France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Sep 2020 17:49

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Sep 2020 15:13
Here are a few bits of information on the interwar US Army.
Some good starting points for understanding the condition and capabilities of the interwar U.S. Army 1921-1941 would be:

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Steven E. Clay, U.S. Army Order of Battle 1919-1941, (4 vols.). Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute Press, 2010.

Christopher Gabel, The U.S. Army G.H.Q. Maneuvers of 1941. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History, 1991.

Marvin A. Kreidberg and Merton G. Henry, History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army 1775-1945. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, 1955.

William O. Odom, After the Trenches, the Transformation of U.S. Army Doctrine, 1918-1939. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1999.
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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Sep 2020 18:28

Actually, the masses of draftees created the facilities, usually by renovating the remnants of the Great War camps, and bitched mightily while doing so. Anyway, yes a "look at the mobilization of 1917-1918 suggests where the limits are", but it requires an actual dive into those events, rather than an impressionistic and possibly wishful view of them.
Its difficult to wish much positive from that event. Mytake has ben relatively negative.
The "army" of the 1939 Plattsburg maneuvers or Louisiana-Texas maneuvers of 1940 well illustrate what you would get.
A look at the 1940 Louisiana maneuvers was part of my guess.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Sep 2020 18:32

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Sep 2020 16:23
Rich, you appear to be considering combat ready formations.
No, I am considering deployable formations. I don't think it would be very useful to just ship people to France and organize and train them there. I also doubt that any such scheme would past the smell test in the White House, Congress, or the Munitions Building.
I was not. Basically sending two or three RA divisions and 2-3 NG divisions plus two corps HQ as they existed in September 1939 across the water in the autumn/winter of 1939 & filling them out on the fly with new recruits and reserve officers.
As of 1 July 1940, the strength of the National Guard officer corps was about 21,074 and enlisted strength was 226,837. Of those 21,074 officers, only about 6,800 had completed a course of instruction in a service school, otherwise the mass of them were essentially untrained.
Certainly not a trained force.
No kidding. What do you call an untrained and unorganized mass of men? A mob. Meanwhile, please review the real world examples of the actual American Great War deployments, which appears to be your analog. Prior to the war, the active divisional elements, minus the 2d Brigade, conducted a CPX in August 1937 followed by maneuvers at Indiantown Gap in September. The 2d Brigade, with the 5th and 7th FA, conducted maneuvers at Pine Camp in September 1937 as well. After elements of the division participated in Army-Navy Landing Exercise No 4 at Culebra in January-February 1938.

There was nothing else until the Plattsburg maneuvers of fall 1939.

Nor was there an army or corps structure. FUSA conducted the Pine Camp maneuver in 1935, nothing then until Plattsburg. Its mission was supervising defensive contingencies by the I, II, and III Corps areas. There were no corps headquarters fully active after 1925; they were periodically activated with RA and OR personnel for CPX's, otherwise they maintained caretaker administrations of the corps areas, which had no tactical function or capability. The last actual maneuver any corps HQ was provisionally activated for was the 1935 Pine Camp maneuver.
More of color guard or a preparation force to set up for a combat worthy AEF later. How trained they might be by 10 May 1940 varies widely by who is leading them at the top and what priorities they set for training vs logistical preparation.
Since your priority appears to be getting bodies to France, I'm not sure how any training or organization enters into it? Meanwhile, please note the example of the 1st Expeditionary Division, which was in a better state than any Regular division, including its descendant, in 1939.
What Ive not looked at much is any air component with a hypothetical AEF. P36s & B18s ?
As of 30 June 1938 the AAC consisted of 20,196 Off & EM, by 30 June 1939 that "expanded to 22,387. As of 31 July 1939, there were 16 HB, 400 MB, 276 LB, 494 Fi, 356 Rcn, 118 T, 735 Tr, and 7 Com aircraft on hand.
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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Sep 2020 18:40

If the AEF counterattacks Kleist's penetration aggressively - even if clumsily - the British can't/won't abandon the U.S. and will have to turn around and fight. The Belgians are unlikely to capitulate so fast so there's probably threat to the BEF's left flank. Likewise the American air forces are unlikely to abandon France as did the RAF, meaning the RAF likely stays too. Now we have a war for the skies over northeast France, one that a fully committed RAF plus the French/American air forces can win.
Say Kleist still reaches the coast somehow though more damaged than OTL. With 6-7 additional American divisions the pocketed forces should be able to hold Bolougne and Calais. Have the USN shell any German troop concentrations intent on pushing along the coast to constrict the pocket and take the ports. With a fully committed RAF/AAF overhead, and hundreds of American flak barrels available to defend the Channel, we can now do a "Reverse Dunkirk," using all available means to send supplies and reinforcements to the pocket rather than to evacuate it.
I seriously doubt the French would commit a badly undertrained AEF to any role in the Dyle plan. Hence my proposition any such would be deployed in central France, among the Poles and other formations late mobilized & set to training activities. The USN & stray units might contribute to the Channel coast pocket, but I can't see a likely mechanism for the AEF arriving there.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Sep 2020 19:15

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Sep 2020 18:28
A look at the 1940 Louisiana maneuvers was part of my guess.
Okay, so the IV Corps HQ, 1st, 2d, 5th, and 6th Div, 1st Cav Div, 1st Prov Tank Bde, 7th Cav Bde, Mecz, 13th FA Bde, 4th, and 6th Cav.

