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Thread: All matters Canadian / Canada

  1. #61
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Marc,

    When you look at European landscapes most of the forests have a manicured look. Sit down on a weekend and watch the hunting shows and the european hunts have that same look as a nice American park.

    I live in a metropolitan area in the northern midwest. You walk 100 feet out my back yard and you can run into bears, deer, coyotes, raccoons, and you are in deep forest. A fair chunk about the size of a small city with it's own ecosystem.

    With the changing population migration patterns and more people moving into cities the general concepts of frontier are being lost. Even suburbia is loosing the more wild feel to it. People in general are becoming more removed from nature, scope, scale, danger, and so much more. Take a city dweller into the woods and watch them stumble around. These are people who stumble on a raised edge of a sidewalk crack. Ask them to judge distance and they are done for.

    Even the northern United States and Canada (what 2/3rds of the Canadian population lives within 100 miles of the US border?) they are becoming less able to deal with the aspects of frontier environment. Consequently areas that had been "civilized" are now returning to nature in some perverse twist.

    All of that to get to here. Consider northern Canada and especially the Northern Rockies and mechanized transport is not going to happen. You can't fly jets into those box canyons and even missiles are of nearly no use. Yet you could hide an Army in there for a long time. Outside of Hope, BC you could interdict the entirety of the cross Canada rail road pretty much at will if so desired (and as done by the Cree in the 90s). A lot of the same skills that you might expect in Afghanistan would be required to fight in that area.
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  2. #62
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Sam,

    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    When you look at European landscapes most of the forests have a manicured look. Sit down on a weekend and watch the hunting shows and the european hunts have that same look as a nice American park.
    I remember the first time I was in Austria - I found it "quaint" and almost like a series of toy villages (outside of Vienna, which I love!). When we flew back, we landed in D'Or Val and bussed back to Ottawa - the difference couldn't have been more apparent.

    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    With the changing population migration patterns and more people moving into cities the general concepts of frontier are being lost. Even suburbia is loosing the more wild feel to it. People in general are becoming more removed from nature, scope, scale, danger, and so much more. Take a city dweller into the woods and watch them stumble around. These are people who stumble on a raised edge of a sidewalk crack. Ask them to judge distance and they are done for.
    All true, although I suspect that of our major cities, Toronto is probably the worst for that. It used to be that children were taken out of the cities during the summer - originally to try and escape the polio season. This created a culture of cottages and summer camps for both boys and girls, and a large part of this culture was woodsmanship - canoing, swimming, tracking, survival skills (slave labour building gigantic log cabins ), etc. That still seems to exist, but it is getting less common.

    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    All of that to get to here. Consider northern Canada and especially the Northern Rockies and mechanized transport is not going to happen. You can't fly jets into those box canyons and even missiles are of nearly no use. Yet you could hide an Army in there for a long time. Outside of Hope, BC you could interdict the entirety of the cross Canada rail road pretty much at will if so desired (and as done by the Cree in the 90s). A lot of the same skills that you might expect in Afghanistan would be required to fight in that area.
    Yup, and the same is true of most of the Canadian Shield area, although it is nowhere near as mountainous.
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  3. #63
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    selil wrote:

    I live in a metropolitan area in the northern midwest. You walk 100 feet out my back yard and you can run into bears, deer, coyotes, raccoons, and you are in deep forest. A fair chunk about the size of a small city with it's own ecosystem.
    Sam, I noticed that you omitted mention of cougars there. Was that unintentional, or somehow connected to the surge in cougar sightings lately over here?

    With the changing population migration patterns and more people moving into cities the general concepts of frontier are being lost. Even suburbia is loosing the more wild feel to it. People in general are becoming more removed from nature, scope, scale, danger, and so much more. Take a city dweller into the woods and watch them stumble around. These are people who stumble on a raised edge of a sidewalk crack. Ask them to judge distance and they are done for.
    Too true! And the consequence of this is a sort of imbecilization; I don't mean that in a derogatory sense, but in a quite literal and technical sense. The great majority of the population couldn't fight their way out of a blueberry bush, never mind find their way back to civilization if they were dropped off in the woods somewhere. Don't even think of handing them a simple compass, let alone a map.

