The French Resistance in WW2 Was Not a 4GW Force

In a recent TPMB 5GW related post, commenter Vinay Gupta wrote:

Was what the French Resistance did against the Germans 4GW?

If not, why not?

The answer is “no”. The French Resistance groups were not 4GW forces.

He are some thoughts why:

The French Resistance did some psyops but they were mostly for the benefit of those French not yet collaborating to keep up their morale, and to keep up the morale of the resistance fighters themselves. This was an adjunct to their other activities. There were not trying to collapse the will/morale of the enemy. They were not trying to send message to the German population that it would be best to give up and withdraw and to concentrate on Russia instead.

The major contribution of the French Resistance was intelligence gathering and aiding downed allied airmen. For the invasion/aftermath of Normandy they did carry out harassment and infrastructure attacks against the Germans in France in support of the allied activities.

They were in effect acting as behind-the-enemy-lines light infantry (1GW or maybe 3GW depending on how well the groups actually operated) for and as part of the allies who had the very 2GW-ish goal of unconditional surrender.

[Photo of a Maquis uploaded to Flickr by missjoeri]


5 Responses

  1. A good post. Some commentators confuse all light infantry action with 4GW/5GW.

  2. I think I’d call the Maquis an irregular milita, unless you think that’s a distinction without a difference.

  3. Colin…an irregular militia sounds right. In the xGW context that means 0GW or maybe 1GW.

  4. I’m guessing if they were using ambush tactics and sabotage, they weren’t 0 or 1GW. Maybe a 3 or 4GW tactical adjunct to a strategically 2-3 GW force?*shrug*

  5. Your post illustrates exactly why 4GW is not synonymous with insurgency.

    A case could be made, though, for communist partisans in France and throughout Europe engaging in 4GW in an attempt to generate a favourable political situation after their victory. IMO, their operations were aimed as much at building up their own reputation and position relative to non-communist insurgents, as at fighting fascism. It wouldn’t have been a 4GW against the Nazis, though.

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