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Old 11-05-2018, 11:39 AM
Drum God Drum God is offline
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So, are we ready for a land invasion?

All this talk of an invasion of the United States, I got to wondering how that would work. Of course, I realize that Trump's posturing about the Central American refugees -- the "caravan" -- is political nonsense intended to rile up the rubes. In no sense is this an invasion.

But what if there were an invasion. What if Mexico finally got tired of being called ugly names by the American president and decided to do something about it? What if they decided that they were going to address the problem of American drug money going to Mexico's cities and funding the drug cartels that are making so many places unlivable? In other words, what if the tanks started rolling into Texas and the Southwest? Suppose that we didn't see the military build up along the border. Or, suppose we did.

Is the US military positioned such that it could repel a traditional land invasion? I'm imagining something akin to Barbarossa or the Germans crossing the Ardennes. I wall just isn't going to do it. Is the only plan that if Mexico occupies San Diego, we nuke Monterrey? (I don't know why Monterrey. Why not?)
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:43 AM
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Given that the OP starts off with political commentary, let's move this over to Great Debates.

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Old 11-05-2018, 11:55 AM
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I'm sure it wouldn't be much trouble to get the Apaches, AC-130s, tanks and vast quantities of war material and whatnot into the border in position to rout the Mexican forces. After all, such U.S. forces are often deployed to the Middle East, which is a far further distance away. In fact, it's hard to think of a war that would be more straightforward for the U.S. to fight in and win.

The Mexican tanks might push some distance in at first, if they took the U.S. by sheer surprise, but it wouldn't be long at all before they started getting hammered by drones and other airstrikes.
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:59 AM
EscAlaMike EscAlaMike is offline
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The thought of that happening is so sad.

I'd be tempted to defect and help the Mexicans.

In all seriousness though, no country would be delusional enough to mount a land invasion against the US. It would be the most fail-filled 45 seconds of their lives, if they survived.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:18 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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In other words, what if the tanks started rolling into Texas and the Southwest? Suppose that we didn't see the military build up along the border. Or, suppose we did.

Is the US military positioned such that it could repel a traditional land invasion?
It might take a couple of days or a week, but not longer than that. We have, after all, a National Guard, and aircraft and things like that. Plus Mexico would quickly have other matters to concern them, when the Pacific fleet appears offshore and begins causing Issues.

First, we send out the Air National Guard and kill all their tanks and shoot down all their planes. Then we send over the Stealth bombers and kill their command-and-control, and all their radar. Then the B-52s go over and destroy all their planes and tanks on the ground. We would have stationed a lot of ships over the horizon, and fire missiles at Mexico and destroy all their airfields and sink all their shipping and kill their electrical grid. After that, the Mexican fortunes are likely to take a turn for the worse. The whole thing, from first invasion to rendición incondicional might take two or three weeks.

What you need to understand is, in a straight military-to-military confrontation, the US is absolutely invincible.

Mexico spends about 10B USD on its military. The US spends about 68 times as much on its military. Cite. The US GDP is about ten times that of Mexico.

It would not be pretty.

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Old 11-05-2018, 12:19 PM
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I think the hordes of crazed Canucks would make it about 30km before they realized that there were no Tim Horton's on every street corner and retreat in panic.

To "seriously" address the OP: Any invasion from the South would either have to go through miles and miles of miles and miles, where they would be easy targets for helicopters and other aircraft, or would head into major population centers which just happen to have major military bases in/adjacent to them. 45 seconds is being generous.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:22 PM
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Let’s not forget that Canada is an ally of Mexico, and so the US could be faced with fighting a war on two fronts. Between the brilliance of Canada’s Defence Scheme Number 1, which has been gathering dust since the 1930s, and the current US commander in chief, I rather fancy our odds.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:29 PM
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Probably Native Americans would join in. Just suggest "Ghost Dance" and you'll have a fifth column.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:29 PM
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There is literally zero chance that the United States would fail to detect a buildup on our borders. Between our ability to intercept communications and our ability to detect things from space, the movement of numerous military units in a very unusual manner would be as obvious as a 500 watt lightbulb in your bedroom.

