Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 10, 2016 12:26:28 GMT 12
I like to look at models and at dioramas. Over the years I have seen a lot online, thousands perhaps.
But it just occurred to me, looking at this photo, that I cannot recall ever seeing a model of diorama depicting the BEF in France in 1939-1940. There must be a lot of scope for some excellent dioramas there, with British troops defending French villages against the Blitzkreig.
This photo from the winter, so the Phoney War period, is quite inspiring.
From NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 11 MARCH 1940
Do companies even make models of the British Expeditionary Force's troops, trucks, cars, tanks, etc for that period? I know Panzer I and Panzer II kits are out there.
I'd love to see people building dioramas from this crucial early period of WWII. But then hardly anyone even bothers with the North African and Italian Campaigns which were extremely important too. It's all D-Day and Russian Front for most modellers for some reason.
Kits of all the vehicles are available in the smaller scales but the choice is not so wide 1/35th. I'm reading a book on armoured vehicle crews starting from WWI. I've just read the early WWII chapters on the invasion of Czechoslovakia and defeat of France. The French heavy tanks are described as the most effective out of the British, French and German vehicles unfortunately they lacked the doctrine, training and leadership. The British suffered from very poor equipment and inappropriate doctrine and training while the Germans only had a small number of modern effective heavy tanks but at least they had sound doctrine and training.
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 10, 2016 13:44:52 GMT 12
What did they call "heavy" tanks at that time? Was the Panzer II a 'heavy' then? What tanks were all the forces using in 1939-40 in France?
Half (or perhaps more than half) the problem with the French forces during the Battle of France was so many French people (including generals down to foot soldiers) actually wanted the Germans to win. Whole divisions simply stepped aside and let them in, as they thought the Germans would simply change the current French government and then leave them to it. How wrong they were. Better the devils you know...
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 10, 2016 15:55:03 GMT 12
Yes, one good source is the story being detailed over several episodes in The History of World War Two Podcast. worldwariipodcast.net/
Apparently the French still had a strong split between republicanism and monarchists in the late 1930's. Many of the generals did not like the current government system in 1940 and hoped to opportunise on the war situation. The French generals were concentrating on their own political aims far too much to stop the invasion of their own country, but some of them did that deliberately. This is why the country with the largest army and air force in the world failed to defend itself, and many high ranking soldiers happily took over to lead the Viche Government (this is what they had aimed for, to a point), and also why after the Fall of France a no-name colonel was eventually pulled from the ranks by the Allies to lead the Free French (Charles de Gaulle). He was given the task as he was seen as one of the few who was not faffing about for his own gain. After the war the whole political system changed and it seems they don't like to talk about what really happened in 1940 these days, whitewash over the cracks.
Post by johnnyfalcon on Sept 10, 2016 17:27:24 GMT 12
I'm nearly finished reading the incredibly-detailed account of the events leading up to and including the evacuation of the BEF at Dunkirk. The book is DUNKIRK - FIGHT TO THE LAST MAN by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore. The author has spent enormous time referencing the records of the British, French and German Armies and personal accounts of those who survived to produce this tome. I am astounded at the cavalier attitude of the French Army and the unpreparedness of the BEF after the soft Phoney War, and how CLOSE Britain came to losing hundreds of thousands of troops...! I can see why the French may be reluctant to talk about it! Also, the breakdown of relations between the two armies due to poor communication, pride, and personal ambition is astounding. A heart-breaking read, graphic and thorough - almost 700 pages. Anyone interested in a light evening read when I'm finished?