The French Army

French Army On Alert - Nervous anticipation along the Belgian Border.

The French Army On Alert – Apprehension At The Front – November 23-24, 1939

The French Army
French Army On Alert – Nervous anticipation along the Belgian Border.

Reports From The Belgian Border – Mutual via Shortwave – November 23-24, 1939 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

News from the Belgian Front this day in 1939. French troops stationed along the borders of Belgium and Luxembourg in anticipation of a possible invasion from Germany. It was considered a possibility that German forces could stage an invasion by way of those two countries and not directly from the German border, thus encountering the Maginot Line. With anxiety running high, any perceived movement was met with alarm, and even passing German reconnaissance plans were worrisome harbingers of coming events.

On 5 November, Hitler informed Walther von Brauchitsch that he intended an invasion to begin on 12 November. Brauchitsch replied that the military had yet to recover from the Polish campaign and offered to resign; this was refused but two days later Hitler postponed the attack, giving poor weather as the reason for the delay.[ More postponements followed, as commanders persuaded Hitler to delay the attack for a few days or weeks, to remedy some defect in the preparations or to wait for better weather. Hitler also tried to alter the plan, which he found unsatisfactory; his weak understanding of how poorly prepared Germany was for war and how it would cope with losses of armored vehicles were not fully considered. Though Poland had been quickly defeated, many armored vehicles had been lost and were hard to replace. This led to the German effort becoming dispersed; the main attack would remain in central Belgium, secondary attacks would be undertaken on the flanks. Hitler made such a suggestion on 11 November, pressing for an early attack on unprepared targets.

While there was a comparative lull, reports were coming back to the U.S. from correspondents at the front on preparations and general morale of the French Army during this period of time known as The Phony War or Sitzkrieg.

Here are two of those reports.

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