A Plan for a Preemptive Strike on the United States by the British Dominion of Canada, circa 1921
In December 2005, the Washington Post published a quixotic article entitled Raiding the Icebox. The piece introduces readers to U.S. War Plan Red, the little-known 1930 plan to conquer Canada. More sardonic than serious, the article acted mostly as a holiday diversion from the quagmire in Iraq: "Invading Canada won't be like invading Iraq: When we invade Canada, nobody will be able to grumble that we didn't have a plan." When interviewed, both Canadians and Americans took it as a joke, competing for the cleverest quip. Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz defiantly vows to the American enemy: "It will be like Napoleon's invasion of Russia."
Americans routinely joke about conquering Canada. But these plans are no joke. As a loyal, self-governing Dominion in the British Empire, Canada served as a proxy for American tensions with Britain throughout the 19th century. American troops invaded Canada during both the American Revolution (!) and the War of 1812. Significant border disputes existed until the 1850s, covering tens of thousands of square miles. Tensions rose during the American Civil War, when Confederates and Irish nationalists looked to Canada as a shelter, launching pad, and target. Even seemingly unrelated matters such as the Venezuelan boundary dispute of 1895 threatened to flare up into conflict between Britain and the United States.
As the twentieth century dawned, tensions lessened as Anglo-American interests coincided more and more. Yet, until the 1920s, there was a real risk that the Anglo-Japanese alliance would draw Canada into war with the United States. The British were quite serious about their alliance with Japan, inviting Japan into the inner circle of the Allied Powers in the Paris peace talks ending World War I. The alliance bound Britain to neutrality in the event of war between Japan and one other power, and to military support of Japan in the event of war between Japan and two other powers. As World War I demonstrated, overlapping treaties can have a cascading effect.
Strategic thinking tends to lag behind strategic reality. Despite the end of the Anglo-Japanese treaty in 1921, the US developed War Plan Red in the 1920s to address a possible war with the British Empire. Conversely on the Canadian side, James Sutherland "Buster" Brown prepared for a war with the United States. Thus was hatched Canadian Defense Scheme No. 1.
Knowing that Canada suffered from a ten-to-one manpower disadvantage against the United States, "Buster" Brown's plan relied on strategic surprise and lightning movements. Canada could not hope to win a one-on-one war with the United States, so any Canadian defense plan had to rely on troops from the British Empire for military parity. Yet, in the age before air transport, any aid from Britain or her colonies would take weeks or months to arrive by sea. Canada had precious little strategic depth with which to undertake a defensive war, as the bulk of its population, industry, and rail lines were located near the American border. Indeed, the American War Plan Red relies on the proximity of Canadian resources to project a rapid and successful conquest of Canada.
To counter the seemingly overwhelming American military advantage, "Buster" Brown envisioned a preemptive strike against the United States. Canadian troops would mobilize quickly and attack with little warning, relying on surprise to penetrate American soil as far south as Oregon. Of course, the massively outnumbered Canadian forces could not hope to hold on to the captured territory. So they would begin a strategic withdrawal, destroying bridges, roads, and factories as they went. Thus, it would be American territory, rather than Canadian, that would be used for strategic depth. It would be American industry, farmland, and infrastructure that was destroyed, all of which would hamper American efforts to bring troops to the Canadian border. The gamble, then, was that Imperial forces would arrive to hold the line by the time Canadian forces had retreated back into Canada.
Clearly, Canadian Defense Scheme No. 1 was both daring and risky. It relies to a certain extent on US forces being caught off guard, a naïve assumption given the proximity. Ultimately, Defense Scheme No. 1 and its American counterpart faded away as Anglo-American relations continued to improve. War Plan Red was one of two dozen color-coded plans developed by the US military, ranging from major world wars to the invasion of Caribbean nations (Gray). In contrast, Canada's potential enemies were much fewer. Defense Scheme No. 2 addressed a possible war with Japan, in case the Pacific realignment drew Britain into war with its former ally, and No. 3 and No. 4 simply planned the dispatch of Canadian troops to aid British forces in European and colonial wars2.
