War Games: Switzerland trains for a Hypothetical French Invasion

Some years ago I was browsing books in Amazon and one title called my attention: “Total Resistance: Swiss Army Guide to Guerrilla Warfare and Underground Operations” by Swiss Major H. von Dach.  I haven’t read it yet but I think the tittle and the reviews on Amazon are a pretty good indicator on how the Swiss see their national defense.

A couple of weeks ago, the country had a referendum on whether or not to abolish the military service, and 73% of the Swiss said no. And now they just came out with a war game, where the French, are the invaders:

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.

One of these, “Saônia,” corresponding to the existing Jura region, was preparing attacks on Switzerland to retrieve money it had apparently swiped from France.

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 organisation 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 councillor, told Matin Dimanche.

[…] Last year, it carried out an exercise based on the premise that a huge wave of refugees crossed into the country after the implosion of the European Single Currency and ensuing chaos across the continent.

“Stabilo Due” centered around a risk map created in 2010 and envisaged internal unrest between warring factions as well as the possibility of refugees from Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.

Warning of an escalation of violence in Europe, defense minister Ueli Maurer said at the time: “I can’t exclude that in the coming years we may need the army.” The military is a hot topic in Switzerland, which has mandatory military service. Under Swiss law, all able-bodied men at age 19 have to undergo five months of training, followed by refresher courses of several weeks over the next decade.

Right now, Switzerland and France are having a little impasse over tax evasion. The Swiss have already said that the war game had nothing to do with that. However, what can be expected from a country, which has “the biggest army in Europe relative to population size,” and which has not been invaded in more than 200 years?

Please also consider: Why I keep a Swiss Bayonet on My Desk


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