Fun fact

Venezuela has a general for every platoon in the armed forces.

Venezuela has more than 4,000 generals

And:

As of 2012, the armed forces have 113,558 personnel

C Northcote Parkinson should be alive at this hour….

13 thoughts on “Fun fact”

  1. Clever! The US Army is, by law, limited to at most 231 generals. So if there ever arose an armed conflict between the US and Venezuela, Venezuela would easily given the disparity in numbers!

  2. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Meanwhile, the rank and file are reduced to stealing goats. Once a regime becomes unable to adequately feed its troops it is entering the terminal stage, and adventuresome soldiers from outside the Establishment cadre can bring about its collapse rapidly and without warning (look at military coups: they are almost always led by field grade or company grade officers and very occasionally by senior NCOs, but almost never by general officers). Personally I think if bunch of hungry squaddies went into Miraflores Palace and put Maduro’s head on a stick it would be extremely funny. The aftermath might not be so amusing, but it could hardly be worse than if things carry on as they are now. If they did a good bit of Pincochet-style fumigation Venezuela might end up like Chile or Uruguay in 20 years’ time.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “Not really. Are you channelling SMFS?”

    Well yes. Really. Third World Armies are notoriously top heavy in Gold Braid. As are the British Armed Forces.

    “For accuracy, a platoon is much smaller than the complement of any blue-water combat vessel.”

    Sure but that is not the point is it? The Royal Navy has vastly more Admirals than it needs. The British Army only has 256 Brigadiers and Generals. Although the British Army is smaller than Venezuela’s (a bit under 90,000) it is not so top heavy.

    But it is fairly top heavy. There are only about 30 battalions left if you assume the Cavalry Regiments are about a battalion each. Another 15 similarly sized units in the Artillery. Another 15 in the Engineers. One or two extra in the SAS and its kin. So we have roughly four times more of what used to be called General ranks than battalions. That is about enough to provide one for each and every company/troop/battery.

    The platoon is the next step down.

    We are not as bad as Latin America but they have had more experience. It is one of the good things Putin has done – he has reduced the burden of Top Brass:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Russian_military_reform#Personnel_strength

    Notice he increased the numbers of officers who actually have to deal with soldiers. As shame the generals were not thinned some more. But still,

    On April 4, 2011 General-Colonel Vasily Smirnov, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, said that the reformed forces would consist of 220,000 officers, 425,000 contract servicemen and 300,000 conscript soldiers.

    So that’s about one officer for every three and a half soldiers? One general for every 700? If Britain had seven hundred soldiers for each general, there would be almost 180,000 of them. Or almost exactly twice as big as the Army is now.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Costa Rica – “Meanwhile, the rank and file are reduced to stealing goats. …. (look at military coups: they are almost always led by field grade or company grade officers and very occasionally by senior NCOs, but almost never by general officers).”

    The Army tried once before. The US told them to stay in their barracks and so far they have. Without international support it will be interesting to see how much the Army will put up with.

    But Pinochet was a general officer. Next door in Argentina, General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier-General Orlando Ramón Agosti were all of General rank. Generals overthrowing Latin American governments are more common than colonels doing it.

  5. @So Much For Subtlety, @Bloke in Costa Rica:
    “look at military coups: they are almost always led by field grade or company grade officers and very occasionally by senior NCOs.”

    I can only think of a single example of an NCO successfully overthrowing his government: Master sergeant Samuel Doe’s overthrow of the Liberian government in 1980. Indeed, a country has come to a sorry state, when coup d’etat is in reach not only of a few carefully selected general, but your average SGT .

  6. Wasn’t there a country run by a lieutenant? That has to be the lower bound. The rank, I’m informed, that can only issue orders his sergeant approves of.

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