Monday, July 13, 2015

Fall of France, XI: Nimrods All the Way Down

This rubs me the wrong way. I'm not sure the subtext is as pro-Nazi as I perceive it to be, but, for me, the perception is there. 

Now, this?

I'd explain in detail, but it wouldn't be Very Serious and Scholarly. So here's the Wikipedia links. Jump on board if Clobbering Time's your thing. 1, 2, 34.*

No more obliqueness. It's time to Put a Clobbering on Global Warming!

Never mind. That's probably getting too non-oblique, far too many leaps of logic all at once. I'm talking here about counterfactuals of 1940. I've done so before, in a whimsical way. Some time later, I returned to the subject when provoked by one of those books that manages to be usefully and provocatively wrong. The Foresight War is a "counterfactual" of World War II which, inexplicably, gets the British Expeditionary Force out of the Battle of France, while focussing on important prewar changes to the interwar trajectory. You know, like getting it an assault rifle. 

I have danced around the real counterfactual before, although I can't find it in my older posts in the time I am willing to commit to the exercise, and, anyway, it is a really, really simple point that bears repeating.

On 10 May 1940, when the balloon went up, there were 7 infantry divisions under the BEF, plus one in strategic reserve in France, plus one rotated under French command in the Maginot Line garrison, plus three divisions brought over as for construction work, plus one created new during the fighting from reinforcement depot troops. Depending on who you're blowing smoke for, you might get away with saying that the BEF actually present in France on the day that the German offensive began was 7 divisions, or 12. Or, heck, 13. I think it's perfectly fair for a historian of the German army to focus on the latter. After all, some of the attacking German armies were at least as unready to fight as the "labour" divisions called into the line to join the BEF. If, on the other hand, you want to emphasise just how small the British land contribution was, the "7" number is equally useful. Even if the GHQ-bound 5th Division was released to the BEF the moment the fighting started, the fact is that on 9 May, the GHQ in Arras thought that it was going to lose the division to a peripheral fight in Norway, and the details of its return to the fight had a disproportionate impact on the BEF's mobile forces.**

The point being made by the latter strawman is that Britain, because it was "small," or because it had a large navy, or because of Culture or as a Matter of Historical and Political Tradition (Cromwell! Boo!), just couldn't have a sufficiently large army to influence matters on the continent. It was pointless to try, and the optimum strategy in Avalon Hill's Third Reich, which is (I'm told) to send the entire BEF to Egypt to wipe out the Italian Empire in North Africa, actually makes sense.

Enough delaying the counterfactual turn is after the cut.

On 10 May 1940, the deployment of the BEF's first armoured division, and of its fourth corps, of three aditional infantry divisions, was less than a month away. That's 7/8/9/12/13 divisions against 11/12/16/17. 

We usually count 117 French divisions, 22 Belgian, 10 Dutch and 2 Polish divisions in the Allied Order of Battle on 10 May 1940, although this involves enough special pleading that I'm surprised that we don't see "Luxembourg 1/3" in the list. (Incidentally, the Dutch units mobilised in Zeeland were still fighting at the Armistice.) 

Anyway, the point is that "17" against 151 is a lot. It's not "pulling the Commonwealth's demographic weight" a lot, but it's a lot. It's far from necessarily enough to make a difference in the Battle of France, but if we grant that the Battle of France was a near thing --I know, I know, but do pleasse concede me this for the sake of the argument, which, after all, is as logical as any circular argument can be-- it might well be enough. 

It might have taken some time to get the whole of 4th Corps over. Historically, 4th Corps began to move on 6 June, in an attempt to reinforce the "second BEF." First Canadian and 52 (Lowland) Division both had advanced guards entrained for the action on 8 June, but although they did not actually do any fighting, being reversed and quick marched back to Blighty when the Germans broke through on the Seine. The original third and final division of 4th Corps, the fyrd of Wessex, was replaced at the last minute by 3 Division, reconstituted and re-equipped with incredible speed after Dunquerque, but not to the point of embarking from Britain.  So, maybe it would have taken a week or two to get them over. 

A month's delay in Fall Gelb? A mop-up spring offensive against Poland's Rumanian Bridgehead redoubt would have covered it. Had Stalin not been greedy, had he not sent the Red Army in to seize his share of the Polish loot, it might have made the difference. That, and that alone: much more interesting, though, is the question of whether 4th Corps could have been on the scene a little quicker. That's a matter of British policy. 

