The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

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Bokkop
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Re: The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

Post by Bokkop » 25 Apr 2020 13:36

The idea that a large, poorly educated and badly equipped mass army could be brought into being from the British Empire is not only logistically and militarily far fetched, but also politically.

From the Statute of Westminster onwards much of the British Empire wasn't for the British to command. For instance the Dominions had to declare war individually, they decided for themselves whether to introduce conscription and what the rules were (e.g. South Africa didn't have any), and that the Dominion Govts had a lot of say on what was done with their armies (I believe that the reason the Canadian Army was in such good shape in 1944 is because their Govt wouldn't allow them to be used in North Africa or Asia, apart from the intial defence of Hong Kong).

Of course some did remain directly ruled.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Apr 2020 15:24

Hi Bokkop,

You raise a very good point. The British Empire was anything but monolithic by 1940.

As you say, South Africa, like the other Dominions except bankrupt Newfoundland, set its own conditions, not least because a significant number of Afrikaaners were not willing to serve by, with or under the British. It therefore raised a volunteer army, largely from its British-descended population (who were less numerous than the Afrikaaners), which initially only had to serve within the African continent. When Italy was invaded, the same men had to be asked again to volunteer to serve outside Africa.

For internal political reasons, South Africa was also unwilling to raise combat units from its own black or coloured populations. Thus, although South Africa had a population of about 12 million, only about a million were tappable for the armed forces, once all the black and coloured populations, and many of the Afrikaaners are discounted. And this million included the elderly, women and children. As a result, only 135,000 South Africans could be raised to serve outside South Africa itself, and in 1940 the first of them were entirely devoted to countering the Italians in East Africa.

Other Dominions made their own strategic decisions, which did not necessarily conform with the desires of London. When Japan entered the war, Australia withdrew all its divisions from the Middle East and none served in Europe. Canada declined to garrison the Falkland Islands after it lost its two battalions in Hong Kong. Canada also couldn't field good part of its initially Vichy-leaning French minority, who mostly served at home or "abroad" in Newfoundland, which was not then part of Canada.

The constitutional position of every British possession was unique. In India the Princely States, who ruled about a third of the Indian population, were nominally independent and had their own armies and officer corps. Only about twenty infantry battalions and a couple of armoured car regiments could be raised from them to sufficient standard for Imperial service.

In East Africa Kenya was a Crown Colony, Tanganyika was a League of Nations Mandate, and Zanzibar a Protectorate. By international law, the armed forces of a League mandated territory (which included, amongst others, South West Africa, a third of Cameroon, Palestine, Northern New Guinea, etc., etc.) could not serve outside their own borders. The armed forces of a protectorate served at the pleasure of the Sultan. For example, the Sultan of Zanzibar had a small navy of two auxiliary vessels that were styled HHS (His Highnesses Ship) and not HMS, as in the Royal Navy. Much of Malaya and North Borneo also consisted of protectorates, or assorted federated and unfederated states. As a result, the British were unable to amalgamate the naval defence forces of Kenya, Tanganyika and Zanzibar to create a more viable, flexible colonial navy in East Africa and only the Kenyan element could (and did) serve outside the area.

And so on...….

So, the British Empire was in no position in 1939 or 1940 to march en masse and in lock-step towards the sound of the guns in Europe. Nor could it ever be.

Cheers,

Sid.

Ружичасти Слон
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Re: The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 26 Apr 2020 12:55

Topic is The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

Professor David Egerton was write
Never Alone

Britain was not 'alone' between June 1940 and June 1941; nor did it believe itself to be. If anything was alone it was the mighty British Empire. But the Empire had allies and trading partners which meant that especially materially it was far from isolated. The Empire was strong; indeed, in some respects, relative to other powers, it was at its strongest in this part of the war. So much so indeed, that it could realistically expect to defeat Germany. Yet the belief that Britain in this period had been alone, and was weak, came to be very important, especially after 1945.1
I was write on 24.april what was say Churchill on 4.june 1940
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty's Government—every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the new world, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
Was be entirely myth for say Btitain was be tiny or was be small or was be alone or was be lonely.

For to discuss mobilizations of empire populations.

On 17.april i was write datas and evidences
The army of 2.25 million that was created on the subcontinent was no small achievement. However, it came from a population of 390 million, and, thus, represented only a small proportion of potential Indian manpower. At the time, it was estimated that 12,957,811 of India’s vast population were between 18 and 30 years old and ‘had the required intelligence, aptitude and mechanical sense essential for service in the modern armedforces’. Taking this figure at face value, this means that 18 per cent of available manpower was tapped by the Indian Army during the war.86 However, the British assessment of available manpower was the product of deeply ingrained racial prejudices and it is likely that a far greater number of Indians could have made excellent soldiers; the ‘peasants’ of Russia, for example, proved more than capable of mastering the intricacies of modern warfare and there is no reason why Indians could not have done the same. As it transpired, the Army recruited only about 3 percent of the adult male population of the region in this period.87
I will to repeat At the time, it was estimated that 12,957,811 of India’s vast population were between 18 and 30 years old and ‘had the required intelligence, aptitude and mechanical sense essential for service in the modern armedforces’.

