200 U. S. trained divisions?

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daveshoup2MD
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Mar 2021 07:31

McDonald wrote:
21 Mar 2021 17:40
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.
Re-reading this point, isn't that pretty much how and why the 5th Infantry and 24th Infantry divisions were re-organized as mechanized divisions in the mid-1970s under (I believe) Creighton Abrams?

Except back then the work-around was assigning a round-out brigade from the NG, at least on paper, as I recall; didn't really work when push came to shove for the first Iraq war, but helped get the NG tuned up, so not wasted effort.

I always had the impression the "light" divisions in the mid-80s would have functioned effectively on a LIC deployment, and as the basis to be augmented up to a reinforced infantry division if necessary for something more ,,. I think the expectation that in a "major" conflict (however that is defined), the infantry divisions were likely to line up as follows:

2nd - stays in ROK,
6th - stays in Alaska, unless replaced by mobilization assets
7th - Strategic reserve, but orientation towards SouthCom;
9th - Strategic reserve, but orientation toward NATO/EUCOM flanks and/or CENTCOM, depending on need;
10th - Strategic reserve, but orientation toward NATO/EUCOM flanks and/or CENTCOM, depending on need;
25th - PACOM or deployment to the ROK, depending on need.

The 10 heavy divisions and the ACRs would be split between NATO and CENTCOM, as appropriate, with the 1st and 3rd ADs and 3rd and 8th ID (M)s in CENTAG, the 24th having a CENTCOM orientation, and the 1st CD, 2nd AD, and 1st, 4th, and 5th ID (M)s as NATO-oriented but available to CENTCOM if needed, and the 82nd and 101st CENTCOM-oriented but available for EUCOM.

That's what I recall, anyway.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Mar 2021 07:34

McDonald wrote:
22 Mar 2021 07:21
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.
Quite fair.

daveshoup2MD
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Mar 2021 07:40

Richard Anderson wrote:
22 Mar 2021 03:03
However, thanks for stimulating the ideas, it drove me to do some digging into reality, which is always the best results of these discussions.
You're welcome.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 Mar 2021 12:14

Hi McDonald,

You post, "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."

Isn't that what Marine, Airborne and Mountain divisions essentially were? All could be, and were, used in conventional infantry roles once out of their specialist environment. Marine divisions exploited inland, airborne divisions could remain on the front for extended periods after being relieved and in the Ardennes were deployed purely as infantry. 10th Mountain Division had no particular problem in the valley of the Po.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Mar 2021 17:08

McDonald wrote:
22 Mar 2021 07:21
I will add that I am also not in favor of specialized anything, and that is particularly true when it comes to Infantry divisions.
While I mostly agree with you, like all things the idea of non-specialists doing anything can be taken to its logical extreme. My favorite example of this you reminded me of is from 1949, when my Dad was required by the Army to attend a course on the proper techniques of glider loading. At the time he was a Battery Officer in a 120mm AAA Gun Battalion in the Army of Occupation, just having moved my family from Yokohama to Misawa. :lol:
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
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McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 22 Mar 2021 18:49

Mr. Guttridge:

I think the question you should be asking yourself is how much more capable those airborne divisions and the 10th Mountain Division operating in the PO Valley would have been had they been structured and contained the firepower of a conventional Infantry Division. The problem I see here is that when you have specialized units at the division level, they are structured for only one type of mission, in this instance airborne or mountain operations. When no airborne or mountain operations are in the offing, then the natural tendency for commanders is to employ them in a conventional manner, thus wasting that specialized training and know how, and to compound the error, sending them into a combat environment for which they are not fully equipped. No one, least of all me, should have a bad word to say about the individual performance of any of these divisions in combat. Their records speak for themselves, but the fact is we lost a heck of a lot of high priced, quality, manpower by mis-employing these divisions.

Could not we have found a better way to employ airborne and mountain forces, but at an echelon below that of division? I happen to think we could, but if everyone is thinking alike then there are a heck of a lot of people not thinking.