On August 2, 1870, after a long campaign of reform, and with the shocking Franco-Prussian War at hand to inspire parliamentarians to concentration, Lord Cardwell's blueprint for a new British army passed the House. Combined with Lord Haldane's reforms of 1905 (and apparently those of Lord Childers, in the 1880s, who doesn't get any press), these gave the British army a form which held in 1914, and, approximately, held in 1939/40. The headline figures you need are these: 19 regiments of cavalry, 143 batteries of artillery, 135 battalions of infantry, 8 tank battalions, and 8 independent artillery companies. One third of these were deployed in India at any time to deal with any repetition of the "Indian Mutiny" (I'm not sure how it can be a "mutiny" when you're obeying your legal sovereign, the Mughal emperor, but never mind) amongst Indian forces numbering 96 infantry battalions, 18 regiments of cavalry, 18 batteries of Mountain Artillery, 4 pioneer corps, and the Indian Signals, Service, Ordnance, and Railway Corps. An officer corps of 3031 British and 697 Indian officers, and it just so happened that in this arrangement, India carried the cost of one-third of the British army's payroll --up to and including the pensions being paid in England to veterans decades out of the service.

Seems fair to me. And although sweet justice came in 1939 with the realisation that Britain would have to foot the bill to modernise the Indian Army, that bill was not paid in peacetime, and as a result we may have got the Holocaust. Bad business all around then. I'm almost beginning to suspect that Niall Ferguson is wrong and that the British Empire wasn't a good idea.

The Cardwell/Haldane concept here is that from now (August 1870) on, if the Continentals got excitable and London thought it was a good idea to get involved, it would be able to quickly send over 7 infantry and 1 1/3 large cavalry divisions, with another 10 infantry and 3 more normal cavalry divisions to follow. The weirdness of the cavalry divisions comes from the fact that it's harder to fit cavalry into the one-in-India-two-at-home rotational pattern than infantry. When the cavalry was all turned into armour, the result was that the British Mobile Division of 1938 was huge, with Liddell Hart famously managing to turn this into an argument that the British Army wasn't tank-curious enough, or something, instead of pointing to the origins of the order of battle in the rotation policy.

You will notice the recurrence of "17s" here. It's not entirely accidental. Here! A table! (Cutting and pasting from my old writing has produced weird footnotes, but I'm going to go with it.)

Table 1: War Office Expenditure and Strength (£millions and 000s Personnel)[i]




Reserves Pay

Vote A Strength


Suppl Reserve

Territorial Army

British Forces in India



























































































































































































[i].The first figure is the Gross estimate, that is, the army budget inclusive of appropriations-in-aid from other ministries spent on army services including the costs of operations in the Middle East as projected in the annual army estimates released in spring for the upcoming fiscal year running 1 April–30 March. “Pay” is actually the “maintenance of the standing army” vote and includes warlike stores until 1923–4. Warlike stores is the total spent on weapons and munitions and explicitly excludes fuel, clothing, and victuals. Vote A is the total authorised army strength exclusive of British troops on the Indian establishment, but inclusive of Indian troops on the British establishment. British troops on the Indian establishment includes troops in Burma and (until 1932) Aden. Colonial and Indian forces included under Vote A reached a high of 4,287 in 1927–8 and another high of 5,249 in 1939. See United Kingdom, House of Commons, Sessional Papers, “Army Estimates,” 1924–5, 17:1ff; Ibid, 1925–6, 18:1ff; Ibid, 1926–7, 14:1ff; Ibid, 1927–8, 11ff; Ibid, 1929–30, 11:19ff; Ibid, 19:1ff; Ibid, 1930–1, 15:1ff; Ibid, 1933–4, 17:1ff; Ibid, 1934–5, 17:1ff; Ibid, 1935–6, 13:1ff; Ibid, 1936–7, 17:1ff; Ibid, 1937–8, 17:1ff; 1938–9, 17:1ff; Ibid, 1939–40, 17:1ff.
[ii].This figure covers mobilisation of reserves to work as replacements during a dockers’ strike.
[iii].The Supplementary Reserve was re-established during this fiscal year.
[iv].This figure covers mobilisation of 10,000 reservists to cover the needs of an expeditionary force sent to China.
[v].This increase reflects the resumption of normal recruitment with reserve obligation after 7 years in 1920.

As you can see, the actual manpower composition of the British Army didn't change that much over the years. The greater part of the men needed to deploy that "17" divisions, plus however we end up sorting out the cavalry/armour, are carried on the books each and every year from 1870 to, well, Munich. 

