200 U. S. trained divisions?

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McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 21 Mar 2021 17:40

Mr Shoup:

I am in agreement with you, I think, concerning the 10th Mountain, and the 71st and 89th Light Divisions. They were in generally speaking terms a waste of effort, that if not undertaken could have produced three divisions for combat operations earlier than they were available. I see nothing here that could not have been accomplished by standard Infantry divisions. If it was felt necessary to give a unit specialized training for a particular theater or operation, that training could have been conducted without resort to specialized tables of organization and a reduced level of manning. The 10th Mountain Division is a very good example. Nothing they did in Italy could not have been done, probably better, with a standard division given a few weeks of mountain climbing training, along with the attachment of several mule pack companies. That's is what more than a few WWII 10th Mountain vets told me/us anyway, when we were designing/organizing the 10th as a light division in 1983-85. Wickham, the Chief of Staff at the time, wanted light divisions. Moreover he saw them as a means to add two more active, and one more Guard division out of the Army's hide. in other words he wanted to organize them without raising the Army's strength cap in force at that time. Many of us involved looked at the three light divisions of WWII, and decided for ourselves (not publicly) that we were going down the same organizational path to nowhere . The purpose of increased strategic mobility worldwide was foremost in the minds of Army leadership, and they reasoned that better selection of personnel and increasing the training level of the individual soldier could make up for the austerity in combat power. In a word it could not. You can't win if your driving principle is organizing on the cheap.

Again a small point. The 474th Infantry was raised in France in early 1945 and the first and second battalions were provided personnel from American soldiers of the 1st Special Service Force, and the remnants of three disbanded Ranger Battalions. The third battalion of the regiment, organic, not attached, was the 99th Infantry Battalion. In one of only two known cases the former separate battalion was allowed to keep its original number, thus its designation after 6 January 1945 was 99th Infantry Battalion, 474th Infantry. The other such case was the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry.

While some of you folks use Stanton, he does have a few errors scattered throughout his work of a relatively minor nature. I am using the 1953 Edition of the "Army Lineage Book Volume II Infantry" I find it is much more complete than later similar attempts, at least when it comes to giving me a complete picture of the WWII U S Army Infantry organizations under one handy cover.Just thought I would pass that along to those interested, and if any are not aware of it you may be able to find it with a great deal of searching I suspect.
Last edited by McDonald on 21 Mar 2021 17:52, edited 2 times in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Mar 2021 17:48

Hi McDonald,

Why were 1SSF and the Ranger Battalions turned into a standard infantry unit?

It seems a terrible waste of expertise, especially of the 1SSF men, who were parachute trained.

Nobody else seems to have been dissolving special forces and the Rangers were resurrected later.

The Canadian manpower of 1SSF had originally been drawn from the embryonic 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion and at least had the dignity of largely going back to 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion as replacements.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. As an aside, I read that, prior to entering the war, US Army attachés to Chile felt that the US Army could learn a thing or two from that country's four mixed mountain brigades. Did anything come of this with regard to 10th Mountain Division?
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 21 Mar 2021 18:16, edited 1 time in total.

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 21 Mar 2021 18:15

Mr Guttridge:

Well I suppose the short answer on the Rangers and 1SSF was that there was not enough of them left to form a division. They did, with the addition of the 99th Battalion have just about enough to form a regiment, and the regiment was specifically designed, ironically, for anticipated operations in Norway, which was the original intention of 1SSF, and the 99th when first organized.

My opinion here, and I am quite sure I will hear about it from others.

The 1st Special Service Force was a hair brained idea first conceived by a rather unusual Brit name Geoffery Pyke. He reasoned that small commando type forces, using specially designed vehicles, could operate in the winter months in Norway causing all sorts of mischief. As it turned out wiser heads prevailed, but 1SSF had already been formed and very, VERY, well trained. They were in fact the best combat force, in my opinion, that we fielded in WWII and that includes both the Rangers and paratroops. But that is just me. In addition they had one hell of a great commander in Robert T. Frederick.

The problem with the Ranger battalions as I see it was that except for a very few operations they were largely mis-employed. When you train people to a razors edge you don't use them to seize the town of Brokendownville, that could just as easily been the job of Infantry battalion X, which by tables of organization alone is better suited for the task.