But even if they did try to mount an invasion, one could expect that within hours, rotary and fixed-wing aircraft from bases in the areas of San Diego, Tucson, El Paso, and elsewhere would be able to seriously disrupt a movement of military vehicles across the border. This is especially true given the comparatively small size of the Mexican armed forces and its rather modest capabilities. For example, Mexican armor mostly consists of armored vehicles and not really tanks as you'd think of them.

The invaders could seek to use the cover of urban areas to mitigate this risk, but -- and I don't want to overplay the Red Dawn scenario -- it isn't like armies are itching to engage in combat in cities.

There is no conceivable scenario in which the United States would use nuclear weapons in this war.

The only halfway plausible scenario I could think of in this general vein is if the Mexican military sought to do some kind of raid to achieve a very limited objective, like going in to grab someone and then getting out extremely fast, or something like that.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:37 PM
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It doesn't look like the Mexican Army has anything like a proper tank, nor does its Air Force have any jet fighters. This would be a disaster for Mexico.

Canada has some armor, some F-18s and experience projecting force. Could they make a lightning strike and capture Seattle or even New York? Maybe, but it wouldn't last.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:43 PM
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Could they make a lightning strike and capture Seattle...
You ever tried to drive I-5 during rush hour? They wouldn't make it past Mount Vernon.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:45 PM
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Plus, to add insult to ludicrousness, if Mexico came up through California, the first thing they would encounter would be MC Air Station Miramar ("Top Gun"), the Pacific Fleet homebase and Camp Pendleton. So they wouldn't just be fighting against Americans on their home turf but the elite of the elite American forces who have spent the last 60 years scoping out every inch of the battlefield and wargaming it practically every day of their lives.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:49 PM
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Plus, to add insult to ludicrousness, if Mexico came up through California, the first thing they would encounter would be MC Air Station Miramar ("Top Gun"), the Pacific Fleet homebase and Camp Pendleton. So they wouldn't just be fighting against Americans on their home turf but the elite of the elite American forces who have spent the last 60 years scoping out every inch of the battlefield and wargaming it practically every day of their lives.
And would face the possibility of immediate counterinvasion from Fort Bliss, unless they invaded Texas, in which case...Fort Bliss. It's impossible.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:58 PM
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All this talk of an invasion of the United States, I got to wondering how that would work. Of course, I realize that Trump's posturing about the Central American refugees -- the "caravan" -- is political nonsense intended to rile up the rubes. In no sense is this an invasion.
What is the difference between illegal immigration and invasion?
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:58 PM
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It doesn't look like the Mexican Army has anything like a proper tank, nor does its Air Force have any jet fighters. This would be a disaster for Mexico.

Canada has some armor, some F-18s and experience projecting force. Could they make a lightning strike and capture Seattle or even New York? Maybe, but it wouldn't last.
No. Canada can't put together a sufficiently large offensive force without being detected. The Canadian Army is spread out, lacks the immediate supply needed, and might mount one division of strength, tops.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:59 PM
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What is the difference between illegal immigration and invasion?
If you can''t tell the difference between someone looking for a better life in a rich country and an invading army, you're not being serious.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:07 PM
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I would think the US military units in Texas alone would be more than enough to halt any advance from Mexico, as long as other countries don't enter the fray.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:15 PM
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There is literally zero chance that the United States would fail to detect a buildup on our borders. Between our ability to intercept communications and our ability to detect things from space, the movement of numerous military units in a very unusual manner would be as obvious as a 500 watt lightbulb in your bedroom.
You mean like we detected, on radar, the obvious, massive buildup around 7AM on December 7, 1941?
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:19 PM
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... In all seriousness though, no country would be delusional enough to mount a land invasion against the US. It would be the most fail-filled 45 seconds of their lives, if they survived.
This. We're significantly more prepared to defend one than any country (or combination of countries) on Earth is prepared to launch one.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:20 PM
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Yeah its not like the US military budget is a little bit bigger than Mexico's (or any other country in Latin America, or the world). It is A LOT bigger (100x more to be exact $681Bn vs $5Bn)

US military assets may be spread over the world, but those within a day's drive from the Mexican border still dwarf* the largest army Mexico could put together, even if they could (in secret) concentrate every last solider, vehicle, artillery piece, round of ammunition etc on the border.