13 millions peoples can for to make big armys.

On real history on 1940 and 1941 2 Dominion divisions from South Afrika and 2 empire divisions from west east and central Afrika was fight Italians empire in Ethiopia and Somalia. In 1944 more than 3 empire divisions from Afrika was fight on Asia against Japan.

On real history all mens was be volunteers. On real history was be more volunteers from empire for to fight than what Britain was want.
Originally comprising one battalion, the RAR expanded to two battalions in late 1943 to accommodate a rush of new recruits following the news that the 1st Battalion was being deployed overseas. Steps to organise two further battalions of black Southern Rhodesians were abandoned because of the conviction of the colony's overall military commander, Brigadier E R Day, that it was important "to preserve a fair balance" between black and white troops, and that raising the men would take too long in any case.
I give evidences and datas for to show empire can to mobilize big armys. Decision was make for not to make big empire armys. Decision was not be because empire peoples was not have intelligence or was not have aptitude or was not have mechanical sense. Decision was make for other reasons.

Some people was write opinion for to be impossible to make big empire armys because empire peoples was be on stone age or on iron age was not speak english and was not have educate.

I know it was real history that millions of empire peoples was not possible for to read or for to write and was need much education and training for to be good troops. But real history evidences and datas say empire peoples have intelligencs aptitudes and skills and many was prove.

Many years ago i was lie in back of bakkie at fourways drive in with my girlfriend and was watch gods must be crazy. It was be mostest funny film. Main character was be name Xi and was San people. Xi was be sand age for because not have stones. He not understand what was glass bottle. Very funny movie. But real history was be also that San was make 31 Battalion in SADF. Many San troops on 31 Battalion was not be able for to read or for to write or for to speak english. But troops was most good for SADF. Also in my opinion most effective battalion for all SADF was 32 Battalion. That was be battalion also from Afrikan troops who was not be able to for to read for to write or for to speak english.

Perhaps peoples what think empire peoples was not possible for to make good soldiers can to explain with datas and evidences not own opinion why Afrikan peoples was be on iron age and on stone age and why peoples was not be educated and was not possible to educate.

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Andy H
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Re: The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

Post by Andy H » 26 Apr 2020 17:42

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
26 Apr 2020 12:55
I will to repeat At the time, it was estimated that 12,957,811 of India’s vast population were between 18 and 30 years old and ‘had the required intelligence, aptitude and mechanical sense essential for service in the modern armedforces’.

13 millions peoples can for to make big armys.
Hi

I will repeat yet again that even if 13million were available, how would you train arm and support them in 1940?
The answer you refuse to acknowledge is that only a small fraction of whatever fanciful millions you choose, could be trained armed and supported

In 1939 the Indian Army stood at c195,000 and by 1945 it had reached 2million.
"Throughout the war, the problem of equipment and modernization dominated discussions between New Delhi and London. From the outset, India's offer of troops was coupled with demands for the provision of equipment by Britain. From the British perspective, this wasn't simply a question of giving equipment that India could not produce, but also forking out the money"
Source: India's War (The Making of modern South Asia 1939-1945 by Srinath Raghavan

Regards

Andy H

Ружичасти Слон
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Re: The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 26 Apr 2020 18:27

Andy H wrote:
26 Apr 2020 17:42
Ружичасти Слон wrote:
26 Apr 2020 12:55
I will to repeat At the time, it was estimated that 12,957,811 of India’s vast population were between 18 and 30 years old and ‘had the required intelligence, aptitude and mechanical sense essential for service in the modern armedforces’.

13 millions peoples can for to make big armys.
Hi

I will repeat yet again that even if 13million were available, how would you train arm and support them in 1940?
The answer you refuse to acknowledge is that only a small fraction of whatever fanciful millions you choose, could be trained armed and supported

In 1939 the Indian Army stood at c195,000 and by 1945 it had reached 2million.
"Throughout the war, the problem of equipment and modernization dominated discussions between New Delhi and London. From the outset, India's offer of troops was coupled with demands for the provision of equipment by Britain. From the British perspective, this wasn't simply a question of giving equipment that India could not produce, but also forking out the money"
Source: India's War (The Making of modern South Asia 1939-1945 by Srinath Raghavan

Regards

Andy H
And i will repeat yet again same answer. On 1940 was not be possible.

Topic is The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940? For to explain why tiny and small was be myth i was write about populations in empire and Dominions and was say can to make mostest big armys.