Again my opinion. The U S Army has done a rather poor job of defining what is SPECIAL, then and now.

As far as I know the Canadians were RTUed, that is returned to unit, meaning they rejoined their original Canadian regiment. I would have to check this out further, but I think the Canadian Airborne Regiment carried 1SSF battle honors, and a lineage connection, but I am not at all sure if the Canadian Airborne Regiment still exists. There was some dust up involving them some time back, and I had heard they were to be disbanded because of it.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Mar 2021 18:24

Hi McDonald,

I have done a little internet digging and found that the Canadian manpower of 1SSF had originally been drawn from the embryonic 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion and at least had the dignity of largely going back to 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion as replacements.

A couple of asides:

1) The non-existent 7th, 9th and 10th Ranger Battalions were part of the deception plan Operation Fortitude North meant to be poised for an attack on Narvik. The main force was to be supplied by the equally non-existent US 55th Mountain Infantry Division (78th, 83rd and 96th Infantry Regiments).

2) I read that, prior to entering the war, visiting US soldiers to Chile felt that the US Army could learn a thing or two from that country's four mixed mountain brigades. Did anything come of this with regard to the creation of 10th Mountain Division? If not, who did 10th Mountain Division consult in developing their particular expertise?

Cheers,

Sid.

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 21 Mar 2021 19:14

There was a fellow named Dole who was some sort of high functionary in the National Ski Patrol. He sold, Roosevelt, I think, on the idea that the US needed ski troops to perform the same functions as well developed mountain troops were an integral part of many European armies including the German, Italian, Austrian, Swiss, French and others. Of course we did not have the Alps to defend and operate routinely on in the United States, and any adversary at the time, and still would be hard pressed to reach the Rockies, at least I hope so, living in the high desert foothills of those mountains as I do.

There were a whole lot of folks to consult about mountain operations here in the States, the aforementioned National Ski Patrol, as well as many college ski teams and other mountain oriented folks from hither and yon. There was no shortage of expertise. Then there was the method of recruiting. The 10th Mountain Division in 1943-44 had the highest number of college graduates ever fielded by a U S Army division --- EVER. High quality personnel every darned one of them. Then they sent the poor buggers to Camp Hale, and all most of them had to do was learn to cough, the so called Pando Hack, after a tiny railroad station where Camp Hale was located. Evidently train smoke and high mountain air don't mix all that well. Of course, then in the Army's infinite wisdom they then sent them to Camp Swift, Texas to fry their brains out. One of the keys to the success achieved by the 10th Mountain at Riva Ridge and Mount Belvedere was their combat commander, George Hays, who had plenty of previous combat experience with the 2nd ID.

Certainly we could learn about mountain operations and the requirement for specialized training prior to entering mountain regions from fellows like Dole and those folks in Chile, but the fact remains that while a mountain training facility could be established for such a purpose, there is, in my view, no need for a division to be specifically organized to operate in that, which was to us, limited environment. The price force designers pay for over specialization in design, is limited value when such an organization is employed elsewhere. Were we a European Army mountain or Alpine organizations would be a vital part of our structure. We are not in Europe or Chile for that matter, so we must concentrate our limited resources on more general purpose forces.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 21 Mar 2021 19:47

Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 Mar 2021 09:21

I don't think that matters. It is the content of the posts that matter.

You corrected my error, for which I thank you,
Errors like confusing the 27th and 77th infantry divisions, their commanders, and the context of the "Battle of the Smiths' dispute speaks volumes to the basic knowledge of those posting.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 21 Mar 2021 19:54

McDonald wrote:
21 Mar 2021 17:40
Mr Shoup:

I am in agreement with you, I think, concerning the 10th Mountain, and the 71st and 89th Light Divisions. They were in generally speaking terms a waste of effort, that if not undertaken could have produced three divisions for combat operations earlier than they were available. I see nothing here that could not have been accomplished by standard Infantry divisions. If it was felt necessary to give a unit specialized training for a particular theater or operation, that training could have been conducted without resort to specialized tables of organization and a reduced level of manning. The 10th Mountain Division is a very good example. Nothing they did in Italy could not have been done, probably better, with a standard division given a few weeks of mountain climbing training, along with the attachment of several mule pack companies. That's is what more than a few WWII 10th Mountain vets told me/us anyway, when we were designing/organizing the 10th as a light division in 1983-85. Wickham, the Chief of Staff at the time, wanted light divisions. Moreover he saw them as a means to add two more active, and one more Guard division out of the Army's hide. in other words he wanted to organize them without raising the Army's strength cap in force at that time. Many of us involved looked at the three light divisions of WWII, and decided for ourselves (not publicly) that we were going down the same organizational path to nowhere . The purpose of increased strategic mobility worldwide was foremost in the minds of Army leadership, and they reasoned that better selection of personnel and increasing the training level of the individual soldier could make up for the austerity in combat power. In a word it could not. You can't win if your driving principle is organizing on the cheap.

