in retreat

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in retreat

Joined: July 14th, 2005, 3:57 pm

September 1st, 2007, 1:04 am #1

i just finished reading IN RETREAT The Canadian Forces in the Troudeau years byGerald Porter and i could not believe the b******t the forces went through with Troudeau...........i mean in june 1976 having 106 generals (1 for every 107 privates) the privates were outnumbered by the corporals 2 to 1, 1200 colonels, and 1 officer for every 4 1/2 men. then disbanding 5 english speaking units ( the black watch,queens own rifles of canada,fort gary horse,canadian guards and 4th regiment of the royal canadian horse artillery) to make room for FLU's (french speaking units) what a load of bull....................this is a great book and i sugest to all to read it if they can.

cheers all

Ted
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

September 1st, 2007, 3:40 am #2

The French-Language units strike me as a particularly excellent way of making better use of a major proportion of the Canadian population - not just in Quebec but anywhere that significant francophone representation is present, such as in Manitoba, for example. In the First World War, Canada had only one French-speaking unit due to francophobic policies. In the Second World War, plans for an all-French brigade were scuppered by a lack of adequately prepared staff officers; there were also shortages of manuals and training aids in the French language. Not that recruiting was as popular in Quebec as it was in English Canada, but I think they did their fair share, if not more.

Jean Allard oversaw the first FLUs and unless I'm mistaken was generally praised for this, even if he was seen as weak in kowtowing to the idea of Unification - I think the suggestion was that as a francophone, the FLUs were used to soothe him into accepting the changeover from Army to Mobile Command, which he served as the first commander of IIRC before becoming the first CDS.

Why would you suggest that Canada should not have French language units? Has the English-speaking army been so healthy in terms of manpower, historically speaking, that we can assume they are unimportant?
Michael Dorosh
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

September 1st, 2007, 3:45 am #3

i just finished reading IN RETREAT The Canadian Forces in the Troudeau years byGerald Porter and i could not believe the b******t the forces went through with Troudeau...........i mean in june 1976 having 106 generals (1 for every 107 privates) the privates were outnumbered by the corporals 2 to 1, 1200 colonels, and 1 officer for every 4 1/2 men. then disbanding 5 english speaking units ( the black watch,queens own rifles of canada,fort gary horse,canadian guards and 4th regiment of the royal canadian horse artillery) to make room for FLU's (french speaking units) what a load of bull....................this is a great book and i sugest to all to read it if they can.

cheers all

Ted
I think any comments on Corporals outnumbering Privates need to take into account the post-unification status of the rank of corporal. It is not a command rank. In fact, in the current system post 1968, it is a grade of private. A payraise, in effect. The corporal does have limited authority over no rank and one-chevron privates, and can recommend - but not lay - charges. He is also given minor supervisory tasks and similar "duties as assigned." But for most intents and purposes, it represents a soldier with advanced trades training and - in general - no supervisory role. So in a healthy army, you would actually EXPECT the corporals to outnumber the privates; it means you have experienced junior NCMs in the ranks ready to make the next step to command rank (or in this case, the appointment of Master Corporal).

Before unification, a corporal in 1967 was given the supervisory duties and authority of a post-1968 sergeant (but without the mess privileges).
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

September 1st, 2007, 3:52 am #4

i just finished reading IN RETREAT The Canadian Forces in the Troudeau years byGerald Porter and i could not believe the b******t the forces went through with Troudeau...........i mean in june 1976 having 106 generals (1 for every 107 privates) the privates were outnumbered by the corporals 2 to 1, 1200 colonels, and 1 officer for every 4 1/2 men. then disbanding 5 english speaking units ( the black watch,queens own rifles of canada,fort gary horse,canadian guards and 4th regiment of the royal canadian horse artillery) to make room for FLU's (french speaking units) what a load of bull....................this is a great book and i sugest to all to read it if they can.

cheers all

Ted
The disbandments have also caused heartache, but in the end, the Army didn't lose much at the time (tradition notwithstanding).

The Canadian Airborne Regiment was actually added to the order of battle as the other regiments were disbanding. But bear in mind that as the Cdn Guards, QOR and RHR were disbanding, other battalions of the RCR, PPCLI and R22eR were standing up.

