The "New Model" Army
Christian nations and their governments should, when it comes to defence, be focused upon defending the lives of man, woman, and child. There are few nations which comply with this doctrine of national defence.
Switzerland is one such nation. Angelo Codevilla provides a description of the Swiss defence doctrine--and capability. Many would be surprised. The Swiss army . . .
is fit for only one mission: to defeat invaders. For this, a country of 6.7 million can generate an army of twelve divisions (the US army has ten) and has twenty-six brigades, armed with some of the world's best equipment. Of course Swiss forces completely lack, among other things, the mobility and capacity to sustain the long supply lines that the armies of great powers possess. But the Swiss army's civil function and military mission requires steadiness rather than mobility, teeth rather than tail. [Angelo Codevilla, The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prosperity, Family, and Civility (New York: Basic Books, 1995), p. 207.]It goes without saying that the Swiss army is not set up, nor resourced to "make the world safe for democracy".
Nor is it's mission subject to the "creep" which produces a compulsive necessity to enforce "progressive values" upon others, nor in punishing other nations for failing to practise or respect Western doctrines of human rights. No. It was set up with one mission: to defend Switzerland from attack and invasion.
The Swiss regime consists of provincial burghers who have no desire to be anything else. Even bankers in Zurich and Basel, as well as people in the universities and the media, share that mentality. Long ago, they realized that they would have to pay for their peace and quiet by getting rich and poor to cooperate in a mighty army capable of defense, but nothing else. . . .The success of this policy of national defence is so outstanding that the Swiss have had little experience of actual war.
The Swiss army is a militia that requires every fit man to perform twenty-eight years of service--forty years in cases of emergency. No one is allowed to refuse promotion to higher rank (and responsibility). Men who are exempted for good reason pay extra taxes, and refusal to serve may be punished by expulsion from the country. This means that for twenty-eight days for twenty-eight years of their lives, men of every socioeconomic category have to practice entrusting their lives to one another. Since military units are small and each draws mainly from its own locality, the men get to know one another very well and there naturally arises among them the same kind of bond that old regime armies tried to manufacture among their low-class recruits.
But Swiss soldiers come from all classes, meaning that the bonds are formed on a higher human level and that the society as a whole, and not just the regiment, benefits from widespread mutual confidence. . . . By design, these common tastes and manners include violence. In Zurich, for example, a holiday is set aside to introduce young boys to shooting at human silhouettes. And can one even imagine a college professor or a TV news anchor in America who is also an artillery man? In Switzerland, such people are common. [Ibid., p. 207f.]
The Swiss military has not been fully tested in war since the time of Napoleon, when it gave a good account of itself. But its skills and dedication have been sufficient to deter attack every since. During both World Wars, the German military simply figured that taking Switzerland would cost more than the country--never mind the passage through it--was worth. In 1940, the German plan for conquering Switzerland, dubbed "Tannenbaum" called for using twenty-one divisions against the Swiss. Given the advantage inherent in defensive positions and short supply lines, even twenty-one divisions might not have been enough--especially since in the only trial between Swiss and German forces, the Swiss came out ahead: On their way to France, German aircraft violated Swiss air space. In the ensuing fight, the Luftwaffe lost seven planes to one for the Swiss. The amateurs beat the pros. [Ibid., p.208f.]Not being tested extensively in the field of actual battle may suggest that the Swiss army is undercooked. But the overlooks the fact that the Swiss doctrine of military force is structured exclusively around defending home terrain. Therefore, as a consequence undercooked the Swiss army is most definitely not.
Note also that the Swiss enjoy in unusual measure the usual advantage that accrues to military forces that are operating on known terrain. Not only are passes, roads, and bridges mined, but any enemy would be operating in effect on the Swiss army's training ground, where every artilleryman knows by heart the setting for hitting precisely every point in his field of fine, where the field of fire emanating from every bunker has been studied for generations of reservists, and every tactic rehearsed on the very battlefield it must be employed. [Ibid., p. 209]Nor let any fall into the trap of thinking that because it has not had to fight any modern wars, the military hardware must be sub-standard and not battle ready. Once again, because the Swiss have been preparing for just one battle, just one military campaign, every piece of equipment is able to be genuinely fit for purpose. Resourcing for a "land war in Asia" never need enter the frame of military preparedness. It also means that the purchase costs military hardware can be spread over decades.
Some of the Swiss preparations--such as airplanes stored in mountain tunnels--are so expensive that they can be paid for only over many years. But because the Swiss regime's commitment to military matters does not depend on shifting perceptions of external threats and opportunities but rather because it depends upon a constant attention to one mission, that commitment can be steady.
Because Switzerland is the land of steady habits, where nothing exciting ever happens, many regard it as dull--even as many thought Sparta dull. But in Switzerland as in Sparta, dullness and longevity go hand in hand by design--and the army serves to keep it that way. [Ibid.]