Again a small point. The 474th Infantry was raised in France in early 1945 and the first and second battalions were provided personnel from American soldiers of the 1st Special Service Force, and the remnants of three disbanded Ranger Battalions. The third battalion of the regiment, organic, not attached, was the 99th Infantry Battalion. In one of only two known cases the former separate battalion was allowed to keep its original number, thus its designation after 6 January 1945 was 99th Infantry Battalion, 474th Infantry. The other such case was the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry.

While some of you folks use Stanton, he does have a few errors scattered throughout his work of a relatively minor nature. I am using the 1953 Edition of the "Army Lineage Book Volume II Infantry" I find it is much more complete than later similar attempts, at least when it comes to giving me a complete picture of the WWII U S Army Infantry organizations under one handy cover.Just thought I would pass that along to those interested, and if any are not aware of it you may be able to find it with a great deal of searching I suspect.
Fair enough; I don't think we disagree regarding the "light division" churn in 1943. A point worth making on the 71st in its "pack, jungle" form is that one would have thought simply deploying the 5th and 14th infantry regiments to the Pacific after their service and training in Panama in 1941-42 would have accomplished much the same in terms of having a "special" unit; combining the two under a brigade-level task force (as was done for the 1st Airborne Tsk Force for DRAGOON and the MARS Task Force in the CBI, both in 1944), seems like it would have been doable, as well.

One thing I've wondered about is the creation of the 71st as a light jungle-specialized formation in 1943; given the timeframe, was the purpose to deploy a division as such into the CBI?
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 22 Mar 2021 06:34, edited 1 time in total.

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 21 Mar 2021 21:33

For me personally I would support two "light oriented" regimental combat teams created out of the jungle trained 5th and 14th Infantry Regiments. I think very good use could have been made of them in several places, including Burma. I am perfectly OK with units smaller than divisions being organized under, specific for purpose, modifications of a standard Table of Organization and Equipment. We got a heck of a lot of mileage out of such units as RCT's, and later theater defense brigades in the late forties until the mid 1990's.

I think I read somewhere that the 71st was intended for the Philippines, but do not quote me on that. In that same light, I don't think the U S Army, as an institution, wanted anything to do with the CBI, The 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) and the 1st Air Commando, were meant reluctantly as something to fulfill Roosevelt's promises at Quebec, to keep Wingate's mouth shut, and prevent Stillwell from whining, at least out loud.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Mar 2021 23:38

Hi McDonald,

I am not sure I follow your logic on writing, "We are not in Europe....."

That was presumably why the peacetime army had no mountain specialization.

However, the wartime US Army was an expeditionary one and did end up in mountain fighting in Italy and south-eastern France.

It strikes me as an intelligent precaution to prepare at least one specialist formation for such conditions, in much the same way that specialist marine and airborne divisions were created to handle other specific environments.

10th Mountain Division may have been mishandled, but the principle of its existence seems sound.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Mar 2021 23:55

Hi daveshoup2MD,

You post, "Errors like confusing the 27th and 77th infantry divisions, their commanders, and the context of the "Battle of the Smiths' dispute speaks volumes to the basic knowledge of those posting." It may quite possibly do so, but the basic fact about an Army divisional commander in the Marianas being replaced due to the poor performance of his formation stands. It happened.

So what is your excuse for failing to even address the great majority of my post? What does this "speak volumes" about?

The post concerned is Post #100 above. Should you feel it would be of assistance if I were to put it up again, I would be happy to oblige.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Mar 2021 03:03

daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Mar 2021 01:40
Well the 1943 cycle of activations obviously created issues with getting the best cadre, fillers, and replacements, from CGs on down, for the divisions raised in 1940-43, didn't it?