The two corps HQ were activated for the maneuvers, the IV Corps on 20 October 1939, the first time since August 1938 it was active. The IX Corps was present in name, but otherwise was only partially activated. The 1st Division was triangularized in October 1939 and was more or less close to active peacetime strength. The 2d Division was also triangularized. The 5th Division was reactivated 16 October 1939 and was still training, so was present in the form of a CPX. The 6th Division was reactivated 10 October 1939 and was also still training. The 1st Cav was present in full as an organization for the first time since 1936, but was at just over half-strength in personnel. The 1st Prov Tank Bde was just that, a conglomeration of most of the tank assets of the Army, assembled just for the maneuver. The 7th Cav Bde was probably the best capable unit, since it had just completed the Plattsburg maneuvers in September 1939, but it was only partly equipped...and could only add some 100 machine-gun armed light tanks to any war in Europe. The 13th FA two regiments included the only fully organized NG element of the maneuvers, the two-battalion 178th FA. The total NG contingent, including divisional staff personnel shadowing three of the RA division staffs, was under 1,400 Off & EM. The 4th and 6th Cav were each equipped with 20 scout cars for the maneuvers, but were otherwise testing the new (February 1940) "Horse & Mechanized" concept promoted by the Chief of Cavalry, which failed miserably.

So effectively two divisions ready for action in May 1940.
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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by T. A. Gardner » 19 Sep 2020 20:23

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Sep 2020 16:23

What Ive not looked at much is any air component with a hypothetical AEF. P36s & B18s ?
The USAAC would have in total by the beginning of 1940 something like:

Fighters:

100+ P-35
200+ P-36
Few P-39C/D

Bombers:

100- B-10
300+ B-18 Bolo
30+ B-23 Dragon
100- B-17A-C or YB-17

Observation:

Few O-52 Owl
150+ O-47
100- O-38

Attack

150+ A-17
some A-20 (impressed from French orders most likely)

That's most of the stuff that could be considered at least marginally fit for war service by 1940.

Of that, something like two-thirds would have to be retained for training in the US and service in locations other than Europe like the Panama Canal zone, Hawaii, the Philippines, etc.

I'd think the US could realistically contribute a fighter group with P-36 and a bomber group of B-18, or maybe one squadron of B-23, an observation group most likely with O-38 from the National Guard, possibly a B-17 squadron as well, and an attack group with A-17's. That's pretty thin and the aircraft are mostly marginal by 1940 for European service.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Sep 2020 22:04

T. A. Gardner wrote:
19 Sep 2020 20:23
...
I'd think the US could realistically contribute a fighter group with P-36 and a bomber group of B-18, or maybe one squadron of B-23, an observation group most likely with O-38 from the National Guard, possibly a B-17 squadron as well, and an attack group with A-17's. That's pretty thin and the aircraft are mostly marginal by 1940 for European service.
Thats rather what I was thinking. The French had a lot of trained aircrew flying obsolete machines. For the near term it makes more sense to send the modern aircraft to the experienced air crew already in place. OTL approximately 600 aircraft were shipped to the French April, May, & June 1940. Where that production would have ended up in these hypotheticals is open to speculation.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Thumpalumpacus » 19 Sep 2020 22:11

Richard Anderson wrote:
19 Sep 2020 17:37
The "army" of the 1939 Plattsburg maneuvers or Louisiana-Texas maneuvers of 1940 well illustrate what you would get.
Exactly. Now add in supply-lines stretching across the Atlantic through the U-boat screen to those green, under-equipped troops. Hard to see any American combat efficiency getting close to levels required for competent counteraction.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Sep 2020 22:26

T. A. Gardner wrote:
19 Sep 2020 20:23
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Sep 2020 16:23

What Ive not looked at much is any air component with a hypothetical AEF. P36s & B18s ?
The USAAC would have in total by the beginning of 1940 something like:

Fighters:

100+ P-35
No more than the survivors of the 77 P-35 delivered to the AAC by August 1938. The 60 P-35A were production for Sweden seized by the US, 60 of them, but from 1 June 1940 onward.
200+ P-36
Troubles with the P-36 meant that only five squadrons, the 27th, 33d, 35th, 36th, and 94th were equipped with them by mid 1940 and serviceability was poor. I doubt more than 100 would be operational.
Few P-39C/D
The first P-39C flew in January 1940. The first P39D entered service in February 1941. Twenty P-39C were completed by September 1940 and none were considered combat ready, thus the D.
Bombers:

100- B-10
The 103 B-10B were delivered by August 1936. By 1940 they were obsolete and used for training and target towing.
300+ B-18 Bolo
30+ B-23 Dragon
217 B-18A and 38 B-23 were delivered by January 1940.
100- B-17A-C or YB-17
13 Y1B-17 were delivered for evaluation by 4 August 1937.
1 YiB-17A/B-17A was delivered 31 January 1939
39 B-17B were delivered by 30 March 1940.
Of the 38 B-17C one was completed 21 July 1940 and kept by Boeing for evaluation. The first delivery was 29 November 1940.
Attack

150+ A-17
109 A-17, but it was obsolete.
129 A-17A, but it was obsolescent.
some A-20 (impressed from French orders most likely)
The first DB-7 flew 7 August 1939. 270 were ordered by the French and deliveries began in October 1939. 64 were in service with the French by 10 May 1940, 16 more went to Belgium, and 6 more were delivered to the French before the Armistice. Three were still in the States at the end of June 1940 and 83 more of the French order were completed 1 July-30 September 1940.
That's most of the stuff that could be considered at least marginally fit for war service by 1940.

Of that, something like two-thirds would have to be retained for training in the US and service in locations other than Europe like the Panama Canal zone, Hawaii, the Philippines, etc.
Yep.
I'd think the US could realistically contribute a fighter group with P-36 and a bomber group of B-18, or maybe one squadron of B-23, an observation group most likely with O-38 from the National Guard, possibly a B-17 squadron as well, and an attack group with A-17's. That's pretty thin and the aircraft are mostly marginal by 1940 for European service.
Something like 30-odd O-38 participated in the Louisiana-Texas maneuvers, otherwise the AAC was unable to contribute any combat aircraft.
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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Sep 2020 22:55

Richard Anderson wrote:
19 Sep 2020 19:15
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Sep 2020 18:28
A look at the 1940 Louisiana maneuvers was part of my guess.
Okay, so the IV Corps HQ, 1st, 2d, 5th, and 6th Div, 1st Cav Div, 1st Prov Tank Bde, 7th Cav Bde, Mecz, 13th FA Bde, 4th, and 6th Cav.

The two corps HQ were activated for the maneuvers, the IV Corps on 20 October 1939, the first time since August 1938 it was active. The IX Corps was present in name, but otherwise was only partially activated. ...

... So effectively two divisions ready for action in May 1940.
That is the US mobilization to mid 1940 of OTL. If the US enters the war in September 1940 the ensuing seven months would have a different pace. Setting forward the mobilization started after the fall of France in 1940 would be the general idea, tho the details will vary. A greater sense of urgency would be a big accelerant, conversely the lack of the preparation and experience picked up OTL between mid 1939 & June 1940 would be a retardant. My original guesses at this had some US preparations set forward to the Munich crisis of 1938.

A nominal deployment of a token AEF might be:

Sept 39: Liaison staff/sections travel to France & Britain.

Oct-November: Advance parties for first designated units travel to France, including two corps HQ, two RA divisions, a composite air group. Logistics groups start setting up in designated ports and interior areas. Franco/US training groups established. USN starts liaison & planning for rebasing select fleet units & support to Europe.

November-December: Functional HQ for AEF, corps & divisions arrive with initial field & support units. USN has the option to relocate a Marine Brigade & base defense components to the UK (Scotland?) along with any fleet units rebased to the UK.

December-February: Initial corps deployment completes & a pair of NG divisions travel to France. Training gets underway for the arriving units. If anything like Amphibious Forces Atlantic Fleet of OTL is conceived a early small version of the Marine Brigade & a similar sized Army component might appear. With Allied plans for a Norwegian occupation/campaign there is some incentive to get a few Army battalions involved for the experience.

December-April continuing build up of support and training command for following field units.

If a decision for a armored corps is made this early I'd think it possible the 7th Brigade & other motorized/mechanized units would be shaken up in a bag, then split with a portion going to France to start training with French equipment. A larger portion remains in the US as the embryo of this Armored Corps. So, there would be some sort of armored training brigade present in France. Learning how to operate old D1s or R35s or something. its fun to consider M2 medium tanks in the battle of France, but getting deck space for them is problematic. And, the only horses sent from the US would be in ration cans.

