Newsletter on line. This newsletter, and previous editions, are available on the RUSI Vancouver website at: http://www.rusivancouver.ca/newsletter.html
The 15 Field Officers Mess holds weekly lunches, serving a 5 course, ‘homemade’ meal for only $15- you won’t find a better meal - or a better deal, anywhere. If you are in the area on a Wednesday, drop in and join us for lunch.
Note: A contractor will be coming in to remove asbestos tiles from the bar area. This may mean that lunches might be cancelled for one Wednesday. We don’t have an exact date for the start of this project yet, so watch for notices from us.
In preparation for this project the Mess cleared out all stock and basic equipment from the bar and we were informed it couldn’t be used until the project is completed. We can’t legally sell any wine, spirits or beer but patrons may bring their own wine and pay a corkage charge to the Mess. For those of you who don’t bring wine we will have a bar set up to sell lunch tickets and a small selection of pop and juices with glasses and ice. We hope you will come out and support our efforts.
Canada’s Foreign Policy and the Federal Election 2015
a Panel Discussion presented by RUSI Vancouver & Canadian International Council – See notice at end of newsletter.
World War 2 - 1940
John Thompson Strategic analyst quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
Aug 20th: Mao orders a major guerrilla offensive against Japanese (however, the effort is tokenism, designed to enhance Mao’s credibility). Churchill gives his famous praise to the RAF’s fighter pilots: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”; and fortunately for the exhausted few, several days of bad weather have just rolled in.
August 21st: Leon Trotsky is assassinated in Mexico, having been hunted by Stalin’s minions for many years.
Aug 24th: After a pause due to bad weather, the Luftwaffe returns with new close fighter escort tactics that make it harder for the RAF fighters to get at the bombers; and night bombing is tried with the result that South London is bombed despite specific orders to the contrary. However, the main focus of the Luftwaffe is on the attrition of British fighter strength. The day’s aerial losses amount to 38:22 in the RAF’s favour.
Aug 25th: The new Luftwaffe tactics are causing unfavorable losses for the RAF, which only gets 20 German aircraft for 16 losses of their own; but the RAF bombs Berlin “this night with 81 bombers – greatly embarrassing the Nazi leadership.
Aug 26th: German raids hit Portsmouth and three RAF bases, losing 45 aircraft to 31 RAF fighters.
The Spies Who Betrayed Canada
Seventy years after the disaster at Dieppe, Erol Araf tells how three German agents warned Hitler that the Canadians were coming. EROL ARAF, NATIONAL POST | AUGUST 20, 2013
As the smoke cleared over the beaches of Dieppe 70 years ago, and the magnitude over the previous day’s German victory over the Canadian raiding force became clear, there was tremendous disappointment in London, agony in Ottawa, but no particular surprise in Berlin. Almost six weeks earlier, on July 9, 1942, Adolf Hitler had predicted with uncanny accuracy that Canadians were preparing to land on the French shores to relive German pressure on the Soviet Union in the east. Harping on his great military accomplishments, Hitler declared, “England may be faced with the choice either of immediately mounting a major landing in order to create a Second Front or losing Soviet Russia as a political and military factor.” He then stated that the landings would take place “in the area between Dieppe and Le Havre and Normandy.”
How could the Nazi leader have foretold what was to happen on Aug. 19, 1942? Unfortunately, not only was Hitler listening to transatlantic telephone conversations between British prime minister Winston Churchill and US president Franklin D Roosevelt, he also had three spies collecting information about the ultimate destination of the Allied armada. Contrary to Guy Liddell’s assertions that he controlled German spies operating in Britain, several had eluded the clutches of the counterintelligence B Section at MI-5. As David Alan Johnson wrote in Righteous Deception: German Officers Against Hitler, both Churchill and Roosevelt thought that their top secret transatlantic telephone exchanges were secure. Alas, they were wrong. The scrambler the Allies used was a system called A-3, developed by Bell Telephone. Its radio frequency was altered constantly and even if the Germans were to tap into the line, they would not be able to decipher the conversation. But German intelligence not only bugged the line, they also developed countermeasures to unscramble the device. “Technicians at Philips Electronics in Eindhoven, Netherlands,” wrote Johnson, “discovered how A-3 worked, and how to manipulate it so that conversations could be heard without interference.” The British had Bletchley Park and the Germans had Eindhoven; two could play the code-cracking game. And the Nazis had been listening to these top level conversations since September 1941.
