• The French Fleet in WWII consisted of 3 modern Battleships, 5 old Battleships, 10 heavy cruisers, 10 light cruiser, 60 destroyers and a decent sub force.

    How would these units served the Germans?

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    I am sure half that number would have changed the Mediterranean theatre of Operations for the Axis. I am guessing they would have best been utilised there.
    We have discussed Malta and its importance; I  believe this addition to the Axis fleet would have spelt the end for this proud Island and the  Royal Navy involvement in it a d the Central Med.
    Africa, again much discussed, could have been an entirely different matter. Could Egypt and the Oil be seized?
    This could also have prolonged Italy’s involvement in the war and made Allied victory in Europe much harder without more commitment by the States, to the detriment of the Pacific theatre, bringing up the  much loved A&A question of KGF or Japan!
    Thank you for the French Fleet figures.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Garzke and Dulin’s book on Allied battleships gives a detailed description of Jean Bart’s escape from southern France to Africa as the Germans were occupying France.  The ship was able to make the trip under her own power, but just barely; she experienced a lot of mechanical failures during the trip because so much of her machinery was in a jury-rigged, half-finished condition.  Had it not been for the emergency of trying to escape the Germans, nobody would ever have dared to take her out to sea in her current state of construction, even for the short and easy Mediterranean crossing needed to reach France’s colonial possessions in North Africa.  So if the Germans had captured her, it would have been necessary for them to finish her construction before they could have gotten any use out of her.  This would have been quite a task: the French authorities had (if I’m not mistaken) destroyed the construction blueprints and other such materials.  By way of comparison: when Jean Bart’s sister ship Richelieu went over to the Allied side in 1943, it took six months for a New York navy yard to bring her up to full operational status, even though Richelieu had been far more advanced (about 95% complete) than Jean Bart when she had made her own escape from France.


  • @CWO:

    Garzke and Dulin’s book on Allied battleships gives a detailed description of Jean Bart’s escape from southern France to Africa as the Germans were occupying France.  The ship was able to make the trip under her own power, but just barely; she experienced a lot of mechanical failures during the trip because so much of her machinery was in a jury-rigged, half-finished condition.  Had it not been for the emergency of trying to escape the Germans, nobody would ever have dared to take her out to sea in her current state of construction, even for the short and easy Mediterranean crossing needed to reach France’s colonial possessions in North Africa.  So if the Germans had captured her, it would have been necessary for them to finish her construction before they could have gotten any use out of her.  This would have been quite a task: the French authorities had (if I’m not mistaken) destroyed the construction blueprints and other such materials.  By way of comparison: when Jean Bart’s sister ship Richelieu went over to the Allied side in 1943, it took six months for a New York navy yard to bring her up to full operational status, even though Richelieu had been far more advanced (about 95% complete) than Jean Bart when she had made her own escape from France.

    CWO thank you for the additional infomation. I doubt St. Nazaire would have been a safe port to harbor a German ship under construction. The German squadron in Brest had the R.A.F attention and took some damage from bombs, before the Channel Dash.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @ABWorsham:

    I doubt St. Nazaire would have been a safe port to harbor a German ship under construction. The German squadron in Brest had the R.A.F attention and took some damage from bombs, before the Channel Dash.

    I agree – the RAF would have made life miserable for such a large and juicy static target as the Jean Bart being completed under Nazi ownership just across the English Channel.

    By the way, one amusing footnote to Richelieu’s refit in New York in 1943 is that a lot of the parts and fittings required for the ship were designed using metric measurements.  This gave no end of headaches to the poor shipyard guys in New York, who were used to working on vessels built using imperial measurements.

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @CWO:

    By the way, one amusing footnote to Richelieu’s refit in New York in 1943 is that a lot of the parts and fittings required for the ship were designed using metric measurements.  This gave no end of headaches to the poor shipyard guys in New York, who were used to working on vessels built using imperial measurements. Â

    I can only agree. I worked with both systems my self , and it will give you a headache  :-).

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    The entirety of the French fleet, with complement would have had a significant impact on operations in the Med. I don’t see empty ships as much help unless the Germans postpone their attack on the Soviet Union and focus on North Africa first.


  • they might have been able to conduct a sealion if they captured the entire french fleet intact, and by some miracle got the gasoline to use it all efficently

  • Customizer

    Guys,
    @ABWorsham:

    The French Fleet in WWII consisted of 3 modern Battleships, 5 old Battleships, 10 heavy cruisers, 10 light cruiser, 60 destroyers and a decent sub force.
    How would these units served the Germans?

