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Defence Scheme No. 1 was a plan created by Canadian Director of Military Operations and Intelligence Lieutenant Colonel James "Buster" Sutherland Brown, for a Canadian pre-emptive invasion of the United States.

Contents

Targets

Defence Scheme No. 1 was created on April 12, 1921 and details a surprise counterattack on the northern U.S. as soon as possible after evidence was received of an American invasion of Canada.

According to the plan, Canadian troops stationed in Pacific Command in Western Canada would immediately be sent to seize Seattle, Washington; Canadian Forces stationed in Prairie Command in Western Canada would be sent to attack Great Falls, Montana and then move to Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Canadian Forces stationed in Quebec Command would be sent to seize Albany, New York in a surprise counterattack while Canadian Forces in Maritime Commandwould counterattack into Maine.[1] Meanwhile, according to the plan, the Canadian Forces Great Lakes Command in Ontario was assumed to be fighting on the defensive against the main attack from the Armed Forces of the USA; if Canadian forces were successful in defending in the Great Lakes area, they were encouraged to launch counterattacks in the area of the Niagara River and the St. Clair River.

When resistance stiffened, the Canadians would retreat to their own borders, destroying bridges and railways to hinder American pursuit.[1] The purpose of the invasion would be to allow time for Canada to prepare its war effort and to receive aid from Britain, or to limit the American invasion before the US government opted to discontinue the incursions. Defence Scheme No. 1 serves as a counterpart to the American War Plan Red, a plan to invade Canada drafted in 1930.

Reconnaissance

Lt. Colonel Brown himself did reconnaissance for the plan,[1] along with other lieutenant-colonels, all in plainclothes. These missions took place from 1921 and 1926. As historian Pierre Berton noted in his book Marching as to War, these investigations had "a zany flavour about it, reminiscent of the silent comedies of the day." To illustrate this, Berton quoted from Brown's reports, in which Brown recorded, among other things, that in Burlington, Vermont the people were "affable" and thus unusual for Americans; that Americans drink significantly less alcohol than Canadians (this was during Prohibition), and that upon pointing out that to Americans, one responded "My God! I'd go for a glass of beer. I'm going to 'Canady' to get some more"; that the people of Vermont would only be serious soldiers "if aroused"; and that many Americans might be sympathetic with the British cause.

Reaction

Despite Berton's description of the plan and its creator as "quixotic", Berton notes the plan had its supporters. These included General George Pearkes, who remarked that Defence Scheme No. 1 was a "fantastic desperate plan [which] just might have worked." However, in 1928, the scheme was terminated by Chief of the General Staff Andrew McNaughton, who sought peaceful US-British relations. Many of the documents relating to the scheme were accordingly destroyed. While never fully justified, when declassified information about the United States' War Plan Red was released Defence Scheme No. 1 demonstrated the foresight of such an operation, especially in that it was prepared before War Plan Red was researched.

See also

References

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Books

  • Berton, Pierre. Marching as to War: Canada's Turbulent Years 1899-1953. Anchor Canada: 2002.
  • Harris, Steven, Canadian Brass: The Making of a Professional Army, 1860-1939. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988. Includes a section on the interwar defence planning.

External links


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