American War Plan Red was declassified in the 1970s, but quickly became a footnote in comparison to Black (Germany) and Orange (Japan). Military historians seized on Orange, in particular, as a sign of the times, envisioning super-dreadnought battleships steaming to the Philippines (then an American colony) to engage in a fleet action with the Imperial Japanese Navy, sixteen-inch guns blazing. Canadian Defence Scheme No. 1 fell into even greater obscurity, not least because it was largely an internal army discussion, "not fully disclosed to the Government." War Plan Red resides in the National Archives of the United States, while Defense Scheme No. 1 lives at Queens University, in a collection of James Sutherland Brown's papers. An excerpt was published in a 1965 five-volume academic study of Canada's defense history, which as the sole published copy seems to be the source of most further inquiry (although many sources cite the James Sutherland Brown papers collection directly).
The well-known War Plan Red is available online. Interestingly, it was located, digitized, and posted to Usenet in 1995 by Floyd Rudmin, who was then at Queens University, where the full Defense Scheme No. 1 is located. I guess that University is just a hothead of Canadian resistance to American domination! Until and unless I make my way to Queens University someday to locate the complete copy, I present here the partial plan that is available in published works. Canadian Crown Copyright lasts fifty years, so the Defense Scheme is now in the public domain.
Some great games of this scenario by MrF'S Gaming •1 - Invasion USA 1922 intro •2 - Stone Falls p2 •3 - USA Strikes Back p1 •4 - USA Strikes Back p2
The AT-99 “Scorpion” Gunship (Na'vi name: kunsip) is a VTOL ducted fan rotor, Mosquito-class targeting and missile launch platform. Outfitted to escort shuttle
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and air support for mining operations, the Scorpion is the gunship of
choice for the RDA on Pandora.
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hull, one tail and then two sets of undercarriage to
represent them raised or
lowered two Gatling Cannon and two rocket
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This article was written with particular vehicle miniatures in mind.
The author uses the old scale Heavy Gear walker miniatures as Combat
Walkers for Stargrunt in the 25mm scale. These miniatures are about the
right size in scale for a single-pilot vehicle. These "Mecha-style"
vehicles often have weapons and equipment outside the main armour,
either held in one of the "hands" or strapped to the back, mounted on a
shoulder or leg, etc. The style is very common to combat walkers as
depicted in Anime/Mecha style art, and as such is applicable to a wider
range of models and miniatures than those produced by Dream Pod 9 for
Combat Walkers have several advantages to their
design. Perhaps the main advantage is the ability to carry greater
firepower than a conventional armoured vehicle of similar size, because
the mounting and aiming mechanisms (their "arms") are part of the basic
vehicle structure and because the weapons are carried outside the main
hull. In some cases, the weapons are interchangeable, and the Walker
pilot can choose from several different weapons, with the "arms"
grasping the required weapon from a rack or mount on the back or leg.
According to the Vehicle Design rules in the Stargrunt II rulebook
(page 31 - 32), a standard armoured vehicle may be fitted with 5
Capacity Points worth of weapons, equipment, or troop carrying space per
Size Class of the vehicle. A size 2 vehicle, for example, has 10
Capacity Points for equipment and weapons.
Turreted weapons with
wide arcs of fire take up a considerably larger amount of space than
non-turreted weapons. A turreted weapon takes up three times the weapon
size class in Capacity Points, while a fixed mount weapon requires only
two times the weapon size class in Capacity Points. A turret mounted
RFAC/2 would thereby take up 6 Capacity Points, making it impossible to
fit this weapon system on a size 1 vehicle.
The "Heavy Gear"
style combat walker design seems ill suited to this design methadology.