Going to Stanton, his handy chart on the inside covers give credit for most of the cadres of the 1943 activations as follows;
Aaargh! After 20 odd years I'd forgotten completely about that chart and ignored it. Thanks for reminding me. The problem is it doesn't really jibe with the role of the 76th and 78th Inf Div as training divisions feeding cadre and replacements to divisions for seven months, which was their clearly defined role. In fact, I may have missed it, but the 78th Inf Div doesn't seem to exist in that chart?
some of those I couldn't find from there are linked:
There are also some peculiarities in the chart that I had also forgotten about.
10th Mountain: cadre from 86th Infantry and 89th Infantry divisions, and 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment
That is incorrect, neither the 86th nor 89th Inf Div provided cadre to the 10th Mountain. The cadre was the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, then the 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment, and finally the 85th and 90th Mountain Infantry Regiment, formed from all but 100 of the 7,519 officers and men recruited into the National Ski Patrol.

I suspect Stanton confused the 89th Division's original intended role to control mountain training Camp Hale, as a direct link to the 10th Mountain, but that in fact never occurred. Instead, the Mountain Training Center was created at Camp Hale for that function, 24 July 1942, drawing on existing NSP personnel for HQ and training staff. The idea the 86th Inf Div also had a role as cadre for the 10th Mountain is even more peculiar, since I cannot find a direct link there? Stanton may simply have conflated the 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment with the 86th Infantry Division.
11th Airborne: mixed, from airborne command and 88th ID
Interesting, the 11th A/B may have been unique in that the 187th and 188th GIR drew cadre officers from the 76th Inf Div and cadre NCO from the 88th Inf Div, as well as from the 88th Glider Infantry Regiment, which in turn derived from the 88th Airborne Infantry Battalion.
13th Airborne: mixed, airborne command
Yep. Glider Infantry cadred by the 88th Glider Infantry Regiment.
17th Airborne: 101st Airborne Division
The connection with the 101st A/B seems tenuous? It actually was built around the 326th GIR, 82d A/B Div and the 88th GIR.

This is where it gets peculiar and contradicts the narrative of the 76th and 78th Inf Div providing cadre for the late infantry divisions.
42nd Infantry: cadre from 102nd ID
This is one of the more peculiar ones. The bulk of the personnel, officers and men, of the cadre for the 42d, were not in fact from the 102d Inf Div, although they had served with it. They were actually RA Coast Artillery personnel, drawn from the garrisons of Newfoundland and Hawaii that had been sent to the 102d Inf Div as fillers for retraining and then were sent on to the 42d, joined by an undefined number - "some" - of perssonel from the 102d.
Yep.
65th Infantry: unk (spine broken on my copy)
Which is sad, since the 65th is one of the least well documented divisions of the war.
66th Infantry: 89th ID
Yep. However, I would argue the reorganization as a Light Division in August 1943 was more detrimental to the 89th Inf Div than was supplying the cadre for the 66th Inf Div in January 1943.
Yep.
71st Infantry: 86th ID and the (previously) separate 5th and 14th infantry regiments;
Again that seems to be a confusion by Stanton. Yes, the 5th and 14th were utilized as the basis of the division. The 66th Infantry was the 1st Bn, 14th Inf and the 2d Bn, 5th Inf, with a cadre drawn from the 34th Inf for the 3d Bn, along with other personnel drawn from the 89th Inf Div.Note the close association of the 10th Mountain, 71st Light, and 89th Light.
75th Infantry: unk (spine broken on my copy)
Yet another poorly documented antecedent.
97th Infantry: 95th ID
Yes, but oddly enough said to consist of only 600 officers and enlisted, which was much smaller than usual, so another question now hard to answer.
106th Infantry: 80th ID
Yep.
16th Armored: Armored Command
AFAIK, the 16th was cadred by the 8th. I'm not sure why Stanton would indicate the "Armored Command" as the cadre source, since that was simply the HQ operation at Knox that succeeded the Armored Force.
20th Armored: 8th AD
Yep, and the 8th AD also cadred the 10th AD (although 29 officers from the 2d AD went with General Newgarden to form the new division. The 11th AD was also cadred by the 8th AD, although some enlisted were drawn from the 3d and 7th AD. The 12th AD, 14th AD, and 20th AD were also cadred by the 8th.
2nd Cavalry (2.0) - 4th Cavalry Brigade, mixed
Well, version 1.0 became the 9th AD. In version 2.0, the cadre of the 27th and 28th Cav were from the existing 9th and 10th Cav.
The same chart shows the 76th Infantry Division as providing cadre for the 100th Infantry Division and no others, by the way, so its unclear how that would "cause any significant issues."
Which is peculiar, since it seems to contradict the entire purpose of the 76th and 78th Inf Div acting as "Training Divisions", which they indisputably did.