* the raw number of soldiers might not (the number of troops is only 2x or so) but that is meaningless in a modern war (as shown by the Gulf War)

Last edited by griffin1977; 11-05-2018 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:25 PM
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You mean like we detected, on radar, the obvious, massive buildup around 7AM on December 7, 1941?
Technically has changed a lot in 77 years.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:27 PM
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This thread has me wondering: Conventional-warfare only (pretending nukes don't exist,) is the United States pretty much the most un-invadable country on Earth? The only other nation that might come close is Russia, and even then just because of sheer size and remoteness of much of it.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:29 PM
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Probably Native Americans would join in. Just suggest "Ghost Dance" and you'll have a fifth column.
We're screwed. And we can't flee to Canada!
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:31 PM
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Australia would be nigh-on impossible to successfully invade. No country has that kind of amphib capability, by several orders of magnitude.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:37 PM
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Australia would be nigh-on impossible to successfully invade. No country has that kind of amphib capability, by several orders of magnitude.
The USMC could conquer Australia with moderate difficulty at best.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:41 PM
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If the attack was preceded by some kind of computer virus bombing of American communications infrastructure and the power grid, possibly the invasion would fail less quickly.

The point being that there is little value in trying to go toe-to-toe with the American military. The best approach, such as it is, would be to significantly weaken the American communications and power infrastructure before starting. I suppose a campaign of terrorism beforehand designed to turn the Americans against each other would be a big help, followed by some strategic electromagnetic-pulse attacks and blacking out a few major cities.

Of course, it'll end badly. A potential invader would be better off exploiting internal divisions to get the United States to break itself apart, then see about gently annexing some of the chunks.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:01 PM
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We have enough military forces to defeat any likely invasion.

We only share a border with two countries; Canada and Mexico. And we have more troops stationed in America than either of those countries have available to use against us.

Other countries would have to launch an amphibious invasion against America. And our naval superiority is so far above any other country in the world, it would be no contest. The United States Navy could probably defeat all of the other navies in the world combined.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:05 PM
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Australia would be nigh-on impossible to successfully invade. No country has that kind of amphib capability, by several orders of magnitude.
What is different than WWII?
I know that Australia had a lot of troops fighting in Africa and the Mid East, and I don't know how many American troops were in Australia to replace them.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:23 PM
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Japan never had the capability or the sheer number of soldiers to even remotely occupy anything other than a sliver of the North Australia coast. The fear in WW2 was that they would establish air bases on said coast, making the staging of Allied forces against the South Pacific much more difficult/costly. Note that this was with a fully mobilized military, with some small experience in amphib operations. Today...no one comes close.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:24 PM
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You mean like we detected, on radar, the obvious, massive buildup around 7AM on December 7, 1941?
No, I mean like how the Zimmermann Telegram came to light in 1917.

Do you history much?