    ––My response is almost exactly along the lines of Wittman’s@wittmann:

    I am sure half that number would have changed the Mediterranean theatre of Operations for the Axis. I am guessing they would have best been utilised there.
    We have discussed Malta and its importance; I  believe this addition to the Axis fleet would have spelt the end for this proud Island and the  Royal Navy involvement in it a d the Central Med.
    Africa, again much discussed, could have been an entirely different matter. Could Egypt and the Oil be seized?
    This could also have prolonged Italy’s involvement in the war and made Allied victory in Europe much harder without more commitment by the States, to the detriment of the Pacific theatre, bringing up the  much loved A&A question of KGF or Japan!
    Thank you for the French Fleet figures.

    ––No need to expound on these succinct thoughts.
    “Tall Paul”


  • And had the Germans had not been able to put the French Navy to sea, the guns could have been added to the Atlantic Wall.

    Have any of you read about the gun duels between Kent, England and Pas-de-Calais, France between 1940 and 1944?

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    @ABWorsham:

    And had the Germans had not been able to put the French Navy to sea, the guns could have been added to the Atlantic Wall.

    Have any of you read about the gun duels between Kent, England and Pas-de-Calais, France between 1940 and 1944?

    No!

    But do tell?

  • 2022

    @abworsham4

    Let’s say that the Vichy France joined the Axis. This assumes that Spain and Turkey won’t join the Axis (even though if Hitler decided on a Mediterranean strategy, he had an excellent chance of getting them to join the war, by threatening to invade them). This assumes that Hitler will follow a Mediterranean strategy and will put off Operation Barborossa for later.

    The Vichy French submarines could be used to help in the Battle Of The Atlantic-not decisive, but every submarine helps. French forces in French Indochina could help Japan, but Japan would still lose if they followed the same path as they did in real life. It might extend the Pacific War by a few days or weeks though. Vichy French forces in the Indian Ocean or on the coast of Sub-Saharan Africa (or Madagascar) could be used for commerce raiding in the Indian Ocean, or possibly rendezvous with the main Mediterranean fleet after the fall of the Suez Canal, or to Atlantic ports. The French forces in North Africa could have helped Rommel, especially since Rommel would have been sent with an entire Panzer Army with a Mediterranean strategy. This means that Vichy French, German, and Italian units combined could have equalled two armies. Fuel would have given more generously to both the Vichy French and Italian navies with a Mediterranean strategy, causing chaos to the already strained Royal Navy-this would have definitely eased pressure on the Japanese in the Indian Ocean. Crete would not have been occupied by the British, which would allow for the capture of Malta possible. Even though without the reinforcement of Greece or Crete the British could have taken Tripoli, the Axis could have fell back to Tunisia (protected by the Mareth Line) and from there launch an offensive. With additional Axis forces and the control of Malta, the Axis could have driven to the Libyan Egyptian border (possibly even capturing Tobruk), and with the Axis navies and air forces causing havoc on the British Mediterranean fleet, adequate supply, and increased morale of Italian troops due to the Germans throwing real weight behind them, Operation Crusader would not have been as successful. By the end of 1941, the Axis could have captured (or put siege to) Alexandria, and pushed into the Nile or Cairo. Whilst this was simultaneously happening, the remains of the Fallschirmjäger, supported by German troops transported by the Italian and Vichy French navies (several old Vichy French ships could have been converted into transports and their guns used on the Atlantic Wall, as mentioned), could have moved into Vichy French Syria, possibly even coming in time to save Iraq, obtaining important fuel supplies. This would divert British attention from North Africa.

    At this point, Japan attacks Pearl Harbour. Assuming Hitler decides to not declare war on the US, the Americans could not have declared war immediately, as much of the shock and anger after Pearl Harbour was directed solely at Japan. In the meantime, the US would have increased their support in the Battle Of The Atlantic, eventually leading to a declaration of war by 1943. Japan would have been very hard pressured, but Japan could have held out until 1944, as after Midway in real life, the main problem for the Allied offensive across the Pacific were supply problems and the sheer time it takes to cross the Pacific, as well as the time it takes to construct the new ships. Additional landing craft, divisions, and aircraft could have sped up operations, but it would not have made operation in the Pacific twice as fast. It would have been an enormous relief for the Axis in North Africa for Operation Torch not happening.

