Military History Reader Poll – March 2011

How effective was the French Resistance during World War II compared to such paramilitary forces as the Polish Home Army, Soviet partisans, Yugoslav Partisans and Chetniks, or Filipino guerrillas?

6 Responses

  1. Stan English

    I have never been that interested in the resistance groups during WWll. This I can say from my studies of all theaters of the war: NO. All the other resistance groups you are comparing the French to actually fought. To my knowledge the only times French Resistance personnel ‘fought and died’ was when they were trapped and decided to go out fighting.To me the French Resistance Movement were almost only intelligence gatherers/escape facilitators to downed airmen. The French Resistance only grew a pair after Normandy, which is in a very stark contrast to those in Poland,Russia,The Phillipines,etc.

  2. John Merkatatis

    General Eisenhauer thought the strength of the ‘Maki’ to be considerable; they certainly delayed German mechanized formations arriving in Normandy on time by systematically destroying
    the raillway lines that led to the landing zones,and,they provided detailed information and photographs that allowed the planners of Overlord to plan accurately the forces and chose landing locations for the operation.

  3. Mark Gulbenkian

    One example to contrast with the French Resistance is that of the Chetniks of Gen. Mihailovic, who in 1944 rescued over 500 downed Allied fliers, mostly Americans, mostly bomber crew who had to bail over Serbia, and this was from behind enemy lines. Biggest rescue of its type and at a dreadful cost to villagers who aided the Chetniks, as German troops would execute civilian hostages and burn villages to the ground because of their refusal to cooperate in handing the flyers over.

    Earlier in the war, Mihailovic openly fought the Germans, but the German reprisals of 100 hostages shot for every dead German soldier and 10 shot for every wounded German meant a change of strategy to avoid the biological destruction of the civilian population, and fighting away from civilian populations and sabotage became the order of the day. Everything from sand in grease used by trains, to explosives in hollowed out lumps of coal, pulling up railway lines, and suchlike.

    Gen. Mihailovic’s reputation was hurt by British Communist spy, James Klugmann, who work in Britains SOE offices, heading their Yugoslavia Intelligence desk, in Egypt and then later Italy. Klugmann would either destroy reports from Chetniks or wite up Chetnik actions to give false credit to Tito’s Communists, which was then gallingly broadcast over Europe by the BBC. Klugmann was instrumental, with his spin and lies, in the British switching support away from the Chetniks and to their foes, the Communists. After the war, Churchill called the Yugoslav situation his biggest mistake.

    Gen. Mihailovic was posthumously decorated by Pres.Truman and the citation was a classified secret for two decades afterwards.

    Look up ‘Operation Halyard’ on the web for more information on this previously-classified op. Also the book, ‘The Forgotten 500′ by Gregory Freeman. Compared with the French Resistance, the Chetniks did their part, despite lack of material and political support by the duped Allies.

    • J.Merkatatis

      The Chetnics of dr Draga Mihailovic are responsible for the butchering of entire Serb populations during the German occupation .the facts are known and well documented…

      • Peter M.

        The Chetniks were Serbian nationalists, so to find you mentioning that they killed “entire Serb populations” is interesting to say the least. Please can you provide some references to this documentation to which you refer, though not communist Yugoslav material, which is often made up or ‘politically biased’. Thank you.

  4. Hussar

    and there was no French uprising on a scale and ferocity equal to the one in the Warsaw uprising (or where whole areas of Poland at various times of various duration and size, where under total control of Polish resistance forces) or as extensive French underground government as a whole Polish government with all the operating departments – all underground and all operating in occupied Poland.


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