And...never mind, after some more digging I found the answer. Unlike the role of the 8th AD as a Training Division for cadre supporting the fielding of the other divisions, AGF selected the 76th and 78th as Training Divisions generating replacements only. You learn something every day. In its training seven months (August 1942-March 1943), the 78th Division processed 52,000 replacements and funneled them to the theaters of war (mostly the SWPA and NATOUSA). The division then completed its training as a combat division in March 1944...and promptly has all its Basic Privates and Privates First Class stripped away as replacements for the ETOUSA...which is when the ex-ASTP and ex-USAAC personnel got dumped into it.

Similar happened to the 76th Division; it began training replacements for NATOUSA in October 1942 and continued through March 1943. It began training as a combat division in April 1943, but then was sent from Virginia to Wisconsin in September to do "winter training" through March 194, where they mostly tested specialized winter gear in between actual divisional training.They were then scheduled to Louisiana for maneuvers in April, except, you guessed it, instead they got stripped of 7,000 men, again mostly Basic and 1st Class Privates, but also apparently some NCO and officers as well. Its replacements came from ASTP, the AAC, and the AAA.

All of this points to the real problem, which was personnel management and sometimes ridiculous policies. In addition to the requirement that units POM at full T/O&E strength, which was unrealistic and meant units not yet leaving had to release personnel to fill up units, in April 1942 it was directed that soldiers shipping overseas had to be 18 1/2 to deploy...you can imagine the disruption that caused. Add in the racial policies, bad ideas like the ASTP, over-expansion of the AAC, and Brehon Somervell's empire building at ASF and its near miraculous any divisions got into combat, anywhere near to strength.
Anyway, beyond all that, here's the easy question in that - absent the 1943 activations - there are the following men available (this is an example, we're not talking about just divisional commanders, but it makes it easy to consider the resources made available:
Okay, I get what you're saying now, but I'm not sure how having fewer divisions solves the problem of competent divisional leadership? Nor do I see that the lack of competent divisional leadership was a problem in the U.S. Army. Some division commanders were problematic...the poster child is probably Jay MacKelvie (among other things I've found in my researching for Spearheading the Breakthrough is the rather astonishing possibility he may have somehow falsified his World War I record...there is simply zero evidence he ever served in combat during the war). However, others like Orlando Ward may have been relieved for little cause. The 90th Infantry Division experience also tends to show the important thing was to get a good general in place for long enough to institutionalize excellence, because after that divisions tended to survive mediocrity and their were relatively few really outstanding generals around. S the 90th went from bad, MacKelvie, to possibly worse, Landrum, but then got McLain and Van Fleet...and the division then survived Rooks and Earnest, neither of whom were military geniuses.
16th Armored Division - Douglass T. Greene; better or worse than Lindsey Silvester, for example?
20th Armored Division - Stephen Henry and Roderick Allen; same question.
Why does it matter? Douglass T. Greene wasn't going to lead a division in combat because of ill health. Lindsay (not Lindsey) Silvester trained the 7th AD, but was found inadequate in combat, but was very competently replaced by Bob Hasbrouck (when we interviewed Bruce Clarke, about every other word from him was praise of Bob Hasbrouck). Henry wasn't going to lead the 20th Armd Div in any case, he was too old.
2nd Cavalry (2.0) - Harry Johnson; better or worse then Edward Almond, do you think?
Don't know Johnson very well, but Almond was odious.
So, there are 20 divisional commanding generals, senior enough to get the billet in 1943; obviously, had their respective divisions not been raised on 1943, they would have been available to replace any of their peers who had divisional commands in 1943-44... some of whose careers were "checkered" to be polite.
Okay, but I don't think that having a dozen fewer divisions would correct the problem of poor command in combat...experience in combat was the cure for that.
The same holds true down the line of the 1943 divisions; from the ADCs to the riflemen.
The ADCs and riflemen of 1943 divisions were "checkered"? Seems a bit of a blanket assessment.

