Purpose of this blog

Dmitry Yudo aka Overlord, jack of all trades
David Lister aka Listy, Freelancer and Volunteer

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Thinly Veiled

Every year the Royal Armoured Corps holds a conference to update their officers on things that are happening or soon to happen within the Corps. It also features some data on emerging threats. I've recently been reading the reports on them from the 1940's and 1950's. Some years the conference is an HQ exercise. Seeing as the article I had planned for this week is taking longer than I anticipated I'm going to use what was originally going to be background material in support of the article as a full article.

Most of the HQ exercises had an imaginary name for the enemy. For example the 1948 Exercise Sabre had the evil nation of "Fantasia" (I kid you not) seizing the French coast then launching a lightning cross channel invasion, landing in Dorset and pushing inland around Bovington, mainly I suspect because most of the officers knew the area.
The 1950's Exercise Ivanhoe had a new threat, what follows is the background and briefing material for the exercise, it has what appears to be the most thinly veiled bunch of references I've ever seen... can you guess what country Saturnia is meant to be? Also remember that this was written in 1950.

1. The end of the second Great European War in 1945 left Britain, the British Commonwealth and Empire, the United States and the Western powers victorious over Germania [Listy: Link to briefing about Germania]. Post-war measures of economy, however, had led to drastic reductions in their armed forces. Saturnia on the other hand, having contrived to remain neutral, had not only suffered no ill effects from the war but had reaped considerable advantages. Her strongest suit remained her practically limitless manpower.
The Saturnian Dictator
2. After the war, Germania had been split into zones occupied by Britain, the United States and France. Thus the eastern borders of the British and US zones met with Saturnia, while on the southern flank of the United States zone lay the states of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and Austria. None of them had taken part in the war, though continuous pressure had been exerted on them by Germania and they had paid with continuous privations for their neutrality.

(exercise note: Berlin is assumed to be an ancient university city of no special military significance, the capital of Germania being Frankfurt which is jointly occupied by the British, US and the French.)

3. With Germania and her conquerors wearied by war, Saturnia had been, not unsuccessfully, attempting by fifth column and every other possible underground means to spread her own particular brand of totalitarian doctrines beyond her own borders. These doctrines were in no way more acceptable to Western thought than those against which the Second Great War had been fought for six years.

4. From 1945 onwards the rate of demobilization by the Western powers had been rapid and the forces which they had in Germania by 1953 were small, amounting to no more than five or six divisions. The Saturnians, on the other hand, were estimated as being likely to deploy sixty to seventy divisions in the proportions two tank, six mechanised, eight rifle on the boundary of their territory with occupied Germania, Bohemia and Moravia. Furthermore, if they elected to go to war in the late spring at the beginning of their normal manoeuvre season, they would be able to largely conceal their mobilization which could be effected within a month from their "M" Day by bringing up their existing regular divisions to war establishment.
British ex-forces member gets fitted with his Demob suit. As most of the personnel in WWII had been in uniform for several years and stood a good chance of having lost all their clothing the government provided everyone with a suit on demobilisation.
 5. Every year that had passed since 1945 had shown clearly that the ideas of the Western powers and the Saturnians were diametrically opposed, and that the steadily increasing truculence of the Saturnians made the prospect of war ever more likely.
6. The year 1953 was marked by even more provocative behaviour on the part of Saturnia. Ever since 1945 she had been infiltrating her fifth column and agents into her neighbours territory and into their vital concerns. Saturnia evidently now considered that these clandestine arrangements were sufficiently far advanced for her now to attempt political coups in the open.

7. In January 1953 the Saturnians engineered racial disturbances in Slovakia in which the inhabitants demanded political union with their powerful neighbours and freedom from "foreign" domination. In answer to extremely vocal requests for assistance by the pro-Saturnian element, the Saturnian army marched in and became in effect the master of Slovakia. Naturally, the Western powers could not remain indifferent to this behavior and protests were registered in the appropriate quarters but with a conspicuous lack of effect.
Saturnian tanks approach Wenceslas Square.
Where they met a warm reception

8. This, however, turned out to be no more than a prelude to a further and more serious adventure, namely the absorption of Hungary into the orbit of the Saturnian sphere. Over a period of years, with Saturnian assistance, a Hungarian People's Party had been in the process of being built up. At the same time a strident campaign against the Church was worked up which resulted in shameless and ruthless persecution of the priests. Ultimately a situation was engineered in August 1953, in which the People's party started a revolt against the "Reactionary" government in Budapest and within a very short time the whole country was intimidated and placed under Saturnian domination.