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Old 11-05-2018, 02:37 PM
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Japan never had the capability or the sheer number of soldiers to even remotely occupy anything other than a sliver of the North Australia coast. The fear in WW2 was that they would establish air bases on said coast, making the staging of Allied forces against the South Pacific much more difficult/costly. Note that this was with a fully mobilized military, with some small experience in amphib operations. Today...no one comes close.
Dad was stationed there, and told me there were plans to evacuate half of Australia. Undoubtedly exaggerated talk in the army. Thanks.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:52 PM
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A hypothetical invasion of the US from Mexico might be the dumbest - and shortest - adventure in military history. Just a quick glance at the map reveals that Texas hosts places like Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, where a significant chunk of our heavy armor is situated. This is in addition to perhaps a dozen smaller garrisons, depots, air bases, and so on. Texas already has multiple BCTs, all the infrastructure necessary to receive reinforcement, and vast amounts of open terrain that favors US weapon systems. I'm struggling to think of a dumber place to attack.
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:07 PM
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Dad was stationed there, and told me there were plans to evacuate half of Australia. Undoubtedly exaggerated talk in the army. Thanks.
Just remember, back then "half of Australia" would be a few towns on the North Coast. Even now, 3/4 of the country is nothing but miles and miles of nothing. The Aussies were planning on just flying everything into the bush, setting up airfields wherever there was flat, and fighting back with everything they had. Which was not much, since they'd been at war for a few years by that time and everybody was in Africa or such.

But really, the Japanese Army had very little chance of pulling such an invasion off in the first place.
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:11 PM
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Thanks, Silenus.
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:12 PM
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A hypothetical invasion of the US from Mexico might be the dumbest - and shortest - adventure in military history. Just a quick glance at the map reveals that Texas hosts places like Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, where a significant chunk of our heavy armor is situated. This is in addition to perhaps a dozen smaller garrisons, depots, air bases, and so on. Texas already has multiple BCTs, all the infrastructure necessary to receive reinforcement, and vast amounts of open terrain that favors US weapon systems. I'm struggling to think of a dumber place to attack.
Straight up Baja into Camp Pendleton and Naval Base San Diego, home base of 2 carriers, 8 cruisers, 14 destroyers, 14 amphibious assault ships, and a butt-load of pissed-off Marines?
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:17 PM
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nm

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Old 11-05-2018, 03:30 PM
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I started joking about heavy armor and taco trucks but then got wondering about how much of a land invasion could really be mustered against us. You can't really get vehicles through Panama, so we're restricted to North and Central America. Or shall we pretend, for the purposes of the scenario, that the invasion forces magically appear outside our land borders?
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:32 PM
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I suspect the result would be akin to the Iraqi "Highway of Death" back in 1991.

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During the American led coalition offensive in the Persian Gulf War, American, Canadian, British and French aircraft and ground forces attacked retreating Iraqi military personnel attempting to leave Kuwait on the night of February 26–27, 1991, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of vehicles and the deaths of many of their occupants. U.S. attacks against the Iraqi columns were actually conducted on two different roads.[1][2] Between 1,400 and 2,000 vehicles were hit or abandoned on the main Highway 80 north of Al Jahra (the "actual" Highway of Death). Several hundred more littered the lesser known Highway 8 to the major southern Iraq military stronghold of Basra.

Does anyone think the US capabilities have decreased since 1991?
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:36 PM
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I suspect the result would be akin to the Iraqi "Highway of Death" back in 1991.




Does anyone think the US capabilities have decreased since 1991?
News reports of the day said pilots were crying after killing so many people, some of who were apparently hostages of some sort.
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:39 PM
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Like others have said, there are a lot of US Army forces stationed in Texas (2 divisions of active duty, 1 of National Guard, plus independent units), as well as the 1st MEF at Camp Pendleton, CA (1st Marine Division, 3rd Marine Air Wing, 1st Marine Logistics Group).

There are also multiple active air bases - Luke AFB, Davis-Monthan AFB, MCAS Yuma, MCAS Miramar, NAS Lemoore, Cannon AFB, Holloman AFB, Kirtland AFB.

The big question would be what the goals for any land invasion would be? If it's not from Mexico or Canada, they're going to have to fend off the US Navy to get here and keep the invasion going, and if it is from Mexico, there are pretty powerful US forces sitting astride the fairly obvious and useful invasion routes.

