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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Miniatures Page - Maginot Line

I have a daily look at This is a site primarily for modellers and wargamers but an occasional history question is asked.

Someone has posted "The Maginot Line - was it ineffective?". There has been a huge response - 43 postings - from the knee-jerk hindsight answers to the very considered answers. This appeals to both of my main history interests, in fortifications and in French history. After many years of reading and thinking about this, my conclusion is that the Maginot Line was very successful, it was not breached and it kept the Germans from crossing the Rhine. There are several reasons for the defeat of the Allies in 1940, a lack of understanding of blitzkrieg, of tank to tank action, of combines forces offensives, a lack of communication and control. At the core of these factors is a complete misunderstanding of modern warfare by all the Allies' command structures. If anyone would like to enter constructive dialogue about this, I would be extremely pleased to hear from you.

If you would like to see the responses, go the the TMP website, enter "Zones of Interest" - "Historical" - "World War 2 Land" then scroll down the Message Boards to the posting.


  1. I admit - right up front - that I am not qualified to offer any kind of informed view on this. I've recently started doing a lot more reading about WW2 (I think because I have found that the books about it seem more complete and less partial than they used to be) - the impression that I have gained thus far is that the Maginot Line was excellent as far as it went, but that is precisely, literally, the point. It failed to keep the Germans out because they simply went round it. I'd be very interested to read more of your view of the subject, though I am unlikely to contribute much to a dialogue.

    Regards - Tony

  2. Hello, nice to hear from you. I partially agree, the Maginot Line was excellent as far as it went. When designing and building the Line the French strategy relied on the Belgians and the British and it can be argued that in the Spring of 1940, neither of them were fully committed to their parts. Also, I don't think the Germans "simply went round it", I think they thought long and hard before they identified the lightly covered gap in the Ardennes forests as a possible way into France and then subjected that strategy to some experimentation in their own Black Forest region.

    I will be writing more in the coming months as I marshal my thoughts for a paper to present to my local U3A Military History group. If you come across any interesting papers or books on this subject or if you have any thoughts on the Maginot Line I would very much like to hear from you.