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Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front Street West, Ontario, Canada, 28 July, 16:40 hrs GMT -4
The last commercial faded to black. The camera paned over the studio audience and focused on the show’s host, Josh McAdam.
“And we are back. We move from the situation south of the border to the ongoing conflict across the Atlantic. Enemy forces are now within artillery range of Paris as Allied forces hold a line from the Pyrenees to the German border. Colonel Denton, with Paris under constant bombardment, can French forces hold the enemy at bay for long?” asked the show’s host, Josh McAdam.
“Josh, I’ve heard in the last couple of weeks comparisons to nineteen fourteen and nineteen forty, but both comparisons are wrong. While allied forces are stretched along a wide front, the maintain their cohesiveness, professionalism and posture against a determined enemy,” said Colonel Denton.
“But how could a technologically inferior force cover so much ground against modern western armies?” asked McAdam.
“What the audience needs to understand is that modern western forces are grounded in the information age. Their primary tools on the battlefield are speed of movement, advance weapons technology and superior training. But this comes at a cost. Not only are modern armies smaller than their industrial era counterparts, replacing loses costs more and takes more time than it did in the past. Even when adjusted for inflation, every tank, fighter plane, warship or guided bomb is, at times, two to even three times more expensive than their second world war equivalents. It also takes more time to make up the losses in man power and equipment. It is not enough to hand someone a rifle and send them to the front nor can we drive tanks from the factory to the battlefield the way the Russians did in Stalingrad. Training a competent infantryman or tank crew takes months, a fighter pilot, years. On the other hand the enemy seems to be operating like an industrial era force, and while their numbers are nowhere near those deployed during the world wars, they seem to be able to maintain their numbers even in the face of horrific losses,” said Colonel Denton.
“But the losses on the side of the French have not being that heavy, the estimates are somewhere six to eight thousand dead. Higher than in recent conflicts, but nowhere the historical highs for European warfare,” said McAdam.
“Those numbers are misleading, Josh. For every soldier killed, their are ten wounded. That means that the French Army has suffered over eighty thousand casualties. The total size of the army before the war was, with reserves, about one hundred and sixty thousand. That’s fifty percent casualties. Further more the ratio of support troops to combat troops can be as high as eight to one, in favor of the support troops. Having said that, a considerable amount of wounded do return to front line service due to excellent medical care but still,” said Colonel Denton.
“Sounds to me like the French are on their last legs,” said McAdam.
“Not quite. Right now allied forces, including Belgian, British, Canadian, Danish and Norwegian forces are on the field and have taken their share of the burden. That has allowed the French to rest, rearm and prepare for upcoming operations,” said Colonel Denton.
“But, and Professor Whitworth, why haven’t the Europeans invoked the NATO treaty?” asked McAdam.
“The answer is Russia. The Russians simply will not work with NATO, as it is seen as a arm of American foreign policy within the Russian’s sphere of influence. However, they are willing to work with with EuroCorp, a parallel defense organization originally setup by the French and German governments as an alternative to NATO. So far it has worked, in part because the Americans are focused elsewhere, mainly the Americas and the Pacific. In return for not invoking the NATO treaty, the Russians have sent an airborne division to protect Belgrade and opened their war stocks to the Allies, to be used mostly by former Warsaw Pact countries like Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. It seems to be working so far,” said Professor Whitworth.
“It seems my original point stands, gentlemen. France is at the verge of collapse,” said McAdam with an raised eyebrow.
“Russia is not the only country that has mobilized their forces, even as we speak, members of the Commonwealth, Australia, India and New Zealand are preparing to deploy forces in theater as are several South American nations such as Argentina, Brazil and Chile,” said Denton.
“The question remains, will that be enough? And if it isn’t, is Canada committing itself to an unwinnable war in Europe? We will discuss that question on the last section of The Big Picture, stay with us,” said McAdam.
The picture faded to black.