Newsletter - RUSI Vancouver
Highlights of the August 29 Newsletter
World War II: Aug. 27 - Sept. 4, 1942
John Thompson Strategic Analyst - Quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
The War Diary of C31 L/Sgt CD Phelan, A Battery, RCHA 1939 - 1945
Edited by BGen (ret’d) Robert P (Bob) Beaudry CD
Chapter 20. Newick,
Battle Firing, Wiring Parties, Glynde, Inspections, and Turnouts
The Sinking of US’s First Combat Sub a Mystery For 150 Years
Jared Keller - Aug. 24, 2017
$10,000 in Prizes Up for Grabs in CAF Imagery Contest
Sig Sauer Unveils a Feisty New Compact Personal Defense Weapon
Matthew Moss, GEAR & TECH - Aug. 23, 2017
Vancouver Artillery Association Yearbook Updates
Who Is It?
Canada 150 Tour of Point Atkinson Lighthouse Station - Several dates
Annual Mess Dinner, 15th Artillery Field Regiment - Sept. 9
Bessborough Armoury Lunches - Every Wednesday
Robert W. Mackay's Newsletter "Forces with History"
Fair-goers at the Comox Valley Exhibition will see a thundering exhibition of horsemanship and long-lost cavalry arts this coming weekend, August 25th to 27th. The Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) Mounted Troop will perform at the exhibition grounds at 6 pm nightly.
The famed troop, which is privately funded but manned by regular LSH(RC) troopers, will feature a special feature: authentic World War I uniforms, in place of their traditional scarlets.
I'll be attending the Saturday performance, and look forward to meeting members of the troop. And not entirely coincidentally, my publisher has arranged for a number of copies of "Soldier of the Horse", my novel based on my father's WW I exploits, to be available at The Laughing Oyster bookstore in Courtenay.
The following excerpt was copied from a tattered sheet in a plain brown envelope pushed over the transom in the Forces With History editorial office. Its provenance is unknown; perhaps readers will have thoughts on the matter.
PM: “Yes, minister?”
MND: (Arm twitching, apparently fighting the impulse to salute) “A couple of things, sir.”
PM: (Balancing on two hands on the front lip of his desk) “Go ahead.”
MND: (Takes a nervous step back) “About the F-thirty—er, fighter replacement program, sir. We could probably make a decision now, given the voluminous studies done by other countries.”
PM: (Now in the lotus position, eyes gently closed) “Come now, minister. Surely you realize we need a made-in-Canada decision, done in the Canadian way. Even common knowledge is that haste makes waste. Not to mention that the deficit is bigger than ever. No, a five year study should do it.”
(Eyes open, he frowns.) “I asked you to be agile, minister.”
MND: (Shifting from foot to foot) “I’ve been thinking about the navy’s new surface combatants. Warships, right? We’ve started a competition for design bids. I’d like to get on with it.”
PM: (Frown deepens.)
MND: (Swallows, clears throat.) “Perhaps we could leave the process open-ended? Keep everyone guessing for a few more years?”
PM: (Eyes shining.) “Well done, minister. That’s what I call agile thinking. Sunny ways, my friend!”
In Forces With History #92 I raised the topic of the RCMP.
Comments I received included the following, from a retired member of the Force:
Hi Bob: you can add the RCMP to the Armed Forces as being totally and deliberately neglected. No raises in several years, they are refusing to hire enough members, all representation has been eliminated, huge numbers on stress leave—and growing—a LOT of experienced young members are switching to other police forces, and the long list goes on. In fact, there is a growing belief that the federal game plan is to continue to destroy the morale, strength and effectiveness of the Force, followed by a review and then its elimination totally—or at least 90% and keep a few red coats around for pictures. What they are doing to the current serving men and women is really sad.
I don't know if Ottawa's aim is to neuter the RCMP, but certainly the complaints listed here do seem to be borne out by the information that reaches news media. And similarly, if the aim is not to kneecap the armed forces, the lack of spending on army, navy, and air force give a pretty good imitation.
Our government’s report on its Defence Policy Review is months overdue. In the course of roundtable discussions and numerous written submissions the Department of National Defence heard from serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, politicians, bureaucrats, and members of the public.
It is a given that the Canadian Armed Forces are not sustainable on current funding. It is not possible to meet Canada’s defence requirements given the status quo. The hard fact is, though, that our government has increased the deficit by 30 billion dollars. None of that has gone to support the Forces, and the government is unlikely to add to the deficit for something as unimportant to Ottawa as the defence of Canada.
In the meantime, the minister has gone off to report on the Defence Policy Review to the Trump administration. I expect the results of the Review will be hinted at during upcoming NATO meetings, and only after that will all be revealed to the Canadian public. No doubt the government hopes thereby to minimize complaints from the US and NATO about inadequate funding by Canada (.88% vs the agreed-upon 2%!).
One thing is certain, and that is that the current government will not adequately fund the Canadian Armed Forces in the near future. Perhaps the defence budget will be stretched even thinner to finance an African “peacekeeping” venture.
For a realistic appraisal of what Canada should be doing, look no further than the report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence which can be found at:
Our Prime Minister is off to a NATO meeting late this month, before which the government is expected to come out with its much-anticipated Defence Policy Review report. I think we can safely predict Mr. Trudeau and the Minister of National Defence will come up with either a suggestion of an actual (miniscule) increase in defence spending, or a further rationalization as to why Canada doesn’t need to spend more. (Punching above our weight, and all that.)
In the meantime, there is a growing list of urgent priorities for the minister:
- Patrol aircraft
- Submarine upgrade/replacements
- fighter aircraft
- surface ships
- ground-based defence system for the army
- bulldozers, front-end loaders, trailers, etc, to name a few.
Meanwhile, even the minister himself has apparently noted that our naval capability is at a forty-year low.
The plan, apparently, will be to 1) dig us out the hole; and 2) build an “even stronger” military. What a concept.
* P. S.You're entitled to a free ebook when you buy a paperback copy