Because here's a table that's appeared on this blog before, but not when I was talking about the Battle of France, but rather postblogging technology. It's from a leading article in the 8 July 1939 The Economist: 

Leaders: “Marshalling Man Power:” On Sunday, the King and Queen reviewed a march past of twenty thousand representatives of the two million men and women who have volunteered for service in the nation’s home defences. On Monday, the Ministry of Labour's estimate had a record 12,810,000 million people working in employment and agriculture in Great Britain. And yet still we need more manpower!

Table 1: The Armed Forces

Air Force
Reserves and Auxiliaries
*Excluding, as we like to do, “the army in India and Burma," another 45,000 or so.

So the army has by this count 204,000 regulars, 139,000 Regular Reserves, 35,000 Supplementary Reserves, and 410,000 Territorials, soon to be supplemented by 220,000 National Militia, to be called up in batches of 20,000 for six month’s training over the next twelve months. 170,000 Territorials have been recruited in the last two-and-a-half months.

I'm trying to affect the voice of someone reading the news in 1939 in the text above: if you don't care about the conceit of my "Postblogging Technology" series, then try to ignore that, and imagine that it's The Economist, or the British financial establishment, or even the Prime Minister speaking. Back pats all around, because it's two months to go to the beginning of the war, ten months to Fall Gelb. 

And the army has 833,000 men. It's really, really hard to believe that 17 infantry divisions and 4 1/3 armoured divisions are out of reach, ten months out. But they are! Let's look at a comparison here, at what has changed. None of this will be new to the regular reader of this blog, but perhaps the numbers will be interesting enough to make up for the lack of novelty.  

On August 8, 1914, Lord Grey and his cabinet declared war on Germany. According to the departmental estimates his Secretary of State for War had submitted to Parliament earlier in the spring, the army he committed  to European war numbered 242,600 regulars (78,500 off the books in India, and including 8600 colonial and Indian troops). Mobilised to support them were 460,700 assorted reservist, including 146,700 in the Army Reserve, 63,000 in the Special Reserve, and 251,000 in the Territorial Army and Yeomanry. As usual, although there were 711,600 men  to send, the estimates provided committed Parliament to pay 803,000 provided they would only present themselves for recruiting.  Off the War Office books were some 200,000 Indian army regulars and regular army reserve, but in the end, the numbers boiled down to 1 1/3 cavalry and 4 infantry divisions deploying into line at Maubeuge on 14 August.  An additional 2 infantry and 1 2/3 cavalry divisions followed over the next six months, and India deployed 5 separate expeditionary forces throughout Africa and the Middle East in the first six months of the year.

By contrast,  in 1940 it took more than 4 months for the full infantry component to reach the front, and 8 months for the armoured division. That is, just to emphasise, compared to the 6 days of  1914. Even 4th Corps was in place in France before the end of the tenth month of war in 1914, although it is very hard to compare orders of battle between the two wars. 

What really rankled in 1939 was this slowness of deployment, and in spite of the huge ramp-up in the Army Estimates in 1937--39. How did such an enormous gap emerge between the performance of 1914 and 1939?

The most obvious difference between the BEF of 1914 and that of 1939 was the replacement of cavalry with armour, but we're not going to go there today.Infantry changes are almost as deep. So deep, in fact, that the apparent similarity between the two BEFs in numerical strength, in numbers and in units, even in personal equipment, actually underlines the actual magnitude of that change. They were two armies, each of 4 divisions of infantry of around 18,000 men (if the reader will grant me a light touch in handling changes in divisional establishment), and the riflemen shouldered virtually identical bolt-action rifles. The field guns were very similar, the medium machine gun even more so, the fact that the MMGs were concentrated in machine gun battalions rather than parcelled out to the infantry battalions being a trivial organisational change. It would take a very close look to see that every tenth rifleman of 1939 was carrying, not a rifle, but a slightly futuristic-looking automatic weapon, the Bren Light Machine Gun. But this close look reveals a chasm. The army of 1914 was not just mostly rifle-armed infantry. It was built around the rifle and bayonet. Its tactics and organisation revolved around the closely analysed fire effect of the rifle platoon. In 1939, there were platoons of riflemen, but not rifle platoons. The new tactical basis was the infantry section of 11 men and a Bren gun. The Bren was the “base of fire,” manned by two men. The 8 riflemen were tasked with supporting the Bren gun (the 11th man was a pistol or later submachine gun-armed section leader), while platoon volley fire tactics no longer existed. This was part of a technical/industrial change that made WWII different at its core, and transformed the very basis of British strategy, beginning in the first week of September, 1939.[i]