Our regiment just ordered 10 new hair sporrans, of the type issued to corporals (of which we have many). They are 500 dollars apiece. The regiment has 250 glengarries on issue currently to all ranks, at 90 dollars a pop. Keeping two battalions of a regular force Highland Regiment outfitted with kilt, hair sporran, purse sporran, hosetops, glengarry, special tailoring on DEU tunics...our ex-Black Watch finance officer rolled his eyes as he saw the invoice and simply said, not two nights ago "Now you know why they disbanded the Watch."

I am aware of the conspiracy theories about killing ties to Britain and the Americanization of our army, etc. Some of it makes sense, but the Watch still lives on in Montreal - where it belongs, some might say - and the Queen's Own are firmly at home in Toronto. They always had Militia battalions throughout the brief Reg Force flirtations brought about by Guy Simonds. Ditto the Fort Garries.

Don't know what to say about 4RCHA - didn't they go to the SSF in some guise?

Overall, it wasn't as large a travesty as it is sometimes painted. Vietnam shook the United States, and by extension Canada. Its too bad; I think the Cold War was a great victory, and it was won partly in Vietnam, and partly on the North German Plain. But it smashed the traditions of two great armies - the US and the Canadian - both of which are still recovering in many ways. But whether 3 RCR is called that or 2 Black Watch seems beside the point.
Michael Dorosh
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Joined: November 22nd, 2000, 12:29 am

September 1st, 2007, 4:36 am #5

I always thought that 3 RCR was ex-2 Cdn Gds, at least most of those that I knew in the early 1970s were ex-Cdn Gds.
I don't think that it is a coincidence that it was Guards, Rifles and Highland Regiments that were disbanded while Line and Light Infantry were maintained. Budget, after all, often trumps all other considerations. Seniority had little to do with it as both the PPCLI and the R22eR can only claim a history back to 1914-1918. I have no doubt that consideration was given to following the Australian model where there would be multiple battalions of a Royal Canadian Regiment (a la Royal Australian Regt) but this would not have sold well in Quebec.
As to FLU - Wake up!! This country is founded on a 'duality' whereby French and English hold equal standing. Because of the strong ties with Britain the French half of this duality was ignored until after Korea.
Nonetheless, we live in a confederation which origially consisted of Upper and Lower Canadas. When 1867 rolled around and the modern version of Canada was formed it consisted of 6 provinces - yet French Canada has always maintained that it continued to represent half of the union (not 1/6). Additional provinces joined confederation but Quebec still maintained that this did not dilute their position. No surprise then that Quebec claims a higher position 'as the French portion of Canada' than its standing would be expected as just one of ten provinces. Even at that, we must recognize that French-Canada is not limited to Quebec but includes New Brunswick, and large portions of Ontario and Alberta.
As a fully-bilingual Canadian my experience has been that the most vocal anti-Quebecers (i.e., anti-French) are those who have emigrated to Canada since 1920 (and their descendants) and who have opted to view Canada in the most narrow of definitions - one which saw the English as the ruling class, the Scots as entrepreneurs, the Irish as labourers (when sober) and the French as trappers/hunters. This is not my view. Both languages, and their cultures, when combined, are a foundation to the current 'Canadian-ness' which is the envy of the world. Both of my kids are fluently bilingual and this only enhances their opportunities in life, after all, language is just a medium of communication.
Rant over. Its past midnight and the 4 beers I just had at my 'local' are wearing off (actually, I need to go pee). Bon soir, bonne nuit.





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Dave Hiorth
Dave Hiorth

September 1st, 2007, 2:06 pm #6

The disbandments have also caused heartache, but in the end, the Army didn't lose much at the time (tradition notwithstanding).

The Canadian Airborne Regiment was actually added to the order of battle as the other regiments were disbanding. But bear in mind that as the Cdn Guards, QOR and RHR were disbanding, other battalions of the RCR, PPCLI and R22eR were standing up.

Our regiment just ordered 10 new hair sporrans, of the type issued to corporals (of which we have many). They are 500 dollars apiece. The regiment has 250 glengarries on issue currently to all ranks, at 90 dollars a pop. Keeping two battalions of a regular force Highland Regiment outfitted with kilt, hair sporran, purse sporran, hosetops, glengarry, special tailoring on DEU tunics...our ex-Black Watch finance officer rolled his eyes as he saw the invoice and simply said, not two nights ago "Now you know why they disbanded the Watch."