    The e-Forces ! The Evolution of Battle-Groupings in the Face of 21st Century Challenges, by Eric Dion -

    (From the Conclusion):

    The gravest danger our Nation faces lies at the crossroads of radicalism and technology.
    New procurement and technology development initiatives are needed to ensure that fast
    moving technologies can be quickly developed to maintain the capability of in-service
    platforms and systems through tech-insertion, thereby guarding against obsolescence.
    And as it has already been recommended that the USMC Marine Expeditionary Unit
    model be introduced in the Canadian Army / CF to satisfy the requirements of a special
    operations capability for the 21st Century, we would argue in fact that our whole Forces
    need to adopt an expeditionary and evolutionary posture, structurally by shifting to task
    tailored forces and culturally, by adopting a renewed operational focus, based on our ethos.



    Major Dion published this paper last year in Canadian Military Journal, though he originally prepared it for a conference about 4 years ago. While I'm not a fan of the NCW that runs throughout the entirety of the article, Major Dion is spot-on with proposing the application of the MAU/MEU concept to the Canadian Army - something which has been considered on and off since the mid-60's; a very strong caveat that I would add to this is to bear in mind that the USMC in no way abandons its general-warfighting mission and role while resorting to the use of MEUs and MEBs during less than-major war operations. The Division and Regimental structures are very much still in place for fighting the Big One, but of course course adjust their deployed force structure in accord with GETM/METT-T. An established force structure much more similar to that of the USMC has, for 40-some years, been recognized in many quarters in the Canadian Army as being best-suited to Canadian requirements.

    Now, Major Dion told me recently that he considered that total of 12 USMC MEU-style Canadian Army Battle Groups would be required in order to meet Canada's military obligations, missions, and roles. I will readily concede that this is correct; personally I could forsee a slightly more flexible range of from 10-13 such Battle Groups, but Major Dion is involved in Strategic Planning at NDHQ, whereas I am merely asserting the Worm's Eye-View. That said, while I do agree that is the Army-Force level we need, the force-level we can afford would be about a third of that. At present, the Regular Army comprises, on paper, 9 Infantry Battalions and 3 Armoured Regiments, each of which could form the basis for a Battle Group, as well as 3 each Artillery and Engineer Regiments, amongst other units.

    Of those other units, 2 are SOF, with a third due to be formed. JTF-2, a "Tier-I" SF unit, roughly divides into a "Black" side (CT and CRW), and a "Green" side (SAS-type roles other than CT/CRW), and is in the process of expanding to some 750 men. In order to do so, selections tandards were relaxed recently, and the Selection pass rate has changed from ~10-15% to ~45%. The second, which is also expected to muster some 750 men when brought up to full strength, is the Canadian Special Operations Regiment. It is planned to be a "Tier-II" SF/SOF unit, with a Special Forces Company (in Green Beret-type roles), and 3 commando companies (for use in Ranger Battalion-type roles). Finally, the Marine Commando Regiment, tasked with the "Black" CT role at sea and to consist of 250 men, will be stood up.

    Needless to say, three SF/SOF major units in an Army that possesses a Regular component that does not even amount to a full Division is not just overkill, but dangerously out of whack. The conventional units can barely recruit replacement for those who have burned out with the operational tempo of the past nearly 7 years, and Regular Army Battle Groups fighting in Afghanistan have come to rely so heavily upon Reserve fillers that Reservists now slightly outnumber Regulars within those Battle Groups. Trying to sustain 3 (while raising two of those three) SF/SOF units at the same time whle the Army is struggling just to keep up to authorized strength is self-defeating; when I raised this point, Major Dion told me that that is the reason why he wrote this paper in the first place. And Major Dion is an SF Officer. Interesting. It seems that, in reversal of what tends to happen with our Southern neighbours, "Big Army" is at the mercy of SF and SOF; weird...

    Flat-out, Canada has and needs an SAS-type SF capability - what is in recent years is referred to as "Tier-I" SF. We had it in the late 1940's, then we gave it up and struggled to maintain - out of hide - what would nowadays be called a limited "Tier-II" SF capability within the Infantery Battalions and especially the Airborne Regiment, as well as delegating SOF further and further to the Airborne Regiment and 1RCR while other units prepared for conventonal missions in Germany, Denmark, and Norway. Sending Infantrymen on the Patrol Pathfinder and SF Q Courses were no substitute for a full-fledged SAS-type capability in a dedicated Tier-I SF unit. Now that we have had one of our own again for the last decade and a half (more or less), for some reason we seem to have to have two more, and Type II SF/SOF at that?

