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Swiss War Game Envisages Invasion By Bankrupt French 245

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the let-them-spend-baguettes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Telegraph reports, 'Hordes of bankrupt French invade Switzerland to get their hands on their "stolen" money — such is the imaginary scenario cooked up by the Swiss military in simulations revealed over the weekend. Carried out in August, the apparently outlandish army exercise was based on the premise of an attack by a financially stricken France split into warring regions, according to Matin Dimanche, the Lausanne-based daily. ... Operation "Duplex-Barbara" went as far as imagining a three-pronged invasion from points near Neufchâtel, Lausanne and Geneva, according to a map published in the Swiss newspaper. Behind the dastardly raid was a paramilitary organization dubbed BLD, the Dijon Free Brigade bent on grabbing back "money that Switzerland had stolen from Saônia". "For its credibility, the Swiss army must work (to ward against) threats of the 21st century," Antoine Vielliard, Hauate-Savoie councilor, told Matin Dimanche. However, Daniel Berger, captain of the Swiss armored brigade, sought to play down the specificity of the threat. "The exercise has strictly nothing to do with France, which we appreciate" he told the Swiss press. ... "French towns were cited to provide soldiers with a real scale," he said. ... Neutral Switzerland has not been invaded since the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century. '"
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Swiss War Game Envisages Invasion By Bankrupt French

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  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @12:07AM (#44998635) Homepage
    Countries prepare war games involving invasions to or from nearby countries all the time. This just isn't that big a deal. The US likely has plans to invade Canada if necessary (although at least publicly the last one was canceled in the 1930s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Plan_Red [wikipedia.org]), and almost certainly has plans to invade Mexico. The Swiss have made their entire foreign policy center around a combination of neutrality and being prepared to repulse any invader, so this shouldn't be at all surprising.
    • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @12:12AM (#44998681) Homepage

      Countries prepare war games involving invasions to or from nearby countries all the time.

      True, but Switzerland takes it up a level. Permanent tank traps in farmers fields, hidden military installations all over the country, bomb shelters, and a huge military reserve with regular training.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I live just outside of Wengen, Switzerland. Every home in my town has a bomb shelter. It was required at the time it was built.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by Cryacin (657549)
          The last time Switzerland was invaded was by the French. Nah... it won't happen again. It's like lightning, the French never strike twice.
        • by Joce640k (829181)

          Every tunnel/bridge into the country is also permanently wired so they can blow them up at a moments notice if anybody tries to invade.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by rapidmax (707233)

            That's not true anymore. The explosives has been removed year ago.

            • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

              by Chrisq (894406)

              That's not true anymore. The explosives has been removed year ago.

              Probably safer. All it takes is for one of the guards to convert to Islam and BOOM

            • by Joce640k (829181)

              That's not true anymore. The explosives has been removed year ago.

              I guess the chances of a land invasion by Europeans is pretty slim compared to 60 years ago.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Living outside a small town in Norway, this is common here too. Our bridges are also prepared for quick demolition. Same thing in Sweden.

          I thought this was common all over Europe, not just Switzerland even if they are the only country commonly mentioned.

          • by someone1234 (830754) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @02:03AM (#44999131)

            So, terrorists don't have much to do?

            • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @03:43AM (#44999617)

              Terrorists are such a vanishingly irrelevant problem that it's not on the scale of things we even need to protect ourselves against. We need to protect against vending-machine related accidents before we need to deal with terrorism. Or wide-spread robbery of public funds by the financial sector.

              • by Sique (173459) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @05:09AM (#45000075) Homepage
                I often compare the number of people dying in a terrorist attack in Germany with the number of people dying due to suffocation by a fishbone (because I have the numbers for both). During the last 40 years, there were less than 200 deaths in Germany caused by known terrorist groups (32 of them killed by the Red Army Fraction [wikipedia.org], 10 by the National Socialist Underground [wikipedia.org]). Every year, 700 people choke on a fishbone, which gives us 28000 fishbone related deaths in the last 40 years.

                When do we start the War On Fishponds?

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by khallow (566160)
                  In Germany, currently, not in the Middle East or Africa. Algeria for example lost somewhere between 40k and 200k people to a nasty ten year civil war and it has a population about a third that of Germany. Even at the lower estimate, that's more than an order of magnitude greater than the alleged death rate from fishbones.