Mr: Anderson:

I would pay good money to see someone try to stuff a 120mm AAA gun inside a glider. That would be a hoot. "The sun and the moon change, the Army knows no seasons" One of my favorite fiction authors was a bit more specific - "When you come to understand that the Third Infantry is really the first Infantry, then you know all that needs knowing about the Army"

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 Mar 2021 19:56

Hi McDomald,

Doesn't ".....sending them into a combat environment for which they are not fully equipped" cut both ways?

Surely the size of formation adopted is dependent on the intended scale of operation envisaged? Ignoring the merits or demerits of Market Garden, organization at brigade level would have made the operation unmountable. Individual brigades probably couldn't have secured the bridges and if more than one were needed per bridge, some supervening authority equivalent to a division would have been needed to command them anyway. (In this particular case a corps headquarters was even used, though not apparently to much coordinating effect.)

Cheers,

Sid.

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 22 Mar 2021 20:39

Mr. Guttridge:

I think one could say nearly everything in life cuts, at least, two ways. The military and military operations are no different.

The authorized strength of an airborne regiment in WWII was around 1700 personnel. Now re-access your Market Garden, or Normandy, or Sicily, or even the jump across the Rhine, in light of an airborne regiment being 3200 personnel. Sicily is probably the best example. What the 505th did with their much scattered 1700, which was in itself remarkable, could have been done much, much, better had the 505th been at the higher strength authorization. There probably would not have been the need to drop the 504th in that same general area on the next night I'd wager. Much the same could be said using larger airborne regiments at Normandy. You would only really need three, and as to a higher headquarters being needed to coordinate the operations, I would dispute that also, in that the headquarters of both the 82nd and 101st did not get a handle on anything until after the link up with over the beach forces had been accomplished.

Also keep in mind that the entire issue of airborne divisions was called into question after Sicily. I think Joe Swing stacked the deck then, and I also believe that stacking caused us to lose a lot of very good men.

I am not really all that interested in doing things. I would rather spend my time looking at what was done and trying to conceive of how those things could have been done better, and that better generally revolves around doing what is required with a minimum of casualties, and a maximum infliction of pain (on the other side).

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Mar 2021 23:08

McDonald wrote:
22 Mar 2021 18:49
Mr: Anderson:

I would pay good money to see someone try to stuff a 120mm AAA gun inside a glider. That would be a hoot. "The sun and the moon change, the Army knows no seasons" One of my favorite fiction authors was a bit more specific - "When you come to understand that the Third Infantry is really the first Infantry, then you know all that needs knowing about the Army"
Of course what makes it even more of a hoot is that within a few months the Army eschewed gliders forever.

Oh, if you think the 1st 3d is odd, try tracking the 10th Tank Company. 😁

edited to correct autocorrect
Last edited by Richard Anderson on 23 Mar 2021 02:55, edited 1 time in total.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

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Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 22 Mar 2021 23:20

I don't think the 3rd being the first is odd at all, after all it's the United States Army. I do understand how it came about. Now here is one for you. Tell me how the present 7th Infantry Regiment legitimately obtained the honorific "Cottonbalers"? There was a 7th Infantry at New Orleans, but it was not that 7th Infantry, and I cannot see any connection with any other Regular Regiment that was at New Orleans, by which the current 7th Infantry could have gotten the title by means of consolidation. Maybe I have missed something, but I have been trying to connect that particular set of dots off and on for years and I am no further than when I first started.

The 10th Tank Company is new to me. Had not heard that one, but I am always in the mood for a chuckle.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 Mar 2021 03:40

McDonald wrote:
22 Mar 2021 23:20
I don't think the 3rd being the first is odd at all, after all it's the United States Army. I do understand how it came about. Now here is one for you. Tell me how the present 7th Infantry Regiment legitimately obtained the honorific "Cottonbalers"? There was a 7th Infantry at New Orleans, but it was not that 7th Infantry, and I cannot see any connection with any other Regular Regiment that was at New Orleans, by which the current 7th Infantry could have gotten the title by means of consolidation. Maybe I have missed something, but I have been trying to connect that particular set of dots off and on for years and I am no further than when I first started.
To call Army lineage complicated is to do it an injustice...it's too much of a mess to describe it just as "complicated".