    Why? Properly led, trained, asnd resourced Infantry Battalions can handle just about anything the CSOR is planned to do; moreover, Canada has no need for a Tier-II Green Beret-type capability in addition to a Tier-I SAS-type capability; it's just wasteful and the Army Pathfinders in the Battalions can handle most of those roles at least as well anyway; for those they can't, that's what JTF-2 are for. And the Marine Commando Regiment simply duplicates part of JTF-2's mission and role. More waste. Other than large-scale parachute and diving operations, there is little that a properly-led and -trained Infantry Battalion can't do that a Commando or Ranger Battalion can. As such, a single Commando Battalion, specializing in Mountain, Arctic, Diving, and Parachute operations, and a single SAS-type SF unit (perhaps only a Company or a very small Battalion) are necessary, but the resources for these can only be found by scrapping CSOR and the planned MCR as they are presently conceived, and of course, for JTF-2, to turn over its CT/CRW mission and role back over to the RCMP in order to prevent it from growing too large and sacrificing too much in the way of SF capability and quality.

    Right now, it is the SF and SOF that are contributing to wreaking increasing havoc upon Regular Army units, and there is only so much to go around for everyone. We need Bentley-SF, not both Mercedes- and Cadillac-SF, and we need Honda-Conventional Forces, not Dodge. And if we need something in between the two, it should be Acura-SOF, not Corvette.
    Last edited by Norfolk; 06-24-2008 at 02:44 AM.

  4. #64
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default SF & SOF downside

    Not to overlook the potential for movement of SF & SOF personnel from the Army to the private sector, once trained and experienced. Something that has happened here with regular and reservist (Territorial Army) personnel. A point that no doubt the finance ministry will identify and use to query why such a large SF & SOF when they leave?

    davidbfpo

  5. #65
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    Having just perused the early 2007 draft, it seems solid enough, and without dragging on for hundreds and hundreds of pages, which is good. Too bad the October 2007 version was to be subjected to PC revisions, though - and the complaints raised by certain groups about its content indicate that either they had not read the document, or completely misunderstood what they were reading.

    Still, the latest draft will enjoy the benefit of a fuller integration of lessons learned and more time to think about the matter. Its final approval may drag on for months or even years yet (politics), but under the circumstances, that is more a formality than an impediment to either operations or doctrinal development.

    In short, I'm happy.

    Now if they'll only replace the two (and somewhat divergent) pams for command with one.

  6. #66
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default Canadian 60mm problem

    http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/...6-ee2e33a9a192

    This is somewhat disturbing and thanks to Fuchs for pointing it out.

    Units are being told to give up their 60mm mortars! And get this for a quote

    "But in an e-mail, the army said the grenade launchers will soon take over the role of the mortars. "As the 60mm mortar is nearing the end of its life-cycle, it doesn't make sense to keep it while the CASW will be meeting the same requirement," the e-mail said."

    On what planet does CASW (40mm AGL) meet the same requirements as a mortar. The UK already made this mistake at the platoon level and is now reversing it.

    IMO, unless a 40mm AGL is on a vehicle and preferably part of a RWS, it has no place in modern infantry.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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  7. #67
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Thumbs up I'd even question the utuility of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    ...On what planet does CASW (40mm AGL) meet the same requirements as a mortar. The UK already made this mistake at the platoon level and is now reversing it.

    IMO, unless a 40mm AGL is on a vehicle and preferably part of a RWS, it has no place in modern infantry.
    Other than as a psychological weapon.

    It looks scary, booms nicely and makes more noise than anything else -- with the caveat that the Mk 47 or the CIS AGL make slightly more sense. If one can afford it, it's a nice to have toy; if one cannot afford it and a 60mmm mortar issue, IMO one would be making a really bad mistake to opt for the AGL.

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    To contradict the article, tripod-mounted AGLs can be used as indirect fire weapons. The Marine Corps' machine gunnery pub has a tabular firing table in the back for just such a purpose.

    But to retire the lightweight company mortars in favor of AGLs is stupid. AGLs can't fire high angle, for starters. The M224 is very easy to set up and quickly put down suppressive fires out to 3.5 km. This sort of baffles me:

    Other soldiers say they aren't used that often in Afghanistan, a signal that the weapon's time has come and gone.
    Why not? When the enemy frequently engages you from distances near or beyond the max effective range of your small arms, what could be better than an easily portable mortar system for returning the love? (Note: I am assuming a dismounted force w/o vehicle-mounted HMGs.)

