If the Invader Comes

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Put aside Taliban or Mujaheddin loyalty for a moment and imagine the life of a regular Afghan man. Their clan, their tribe, their unit, their sheikh, their ethnicity, their religion, maybe their provincial or central government? And when you do take into account their loyalties to extremist groups, you have to factor in the group, that unit, and the shadow government. That's 12 potential loyalties right there. Imagine trying to subdue 34 million of them, because you have to if you invade Afghanistan.

Defeating those people in pitched battles didn't work, ask the British. Massacring them also didn't work, ask the Soviets. The American nation building strategy isn't coming along either. Did your invading army plan on fighting one billion people? Because that is what is likely to happen invading China. The most populous country in the world now boasts 1. For the uninitiated or bad at math or both , that means they have almost the entire population of the United States plus a billion.

Having written these wargaming posts for a few years now, I know that many will ask me to consider that this doesn't mean China has a skilled or fearsome force of ground troops and that all they've ever tactically perfected on a modern battlefield is human wave attacks. While these one billion Chinese people likely don't have their own arms, it wouldn't take long for the planned central bureaucracy to start handing out weapons to form a unified front against an invader. There's an old U. It may sound like a throwing a few million soldiers at an invader is stupid, but it's quite the human wave and it will likely work.

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So, even if the numbers of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir are repeated, and it takes ten Chinese divisions to repel one Marine Division, the Marines will need to send 25 divisions just to establish a beachhead. And China didn't even try to equip their soldiers back then. Today, they would have rifles and shoes — and maybe food.

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The fun doesn't stop just because the invader made it ashore. China is as massive as the United States, with a diverse climate and diverse geographical features. It's surrounded by extreme weather and oceans on all sides, so invaders will have to be prepared for the impassable Gobi Desert and the jungles of Southeast Asia, not to mention the mountainous, snowy Himalayan regions which will make air support difficult. If invading troops aren't massacred along the way by bands of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, then they still get to contend with a variety of tropical diseases, along with the diseases that come from overpopulation and pollution.

This is just in fighting a conventional war. The Chinese are the masters of ripping off foreign technology, so an invading army would have to assume that the country they're invading will also have all the technological prowess of the United States — and with its million-plus person manpower assuming they didn't die in a human wave and strong economy, they're ready to grind on for a long time. This is probably the only entry on the list many readers didn't predict.

But on its own, India is a formidable place to invade. To the north and east lay harsh Himalayan mountain passes. Dry deserts makes up roughly half of India's northwest regions. In the southwest, India is wet and tropical, limiting the best places to land an ocean-born invasion force. That is, if you ever get to land an invasion force on the subcontinent. Part of India's major naval strategy is to flood her territorial waters with enough submarines to sink both enemy warships and enemy landing craft while strangling sea lanes of enemy shipping.

This tactic has been in place for a long time, since before China's foreign policy went from one of "peaceful rise" to "crouching tiger. Since the British left India in , they've had to deal with Pakistan on a few occasions and even went to war with China once before. Ever since, China and Pakistan have only grown closer, so India's entire defense strategy has to be predicated on the idea of fighting a war on two fronts — and they're ready for it.

Fighting in India is not a small matter, as any Indian general will probably tell you. The height of the Himalayan mountains makes air support very difficult, even impossible at times. India can't rely exclusively on one benefactor, meaning it can't just choose to be closer to the USA or Russia. A small number of pillboxes had been constructed in the First World War and where possible these were integrated into the defence plans.

Some pillboxes may pre-date the publication of the FW3 designs, but in any case some local commanders introduced modifications to the standard FW3 designs or introduced designs of their own. These non-standard design pillboxes may have been produced in some numbers or completely ad hoc designs suited to local conditions. Other designs were produced as commercial ventures. About 28, pillboxes and other hardened field fortifications were constructed in the United Kingdom of which about 6, still survive. Other basic defensive measures included the removal of signposts, milestones some had the carved details obscured with cement and railway station signs , making it more likely that an enemy would become confused.

Perhaps most importantly, the population was told what was expected from them. The roads were not to be blocked by refugees. Further warnings were given not to believe rumours and not to spread them, to be distrustful of orders that might be faked and even to check that an officer giving orders really is British. Further: keep calm and report anything suspicious quickly and accurately; deny useful things to the enemy such as food, fuel, maps or transport; be ready to block roads—when ordered to do so—"by felling trees, wiring them together or blocking the roads with cars"; to organise resistance at shops and factories; and, finally:.