I repeat again. For to make 200 empire divisions in 1940 is crazy idea. I was never write was possible. I was write not possible. I was never write was possible for to train and for to arm 13 millions peoples in 1940.

Why you was write same tosh question again and again?



Now people want for to make new topic about for to make big armys. Not about big army for 1940 but big army any time. I was suggest to you for to make discussion on what if forum because discussion is not about real history. But you and other peoples want to discuss here. Ok. But make good sense not to make confuse two topics like one. They are not same. Connect? Yes. Same? No.

In real history Britain was plan for to have train and equip 20 divisions until september 1940. In real history Britain was almost succeed with plan. But also in real history was lose equipments for about 12 or 13 divisions in Belgium and France. So in real history in September 1940 Britain was have about 7 divisions train and equip.

It seems to me from evidences and datas i was write that was theoretical possible for to make big armys from empire peoples. NOT for 1940. Perhaps for some years later for to have big land battles for to win Germany with no help from Amerika. But was not happen in real history because Britain was make different decisions. I not know how many divisions was be maximum. I not know how many was maximum peoples. Nobody know answer because was not real history and was not happen.

I see you was write about problem for to manufacture equipment. I not disagree. Was be problem. But do you agree that Britain was not maximize manufacture potential in Dominions and empire? Or do you think manufacture in Dominions and empire was at maximum and not possible for to build new factorys for to make more equipment? In real history was not need to build because decision was make to buy from Amerika and then to lend and to lease.

Other peoples was write not possible not theoretical possible because empire peoples was on iron age was on stone age and was not be educate. They was write opinion with no datas or evidences.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Apr 2020 11:44

Hi Ружичасти Слон,

There is no direct equation between British India and the USSR.

The Soviet Union was a single centralised totalitarian state free to conscript as many men as it wanted.

India was an increasingly self governing Dominion in which it was politically impossible to introduce conscription.

Thus the theoretical availability of 13 million fit Indians of military age does not even remotely reflect the reality.

The British Indian Army had to be entirely volunteer for political reasons and the result was the largest volunteer army the world has ever seen! This is hardly an indication that the British were under utilising available Indian manpower.

There is then the problem of turning a force of under 200,000 men into an effective army over ten times the size. This takes years, and certainly far longer than 1940. (The debacle in Malaya and Singapore in 1941-42 was partly because most of the regular Indian Army officers and NCOs had been sent back to India to form new divisions, leaving those units in Malaya short of professional leadership).

Then there is the leadership question. Where does one find over ten times as many British officers who speak Urdu (the language of command in the British Indian Army)?

And then there is the problem of equipping them, as India had no heavy armaments industry or automotive industry of its own? In mid 1940 there was only one fully equipped division the entire empire! Equipping the Indian Army would have to wait until the British had reequipped their own army after Dunkirk.

The idea that the British Empire could have defeated Germany on its own is implausible. By 1941 it was nearly bankrupt (hence Lease/Lend from the USA). Only if it got the A bomb first could Britain have defeated Greater Germany on its own

Warfare between Germany and the UK has been likened to combat between an elephant and a whale. Each was dominant in its own element but severely disadvantaged in the other's element. Without major Allies, the best the British could have hoped for on their own was a negotiated peace that abandoned the whole of Europe to German rule.

Cheers,

Sid

P.S. The reason you are being asked repeatedly about 1940 is because 1940 is in the thread title. You can't really blame others for keeping on thread!
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 28 Apr 2020 13:44, edited 2 times in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Apr 2020 13:40

Hi Ружичасти Слон,

You post, "I give evidences and datas for to show empire can to mobilize big armys." No, you haven't. You are just assuming that a large population = equally large mobilizable military manpower.

You post, "Decision was not be because empire peoples was not have intelligence or was not have aptitude or was not have mechanical sense." Nobody said it was. However, the factors of "aptitude and mechanical sense" are major obstacles if you are brought up as an Iron Age subsistence farmer with absolutely no machinery to hand, as was the case with most Africans at the time.

You post, "Some people was write opinion for to be impossible to make big empire armys because empire peoples was be on stone age or on iron age was not speak english and was not have educate." Not exactly. Most of the non-white population of the British Empire had little or no access to formal education in 1939. (Southern Rhodesia, one of the most advanced British African colonies, only got its first government secondary school in 1958). And some peoples were in the Iron Age or even Stone Age. Is that not true? Even in Rhodesia in the 1970s, the AK47 was the most advanced manifestation of the Industrial Revolution that most Africa Nationalist guerrillas had ever handled!

The British administered their empire largely in the local languages, not English. The problem was that there were neither sufficient Britons with the necessary African languages, nor Africans with serviceable English, to allow for the raising of a mass army.

You post, "I know it was real history that millions of empire peoples was not possible for to read or for to write and was need much education and training for to be good troops." True. They might with time make adequate infantry, but probably could not be developed much further.