    By the end of 1942, the Axis would have captured the Suez Canal and the rest of the Egypt, pushed though into Iran, and recaptured Italian East Africa, thus allowing the guerilla fighters there to reform into normal military units. Britain would have sued for peace, especially as the Japanese swept across the Pacific.

    By now, Germany would have detected the existence of the KV-1 and 2 tanks, as well as the T-34. Germany would have started to build new tanks to counter these new models, and hopefully by May or June of 1943, a sizeable force could have built, as resources for submarine production, V-rocket development (which consumed a lot of resources in developing and building these weapons), enormous resources dedicated to defence against bombing (including the resource consuming development of Me 262), and increased production without bombing could have been diverted to tank production, which would have had the oil to fuel them from the Middle East. As the Soviets would be much more prepared from their rearmament program, the German generals might have thought of a plan to launch a massive propaganda campaign to recruit the Soviet people, of which there were many, who were bitter with Stalin, into the Axis, forming a Russian Liberation Army. Hitler, with more confidence in his generals after the success in the Mediterranean, would have approved it. This would have had a very high chance of succeeding, as the Soviet people were very angry with Stalin and welcomed any form of capitalism, and historically, millions of Soviet people were recruited into the German army, with no effort to have them join Germany, second rate weapons, no official promise, and hated by some Germans. Due to extreme efforts by German commanders to hide their existence from fanatical Nazis, their true involvement will never be known. A focused propaganda campaign could have recruited possibly an entire army group’s worth of men, and would have enormously eased supply lines. Equipment would have been a problem, but if the Axis went to total war, there would hopefully been enough equipment to equip the Russian Liberation Army, supplemented by captured Soviet equipment. Historically, there were many opportunities for this. After the fall of Smolensk, the government of the city asked to raise a million man Russian Liberation Army, which was never anwsered by the Führer headquarters, whilst an entire Soviet regiment defected to the Axis to be the core of a new Russian Liberation Army, and whilst the regiment’s defection was accepted, their request was never fufilled. The Axis armies invading could also have been assured of far easier supply lines, with the recruited Soviet peoples taking over rear security duties, making partisans far less of a threat, and the massively increased production of the Axis could have made for a larger mechanisation of supply lines, and possibly even the army as a whole.

    The result? Perhaps the fall of Leningrad, Stalingrad, and Moscow by the end of 1944. By then, what remains of the Soviet Union would have sued for peace, leaving the Axis with the most important parts of the Soviet Union captured.

    As for what the US will be doing, they would have launched Operation Torch, as it would be far too hard to land in France without Britain as a staging base. This would divert large amounts of Axis forces, but they could have gave up ground for time-it would be a while before the US gets to anything really important, as North Africa is mostly just desert.

    Once the Soviet Union and Japan fall, Germany could have used the resources of 90% of Europe, all of the Middle East, and large amounts of Africa against the US, which could have enabled Germany to fight the Americans to a stalemate, with production nearly equally the US. In the end, with the skies of Europe thick with Luftwaffe aircraft, the US would not have been able to use the nuclear bomb most effectively. A path could have been created over the frontline in North Africa, but this would not have induced the Axis to surrender, with ICBMs and nuclear weapons under development. The Elektroboot submarine development would have continued, and both sides would have eventually sued for peace, with neither side decisively able to defeat the other. A cold war will ensue between the Axis and whatever Allies the US can find (perhaps the US would have intervened and won the Chinese Civil War, with Western Europe not under American influence). Germany would have collapsed first, with the US becoming the world’s sole mega superpower, but the world would be very, very different.

    Three choices can change humanity forever.


  • @superbattleshipyamato I love old topics getting brought back to life.


  • @superbattleshipyamato Would Vichy French forces move on the British colonies of the Gold Coast, Nigeria and the importance port of Freetown?

  • 2022

    @abworsham4

    Probably, if anything as a diversion.

  • 2022

    @abworsham4

    Thank you for responding!

    I’m planning to do your heavy cruiser matchup, but it won’t be for a long time as I’m still tired from researching for the battleship matchup.


  • @tall-paul By the way folks, Paul is a first class A&A player. Very dangerous with an IJN or US fleet.

  • 2022

    @abworsham4

    Please send me his strategies and game reports!

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