In addition to tapping into the secret conversations of the president and the prime minister, the Nazis had three gifted spies: one in England and two in France. A fanatical Welsh Nazi called Gwyn Evans, “Der Druid”; a duplicitous French painter, Andre Lemoin, “Moineau”; and, a turned former MI-6 agent, Raul Kiffer, “Kiki,” were among the authors of the disaster at Dieppe. Der Druide was an Anglophobe who believed that Hitler’s victory would result in Welsh independence. He was an accomplished musician. Leonard David, in his book The Druid and Johnson, and in his other book, German Spies and Saboteurs, describes how he landed a job as a concert organizer, arranging musical entertainment for Allied troops. The Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts was short of people who could organize and schedule their shows and concerts. He was the right man at the right place. His first job as an impresario entailed a string quartet concert for the Second Canadian Division. While Beethoven’s Late Quartets were not exactly popular with the soldiers, variations on Strauss waltzes and Gilbert and Sullivan songs were warmly received. Soon he became a much sought after entertainer and CEMA issued him with clearance papers giving him access to military bases throughout Britain.
His favourite tactic was to identify and befriend officers who appeared stressed and drinking a lot. Early in June 1942, he approached a second lieutenant who was drowning his sorrows in quite a few pints of beer at the base pub. He joined him and bought him another drink. After a few rounds, while pretending to be bored, he discovered that the target of “Operation Rutter” was Dieppe and that it would take place on June 24. The intoxicated officer gave him the full details. And Der Druide duly informed his handlers in Germany. Although “Rutter” was changed to “Jubilee” and the date was moved to Aug. 19, the Germans were prepared and waiting. Anthony Cave Brown’s monumental Bodyguard of Lies provides fascinating information on the other two spies, operating in France: Kiffer and Lemoin. Captain Heinz Eckert, a German military intelligence officer, was given the task of finding out where exactly the Allies were planning to land in France in 1942. Just as the British “Double Cross” system recruited German spies and used them as double agents, Eckert too recruited Raoul Kiffer “Kiki,” a former British agent affiliated with MI-6. Kiffer was also member of the influential French Union Interalliee, which provided a forum for clandestine networking in support of the Allies. He was to prove his worth in a small picturesque village not far from Dieppe a few days before the landings.
His co-conspirator Lemoin was sympathetic to the Nazis but placed greater faith in money. Working with German intelligence in France, he used his modest gallery of marine life paintings as a cover to invite leaders of the French resistance, the Maquis, to come to his premises and conduct clandestine meetings. He pretended to be a patriot and insinuated himself into the confidences of unsuspecting Maquis fighters. The more secure resistance agents felt at his place, apparently immune from prying eyes, the more they confided in him. When the British launched “Operation Overthrow” to deceive the Nazis about the upcoming raid, MI-6 forged new links with the resistance in Dieppe. Lemoin, who had “volunteered” in the meantime, now became “active” in the struggle against the occupation and privy to the preparatory work. The Maquis had been asked to inform locals that the Dieppe ladings were not the main thrust into France; and that the operation was only a raid. This was done to prevent the locals from rising up and then being at the mercy of the Germans after the Allies withdrew. The Maquis also launched an all-out effort collecting information on German defences in and around Dieppe. Lemoin passed on all these valuable documents to his German handlers in notes hidden behind the canvasses of his paintings of sea shells and mermaids. He eventually betrayed the Maquis to the Gestapo. (Interestingly, Lemoin’s story ends abruptly after 1944. It is possible that he fled under a new identify, or was found out and disposed of by the Maquis.)
