History UsefulNotes / MaginotLine

10th Nov '15 12:37:37 AM MAI742
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So the French expected that the Germans would invade France in an attempt to defeat her and so break the Franco-German blockade, and that they would do so by bypassing the Maginot Line through Belgium. [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow The Germans knew this too, they both knew that the other side knew,]] [[TrapIsTheOnlyOption and this is what the Germans did, to nobody's surprise.]] So what happened? Why did the French lose so badly?

to:

So the French expected that the Germans would invade France in an attempt to defeat her and so break the Franco-German blockade, Franco-British blockade which would be crippling the German economy even worse than in WorldWarOne, and that they would do so by bypassing the Maginot Line through Belgium. [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow The Germans knew this too, they both knew that the other side knew,]] [[TrapIsTheOnlyOption and this is what the Germans did, to nobody's surprise.]] So what happened? Why did the French lose so badly?



There was a chance the Germans ''might'' count on the French assuming this and so deploy their tank forces in the Ardennes instead, but the temporary surprise this maneuver might cause would be more than offset by the difficulty of breaking through the artillery-heavy French lines and the sheer logistical impossibility of sustaining such an offensive. Logistically, sustaining a major offensive through the Ardennes by the usual combination of rail and horse transport was simply impossible. The German Army's horrific logistic troubles supplying troops through the region in World War One was proof enough of that [[note]] As the French attack turned into a rout, the French succesfully wrecked the rail network as they retreated. This forced Germans' horse-carts to make 300km round trips to Germany and back through Ardennes that quite literally killed them - in such numbers that the German advance was basically dead on its feet for lack of horses by the time of the Battle of the Marne [[/note]].

So what did the Germans do in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_France Battle of France]]? They launched a feint attack up in the northern plains to distract the French and play to their expectations, and in the meantime they secretly sent their main force through the Ardennes. At the same time the French and British raced to the northern plains of Belgium to establish a defensive line there, while French mobile forces established a weak series of outposts in the Ardennes. So the Germans' best forces fought the French's worst, broke through easily, and trapped the bulk of the Allied armies up in Belgium. The Allies' only hope at that point would have been to use some reserves to counterattack the German spearhead, but they had sent too many forces to Belgium and failed to keep enough reserves back in France. While few Allied commanders were actually surprised or fazed by this development, the French army ''as an institution'' (with several thousand managers [commanders] who needed advanced notice to work out and execute plans if you didn't want [[RightHandVersusLeftHand utter]] [[PoorCommunicationKills chaos]]) was unable to react in a timely and sufficiently organised fashion. So the Germans managed to cut the supply lines to the best French and British units, and defeat them dramatically and quickly.

to:

There was a chance the Germans ''might'' count on the French assuming this and so deploy their tank forces in the Ardennes instead, but the temporary surprise this maneuver might cause would be more than offset by the difficulty of breaking through the artillery-heavy French lines and the sheer logistical impossibility of sustaining such an offensive. Logistically, sustaining Sustaining a major offensive through the Ardennes by the usual combination of rail and horse transport was simply impossible. wasn't possible by a long shot. The German Army's horrific logistic troubles supplying troops through the region in World War One One, even given lower average demand for ammunition relative to post-1916 military forces, was proof enough of that [[note]] As the French attack in August 1914 turned into a rout, the French succesfully wrecked the rail network as they retreated. This forced Germans' horse-carts to make 300km round trips to Germany and back through Ardennes that quite literally killed them - in such numbers that the German advance was basically dead on its feet for lack of horses by the time of the Battle of the Marne [[/note]].

So what did the Germans do in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_France Battle of France]]? They launched a feint attack up in the northern plains of Belgium and Holland to distract the French and play to their expectations, and in the meantime they secretly sent their main force through the Ardennes. At the same time the French and British raced to the northern plains of Belgium to establish a defensive line there, while French mobile mechanized forces established a weak series of outposts in across both areas, the bulk of Franco-British infantry forces were moved by rail to the northern plains, and a weak follow-on infantry force was later moved to the Ardennes. So when the Germans' best German forces fought actually encountered the French's worst, French mechanized forces in the Ardennes, they outnumbered them by something like 20:1. And once they broke through easily, them, the French infantry force in the area was also outnumbered by 10:1. And once they broke through ''them'', there were no more prepared defensive outposts and the only troops in their way were ones hastily railed in to stop them. Who were ''also'' outnumbered.

