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I'm currently reading "The Fall of France" by Julian Jackson.
France had the largest, most modern, tank force in the world on paper.
Unfortunately, despite the orders being placed in early 1938 (at whihc point they were added to regimental numbers), French military mobilisation in the beginning of '39 massively depleted the skilled workforce needed to build the tanks just as the production lines were really beginning to work. Delays due to worker disruption, corruption and plain incompetence had prevented much production in 38. It was May before manufacture began again. Indeed, most of the new tanks were eventually re-deployed by the nazis, straight from the factory, on the Russian front.
You are right about flanking attacks. de Gaulle (yes him) led one such attack that knocked the german advance back. However, this was at the cost of nearly his entire company. If he had been succesfully reinforced at that point, it's quite likely that the advance could have been halted in its entirety.
Sadly, the lack of co-ordination by the French high command and their unwillingness to talk to the British except to lie to them about the forces available meant this was impossible.
At the beginning of the campaign Billotte had been tasked with the co-ordination role between the high command (who lived in a castle with only carrier pigeons for communication - no phones, no radio) and the entire French and British effort in N France. A classic case of the separation of authority and responibility. Bilotte apparently burst into tears because he knew he could not make it happen. It took him 4 days to pull a staff away from reluctant superiors.
When he was killed in a car crash, a British commander darkly suggested that his absence, even if not replaced, would only improve things.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 9th, 2021 at 02:56:57 PM EST
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Helen: Sadly, the lack of co-ordination by the French high command and their unwillingness to talk to the British except to lie to them about the forces available meant this was impossible.

This is where there has been considerable change since 1940: today, the British and French militaries are both among the largest and the closest ones in Europe; they have been cooperating in joint exercises regularly over the pas twenty years (actually, I think one such exercise is ongoing right now with two aircraft carriers).

by Bernard on Wed Jun 9th, 2021 at 05:37:35 PM EST
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All of which is useless, because WWIII is a propaganda and cyber war. And also a war of political and social subversion.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 12th, 2021 at 06:57:41 AM EST
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The sheer audacity and breakneck speed of the German advance was completely off the map for the French military. And indeed it could have come unstuck : the Germans could hardly believe their success themselves.

As for the fundamental tactic of co-ordinated infantry, armour and air forces, De Gaulle of course claimed to have written the book on it (Vers l'armée de métier, 1934). He spent all his spare time in the 30s lobbying the army's commanders, and politicians, to modernise the army. He claims in his autobiography that Hitler had his book translated, and that it directly inspired the blitzkrieg doctrine.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 14th, 2021 at 04:26:18 PM EST
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