For the “Secret” part of the course the foreign students were sent away while we 60 budding Napoleons were introduced to the strategic, political, and diplomatic views of some prominent people. However, I want to raise one point about one essay we had to write. The question posed was: “What is the greatest threat to Australia and and what counter-measures can we take?”
Naturally, most identified China, India and Indonesia as the major potential threats, and recommended more aircraft, more aircraft carriers, more guns, and more alliances. I wrote a unique article entitled “The Peaceful Invasion of Australia”. My scenario was that after the death of Suharto, Indonesia would descend into chaos and possibly civil war. …
In my scenario, up to one million Indonesians fled in small boats and ended up in Northern Australia. Naturally, we took them in (in accordance with our UN Treaty obligations). By the time things settled down, there were two million in the North & another 500,000 relocated to east coast cities. Those in the North then demanded to secede from Oz and become an independent Muslim state. Terrorism, murders, bombings and riots began. We had no answer and ceded most of the North from Broome to the East of Darwin. Indonesian troops arrived to ‘train’ the locals in ‘self-defence’. …
Inept generals lose countries
In 1982 General Butler tried to address the lack of knowledge and experience of our senior officers in commanding large-scale forces. He created a 5-day training course for 15 of our top Generals and Brigadiers. LtCol John Paget was put in charge of devising the curriculum. C’est moi was given the task of writing ten of the Command exercises. I took real life battles, set the scene, and put the Generals into the senior Division, Corps and Army Command roles. …
It was interesting as a Major to find myself instructing Generals on the arts of war. After just the first hour I had divided them into three categories:
- Interested and participating (3-4)
- Not interested and not listening (5-6)
- Wasting my time and the taxpayers’ money (5-7)
Perhaps they had not read the curriculum and had not realised they would have to take Command roles and give their strategic orders to fight the battles. General Butler and a small staff would play the enemy, so it was a two-sided affair.
Day-1, Scenario-1 was the British Army of the Rhine defending the Fulda Gap in West Germany from a Russian invasion, post WW2. I gave four generals command of the British 1st Armoured Corps and the three armoured divisions it controlled. Their task was to outline a strategic plan for the defence. When we read their concept of operations they achieved a uniform grading of “A+”.
“A” stands for ‘Appalling,’ because in our game Butler played the Russians and smashed the British Corps in a day by creating gaps and dislocating their positions. By Day-2 of Butler’s attack, it had become a rout. The four generals were angry at losing, but were not remorseful or willing to analyse their errors — because that meant losing face in front of their peers and compatriots. They criticized the exercise, Butler, and his staff (i.e. Hubble, Paget and me)
In WW2 in 1944, German General’s Balck (Corps Commander) and his Chief-of-Staff Mellenthin fought this very battle against the Russians (while outnumbered 10:1) and were still holding the Gap when the war ended in 1945. The Americans studied their battles and invited them to relive them at TRADOC (the US Army war games centre), by challenging two of the best American Generals (Otis & Gorman). In the first game Balck played the Germans and Gorman lead the Russians. Despite taking enormous casualties Gorman was never able to break the German Line.
Two days later, Balck played the part of the Russian Commander and Otis played the German defenders. Balck broke through in 24-hours and wiped out his old Corps.
They replayed the Game again, and again Balck won as either the German or the Russian Commander. It did not matter if he was outnumbered, outgunned, or ‘trapped’, his manoeuvres and positioning, followed by flanking attacks, night ambushes and surprise raids left his opponents reeling every time. Balck was a REAL General.