In other words, where are you going to go/what are you trying to accomplish if you were to send armored forces north through New Mexico or Arizona? It's terrible country for armored warfare, and there's not that much in the way of strategic things to control out there either. About all I can think of would be severing the east-west railways and roads.
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Old 11-05-2018, 04:30 PM
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What is the difference between illegal immigration and invasion?
You mean besides intent, personnel, training, equipment, time frame, funding, political and logistical support, alliances, and actual outcome? Not much, I guess. They're both groups of people who are moving.

As to the OP, the combined military of every other country on earth may have a shot. A single country or handful of them teamed up, on however many fronts, wouldn't. The way to destroy us would be to 9/11 us to death. But anything approaching a conventional military invasion would be nothing but mass suicide by whoever tried it.
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Old 11-05-2018, 04:59 PM
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... Or shall we pretend, for the purposes of the scenario, that the invasion forces magically appear outside our land borders?
Doesn't matter. You could have a magic wand and position the entirety of the Russian Ground Forces, along with all the equipment they could muster at a place of your choosing along the southern border and they'd still fail to hold any US territory for more than a few weeks, perhaps even days. Same goes for the People's Liberation Army. Hell, you could combine the two and all that would be accomplished would be the decimation of both organizations.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:03 PM
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All this talk of an invasion of the United States, I got to wondering how that would work. Of course, I realize that Trump's posturing about the Central American refugees -- the "caravan" -- is political nonsense intended to rile up the rubes. In no sense is this an invasion.

But what if there were an invasion. What if Mexico finally got tired of being called ugly names by the American president and decided to do something about it? What if they decided that they were going to address the problem of American drug money going to Mexico's cities and funding the drug cartels that are making so many places unlivable? In other words, what if the tanks started rolling into Texas and the Southwest? Suppose that we didn't see the military build up along the border. Or, suppose we did.

Is the US military positioned such that it could repel a traditional land invasion? I'm imagining something akin to Barbarossa or the Germans crossing the Ardennes. I wall just isn't going to do it. Is the only plan that if Mexico occupies San Diego, we nuke Monterrey? (I don't know why Monterrey. Why not?)
I believe the national guard units in the states that border Mexico alone outnumber the Mexican military forces. According to this, Mexico has:

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TOTAL POPULATION: 124,574,795