On 13 June , the ringing of church bells was banned; henceforth, they would only be rung by the military or the police to warn that an invasion—generally meaning by parachutists—was in progress. More than merely passive resistance was expected—or at least hoped for—from the population. Churchill considered the formation of a Home Guard Reserve, given only an armband and basic training on the use of simple weapons, such as Molotov cocktails.

The reserve would only have been expected to report for duty in an invasion. When Pamela protested that she did not know how to use a gun, Churchill told her to use a kitchen butcher knife as "You can always take a Hun with you". In , in towns and villages, invasion committees were formed to cooperate with the military and plan for the worst should their communities be isolated or occupied. The plans of these committees were kept in secret War Books , although few remain. Detailed inventories of anything useful were kept: vehicles, animals and basic tools, and lists were made of contact details for key personnel.

Plans were made for a wide range of emergencies, including improvised mortuaries and places to bury the dead. When the UK went to war on 3 September , the strength of the Metropolitan Police stood at 18,, which was officers short of full strength. Due to the threat of invasion, three reserve groups were mobilised, the first consisted of 2, police pensioners who were re-engaged, a second reserve of 5, Special Constables serving on a temporary full-time basis for the duration of the war, and 18, War Reserve Constables employed on the same basis as the Special Constables.

On the same day as the Battle of Dunkirk , Scotland Yard issued a memorandum detailing the police use of firearms in wartime. This detailed the planned training for all officers in the use of pistols and revolvers, as it was decided that even though the police were non-combatant, they would provide armed guards at sites deemed a risk from enemy sabotage, and would assist the British Armed Forces in the event of an invasion.

Because of the possibility of the police assisting the armed forces, firearms and ammunition supplied to divisions were increased. On 1 June , 3, Ross Rifles , which had last seen service in , and 72, rounds of. Thames division had the smallest rifle allocation with 61, and "S" Division the largest with In , weapons were critically short; there was a particular scarcity of anti-tank weapons, many of which had been left in France. Ironside had only 2-pounder anti-tank guns , but these were supplemented by Hotchkiss 6-pounder guns dating from the First World War, [96] improvised into the anti-tank role by the provision of solid shot.

The Sten submachine gun was developed to replace infantry weapons left in France, and to supplement supplies from America of the Thompson submachine gun. One of the few resources not in short supply was petroleum oil; supplies intended for Europe were filling British storage facilities. The Army had not had flame-throwers since the First World War, but a significant number were improvised from pressure greasing equipment acquired from automotive repair garages. Although limited in range, they were reasonably effective.

There were many ideas for using petroleum on a larger scale and although many proved fruitless, some practical weapons were developed. A mobile flame trap comprised surplus bulk storage tanks on trucks, the contents of which could be hosed into a sunken road and ignited. Usually, gravity sufficed but in a few cases a pump assisted in spraying the mixture of oil and petrol. A flame fougasse comprised a gallon light steel drum [nb 2] filled with petroleum mixture and a small, electrically detonated explosive.

This was dug into the roadside with a substantial overburden and camouflaged.

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Ammonal provided the propellant charge, it was placed behind the barrel and, when triggered, caused the barrel to rupture and shoot a jet of flame 10 feet 3. Variants of the flame fougasse included the demigasse, a barrel on its side and left in the open with explosive buried underneath; and the hedge hopper: a barrel on end with explosive buried underneath a few inches deep and slightly off centre.

Early experiments with floating petroleum on the sea and igniting it were not entirely successful: the fuel was difficult to ignite, large quantities were required to cover even modest areas and the weapon was easily disrupted by waves. However, the potential was clear. By early , a flame barrage technique was developed. Rather than attempting to ignite oil floating on water, nozzles were placed above high-water mark with pumps producing sufficient pressure to spray fuel, which produced a roaring wall of flame over, rather than on, the water.

It seems likely the British would have used poison gas against troops on beaches. General Brooke, in an annotation to his published war diaries, stated that he " Poison gases were stored at key points for use by Bomber Command and in smaller quantities at many more airfields for use against the beaches. Bombers and crop sprayers would spray landing craft and beaches with mustard gas and Paris Green.

