The Maginot Line - An Effective WWII Defense?

Discussion in 'WWII Videos' started by Matt308, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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  2. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Probably would've been effective in WW1. At least for a while.
     
  3. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    It did do it's part in one aspect, Germany chose to go around it rather than through it. I guess in that regard it did what it was supposed to do.
     
  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Actually I think it failed to do what it was planned. Its purpose was to prevent the invasion from Germany. German just chose to go around, where it was softer and easier. Even if the line had not been built, I am not certain the Germans would still not have gone around. The Germans needed to cut France off from England in order to defeat her.
     
  5. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    Very good docu, and the answer is it wasnt, I think the only possible use was to shelter civilians, soldiers and materiel from aerial attack.
     
  6. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    I guess according to the video Matt posted in episode 1, the original purpose of the Line was to prevent a direct thrust into France, thus hopefully giving France enough time to ready it forces and defenses. Not sure about this, first time I heard of theory.
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    The problem with the Maginot line, with any static defense, is once it is built, it is pretty much defined. Then, you can figure a way to defeat it. Might take tanks, airplanes and end around as the Germans did in 1940 within years of being finished (if it was finished at all) or it could take centuries and the introduction of Gunpowder as with the high castle wall.

    A static defense, whether a line of fortifications, a mine field, a river or whatever, lends itself to being defeated by a dynamic enemy (I mean that in the military sense, not the Hollywood perspective). The problem with the Maginot line, is it engendered a false, defensive mindset in the French that they were safe from an invasion when the wall pretty much made sure they were safe from an invasion only where the wall was in place. And even the safety at that point was an illusion.
     
  8. Tzaw1

    Tzaw1 Member

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    It was effective :)
    Did Germans try to break it? When? And did them succeed?
    Did Line protect the mobilization and the concentration of the French?

    The disaster in Belgium had not many common with the Maginot Line.
    One can that to say that better would be for Allies keep in from behind the protection of the fortifications, instead hurriedly to push the army on Dyle river and to Breda.
     
  9. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    Not really. To refresh our memories, the whole idea of the Schlieffen plan was to attack north of the the area abutting Alsace-Lorraine through the Ardennes(read through Belgium) thus avoiding the principle strength of the French. And it damned near suceeded. The Germans invaded on August 4th, and by September 5th, they were within 80 miles of Paris. They were ultimately checked at the First Battle of the Marne.

    As TimShatz alluded earlier, if an enemy knows where your strength is, then it is relatively easy to overcome it. Particularly since the Germans just bypassed the strength of the French army in 1914, it doesn't take a genius(from the French perspective) to assume that they might do it again. It was negligent for the French to assume that the Germans of 1940 wouldn't do the exact same thing
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I think this statement will also play into this discussion...

    "Hitler built a fortress around Europe, but he forgot to put a roof on it."

    President Franklin Roosevelt
     
  11. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    We're in murky territory on this one.

    The French built the Maginot line to stop a direct invasion from Germany. In 1940, they expected the Germans to do a re-run of WW1 and attack through Belgium in a sweeping right hook. Their best forces, and the Brits, were all along the Belgian border, ready to move north and fight along various phase lines.

    If the Maginot line were available in 1914, would the same set up been available for the French with regards to the troops being on the Belgium? Would the Germans have gotten as far?
     
  12. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Yeah, spent most of the Second World War fighting like it was the First. "Hold every inch of ground, not a step back".

    In the words of Von Clauswitz, he who defends everything, defends nothing.

    Intellectually and technologically, Hitler was still in 1918 when it came to operational perspective. He understood the tank, but he didn't really have a grip on the potential of the airplane.

    Probably seen tanks up close from the wrong side of the lines. That might've had something to do with it.
     
  13. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, the Maginot line did not just stop at the border but was connected to Belgium works which included Fort Eben Emael.
     
  14. Ferdinand Foch

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    Well, that would explain a lot. Thank god he thought like that. :)

    As for the Maginot Line, I never knew that it was only meant to temporarily hold the Germans, and not hold them indefiniately. But, thanks to the media and a few politicians, the mass of the French people were expecting that the Maginot Line would hold the Germans back from entering France, and when that happened, they lost all hope.

    Though I got to say, I think the Maginot Line did hold up a lot better than the Atlantic Wall. I mean, the Maginot Line was finally taken after attacking it from all sides. As for the Atlantic Wall, even with the paratroopers on D-Day, most of the major fighting on the wall took place on the beaches. The wall didn't even hold up any beach for a day. I mean, that's gotta tell ya something about the planning of the Atlantic Wall.
     
  15. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Great docu, thanks for posting it, Matt. I really enjoyed it. And as for all hindsight generals here, it seemed to be a very good idea at the time. I think the docu gives a good view on this. It's always easier after so many years to say they did wrong. But I hope this documentary will also help to destroy the myth that French troops couldn't fight and always retreated.
     
  16. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I think the Maginot line was mearly a thorn in the butt of the Germans. I don't think the argument of "Did it make the Germans go around.....yes" means it was an effective defence and did it's job. If that was the case, build a 20 foot high 10 foot thick concrete wall and it would be just as "effective" because you will still have to go around.
     
  17. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    True Thor, but a wall as you suggest does not fire back!
     
  18. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Understood Messy. Either way, I bet the Germans suffered just as many casualties going around the Maginot line as they would have going around a concrete wall.

    Actually, I'm just assuming that. I have never read anything about the Germans actually fighting their way around. I just always heard they went around it.
     
  19. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    I have read accounts of the Allies going up against the line while it was in German hands, and they took some pretty large casualties as they did not have the proper training nor the weapons to attack the line.
     
  20. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Watch the docu matt posted, guys and you'll know.
     
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