Through the first week of August 1914 the BEF  flowed smoothly and continuously through Southern Railway’s Southampton dock and onto the Channel packets at a peak rate of 1 troop train every ten minutes, 1 rifle company to a train. Each company had its rifles, fieldpack, and uniform, a cloth cap and greatcoat for each man, 2 days field ration, and 50 rounds of ammunition.. Had the situation on the continent gone sour and the Germans penetrated beyond the BEF’s proposed place and time of concentration (Maubeuge, 8 August), it would have been able to fight the Germans anywhere it found them along the track. As the individual troop train reached the deployment point, it would have been flagged down by a staff officer, who would have given the officer commanding the company his directions, and the company would have swung down from the train and marched forward into battle, ready for action in every particular. Whether deployment could have been so smooth may be doubted, but there is no doubt that the company was ready to fight, in fair weather or foul. Gradually over the interwar years, that robust company became first an endangered species, than an ideal to be regained, and finally a fairy tale of past days, and this evolution began with the LMG –the awkward old Lewis gun, it must be admited. Infantry equipped with Lewis guns simply could not, for all the efforts that tactical reformers put into the project, carry their other requirements. The greatcoat was abandoned first. Hopefully the weather would be good at the front. But the dangers of this omission were clearly recognised, and anyway frontline tactical leaders wanted a grenade thrower of some kind to clear hollows and search over buildings in urban fighting. Others asked for antitank weapons. In the end, if the troops needed transport to carry their great coats anyway, how could one deny them the supporting weapons they needed to fight a modern battle? By 1939 each company had 4 21lb Boys Antitank Rifle, 4 19lb 2" mortar, and 5 radios, but that was still not enough for it to fight by itself. A  3" mortar throwing a 10lb bomb seemed called for, even though it weighed no less than 126lbs. Fortunately Sir Wilfrid Stokes of Ransomes had long since solved the problem of breaking trench mortars into man portable weapons. All the company needed were men who could carry the 43lb, 45lb and 38lb segments –and an adequate supply of ammunition. It also seemed clear that British infantry could no longer be expected to fight without armoured support. They might have tanks, to be sure, but they could be an awfully remote comfort. A more basic and reliable support was arranged  --10 3 ton armoured Bren gun carriers per battalion, each, of course, with a Bren gun, although antitank rifles were also available. Antiair protection was also provided at battalion level, in the form of a 6 Bren AA machine gun platoon, and finally a more powerful antitank bulwark, 2 antitank guns attached to battalion headquarters.

If these seem like trivial, tactical details, they are not. The BEF went to war in 1914 each battalion in 4 trains of 8 passenger cars, plus a few goods trains of flat cars to carry the artillery and a surprisingly large number of cattle cars to embark 5,192 horses, including 120 sabres of divisional cavalry. Virtually the whole fighting force could unload itself, with a little manhandling, the exception being a mere 6 5 ton 60 pounder guns and their 7.5 ton tractors, little enough for the division’s 420 engineers to handle. Rail movements could be based on the assumption that, if required, the whole BEF could be unloaded and deployed from sidings, and the embarkation schedule did not have to schedule crane time because the division hardly needed any cranes to embark ship. By contrast, the 1939 divisions was armed for a new kind of war. It typically possessed, 27 25mm AT guns, 48 2 pounder (40mm) AT, 36 Bofors 40mm AA, 72 18/25 pounder (88mm) gun-howitzers, 1200 vehicles, 22 8 ton light tanks and 200 3 ton armoured carriers. Under its direct control the BEF disposed of a substantial medium artillery (60 pounders and 6" (155mm) howitzers) a small inventory of heavy guns (10 ton 9.2" howitzers and 2 12"), and the enormous 11.2 ton 3.7" AA guns, and 24 ton Infantry Tanks A12 Mark II Matildas. This force could hardly embark or disembark without booking every crane in Southampton for weeks on end, and it goes without saying that it could not unload at a siding, at least in a tactically reasonable length of time. Fortunately or unfortunately, the idea of deploying the entire BEF by rail was no more likely. In WWI, the whole BEF moved in not more than 600 locomotives and 4800 cars. In 1939 the numbers were probably triple this, far beyond the capacity of even the French rail network. But there is more, far more. The 420 field engineers of 1914 marched on foot. They used hand tools for construction and dynamite for demolition, and built obstacles with shovels and axes. A bridging train could be carried in wagons, and the heaviest load it had to take was that 7.5 ton tractor. In WWII a divisional engineer force numbered 1000, and came with compressor trucks, machinery lorries, truck winches, and carried 2.5 tons of demolition explosives with it. A railcar could hardly carry enough barbed wire for a company position, nor a 3 ton lorry sufficient mines. Bridges had to be able to support 24 ton tanks. Ammunition demands had increased enormously. The volley weight of the infantry division’s artillery had almost doubled from 1800lb to 3472lb, and the a Bren gun could fire off the  2500 rounds issued to a 1914 infantry platoon as a 2 day ration in under 10 minutes. Every round was necessary, too. WWI had taught the bitter lesson that a single LMG lurking in an apparently empty field could wipe out an entire company before its commander had time to realise his mistake. The new division went into battle with 300 radios so that every company could call in a saturation barrage before crossing that field –and if this was too much ammunition for even the warfare of 1939, he could call in armour instead, burning POL all the while. It all added up to an enormous supply load. 