These vehicles clearly cannot carry any infantry (they have room for
only one pilot), but due to the nature of the design, greater
flexibility in weapon and equipment capacity requirements should be
For example, these vehicles have "arms" and a
rotating waist as part of the basic vehicle structure. These mechanisms
provide what is in effect a turret for weapons without taking up
internal volume or detracting from carrying capacity. The weapons
themselves are carried externally, requiring less internal space. As
such, "turret mounted" weapons on these vehicles should cost less
Capacity Points than the equivalent weapon on more standard armoured
vehicles. However, there should also be a limit to the maximum size of
weapon available for Combat Walker mounted weapons. As the weapons are
mounted "off center" and the vehicles walk rather than roll on wheels or
tracks (or a stable gravitic platform for grav vehicles), weight and
balance would be a concern. A size 2 Combat Walker could theoretically
mount a size 5 fixed weapon (10 capacity points), but if carried on one
of the arms, the vehicle would be very poorly balanced. In addition, for
game balance reasons I suggest there should be a limit to the maximum
size weapon carried on a Walker.
These rules enable Size 1 and 2
Combat Walkers to carry a larger weapon load than equivalent size
conventional vehicles, but places a strict maximum limit on the weapon
classes carried. Combat Walker Capacity for Weapons and Systems
Size 1 Combat Walkers Capacity Points: 5 Maximum Weapon Size Class: 2
Size 2 Combat Walkers Capacity Points: 10 Maximum Weapon Size Class: 3
On either Size 1 or Size 2 Walkers, each "arm" can carry only 1 weapon.
Weapon Capacity Point Costs Size Class 1 Weapons: 2 Capacity Points Size Class 2 Weapons: 4 Capacity Points Size Class 3 Weapons: 6 Capacity Points "SAW" type infantry support weapons: 1 Capacity Point Vehicle Mounted Automatic Grenade Launcher: 2 Capacity Points Heavy Flame Thrower: 2 Capacity Points
Also, GMS systems have "non-standard" space requirements: GMS-L: 3 Capacity Points GMS-H: 5 Capacity Points
In addition, shoulder mountings can carry 1 "SAW" type weapon "for
free", including SAW, Multiple Launcher Packs (MLP - same as that found
on PA) and single shot GMS/L tubes (may be used once during the battle,
otherwise acts exactly the same as a standard GMS-L).
other vehicles, ECM, fire control, guidance systems, decoy launchers,
smoke dischargers and other similar small external fittings do not
require Capacity Points. Arcs of Fire:
There are two ways to
account for arcs of fire for this type of vehicles, and either is
appropriate. Choose whichever suits your sense of aesthetics for these
vehicles. The first is to allow all "arm" mounted weapons a 360 degree
Arc of Fire (the arms themselves allow a 180 degree Arc of Fire to the
side, and the waist can rotate 90 degrees in either direction, allowing a
total coverage of 360 degrees). The second ignores the waist rotation,
so arm mounted weapons have a 180 degree Arc of Fire to the side they
are mounted on. In addition, all "shoulder" mounted weapons have a 180
degree Arc of Fire to the front only. In my gaming experiece, arc of
fire on these type of vehicles rarely is rarely an issue and we
generally do not worry about it, but either of these methods provides a
simple justification for a GM to make a ruling on line of sight if
The main drawback to this design
methodology is that the exposed weapon systems are more likely to suffer
damage in combat than equivalent systems on more conventional armoured
This article was written with particular vehicle miniatures in mind.
The author uses the old scale Heavy Gear walker miniatures as Combat
Walkers for Stargrunt in the 25mm scale. They are just the right size
for a single-pilot vehicle. These miniatures often have weapons and
equipment outside the main armour, either held in one of the "hands" or
strapped to the back, mounted on a shoulder or leg, etc. The style is
very common to combat walkers as depicted in "Anime" style art, and as
such is applicable to a wider range of models and miniatures than those
produced by Dream Pod 9 for Heavy Gear.
Combat Walkers have
several advantages in their design. Perhaps the main advantage is the
ability to carry greater firepower than a conventional armoured vehicle
of similar size, because the mounting and aiming mechanisms (their arms)
are part of the basic vehicle structure and because the weapons are
carried outside the main hull. In some cases, the weapons are
interchangeable, and the Walker pilot can choose from several different
weapons, with the "arms" grasping the required weapon from a rack or
mount on the back or leg. The main drawback to this design methodology
is that the exposed weapon systems are more likely to suffer damage in
combat than equivalent systems on more conventional armoured vehicles.
