Friday, January 13, 2006

In January 2007, the European Union will roll out its first two integrated battlegroups in Brussels. One of the groups will supposedly be comprised of Germans, Dutch, and Finns. The other will be French and Belgian. E.U. officials still aren't quite sure how to use these forces (humanitarian efforts in Africa are likely) but no doubt both sides will participate in wargames.

Is there really any argument over which side would win? (Don't forget how well the Finns fought against the Red Army.)


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, don't forget that the EU would establish the rules used to judge the winner. Given that these folks cannot seem to come up with anything short of a complete mismash, I'd expect the French to win. After all, there is always a first time..... (This comment comes from a Cajun French guy.)

arrScott said...

It's not as simple as you make it out. Sure, France versus Germany, the Netherlands, or Finland would be no contest. Make it a round-robin tournament and the final score will be la France zero, Deutschland ein, Nederland een, and Suomi yksi.

But there are two wild cards. First, Belgium. Militarily, Belgium is to the great powers of Europe as Canada is to the United States. Mighty as the United States is, we've fought Canada three times and Canada beat us each time. Belgium likewise has an historical record of beating both the Netherlands and Germany, and more recently a record of making Germany pay more dearly for ground than other small nations.

Then you have to consider coalition relations. France and Belgium share a language (except for the Flemish Belgians, who speak Dutch, but for some reason resent the Dutch for not pretending that Flemish is a different language) and many cultural affinities, as well as an historical antipathy toward both the Netherlands and Germany (and, by extension, Hitler-allying Finland). Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland share a deep indifference toward both France and Belgium. Added to which, Germans are still less popular in Holland than Americans. Language is another problem: German and Dutch are just similar enough to be confusing, and Finish isn't even an Indo-European language. (Which is just as well, since Finland's only military distinctions have come on Finnish territory. They're good at killing Russians, those Fins, but even that record only goes to prove their lack of initiative. An effective military would fight the Russians in Russia so they didn't have to fight the Russians in Finland. So the Dutch commanders will radio Helsinki, "Zult u ons helpen de oorlog bestrijden?," and count their blessings when the Fins don't understand and stay home.)

So giving France Belgian support, and then making Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland work together, evens the playing field, suggesting a deadlock unless the rules of the wargame allow one side to call on British or American support. Even that might not produce a clear winner, since Britain has deeper ties with Belgium, while the United States is more likely to come to the aid of Holland or Germany. Lacking Anglo-American intervention, the Dutch soldiers are as likely to turn to their German comrades and shout, "Onze fietsen rug!" as they are to fight the Franco-Belgian enemy.

Anonymous said...

"Mighty as the United States is, we've fought Canada three times and Canada beat us each time."

Uh huh- when was the last time 1812? That's like saying someone who pushed around Brian Urlacher or Sean Taylor in the 1st grade is a worthy opponent today. Would they care for a rematch? Thought not... too much Tim Horton and poutine

Remember not only have the Canadians have had a tough time repelling Danes from Arctic islands but a rag tag bunch of Mohawks stood off the Royal Canadian Regiment in 1990

The Belgians are fools and the Dutch are wimps- and lets face it the Finns are out of practice. It really comes down to Germany and France- and it all depends what units the French come up with (those rioters last november seemed pretty viscious.) However much like Cartman in South Park impersonating General Lee and almost leading the South to victory- I expect the Germans to be reinvigrated facing their old French adversary, cast aside the rules, and march on Paris


Anonymous said...

Do not underestimate any of these forces. They all can be formidable.

Now their leaders are an entirely different subject!

Anonymous said...

Who has the Nukes? The French-
Hate to say it, but push comes to shove, France beats them all.

Anonymous said...

Heh. that's going to make for some crappy wargames.

German General: Well, the computer models suggest our forces have defeated yours. Good effort though. You made some solid advances in your 'tactical' retreat.
French General: We just nuked you.
German General: Oh. Shizer.

Sort of the French version of taking your ball and going home.

Anonymous said...

Who's kidding who? They won't be able to conduct actual military exercises. Just as they are about to commence, a last minute ditch effort by EU negotiators will defuse the "pending military crisis". They'll all congratulate each other on proving that war never solves anything, make several anti-Bush, anti-American speeches, smoke a cigarette and go home.

Anonymous said...

Who's kidding who? The battlegroups will never actually do any combat exercises. A last minute round of talks by EU diplomats will narrowly avert the impending "military crisis". The antagonists will step back from their wargames saying, "what were we thinking, that was too close". There will then be a round of anti-Bush and anti-American speeches made and everyone goes home.