Anyway, I still don't see how this solves a problem I wasn't aware the Army had? I thought the problem was not enough divisions rather than too many divisions?

However, thanks for stimulating the ideas, it drove me to do some digging into reality, which is always the best results of these discussions.
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Mar 2021 04:04

McDonald wrote:
21 Mar 2021 17:40
I am in agreement with you, I think, concerning the 10th Mountain, and the 71st and 89th Light Divisions. They were in generally speaking terms a waste of effort, that if not undertaken could have produced three divisions for combat operations earlier than they were available.
The 71st Inf Div was activated 15 July 1943. It was theoretically ready to deploy 15 November 1944, but staged 14 January 1945, because it was required by POM to complete a final series of divisional maneuvers. The main delay was the 3,200 Basics and PFCs pulled from the division at the end of the Hunter Liggett maneuvers...and the need to replace them and add 1,300 more men to each Infantry Regiment. That began in May 1944 and wasn't completed until mid-October. The personnel turbulence was calculated to have cost two months delay, but POM regulations added two months as well.

The 89th Inf Div was activated 15 July 1942 and deployed at nearly the same time as the 71st. It too got stripped of personnel at the end of its Light division experiment, but also was one of those hit by the ASTP stripping four months gone to that, but more than either the 71st and 10th Mountain got hit by disruptions caused by personnel movements - eight months lost.

Sure, theoretically the 10th Mountain personnel could have been used earlier, but in the scheme of things 8,000-odd mountaineers testing new doctrine is a small sacrifice I think?
I see nothing here that could not have been accomplished by standard Infantry divisions. If it was felt necessary to give a unit specialized training for a particular theater or operation, that training could have been conducted without resort to specialized tables of organization and a reduced level of manning. The 10th Mountain Division is a very good example. Nothing they did in Italy could not have been done, probably better, with a standard division given a few weeks of mountain climbing training, along with the attachment of several mule pack companies. That's is what more than a few WWII 10th Mountain vets told me/us anyway, when we were designing/organizing the 10th as a light division in 1983-85.
Agreed. The main problem was simple lack of experience in anything approaching modern warfare...plus the leadership working at cross-purposes. McNair disliked specialized units, but still allowed the experimentation.
Wickham, the Chief of Staff at the time, wanted light divisions. Moreover he saw them as a means to add two more active, and one more Guard division out of the Army's hide. in other words he wanted to organize them without raising the Army's strength cap in force at that time. Many of us involved looked at the three light divisions of WWII, and decided for ourselves (not publicly) that we were going down the same organizational path to nowhere . The purpose of increased strategic mobility worldwide was foremost in the minds of Army leadership, and they reasoned that better selection of personnel and increasing the training level of the individual soldier could make up for the austerity in combat power. In a word it could not. You can't win if your driving principle is organizing on the cheap.
Yep, the Army has always had a genius for creating rabbit-holes that it can dive into...Force XXI anyone?
Again a small point. The 474th Infantry was raised in France in early 1945 and the first and second battalions were provided personnel from American soldiers of the 1st Special Service Force, and the remnants of three disbanded Ranger Battalions. The third battalion of the regiment, organic, not attached, was the 99th Infantry Battalion. In one of only two known cases the former separate battalion was allowed to keep its original number, thus its designation after 6 January 1945 was 99th Infantry Battalion, 474th Infantry. The other such case was the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry.
The 100th also retained its designation while it acted as the 2d Bn, 133d Infantry after the regiment was rebuilt following its Tunisian disaster.
While some of you folks use Stanton, he does have a few errors scattered throughout his work of a relatively minor nature. I am using the 1953 Edition of the "Army Lineage Book Volume II Infantry" I find it is much more complete than later similar attempts, at least when it comes to giving me a complete picture of the WWII U S Army Infantry organizations under one handy cover.Just thought I would pass that along to those interested, and if any are not aware of it you may be able to find it with a great deal of searching I suspect.
Yep. Clay is also critical for understanding the transformation from the interwar Army to the wartime Army. Wilson as always too. The lineage series also have a few errors in them...nothing is perfect.
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Mar 2021 04:16

