14 September 2017

South Africa: Does SAA Represent the Lost Battle of France or Will It Be the Country's Dunkirk Moment?

analysis

In so many ways, the continued failure of South Africa's national carrier can be likened to the routing of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) together with the French army during the Battle of France in May and June 1940 where poor training, weak management and especially incompetent leadership sealed the Allies' fate in spite of materiel superiority over the Germans.

Notwithstanding the warnings from Air Chief Marshal Dowding that every available fighter aircraft would be required for the coming Battle of Britain, perpetual political meddling demanded that critical fighter aircraft resources be allocated to the Battle for France, resulting in the loss of 195 fighter aircraft out of a total 261 sent to the continent - aircraft which would have been vital in the Battle of Britain had the fortunes swayed ever so slightly in favour of Hitler.

As the BEF began its long retreat to Dunkirk, the interference by politicians for additional aircraft continued and the fact that the vast majority of the BEF was rescued to fight another day owes nothing to the politicians but everything to decisive leaders and the owners and crew of the little boats.

While the chaotic events of the Battle of France culminated...

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