The plot thickened when a certain Madame Jeanette Desmoulins, who was active in the Free French movement led by Charles de Gaulle, entered the fray in Veules-les-Roses, not far from Dieppe. Both Kiffer and Lemoin were aware that Desmoulins was active in the Free French movement. They rightly suspected that she was in communication with her husband, who was in London co-ordinating intelligence between MI-6 and French networks such as Interalliee. Kiffer introduced Eckert to her, claiming that the German military intelligence officer was a Canadian spy engaged in reconnaissance prior to the anticipated landings. Eckert and Kiffer were fishing for more accurate information. Desmoulins hosted them and provided cover for their “work.” Delighted to be of help to Canadians, she told Eckert that the BBC personal message, “George will very soon embrace Janette,” indicating that Dieppe would be the target, was about to be broadcast to alert the resistance network. Moreover, she put Eckert in touch with an anti-Nazi military engineer involved in the construction of the fortifications in Dieppe. The engineer, believing he was helping a Canadian spy, co-operated, and was disappeared by the Gestapo almost immediately. But Eckert assumed that secret information about Dieppe’s defences had already been sent to London by resistance agents. He made sure that the local German commanders were alerted to the breach.
At this time, the German’s launched Operation Porto II, which, to the Allies’ sorrow, succeeded brilliantly. Known as the “Rundstedt Ruse,” after German Field Marshall Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt, the Germans convinced the Dieppe planners that the port was very poorly defended by inferior troops. Even Churchill was hoodwinked, writing in his diary, “From available intelligence Dieppe was held only by German low-category troops amounting to one battalion with supporting units making no more than 1,400 men in all.” But this was inexplicable — the Allies were still breaking German codes and had their own spies on the continent. There was plenty of information suggesting that the Germans were aware an attack was imminent and were even reinforcing the Dieppe area. But the men responsible for planning and conducting the raid had no idea. If there had been better sharing of information, the entire raid might have been called off. When the Allied armada cast off its moorings from ports along the coast of Britain, its fate had already been sealed. The raid, badly conceived from the start, was doomed by the poor intelligence sharing among the Allies, leaks of vital information and spies who kept Hitler well-informed as to what the Allies were intending. More than 900 Canadians died in the raid, with thousands more captured. Of the 5,000 Canadians who set out to seize Dieppe, only 1,700 made it safely back to Britain. Few of them could have imagined that day how it only took three spies, and some sloppy sharing of intelligence, to lead them into catastrophe.
Armour Experts Sceptical Over T-14 'Invisibility' Claims
Reuben F Johnson, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly 10 August 2015
Armour specialists from both Russia and the United States are sceptical of recent claims made by the enterprise that produces Russia's new T-14 Armata MBT that the tank is essentially "invisible" to radar. The claim was made by the director of the Nizhi-Tagil-based UralVagonZavod (UVZ) plant, Vyacheslav Khalitov, on Ekho Moskvy radio on 3 July. "We essentially made the invisible tank," said Khalitov. He also elaborated on the tank's internal arrangement, stating that key "emitters" that normally make other tanks vulnerable to current-generation anti-armour weapons are fitted as far as possible into the interior of the Armata to reduce its infrared (IR) signature. About the tank's own radar signature, Khalitov said the T-14's hull is coated with special radar-absorbing paint and other materials and appliqués that make it difficult to be detected. However, US specialists with many years of experience in the design of current-generation armour and Russian experts on former Soviet programmes that were designed to reduce AFV signatures both expressed doubts.
