Wednesday, February 25, 2009

France Prepares For War

France planned to fight a long war, with the Maginot Line safeguarding her from German attack while her war machine gradually built up speed. The French army was a mixture of ancient and modern, with infantry and artillery reminiscent of 1918 and, although it had some good tanks, too many of these were allocated to infantry support. Lord Gort's British Expeditionary Force (BEF) went to France in 1939 and established its headquarters at Arras, in the midst of World War One battlefields remembered by many of its members. French infantry is seen on the march (above), September 1939.

Below, French tanks on manoeuvres, autumn 1939. When the Germans invaded on 10 May 1940, France could field 2,285 tanks on her north-eastern front.

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