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Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
First Polish Airborne should've jumped on Warsaw, but did Arnhem instead. 303 Polish Squadron the highest scoring in the Battle of Britain (having been commited late to the battle), Polish Carpathian Brigade fought at Narvik and in the defence of Tobruk. Second Polish Corps took Cassino and Ancona 1st Polish Armoured Div hammered the Germans at Falaise and ended up taking and garrisoning Wilhelmshaven. Polish Squadrons in Bomber Command helped bomb the "guwno" out of Germany. Polish Naval ships fought in the North Atlantic and the D-Day landings, etc. Polish resistance and intelligence network worked across occupied Europe including elements in France and French North Africa which aided Op Torch. Contribution to cracking Enigma and providing accurate intelligence on V weapons. Etc, etc.

Post WW2 demobilised Polish soldiers in the West were recruited and trained in the "Pogon" organisation to be dropped into Poland and coordinate anti-Soviet activity if WW3 kicked off. The program only tailed-off in the early sixties.

Moscow kept the Warsaw Pact Polish Armed Forces on a very short and tight leash as they did not trust them (rightly so). As far as Poland was concerned only one of its joint invaders of 1939 had been defeated the other one still needed tearing down.

The current Polish Armed Forces take the majority of their history and traditions from the Armed Forces of the Polish Second Republic of between the World Wars and the Polish Armed Forces of WW2.
The other astonishing thing about the Poles in WWII is the routes they found to fight - from the ones who got out through Rumania (who ended up being reequipped and organised by the French before the German attack on France), to Anders' crowd, who were treated appallingly in the USSR before making their way South to the Levant, to those who stayed with the Russians and formed the Polish formations of the Red Army, it's an honourable and stirring story and the way the veterans were treated in the West not a story to our credit.

Not enough people grasp, incidentally, just how patriotic and pragmatic Jaruzelski was when he declared martial law in Poland in December 1981. While that was unpleasant for the Polish people and the good folk of Solidarnosc, the alternative - a full-blown Soviet/Warsaw Pact invasion - was many times worse and would have happened before New Year 1981.
 
First Polish Airborne should've jumped on Warsaw, but did Arnhem instead. 303 Polish Squadron the highest scoring in the Battle of Britain (having been commited late to the battle), Polish Carpathian Brigade fought at Narvik and in the defence of Tobruk. Second Polish Corps took Cassino and Ancona 1st Polish Armoured Div hammered the Germans at Falaise and ended up taking and garrisoning Wilhelmshaven. Polish Squadrons in Bomber Command helped bomb the "guwno" out of Germany. Polish Naval ships fought in the North Atlantic and the D-Day landings, etc. Polish resistance and intelligence network worked across occupied Europe including elements in France and French North Africa which aided Op Torch. Contribution to cracking Enigma and providing accurate intelligence on V weapons. Etc, etc.

Post WW2 demobilised Polish soldiers in the West were recruited and trained in the "Pogon" organisation to be dropped into Poland and coordinate anti-Soviet activity if WW3 kicked off. The program only tailed-off in the early sixties.

Moscow kept the Warsaw Pact Polish Armed Forces on a very short and tight leash as they did not trust them (rightly so). As far as Poland was concerned only one of its joint invaders of 1939 had been defeated the other one still needed tearing down.

The current Polish Armed Forces take the majority of their history and traditions from the Armed Forces of the Polish Second Republic of between the World Wars and the Polish Armed Forces of WW2.

Rather more so than the East Germans in fact.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Note the BBMF has its Hurricane liveried as a 303 Squadron aircraft:

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Belgians are OK. The battalion that they sent to Korea were all volunteers (oversubscribed) and fought very well alongside the British. We remember the FFL at Kolweisi but the Belgians were there.

Small but not insignificant, in my opinion.

Their parachute-commando units were reputed to be good but you only have to watch the changing of the guard at the Royal palace once to form a judgement on their ordinary infantry. I used to work with a bloke who'd been a conscript in the Chasseurs Ardennaise and he was an ardent religious nutcase.

And the Luxembourgers would have to deliver the mail before they went off to war, historically their army has been the post office in peacetime.
 
Erdogan wont live forever but every passing day takes that country further away from our ideology.
And who is to say if his successor wont be even worse.