You post, "But real history evidences and datas say empire peoples have intelligencs aptitudes and skills and many was prove." Certainly true about intelligence, but skills were often in short supply as the British did not have a universal education system anywhere outside the white Dominions and had no desire to industrialise their empire and thereby create economic competitors.

"The Gods must be Crazy" is a fun film. I saw it some 38 years ago in Zimbabwe.

31 and 32 Battalions were not raised from South West Africans. Their African component initially largely came from ex-Portuguese colonial forces from southern Angola. That was why their English was limited. The San were useful for their tracking skills, which are unsurpassed in desert and bush conditions. However, there are very, very few San peoples, even in their home areas because they are hunter-gatherers. You cannot raise a mass army from hunter gatherers.

I knew two people in 32 Battalion (Hi, Malcom Robertson and Dave Murray!). After Rhodesia fell in 1980, it was perhaps the only white-officered African unit anywhere. As such, it, too, is not a good example of how to raise mass colonial armies.

The issue is not speaking English, per se, but speaking the same language, whatever it is. (This was also an obstacle to raising many Francophone RCAF squadrons in WWII).

You post, "Perhaps peoples what think empire peoples was not possible for to make good soldiers can to explain with datas and evidences not own opinion why Afrikan peoples was be on iron age and on stone age and why peoples was not be educated and was not possible to educate." Nobody has ever claimed on this thread that these things are the case, and so nobody has to defend these points.

The problem is that the more the sophistication of organization and weaponry, the more disadvantaged most non-white colonial subjects were due to their non-industrial cultural background and lack of formal education. To put it another way, give a tribesman and a member of industrial society bayonets and it is 50/50 who would win a fight. However, give them both a tank and the industrial society soldier has a massive advantage due to cultural background and education. Of course, the tribesman, or more likely his children or grandchildren, given the opportunity, can be brought to the same level, but that takes time - sometimes several generations of exposure to the modern industrial world.

I am 64 and my adaptability to the computer age is far below that of my 7-year old great-niece. If our life and death depended on how adept we were on a tablet flying an armed drone, she would survive and I would not!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: The myth of lonely tiny island of 1940?

Post by Peter89 » 28 Apr 2020 20:50

Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Apr 2020 15:24
Hi Bokkop,

You raise a very good point. The British Empire was anything but monolithic by 1940.

As you say, South Africa, like the other Dominions except bankrupt Newfoundland, set its own conditions, not least because a significant number of Afrikaaners were not willing to serve by, with or under the British. It therefore raised a volunteer army, largely from its British-descended population (who were less numerous than the Afrikaaners), which initially only had to serve within the African continent. When Italy was invaded, the same men had to be asked again to volunteer to serve outside Africa.

For internal political reasons, South Africa was also unwilling to raise combat units from its own black or coloured populations. Thus, although South Africa had a population of about 12 million, only about a million were tappable for the armed forces, once all the black and coloured populations, and many of the Afrikaaners are discounted. And this million included the elderly, women and children. As a result, only 135,000 South Africans could be raised to serve outside South Africa itself, and in 1940 the first of them were entirely devoted to countering the Italians in East Africa.

Other Dominions made their own strategic decisions, which did not necessarily conform with the desires of London. When Japan entered the war, Australia withdrew all its divisions from the Middle East and none served in Europe. Canada declined to garrison the Falkland Islands after it lost its two battalions in Hong Kong. Canada also couldn't field good part of its initially Vichy-leaning French minority, who mostly served at home or "abroad" in Newfoundland, which was not then part of Canada.

The constitutional position of every British possession was unique. In India the Princely States, who ruled about a third of the Indian population, were nominally independent and had their own armies and officer corps. Only about twenty infantry battalions and a couple of armoured car regiments could be raised from them to sufficient standard for Imperial service.

In East Africa Kenya was a Crown Colony, Tanganyika was a League of Nations Mandate, and Zanzibar a Protectorate. By international law, the armed forces of a League mandated territory (which included, amongst others, South West Africa, a third of Cameroon, Palestine, Northern New Guinea, etc., etc.) could not serve outside their own borders. The armed forces of a protectorate served at the pleasure of the Sultan. For example, the Sultan of Zanzibar had a small navy of two auxiliary vessels that were styled HHS (His Highnesses Ship) and not HMS, as in the Royal Navy. Much of Malaya and North Borneo also consisted of protectorates, or assorted federated and unfederated states. As a result, the British were unable to amalgamate the naval defence forces of Kenya, Tanganyika and Zanzibar to create a more viable, flexible colonial navy in East Africa and only the Kenyan element could (and did) serve outside the area.

And so on...….

So, the British Empire was in no position in 1939 or 1940 to march en masse and in lock-step towards the sound of the guns in Europe. Nor could it ever be.

Cheers,

Sid.
Great comment, Sid!

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