"Swiss Army" in WWII

Discussion in 'General' started by phylo_roadking, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Oh Lord, please don't let this thread go into another 2nd Amendment pro/against bash...

  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    LOL oh god no - but in what IS out there on all that, you can turn up a lot of detail on Switzerland. it was one American legal writer and lawyer heavily into 2nd Amendment stuff, Stephen Halbrook, who later went on to write several articles and two books on the Swiss military experience in WWII as a result of his researches into the modern Swiss experience of arms.
  3. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    To brew up an older topic: Here is a document showing how the German Army High Command had seen Switzerland in 1940 during the preparation of Operation Tannenbaum:

    "Switzerland is decided to oppose an invasion with employment of all forces."

    Attached Files:

  4. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Attached Files:

  5. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Hi! Amazingly I was getting ready to post on this again myself! I was able to pick up a copy of Willi Gautschi's General Henri Guisan, one of the essential books on Switzerland in WWII. It has anwered a LOT of questions....and I'm only on the fourth chapter! :lol:

    1.The term "field army" DOES refer ONLY to the Swiss reserve-based combat forces, and that the border guards, auxiliaires, home guards, civic guards etc. are all IN ADDITION to that.

    From Gautschi...
    With the wartime mobilisation of the entire Swiss armed forces on September 2, 1939, General Guisan now had about 430,000 combat troops AND 200,000 auxiliary forces available to accomplish his task.

    The Schweiz1940 site does indeed give a total of c. 430,000 for the "Field Army" combat troops; everything else is clearly in addition to that. And the historical source Gautschi gives - he's very good at footnoting - is "Corps Commander Gubeli to Federal Councilor Kobelt; Lucerne, August 291946. BAr 5800/2" (The latter being the Federal Archive number IIRC)

    2. The SECOND thing I learned from Gautschi is what happened at the end of September 1939; a lot of sources referenced so far say that the Field Army and other units were "demobilized"....

    VERY like the "40 divisions Hitler demobilized in the summer of 1940"...it appears what happened in Switzerland was NOT demobilisation - instead, the called-up reservists started to be given long leave [​IMG] Because at the end of october the Swiss started receiving intimations of German operations and intentions in the West....leading to the "November Alert" when all reservists ON LEAVE were called back to full-time service.

    Where had they been in the meantime?

    A bit like the Germans giving troops long leave in 1940 to go back to the European barley harvest....late September and October was the Swiss grape harvest! [​IMG] Several Corps commanders wrote to Guisan requesting slight delays in the recall because they had large numbers of men on leave healping with the harvest...and Guisan himself noted that this was a major but very temporary problem, and allowed some Corps Commanders to vary their call-up timetable to accomodate the harvest.

    SOME sources referenced in this thread so far say that the Swiss had had their railway tunnels etc. mined for decades....while SOME said that mining wasn't "completed", for example in the Simplon Tunnel, until 1942! [​IMG]

    Which position is right?

    The answer is - BOTH! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Swiss HAD had their railway tunnels including the Simplon mined for decades...

    What happened starting in October 1939 was that they took explosives OUT of the pre-set mines! [​IMG] As Guisan accepted Colonel Germann's plans for "Case North" the possibility for a german invasion of Switzerland - this meant ONLY the Border Guards would hold the border (we've had mentions of this already in the thread). The Field Army however would deploy along what the Germans alled the "Guisan Line", along the Limmat River - thus in effect abandoning the city of Zurich and the surrounding lowlands! [​IMG] The only defence of a major part of Switzerland's lowlands would indeed only be by the border guards!

    Starting in October, the Army Corps responsible for the Limmat River line thus began building new defences along the river...AND at Gusian's direct order began to prepare everything useable by an enemy between the border and the Limmat River for destruction, along with mines, boobytraps etc....

    And they didn't have enough explosives to hand to do it all! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] So they dismantled 16 of the Simplon Tunnel's 32 mines and used the explosives out of those! Thus what really happened was - by 1942 the mines across the country that had been dismantled in 1939 were "re-completed" [​IMG]

    Interestingly for those posters that have wondered about the degree to which the Swiss REALLY planned the destruction of their own country to prevent any of it being of use to an enemy...Guisan had a term for this that he used in correspondance, beginning in October 1939 -

    "...military desert..."

Share This Page