A retired US army flag-rank officer who was involved at the senior levels of AFV development - including that of General Dynamics' M1 Abrams MBT - has analysed the T-14 design and other claims regarding its signature reduction and told IHS Jane's , "These claims would have to be proven. Placing heat-generating components 'deep inside' in the vehicle won't help; modern thermal technology is very sensitive and when the tank is moved, or a weapon is fired, or a person is exposed, the thermal signature will light up. Plus, no matter where the engine is, when an engine big enough to move a 40- to 50-ton tank is fired up, it will have a signature." Russian specialists familiar with radar signature reduction techniques told IHS Jane’s that "most of this kind of research in Russia has been performed with an eye towards application to aircraft - in order to reduce a signature as seen from another aircraft's radar set or a SAM [surface-to-air missile] radar station. This technology is not optimised for protecting ground targets from air-to-surface attacks. "What you are trying to do in reducing a radar return for these scenarios is also very different," one said. "For airborne targets you are trying to reduce an RCS [radar cross-section] to make a lock-on more difficult. For ground targets you would be trying to make a tank indistinguishable from ground clutter. These two do not necessarily overlap in how you approach them."
In a radical departure from Soviet and Russian tank designs that date back to the Second World War, the T-14 has a modular internal arrangement that separates the crew from the tank's main gun and the ammunition storage compartment. This layout has been proven in tank designs developed by other nations to significantly enhance the survivability of the crew. Noting the Russians had "finally separated ammo from people", the retired US Army officer said this was "something we did 40 years ago with the Abrams", but added, "The comments [from UVZ] about gun, ammo, and fire control are interesting. The Russians have lagged us forever in these areas. Some of that was doctrinal-based as the way they planned to fight a close battle based on mass and rapid firing at short range, where precision fire control was not so critical. As we saw in Gulf War One, we had almost double the range advantage over them. "But I think some of the reason for the technology gap was/is because what we do in our industry is hard to design, build components for, and manufacture to a level of precision and robustness that a combat system requires." In addition to its signature reduction modifications, the T-14's other self-protection features include a new-generation self-protection system that integrates its Malachit exploding dual-reactive armour with an active protection system, designated Afghanit, that employs a millimetre wave radar to track incoming anti-tank weapons and initiate countermeasures. The T-14 also relies on composite, layered armour similar to that used in the M1.
CWG Commission Launches New Online Resources
New resource initiated to Commemorate VJ Day
The digitised records cover British, Irish and Commonwealth casualties from the Second World War, together with records for most other nationals commemorated at Commonwealth War Graves Commission sites: this includes the records for German soldiers. The release of the CWGC's Second World War records follows the successful release of the First World War archive in August 2014. The documents give a unique insight into the process of commemoration undertaken by the armed forces and the CWGC during and after the war, and include details of personal headstone inscriptions, date of death, rank, regiment and even some documents which show the journey of the deceased to their final resting place. The records are freely available to the public through the CWGC website at www.cwgc.org
Andrew Fetherston, the CWGC's Archivist and Records Manager, said: "The release of our Second World War archive online opens a new avenue for members of the public to investigate and remember the individuals we commemorate." "With the addition of these documents, alongside records relating to non-Commonwealth casualties buried in various sites around the world, it will now be possible, for the first time, to see the original records of all 1.7 million individuals the Commission commemorates." "The archive will greatly enhance the experience of searching the CWGC's records and will mean that millions of people across the Commonwealth could discover more about their relatives who fought and died during the Second World War."
The CWGC is hosting a live Q&A session across the organisation's Twitter and Facebook platforms on 17 August at midday to give the public the opportunity to ask questions and receive tips on how to get the most out of the archived documents. To take part people simply need to tweet their question to @CWGC using the hashtag #CWGCarchive or post it on the timeline at www.facebook.com/commonwealthwargravescommission
Liberals Commit Major Funding for Veterans
Vancouver – After a decade of Stephen Harper’s neglect, Liberals will make major new investments to give veterans the future we owe them, said Joyce Murray, MP Vancouver Quadra and the Liberal Critic for National Defence.