I am aware of the conspiracy theories about killing ties to Britain and the Americanization of our army, etc. Some of it makes sense, but the Watch still lives on in Montreal - where it belongs, some might say - and the Queen's Own are firmly at home in Toronto. They always had Militia battalions throughout the brief Reg Force flirtations brought about by Guy Simonds. Ditto the Fort Garries.

Don't know what to say about 4RCHA - didn't they go to the SSF in some guise?

Overall, it wasn't as large a travesty as it is sometimes painted. Vietnam shook the United States, and by extension Canada. Its too bad; I think the Cold War was a great victory, and it was won partly in Vietnam, and partly on the North German Plain. But it smashed the traditions of two great armies - the US and the Canadian - both of which are still recovering in many ways. But whether 3 RCR is called that or 2 Black Watch seems beside the point.
Tell your Fin O that you are getting ripped off at $90 each for glens. I retail them for $30 and wholesale them for less than that even in quantity.
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D. Townend
D. Townend

September 2nd, 2007, 3:48 am #7

The disbandments have also caused heartache, but in the end, the Army didn't lose much at the time (tradition notwithstanding).

The Canadian Airborne Regiment was actually added to the order of battle as the other regiments were disbanding. But bear in mind that as the Cdn Guards, QOR and RHR were disbanding, other battalions of the RCR, PPCLI and R22eR were standing up.

Our regiment just ordered 10 new hair sporrans, of the type issued to corporals (of which we have many). They are 500 dollars apiece. The regiment has 250 glengarries on issue currently to all ranks, at 90 dollars a pop. Keeping two battalions of a regular force Highland Regiment outfitted with kilt, hair sporran, purse sporran, hosetops, glengarry, special tailoring on DEU tunics...our ex-Black Watch finance officer rolled his eyes as he saw the invoice and simply said, not two nights ago "Now you know why they disbanded the Watch."

I am aware of the conspiracy theories about killing ties to Britain and the Americanization of our army, etc. Some of it makes sense, but the Watch still lives on in Montreal - where it belongs, some might say - and the Queen's Own are firmly at home in Toronto. They always had Militia battalions throughout the brief Reg Force flirtations brought about by Guy Simonds. Ditto the Fort Garries.

Don't know what to say about 4RCHA - didn't they go to the SSF in some guise?

Overall, it wasn't as large a travesty as it is sometimes painted. Vietnam shook the United States, and by extension Canada. Its too bad; I think the Cold War was a great victory, and it was won partly in Vietnam, and partly on the North German Plain. But it smashed the traditions of two great armies - the US and the Canadian - both of which are still recovering in many ways. But whether 3 RCR is called that or 2 Black Watch seems beside the point.
I was there, saw a heck of a lot of it, and it wasn't pretty.

In early 1968 all Army officers in Montreal were ordered to attend a briefing at FMC HQ at 7pm or should I say 1900hrs one evening. The Commander FMC was MGEN WAB Andersen. After the briefing on unification, he wandered through the groups of officers and stopped at the one I was in to ask if we had any comments. He got an earful and most of it was 'how could you and the other generals allow this to happen' His response was it was up to us junior officers to fight it. Not exactly inspiring but it gave the impression that the generals had their positions and would not fight the changes.

Regarding the Cpl/Pte numbers. It is said that Paul Hellyer was shocked to see so many Ptes and so few Corporals. He believed that the Ptes were being held down by the rank structure design. The Personnel world came up with the idea that the Corporal was really a 'journeyman tradesman', one who had taken all the basic training for his trade and could perform competently with minimal supervision. In other words, fully qualified to perform his basic trade but not a supervisor. All unit establishments were amended accordingly to show positions formerly for Pte to be shown Cpl/Pte but now there was a problem in that formerly the Corporal rank was the first level of supervision. Out came the Master Corporal rank and all that it entailed. This destroyed plans for a rank structure with just five levels - Pte, Cpl, Sgt, WO2 and WO1 which is what the Navy had and the Army and Air Force had embraced.

Note that within the oficer rank structure, unit establishments were amended to read Capt/Lt for all junior officer positions unless a case could be made for a position to be a hard Captain position.

Regarding French language, the biggest problem to swallow was that where Francophone soldiers were serving in non-FLU units, eg: all units in western Canada, all establishment positions in the rank structure above that soldier must be filled by bilingual or French speaking officers and NCOs. As many Francophone soldiers did not want to serve in Quebec, desiring to see Canada, this ruling made it doubly difficult to find qualified French speaking NCOs and Officers to fill unit establishments.