To simulate this in game terms, when a Combat Walker suffers a
non-penetrating hit, as per the standard non-penetrating hit rules a d6
is rolled. On a roll of 1, the exposed weapons take some damage, and on a
roll of 5 or 6, the vehicle suffers a Systems hit (Systems hit results
as per the SG rule book).
For an exposed weapon hit, randomly
determine which of the Walker's weapons has been damaged, and that
weapon is rendered inoperable for the rest of the battle. In most cases,
the weapon is simply taken out of action, but certain weapon systems,
due to the highly explosive nature of their ammunition, are prone to
secondary explosions. Two examples of this are the Automatic Grenade
Launcher and the Vehicle Mounted Flame Thrower. Vehicle Mounted Flame Thrower
Vehicle flame throwers on walkers have vulnerable fuel tanks, which can
explode spectacularly if damaged. If the flame thrower is damaged (as
per the random weapon determination discussed above), roll a further d6.
On a 1 through 3 (50% chance) the fuel explodes. The vehicle is covered
with burning fuel, and will automatically suffer a secondary hit on the
Walker with d10 impact. Roll the d10 impact vs. the Walker's armour as
per a normal hit. Also, the area around the vehicle may be set on fire
(as per the SG rule book). If there are infantry in close proximity
(within 2") to the exploding weapon, they will also take a hit, as if
hit by a heavy flamer. This will cause d10 impact hits to each figure
affected by the explosion, and will also cause morale effects as normal
For further details about these weapons, see our Heavy Flame Thrower article. Vehicle Mounted Automatic Grenade Launcher
When a Vehicle Mounted Automatic Grenade Launcher is damaged (as per
the random weapon determination discussed above), roll a further d6. The
ammunition will "cook off" on a d6 roll of 1 or 2, causing a secondary
hit on the Walker doing d8x2 impact. Roll the d8x2 impact vs. the
Walker's armour as per a normal hit.
My Good Generals, here is the write up from our recent Cold War game
staged here at the WHC by the chaps from the Reigate club. I have
included as many photos as was deemed sensible, as I took over 100, so
when you take a look through just hover your cursor over the photo to
see the note for the picture.
Challenger II 10 each
Chieftain 10 each
Centurion 30 each
Comet 10 each
Conquer 10 each
Cromwell 10 each
Challenger (WWII) 3 each
Churchill 10 each
Matilda II 20 each
Valentine VIII 10 each
Crusader III 10 each
I've just posted a news update on the store front page, with the latest 15mm releases (as seen at COLOURS) now up for ordering.
Please pop over to the usual place (www.gzg.com) and take a look…..
More news soon, including details of SELWG (Crystal Palace, London) on the
I also had the honour recently of spending a couple of hours chatting by phone with Neil and co. from the MEEPLES AND MINIATURES podcast, and they've now posted most of my ramblings as No. 230 in their series of wargaming podcasts - so if you can stand an hour and a half of me talking about my early days in the hobby, starting GZG, and assorted other stuff then feel free to have a listen to it:
My generic (Gray Army) bad guys, Neo Basileia ton Rhomaioi or (NRE)
They are basically anything but American from WWII to modern:
T72 26 Each
T64 10 Each
T62/T55 55 Each
T34/85 60 Each
JSIII 10 Each
PT76 12 Each
Leo II 20 Each
Leo IIA2 20 Each
Leo 1A6 36 Each
Leo I 38 Each
Jadopanzer Kanone 44 Each
Panzer I and II 33 Each
Panzer III 33 Each
Panzer IV 44 Each
Panther 20 Each
Tiger I 20 Each
Tiger II 20 Each
Stug III/IV 40 Each
AMX 30 39 Each
Type 61 23 Each
Type 45 16 Each
Centurion 10 Each
Conqueror 10 Each
Churchill 10 Each Merkava 10 each
The Evil Empire on the Brazos (BEE) chronicles the on going wars (games) and the diplomatic efforts (Posts/GNN Reports) of all the known nations (wargame collections) in my little area of the galaxy.My goal is to both entertain
and inform those new to art of miniature wargaming, and have a few laughs with it. This Blog is open to all and also welcomes comment from all and I hope that many will come to join in the madness.....)