“For ten years, Stephen Harper draped himself in the Canadian flag, then betrayed the men and women who fought for it. Our veterans represent the very best of what it means to be Canadian. Our brave women and men in uniform put their lives on the line for our country at a high personal cost,” said Joyce Murray, MP. “Throughout my conversations with veterans living in Vancouver Quadra, it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of our service men and women feel disrespected and abandoned by this government when they return home. We have a social covenant with Canadian veterans and their families – an obligation that absolutely must be met with the utmost respect and gratitude.”
A Liberal government will:
“Canadians rightly expect that our sacred obligation to our veterans will be honoured,” continued Murray. “Veterans have spent far too long fighting the Harper Conservatives for the support and compensation that they have earned. A Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau will ensure that veterans in British Columbia, and right across the country, can confidently look forward to the future they are owed by a grateful nation.”
This Week: The history of the mechanization of the armed forces is full of starts, stops, and frustrations. I well remember chatting with an elderly retired major of the Central India Horse who described the mechanization of his regiment just prior to the start of World War Two. He stated that “training cats to march” would have been easier than going from horse to petrol. By this he meant no disrespect to his troopers, but rather alluded to the difficulty of finding anyone who could drive in a regiment where most had not even been in a motor vehicle. It was a bit like driving in Richmond. Well, Canada had less difficulty, given that we embraced the motor car early on. However, mechanization was still something that was seen by some as not as romantic as galloping around with an 18 pdr in tow. Also, back in the early days, standing behind a truck was probably just as dirty as standing behind a horse.
However, mechanization did come, and this week’s photo shows an early use of motorized transport with guns. Unlike our Imperial cousins, who went from Dobbin to Dragon (figure that one out!) in the wink of a flapper’s eye, our progress was more hit and miss. Early tractors of 15th Field Brigade (the ancestor of 15th Field Regiment) were actually rented civilian vehicles. However, such is not the case with this week’s photo, taken from our extensive and increasingly well-known archives. The photo is bit fuzzy, but shows our stalwart gunners riding in what look like civilian trucks, towing trailers and guns. However, look closely and you can see that these are not mufti motors.
So, dear enthusiast of loud, khaki things, what are these vehicles? And, as a bonus, where can I find one, were I to actually have the parking space to store such? Answers and guesses can be sent to the editor, or to the author, John Redmond (firstname.lastname@example.org). All responses are treated with great respect before being thrown in the waste bin.
From the ‘Punitentary’
Why don’t Grizzly bears wear shoes and socks? Because they have bear feet.
Murphy’s other Laws
Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then do it.
A little learning is a dangerous thing, but a lot of ignorance is just as bad. - Emil Nolde
RUSI Vancouver & Canadian International Council
Present a Panel Discussion
Canada’s Foreign Policy and the Federal Election 2015
When: Monday, September 28, 2015
Time: 5:00 -7:00 pm
Where: Law Courts Inn, 5th Floor, 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver
Cost: CIC & RUSI Members $15; Non-Members $20. A brief reception will precede the panel discussion, with a cash bar
Three weeks prior to the federal election of October 19, 2015, a moderated panel of three experts will present their views on the implications of the election outcome for Canada’s foreign and defence policies.
Foreign policy often gets neglected in a federal election campaign and in keeping with our collective mission to promote public discussion on the topic, we feel it’s important to stage an event of this kind before the election.
Each of our speakers will provide expert commentary on foreign policy planks, including defence, of the competing political parties, along with informed speculation as to what foreign policy directions might emerge after the October 19th election.
We urge members and non-members to attend and put questions to our excellent panelists. Details on payment methods for September 28th will be forthcoming.
CFOne Card at PNE
If you are a CFOne member, you are entitled to discounted rates on admission tickets to the PNE. Visit www.pne.ca/groupsales and select “Buy Tickets” at the top of the page. Then select “Save Now” located under Fair Passes and at the bottom of the page. Enter promo code yh58mg2a to purchase tickets at the discounted rate.
Please note that this discount is only valid when purchasing tickets online.