The German mobile forces
trapped about half the bulk entire Allied forces in Belgium, where they could not expect to receive much ammunition from the depots in France for at least several days. The Germans had no intention of letting them receive it, and moved to separate the Allied armies up in Belgium. troops from the ports and to force individual pockets of troops to run out of ammo and surrender. The Allies' only hope at that point would have been to use some reserves to counterattack the German spearhead, but they had sent too many forces much of their force into northern Belgium. The rail infrastructure did not allow them to Belgium and failed muster a sufficiently large force in the little time they had, not least because much of their force had moved away from railway stations to keep enough reserves back occupy key positions in France. the defense of the rivers.

While few Allied commanders were actually surprised or fazed by this development, the French army ''as an institution'' (with several thousand managers [commanders] who needed advanced notice to work out and execute plans if you didn't want [[RightHandVersusLeftHand utter]] [[PoorCommunicationKills chaos]]) was unable to react in a timely and sufficiently organised fashion. So the Germans managed to cut the supply lines to the best French and British units, and defeat them dramatically and quickly.
8th Nov '15 3:05:44 AM maxwellsilver
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Alert readers will notice that we haven't said a word about the Maginot Line for many paragraphs at this point. So let's get back to that. Was the Maginot Line a stupid idea that completely failed? No, it wasn't; it was a reasonable idea [[GoneHorriblyRight that did exactly what it was intended to do]] (force the Germans to attack through Belgium; free up soldiers to counter that attack). Was it a good idea? That is a much harder question. It is possible that the French would have done better if they'd spent more of their resources on other things like better mechanized forces[[note]]Though France actually had more substantially more tanks than Germany in 1940, and largely better ones at that (Germany's only truly modern tank at the time were early models of the Panzer IV, which they had less than 300 of), Germany was vastly more adept at ''using them'' while French tank tactics had barely changed since the tank was first introduced in WorldWarI.[[/note]], better intelligence analysis, better training, etc.; but this doesn't mean necessarily that they shouldn't have built a Maginot Line, but rather that they could have spent less on it, and more on other things. However, it's important to remember that, historically, even with the strategic choices they made ''the Allies had serious chances of winning the Battle of France'' in the early days, and of ''not losing so badly'' even after the initial surprise. They also arguably could have won the war if they'd invaded Germany in 1939 instead of waiting for the Germans to attack.

to:

Alert readers will notice that we haven't said a word about the Maginot Line for many paragraphs at this point. So let's get back to that. Was the Maginot Line a stupid idea that completely failed? No, it wasn't; it was a reasonable idea [[GoneHorriblyRight that did exactly what it was intended to do]] (force the Germans to attack through Belgium; free up soldiers to counter that attack). Was it a good idea? That is a much harder question. It is possible that the French would have done better if they'd spent more of their resources on other things like better mechanized forces[[note]]Though France actually had more substantially more tanks than Germany in 1940, and largely better ones at that (Germany's only truly modern tank at the time were early models of the Panzer IV, of which they had less than 300 of), 300), Germany was vastly more adept at ''using them'' while French tank tactics had barely changed since the tank was first introduced in WorldWarI.[[/note]], better intelligence analysis, better training, etc.; but this doesn't mean necessarily that they shouldn't have built a Maginot Line, but rather that they could have spent less on it, and more on other things. However, it's important to remember that, historically, even with the strategic choices they made ''the Allies had serious chances of winning the Battle of France'' in the early days, and of ''not losing so badly'' even after the initial surprise. They also arguably could have won the war if they'd invaded Germany in 1939 instead of waiting for the Germans to attack.