A Norweigian campaign, win or lose, could see a hasty deployment of a few more Army units, landing in Norway, UK, or the French coast depending on circumstance.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 20 Sep 2020 00:11

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Sep 2020 22:55
That is the US mobilization to mid 1940 of OTL. If the US enters the war in September 1940 the ensuing seven months would have a different pace.
Sure (BTW, I think you mean September 1939). The 1 July 1939 authorization approved an increase to the Troop Basis from 174,000 to 210,000 EM to 30 June 1940...all of it earmarked for the expansion of the AAC and the rest to create defenses in Panama, beyond the Coast Artillery. It had zero effect on the rest of the Army. The authorization for an additional 17,000 men following the declaration of limited emergency in late September 1939 resulted in five triangularized divisions, two ready by the end of the year and the other three in the spring of 1940.
Setting forward the mobilization started after the fall of France in 1940 would be the general idea, tho the details will vary. A greater sense of urgency would be a big accelerant, conversely the lack of the preparation and experience picked up OTL between mid 1939 & June 1940 would be a retardant. My original guesses at this had some US preparations set forward to the Munich crisis of 1938.
I guess I'm confused by the apparent believe there was no great "sense of urgency" in July 1940 after the fall of France? In any case, I've given a reasonable timeline that could be applied to a ASB-induced American DOW in September 1939. If it passes, it would be a squeaker. The legislation to then fund such a war would have zero of the sense of urgency following Pearl Harbor, would be opposed by factions in Congress, and it is unlikely it could proceed any quicker than the mobilization post fall of France.
A nominal deployment of a token AEF might be:

Sept 39: Liaison staff/sections travel to France & Britain.

Oct-November: Advance parties for first designated units travel to France, including two corps HQ, two RA divisions, a composite air group. Logistics groups start setting up in designated ports and interior areas. Franco/US training groups established. USN starts liaison & planning for rebasing select fleet units & support to Europe.

November-December: Functional HQ for AEF, corps & divisions arrive with initial field & support units. USN has the option to relocate a Marine Brigade & base defense components to the UK (Scotland?) along with any fleet units rebased to the UK.
There are no corps headquarters active. The two divisions were in the midst of reorganization, the air force was essentially impotent.
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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by T. A. Gardner » 20 Sep 2020 00:25

Richard Anderson wrote:
19 Sep 2020 22:26

<On USAAC numbers>
I was kind of counting in stuff that might have been available in this scenario such as some of the Swedish P-35 order which would have been finished but not delivered. The US would have grabbed them earlier, that sort of thing.

That's why I counted only about a third to a quarter could be sent to Europe at best with the rest held for training, being unserviceable, or somewhere else they were needed.

My count for what would have been sent right away comes to something like 40 P-36, 40 B-18, maybe a dozen B-23, a dozen B-17, about 30 A-17 and 30 to 40 observation types. That's not much but I think it's within reasonable limits.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by The Ibis » 20 Sep 2020 01:55

Richard Anderson wrote:
19 Sep 2020 17:49
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Sep 2020 15:13
Here are a few bits of information on the interwar US Army.
Some good starting points for understanding the condition and capabilities of the interwar U.S. Army 1921-1941 would be:

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Steven E. Clay, U.S. Army Order of Battle 1919-1941, (4 vols.). Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute Press, 2010.

Christopher Gabel, The U.S. Army G.H.Q. Maneuvers of 1941. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History, 1991.

Marvin A. Kreidberg and Merton G. Henry, History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army 1775-1945. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, 1955.

William O. Odom, After the Trenches, the Transformation of U.S. Army Doctrine, 1918-1939. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1999.
I recall Odom's book was excellent. Might still have it on a shelf in fact.

Thanks to you, Carl and Terry for your posts on the thread.
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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 20 Sep 2020 02:55

T. A. Gardner wrote:
20 Sep 2020 00:25
I was kind of counting in stuff that might have been available in this scenario such as some of the Swedish P-35 order which would have been finished but not delivered. The US would have grabbed them earlier, that sort of thing.
Yeah, the Swedish order would have started at the beginning of this scenario. Would they have seized all 120? I don't know, but I do know the AAC didn't like the P-35, they had major issues with it, and would likely have preferred not to have had it at all.
That's why I counted only about a third to a quarter could be sent to Europe at best with the rest held for training, being unserviceable, or somewhere else they were needed.

My count for what would have been sent right away comes to something like 40 P-36, 40 B-18, maybe a dozen B-23, a dozen B-17, about 30 A-17 and 30 to 40 observation types. That's not much but I think it's within reasonable limits.
That may be closer to reality. It is also important to realize that the July 1939 decision to fund a 5,500 aircraft AAF resulted in aircraft deliveries mostly in the second half of 1940. A declaration of war is unlikely to change that much.
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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 20 Sep 2020 03:01

BTW, the Atlantic "fleet" on 1 October 1939 was Ranger, three old BB, (BATDIV 5), five CA (CRUDIV 7), and three destroyers squadrons...with 37 four-pipers, all twenty-odd years old.
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