French Military Success

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atpollard
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French Military Success

Postby atpollard » Sat May 09, 2009 2:02 am

Gaidheal wrote:Just as an aside, you do realize that the French are militarily the most successful European (and we can count the states in there, too, who after all owe their nation to French military might) nation? England / Britain is number two slot, for all the endless bragging that goes on here.

Nonsense about French running away gets old, especially from people who wouldn't have their nation without them. ;)
I do not wish to pull the other topic 'off topic'.
I agree with the French jokes getting old.

... But by what measure do you claim French military success?

Hitler conquered more than Napoleon, so that suggests German supremacy.
Ancient Rome (and the Pax Romana) argues for Italy.
The sun never set on the British Empire, which was quite a feat.

I’m not trolling for a heated debate, I was just curious what criteria you used to conclude ‘success’.
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Re: French Military Success

Postby captainjack23 » Sat May 09, 2009 3:38 am

atpollard wrote:
Gaidheal wrote:Just as an aside, you do realize that the French are militarily the most successful European (and we can count the states in there, too, who after all owe their nation to French military might) nation? England / Britain is number two slot, for all the endless bragging that goes on here.

Nonsense about French running away gets old, especially from people who wouldn't have their nation without them. ;)

Code: Select all

[/quote]

I do not wish to pull the other topic 'off topic'.
I agree with the French jokes getting old. 

... But by what measure do you claim French military success?


Hitler conquered more than Napoleon, so that suggests German supremacy.
[/quote]

actually, I'm not sure Hitler did, when you count Spain and northern Italy. I think its fair to say that neither conquered Russia......
[quote]
The sun never set on the British Empire, which was quite a feat.[/quote]

Well, yes, but none of it was in Europe (unless you count Saxe Coberg) , which I think was his point (and I know quite a few Brits who would insist that they aren't European, either: my Mum for one ;) ).  And little of it was taken from similarly armed owners like the French and Germans had to deal with.

Rome, yes, but probably Soviet Russia wins the prize, if one simply counts acres of conquest........


PS. And yes, the Anti French jokes aren't [i]getting[/i] old, they [b]are[/b] old.   Thanks for that caveat; perhaps we'll avoid a  patriothumping flamefest.....
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Postby EDG » Sat May 09, 2009 5:23 am

The anti-French "jokes" were stupid and offensive to start with, especially given that a lot of people took them seriously... I think they say more about the ignorance of the people telling them than anything else.

Not really sure what this has to do with Traveller though.
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Postby rust » Sat May 09, 2009 10:05 am

I would not call the French the militarily most successful European nation,
because the military success of nations has varied a lot throughout Eu-
rope's history, and the French - like most nations - have had very good
as well as very bad leaders and forces.

Besides, there are so many factors that influence military success. For
example, for quite some time the British forces have had a comparati-
vely very good training, while the French ones mostly were less well
trained conscripts, the US forces usually had the most (although not ne-
cessarily the best) equipment, and so on.

From what I have seen, the French forces are just as good as almost all
others, and if I had to answer the question which ones I would consider
the best, I would name a nation that is hardly known for fighting wars and
conquering territory, but has consistently produced excellent troops: The
Norwegians.
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Postby Klaus Kipling » Sat May 09, 2009 1:02 pm

rust wrote: From what I have seen, the French forces are just as good as almost all
others, and if I had to answer the question which ones I would consider
the best, I would name a nation that is hardly known for fighting wars and
conquering territory, but has consistently produced excellent troops: The
Norwegians.
Why thank you. The 50% of me which is Norwegian is most honoured.

The 50% of me which is English generally agrees with the initial sentiment. Really, the English and the French are just two sides of the same coin, a result of 1000 years of faux-animosity. You hate something long enough you become that thing.

If we're looking at military records, then it depends how far back you want to go. As both England and France are the oldest imperial nation states in Europe then it makes sense their war records are the longest.

I'm guessing a massive proportion of both countries military history is in the Hundred Years War (maybe 20-30%?). While we English celebrate 2 famous victories where us plucky English defeated a superior force of French poncery (chivalry), ie: Crecy and Agincourt, it should be remembered that the English lost that war pretty decisively, since the French kicked us out of Europe for the next 3-400 years, and we lost more territory than we were left with. :)
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Postby zanwot » Sat May 09, 2009 2:09 pm

rust wrote:if I had to answer the question which ones I would consider
the best, I would name a nation that is hardly known for fighting wars and
conquering territory, but has consistently produced excellent troops: The
Norwegians.
Well, they are not known for conquering territory, not since they are called Norwegians, no...

Under the name of Vikings though... they did successfully #trade# with all of europe, including establishing a #trading# outposts as far as Sicily and some could claim America, and out of that bunch descended the only guy who successfully invaded England since the Roman empire.

That being said, I live in Norway at the moment, and they mostly seem like a nation of cudly teddy bears, I suppose apperances can be deceiving. :shock:
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Postby Gaidheal » Sat May 09, 2009 3:56 pm

I'll keep it brief:

Rome != Italy, Conquest != military success.

Winning battles and indeed conflicts is military success; the French Army, especially (as opposed to navies & air forces), won more than the English and later British Army. If we count the Germans as starting pre-Germany with the Prussians, etc, they still come in behind. Sweden was militarily more impressive than many people realize, they still come behind the French and English.