                  And if as I suspect, the 700 choking deaths from fish bones per year is over the world's population rather than Germany's population, then you're looking at a three orders of magnitude d
                • by mjwalshe (1680392)
                  wel that is because the RAF et all to be blunt where a bunch of middle class pussys - The death caused by the troubles in NI is much higher because the IRA and UDA where much better organized 3.5 dead 50k total casualties. From work I know maybe 6 or 7 people from NI and 2 of them are going through the truth and reconciliation process ie you have had a very close family member killed thats over 25%
              • by gsslay (807818)

                Yes, but vending-machines have much better PR agents.

              • by nukenerd (172703)

                Terrorists are such a vanishingly irrelevant problem We need to protect against vending-machine related accidents before we need to deal with terrorism

                There is only a mildly negative feedback loop wrt vending machine accidents. The makers might put a little more effort into the safety of the next design, and I might be a bit more careful if I hear of a friend being hurt by one (I never have).

                OTOH, there is a very strong positive feedback loop with regard to crime, including terrorism. If potential criminals hear of others getting away with it, they are likely to try their luck too. If you want an example of that, it is the London riots last year wh

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by N3x)( (1722680)
            In Sweden this practise is being discontinued. Premade drillholes are being filled with concrete and such. I doubt any of swedens larger infrastructure has these devices anymore.
          • by Xest (935314)

            I think most countries plan to try not to be invaded rather than plan for being invaded.

            I know that's the case here in the UK, we generally focus our efforts on keeping invaders out rather than worrying about them getting in.

            But I guess we have the benefit of being an island which means we have a somewhat better natural protection against invasion which makes that easier I suppose.

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by bfandreas (603438)

              I think most countries plan to try not to be invaded rather than plan for being invaded.

              I know that's the case here in the UK, we generally focus our efforts on keeping invaders out rather than worrying about them getting in.

              But I guess we have the benefit of being an island which means we have a somewhat better natural protection against invasion which makes that easier I suppose.

              You feel safe now, but just you wait. UKIP has uncovered an insidious plan! Apparently ALL Dutch citizens have been issued drinking straws to drink the North Sea empty so they can safely walk over to you and install their own king. Again.
              They are only waiting for an extra large shipment of Kool-Aid.

              Nigel Farage came to me in a dream dressed like a pixie and told me only I could prevent this by voting for him.

              • by Xest (935314)

                If Nigel Farage gets anywhere near power I think the rest of Europe will have to worry about being invaded by Britain's smartest and most productive people as they all flock away from the anti-intellectual failed state that Britain would become.

            • by nukenerd (172703)

              in the UK, we generally focus our efforts on keeping invaders out rather than worrying about them getting in.

              No, around 1950 Britain stopped trying to keep any invaders out. There are now millions of people here of foreign origin, increasingly in positions of control, originally invited or let in because some people saw some short-term advantage to themselves. Even recently, Tony Blair welcomed immigrants as more likely to be Labour voters.

              A very similar situation to when the Romano-British leader Vortigern invited the Saxons to Britain around 450 AD because he wanted them as allies against other rival Roman

      • by DrFalkyn (102068) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @12:23AM (#44998741)

        Countries prepare war games involving invasions to or from nearby countries all the time.

        True, but Switzerland takes it up a level. Permanent tank traps in farmers fields, hidden military installations all over the country, bomb shelters, and a huge military reserve with regular training.

        All purely defensive measures, which for a small country that hopes to repel potential invaders, while retaining their neutrality and not having rely on "allies" to bail them out, seem pretty reasonable.

      • by Karmashock (2415832) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @12:25AM (#44998753)

        And its paid off so far... no one has touched them. Less vigilant countries cannot make the same claim.

        • And its paid off so far... no one has touched them.

          And then the USA IRS paid a visit. The Swiss folded like the French...

          • by Karmashock (2415832) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @07:56AM (#45000867)

            By folded you mean what?

            The swiss have been making a fortune by acting as a tax evasion haven for Europeans. The dirty little hypocrites have been saying one thing and doing another for generations. And I apply that to most of the EU.

            So the Swiss start expanding their game to US clients and shockingly the US IRS isn't as willing to play that game.

            We're always told about the taxes in europe. But one of the secrets is that the tax enforcement agencies in europe are a joke compared to the IRS. Income in France for example is negotiable. That is you can bargain about what your income actually was that year. The IRS isn't interested in your bargains. They want to know what you made and on what and when. The IRS is not f'ing around. True, they're getting scammed pretty hard by the multi nationals but its unclear as to why that is happening. It could be bribery or it could be just getting out played. I suspect they're mostly getting out played. The Multinationals like to bury bureaucracies in details until their eyes bleed. IBM famously gave the government something like 5 million documents in a court case involving monopoly charges. Case went on for a decade because the government had to read through all the documents. Which took hundreds of people that whole time. By the time the government got around to making a case it was too late and no one cared anymore.

