For All Nails Nr 45 - A Different Definition of Success
After the less than stellar success of the hurriedly-mounted CNA operation
in Puerto Rico, a number of collections of documents were put together by
the Confederation Armed Forces Higher Command and Staff College to provide
an account of certain aspects of that operation. The following represent a
tiny proportion of the whole.
Extracts from documents in the personal possession of Lt Colonel Richard
Hurley-Pugh (H-P) CSC Royal Marines, British Observing Officer, Operation
FAST BOWLER , made available by him in holograph. The documents have
been certified as accurate replications by the Ministry of War, London.
Source Document: Private letter H-P to Mrs Marian Hurley-Pugh, written
from Prince William of Derby Barracks, Jacksonstown, Georgia, SC,
21 January 1973:
"...you should not be concerned. I have no intention whatsoever of putting
myself more in harm's way than necessary during this adventure. I have
scant confidence in the ability of my hosts, whose enthusiasm is
untempered with judgement, to perform the ambitious task they have set
themselves and will thus take measures to minimise the exposure of my
party  to hostile action...."
Source Document: Operation FAST BOWLER GREEN Op Order 1.3 Friendly Forces
"...Tps depl on Op FAST BOWLER will form 3 Prov Asslt Div:
1 Regt RCMC 
2 Regt RCMC
14 Asslt Bn RVR (FS) 
1 AR 
3 TARLETON 
2 Fd Regt RCA 
1 Regt RCHA 
Add assets depl in advance of S-time FAST BOWLER GREEN:
600 Prov Bn "
Source Document: Operation FAST BOWLER GREEN Op Order 1.2 Enemy Forces:
"...elms 77 GREEN  Inf Regt in likely bn str depl area MOCA. Possible
involvement of BROWN  611 Mech Bn depl AGUARDILLA..."
Source Document: Operation FAST BOWLER GREEN Op Order 3.1 Execution -
"...3 Prov Asslt Div will asslt MOCA, PUERTO RICO by simultaneous sea and
fs coup-de-main from Task Force CORNWALLIS , RCN. 2 Prov Asslt Div
will take and hold the towns of MOCA, VICTORIA and AGUADILLA until
withdrawn (expected NLT 23JAN1973). Local assets (600 Prov Bn) will take
and hold sus GREEN missile positions 1 mile NE MOCA until relieved by adv
elms 14 Asslt Bn RVR."
Source Document: Post Action Report by H-P to Admiralty, 16 February 1973:
"Initial disembarkation was difficult for the lead assault echelons of 1
Regt RCMC, which was transloaded into assault craft from the Task Force
and moved onto the beaches (as noted, fully overlooked by cliffs) across
rough sea. A degree of disorganisation was noted and it was clear that a
number of junior leaders at the company commander level found it difficult
to exercise control over their troops...."
"The fallscreen assault by 14 Asslt Bn RVR was catastrophic. The battalion
jumped from low-flying transport airmobiles, directly on the town of Moca.
At the time of the jump, the irregulars of 600 Prov Bn had not
concentrated in the area (having had up to 100 miles to cover in a covert
manner). 14 Asslt Bn had taken significant casualties from ground fire
before leaving their airmobiles (estimated at 25%, including all organic
heavy weapons teams, which were concentrated in single chalks) and
suffered significant further loss when landing, under fire, in the town
(Perhaps as high as another 25%). An immediate counterattack on the
landing area by a scratch company-size unit of German administrative and
logistic personnel drove the survivors of 14 Asslt Bn out of Moca. It was
only at this stage of the battle that the irregulars of 600 Prov Bn joined
the action, mounting a series of very keen assaults on the town. It was
unclear why the town was selected as the target of the action, rather than
the missile site, which was some way outside - it is my surmise, based on
interviews (summarised at Annexe DD), that 600 Prov Bn found itself sucked
into the battle for Moca by inertia and found it impossible to disengage.
It was at this point, with 14 Asslt effectively down to 30% or fewer
effectives and the light infantry irregulars of 600 Prov Bn similarly
damaged, that the armoured locomobiles of 611 Mech Bn and
I/Infanterieregiment 77 mounted their attack on the Moca Road and
eliminated the Moca Assault Force. The enemy took up their positions
blocking the Victoria-Moca road, from which it fell to the Marines to
dislodge them, at such a cost..."
"...while the dash and elan of the individual CNA soldier and Marine was
all that could be expected, the quality of planning, individual and unit
training and command and control was poor. A number of fundamental errors
were made, ranging from a very complicated plan which depended upon a huge
number of space, time, distance and personal variables, to a failure to
maintain the aim of the operation - the elimination of the German missiles
- to a failure by commanders at all levels to maintain a grip on the
operation (especially when going badly adrift) and of their units.
Particularly notable was the poor appreciation for the quality of the
likely opposition. The odds mustered against what proved to be a
full-strength German infantry regiment and a Puerto Rican mechanised
were barely 2:1 overall; at no time did the CNA forces achieve tactical
superiority against an enemy far better trained and deployed. The lack of
ammunition resupply as a result of the decision to land further troops
rather than stores was a significant factor in this."
"...of particular concern was the decision by the commander of TF
CORNWALLIS to cease close air support during the enforced withdrawal phase
and the resultant teleson argument, which was audible to most friendly and
enemy troops, as it was conducted in clear speech on the unencrypted
"...the colours of 1 Regt RCMC, which were brought from the beach by the
Regimental Serjeant Major as the regiment stayed to cover the evacuation,
have been laid up in the Corps Chapel at Bayonne...."
