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French EA41 rocket came into Allies possession in 1942

Dilandu

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Let's assume, that Jean-Jaques Barre team in 1942 was a bit faster, and by the time of "Operation Torch" already moved to North Africa with all their equipment - including the prototypes of EA41 research rocket. And thus when North Africa came to Allied side, the best French rocket team and all their equipment became available for Free France forces.

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While EA41 LOX-petroleum ether rocket was not as imposing as V-2, it was still quite advanced for its time - actually more advanced, than anything else Allies have at this time. Most importantly, it was already in pretty advanced stage of development. Historically, the first launches of its prototypes occurred in March 1945, only eight month after the whole program was re-started.

So, what Allies may do, having the second-most-advanced liquid-fuel rocket in their hands in 1942? With more time and resources, problem with nitrogen tank coating (which tended to crumble and block the piping) that plagued EA41 rockets could be solved very handily. Would Allies held it only a purely research efforts - or, after the start of V-2 strikes, would try to develop their own ballistic missile on the basic of Barre's works?
 

Archibald

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I think the time span might be too short - early 1943 to D-day is only 18 months, after what, bar the Ardennes and Market Garden silly setbacks, Germany is doomed within the span of a year.

I have no idea about Barré character, but he might be a Goddard - not easy to deal with, the kind of "solitary mad genius" that ultimately go nowhere because of a flawed character.

In the FTL timeline I personally delt with the man fate - I teamed him with René Leduc (Mr. ramjet) and send them, of all places, in Algéria Hammaguir (where OTL were tested french A-bombs and Pierre Précieuse rockets, in the late 50's). Leduc and Barré association resulted in a proto - Navaho / Buriya look-alike - a paper project of course, and 1943 tech levels, but you get the point. It was pretty funny to write.
 

Dilandu

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I have no idea about Barré character, but he might be a Goddard - not easy to deal with, the kind of "solitary mad genius" that ultimately go nowhere because of a flawed character.
Well, he was most definitely not a "solitary mad genius". He was Army officer, who became interested in rockets quite early, and essentially become the most prominent French military rocket expert in 1930s. Just before the war, he worked on liquid-fuel anti-aircraft rocket (like German "Taifun", but earlier), and have a good team of co-workers.

After defeat of France, Barri worked in a clandestine organization within the Vichy military, that (under pretext of developing "industrial gas generator") worked on EA-41 rocket. They managed to test engine several times without Nazi even noticing. For the full-scale testing, the team decided to move in Algeria - where they could have admiral Darlang support and no Gestapo spies around - but "Torch" happened after they managed to move only part of equipment. Barri and his men were forced into hiding, until the Liberation. All this demonstrated that he was actually quite good in working with others.
 

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where they could have admiral Darlang support and no Gestapo spies around
Fair enough, thanks for the information.

Barré certainly was worth a better fate than what he got OTL. EA-41 was steamrolled and kicked aside by Véronique, from which flowed Pierre Précieuses, Diamant, Ariane. The irony of course being it was as much an offspring of Nazi V-2 as EA-41 was the offspring of a vichyst (a cardinal sin in 1946 France).

Darlan (not Darlang, I smell an idiotic autocorrect here, turning the man into a German sounding name - the irony !) was a vichyst, too - and he paid for it, although his murderer (Bonnier de la Chapelle) was murdered very quickly - before he could explain who and why and when he was ordered to murder the admiral.
Darlan murder surely helped the Free French and Allies, whether they supported Giraud or De Gaulle. Basically Darlan had to die to clear the path. Had he stayed alive, he could have been a giant embarassment - very much Vichy poisoned chalice to Free France. Pétain was old and sénile, Laval was already traitor and dead, but Darlan by contrast carried enough weight that, even deeply tainted by Vichy (and boy was he tainted !), he could have played havoc with Giraud and De Gaulle.
While with perfect hindsight that sound totally insane and outrageous, yet Darland could have very much argued "So what ? you say Vichy ? I say - I didn't abandonned France like De Gaule and Giraud. Vichy, like it or not, legally or illegally, assumed continuity of the IIIrd Republic. Free France did not. So I was on the right side, suffering with the Métropole people instead of being outside." Nowadays that argument stinks like a rotten corpse, but frack me, to 1943 French people it carried a lot of weight. Dang. Vichy took excruciating pains, the b*stards, to present themselves as the legal continuity of the 3rd Republic.
In 1944-45 it took a lot of laws and nearly intractable legal hassles to erase them from history - and all the damage (and shame) they had done. They had to be declared nul and void, leaving some kind of blank.

Had history unfolded slightly differently, Darlan would have strictly stuck with the terrific French Navy (one of the best in history) he build and never, ever went into politics - were his ego as big as Richelieu and Jeant Bart battleships together, led to his downfall.

And he might even be a respectable figure.

