So I thought, if you can't beat them - why not join in, with an Osprey twist? So this is my World Cup - military style. I am going to look at the military credentials of each country participating in this years tournament and try to weigh up which country would deserve the martial trophy!
Just a warning - this is all very tongue in cheek, and in the cases of some of the smaller countries in the tournament I will freely admit to nicking facts straight of wikipedia. So don't give me too much of a kicking if my facts are wrong / biased / ridiculous / filled with poor puns.
So let's get the ball rolling with Group A
Ah, the French - only at FOOTBALL's premier competition because of their neat hand-eye co-ordination - but what of their military credentials? The 20th century has not been kind to the French military reputation. When not surrendering to the Germans without much of a fight, they are getting pushed right back into their country and forced to dig trenches to defend their capital city. By the Germans. But simply looking at their World War credentials is a little unfair - under Napoleon they looked pretty impressive (and not just the frilly uniforms) and in recent times their special forces have gained a reputation for wiping out Somali pirates. Much like their football team, their most feared units tend not to be French - the Foreign Legion remains one of the most romanticized units in military history, and is widely feared.
MAA 300 French Foreign Legion
MAA 325 French Foreign Legion 1914-45
MAA 461 French Foreign Legion 1871-1914
CMD 1 Napoleon Bonaparte
It is not all sombreros and burritos with the Mexicans (although the weight problem of legendary Mexican bunny hopper Blanco might indicate otherwise) with the might of the Aztec nation powering their early military might. These warriors built a great nation, before being soundly routed by the Spanish. Mexico has a habit of getting through the group stages before bowing out to a European team. Or the Americans. Who also have a habit of defeating the Mexicans in military situations. More recently Mexicans have been deployed in the Second World War, and as peacekeepers. But, perhaps their most important military involvement was the Mexican Revolution. Which we have a book on. Which has Mexicans wearing sombreros on the cover. Stereotyped?
ELI 137 The Mexican Revolution (complete with sombreros, I promise)
WAR 32 Aztec Warrior (notably few sombreros in this one)
South Africa are double World Cup winners...unfortunately in the wrong sport, but are the host nation which should give them an edge over the other teams in their group. The Rainbow Nation has a mixed military history - ranging from the fearsome Zulu Warriors through to the hardened recruits of the apartheid era. During the dark days of apartheid the SADF gained a reputation for brutal efficiency, and a make-do-and-mend attitude that saw them develop new methods of fighting wars, and the development of home made technology that was years ahead of its time. Biological and Chemical weapons were developed and many believe that the SADF had nuclear capabilities. Bush Wars, border wars, fighting Cubans in Angola, all of these activities dried up once Mandela came to power, and today the SANDF is mainly confined to limited peace-keeping efforts.
ELI 47 South African Special Forces
MAA 242 Modern African Wars (3) South West Africa (back in stock soon!)
WAR 14 Zulu
Uruguay have actually won the World Cup twice (the right one this time) a long long time ago, but their martial achievements are somewhat underwhelming. An independence struggle was followed by a civil war, which the Portuguese and Brazilians got involved in at points, which ultimately became the War of the Triple Alliance. Their military claim to fame comes down to the Battle at Rover Plate. Which saw the British sink a German ship. And apart from their geographical proximity to the event they didn't have any other involvement. Will struggle to get through the group stage.
One day we will have a Campaign on River Plate. But till then I just can't help you with this one - sorry!
A difficult group to call, especially as this happened when I Googled French military victories , but in the end the French come away as winners of Group A, thanks to Napoleon and their excellent use of colonial forces, particularly in the First World War. South Africa sneak into the runners up spot because they might just possibly have the odd nuke up their sleeve - and because I reckon a Zulu impi could take on a bunch of Mexicans! d
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