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We Shall Fight on the Beaches

BBC News - French 'invasion force' lands at Gosport

A French "invasion force" will land on a Hampshire beach on Saturday.

The 200 soldiers, 43 vehicles, four helicopters, two landing craft and a catamaran, are taking part in a training exercise at Gosport.

The French landing helicopter dock Tonnerre and anti-submarine warfare destroyer Georges Leygues arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base on Friday.

A French navy spokeswoman described the first steps of "Mission Jeanne d'Arc" as "unique".

She said the navy was practising a major invasion on the British mainland to test both "amphibious and joint operations".

"Once the vehicles and soldiers disembark, using the landing craft and helicopters, the troops will continue with instruction activities, driver training, live fire exercises and assault course on Browndown," she added.

To the beaches my friends, we have work to do! Remember the last time

Comments

Fascinating link! Thank you.

We set out tomorrow to repel invaders.
I have two notable daughters so that will account for 2 dozen.
Leave some for us!

Where are they retreating from?

Not sure we'd come off best if they did invade though. The French Regular Army is larger than ours, fully professionalised and very well trained. For this type of operation they could deploy:

Three Air Force Parachutist Commandos
Six Naval Commandos
Two Special Forces Parachute Regiments
One Parachute Brigade of One Armoured and Five Infantry Parachute Regiments

Followed up by the normal ground-based armour and infantry.

The last time lots of French Soldiers landed in the UK?

One hundred thousand French Military were saved by the extreme bravery of the Royal Navy and the little ships in 1940 (together with two hundred and twenty thousand British). They were so grateful - until we deported them all back to Germany within two months.

The last time lots of French Soldiers landed in the UK?

One hundred thousand French Military were saved by the extreme bravery of the Royal Navy and the little ships in 1940 (together with two hundred and twenty thousand British). They were so grateful - until we deported them all back to Germany within two months.

The last time lots of French Soldiers landed in the UK?

One hundred thousand French Military were saved by the extreme bravery of the Royal Navy and the little ships in 1940 (together with two hundred and twenty thousand British). They were so grateful - until we deported them all back to Germany within two months.

The last time lots of French Soldiers landed in the UK?

One hundred thousand French Military were saved by the extreme bravery of the Royal Navy and the little ships in 1940 (together with two hundred and twenty thousand British). They were so grateful - until we deported them all back to Germany within two months.

The last time lots of French Soldiers landed in the UK?

One hundred thousand French Military were saved by the extreme bravery of the Royal Navy and the little ships in 1940 (together with two hundred and twenty thousand British) and brought to Dover. The French were so grateful - until we deported them all back to Germany within two months.

Not sure we'd come off best if they did invade though. The French Regular Army is larger than ours, fully professionalised and very well trained.

But they're still French, just as they were at Dien Bien Phu.

We'd just send some monkey hanging Hartlepudlians along to save us from invasion again.

Not sure we'd come off best if they did invade though. The French Regular Army is larger than ours, fully professionalised and very well trained.

But they're still French, just as they were at Dien Bien Phu.

We'd just send some monkey hanging Hartlepudlians along to save us from invasion again.

Not sure we'd come off best if they did invade though. The French Regular Army is larger than ours, fully professionalised and very well trained.

But they're still French, just as they were at Dien Bien Phu.

We'd just send some monkey hanging Hartlepudlians along to save us from invasion again.

"But they're still French, just as they were at Dien Bien Phu."

Uhm, might not be the best comparison. The French fought very hard at DBP and in general in Vietnam for as long as they were able on a shoestring budget.

The Miracle at Dunkirk: You can thank several French units who did a very credible job against the Germans slowing them down long enough after the collapse to allow the evacuation to happen. Not the whole army, granted, the socialist scum had undermined the army a lot, but the Germans were quite frustrated at times. There was a reason the OKW kept telling Panzers at the front to the slow the heck down.

WWI - Anyone who says the French troops were not both brave and effective in WWI is a liar or cherry picking.

And hey French has been the language of official administration (esp legal) longer in England than it has been in France.

Careful about Dien Bien Phu. My mother's first husband, as British as roast beef and fish and chips, died there, serving in the French Foreign Legion.

Careful about Dien Bien Phu. My mother's first husband, as British as roast beef and fish and chips, died there, serving in the French Foreign Legion.

Careful about Dien Bien Phu. My mother's first husband, as British as roast beef and fish and chips, died there, serving in the French Foreign Legion.

"Still French, just as they were at Dien Bien Phu".

In that case, I think we would want to be very frightened indeed. The French fought incredibly bravely there against an enemy which greatly outnumbered them and was much better equipped than had been expected. The British had suffered a similar disaster on a much lesser scale at the Battle of the Imjin only four years before, and I don't remember anyone calling our troups anything but brave, then or now.

"The French fought very hard at DBP and in general in Vietnam for as long as they were able on a shoestring budget."

The French post-WWW2 colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria were on a scale quite incomprehensible to us British. The largest number of military casualties we suffered in any theatre post-WW2 is 1,109 killed in the Korean War. By comparison, the French had 89,797 killed in Indochina (more than the Americans subsequently lost) and a further 25,600 in Algeria.

And as for the French contribution during WW2, military deaths were 217,600 compared to our 383,800. Not that huge a gap considering that France was under enemy occupation/control for much of the war.

I promise this will be my last post on the subject!

Anyone who has any doubts about the mettle of French troops should read the Wikipedia article on the French Battalion in the Korean War:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Battalion_in_the_Korean_War

The French lost large numbers in IndoChina because they were hopeless, as exemplified by DBP.

It is ridiculous to compare DBP with Imjin River, the former was an ill-conceived offensive action that invited General Giap to destroy them, the latter was a delaying action in the face of overwhelming odds that enabled the UN forces to make an orderly retreat to prepared positions.

I don't think we need to fear the French, they'll occupy a poor position and when they suffer enough casualties they'll mutiny.

And why did the UN forces have to make an orderly retreat to prepared positions? Because the Chinese got involved in the conflict, and the UN commanders had overreached themselves.

And why did the French find themselves outgunned at Dien Bien Phu? Because the Chinese got involved in the conflict, and the French high command had overreached themselves.

Neither is any reflection on the troops on the ground.

Underestimating the enemy is the mistake both sets of commanders made. Looks like you would be all set to make the same one.

China supported the Vietminh who were fighting for the independence of their country just as the USA supported the French who were trying to cling to a colony. No Chinese troops were involved at DBP, Giap's forces were the same as had always been available to him, the French underestimated the Vietminh's ability and committed a massive tactical blunder.

The UN was responding to an invasion by the North Koreans and then found themselves fighting the Chinese which changed the balance of forces.

Let's not forget that British troops died fighting the heroic Vichy France forces gallantly supporting Nazism.

The website swallowed my reply earlier.

It was the Chinese provision of heavy artillery pieces and anti-aircraft guns which caught the French by surprise at Dien Bien Phu, and resulted in their being outgunned. Even so according to Wikipedia the casualties are estimated at 10,800 for the French and 48,000 for the Viet Minh.

Let's not forget that Free French troops also died fighting the Vichy French forces, and that most of the Vichy French units then joined the Allies.

I spent over 20 years in the British infantry and was a French Military Interpreter, so I have a reasonable first-hand knowledge of both armies.

You must have been a great interpreter, MarkF, you can't even read English, the numbers you quote are the strengths of the armies not the casualties.

You're right. My mistake. Doesn't invalidate the rest of what I have said though.

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