Before the 1940 quagmire Darlan had zero interest in politics but was nonetheless a popular figure- if only because his navy was, by far, the best of the three armed forces - some lightyears ahead of Aviation and the doomed Army (of which the least said, the better - Dear God, oh Gamelin, you fried brain...)
 
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Dilandu

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Darlan (not Darlang, I smell an idiotic autocorrect here, turning the man into a German sounding name - the irony !)
Oh. No, it seems to be my accident.

was a vichyst, too - and he paid for it, although his murderer (Bonnier de la Chapelle) was murdered very quickly - before he could explain who and why and when he was ordered to murder the admiral.
To be exact, Darlan, as far as I knew, detested the Vichy, and hated Germans. He was a republican patriot, and basically the only reason why he did not threw his weight with Allies was because he despised British after "Catapult" and considered De Gaulle a yes-man for London, because he did not condemn the destruction of French warships.

Darlan murder surely helped the Free French and Allies, whether they supported Giraud or De Gaulle. Basically Darlan had to die to clear the path. Had he stayed alive, he could have been a giant embarassment - very much Vichy poisoned chalice to Free France. Pétain was old and sénile, Laval was already traitor and dead, but Darlan by contrast carried enough weight that, even deeply tainted by Vichy (and boy was he tainted !), he could have played havoc with Giraud and De Gaulle.
Actually - as far as I knew! - he would be the other kind of problem. He was much more popular in North Africa than De Gaulle, and since North Africa represented the absolute majority of French troops available, Darlan would essentially became the most prominent leader of Free French. And since he couldn't stand De Gaulle (and visa-versa), at some point Allies would be forced to actually choose between two of them. His killing at hands of radical monarchist (with no ties to either side), essentially saved Allies from a big headache.

My personal IMHO - if not the "Catapult", Darlan would probably came to Allies side quite fast, and all resources of North Africa (not to mention the bulk of French Navy!) would be available as early as in 1941. Which not only would completely collapse the Axis African presence, but also would gave a significant boost to other efforts.
 

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Darlan was a zealed minister of Vichy, he compromised himself entirely with the anti-jews laws, all the way from october 1940 to october 1942. He was as much tainted as Laval by the whole horror.

But you're right about his anglophobia, probably related to some old, ramping jealousy (or anxiety) toward the Royal Navy. This was a matter of fact even by 1937-40.
As you note, Catapult really did not helped. Mers el Kebir was the final nail in the coffin, closely followed by Dakar in August 1940.
A good case could be make that Darlan
a) completely failed to understand the whys of the May - June 1940 collapse
b) then felt betrayed by the British - first Dunkirk, then MEK, then Dakar
c) fell to Vichy because of his anglophobia (not because of fanatical antisemitism, nazi style - yet Vel d'hiv still happened...)
d) then heavily compromised himself in Vichy, by personal ambition - in circumstances unseen since 1346 or 1415 (Azincourt, Crécy - France collapse) he imagined himself a political destiny - except he picked the worst side, Vichy.

Darlan ego was of epic proportion. He was extremely infatuated with his own personality. As an Admiral in the French Navy, that was already pretty bad. As a politician, 1940-44, it was a catastrophe.

As for Vichy, Pétain, Laval and many others compromised with Hitler and bargained the jews, NOT becuse of fanatical hatred, but because of something actually worse: plain old opportunism.

Laval defense in 1945 amounted to somethin like "So what, I sold 80 000 jews to Hitler in order to improve the life of ordinary french citizens".
Laval seemed to have believed three things
a) France mattered in the eye of Hitler (wrong: Hitler did not gave a frack. Jews and communists obessed him)
b) Laval could negociate with Hitler, he had a gift to get something in exchange (wrong, so wrong)
c) Hitler would give something back to Vichy in exchange (he would not).

Yeah... a brilliant politic, really. At least we gunned down that SOB and traitor.

Ok sorry for that rant. I stop derailing this thread immediately.
 
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Dilandu

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with the anti-jews laws, all the way from october 1940 to october 1942.
As far as I knew, he never actually put much effort into enforcing those laws, and even openly disobeyed them, by refusing to remove Jewish veterans from service.

Darlan ego was of epic proportion. He was extremely infatuated with his own personality. As an Admiral in the French Navy, that was already pretty bad. As a politician, 1940-44, it was a catastrophe.
This is likely right. Still, if the history was just a bit different, he may become a hero, and De Gaulle would be known now as "those Churchill's yes-man, who never done much". At least Churchill in his memories speculated that if Darlan came to allied side, he would be immensely more useful and popular.
 

Dilandu

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Frankly, neither this post, nor even this forum, are appropriate places to promote revisionists views aimed at rehabilitating François Darlan. Most of your allegations are factually wrong.
Thank you for clarification. Seems my knowledge in this part of history was flawed. Please accept my assurances that I have no intention to promote revisionist views (at least about that matters ;) ), and my allegations was only due to what I was considered correct information. Which, apparently, it wasn't.
 
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