In reference to the figures which have been given by my hon. friend with respect to reinforcements on hand and the lowering of casualties, with what I assume to be a consequent improvement in the reinforcement situation, I was pressing upon my hon. friend the other night this proposition. Assuming that the forecast we were given last November represented a satisfactory situation
War Appropriation-The Army
if it was attained; assuming what my hon. friend has just said, that the situation has been bettered by. the saving of some 12,000 casualties in all arms and about 9,000 or seventy-five per cent of that total in the infantry, then I am asking whether it is not possible to utilize the additional 9,000 for the purpose of granting very much more extensive rotation leave than has been granted so far. I-t would seem to me that this would follow, provided that the situation without taking account of the savings in casualties was as forecast last November.
In that connection I wish to mention to my hon. friend that I think he ought to check the figures and see whether the position would have been as forecast last November if it had not been for that saving in casualties. Speaking in the house the other night my hon. friend said, at page 577 of Hansard:
The principal reason why the infantry situation is better than forecast is, of course, that battle casualties have been lower than estimated, although this has been in part offset by a higher incidence of sickness and other non-battle casualties brought about by the extraordinarily difficult conditions under which our troops have been operating.
I feel that on the figures given by my hon. friend to-night, if I know anything about it, the statement that the principal reason why the infantry situation is better than forecast is the lowering of battle casualties is really an understatement; and I feel that my hon. friend ought to look into the question as to what the position would have been if the battle casualties had been as forecast, to see what the reinforcement situation would have been in that event. I must say that on a quick calculation it would almost appear, but I wanted my hon. friend to cheek, that the situation would be worsened than forecast if it had not been for the decreased battle casualties.
Topic: DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE