French 7th Army strength and deployment May 20-23 1940

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perrya
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French 7th Army strength and deployment May 20-23 1940

Post by perrya » 11 Feb 2009 04:56

Exactly were the units of this Army south of ARRAS and CAMBRAI? I have seen no map showing these, does anyone of one? what condition were its units in? It seems the army should have been spared much of the battle. It seems most books just barely mention this army in the Battle for France 1940 after the 20th.

daveh
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Re: French 7th Army strength and deployment May 20-23 1940

Post by daveh » 11 Feb 2009 15:08

Go to
http://www.atf40.fr/ATF40/

near the top of the page chose veuillez selectionner and pick cartographie from the list
under the title Carte select veuillez selectionner
The maps entitled GUF with date give the position of French, BEF and Belgian and Dutch divisions, with in most cases Corps and Army boundaries on the evening of the relevant date (no maps for 21/5/40 though). The details can be a bit unclear especially when units are very close together eg around Dunkirk

johnhenryegan
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Re: French 7th Army strength and deployment May 20-23 1940

Post by johnhenryegan » 18 May 2022 11:52

7th Army was and should have been a strategic reserve. Had it stayed in its initial deployment near Dunkirk it might have saved the day. Instead it was send off on a fool's mission to the Netherlands. This was Gamelin's fault. His staff argued against the move but Gamelin persisted because he couldn't understand the situation. His center was broken at Sedan but he sends his strategic reserve to help the Dutch. In position as strategic reserve 7th Army would have easily parried Guderian's drive to Abbeville.

johnhenryegan
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Re: French 7th Army strength and deployment May 20-23 1940

Post by johnhenryegan » 19 May 2022 19:28

7th Army (35,000 men, 730 guns) had some of the best units in the French Army including a good army commander in Henri Giraud. It included 1st motorized corps (6,300 men 134 guns) with the 25th motorized infantry division deployed just south of Calais. XVI Corps (5,775 men, 134 guns) with the 9th motorized ID was deployed just east of Boulogne sur Mer. Army reserve included the 4th, 21st and 60th infantry divisions. The 1st light mechanized division (2,800 men, 275 vehicles deployed at Saint Omer) and two other light mechanized brigades rounded out the army. Gamelin had them march overland to Holland where they arrived too late to do anything there. They they tried to get back to France and were captured including their commander. That's why you never hear about them. Moving them to Holland was the most tragic French mistake of the 1940 campaign.

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Loïc
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Re: French 7th Army strength and deployment May 20-23 1940

Post by Loïc » 19 May 2022 21:42

Very bizarres figures, only 35 000, is too light for an Army, nothing more than the strenght of 2 divisions...
as well as others indications 6300 and 5775 for both Army Corps and only 2800 for a DLM
look like the sizes of the Bolivian Divisions of the Pacific War

the 7e Armée has 150 000 men,
a Division like the 1ère DLM is rather 10 000 until 16 500 for an Infantry Division
the EOCA Army Corps Organic Elements themselves concern around 10 000 men more in Artillery, Engineer, Signals, Supply and Services units

before to be placed behind the Belgian border in Maritime Flanders, was initially closer to the Ardennes at Reims in Champagne in Reserve until november 1939, being just an HQ Command with no divisions assigned

johnhenryegan
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Re: French 7th Army strength and deployment May 20-23 1940

Post by johnhenryegan » 19 May 2022 23:16

My figures are effective combat strength, guys with guns; not rear-area logistic personnel, truck drivers, staff etc. Nor do they include artillery personnel. On May 10, 1940 7th Army was concentrated near Calais. Their easternmost division was the 60th just east of Dunkirk. Is that Maritime Flanders? They ended up in Breda, Netherlands; got there overland. Probably had a lot of vehicle breakdowns along the way. As far as I know they never made it home.

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