  9. #69
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    They seem to have a 81mm mortar in the inventory as well, so maybe it's not as terrible as on first sight.
    http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/lf/English/2_5.asp?cat=2
    (Slightly confused; 81mm mortar being used by "artillery"?)

    It was apparently a 1942 vintage (later equipped with bipod) light mortar.
    We're talking about the predecessor of the M224 here.

    But it's still madness to have rules like that and to talk nonsense like that.
    Last edited by Fuchs; 07-06-2008 at 08:31 PM.

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    Default For our brothers-in-arms, I hope this decision doesn't stick...

    Gentlemen,

    100% concur with the general sentiment of this thread. The 60mm mortar is an essential weapon in the modern rifle company, if not rifle platoon. As infantry units continue to disperse on the battlefield, they'll need more instantly available--organic--fire support, not less. Check out the article here: http://www.nypost.com/seven/05032008...cry_109193.htm and also review the photo gallery. This is an infantry platoon reinforced operating out of a patrol base, mortars and all. This is 2008. In the book Platoon Leader, the harsh reality on the importance of 60mm mortars was learned the hard way. Initially the infantry platoon did not have it's own lightweight mortars at its patrol base in Vietnam. Soon after commencing operations, the Soldiers quickly realized why they needed a lightweight mortar. For a 2002 perspective, Sean Naylor's Not a Good Day to Die clearly illustrates what happens when "higher" makes the very dangerous assumption that rotary wing and fixed wing close air support are all that's needed for fire support in modern combat. Additionally, the book Phase Line Green, an intensely personal combat story about Hue City in 1968, also hammers home the importance of high angle 60mm mortar fire.

    For our Canadian infantry brethern fighting side-by-side with us in Afghanistan, I hope "higher" re-evaluates this decision.

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    This sort of nonsense is par for the course. A decade and a half ago, the Eryx missile was purchased to replace the Carl Gustav; the only real advantage the former had over the latter was that it could be fired from an enclosed space, otherwise it was more or less the Government just trying to make friends with France. Infantry Battalions promptly locked them up in their armouries and tossed away the key for the next half-decade or so and continued to use the Carl Gustav until DND finally realized that the Eryx was not actually being used. Subsequently, DND ordered the Carl Gustavs removed from service and the Eryx actually taken into service.

    The 60 mm Mortars in question are the old Mark 19, bought surplus from the US Army around the time of the Korean War. There was one in the Weapons Det of each Infantry Company HQ and Infantry Platoon HQ; there was also a MAG-58 GPMG and one of the above mentioned M-2 or M-3 Carl Gustav RR. The general idea was that each Platoon HQ (plus the Coy HQ) would be able to suppress the enemy through "Triple Jeopardy": the GPMG would force the enemy to take cover; the 60mm Mortar would then force them to seek overhead cover; and the Carl G would subsequently be used to kill the enemy in their bunkers or AFVs; and meantime the Infantry Sections assaulted the enemy positions.

    While good in theory, and within certain limits also pretty good in practice, the truth is that this arrangement was forced by the persistent refusal of the Government to authorize and fund proper unit strengths; otherwise a Weapons Platoon would likely have appeared in each Infantry Company, and this was the express preference of many in the Infantry. When tactical circumstances required the detachment of GPMGs, Mortars, and AT Weapons out to the Platoons, that would be no problem. Eventually Light Infantry Companies received them, but it is my understanding that they are probably to be dissolved in the current restructuring, if they have not been already. This includes the final confirmation of the deletion of each Battalion's fourth Infantry Company as well. So it boils down to a personnel funding issue, as usual, with the Government unwilling to fund additional personnel slots for a new weapon, and demanding that some other weapon be deleted in order to provide manpower for the newest weapon.

    And the 81mm Mortar (as well as the 120mm) being placed in the hands of Artillery units is a symptom, after a fashion, of trying to follow the example of the US SBCT TO&E with its composite 81/120mm mortar and mortar/artillery units (something that was attempted in the Pentomic Division). Now, as VMI Marine noted, AGLs can be used in the Indirect-Fire Role, but as he also noted, such fires cannot replace, only augment, the indirect fires of Mortars. Finally, the Canadians are mounted in LAV-IIIs (Strykers with turret-mounted 25mm Bushmaster), and dismounted operations have proven strenous for what are now Mechanized Infantry troops, although ILAVs (M-113A3 with turret-mounted 76mm howitzer) are increasingly replacing the LAV-IIIs for cross-country operations.

