By Eric Margolis
METZ, FRANCE May 21, 2011. From this ancient fortress city, allow me, a former instructor of military history, to address three particularly misleading myths still lingering from World War II:
First: France’s army did not simply surrender or run away in 1940, as ignorant American conservatives claim.
The German blitzkrieg that smote France on May-June, 1940 was a major historical revolution in warfare. It combined rapidly-moving armor and mobile infantry, precision dive bombing, flexible logistical support, and new, high technologies in C3 – command, control and communications. In 1940, Germany led the world in technology: 75% of all technical books were then written in German.
France’s armies and generals, trained to re-fight World War I, were overwhelmed by lightning warfare. France was then still an agricultural society. Blitzkrieg was designed to strike an enemy’s brain rather than body, paralyzing his ability to manage large forces or fight. The Germans called it their `silver bullet.’
France still relied on couriers to deliver messages. French commander Gen. Gamelin, did not even have a telephone in his HQ outside Paris.
Britain’s well-trained expeditionary force in France was beaten just as quickly as the French, and saved itself only by fleeing across the Channel.
No army in the world at that time could have withstood Germany’s blitzkrieg, planned by the brilliant Erich von Manstein, and led by Heinz Guderian and Erwin Rommel: three of modern history’s greatest generals ...