"...I should particularly like to commend my Deputy, Major Peter de
Gruchy, 1st Foot Guards, for his gallant rescue of two wounded CNA Marines
under fire during the rapid withdrawal to the beaches after the
dislodgement from the Victoria position. A full account is despatched
under separate cover..."
"...in summary, it was a gallant effort by the troops, of whose personal
courage and dedication there can be no doubt, but a disastrous showing by
their commanders, who were unprepared, in almost every respect, for
offensive operations against a modern Power's forces.
I remain, My Lords,
Your obedient servant,
Lieutenant Colonel, Corps of Royal Marines"
Source Document: The London Gazette 1 June 1973
"His Majesty is graciously pleased to assent to the award to Lieutenant
Colonel R Hurley-Pugh, Corps of Royal Marines, of the Conspicuous Service
Cross for gallantry in an operational theatre..."
"Promotions: Royal Navy: Corps of Royal Marines: Hurley-Pugh, R., CSC, to
be Colonel, Brevet Brigadier, with date of rank 1 January 1974"
Source Document: Report to the Governor-General "Casualties Incurred
during Operation FAST BOWLER" dated 6 February 1973
"...Casualties in this operation were not disporportionate to the scale
and risk of the undertaking and should be viewed in that context. The
following chart breaks down by major unit the numbers killed, injured and
missing plus unit strengths on recovery to Georgia:
Strength Killed Injured Missing Strength
22 Jan 73 28 Jan 73
1 RCMC 3112 1899 312 784 117
2 RCMC 3075 612 577 651 1235
14 Asslt 811 433 161 106 111
1 AR 803 54 53 8 688
3 TARL 432 16 29 36 361
2 Fd 610 38 104 12 556
1 RCHA 411 64 221 39 151
Div Tps 1307 155 234 211 707
600 Prov 363 277 - 86 -
GROUND FORCES TOTAL
RCN 102 411 29
RCAF 34 6 12
CBI 7 2 11
Conf Police 1 1 -
TOTAL 3692 2111 1985"
Source Document: Minutes of CNA General Staff Chiefs' Committee 8 March
"...CoS Army reported that diplomatic efforts were ongoing to establish
the status of the nearly 2000 troops still missing on Puerto Rico after Op
FAST BOWLER. Reconnaissance overflights had suggested the construction of
camps in the uplands behind San Juan was ongoing; analysis of imagery
gives a theoretical maximum capacity of all guarded camps combined of
Source Document: Georgia Examiner, 30 January 1973. Page 1 Headline:
"TOP GENERAL SHOOTS SELF, "COULD NOT LIVE WITH SHAME"
 FAST BOWLER was the all-arms operation, involving the Royal
Confederation Navy, the Confederation Army and the Royal Confederation Air
Force, to seize and destroy the German missile site on Puerto Rico. H-P
was one of the British Observing Officers, from all arms, attached to the
CNA forces as an adviser and observer. At the time of FAST BOWLER, he was
serving as an integree in 1st Regiment, RCMC, as the Second-in-Command of
 H-P, together with a group of other observing officers and a small
communications team, was the Ground Forces Observing Officer. This small
team, of no more than 20 officers and men, between them gained 3 CSCs, 5
Military Medals and 20 Mentions-in-Despatches, plus an award of the
Confederation Cross to H-P himself, for their actions during FAST BOWLER.
 FAST BOWLER GREEN was the ground forces component of FAST BOWLER.
 1st Regiment, Royal Confederation Marine Corps - 1st, 2nd and 3rd
Battalions, each of approximately 800 men, plus an artillery battery, an
anti-armour battery and an engineer company. 2nd Regiment identical.
 14th (Assault) Battalion, The Royal Vandalian Regiment (Fallscreen) -
analogous to OTL parachute battalion, roughly 700 light infantry with
limited anti-armour capability.
 1st Battalion, the American Regiment - mechanised infantry, equipped
with the wheeled Wolfhound armoured personnel carrier (think OTL BTR-60).
800 men, organic anti-armour capability.
 3rd Regiment, Tarleton's Legion - light armoured locomobile unit (OTL
US battalion strength) - 60 Coyote wheeled AFVs (65mm cannon + 2 11.2mm
 2nd Field Regiment, Royal Confederation Artillery - 24 109mm towed
 1st Regiment, Royal Confederation Horse Artillery - 18
self-propelled (on Wolfhound chassis) 109mm gun/howitzers
 600th Provisional Battalion - 350 or so Spanish-speaking
Confederation troops, hurriedly trained to a covert role as "insurgents".
The first part of the plan was that these should assault the German
missile site and thus give some cover for the CNA assault under the
pretext of restoring order and preventing the capture of nuclear weapons
by "terrorists". This element of the plan failed first.
 GREEN - Coverterm for German Army. 77 Infantry Regiment was a
full-strength Category 1 unit, consisting of three mechanised infantry
battalions, each of 900 men, in Brummbaer tracked APCs, with an organic
artillery battalion of 16 120mm howitzers and an armoured company of 12
Einhorn AFVs. The CNA intelligence appreciation substantially underrated
this fine unit, assessing it as being an understrength and scratch
two-battalion "leg" infantry unit.
 BROWN - Coverterm for Boricuan "Loyalist Army". 611 Mech Bn was a
composite unit of two mechanised rifle companies in German-supplied
Brummbaer APCs, an armoured company equipped with the Lancero wheeled AFV.
 Task Force CORNWALLIS - Capital ships included the assault landing
ships HMCS Crocodile, Alligator, Caiman and Gharial, the airmobile
carriers HMCS Burgoyne, Philadelphia and Albany and the battleships HMCS
Raleigh, Drake and Grenville.