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Possibly untrue

In General Sanders’ words, “regular armies start wars; citizen armies win them”.

The last time we were successfully invaded by force of arms it was the professional Normans who beat the Saxon Fyrd.

30 thoughts on “Possibly untrue”

  1. The history of standing (regular) armies doesn’t extend very far back but there have certainly been successful invasions since 1066.

  2. Only mugs invade by force of arms. We are being invaded right now by visas and work permit and leave to remain, and all Colonel Sanders does is give them jobs,

    Oh, General Sanders. A well-deserved promotion.

  3. the professional Normans who beat the Saxon Fyrd.

    Probably not so much a professional aremy, the Normans probably had the same sort of system as the Saxons. It was more that Harold was fighting on two fronts. He had to beat Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge (the Yorkshire one, not Chelsea) and then hot foot with his troops back to Hastings.

  4. It is very rare for a professional army to start a war – the soldiers know that if they do so a lot of them are going to get killed.

  5. In both World Wars last century, the Regular military was rapidly wiped out, with the Territorials holding the line while the “citizen armies” trained and stepped up to eventually win.

    Of course, in both World Wars, the surviving regulars got rid of all the annoying changes that had been wrought, in order to get back to “proper soldiering”…

  6. This is all ridiculous. If there was even the vaguest prospect of WW3 happening, you wouldn’t have Grant Shapps as defence secretary. At worst, you’d have someone like Ben Wallace who was a reservist, but you’d probably have a senior military guy in the job.

    Our militaries are not machines focussed on killing Johnny Foreigner, which is what you need if WW3 is a likely prospect. They’re far more political animals: buy weapons to create jobs in BAE, lots of diversity stuff, health and safety, mercy towards enemy, no shagging whores. It’s a military that can lose in Afghanistan, because Afghanistan doesn’t really matter.

    If we got into a proper war, one where losing meant all the women get gangraped by the Red Army, we’d have a very different focus. You’d bomb civilians, you’d deploy the sort of people who like killing for fun and aren’t too picky, you’d clear out the women. You’d have the sort of weapons you could mass produce that worked, not F-35s that can’t go out in the rain.

    Training people for the current military is pretty much a waste of time in this regard. And we could rapidly scale up basic training if necessary. It’s probably scaling up weapons manufacturing that would be the biggest challenge.

  7. “It’s a military that can lose in Afghanistan,”

    To be fair we have lost in Afghanistan several times but still we went, presumably because it’ll be different this time. Ditto the Soviets and the US. The lesson is you cant win in Agfhamistan. And if you did, what exactly is the prize?

    My grandfather was an infantry sergeant and went to France with the BEF in september ’14. He lasted six months. My dad was a sergeant in 1939, already in India. he saw it through, in HQ in Calcutta. Which shows it’s safer to be a Scalyback. Being in the infantry is asking for trouble.

  8. ISTR Australia, in the last unpleasantness, had Home Service only for conscripts, overseas for volunteers only. We could do that so the objection of ‘I don’t want to go to OogsBooga land to fight for Rishi’ would not apply.

  9. @ Western Bloke

    And who exactly would enact all these (sensible and required) changes to put us in a position to wage actual real war?

    Not one of the current crop of politicians would have a fucking clue where to start.

  10. As far as I remember Rhoda, the conscripts were sent to New Guinea when the Japs got close. However my dad was in the 2nd AIF, and thus fought in the Middle East, before they bought him back home after Pearl Harbour.

  11. The thing which was uncontroversial at the time but was pretty flawed imo was Tony B’s declaration that UK had no strategic interest in Ireland. Fine looked at short term, but change a few parameters, e.g. EU membership, ROI neutrality, Nato existing, US politics, EU army with bases and you start to think erm…. its a pretty bloody strategic location.

  12. rhoda klapp,
    Well, the idea was nation-building. But the bureaucrats didn’t have a clue how to do that. You can’t impose democracy on agricultural peasants. The post-Colonia era of Africa should have told people that.

    Joe Smith,
    True, but the politicians are a product of us, the people. We don’t care about joining political parties like we once did. We leave a bunch of idiots to select people like Corbyn, while we go and watch Netflix. A more dangerous world would lead to more of us being politically engaged.

  13. @WB “A more dangerous world” wouldn’t have us more “politically engaged”.

    If anything, it’d lead to (thankfully) less politics, and more action while the rats and their fleas try to jump ship.
    Which is why you exterminate them along with any enemy you encounter.

    When dealing with actual trouble you most definitely don’t want traitors and proven incompetents at your back.
    You make sure they go first.

    Politics is for peacetime. When kaka hits the ventilator you want decisions, not “policy”.

  14. I’m still not seeing where this new wartime leader is going to come from? If there was a half decent politician out there surely they’d have taken over one of the parties by now?

