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  #1  
Old 20th February 2005, 13:28
Ruy Horta's Avatar
Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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British and Commonwealth (or other allies) ratios

Lately when reading material on various subjects of WW2 I'm caught by a feeling that I hope isn't misunderstood, but which I'd love to see either refuted or substantiated. The focus is ground forces btw.

How were the force ratios of British, their Commonwealth and other allies (ex. USA and USSR) in their main battles?

I cannot escape from the feeling that in many a battle the bulk of the forces was not of UK origin, but from an ally.

France in 1940
South Africa, India, Australia and New Zeeland in the Med/Africa and Middle East
Australia, India and New Zeeland etc in Asia
Canadians in 1943/1944.

How did the actual ratios stand, are there ready sources on the subject?

If it is proven to be true (a noncommital of forces), could that be explained by WW1 trauma?
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Old 20th February 2005, 16:31
Terry McGrady Terry McGrady is offline
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Ruy ,
The Strength of the 21st Army Group in Normandy
has been qoted as:-
2nd British Army 737,384
Ist Canadian Army 92,616
Each Indian Army Infantry Division had 1 British Brigade.
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Old 20th February 2005, 18:11
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Thanks Terry there is no substitute for hard numbers, but these surprise me when set against the initial assault (source is L.F. Ellis Vol.1).

Gold 24.970
Juno 21.400
Sword 28.845

Does this mean that roughly a third of the spearpoint was Canadian?

I must add that the wording of my initial post could have been better, or at least more tactful, since its not my intention to belittle the British fighting man!!

So please accept my apology if any of you've been offended by the general tone of the previous writing.
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Old 20th February 2005, 18:33
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Re: British and Commonwealth (or other allies) ratios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
I cannot escape from the feeling that in many a battle the bulk of the forces was not of UK origin, but from an ally.
Yes, the 'Britain stood alone' propaganda was and still is very offensive to their Allies. Look at the Order of Battle for Norway, Malaya & Singapore, Burma, Greece, Crete, North Africa, Dieppe, etc.

Even if we subtracted ground forces, the RAF contained a large number of foreigners and their ranks swelled steadily until 1945.
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Old 20th February 2005, 18:40
Terry McGrady Terry McGrady is offline
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Hallo Ruy ,
No not offended at all. I feel that the contribution of the Commonwealth during WWII , more especially the ground forces is often overlooked .
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Old 20th February 2005, 18:45
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Six Nifty .50s (like that name)

Although I must bare the responsibility for setting the tone for this thread, I would like to ask that its continuation be conducted in an objective manner.

Terry's example is clear enough, these numbers do show a full commital and disproof my argument.

It might also be an error of judgement. How did a Canadian, South African or Australian perceive himself when looking at the Britain, how did Brittons look upon these commonwealth men (and women)?

The distinction was blurred in the Dutch empire, judging by what I've read the Indo-Europeans regarded themselves as loyal dutch citizens, and I believe that by 1940 they were viewed in the same light by the native dutch. Certainly their mixed race didn't seem to bar them from high rank within the service.

At least the ML had a mixed race compliment, including Chinese and native Javanese. BTW this seemed to have caused some problems in Australia because of the local color bar.

So how British was an Australian?
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Old 20th February 2005, 21:50
Terry McGrady Terry McGrady is offline
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Well Ruy , The "Establishment" may have regarded them as "Colonials" , but at the grass roots level they were regarded as just Brits living elsewhere .
At the time there were strong ties to the "Old Country" and nationalistic feelings were'nt as strong as they may be today. But Remember that Queen Elizabeth II is not only Queen of the UK & Nth Ireland, but also of Australia , Canada, New Zealand and one or 2 other places.
As a child I lived in Malta for a while and went to school with Australian , New Zealand and other Commonwealth children from service families. We all got on well together.
Churchill saw India as the Jewel in the Crown of the then British Empire - seeing any moves for
independance as a sell out . He also hated the Indian Army - one of the reasons he replaced Auckinleck in the 8th Army was the fact He was from the Indian Army.
When during the War Churchill faced a vote of no confidence , there were plans to replace him if the need arose by Robert Menzies the then PM of Australia
An illustration of how popular Britain still was in those days was when the British Pacific Fleet arrived in Australia . The Yanks already there really got their noses pushed out .
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Old 20th February 2005, 21:53
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
Although I must bare the responsibility for setting the tone for this thread, I would like to ask that its continuation be conducted in an objective manner. Terry's example is clear enough, these numbers do show a full commital and disproof my argument. It might also be an error of judgement. How did a Canadian, South African or Australian perceive himself when looking at the Britain?
Before you solicit opinions, I must ask if you are you seeking them from certain civilians, or veterans of Malaya and Dieppe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
how did Brittons look upon these commonwealth men (and women)?
Which Britons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
The distinction was blurred in the Dutch empire
The distinction was also blurred in the British Empire, which is the main reason why it no longer exists as it did before World War II. The British, French and Dutch defeats at the hands of the Japanese convinced the natives that Europeans were not invincible. For Europeans there were two basic directions to stop insurgency in the colonies; negotiation and compromise, or violence.

Either way, the days of the old colonial administrations were numbered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruy Horta
So how British was an Australian?
Which Australians?
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  #9  
Old 20th February 2005, 22:02
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The British

Ray,

I may be mistaken but I sense a anti British undertone in your posts. I have yet to read anything positive from you relating to the RAF. Any serious research is perfectly aware of the tremendous debt we owe our Commonwealth and Dominion brothers-in-arms. not forgetting the Poles, Czechs, Norwegians and French.

We all know that without the Americans the war in Europe would have taken an altogether different course. What do you want us to do Ray, continuously thank everyone for coming to our aid. We as a nation could not have continued the fight on our own. The “British Stood Alone” propaganda so aptly mentioned by six nifty.50’s was just propaganda. Is this not the same propaganda machine that had the citizens of America and Britain believing that the US bombers could put a bomb in a pickle-barrel from 20,000ft or above.

I have had the honour and pleasure of talking with and meeting dozens of former RAAF, RCAF and RNZAF airman, I for one have never heard any of them say they were ‘offended’ by such a claim especially when you consider it in relation to the period it was actually said. They had plenty of constructive criticism relating to the ‘British’ but then again we the British are not perfect.
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Old 20th February 2005, 22:22
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry McGrady
An illustration of how popular Britain still was in those days was when the British Pacific Fleet arrived in Australia
You may want to read John Hammond Moore, Over-sexed, Over-paid and Over Here.

The British were very unpopular in Australia after the fall of Malaya and Singapore. This had followed a string of defeats against Germany and so naturally, Australians had lost confidence in the British government and their ability to protect Australia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry McGrady
The Yanks already there really got their noses pushed out .
Americans were very popular in Australia until they started plying their affluence and dating Aussie girls. The Yanks were better dressed and had far more money to spend on travel and entertainment. Aussie servicemen, many of whom were still in Australia at the time, were simply jealous. Like most others in the animal kingdom, Aussie men were territorial and often got drunk and started fights when someone else 'moved in on their territory'.

However, British servicemen were relatively cash poor and therefore less a threat to steal the girlfriends of Australian soldiers. That is definitely one reason they were eventually welcomed back.
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