Subject: For All Nails Nr 75 - A Helping Hand
London, 1 March 1973
Extract from Hansard:
Mr Edwin Jenkins (NR - Chingford): "Would the Prime Minister
agree that the lamentable and tragic failure of American arms at Porto
Rico reflects poorly on the state of training and competence of the
General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Confederation of North America?
Would he avail himself of this opportunity to associate himself with the
entirely germane remarks of my honourable and gallant friend, the member
Sir Geoffrey Gold (NR - Kensington & Chelsea): "Mr Speaker, it is with
enormous pride that I rise to answer my honourable friend, the member for
Chingford. I should like to make a formal statement:
This House should be aware, Mr Speaker, that, since the sad
events of January this year, the Ministry of War has been in close
communication with our great associated Power, the CNA and that an
agreement has been signed between the Ministry of War and the Defense
Ministry of North America. The agreement provides for the provision by
this nation of a Military Training Team, which will take on the
responsibility of helping our allies develop a new programme of training
for both their Regular armed forces and the Militia and a team from the
Combined Staff College, which will consult with the CNA Staff College at
Burgoyne, with a view to developing a new syllabus and thus training CNA
staff officers of the future in modern methods and technology. Our cousins
in Australia have been invited to despatch a number of officers and senior
men to form part of the Training Team and the King of that happy southern
land has been graciously pleased to approve the deployment of a number of
very experienced men with that team."
Extract from private correspondence: Serjeant Barry Campbell (North Irish
Horse) to his wife, Fiona - 16 March 1973
"...we arrived in Burgoyne and were mustered at the High Commission, where
the Commander of Training Team, Major General Flood - a wicked-looking
man, for all I could tell, but decently set-up and smart and not old -
gave out assignments. I and two comrades - a Serjeant-Major from the
Connaught Rangers, O'Keefe - although he spells it O Cuiv - and a Captain,
brevet Major, Duncan, from the Life Guards - were assigned to our unit,
the 2nd Battalion of the Royal South Vandalian Regiment. This unit is
located at Camp Cornwallis, on Long Island, together with a huge number of
At first glance (we arrived just this last night), the soldiers (in the
main, black men!) seem well-fed, but somehow sloppy. There is a want of
smartness and, although the Regimental Serjeant Major, a fine-looking
black man called Carpenter, had indicated that he expected all senior
ranks to greet us in the Mess on arrival, fewer than thirty Serjeants and
Warrant Officers were there in the event...
...Camp Cornwallis is enormous and there is even a camp ironroad station
convenient to the Battalion lines, so I hope we shall have the opportunity
to sample the attractions of New York while stood down from duty."
Camp Stewart, Manitoba, 23 March 1973
Lieutenant Colonel George Singh and Major Eric Fetherstonehaugh , both
of the 60th Rifles and both assigned to the British Training Unit
responsible for Tarleton's Legion, were not happy. They were sitting
together in the corner of the bar of the Tarleton Legion Officers' mess,
isolated from the gaily-clad CNA officers around them - partially by being
ignored by the revelling colonials, partially by choice.
Tarleton's Legion - despite its name, actually a combined-arms brigade
incorporating armoured fighting vehicles, mechanised infantry,
self-propelled artillery and airmobiles - had just returned from a major
Although the unit was still engaged in making good the losses suffered by
the 3rd Battalion, (which had been detached to the ill-fated Boricuan task
force and had been very roughly handled by the German Infanterieregiment
77, leaving all its Coyote light armoured vehicles behind it on the beach
when it withdrew), the entire available strength of the Legion had been
put through its paces for a week of continuous activity. The results had
not been good.
