already pre-empting the need by enquiring, but given the current workloads, no progress is likely for a while. Plus, it might not be possible to modify it to fit the Valiant I.

3, Carden is TTL. That's why he asked for a great HE round as well as great AP round. You are right about Britain neglecting HE capabilities for tank guns OTL. Why would TTL be any different?
Carden nas seeming already recognised the need to some degree. but right now (A) Vickers is backlogged already, so work on the 1931 conversion will be slow and (B) there's still no evidence that such a weapon can be fitted to the Valiant I.

4, Agree but what role the vehicle is in will depend. I doubt it will be still in use as a front line tank.
Maybe, maybe not. It really depends on how soon Carden can come up with a replacement design, get the right people to approve it, and get the factory built.

5, how the Americans acted during the war does not necessarily indicate what they will do pre war. If Britain asks for modifications to the turret so it can take the Vickers HV then I would expect the Americans to at least listen and consider. At this point the British are the ones with all the war experience.
There were cases OTL where the Americans refused to do something for the British.

You're right again that in order to fit the new Vickets HV into the Valiant will likely require compromise. The thing is Britain was always perfectly willing to make those sacrifices.
I have also never claimed, or at least never intended to claim that the 75mm was a bad weapon. It wasn't. What I have claimed is that the drivers that saw the ROQF adopted OTL won't exist or will be reduced TTL. That in my opinion makes it's adoption unlikely at best and a complete non starter at worst.
It can punch through anything up to a Panzer IV, and has a HE capability far superior to anything the British have in a similar calibre.

Let's not forget the ROQF 75mm was only adopted OTL because the Vickers 75mm HV wouldn't have fit into the Cromwell turret.
That, and the British finally realised they needed a gun with a proper HE capability.

In addition, I'd like to point out (again) that I'm NOT talking wholesale replacement of the 6-pounder with the 75mm, more mixed squadrons, with some tanks in the squadron having the 75mm, and some sticking with the 6-pounder.


On France, and Rommel, remember, the British had spent several day running rampant in the German rear areas, and it was only coming up against Rommel at Arras that finally stopped them.

I think you are still being far too pessimistic.
WW2 tank designs show you need a couple of years from spec to tank, and the next year you will still have issues to deal with. How many depends on how much new stuff was in the tank.
The Valiant 2 would seem to be a bigger better Valiant, so no massive influx of new ideas. Carden has the Valiant going into production in 1938, so we should see him start design of the Valiant 2 in 1939. First models would be available (assuming an Army order) early 41, and a debugged model end 41/early 42.
It's July 1939, and John Carden has figured a modified Model 1931 might, with appropriate modifications, make a decent tank gun. Nothing yet about designing a new tank.
 
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You're quite welcome, i figured it was the least i could do.
Fun aside, i mentioned it is usually the case which implies there are exceptions to the rule.

The biggest flaws in 1940 were the terrible state of the communications and the Trench Warfare mindset of the French high command.
Let's just say that a certain German commander who would later become famous in the dessert does NOT disobey his orders and waits for his supply train to catch up. This action which is what a sensible commander would have done, could have allowed the BEF and French army enough time to consolidate their forces and stabilize the front. With the front line stabilized the fall of France is by no means a certainty.
Indeed, its lots of things, like the German Sargent who was part of an assault, his force was pinned down by MG's from bunkers and he ran through a hail of bullets from several positions, wasn't hit and destroyed one bunker with a satchel charge. And that bunker opened a hole in the defences. When all odds are that he should have been riddled, but he wasn't.

Rommel sure as hell took a huge risk with him not obeying his orders and going "Oh..err..its just a recon..." with his whole regiment, and as you say, a more cautious commander might have gone slower, giving the Anglo-French forces time to prepare defences etc.
 
I think you are still being far too pessimistic.
WW2 tank designs show you need a couple of years from spec to tank, and the next year you will still have issues to deal with. How many depends on how much new stuff was in the tank.
The Valiant 2 would seem to be a bigger better Valiant, so no massive influx of new ideas. Carden has the Valiant going into production in 1938, so we should see him start design of the Valiant 2 in 1939. First models would be available (assuming an Army order) early 41, and a debugged model end 41/early 42.
Possibly, and of course final timing will be up to Allan, but I'd rather be too pessimistic than assume "oh yes, we'll have Centurions by D-day". (Exaggeration for comic effect :) )

I've yet to find a timeline for development of the OTL Vickers 75mm HV, but looking at A24/A27 development, was this planned for production by late 1942?

And regarding discussions about the American M3 75mm, the M48 shell had 0.68kg of filler, compared to 0.58kg for the 17pdr. If the new Vickers gun ITTL has a comparable shell, does 100 grams of filler make a substantial difference?
 
Possibly, and of course final timing will be up to Allan, but I'd rather be too pessimistic than assume "oh yes, we'll have Centurions by D-day". (Exaggeration for comic effect :) )

I've yet to find a timeline for development of the OTL Vickers 75mm HV, but looking at A24/A27 development, was this planned for production by late 1942?

And regarding discussions about the American M3 75mm, the M48 shell had 0.68kg of filler, compared to 0.58kg for the 17pdr. If the new Vickers gun ITTL has a comparable shell, does 100 grams of filler make a substantial difference?

The filler difference realistically isn't that much of an issue. The real issue was the higher velocity of the round meant it often buried itself before exploding thus reducing its effect. If either shell went off in a fairly close area to the target in the open it was having a really bad time.
 
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