From the surface 1939 was 1914 all over again. (Except that planners had looked at the logistics, decided that all of this additional weight wasn't nearly enough of a handicap, and decided to change the British base of operations in France from the admittedly vulnerable Channel Ports to the Atlantic ports south of Normandy.) In reality, in a way that few suspected, in a way that had already transformed the basis of British strategy, everything had changed. From tactics to logistics, the division of 1939 was profoundly different, heavier, and more ponderous if appropriate logistical support was not forthcoming.[ii]

So all the money, all the investment, was not enough. But 4th Corps was only a month late. The tone of self-congratulation in The Economist leader cited above isn't entirely fatuous. The fixes are at the edge. Throw another, oh, say, ten millions on the Estimate from 1937, and the BEF could have carried its weight in May of 1940. I've trembled around the edges of talking about this before, and I've been provoked to return to it by the dual inspirations of Robin Prior's recent somewhat revisionist When Britain Saved the West and by the Great Vancouver Drought of 2015. Prior is an old time Chamberlainphobe, of the kind I thought we'd got away from. Recognising that the PM was the man whose unorthodox finance pulled Britain out of the Slump and prepared it for war, we have perhaps lost sight of the fact that he was very much a man of the prewar Economist. Up to the last minute and, if we trust Prior's analysis, beyond it, he was rearming to prevent war, not to fight it. It's that attitude that led him to withhold that last, crucial few pounds sterling from the balance when it mattered (because of the deficit, you see). Leo Amery famously called on the Prime Minister to "go" in the Nonconfidence vote that brought down the ministry and brought Churchill in to save the West, all his faults and foibles notwithstanding. But on 14 to 15 November, 1939, Lord Keynes had already made his own effort, writing first in The Times on "How to Pay for the War," then in an 88 page pamphlet, rushed into print, excited, and uncustomarily sloppy, beginning, unfortunately, with a peroration that is entirely a quotation before getting all dry. So, with a nod, first of all, to the generous digitisation efforts of the State Library of Victoria in the Commonwealth of Australia:

What I intend now to say to you, is, next to your Duty to God, and the Care of your Salvation, of the greatest Concern to your selves, and your Children; your Bread and Cloathing, and every common Necessary of Life entirely depend upon it. Therefore I do most earnestly exhort you as Men, as Christians, as Parents, and as Lovers of your Country, to read this Paper with the utmost Attention, or get it read to you by others ; which that you may do at the less Expence, I have ordered the Printer to sell it at the lowest Rate. It is a great Fault among you, that when a Person writes with no other Intention than to do you good, you will not be at the Pains to read his Advices: One Copy of this Paper may serve a Dozen of you, whichwill be less than a Farthinga-piece. It is your Folly that you have no common or general Interest in your View, not even the Wisest among you, neither do you know or enquire, or care who are your Friends, or who are your Enemies. (From the Drapier’s First Letter—1724) -I

