USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

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Takao
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 28 Oct 2020 14:04

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Oct 2020 12:04
Tom do you recognize I don't disagree with anything in the first quote? Do you recognize I'm talking about offensive actions in latter '42 and '43, not defensive actions to shield India/Australia?
The "offensive" Solomons Campaign was designed to shield Australian lines of communication with the US by eliminating the major Japanese base at Rabual.

The only US offensive during that time, not designed to shield Australia was the invasion of Attu and Kiska. This was done to shield the US territory of Alaska & the Pacific coast of Canada.

What other Pacific "offensive" was there except the invasion of the Gilberts very late in 1943.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Oct 2020 17:05

Takao wrote:
28 Oct 2020 14:04
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Oct 2020 12:04
Tom do you recognize I don't disagree with anything in the first quote? Do you recognize I'm talking about offensive actions in latter '42 and '43, not defensive actions to shield India/Australia?
The "offensive" Solomons Campaign was designed to shield Australian lines of communication with the US by eliminating the major Japanese base at Rabual.
A robust corps worth of ground forces. All of which would have been deployed there in any sensible defensive scenario. All of the fighting there in 1942 was in the face of a Japanese strategic offensive.
The only US offensive during that time, not designed to shield Australia was the invasion of Attu and Kiska. This was done to shield the US territory of Alaska & the Pacific coast of Canada.
Basically fielding a single ground combat division in offensive action.
What other Pacific "offensive" was there except the invasion of the Gilberts very late in 1943.
The Gilberts were taken by a corps of two ground combat divisions in less than a week of fighting. Whats that translate to for combat power in Europe?

Sticking to a defensive strategy fir 1942 saves nothing significant. The Japanese still would execute their S E Pac offensives, which would require resources for the USN & US Army at higher levels. The WATCHTOWER operations was undertaken to concentrate US combat power & reach for a savings in economy of force. Vs dispersal in series of defense positions/ operations. The same for the North Pacific. Seizing Attu & Kiska provided a economy of force vs trying to anticipate potential Japanese attacks across the N Pac littoral.

The S Pac offensive of 1943 was enabled by the Brit insistence on limited preiphrial operations in the Mediterranean. That left Marshal & the other US leaders with unused forces for striking the enemy elsewhere. Had the Brits been up for larger ops in the MTO/ETO MacAurthur would have been attempting a lot less with a lot less.

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Takao
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 29 Oct 2020 21:33

Exactly Carl, the forces that participated in the early "offensives" were already in the Pacific defensively holding various far-flung Pacific Island chains. It is not until very late in 1943 & early 1944 that you see new Army divisions brought in to conduct expanded offensive operations in the Pacific.

https://www.armydivs.com/pacific-theater
provides a brief, but good source on when the Army Divisions arrived, where they went, and what they did.

These phantom "offensive" forces are clearly a product of Mr. Marcks imagination.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 31 Oct 2020 17:30

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Oct 2020 12:04
Maybe I'll pull more brilliance from you.
Ha, a post like that only comes round once a year! :lol:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Oct 2020 12:04
only that the U.S. comes with a plan to invade Europe and an army with which to do so.
And the air support and naval support required to do so, and wins the battle of the Atlantic on the way as well I suppose. :idea:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Oct 2020 12:04
Do you recognize I'm talking about offensive actions in latter '42 and '43, not defensive actions to shield India/Australia?
I think Takao sums up my interpretation of those events pretty well, thank you.
Takao wrote:
28 Oct 2020 14:04
The "offensive" Solomons Campaign was designed to shield Australian lines of communication with the US by eliminating the major Japanese base at Rabual.

The only US offensive during that time, not designed to shield Australia was the invasion of Attu and Kiska. This was done to shield the US territory of Alaska & the Pacific coast of Canada.

What other Pacific "offensive" was there except the invasion of the Gilberts very late in 1943.
Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Oct 2020 23:19

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Oct 2020 12:04
only that the U.S. comes with a plan to invade Europe and an army with which to do so.
The problem is, you still don't seem to realize just how shambolic an operation the US Army was until c. mid-1943.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Nov 2020 02:10

Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Oct 2020 23:19
... how shambolic an operation the US Army was until c. mid-1943.
Sort of like the German Army in 1938?