            Microsoft did the same thing. Enron TRIED to do the same thing but it didn't work.

        • by Chuckstar (799005)

          In fairness, Switzerland also wasn't really in anyone's way and has relatively easy to defend terrain. Is it really the case that the only reason Belgium (which also tried to stay neutral) fell to the Nazis was lack of vigilance?

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Switzerland is one of the most strategic points in Europe. For thousands of years being able to control those mountain passes meant the ability to take nearly the whole continent.

            • by Xest (935314)

              Yes. Then airplanes, trains, and motor vehicles were invented and it became irrelevant.

              Seriously, I know someone who got a speeding ticket about 3 months after they got home from Switzerland and they never paid it because it was also written in German which seems a stupid thing to send to someone living in the UK.

              Then we looked at going on holiday through a few European countries, and despite wanting to visit those surrounding nations avoiding Switzerland for our travels really added very little extra time.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            In fairness, Switzerland also wasn't really in anyone's way and has relatively easy to defend terrain.

            In fairness, Switzerland was already known for banking and the Nazis needed their services as much as anyone else.

          • Switzerland was helped by their geography.

            But don't pretend that Hitler didn't want to take it. He asked his generals to war game it. They came back with very nasty loss projections.

            In the end, the Nazis just said it wasn't worth it. But that was because the Swiss made it not worth it.

            A better example of a country trying and failing would be the Dutch. As usual when invaded, they broke their dikes. It slowed the germans down a little. But ultimately it wasn't enough.

            The real failure was in dissolving the ar

            • by Kinthelt (96845)

              Old Roman maxim... If you desire peace, prepare for war.

              Funny you mention that. The latin wording is "Si vis pacem, para bellum". When Georg Luger invented the Pistole Parabellum 1908, he named it after that phrase. The Pistole Parabellum 1908 is also known generically as the "Luger" which was the official sidearm of the Nazis.

      • If it's still in print, find a copy of John McPhee's "La Place de la Concorde Suisse".

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        The Swiss had their plans for hidden installations, bomb shelters, and huge military reserve sites sold to the Soviet Union and who knows who else by trusted gov staff.
        So the Swiss know most of their much older sites are mapped out and new works can be plotted in by any interested country.
        Their officer corp unique in is training, part time officer support and the global private connections of its mid-top ranking "part time" officers.
        That upper rank on the CV was always covered.
        The Swiss also seem to hav
        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Conventional war in western Europe is almost unimaginable now. There really isn't much point each country having strong internal defences.

          The Swiss do it because they like the idea that everyone does military service and it provides useful employment and economic benefits. As you say, their military serves little practical purpose these days.

      • by Dave Emami (237460) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @12:50AM (#44998859) Homepage

        Famous but probably-apocryphal conversation between a visiting German general and his Swiss counterpart, prior to WW2:

        German: How many men are under your command?
        Swiss: I can mobilize one million men in less than twenty-four hours.
        German: What would happen if I marched five million men through that pass tomorrow?
        Swiss: I would call up my men. Each man would fire five shots. Then I would send them home.

        • by Nimey (114278)

          IIRC it was closer to there being twice as many German as Swiss soldiers, and the Swiss response was "I would tell my men to fire twice!".

          The joke works because the Swiss soldiers (and rifles) were well-known for being accurate.

      • by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @01:04AM (#44998909)

        True, but Switzerland takes it up a level. Permanent tank traps in farmers fields, hidden military installations all over the country, bomb shelters, and a huge military reserve with regular training.

        And for some of them [telegraph.co.uk], an almost fanatical dedication to the pope.

      • by rioki (1328185)

        Yes like the Toblerone Line [wikipedia.org]. The Swiss really take their defense seriously... even more than the US and that means something.

      • It's kind of amusing, because who can afford to attack Switzerland? Politicians of other countries have stashed away their tax evasion money there!

        Anyway, I once saw a documentary in which a formerly top secret and now decomissioned installation against Germany was shown. It was an innocent looking family house whose complete facade could be lowered, revealing some mean looking mortar battery. Makes me wonder what they have built as a replacement...

      • by bcmm (768152)

        True, but Switzerland takes it up a level. Permanent tank traps in farmers fields, hidden military installations all over the country, bomb shelters, and a huge military reserve with regular training.

        It seems to work for them, though. How many countries have had nearly 200 years of peace?

