The Principles of War Podcast
Battle of France Podcast

69 – British Centre of Gravity analysis for the Churchill Government – Battle of France 1940 Part V

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This is the second part of our Centre of Gravity analysis for the Battle of France series, looking at the British Government under Churchill.

Last episode, we conducted the Centre of Gravity analysis for the Chamberlain Government.   In this episode we conduct the Centre of Gravity analysis of the Churchill Government.  

Churchill took over as PM on the 10th of May, 1940 – the same day as the invasion of France, Denmark and Holland by Germany.  He had to move quickly to shore up his Government whilst dealing with the rapidly deteriorating military situation on the continent.  A change in desired endstate sees a dramatic change in strategy, as a Centre of Gravity needed to be created that would have sufficient power to achieve Victory.

We discuss the desired endstate of Churchill and then look for the ways and means that he had at his disposal to achieve that endstate.  We discuss a range of possible ways and means that Churchill could achieve his goal.  

We listen to some of Churchill’s speeches to look at the national strategic level of considerations.  Churchill was able to combine a vision of Victory with a strategy to develop the means to achieve that Victory.  Understanding this provides insights into some of the more interesting decisions that the Allies made during the Second World War.

For more information about the role of Britain played in the war and the details for the Centre of Gravity analysis, have a look at Robin Prior’s excellent book – “When Britain saved the West.

What was Churchill trying to achieve and what was the one entity that was going to achieve it?  The ends, ways and means framework provides the answers to these questions.

Questions

  • Do you think this is the correct Centre of Gravity for the British Government?
  • Could Churchill have created a better CoG construct?
  • What compromises did Churchill make in selecting this CoG?
  • What were the implications for post WW2 national strategy?
  • Where these implications irrelevant as Britain was fighting for it’s survival?

Thank you to the British Army’s Lessons Exploitation Centre for the assistance with the resources for this podcast series.

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