Fun historical fact: you'd think that, after the Allies were defeated catastrophically by a surprise German attack through the Ardennes, they'd never fall for the same trick again, right? Well, that's only half right: in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bulge Battle of the Bulge]], four and a half years later, the Germans managed to trick the Americans and launch a major surprise attack through the Ardennes (under the cover of fog and bad weather which grounded their air-forces), which the Americans considered a quiet region of the front and thus had sent weakened divisions there to recover. However, the Americans were better-armed and more numerous relative to their attackers than the French had been four years earlier and put up a much better fight. More importantly, ''this'' Allied commander (General Patton) correctly judged that this would be the main thrust of their offensive and rushed in so many troops (chiefly the US's Third Army) that the Allies soon had the attacking Germans outnumbered and out-gunned. Once their offensive had effectively been halted the Germans quickly withdrew as their positions were exposed and Hitler wanted their mobile formations dispatched to Hungary as quickly as posisble so they could try to relieve The Siege of Budapest in ''Unternehmen Konrad''.

to:

Fun historical fact: you'd think that, after the Allies were defeated catastrophically by a surprise German attack through the Ardennes, they'd never fall for the same trick again, right? Well, that's only half right: in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bulge Battle of the Bulge]], four and a half years later, the Germans managed to trick the Americans and launch a major surprise attack through the Ardennes (under the cover of fog and bad weather which grounded their air-forces), which the Americans considered a quiet region of the front and thus had sent weakened divisions there to recover. However, the Americans were better-armed and more numerous relative to their attackers than the French had been four years earlier and put up a much better fight. More importantly, ''this'' Allied commander (General Patton) correctly judged that this would be the main thrust of their offensive and rushed in so many troops (chiefly the US's Third Army) that the Allies soon had the attacking Germans outnumbered and out-gunned. Once their offensive had effectively been halted the Germans quickly withdrew as their positions were exposed and Hitler wanted their mobile formations dispatched to Hungary as quickly as posisble possible so they could try to relieve The Siege of Budapest in ''Unternehmen Konrad''.
8th Nov '15 2:53:17 AM maxwellsilver
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* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardennes Ardennes Forest]], south of the northern plains and north of the Maginot Line. The Ardennes isn't just a forest: its a rugged, hilly, wooded country with a couple of single-tracked railway lines and a few bad roads. This is not good tank country, and [[ExactWords attacking through there with just half of Germany's forces would require every motor vehicle in Germany]] to have the slighest chance of keeping the advance supplied. In WorldWarOne the French attempted to invade Germany through here (to cut off the German force that they anticipated would soon invade northern Belgium) and failed miserably.

to:

* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardennes Ardennes Forest]], south of the northern plains and north of the Maginot Line. The Ardennes isn't just a forest: its a rugged, hilly, wooded country with a couple of single-tracked railway lines and a few bad roads. This is not good tank country, and [[ExactWords attacking through there with just half of Germany's forces would require every motor vehicle in Germany]] Germany to have the slighest slightest chance of keeping the advance supplied. In WorldWarOne the French attempted to invade Germany through here (to cut off the German force that they anticipated would soon invade northern Belgium) and failed miserably.
22nd Sep '15 12:14:15 PM MAI742
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This story is, however, a case of {{Fanon}} as applied to history. In real fact, the goals of the Maginot Line were this:

to:

This story is, however, a case of {{Fanon}} as applied to history. In real fact, the goals of the Maginot Line upon its construction (1930) were this:



* Free up soldiers for the real fight up in Belgium. France really needed this: she had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI and the Spanish Flu that there was gaping hole in the manpower pool where the forty-something year-old men were supposed to be [[note]] While most of that class was still alive, a relatively large number were in technical or management positions: there were very few men this age who could be conscripted without harming the economy [[/note]]. Moreover there was another hole in the manpower pool among those turning 18 in the years 1932-7, as the birthrate had halved during WWI. Germany, Britain, and Italy also had these gaps but France's were (proportionally) bigger. Thus, she badly needed economy of manpower.

to:

* Free up soldiers for the real fight up in Belgium. France really needed this: she had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI and the Spanish Flu that there was gaping hole in the manpower pool where the forty-something year-old men were supposed to be [[note]] While most of that class was still alive, a relatively large number were in technical or management positions: there were very few men this age who could be conscripted without harming the economy [[/note]]. Moreover there was another hole in the manpower pool among those was looming, the number of men turning 18 in the years 1932-7, as the birthrate had halved during WWI.1932-7 being just half that of previous and subsequent years. Germany, Britain, and Italy also had these gaps but France's were (proportionally) bigger. Thus, she badly needed economy of manpower.
* Prop up domestic manufacturing [[TheGreatDepression at a time of low demand.]]
22nd Sep '15 12:06:47 PM MAI742
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* Free up soldiers for the real fight up in Belgium. France really needed this: she had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI and the Spanish Flu that there was gaping hole in the manpower pool where the forty-something year-old men were supposed to be [[note]] While most of that class was still alive, a relatively large number were in technical or management positions: there were very few men this age who could be conscripted without harming the economy [[/note]]. Moreover there was another great hole in the manpower pool among those turning 18 in the years 1932-7, as the birthrate had halved during WWI. Germany, Britain, and Italy also had these gaps but France's were (proportionally) bigger. Thus, she badly needed economy of manpower.

