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Osprey Men-at-Arms 315 : The French Army (1) 1939-1945

The French Army of 1939 was considered by contemporaries to be the strongest army in the world at that time. In fact, as the events of the next ten months soon revealed, the Army was riddled with fatal weaknesses. Many of these stemmed from the attitudes prevailing in the French High Command at the end of the First World War. Under Marshal Pétain (a general renowned for his care with men's lives) they were determined that the nation should never again endure such a bloodbath. They had also to evolve a strategy that took account of a predicted shortage of manpower, the so-called 'empty classes'. This was the result of a fall in the birth rate, itself the inevitable consequence of the high level of casualties during the First World War. Each of the classes called up in the years between 1935 and 1939 was some 140,000 men under strength. The French therefore adopted a defensive policy. Noting both the general success of the forts around Verdun and the efficacy of the deep dug-outs constructed by the Germans on the Western Front, the High Command evolved a plan based on the construction of a permanently fortified line along the Franco-German frontier - a line subsequently named after the Minister of War, André Maginot. This is the first of two books examining the French Army of the Second World War. Text by Ian Sumner and Francois Vauvillier with illustrations by Mike Chappell. The companion book is Men-at-Arms 318 : The French Army (2) 1939-1945.

    Contents
  • The Army of 1939-40 and Vichy France
  • The Organisation of the Army in 1939-40
  • Uniforms and Equipment 1939-40
  • The Army of the Armistice 1940-42
  • The Plates


The books in this series are;
Men-at-Arms 315 : The French Army (1) 1939-1945
Men-at-Arms 318 : The French Army (2) 1939-1945

 

Osprey Men-at-Arms


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