A Brave and Modest Nation

Chuck Murcko chuck@topsail.org
Tue, 30 Apr 2002 08:20:25 -0400


On Monday, April 29, 2002, at 05:35 PM, Owen Byrne wrote:

> More validation.
>
> --------------------
>> Normandy was a highly political as well as military exercise. Everyone
>> including the nations-in-exile, the Dutch, the Poles, the French, the
>> Canadians, etc. got a part.
>>
> The Dutch, the Poles, etc. The invasion plan was for five divisions 
> landing
> on five beaches with
> various auxilary forces. One of those divisions was Canadian, and an 
> armored
> brigade supported the
> landing. I'm still trying to find out what exact Polish, French and 
> Dutch
> forces landed in
> Normandy (its a difficult search).
>

Em, try forces other than land forces, as well. You'll find 'em. Jane's 
1946 edition of All the World's Aircraft has a detailed breakdown of all 
allied air forces' composition, and a description of each forces 
participation in the Normandy operation. Most of the European 
expatriates flew with the RAF.

>> The Allies ran *5* major naval invasions in the Mediterranean alone in
>> WW II, and the Americans ran many more in the Pacific. We were going to
>> invade Japan ourselves. Remember the 1/2 million casualty estimates for
>> that invasion force? Let's have a bit of proportion to all this 
>> invasion
>> participation stats talk.
>
>
> Your preeminance is great. The word "alone" is a bit shaky though. Five
> invasions
> North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Anzio and Southern France, I guess? Geeze, 
> even
> dinky little Canada was
> involved in 2 of them (Sicily and Italy, and the "1st American-Canadian
> Special Services Force" was at
> Anzio - not to mention 2 divisions in what became its relief force).

Em, "alone" goes with Mediterranean, not Allies. 8^) Not sure what's so 
shaky about that. The Mediterranean was considered a WW II theater.

My dad was in all 5. My uncle (a 9th US Army Air Force B-24 pilot) is 
buried on Corsica. I'm not sure having helped beat SS Panzergrenadiers 
(that's True Believers in the Reich with Lots of Tanks, translated) to a 
halt in the swamps about a thousand feet NE from the beach at Anzio my 
dad would take kindly to being referred to as "relieved" by anybody. 
Especially since the division he landed as part of no longer effectively 
existed, and he was finishing up landing #4 over a year before 
Normandy's  "D-Day".

>
> The Japan example is great though - using trumped up fears of 
> casualties in
> order to justify brutal action against
> civilians. Seems like its still going on.

Try looking at the rise in US casualty rate as we got closer to Japan, 
it rose markedly. The Japanese projected casualties in a mainland 
invasion were 2 million, IIRC.

Guess we trump up the body count in advance, too?

And the Canadian presence in the rest of the Pacific operations was? I 
think the word proportion was in my original

>
> We also had a division sized raid of the French coast at Dieppe in 1942
> (admittedly unsuccessful, but,
> hey, we were cannon fodder back then too). This one actually predated 
> all of
> the invasions in question,  and
> (in Canadian mythmaking, anyway) is described as a "test run" for all 
> the
> other invasions that were to follow.
>

Now, Dieppe was a disaster, not merely unsuccessful. 8^)

>> I think the US thanks the Canadians all the time. What does the RCAF 
>> fly
>> for air defense today? I bet they weren't bought at the then-current
>> exchange rate.
>>
> Of course you wouldn't remember when McDonnell Douglas lobbyists were
> crawling all over Canada, nor that
> the bid we accepted was $600,000,000 (at the time our dollar was close
> enough to parity that I didn't include the
> nationality of the $) higher than the next highest bid.. A similar 
> lobbying
> effort appeared when the maintenance contract
> came up to be renewed and, lo and behold, the highest bid (US 
> consortium,
> backed with sufficient arm-twisting from the US,  and
> appropriate retirement sinecures for the politicians involved) won over 
> an
> Anglo-Canadian consortium.
>
> Then there's the Avro Arrow (background sound of 50 year old Canadians
> tearing their hair and gnashing their teeth).
>

So, you did better buying US than homemade? The Arrow ended up in the 
same dustbin as the BAC TSR.2, very good but cost too much. You extended 
the life of your F-101 Voodoos until you could buy F-4 Phantoms because 
of it.

And how much did McDonnell rip you off for your F-101s in the 1950s, or 
your F-4s in the 1960s?

Chuck