A YouTuber called Bloke on the Range with an interest in the history of weapons recently got some hands-on experience with an incredibly rare rifle, one with a controversial history which turned into a fairly substantial scandal for the Swiss government.
This week, I wrote an article about how U.S. Special Forces have been training Polish and Latvian National Guard units in unconventional warfare, preparing them for the stay-behind mission in the event their countries are invaded by Russia. In such an event, stay-behinds would go to ground and wait for enemy forces to sweep over them while blending in with the civilian population. Once behind enemy lines, they would activate, recover weapons and explosives in hidden caches, then conduct acts of sabotage against enemy forces. Today, we conduct this training as a part of the Ridge Runner exercise but American-trained stay-behind networks have a controversial history in Holland, Italy, and other western nations.
The Swiss stay-behind network was known as P-26, which operated as a secret unit within the military and outside of the control of Parliament or Swiss civilian control. Guerrilla warfare was, and is, a key part of Swiss military strategy to this day. In recent years, Swiss military contingency plans envisioned what would happen if the Euro collapsed and Western Europe went to war with itself once more. The Swiss would largely retreat to the mountains, dropping bridges and tunnels as they withdraw, then ambush their antagonists in favorable terrain. During the Cold War, P-26 members would move to hidden bunkers and recover weapons they would need to carry out their missions.