9. Again the Western powers went through the usual procedure of protesting by all possible diplomatic means against this flagrant breach of international relations, but again the results were as negligible as before. In view of the brusqueness with which Saturnia had rejected all the protests against the above two incidents, it was now clear that she was determined to achieve her ends by any means that might be necessary and these would not exclude war. If she could gain her ends without war, so much the better, but should she be thwarted she would not hesitate to have recourse to arms, so strong did she feel her military and political position to be.

10. The Western powers had now to admit that their efforts to solve international problems by peaceful means were useless and as a result they had no alternative but to speed up their military preparations. This they now set about with a will, and no time was lost in putting the arrangements in hand for resisting armed aggression in the near future.

11. Such was the state of mind which prevailed in all the Western European capitals owing to the recurrence of these crises at such frequent intervals that it came as no surprise when yet another crisis occurred in November 1953. The Saturnians now switched to the north the pressure which they had been exerting in a southerly direction. A convoy of depot ships and transports had anchored outside territorial waters in the immediate vicinity of Bornholm in the Baltic and a large Saturnian fleet with submarines was exercising in the straits dividing Denmark and Sweden. This manoeuvre had all the appearance of a second "Agadir" and the governments of the Western powers were reinforced in their opinion that Saturnia was definitely out to pick a quarrel and that the next step would most probably be a violation of the frontier between Germania and Saturnia by Saturnian military detachments.

12. Diplomatic protests couched in the strongest possible terms were sent by all the governments concerned to Saturnia, and military preparations were pressed on with all speed. To the amazement of all concerned these protests did not go entirely unheeded as had happened previously, and the Saturnian fleet and detachments withdrew as suddenly as they had come. However, the Western powers wisely did not allow themselves to be lulled into any false sense of security by this unexpected development and preparations for war were intensified.

13. List of actions taken by the UK government in preparation for war
14.As the probability of war changed to certainty the Western powers completed their plans for defence against Saturnian aggression. The basis of the plan was to hold a defensive line from the Baltic in the north to the Erzgebirge in central Germania following the general line of the River Elbe. In the north the possibilities of flooding in the Wismar-Donitz-Lauenburg-Lubeck were to be exploited to the full. From the Erzgebirge to the Alps light forces were to hold a mountain line.

To further give you an idea of the scenario conditions there was also a brief description of forces and scientific advancements. On the nuclear weapon front the Saturnians had a very limited number of tactical nuclear weapons, the reasoning being the Saturnians were not as technologically advanced in that department. Their yield was given as about 20 kt.
However things got a bit more interesting on the chemical weapons front. Both sides were judged to have large quantities of regular agents, such as mustard gas freely available with protection. The Allies possessed a small stock of nerve agents, while the Saturnian forces had large quantities. Allied respirators were not effective against nerve agents, however new models of respirator were starting to come off the production line which would protect against the nerve agents. Equally monitoring was partially effective with the Allied monitoring and warning systems being able to warn of exposure after the fact, and so able to indicate who needs treatment, but not warn soon enough to prevent the attack being effective.
On the Saturnian side they had no monitoring or defence, meaning the very limited stock of allied nerve agent would be extremely effective.

One advance the Saturnians had made was mentioned. Their infantry had access to some number of buoyant oversuits, with an inflatable ring around the chest. These allowed a swimmer to cross a river with equipment and small arms.

Next week I shall be carrying on the exercise, but with a twist.

Image Credits:
www.cvce.eu, dailymail.co.uk, www.aworldtowin.net, thecoldwaryearswadek.weebly.com and dailynewshungary.com