Singh, a massive, bearded officer with over 30 years' service, had been
the chief umpire of the exercise and had been profoundly unimpressed at
the performance of headquarters and leaders at all levels. The
headquarters staffs were large, unwieldy and slow-moving, the officers
either far too old or far too well-bred to engage in modern warfare and
the NCOs unwilling or unable to take initiatives beyond writing a guard
roster for the luxuriously-appointed "field" headquarters complexes. There
was little wrong with the spirit of the troops, if one discounted
overwhelming (and ill-placed) confidence and enthusiasm, which was
unfortunately coupled with a poor state of training and a tradition of
blind obedience to orders. They were undoubtedly smart and
well-turned-out, though, which Singh and Fetherstonehaugh agreed was
probably not actually a *bad* thing.
Both officers had been shocked to note that, immediately on return to
barracks, all the officers had disappeared with their batmen to go about
their amusements. They clearly saw supervision of the grinding hard work
of recovering and maintaining military equipment, or even ensuring that
hot meals were available for the troops who still had 24 hours' work
before dismissal from duty, as being utterly inconsistent with the dignity
of the Governor-General's Commission.
Fetherstonehaugh, like Singh a keen and convinced supporter of the
National Renewal Party , was particularly irritated by the aristocratic
pretensions of the officers of Tarleton's Legion. Surely a nation deserved
better of its Army than to provide a safe haven for imbecilic second
sons to wear attractive uniforms? Fetherstonehaugh himself was from a
sound, old, family, with a long tradition of service in his Regiment. If
he felt able to don coveralls and grub around under an armoured vehicle,
he saw no reason why the scions of parvenu industrial, /colonial/
aristocracy should not do the same.
Those few officers Fetherstonehaugh had met who had impressed him were all
junior, in rank if not in age. The commander of the Legion
Reconnaissance Squadron, a cadaverous, forty-year-old Second Lieutenant
called MacDonnell, had known exactly what he was about - but, then, he had
only recently returned to the Legion after fifteen years away, commanding
a specialist Border surveillance and special tasks troop, which would
probably have influenced his world-view somewhat. It was significant that
all the other "proper" Second Lieutenants in the Legion were under 25
years of age and that it appeared that a typical young "proper" officer
could expect to don the three shiny stars of a captain before he was 30.
Unusually, MacDonnell had been commissioned from his former rank of
Regimental Serjeant Major and it was Fetherstonehaugh's impression that
little effort was made by the officers of Tarleton's to welcome their
latest member into their Mess.
 Sometimes pronounced "Fanshaw". But then, you knew that.
 National Renewal Party - Party in power in the UK.
Authoritarian, pro-military, dedicated to the reconstruction of the old
United Empire as an international, interracial, association of free
British and British-descended nations. Deeply anti-German, profoundly
sceptical of USM intentions. Rumoured to be partly funded by Kramer money.
Note on Great Britain:
The NRP are not anti-aristo, more anti-useless-aristo. The party is akin
to an OTL Popular Front - not much of a policy beyond the reassertion of
the Empire, so a broad appeal across the patriotic proletariat, the middle
classes, the mercantile classes and the aristos. I think they have an
absolute majority and are faced with the Tories (home-focused, no overseas
aspirations), Radicals (=OTL Lib Dems, with some left-wing activists from
the Guilds and Confederations) and Conservatives )barking-mad
isolationists, schismatics from the Tories after the Global War).
Great Britain in this time line is somewhat less densely populated (as
emigration to the CNA, Australia and New Zealand has been far greater),
considerably more militarised (3 year compulsory conscription for males
over 18, no exemptions), much more /dirigiste/ (State control of vital
industries - i.e. arms, energy and transportation) and has a smaller
economy, notwithstanding the continued membership of Ireland. GB only just
weathered the aftermath of the Global War with the help of the CNA's Mason
Aid and the economy is still in a parlous state. London, even 25 years
after the effective end of hostilities, still shows many signs of the
German airmobile bombardments during the four unsuccessful invasion
attempts. Kent and Sussex are effectively still disaster areas, with no
significant surviving infrastructure.
Notwithstanding the above, the dedication of a far higher proportion of
GNP to military ends means that the British military potential is high.
The Armed Forces are large and competent, with a wealth of experience from
continuous participation in the brushfire wars constantly smouldering
around the periphery of the German Empire.