It was fun in those days and just to add to the fun was the arrival of women in most trades and unionization of the civilian employees. No training for the military supervisors either.

We survived.
DT.
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D. Townend
D. Townend

September 2nd, 2007, 12:11 pm #8

Regarding the Corporal as a 'journeyman tradesman' in addition to all the training he/she had to have worked in the trade four years before promotion to Cpl.

Regarding the Francophone soldiers serving outside Quebec, delete 'rank structure above' and insert 'chain of command up to and including the CO'.

DT.
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Michael W. (Mick) Stewart
Michael W. (Mick) Stewart

September 3rd, 2007, 7:33 pm #9

The disbandments have also caused heartache, but in the end, the Army didn't lose much at the time (tradition notwithstanding).

The Canadian Airborne Regiment was actually added to the order of battle as the other regiments were disbanding. But bear in mind that as the Cdn Guards, QOR and RHR were disbanding, other battalions of the RCR, PPCLI and R22eR were standing up.

Our regiment just ordered 10 new hair sporrans, of the type issued to corporals (of which we have many). They are 500 dollars apiece. The regiment has 250 glengarries on issue currently to all ranks, at 90 dollars a pop. Keeping two battalions of a regular force Highland Regiment outfitted with kilt, hair sporran, purse sporran, hosetops, glengarry, special tailoring on DEU tunics...our ex-Black Watch finance officer rolled his eyes as he saw the invoice and simply said, not two nights ago "Now you know why they disbanded the Watch."

I am aware of the conspiracy theories about killing ties to Britain and the Americanization of our army, etc. Some of it makes sense, but the Watch still lives on in Montreal - where it belongs, some might say - and the Queen's Own are firmly at home in Toronto. They always had Militia battalions throughout the brief Reg Force flirtations brought about by Guy Simonds. Ditto the Fort Garries.

Don't know what to say about 4RCHA - didn't they go to the SSF in some guise?

Overall, it wasn't as large a travesty as it is sometimes painted. Vietnam shook the United States, and by extension Canada. Its too bad; I think the Cold War was a great victory, and it was won partly in Vietnam, and partly on the North German Plain. But it smashed the traditions of two great armies - the US and the Canadian - both of which are still recovering in many ways. But whether 3 RCR is called that or 2 Black Watch seems beside the point.
[ "...Overall, it wasn't as large a travesty as it is sometimes painted. Vietnam shook the United States, and by extension Canada. Its too bad; I think the Cold War was a great victory, and it was won partly in Vietnam, and partly on the North German Plain. But it smashed the traditions of two great armies - the US and the Canadian - both of which are still recovering in many ways." ]

Michael:

Superb statement.

The Cold War was an incredible (almost pyrrhic) victory. After the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. Armed Forces were reduced in size (esp during the Clinton Presidency) and we went into a period of complacency without any reasonable, long-term approach to systematic warfare. The "light footprint" from Rumsfeld is excellent for static, long-range guerilla operations but foolish for conventional warfare. The Cold War (unfortunately) cemented the style of warfare COL David Hackworth campaigned against - the "defensive posture" with established bases, conventional barracks, field hospitals, canteens, picture theatres, etc., including "nation building." The Cold War was a victory, but we will now spend the next 10 years (like we did after Vietnam) correcting the post-Cold War problems. Warfare is now unconventional (like Al Queda) and must be fought (IMHO) in a purely unconventional, guerilla-style format. We are also faced with more enemies at home (liberals) than abroad than ever before so long-term, conventional wars are now moot.

/mws/
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

September 3rd, 2007, 9:08 pm #10

Except for the ones that aren't. The invasion of Iraq was certainly well executed; I think future campaigns against China, North Korea or Iran will certainly involve a conventional component - I can see a need to maintain readiness for same - the reality is that you never know which war you will be fighting next. Assuming that the next war will be another Iraq would be as dangerous as presuming in 1979 that the next war to be fought would be another Vietnam. Threats have a nasty way of popping up where you least expect them...

"long term" conventional wars I will agree seem to be a way of the past, but we can see shades of same in the former Yugoslavia or other modern more recent conflicts. I hope we won't see them again, but one really doesn't know.
Last edited by dorosh on September 3rd, 2007, 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Michael Dorosh
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