Thiis is a discussion of how best to reconcile the demands of War and the claims of private consumption. In three articles published in The Times last November I put forward a first draft of proposals under the description of “ Compulsory Savings.” It was not to be expected that a new plan of this character would be received with enthusiasm. But it was not rejected either by experts or by the public. No-one has suggested anything better. ~ That public opinion was, as yet, not ready for such ideas, was the usual criticism. And this was obviously true. Nevertheless a time must come when the necessities of a war economy are realised; and there is much evidence for the belief that the public are not so behiiiid~liand. Amongst the manifold comments provoked there were some valuable suggestions. In the ~ revised draft here set forth in ampler detail I have taken advantage of these. In the first version I was mainly concerned with questions of financial technique and did not secure the full gain in social justice for which this technique opened the way. In this revision, therefore, I have endeavoured to snatch from the exigency of war positive social improvements. The complete scheme now proposed, including universal family allowances in cash, the accumulation of workingclass wealth under working-class control, a cheap ration of necessaries, and a capital levy (or tax) after the war, embodies an advance towards Di iv PREFACE economic equality greater than any which we have made in recent times. There should be no paradox in this. The sacrifices required by war direct more urgent attention than before to sparing them where they can be least afforded. A plan like this cannot be fairly judged except against an alternative. But so far we have had no hint what alternative is in view. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has recently explained to the House of Commons that he is seeking to prevent a rise of wages by subsidising the cost of living. As an ingredient in a comprehensive plan, this is a wise move; something of the kind is recommended in what follows. As a stop-gap arrangement to gain time it is prudent. But taken by itself it is the opposite of a solution. In making money go further it aggravates the problem of reaching equilibrium between the spending power in people’s pockets and what can be released for their consumption. 
(The rest of How to Pay for the War is to be found here.) 

I only propose, in this year of 2015, to emend it with the title "How to Pay for Fighting Global Warming."

[i].A great deal might be said of the Bren light machine gun (”Bren” from Brno-Enfield, a combined design of the Czech and British arsenals in these cities) but it boils down to the fact that at 8.7kg --the weight of two gallons of milk-- and 108cm (1 yard) length, it was easily portable, and that it could fire off its equally convenient 30 and 50 round magazines in either a very short burst, or nurse them for minutes in selective bursts, making its gunner and loader in effect, a rifle platoon shrunk down to the size of single sniper (J. I. H. Owen, Nato Infantry and its Weapons [London: Brassey’s, 1976]: 76). In retrospect the amazing thing is not that the Germans, French, Russians, Italians, Japanese, and virtually every other power had their equivalents to the Bren, but that the United States Army did not, continuing instead to depend on the technically excellent but tactically inadequate (as LMG!) Browning Automatic Rifle.
[ii].WWI establishment detail from James Edmonds, History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium, 1914, Vol. 1 (London: Macmillan, 1937): 31–3, 486–7; bridging information and identification of the 1914 division’s limiting weight, see Brevet Lt. Colonel Arthur Penrose Sayer, Special Lecture on “Military Bridging,” (London: Institute of Civil Engineers, 1934): 4–5; 1939 establishment information from Gregory Blaxland,  Destination Dunkirk: The Story of Gort’s Army (London: W. Kimber, 1973), 389; Blaxland, Alexander’s Generals: The Italian Campaign, 1944–45 (London: W. Kimber, 1979): 34; engineering information from “Progress in Field Engineering,” Canadian Defence Quarterly 12 (1934–1935): 420, 425–7; train requirements abstracted from E. St. George Kirke, “Railways in War,” Army Quarterly, [NB]; and analysis also from Sir Wilfred Lindsell, “Administrative Planning on the Theatre Level,” Army Quarterly 55–6 (1947–48): 102.

*It's actually vaguely a serious and relevant matter in that it concerns the Scarlet Witch's (Elizabeth Olsen's character, if you're not hep to whole scene) monstrously misused Mom in a previous retcon, thus the whole Fox/Marvel imbroglio, where Marvel wants its "mutants," and especially Wolverine back, and Fox is, like, "show me the money." Vaguely. In a footnote kind of way. The silly kind of footnote. See, the Quicksilver of X-Men: Days of Future Past could be the Whizzer, and the Elizabeth Olsen Scarlet Witch could be Magneto's grand-daughter? Shut up. It is so a good idea.

**Sorry for burying a Less Silly footnote down here, but this is a point that I think belongs in a footnote: Fifth Division had given up a brigade on its entry into the strategic reserve, which was allocated to the two-brigade 50th Division, but the reason that the 50th Division only had two brigades was that it was a "motorised" division, with two Troop Carrying Companies of trucks, vice one. Without additional trucks, never mind the invention of a lot more road space to support them, a three brigade 50th Division was no longer "motorised."

1 comment:

  1. The State Library of Victoria digitised material links don't work, you have to use the persistent link. For "How To Pay For The War" that is