    Are we assuming they emerge from nowhere? Some hidden bastion of (small c) conservative thinkers (because it won’t be anyone from the Left)? They sure as shit aren’t coming from the armed forces, police or the various other tentacles and appendages of the government.

    Or do we give the job to Tommy Robinson?

  15. as asiaseen points out, the Saxons were knackered having just fought and won one battle before marching south to deal with William. It wasn’t really an evenly matched fight. Had they been fresh, it could well have gone differently.

  16. Hallowed Be

    I wonder if we have any sort of treaty obligation to defend Ireland if the Russkis invaded it. It might be simpler to rubbelise the place instead.

    My missus’ (British ) grandfather was in the first Territorial force to go into action during the Great War. He was a sergeant in the London Scottish and they went to Ypres in double decker buses and then met the German 6th and 4th Armies at Messines on 30 October. They suffered 60% casualties and he was invalided out on 22 November after what was left of his unit had been withdrawn to Ypres.

  17. I read this proposal for military conscription with incredulous disbelief. I cannot think of a single thing about the UK I’d be willing to risk my life for. It’s not the risking of life. I have, willingly, at least a couple of times. But for the UK? Sorry. I can’t see anything there worth saving. My once country has changed beyond recognition. One reason I buggered off. Everything I valued has been destroyed years ago & I certainly wouldn’t want to risk my life for the people who destroyed it. I’m not saying this because I’m now too old to be called up. Not saying that makes any difference. With modern wars – as Ukraine has recently again shown – everybody ends up in the front line. It’s because usually it’s the oldsters cheering on the youngsters. Personally I intend to stay as far away from it as possible, should it happen. Brasil’s starting to look increasingly inviting. I think I’ll move that forward a year or two.
    Anybody else feel the same?

    My grandfather was at Ieper with the ANZACS. Having initially come to Europe for a beach party been organised in his honour at Gallipoli. I lived in the area for a couple of years (why I spell the town properly. It is after all in Belgium). So the battlefields to me are familiar places. Another relative was in the area a few years later. although he didn’t hang around. He piloted a Lanc with 617 squadron trying to hit the V1 site in the Foret de Niepe. Rather unsuccessfully. The craters are so thick on the ground they’re overlapping in places. But only one of the concrete blockhouses got shook up a bit. Better luck this time, I suppose.

  18. Quite, BiC
    So why would I fight in defence of the people consented to it becoming that? It didn’t have to happen. They let it. Why be the hero in the Western who alone stands alone against the gang menacing the town whist the townspeople hide behind their curtains? Clint Eastwood I ain’t.

  19. Regular armies don’t start wars, General. Politicians start wars, and then send their armies out to do their dirty work, usually while finding exemptions for their families and their friends. If politicians were made to lead the charge, there would be no more wars.

  20. Do I read from the original quote that Colonel Sanders got promoted? My, that’s finger lickin’ good!

    (Betcha that the General had a shit time of having his leg pulled while he was ‘only’ a Colonel!

  21. OttoK- i think there is an agreement on RAF defending ROI airspace, be surprised if there was one for land.

  22. Regular armies don’t start wars, General. Politicians start wars
    And generals. At the point where the PM/President says “Can you do this?”and they reply “Of course we can PM/President. Three bags full, Sir! We’ll start the planning immediately & the lads will be will be out there next week.”
    The military play soldiers. They like playing soldiers. Every opportunity they’re given. Why they’re in the military. How many ever ask “Is this a good idea?”

  23. bloke in spain,
    Not everyone joins the military because they like playing soldiers. Like so many people in the 60’s, I joined the army as an alternative to going on the dole. Two years Boys Service and 22 years in the Regulars, serving, in my time, in Borneo, Aden, and Northern Ireland, plus Cyprus with the UN during the Greco/Turkish fighting, none of which endeared me to enjoy playing soldiers. I was there, in those theatres, because politicians couldn’t, or wouldn’t, talk to each other. It’s true that I earned qualifications which stood me in good stead in civvy street, but I saw it as a way of earning self respect, especially when engaged in natural disasters rescue and rebuilding, rather than being a parasite on tax payers money. No one who has ever been involved in a war, or confrontation, thinks that this is a good thing. It seems that it is only politicians, eager to keep their position and power, think that this is a solution. I stand by my initial comment.

  24. >john77
    January 30, 2024 at 12:51 pm
    It is very rare for a professional army to start a war – the soldiers know that if they do so a lot of them are going to get killed.

    I would point to WW1 as an example of professional armies chomping at the bit so hard for war that the world was set afire before the politicians even knew what was going on.

  25. >rhoda klapp
    January 30, 2024 at 2:11 pm
    ISTR Australia, in the last unpleasantness, had Home Service only for conscripts, overseas for volunteers only. We could do that so the objection of ‘I don’t want to go to OogsBooga land to fight for Rishi’ would not apply.

    Slavery is still slavery.

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