to:

* Free up soldiers for the real fight up in Belgium. France really needed this: she had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI and the Spanish Flu that there was gaping hole in the manpower pool where the forty-something year-old men were supposed to be [[note]] While most of that class was still alive, a relatively large number were in technical or management positions: there were very few men this age who could be conscripted without harming the economy [[/note]]. Moreover there was another great hole in the manpower pool among those turning 18 in the years 1932-7, as the birthrate had halved during WWI. Germany, Britain, and Italy also had these gaps but France's were (proportionally) bigger. Thus, she badly needed economy of manpower.
22nd Sep '15 12:06:22 PM MAI742
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* Free up soldiers for the real fight up in Belgium. France really needed this: she had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI and the Spanish Flu that there was gaping hole in the manpower pool where the forty-something year-old men were supposed to be [[note]] While most of that class was still alive, a relatively large number were in technical or management positions: there were very few men this age who could be conscripted without harming the economy [[/note]]. Moreover there was another great hole in the manpower pool among those turning 18 in the years 1932-7, as the number of kids being born had halved during WWI. Germany, Britain, and Italy also had these gaps but France's were (proportionally) bigger. Thus, she badly needed economy of manpower.

to:

* Free up soldiers for the real fight up in Belgium. France really needed this: she had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI and the Spanish Flu that there was gaping hole in the manpower pool where the forty-something year-old men were supposed to be [[note]] While most of that class was still alive, a relatively large number were in technical or management positions: there were very few men this age who could be conscripted without harming the economy [[/note]]. Moreover there was another great hole in the manpower pool among those turning 18 in the years 1932-7, as the number of kids being born birthrate had halved during WWI. Germany, Britain, and Italy also had these gaps but France's were (proportionally) bigger. Thus, she badly needed economy of manpower.
22nd Sep '15 12:05:25 PM MAI742
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* Free up soldiers for the real fight up in Belgium. France really needed this: she had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI and the Spanish Flu that there was a gaping hole in the manpower pool where the forty-something year-old men were supposed to be. Germany, Britain, and Italy had similar holes but France's was (proportionally) bigger. Thus, she badly needed economy of manpower.

So the French expected the Germans to invade France by bypassing the Maginot Line through Belgium. [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow The Germans knew this too, they both knew that the other side knew,]] [[TrapIsTheOnlyOption and this is what the Germans did, to nobody's surprise.]] So what happened? Why did the French lose so badly?

to:

* Free up soldiers for the real fight up in Belgium. France really needed this: she had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI and the Spanish Flu that there was a gaping hole in the manpower pool where the forty-something year-old men were supposed to be. be [[note]] While most of that class was still alive, a relatively large number were in technical or management positions: there were very few men this age who could be conscripted without harming the economy [[/note]]. Moreover there was another great hole in the manpower pool among those turning 18 in the years 1932-7, as the number of kids being born had halved during WWI. Germany, Britain, and Italy also had similar holes these gaps but France's was were (proportionally) bigger. Thus, she badly needed economy of manpower.

So the French expected that the Germans to would invade France in an attempt to defeat her and so break the Franco-German blockade, and that they would do so by bypassing the Maginot Line through Belgium. [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow The Germans knew this too, they both knew that the other side knew,]] [[TrapIsTheOnlyOption and this is what the Germans did, to nobody's surprise.]] So what happened? Why did the French lose so badly?
22nd Sep '15 1:52:15 AM MAI742
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* Force the Germans '''not to attack there'''. The French really very much preferred to fight the Germans in Belgium instead of France.
* The Maginot Line meant that the French could defend their German border with a much smaller number of troops. This meant that a lot of soldiers would be freed up for the real fight up in Belgium. And France really needed this: they had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI that it turned out to be a "lost generation" that produced much fewer children, and thus, they really needed economy of manpower.
* In late 1944, the Maginot Line actually got a chance to prove it worked during the Operation Nordwind, a German attempt to draw Allied forces away from the Battle of the Bulge. Even then, when German soldiers were much better equipped for bunker warfare than they had been in 1940, the German offensive was bogged down badly by having to penetrate the Maginot Line and in some sectors never did.