AVAILABLE MANPOWER: 60,000,000

FIT-FOR-SERVICE: 48,885,000

REACHING MILITARY AGE ANNUALLY: 2,175,000 TOTAL MILITARY PERSONNEL: 383,575

ACTIVE PERSONNEL: 273,575

RESERVE PERSONNEL: 110,000
Quote:
TOTAL AIRCRAFT STRENGTH: 478

FIGHTERS: 0

ATTACK: 36

TRANSPORTS: 198

TRAINERS: 177

TOTAL HELICOPTER STRENGTH: 217

ATTACK HELICOPTERS: 0
Quote:
COMBAT TANKS: 0

ARMORED FIGHTING VEHICLES: 695

SELF-PROPELLED ARTILLERY: 12

TOWED ARTILLERY: 375

ROCKET PROJECTORS: 0
Quote:
TOTAL NAVAL ASSETS: 143*

AIRCRAFT CARRIERS: 0

FRIGATES: 6

DESTROYERS: 0

CORVETTES: 3

SUBMARINES: 0

PATROL VESSELS: 131

MINE WARFARE: 11
So, it's not going to even be a good few days for them if they actually invaded, even if they could somehow get total surprise (leaving aside how they could do that, or how they could logistically support even what they have getting to the border, which are some vast assumptions right there). I won't bother looking up what national guard forces there are in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California as I think the armed citizens in those states could probably do a good job of repelling a Mexican invasion force....hell, the terrain alone would probably render most of their ground force inoperative just getting to the border.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:14 PM
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What is the difference between illegal immigration and invasion?
When they decide they are no longer going to sneak across the border, and simply march up and demand entrance. Previously the sneakers might have been released to reappear, the demanders are going to be put into fema camps for a few weeks and flown back home.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Doesn't matter. You could have a magic wand and position the entirety of the Russian Ground Forces, along with all the equipment they could muster at a place of your choosing along the southern border and they'd still fail to hold any US territory for more than a few weeks, perhaps even days. Same goes for the People's Liberation Army. Hell, you could combine the two and all that would be accomplished would be the decimation of both organizations.
If it's magic wand time, I suspect that the Chinese or the Russians might do better than that, assuming the magic wand also takes care of supply.
  #46  
Old 11-05-2018, 06:02 PM
Drum God Drum God is offline
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Yes, I started with a political statement, but I was only trying to set the context for my thoughts. Invasion from the south is something that our current president is discussing. My hypothetical was just wondering what would happen if that invasion force were an actual army instead of a bunch of desperate poor people.

Are the forces posted in Texas and the rest of the Southwest there specifically for home defense? There hasn't been any kind of incursion from Mexico in nearly two centuries, but I suppose we should be prepared all the same. I figured that a large part of why domestic forces are distributed the way they are was due to the political influence of various Congress-critters. "Build that base in my district," sort of stuff.

So what does Mexico use that military for?

Please know that I bear no ill-will toward our Mexican neighbors. As I type this, I am in a border region of West Texas. Just this weekend, I was within a few feet of invading Mexico myself. I have long known that the CONUS is pretty much invasion-proof with large, friendly countries to our north and south (and those countries have terrain and/or climate that would not support a land invasion) and two oceans to our east and west. Extending a supply line across the Atlantic would be impossible, given the US Navy's ability to disrupt it.

Remember when Sarah Palin, in bragging on her foreign-policy credentials, pointed out that the Russians would have to pass through Alaska on their way to invading the United States? She seems almost quaint now. At least Russia actually has an army. Central America is invading with poor people.
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  #47  
Old 11-05-2018, 06:09 PM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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AIUI, the Mexican military is mainly preoccupied with putting down drug crime and other violence at home, and also guarding the southern border of Mexico against the rest of central America.
  #48  
Old 11-05-2018, 06:15 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
No, I mean like how the Zimmermann Telegram came to light in 1917.
Interesting you brought that up, even 100 years ago (when the US army was minute compared to the its size a few decades later) it always struck me as the most ridiculous self-defeating proposition for both sides. But most especially for the Mexicans. Was there ANYONE in Mexico who seriously though the Mexicans stood a chance of mounting a successful land invasion, to take back the south western US, even temporarily? And given that fact, what made the Germans think they'd consider it?

And that was in 1917, when the US army was smaller than the smallest WW1 combatants like Greece and Serbia.

Last edited by griffin1977; 11-05-2018 at 06:15 PM.
  #49  
Old 11-05-2018, 06:17 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Yes, I started with a political statement, but I was only trying to set the context for my thoughts. Invasion from the south is something that our current president is discussing. My hypothetical was just wondering what would happen if that invasion force were an actual army instead of a bunch of desperate poor people.
Even if it was an army, it would be an army with only seven thousand soldiers. Forget about the United States Army; these guys would be outnumbered by the California Highway Patrol.
  #50  
Old 11-05-2018, 06:42 PM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin1977 View Post
I Was there ANYONE in Mexico who seriously though the Mexicans stood a chance of mounting a successful land invasion, to take back the south western US, even temporarily? And given that fact, what made the Germans think they'd consider it?
Not really no. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimmer...xican_response

That list even leaves off, providing the Carranza faction of Mexico's government, with a bunch of gold that Germany didn't even have, meant that Carranza would get to sit on a gold throne while the US and its anti-Carranza allies surrounded him -- money wouldn't have helped Mexico make war on the US. At that time, the only nation, in the Americas, making heavy arms was ... wait for it ... the USA.

When confronted, Zimmerman wasn't apologetic or embarrassed. He went on to say, "What's the big deal? Don't fight Germany, and the US has nothing to worry about from Mexico. Win-win for everybody."
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