Wednesday 31 January 2018

French Defenses

"Translated from French

Commander of the Theatre of War
General Staff, 3rd Department
#1039 3/ET June 1st, 1940

General instructions

Based on his inspection, the Supreme Commander came to the conclusion that infantry that came face-to-face with the enemy doesn't know how to or didn't want to dig in.

It was established that German attacks generally occur as follows:
  1. A single reconnaissance airplane flies in the direction of the upcoming attack.
  2. Half an hour later, a massed attack of 10-12 aircraft follows, who drop a rain of bombs from a low height, which do not cause significant casualties, but have a powerful effect.
  3. Following that, enemy light and heavy tanks appear on a narrow section of front. They open fire and create a lout of noise (sirens, howling).
  4. If we do not retreat before the German attack and our anti-tank guns do their jobs, the enemy stops any activity on this sector of the front and tries to continue in another direction.
To become the master of the situation, it is enough to not take losses during the air raid and tank attack alike. All personnel on the battlefield are categorically ordered, throughout the entire depth of the defenses, to dig into deep cover and remain fully prepared to deliver an attack against the enemy.


Military translator, Technician-Intendant 2nd Сlass, Iyevleva."


  1. That's very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very strange that French troops would be untrained or unwilling to dig in, given their defensive mindset, and given that the French, of all armies , certainly knew the value of prep fire.

    1. I suspect that the Regulars would have known what to do, but the reserve formations that made up most of the army were simply too hollowed out to absorb the best practices.

    2. Yeah, I was thinking something similar. I am aware the level of training in the French army was pretty low in many units in 1940. On the other hand....digging in is such a basic infantry skill, I don't know how it's possible they didn't do it.

    3. The first world war was still fresh in memories so lot of people could be demoralized from it and its high casualties. This could have caused some unwillingness what comes to fighting.

  3. "Veigan" is, presumably, Gen. Maxime Weygand.

    1. Thanks for the correction. Unfortunately, reverse transliteration is largely based on guesswork.