So the French expected the Germans to bypass the Maginot Line through Belgium. [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow The Germans knew this too, they both knew that the other side knew,]] [[TrapIsTheOnlyOption and this is what the Germans did, to nobody's surprise.]] So what happened? Why did the French lose so badly?

to:

* Force the Germans '''not to attack there'''. This would hopefully lead to Germany invading Belgium in order to actually get at France, which would bring Belgium into the war on France's side. In the long term this would enable an invasion of Germany through the flatter and more favourable terrain of northern Belgium, the terrain and infrastructure of the Franco-German border (hilly and poor, respectively) being unsuited to offensive incursions into Germany anyway. The French really very much preferred to fight the Germans in Belgium instead of and Germany, and not France.
* The Maginot Line meant that the French could defend their German border with a much smaller number of troops. This meant that a lot of Free up soldiers would be freed up for the real fight up in Belgium. And France really needed this: they she had lost so many younger men in WorldWarI and the Spanish Flu that it turned out there was a gaping hole in the manpower pool where the forty-something year-old men were supposed to be a "lost generation" that produced much fewer children, be. Germany, Britain, and thus, they really Italy had similar holes but France's was (proportionally) bigger. Thus, she badly needed economy of manpower.
* In late 1944, the Maginot Line actually got a chance to prove it worked during the Operation Nordwind, a German attempt to draw Allied forces away from the Battle of the Bulge. Even then, when German soldiers were much better equipped for bunker warfare than they had been in 1940, the German offensive was bogged down badly by having to penetrate the Maginot Line and in some sectors never did.

manpower.

So the French expected the Germans to bypass invade France by bypassing the Maginot Line through Belgium. [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow The Germans knew this too, they both knew that the other side knew,]] [[TrapIsTheOnlyOption and this is what the Germans did, to nobody's surprise.]] So what happened? Why did the French lose so badly?



The French high command expected that the Germans would attack through the northern Belgian plains, because this is the non-insane plan - and the one that worked Last Time. They were also aware that the Germans were really good at tank warfare, so to use that advantage they'd have to go through the north. In comparison, they thought that launching a major attack through the Ardennes was simply impossible - not least because of the German Army's horrific logistic troubles supplying troops through the region in World War One[[note]] As the French attack turned into a rout, the French succesfully wrecked the rail network as they retreated. This forced Germans' horse-carts to make 300km round trips to Germany and back through Ardennes that quite literally killed them - in such numbers that the German advance was basically dead on its feet for lack of horses by the time of the Battle of the Marne [[/note]].

So what did the Germans do in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_France Battle of France]]? They launched a feint attack up in the northern plains to distract the French and play to their expectations, and in the meantime they secretly sent their main force through the Ardennes. The French and British responded by sending nearly all of their best forces to the northern plains of Belgium to establish a defensive line there, while the Ardennes region further south was defended by some of the worst French forces. So the Germans' best forces fought the French's worst, broke through easily, and trapped the bulk of the Allied armies up in Belgium. The Allies' only hope at that point would have been to use some reserves to counterattack the German spearhead, but they had sent too many forces to Belgium and failed to keep enough reserves back in France. While few Allied commanders were actually surprised or fazed by this development, the French army ''as an institution'' (with several thousand managers [commanders] who needed advanced notice to work out and execute plans if you didn't want [[RightHandVersusLeftHand utter]] [[PoorCommunicationKills chaos]]) was unable to react in a timely and sufficiently organised fashion. So the Germans managed to cut the supply lines to the best French and British units, and defeat them dramatically and quickly.

to:

The French high command expected that the Germans would attack through the northern Belgian plains, because this is the non-insane plan - and the one that worked Last Time. They were also aware that the Germans were really good at tank warfare, so tank-supported direct artillery attacks upon tactical strongpoints. Given just how strong the French artillery force was, to use that overcome it they would need the advantage of relatively flat terrain - so they'd have to go deploy their tanks in the north.