I may be a bit biased here but if NATO or just the Yanks thought Turkey had gone too far - Greece would open its arms and gladly take its place.
Moscow has tried to butter up the Greeks as co-religionists, but I don't believe that they're fooled. Btw, after the post-WW2 GREEK Civil War where we helped the Government defeat the Communists, many of the Greek Communists made a home for themselves in Soviet occupied Poland.
 
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The other astonishing thing about the Poles in WWII is the routes they found to fight - from the ones who got out through Rumania (who ended up being reequipped and organised by the French before the German attack on France), to Anders' crowd, who were treated appallingly in the USSR before making their way South to the Levant, to those who stayed with the Russians and formed the Polish formations of the Red Army, it's an honourable and stirring story and the way the veterans were treated in the West not a story to our credit.

Not enough people grasp, incidentally, just how patriotic and pragmatic Jaruzelski was when he declared martial law in Poland in December 1981. While that was unpleasant for the Polish people and the good folk of Solidarnosc, the alternative - a full-blown Soviet/Warsaw Pact invasion - was many times worse and would have happened before New Year 1981.

Ref the bolded bit: And that includes many in Poland itself. Essentially, it gave the Poles a bit of a breathing space until the USSR imploded. The Poles can often be their own worst enemies. However there is that "Fark 'em all" streak in the Polish nature which revels in fighting back against all odds; and there is an established view that the fighters should've been given the chance and maybe they could have toppled the Soviet potato cart even sooner.
 
Belgians are OK. The battalion that they sent to Korea were all volunteers (oversubscribed) and fought very well alongside the British. We remember the FFL at Kolweisi but the Belgians were there.

Small but not insignificant, in my opinion.

I have developed a taste for M & S pipi piri mayonnaise on chips so I might be biased.



Regarding Kolwezi, the name is the same for the French and Belgians but the Ops were completely different.

For the French it was a parachute assault on a city with a clear mission to destroy the rebel groups and free the european hostages. This they did from 19 may 1978 on, bringing the date forward as much as possible since a Belgian radio had announced that « airborne forces were getting ready in Kamina » in an OPSEC breach reminiscent of the BBC before Goose Green.

For the Belgians, who refused a joint French-Belgian Op, it was a NEO by TALO. They arrived after the 2°REP, then concentrated on the airfield and left the clearing of the city to the 2°REP. They took part in no recorded combat action even though a friendly fire incident with the 2°REP is mentioned in several books. The BEL paras remained longer in the area to secure other locations where Belgian expats were living and only left in July 1978.

Regarding the Chasseurs Ardennais, they were created by a francophile Belgian defence minister who admired the Chasseurs Alpins. Their specific béret is a bit of a give-away..

Regarding the paras and commandos they are now 2 Bn (one of each, the Cdo are francophone while the paras speak flemish) and they come under the command of the SOR (Special Operations Regiment), a tier 2 SF unit.

They resent being tier 2 to SF Group BE as they view themselves as the best there is in Belgium...
 
Moscow has tried to butter up the Greeks as co-religionists, but I don't believe that they're fooled. Btw, after the post-WW2 GREEK Civil War where we helped the Government defeat the Communists, many of the Greek Communists made a home for themselves in Soviet occupied Poland.

Didn't know that.
I was aware of a large exodus of Greek Communists to Russia after the Civil War.
Each main Greek city still has a Communist Party office or headquarters but it is tolerated as they are few in number and all broken-brain idealists who believe in it because their father or grandfather fought on that side.
 
Turkey
NATO member - in name, at least - but rapidly receding into indifference shading to hostility towards the West. Under Erdogan, keen to asset historic 'Turkic' influence in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Military pretty well-equipped, tough and well-trained, short on talented and skilled senior leadership after post-attempted-coup purges. Has significant interest in preventing emergence of Kurdistan, continues to dabbled in Syrian and Libyan affairs, has complex relationship with Russia - currently cordial, but strategic interests, especially in the Straits and Caucasus, incompatible and even directly opposed. Erdogan keen to assert 'Ottoman' values and traditions, directly opposed to secular Kemalist doctrines of Turkish Republic.

At historic loggerheads with Greece - mainly through historical distaste, mistrust and dislike, latterly over offshore resources in the Aegean and around Cyprus.

May well all end up in tears, sooner or later the Generals will discover their bollocks and assert their roles as guarantors of Turkish secular republic.

A couple of amendments.
 