    The Brits tried to replace the 51mm Mortar with 40 mm UGLs a few years ago; it didn't work of course. The Canadians needed a new 60mm Light Mortar over twenty years ago; we never got them of course, and now we have to get rid of our old ones in order to man the new AGLs, which we also should have had over twenty years ago. Just shake your head.
    Last edited by Norfolk; 07-06-2008 at 09:50 PM. Reason: Gaps n' spellin'

  12. #72
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good post, thanks.

    We do the same sorts of thing down here but we throw more money at them so they're always an even bigger foul up...

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    Quote:
    Other soldiers say they aren't used that often in Afghanistan, a signal that the weapon's time has come and gone.

    Why not? When the enemy frequently engages you from distances near or beyond the max effective range of your small arms, what could be better than an easily portable mortar system for returning the love? (Note: I am assuming a dismounted force w/o vehicle-mounted HMGs.)
    An issue of PID? Things changed post 2002...seems like we are back to post 9/11 over there now. Somewhere in-between 2002 and 2007, I could see the requirement for PID and concerns over P of I factors being as much an issue as they currently are right now in the theater next door.

  14. #74
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    The M224 is a great 60mm mortar. I was OJT'd on it way back when I was a Pvt. Stayed in Mortar section for the whole float.
    Super accurate, I've hit dumpsters past a klick on the first shot, easy to use, and once you're trained up on it, very fast to open fire.
    Its rapid fire is limited by humped ammo but it is still more useful than a humped AGL.
    Illum is a good example of it's usefulness.
    The Op Anaconda is an excellent example of it's niche.
    Light infantry, long supply train, intermittent air support etc.
    When I hated humping it I thought about the 81 guys in Weapons Co.

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    Could the requirement to drop 60mm mortars been a poison pill by the treasury board to force the army to give up the grenade launchers?

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    It seems that most times, whenever a Commonwealth military requires a new piece of kit - especially "small-ticket" items - it has to fight tooth and nail for it. And at the end, if it has won, the Government presents it with a "one or the other" dilemna; if you want this new piece of kit, fine, but you have to give up something else. Cut off a leg to gain an arm.

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    The "small ticket" items don't have major defense contractors lobbying every single legislator for it.

  18. #78
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default Disciplinary charges in the CF

    From CBC.ca

    Disciplinary charges soar since the push into Afghanistan
    Last Updated: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | 11:06 AM ET

    Military charges against Canadian Forces members have risen dramatically in the years since Canada sent troops to Afghanistan, a CBC investigation has found. In fact, the charges have risen by as much as 62 per cent over an eight-year period.

    All military forces face discipline and morale issues resulting from soldiers serving in war zones and from the latest numbers uncovered by the CBC, it seems Canada is no exception.

    In 1998-99, just over 1,300 so-called summary charges were laid against Canadian Forces members, for everything from drunkenness to charges of a sexual nature and drug dealing. But that number rose sharply to 2,001 in 2002-03, the year Canada first sent troops to Afghanistan, and stood at 2,100 in 2006-07, the latest year in which stats are available.

    More...
    Not that this surprises me, but I would really like to see hese numbers tossed into more context.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
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    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Marc,

    After reading the article, and cogitating a bit, I don't think this is anything particularly serious. The rise seems to be in minor infractions, handled at company level. In the US Army these would be Article 15s. The big rise (if I read correctly) is in AWOLs - which could be nothing more than a few hours or a day late in reporting back to duty after leave.

    Another aspect, as one commenter pointed out, is the transition form peacetime army to wartime army - guaranteed to surface problems, which diminish over time.

    Given the historic record of the Canadian forces, and their current performance in Afghanistan, I don't think there is anything to worry about.
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi JW,

    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    Given the historic record of the Canadian forces, and their current performance in Afghanistan, I don't think there is anything to worry about.
    I think your assessment is pretty much spot on. What I suspect, however, is that the story is "breaking" now, in part, as a way to influence our (probable) fall election. Am I correct in assuming that such a rise in infractions is pretty normal in these circumstances?

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
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    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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