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      The difference is the US learned years ago to call the enemy force some made up name even if they are operating canadian weaponry and wearing canadian uniforms. The press eats this shit up and loves to blow it out of proportion. Logic says the military plans for every contingency but idiots get riled up to learn neighboring country has plan.

    • This just isn't that big a deal. The US likely has plans to invade Canada if necessary

      Here is some excellent stolen documentary [1] of such a planned exercise.

      [1] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109370/ [imdb.com]

    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      The US likely has plans to invade Canada if necessary (although at least publicly the last one was canceled in the 1930s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Plan_Red [wikipedia.org]),

      ...and vice versa [wikipedia.org].

      And then there's the previous invasion [wikipedia.org], although I'm not sure whether that counts as Canada the country [wikipedia.org].

  • Just wait till the shut-down the government in USA.

    It'll be like Tienanmen Square, but with tanks vs smart phone slinging teenage mutant ninjas.

    Even worse! All of the 401ks are backed by the stork market.... Another crash and it'll be 60 something hippies in business casual firing Ronald Rayguns.

    • The looming government shutdown in the US is not exactly novel - we've been through this a number of times before. Most people aren't going to even notice, unless it drags out.

      • by ATMAvatar (648864)

        18 times [wikipedia.org] (including the one that started an hour ago), in fact. I was a little surprised to see just how many there were when I looked it up. Obama has nothing on Carter and Reagan for shutdowns.

        • by Splab (574204)

          I think the big difference is how the world is connected today, wont be total melt down, but markets are bound to be nervous. Gonna be fun for a couple of days till they are done measuring penises.

    • Just wait till the shut-down the government in USA.

      It'll be like Tienanmen Square, but with tanks vs smart phone slinging teenage mutant ninjas.

      More like, everyone out of work will kill their time trolling on Slashdot.

    • All of the 401ks are backed by the stork market.... Another crash and it'll be 60 something hippies in business casual firing Ronald Rayguns.

      I don't see that as such a bad thing, if The Stork Market crashes it will help offset the global overpopulation crisis we're in the process of having.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @12:16AM (#44998707)

    Neutral Switzerland has not been invaded since the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century.

    By, uhm, France.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I know this, because I'm old enough to have googled French military victories [albinoblacksheep.com].

  • Nuke The Swiss And Steal Their Gold.
  • by drkim (1559875) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @12:53AM (#44998867)

    I saw a movie called "Duplex-Barbara" once, but it was about this girl named Barbara taking a shower (in her duplex), and then the Pizza delivery guy arrives.

    Now that I think about it - there was some French kissing in it...

  • "The exercise has strictly nothing to do with France, which we appreciate"
    Nailed it! A+ on war game IRL cover propaganda. They don't suspect a thing now!
  • Was the Swiss Navy involved in the war games?

  • As the article points out, this is the second military exercise in a row based on the idea of impoverished outsiders invading over economic issues. The previous one had a premise that the Euro economic zone collapsed, and hoards of "refugees from Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal" were overrunning Swiss borders.

    So if you have a relatively homogenous population of Western Europeans, a high standard of living and a major banking sector that is known internationally as a haven for corrupt money, your

    • by a whoabot (706122)

      Parent comment is not flame-bait at all, and is entirely on-topic.

    • To preempt right wing whining, I refer to Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Latinos: "there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57598020/rep-steve-king-stands-by-divisive-immigration-comments/ [cbsnews.com] By the way, this asshat thinks he has a shot as the next Republican President.

      You know, if you're going to resort to bald-faced lying by misrepresenting what someone says (hint: that comment was not about "Latinos" in general), you probably shouldn't link to a source that includes the quote in context.

    • by Jesrad (716567)

      your situation was not fairly earned

      Yes it was. Someone building up riches in one place does not cause some other guy in another place to suddendly lose his.

      • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @05:52AM (#45000285)

        No it wasn't. A lot of money in Swiss banks is money held by the owners illegally, we're not talking about tax avoidance here, we're talking about out and out tax evasion.

        Switzerland has gotten rich by allowing criminally obtained money to be stored in it's banks and then refusing to cooperate with the authorities of nations from where it was obtained illegally.

        We're talking literally billions of dollars that do not belong to the people Switzerland is letting keep it being held in Swiss banks which the Swiss banks, like pretty much all banks, then use to invest and make themselves wealthier.

        Switzerland has very much gotten rich off the back of illegally obtained money. This is the problem with most tax havens and especially Switzerland - it's not just that they act as a low tax place for tax avoiders to stash billions, it's the fact that they also allow tax evaders to store money that does not belong to them.