The Navy is modern and well designed for defending home waters - of which they have a lot.
Hmmm, this is the first bit of the thread where my ears pricked up. Mid 2000s, which I accept is slipping into the mist of time, I was in a destroyer which was committed to NATO SNFM (as was) and worked extensively with both Greek and Turkish Navies.

The Greeks were the dictionary definition of all the gear and no idea - some *really* nice kit (bearing in mind we were cutting about in one of Her Majesty's finest batch one type 42s - the oldest DD in the fleet no less) which we used to gaze at enviously across the task group. But absolutely no idea what they were doing with it.

The Turks, on the other hand, were stooging about in immediate post WW2 era frigates with 1970s missiles and frankly I was glad they were on our side and we didn't have to face them. Also threw some legendary cocktail parties.
 
As regards the Greeks, I have met a couple of good Greek soldiers in the Foreign Legion; but while in the British Army, the only one I have ever worked with at close quarters was a cross between a negative stereotype and a parody. We were in a small multinational unit in the FRY. He was a Greek Army Warrant Officer and ostensibly a fully trained operator. However he was absolutely useless at everything and we couldn’t even trust him to drive after two RTA’s. Short, rotund, balding, moustachioed, open-shirted, bemedallioned, and always sporting a little oily sheen. He used to often sing Tom Jones’s “Sex Bomb” to himself while swaggering around and interjecting “Pustis!” and “Malaka!” at all and sundry.
 
Hmmm, this is the first bit of the thread where my ears pricked up. Mid 2000s, which I accept is slipping into the mist of time, I was in a destroyer which was committed to NATO SNFM (as was) and worked extensively with both Greek and Turkish Navies.

The Greeks were the dictionary definition of all the gear and no idea - some *really* nice kit (bearing in mind we were cutting about in one of Her Majesty's finest batch one type 42s - the oldest DD in the fleet no less) which we used to gaze at enviously across the task group. But absolutely no idea what they were doing with it.

The Turks, on the other hand, were stooging about in immediate post WW2 era frigates with 1970s missiles and frankly I was glad they were on our side and we didn't have to face them. Also threw some legendary cocktail parties.

I don't have a naval background so what I know is from what my Greek mate told me - and he is a submariner.
The gist was - though NATO, they don't really consider themselves an expeditionary Navy.
Their choice of ships, weapons and tactics is more to do with their water and the neighbouring Turks.
 
I don't have a naval background so what I know is from what my Greek mate told me - and he is a submariner.
The gist was - though NATO, they don't really consider themselves an expeditionary Navy.
Their choice of ships, weapons and tactics is more to do with their water and the neighbouring Turks.
Makes sense.
 
No need for kebabs on the way home then? ;)
I don't know if you've ever been in the YO's grot on a T42? 6 bunks in an L shape - two on the left as you go in and then hard right turn and 4 opposite each other with metal drawers under the lower bunks, the gulch so narrow that if you've got the drawers open on one side it fills most of the space.

After one particular cocktail party on the Turkish flight deck in La Goulette (the fly blown port of Tunis) I woke the next morning with a head full of raki. tentatively drawing back the bunk curtains I was aghast to find my oppo from the bunk opposite, passed out inches from my face, naked but for one sock, in his open top drawer.
 
Will all the black midgets in the world be fighting all the white midgets, in this world war you speak of?
Midgets and Giants are not allowed to join the Army - because there's no uniforms to fit them. The yanks once had a midget brigade:

I would imagine during the Vietnam war that midgets would have made good 'tunnel rats' or would be good at infiltrating small spaces such as air vents etc. As for giants - these would probably be good for close hand to had combat. Both rolls would be niche though so they would not be employed as it would be a waste of money. On the other hand we now have trannies in the Army - they could pretend to be women and do a bit of 'Red Sparrowing' on the commies should it be required of them.
 
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On this point, it might be of interest to read what the US military thinks of various European militaries (including the British):

A Hard Look at Hard Power:: Assessing the Defense Capabilities of Key US Allies and Security Partners​


Just wanted to give this an extra thanks and a bump for those who might have missed it. Made for a really interesting read and it is always great to have an impartial, third-party point of view. It's equally tiresome to listen to the opinions of chest-thumpers with ridiculously overblown assessments of our capabilities and, on the opposite extreme, self-flagellants who believe that we'd lose a conventional war with Costa Rica, so it's refreshing to come across something objective and unemotional.
 
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