In addition to hiding real weapons and fortifications, steps were taken to create the impression of the existence of defences that were not real. Drain pipes stood in place of real guns, [] dummy pillboxes were constructed, [] [] and uniformed mannequins kept an unblinking vigil. Volunteers were encouraged to use anything that would delay the enemy. In the villages use was made of any existing walls or buildings, loopholes for firing or passing heavy chains and cables through to form barriers strong enough to slow down or stop soft skinned vehicles.

The chains and cables could also be made into psychological barriers to tanks by attaching an imitation bomb to them, an impression which could be augmented by running a length of cable from it to a position out of sight of a tank commander.

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These positions could be made even more authentic by breaking up the surface immediately in front of the obstacle and burying an old soup plate, or similar object. These generally had a large metal loop cemented into one end through which a cable could be passed to link several together. Again, suspicious looking parcels could be attached to strengthen the illusion. Their task was to spread false rumours and conduct psychological warfare. Inspired by a demonstration of petroleum warfare, one false rumour stated that the British had a new bomb: dropped from an aircraft, it caused a thin film of volatile liquid to spread over the surface of the water which it then ignited.

American broadcaster William Shirer recorded large numbers of burns victims in Berlin; though it is not clear what he personally saw, it seems likely his reports were influenced by rumours. The interrogation of a Luftwaffe pilot revealed the existence of such weapons was common knowledge, [] and documents found after the war showed the German high command were deceived. The War Office did not treat the threat of invasion seriously until the collapse of France in May The Secret Intelligence Service had, however, been making plans for this eventuality since February , creating the core of a secret resistance network across the country.

This remained in existence until at least and comprised both intelligence and sabotage units. In May , SIS also began to distribute arms dumps and recruit for a larger civilian guerrilla organisation called the Home Defence Scheme. This was deeply resented by the War Office who created the Auxiliary Units as a more respectable military alternative. Auxiliary Units were a specially trained and secret organisation that would act as uniformed commandos to attack the flanks and rear of an enemy advance.

They were organised around a core of regular army 'scout sections', supported by patrols of 6 - 8 men recruited from the Home Guard. Although approval for the organisation had been given in June , recruiting only began in early July. Each patrol was a self-contained cell, expected to be self-sufficient. There was, however, no means of communicating with them once they had gone to ground, which greatly reduced their strategic value. Each patrol was well-equipped and was provided with a concealed underground operational base, usually built in woodland and camouflaged.

They were not, therefore, intended to operate as a long term resistance organisation. The latter was the responsibility of the Secret Intelligence Service Section VII, which would have only begun to expand its operations once the country had actually been occupied, thus confining knowledge of its existence only to those men and women who would have been available at the time. In addition, the Auxiliary Units included a network of civilian Special Duties personnel, recruited to provide a short-term intelligence gathering service, spying on enemy formations and troop movements.

Reports were to be collected from dead letter drops and, from , relayed by civilian radio operators from secret locations. The wireless network did, however, only become operational from and was based upon a very rigid system, which meant that it was unlikely to survive more than a few days following invasion.

The War Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff Committee were not content to sit and wait for the Germans to make the first move; considerable efforts were to attack, by air and sea, the enemy shipping which had been assembled in occupied ports between The Hague and Cherbourg , starting in July Between 15 July and 21 September, German sources stated that 21 transport vessels and barges had been damaged by British air raids.

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These figures may have been under-reported. After the evacuation of Dunkirk, people believed that the threatened invasion could come at almost any time. In mid, an invasion attempt could have occurred at any time, but some times were more likely than others: the phase of the moon, the tides and, most of all, the weather were considerations.

The weather usually deteriorates significantly after September, but an October landing was not out of the question. On 3 October, General Brooke wrote in his diary: "Still no invasion! I am beginning to think that the Germans may after all not attempt it. And yet! I have the horrid thought that he may still bring off some surprise on us.

The Battle of Britain had been won, and on 12 October , unknown to the British, Hitler rescheduled Sealion for early By then, the state of Britain's defences had much improved, with many more trained and equipped men becoming available and field fortifications reaching a high state of readiness. With national confidence rising, Prime Minister Churchill was able to say: "We are waiting for the long promised invasion. So are the fishes When Germany invaded the Soviet Union , on 22 June , it came to be seen as unlikely that there would be any attempted landing as long as that conflict was undecided — from the British point of view at the time, the matter hung in the balance.