People have a habit of only remembering the battles and indeed wars that they care about and typically either won impressively or lost badly; many people in England can even now whitter on about Agincourt and how "English Longbows" won the day (they didn't, Welsh archers did, it was their weapon not an English one and they mostly stabbed the bogged down knights to death) but they tend to forget about any of the battles where the French returned the favour, sometimes just as impressively.

The anti-French nonsense has a lot to do with Anglophone prejudice and virtually nothing to do with facts. I should declare my partisan interest, by the way, I'm a Scot, the French were our (useless half the time, it must be said) allies.
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Postby rust » Sat May 09, 2009 4:25 pm

Gaidheal wrote:The anti-French nonsense has a lot to do with Anglophone prejudice and virtually nothing to do with facts.
This is how I see it, too. From a German point of view, the French have
been our "hereditary enemies" (what a silly idea ...) for much of our mi-
litary history, and they have never been considered as "soft targets".

They suffered badly from living next door to a sometimes aggressive
neighbour (us ... :oops: ) with a higher population, a better industrial
infrastructure and more willingness to use dirty tricks, but I very much
doubt that any other nation would have done better under such circum-
stances.
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Postby MongooseMatt » Sat May 09, 2009 4:45 pm

It has been said that you can judge a person's knowledge of military history, based on their views of the French. If they believe the French military is not much cop, then their military history is probably not worth listening to :)
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Postby Gaidheal » Sat May 09, 2009 4:45 pm

On the same note... the German speaking peoples were always English allies which is part of why Hitler honestly thought Britiain would stay out of the early days of "World War II"; after all, he was hammering their old enemy, France, right? ;¬)
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Postby zanwot » Sat May 09, 2009 4:56 pm

rust wrote:but I very much
doubt that any other nation would have done better under such circum-
stances.
I believe quite a few nations did not do any better under the same curcumstances! What I especially love is the French defeating the Italian invasion even though the Germans were allready cruising through France...
And for all the joke it turned out to be, the Maginot line was actually a great concept, and could maybe have caused problems to the germans if only they did not go around it :lol:

Every country has it's ups and downs, especially old countries with a strong military tradition. France's default during the 20th century was I believe to have been a little slow on picking up the new trends of warfare (blue uniforms in the first world war!), a default the Germans did not have and the English did not need to have.
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Postby rust » Sat May 09, 2009 5:08 pm

zanwot wrote: And for all the joke it turned out to be, the Maginot line was actually a great concept, and could maybe have caused problems to the germans if only they did not go around it :lol:
This is what I meant by Germany's willingness to use dirty tricks, in this
case breaking about a dozen treaties by attacking through neutral Belgi-
um. And one reason for this decision was that the Maginot Line would in-
deed have caused very serious problems in the case of a direct (and "le-
gal") attack. :D
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Postby zanwot » Sat May 09, 2009 5:26 pm

Of course the French have learnt their lesson, and they have been making sure next time a big war comes around, they will be allied with the Germans :twisted:

On a side note, I was pompted by some mentionning of Amphibious assault ships around here to check out the animals on wiki. Is it me or do the two French ones have a sticker "this ship can invade a moderatly sized country" on them?
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Postby rust » Sat May 09, 2009 5:53 pm

zanwot wrote: On a side note, I was pompted by some mentionning of Amphibious assault ships around here to check out the animals on wiki. Is it me or do the two French ones have a sticker "this ship can invade a moderatly sized country" on them?
France has quite an impressive array of amphibious assault ships with
the two ships of the Mistral class, the two ships of the Foudre class and
the five BATRAL ships.
France really needs this kind of capability, having had to evacuate its
citizens from western African countries several times during the last
decades, and an amphibious assault ship with helicopters, troops and
a good medical facility on board is an almost ideal choice for such mis-
sions.
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Postby Gaidheal » Sat May 09, 2009 6:36 pm

French colonial military actions and hardware are pretty much "the book" for that kind of thing, actually.

The way Germany invaded used to endlessly amuse my old girlfriend (a German) along the following lines "Once is forgivable, twice is predictable but you'd think they saw it coming the third time!" - she was referring to the fact that the tactic had been used once already prior to WWI and in each case the French military planners said "It's all woods and stuff, noone could come through there..." :¬)
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Postby atpollard » Sat May 09, 2009 9:50 pm

Thank y'all for your comments and responses.

And a bigger thank you for the level and tone of this discussion, I was more than a little nervious about what it might attract.
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Postby Dave Chase » Sat May 09, 2009 11:10 pm

atpollard wrote:Thank y'all for your comments and responses.

And a bigger thank you for the level and tone of this discussion, I was more than a little nervious about what it might attract.
Don't worry, this place is not as bad as CotI.

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Postby Gaidheal » Sat May 09, 2009 11:19 pm

CotI? C'est quoi, ça?
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Postby Mithras » Sun May 10, 2009 12:38 am

Citizens of the Imperium - Traveller forum with a range stretching from Classic to Mega to D20 to Mongoose (well, not really Mongoose...) :)
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Postby EDG » Sun May 10, 2009 1:22 am

Gaidheal wrote:CotI? C'est quoi, ça?
Somewhere you don't want to be.
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