There was a chance the Germans ''might'' count on the French assuming this and so deploy their tank forces in the Ardennes instead, but the temporary surprise this maneuver might cause would be more than offset by the difficulty of breaking
through the north. In comparison, they thought that launching artillery-heavy French lines and the sheer logistical impossibility of sustaining such an offensive. Logistically, sustaining a major attack offensive through the Ardennes by the usual combination of rail and horse transport was simply impossible - not least because of the impossible. The German Army's horrific logistic troubles supplying troops through the region in World War One[[note]] One was proof enough of that [[note]] As the French attack turned into a rout, the French succesfully wrecked the rail network as they retreated. This forced Germans' horse-carts to make 300km round trips to Germany and back through Ardennes that quite literally killed them - in such numbers that the German advance was basically dead on its feet for lack of horses by the time of the Battle of the Marne [[/note]].

So what did the Germans do in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_France Battle of France]]? They launched a feint attack up in the northern plains to distract the French and play to their expectations, and in the meantime they secretly sent their main force through the Ardennes. The At the same time the French and British responded by sending nearly all of their best forces raced to the northern plains of Belgium to establish a defensive line there, while the Ardennes region further south was defended by some of the worst French forces.mobile forces established a weak series of outposts in the Ardennes. So the Germans' best forces fought the French's worst, broke through easily, and trapped the bulk of the Allied armies up in Belgium. The Allies' only hope at that point would have been to use some reserves to counterattack the German spearhead, but they had sent too many forces to Belgium and failed to keep enough reserves back in France. While few Allied commanders were actually surprised or fazed by this development, the French army ''as an institution'' (with several thousand managers [commanders] who needed advanced notice to work out and execute plans if you didn't want [[RightHandVersusLeftHand utter]] [[PoorCommunicationKills chaos]]) was unable to react in a timely and sufficiently organised fashion. So the Germans managed to cut the supply lines to the best French and British units, and defeat them dramatically and quickly.
19th Jul '15 8:18:27 AM justanid
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Added DiffLines:

[[quoteright:350:[[http://fineartamerica.com/featured/cross-section-drawing-of-maginot-line-everett.html http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wwii_maginot_cutaway_diagram.jpg]] ]]
%%[[caption-width-right:350:caption text here]]
31st Jan '15 12:14:32 AM SSJMagus
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Alert readers will notice that we haven't said a word about the Maginot Line for many paragraphs at this point. So let's get back to that. Was the Maginot Line a stupid idea that completely failed? No, it wasn't; it was a reasonable idea [[GoneHorriblyRight that did exactly what it was intended to do]] (force the Germans to attack through Belgium; free up soldiers to counter that attack). Was it a good idea? That is a much harder question. It is possible that the French would have done better if they'd spent more of their resources on other things like better mechanized forces, better intelligence analysis, better training, etc.; but this doesn't mean necessarily that they shouldn't have built a Maginot Line, but rather that they could have spent less on it, and more on other things. However, it's important to remember that, historically, even with the strategic choices they made ''the Allies had serious chances of winning the Battle of France'' in the early days, and of ''not losing so badly'' even after the initial surprise. They also arguably could have won the war if they'd invaded Germany in 1939 instead of waiting for the Germans to attack.

to:

Alert readers will notice that we haven't said a word about the Maginot Line for many paragraphs at this point. So let's get back to that. Was the Maginot Line a stupid idea that completely failed? No, it wasn't; it was a reasonable idea [[GoneHorriblyRight that did exactly what it was intended to do]] (force the Germans to attack through Belgium; free up soldiers to counter that attack). Was it a good idea? That is a much harder question. It is possible that the French would have done better if they'd spent more of their resources on other things like better mechanized forces, forces[[note]]Though France actually had more substantially more tanks than Germany in 1940, and largely better ones at that (Germany's only truly modern tank at the time were early models of the Panzer IV, which they had less than 300 of), Germany was vastly more adept at ''using them'' while French tank tactics had barely changed since the tank was first introduced in WorldWarI.[[/note]], better intelligence analysis, better training, etc.; but this doesn't mean necessarily that they shouldn't have built a Maginot Line, but rather that they could have spent less on it, and more on other things. However, it's important to remember that, historically, even with the strategic choices they made ''the Allies had serious chances of winning the Battle of France'' in the early days, and of ''not losing so badly'' even after the initial surprise. They also arguably could have won the war if they'd invaded Germany in 1939 instead of waiting for the Germans to attack.
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