In July , construction of field fortifications was greatly reduced and concentration given to the possibility of a raid in force rather than a full-scale invasion. On 7 December , a Japanese carrier fleet launched a surprise air attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor ; the United States entered the war on Britain's side. With America's Germany first strategic policy, resources flooded into the UK, effectively ending the danger of invasion after two years.

In , the British Army retained an "abnormally large force of over , men for defence of the United Kingdom and other contingencies which could have been used in Normandy" according to American historian Carlo d'Este.

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General Brooke frequently confided his concerns to his private diary. When published, he included additional annotations written many years later:. I considered the invasion a very real and probable threat and one for which the land forces at my disposal fell far short of what I felt was required to provide any degree of real confidence in our power to defend these shores. It should not be construed that I considered our position a helpless one in the case of an invasion. Far from it. We should certainly have a desperate struggle and the future might well have hung in the balance, but I certainly felt that given a fair share of the fortunes of war we should certainly succeed in finally defending these shores.

It must be remembered that if my diary occasionally gave vent to some of the doubts which the heavy responsibility generated, this diary was the one and only outlet for such doubts. The question of whether the defences would have been effective in invasion is vexed. In mid, the preparations relied heavily upon field fortifications. The First World War made it clear that assaulting prepared defences with infantry was deadly and difficult, but similar preparations in Belgium had been overrun by well-equipped German Panzer divisions in the early weeks of and with so many armaments left at Dunkirk, British forces were woefully ill-equipped to take on German armour.

On the other hand, while British preparations for defence were ad hoc , so were the German invasion plans: a fleet of 2, converted barges and other vessels had been hurriedly made available and their fitness was debatable; in any case, the Germans could not land troops with all their heavy equipment.

Until the Germans captured a port, both armies would have been short of tanks and heavy guns. The later experiences of the Canadian Army during the disastrous Dieppe Raid of , American forces on Omaha Beach on D-Day and taking on Japanese defenders on Pacific Islands showed that, under the right conditions, a defender could exact a terrible price from assaulting forces, significantly depleting and delaying enemy forces until reinforcements could be deployed to appropriate places via the sea and inland.

In the event of invasion, the Royal Navy would have sailed to the landing places, possibly taking several days. It is now known that the Germans planned to land on the southern coast of England; one reason for this site was that the narrow seas of the English Channel could be blocked with mines , submarines and torpedo boats. While German naval forces and the Luftwaffe could have extracted a high price from the Royal Navy, they could not have hoped to prevent interference with attempts to land a second wave of troops and supplies that would have been essential to German success—even if, by then, the Germans had captured a port essential for bringing in significant heavy equipment.

In this scenario, British land forces would have faced the Germans on more equal terms than otherwise and it was only necessary to delay the German advance, preventing a collapse until the German land forces were, at least temporarily, isolated by the Royal Navy and then mounting a counterattack. Scholarly consideration of the likely outcome of invasion, including the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst war game , [] agree that while German forces would have been able to land and gain a significant beachhead , intervention of the Royal Navy would have been decisive and, even with the most optimistic assumptions, the German army would not have penetrated further than GHQ Line and would have been defeated.

Following the failure to gain even local air superiority in the Battle of Britain, Operation Sea Lion was postponed indefinitely. Hitler and his generals were aware of the problems of an invasion. Hitler was not ideologically committed to a long war with Britain and many commentators suggest that German invasion plans were a feint never to be put into action. While Britain may have been militarily secure in , both sides were aware of the possibility of a political collapse. If the Germans had won the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe would have been able to strike anywhere in southern England and with the prospect of an invasion, the British government would have come under pressure to come to terms: the extensive anti-invasion preparations demonstrated to Germany and to the people of Britain that whatever happened in the air, the United Kingdom was both able and willing to defend itself.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Operation Sea Lion order of battle. Main article: Home Guard United Kingdom. Main article: Battle of Britain. See also: Petroleum Warfare Department. Main article: Auxiliary Units. Retrieved 28 July Military History Encyclopedia on the Web. Retrieved 21 December Britons at War. Retrieved 29 March Archived from the original on 29 November Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Clarice Pike and Vic Warren are from completely different backgrounds.

An impossible affair has already driven them thousands of miles apart. As their feelings conspire to draw the lovers back together, the world erupts with a terrible violence. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Booker Prize Nominee for Longlist Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about If The Invader Comes , please sign up.

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