McDonald wrote:
21 Mar 2021 19:14
There was a fellow named Dole who was some sort of high functionary in the National Ski Patrol. He sold, Roosevelt, I think, on the idea that the US needed ski troops to perform the same functions as well developed mountain troops were an integral part of many European armies including the German, Italian, Austrian, Swiss, French and others. Of course we did not have the Alps to defend and operate routinely on in the United States, and any adversary at the time, and still would be hard pressed to reach the Rockies, at least I hope so, living in the high desert foothills of those mountains as I do.
Assistant Secretary of Way Louis Johnson started the ball rolling on that, Dole just continued to add pressure. The coincidence that one of the most famous members of the 10th Mountain was also a Dole is curious.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Mar 2021 06:46

McDonald wrote:
21 Mar 2021 21:33
For me personally I would support two "light oriented" regimental combat teams created out of the jungle trained 5th and 14th Infantry Regiments. I think very good use could have been made of them in several places, including Burma. I am perfectly OK with units smaller than divisions being organized under, specific for purpose, modifications of a standard Table of Organization and Equipment. We got a heck of a lot of mileage out of such units as RCT's, and later theater defense brigades in the late forties until the mid 1990's.

I think I read somewhere that the 71st was intended for the Philippines, but do not quote me on that. In that same light, I don't think the U S Army, as an institution, wanted anything to do with the CBI, The 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) and the 1st Air Commando, were meant reluctantly as something to fulfill Roosevelt's promises at Quebec, to keep Wingate's mouth shut, and prevent Stillwell from whining, at least out loud.
10th and 14th air forces were Army as well, so I think that's an overstatement. Marshall respected Stilwelll and asked him to take the CBI command when Drum said no; previously to that, Marshall had Stilwell slotted for the Atlantic/North Africa/STO in one or more of the TORCH precursors (GRAY and/or a GYMNAST variant), which suggests high regard. From what I've read, Marshall supported Stilwell in the CBI as much as possible.

My point on the 71st is that if you look at the TO&E for the division in its "jungle" form (three regiments, div arty, engineers, etc) and you look at what MARS was set up with (three regiments, including two US and one ROC, div arty, engineers, etc) they look pretty similar in design, if not practice. MARS also could, I think, draw on some of the Chinese-American tank group's assets, of course,..

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 22 Mar 2021 07:21

Mr. Shoup & Mr. Guttridge:

I am not in the business of trying to change anyone';s mind. Typically I write what I think, know, or believe to be true, and I am usually quite considerate of people who do not share my views. This seems to be the case here.

As far as the Army was concerned the CBI was a backwater. That is especially true with operations in Burma. I used the word "reluctant" and stand by that view.

I will add that I am also not in favor of specialized anything, and that is particularly true when it comes to Infantry divisions. My feeling is that any Infantry division, given some little bit of time, training focused on the problem/environment/situation at hand, can do anything in the playbook. They do not, I emphasize do not, need any specialized internal organization. They may have to temporarily lighten up, or heavy up, as dictated by the situation. They may have to accept attachments, or leave some of their organic parts behind. They may have to internally task organize. The fact remains though that an Infantry division is nothing more than a warehouse of capabilities, designed for general combat, but capable of undertaking specialized roles given a bit of time to train for those roles.

As I alluded to above, I have a great deal of experience with light divisions, and in a word they suck. Too Light to fight, and too big to do, what smaller units could do better. That's why the went nearly as fast as they came. In the twentieth century we tried several times, and each time the proponents of light, sold the Army a bill of goods. The reasons were many, the agendas were sometimes in the open, and at other times hidden, but the fact remains that each and every time it was tried, they failed for one reason or another, but mostly because they lacked combat power, sustainability or more often both. Look at how the airborne divisions transitioned after WWII. Look at the redesignation and subsequent reorganization of the 10th as the 10th Infantry Division. Look at how the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) stated out quite light in 1965, and got heavier with each passing month thereafter.

Mr. Guttridge:

You seem to be a bit confused about my "mountains in Europe" comment. Every Army at all times has limitations placed on its resources. We, speaking of today now, cannot afford to dedicate any organization to a specific area of the world, and in my personal view, although our resources were greater in WWII could not afford to do it then either

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