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Nov 2020 19:14

Tom from Cornwall wrote:The "offensive" Solomons Campaign was designed to shield Australian lines of communication with the US by eliminating the major Japanese base at Rabual.
That's an empty statement that could be made about any offensive. Operation Bagration shielded Moscow from the Ostheer. Grant's Overland Campaign shielded Washington from the Army of Northern Virginia. Roman invasions of Persian territory shielded Antioch's eastern flank.

In each case the shielding could have been accomplished with significantly less resource expenditure. In each case the additional expenditure resulted from the offensive objectives sought.

In our case MacArthur began his drive towards the Philippines in '43 on New Guinea's northern coast and for political reasons the US was eager to demonstrate offensive action against Japan.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Nov 2020 21:39

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Nov 2020 02:10
Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Oct 2020 23:19
... how shambolic an operation the US Army was until c. mid-1943.
Sort of like the German Army in 1938?
No, worse. So many hasty, but theoretically reasonable decisions on mobilization were made that affected other aspects of mobilization that it is difficult to see how things could have been done better without perfect hindsight. Among other things, the decision to do basic training at the division was possibly one of the worst.

In any case, the assessment as of 1 October 1941 remains critical. At that time exactly 1 (one) division, the 1st, was rated as ready for action. Worse, it was anticipated that by 1 April 1942 that strength would grow to all of three (3) infantry divisions (1st, 2d, and 3d), one motorized infantry division (4th), and two armored divisions (1st and 2d).

Notably the former Hawaiian Division reorganized as two divisions, the 24th and 25th, and remained tied to the islands for support for some time. The 27th Inf Div, originally planned as a defensive augmentation of the Philippines, actually shipped to Hawaii incompletely trained at the end of February 1942 to ensure security of the territory. Ditto, the 32d and 41st were shipped at the request of Australia, even though neither had completed training either, in March 1942. The 37th Inf Div at least had finished training when it went to reinforce the Fijis in May 1942. Then there was the hodgepodge that was Americal.

All defensive deployments, all prior to Midway. The arrival of the 40th Inf Div in Hawaii in August 1942 was the first that facilitated offensive operations in the Pacific, allowing the transfer of the 25th Inf Div to Australia, which supported continuing operations at Guadalcanal and New Guinea.

Meanwhile, eight divisions (1st, 3d, 9th, 29th, and 34th Inf Div, 1st and 2d Arm Div, and 82d A/B Div) went to support defensive and offensive operations against Germany by the end of 1942. That effectively emptied the cupboard.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 16 Nov 2020 20:00

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Nov 2020 19:14
In our case MacArthur began his drive towards the Philippines in '43 on New Guinea's northern coast and for political reasons the US was eager to demonstrate offensive action against Japan.
I found these two snippets in Stephen Roskill's official history
The War at Sea 1939 - 1945
and thought they were relevant to the discussion up thread about British fears about American diversion of resources to the Pacific/Far East theatre:

Vol II:
p.413
At the Casablanca Conference various decisions affecting the war against Japan had been taken. That with which we here are principally concerned was the decision to mount twin offensives from New Guinea and the Solomons, with the object of breaking through the powerful enemy defences based on New Britain, New Ireland and the other islands of the Bismarck Archipelago, which barred the approaches to the Philippines from the south-east.
Vol III Part I:
p.6
[...], King’s attitude certainly did not help to smooth over the difficulties which inevitably arise between Allies, nor tend to eliminate the increasing doubts felt in Britain whether the United States Navy’s Pacific strategy was not being carried to a point where it violated the long-standing governmental decision that the defeat of Germany should take priority over the defeat of Japan. In fact, of course, such fears [p.7] proved groundless; for the European grand strategy was successfully implemented, though not in the manner that some British leaders would have preferred. The impartial historian must therefore conclude that there was not much wrong with King’s allocation of resources between the Pacific and European theatres. Moreover the speed with which America could build up her total strength, and so meet the material and human needs of both theatres, was almost certainly not fully recognised in Britain.
And of course, proper grand strategy takes into account politics - don't forget your Clausewitz! :thumbsup:

Or as Hew Strachen puts it (European Armies and the Conduct of War, pp.5-6):
The art of war is a civilian task, not least because only thus will the political causes of war, and the political consequences that accrue from it, remain constant factors in its conduct.
Regards

Tom

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