        The fact is that if Switzerland wasn't complicit in supporting criminality in just about every other nation in the world it wouldn't be even close to as wealthy as it is now, and that's what the GP was referring to - that the Swiss know full well if shit went down financially then people are going to come knocking and demand the Swiss hand back all that illegally held money and hence the reason they come up with such scenarios is because they know full well they're guilty and hold such illegally obtained funds in the first place.

        • No it wasn't. A lot of money in Swiss banks is money held by the owners illegally, we're not talking about tax avoidance here, we're talking about out and out tax evasion.

          Are you American by any chance?

          The US certainly feels that way, but that's because the US has a retarded tax system that is based on citizenship as well as residency. That is, anyone unlucky enough to be born American (or get a green card or a bunch of other factors) is expected to pay tax to the IRS no matter where they go and live. Givin

    • by Alomex (148003)

      So if you have a relatively homogenous population of Western Europeans,

      Ah the myth of a homogenous society: 15% of the population in Switzerland is non-Western European, and nearly a quarter of Swiss residents are not from Switzerland. In Zurich fully half of the residents are immigrants.

      In contrast, heterogeneous "melting pot" USA has only 14% of non-USA residents,

  • Why Switzerland ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by o'reor (581921) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @01:44AM (#44999055) Journal
    That's ridiculous. Why would the French army go to the pains of crossing the alps and trying to invade a country that has atomic shelters everywhere, a well trained national guard and a good army (or reputedly so), when it would only take two days and an infantry division to invade filthy-rich Luxembourg ?

    Add a navy operation on Jersey, Guernesey and Sark to hunt down rogue bankers in neighouring tax havens for good measure, and voilà !

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Add a navy operation on Jersey, Guernesey and Sark to hunt down rogue bankers in neighouring tax havens for good measure, and voilà !

      Well Jersey, Guernesey and Sark are all protected by the British crown, that means the first thing they'll do is send angriest Scots in the Royal Army to invade France and historically, this has not worked out well for the French.

    • by Xest (935314)

      "a well trained national guard and a good army (or reputedly so)"

      I think it's probably more reputed than anything. Is there any reason to think a military that's pretty much never had any combat experience whatsoever is going to be able to even come close to a battle hardened military like the French, British, Americans, or Russians?

    • That's ridiculous. Why would the French army go to the pains of crossing the alps and trying to invade a country that has atomic shelters everywhere

      Geneva would be a cinch to snap up. It's in low-lying lands, and France can invade it from the northwest, south, west, east. All French territory [google.ca].

      Of course, they would have to contend with the fearsome Swiss Navy on Lake Geneva. I hear they have some fearsome, multipurpose cutlery they could bring to bear.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      No do it as a joint Uk/French/Spanish/German (if they are allowed out after dark these days) operation and take out the Chanel islands Andora,Lictensien and Monaco in one go
    • by Nimey (114278)

      Look, Switzerland has three neighbors with a military worth a damn (if you count Italy) so they don't have a lot of options for realistic wargames.

  • When was the last time that invading somebody for their cash was actually cost effective? Early Roman Empire? Modern war is damned expensive; plus it tends to play scorched earth with various flavors of stored value (human and physical capital destroyed, fiat money's health contingent largely on who wins(and there's always the alternative of just printing what the opposition has squirreled away into worthlessness rather than trying to grab it), markets for assorted intangible assets disrupted, you are basic
    • by stymy (1223496)
      You underestimate how much money is in Switzerland. Think trillions.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      When was the last time that invading somebody for their cash was actually cost effective?

      For a nation? A long time ago. For the people running the war, and the people selling war supplies? Every time.

  • Operation "Duplex-Barbara" went as far as imagining a three-pronged invasion from points near Neufchâtel

    Pfft. I've imagined way crazier stuff than this in my time.

  • by RMingin (985478)

    Ok, so Switzerland, who is entirely familiar with the concept of mercenaries, is invaded by France?

    The solution lies directly North of Switzerland. Calculate expected damages due to invasion, offer half that amount to the Germans, and watch France surrender.

    Hell, if you play your cards right, maybe Germany will cede some of France's territory to you after a few hours, when the French surrender!

    (This is for comedic value and is not a serious statement regarding Germany, France, or Switzerland.)

  • by hpa (7948) on Tuesday October 01, 2013 @12:49PM (#45004185) Homepage

    It is a good sign of the times how far things have advanced that a country in Western Europe cannot come up with any military exercise scenario which can be considered credible. This hasn't exactly been the norm, to put it mildly. At this point in time, the risk of a war in Europe is largely confined to the Balkans, and even there is looking increasingly unlikely that we'll have a full-scale return to fighting.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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