world war ii: french armed forces

Senior officer POWs of the Oflag IVC in front of Colditz Castle chapel.

L-to-R: Unidentified Yugoslavian Army Captain; Colonel de Smet, Belgian Army; Admiral Józef Unrug, Polish Navy; General Tadeusz Piskor, Polish Army; Colonel David Stayner, the Dorsetshire Regiment, British Army; General Le Bleu, French Army; Major E. Engles, Dutch Army.

“The scene aboard the battleship USS Missouri as the Japanese surrender documents were signed in Tokyo Bay, on September 2, 1945. Here, General Yoshijiro Umezu signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Armed Forces of Japan, Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (behind him, in top hat) had earlier signed on behalf of the government. Both men were later tried and convicted of war crimes. Umezu died while in prison, Shigemitsu was paroled in 1950, and served in the Japanese government until his death in 1957.”

Maurice Gamelin

The Commander-in-chief of the French armed forces in World War II, Gamelin was viewed as a man with significant intellectual ability. He was respected, even in Germany, for his intelligence and “subtle mind”, though he was viewed by some German generals as stiff and predictable. Despite this, and his competent service in World War I, his command of the French armies during the critical days of May 1940 proved to be disastrous. Historian and journalist William L. Shirer presented the view that Gamelin used World War I methods to fight World War II, but with less vigor and slower response

One of the worst commanders of the ww2, What is for you the worst commander in World War II?
Kenneth Branagh is seen in full uniform on the set of Dunkirk movie
It's one of the most highly anticipated films of the year thanks to its all-star cast. And Kenneth Branagh was recently spotted on the Dunkirk set in full armed forces attire while filming on Saturday.

It’s one of the most highly anticipated films of 2017 thanks to its all-star cast, which includes big names such as Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and even One Direction heartthrob, Harry Styles.

However, it was acclaimed actor, Kenneth Branagh who was most recently spotted on the Dunkirk set in full armed forces attire when filming for Christopher Nolan’s recreation of the famous World War II evacuation on the beaches resumed on Friday.

And it appeared as though the movie was finally getting into its stride as there was a great deal of action hitting the infamous French beaches, including a number of dramatic explosions and sightings of both authentic fighter jets and ships.

The film is based on the real life evacuation from Dunkirk, which was one of the biggest operations of the Second World War and was one of the major factors in enabling the Allies to continue fighting.

It was the largest military evacuation in history, taking place between May 27 and June 4, 1940. The evacuation, nicknamed Operation Dynamo, saw an estimated 338,000 Allied troops rescued from northern France. This won’t be the first time that Kenneth has shown off his acting prowess in a war-themed film, as he has also starred in big titles such as The Goebbels Experiment, Cold War and Fortunes Of War.

And he appeared to slot perfectly into his role for the new movie as he donned a highly accurate 1940s navy uniform, which featured a black hat and blazer, that were adorned with gold detailing.He also made sure to keep cosy in the coastal breeze as he layered up his costume with a cream polo neck jumper and a heavy, woolen coat that extended far down past his knees.The film tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, in between 26 May and 4 June 1940 under the supervision and mastermind of Vice-Admiral Bertram Ramsay.

Fishing boats, ships and pleasure craft were all sent from the Kent coast to Dunkirk to rescue British and French armies as the Germans closed in on the northern coast of France.Filming began for the Warner Bros big screen remake at the end of last month as two WWII aircrafts and two helicopters touched down at Merville-Lestrem Airport and a French T-47 Class Destroyer arrived in Normandy. They were joined by 50 extras dressed in full uniform. A spokesman for the film said: ‘Dunkirk opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.

However, while the huge cast had regularly been pictured out in force during the filming of Dunkirk, up until now there had yet to have been any large explosions or dramatic action.

But that all changed on Saturday as controlled eruptions sent flares up into the sky and large billowing clouds of black smoke could be seen across the beaches.

And the crew made sure to cover both land and air with authentic WWII fighter jets and ships making their presence known on set.

Alongside this, large numbers of army extras gathered together to film as they headed towards the tides.

However, amongst the men were some demurely dressed female figures, who stood out from the sailors and fighting in classic tweed tailoring and pearls.

While the budget for the US blockbuster has not yet been confirmed director Christopher Nolan was previously given close to $150 million for each of his previous two big titles - The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar.

Nolan’s latest film is the first recreation of the evacuation since the 1958 original dramatisation by the same name, starring John Mills, Richard Attenborough and Robert Urquhart.

Nolan has written the screenplay and Dunkirk has been slated for worldwide release on July 21, 2017.

It was recently announced that Hollywood heavyweights Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance would also star, as well as boyband heartthrob Harry Styles.

Movie boss Harvey Weinstein previously expressed an interest in scouting musician Harry for his film, when he toldThe Sun: 'I’ve met him two or three times and he was very interested and charming. I think the guy is a movie star.

‘You know he’s a dashing rogue — a fun-loving, spirited kind of actor that used to be in England all the time. Like David Niven or Douglas Fairbanks, he’s got that vibe, he really does.’  

Zhukov's End of the Year Retrospective, 2013 Edition

Another year passed by!

And a few thousand posts passed by as well! Time for a trip down memory lane, to revisit some of the best.

Some of the Most Liked Posts Included:

Soviet Tankers Feeding Polar Bears!

Soldier Kitties!

The Youth of Germany

The Doomed USS Wasp

With so many great photos to choose from, picking anything close to a favorite is quite hard, but here is a small selection of ones I especially liked.

M3s under simulated attack by an A-20.

Hungarian rebels Béláne Havrilla and Mária Wittner.

A Mosin armed Afghan rebel.

Early combat photo from The Battle of Sedan

And my personal favorite, the duelists!

There were quite a lot of topics covered as well! An even 100 different themes to be exact! Far too many to list, but a few of the most popular included:

Military MotorcyclesThe Troubles

The M1 GarandThe Falklands

FreikorpsHungarian Revolution of 1956

The Chechen WarsThe Arab Uprising and Lawrence of Arabia

The Spanish Blue DivisionThe Chinese Civil War

Military Comic BooksSoviet Air Force in World War II

French Foreign LegionFinland at War 


A final shout out to the winners of the 10,000 Post Extravaganza and Trivia ContextWillrahjuhShadowlink76, and Brosencrantz; and to the winners of Marshal Zhukov’s Trivia Contest and Giveaway, Tactical Zergface and Mintsmintsmints. Keep your eyes open for future contests!


And last, but certainly not least of all, thanks to everyone who started following my blog in the past year, and everyone who has been around from the early days as well! This wouldn’t be nearly as fun if no one was reading along! Happy New Years!


Previous Retrospectives

Members of the ‘French Squadron SAS’ (1ere Compagnie de Chasseurs Parachutistes) during the link-up between units of the 1st and 8th armies in the Gabes-Tozeur area of Tunisia.

Previously a company of Free French paratroopers, the French SAS squadron were the first of a range of units 'acquired’ by Major Stirling as the SAS expanded.

Members of the ‘French Squadron SAS’ (1ere Compagnie de Chasseurs Parachutistes) during the link-up between advanced units of the 1st and 8th armies in the Gabes-Tozeur area of Tunisia, 1943.

Previously a company of Free French paratroopers, the French SAS squadron were the first of a range of units 'acquired’ by Major Stirling as the SAS expanded.