As I understand it, the 7th Infantry was consolidated with the 2d, 3d, and 44th Infantry after the war of 1812 to form a new 1st Infantry and a new 7th Infantry was formed by the consolidation of the 8th, 19th, 36th, and 38th Infantry.

Of course that still doesn't explain why the 8th got to keep the Cottonbalers title, logically it should have gone to the 1st.
The 10th Tank Company is new to me. Had not heard that one, but I am always in the mood for a chuckle.
It is one of those "now you seem them, now you don't" units. It was originally constituted in June 1921 for the 10th Division (Panama Canal Zone) as the 10th Tank Company (Light), but when plans to activate that division died, the company was not organized and then inactivated 30 September 1922...only to be activated again in August 1940 for the Louisiana Maneuvers where it was organized and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. The Tankers then apparently laid low for a while, but on 16 June 1942 it was reorganized again and assigned as the tank company of the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron of the 1st Cav Div...until 4 December 1942, when it was detached from the Squadron and redesignated the 603d Separate Tank Company (Light). Then on 9 March 1943 it was reorganized and redesignated again as the 603d Separate Tank Company (Medium). As such it existed until 1948.

End of story, right? It should be so easy. :thumbsup:

It turns out that there was another 10th Tank Company, which for a time existed simultaneously with the original. That was Company C, 70th Tank Battalion (Light), which was detached from the battalion on 15 February 1942, redesignated as the 10th Light Tank Company (notice the subtle difference in nomenclature?) and sent to Iceland, while a new Company C was organized on 19 May 1942. Even better, eventually the 10th Light Tank Company went to England, where it rejoined the 70th Tank Battalion, newly arrived from the Med, and on 1 December was reorganized and redesignated as Company D, 70th Tank Battalion, under the new "composite" tank battalion organization. Oh, except for a cadre from the 10th Light Tank Company who went to form Company D, 743d Tank Battalion, which was also in England at the time.

I sometimes wonder if anyone was transferred into the 10th Tank Company and ended being sent to the South Pacific when told they were going to Iceland or England and vice versa?
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 23 Mar 2021 05:05

I agree that if anyone should wear Cottonbalers it should be the 1st Infantry. Both the 7th and 44th Infantry were at New Orleans, which when consolidated became the 1st Infantry. None of the regiments that were consolidated to form the present 7th were at New Orleans or anywhere near it as far as I can learn.

Been a rough day here in Colorado, and it is a little hard tonight to focus attention on what by comparison is trivial.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 26 Mar 2021 01:47

These two questions are not related to the topic at hand but I hope someone will know the answer. There did not seem to be anywhere on the forum these questions would fit better.

What color were the guidons of the 82nd and 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalions? Were they the same as those for the Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons?

Were the guidons of the Armored Infantry Battalions differentiated from Infantry regiment guidons in any way. An example if they were not the guidon for a company of the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion would be identical to ones for the 27th Infantry Regiment.

I know several people well schooled in such things and heraldry in general, and none of them knew.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 26 Mar 2021 02:23

McDonald wrote:
26 Mar 2021 01:47
These two questions are not related to the topic at hand but I hope someone will know the answer. There did not seem to be anywhere on the forum these questions would fit better.

What color were the guidons of the 82nd and 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalions? Were they the same as those for the Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons?

Were the guidons of the Armored Infantry Battalions differentiated from Infantry regiment guidons in any way. An example if they were not the guidon for a company of the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion would be identical to ones for the 27th Infantry Regiment.

I know several people well schooled in such things and heraldry in general, and none of them knew.
Wow, tough one. The 82d (as the 2d) was cadred from the 1st (81st) Reconnaissance (from the "Cavalry" 1st Armd Div, even though the 2d was the "Infantry" Armd Div)and the 2d, 3d, 11th, and 14th Cavalry, and featured crossed sabers on the cover of their Battalion History, so they certainly thought of themselves as Cavalry...all the Battalions/Squadrons may have retained the same guidons throughout.

The transition from the AIR to the AIB was more complex and basically all battalions were renumbered, so I would guess the guidons would have had to be refashioned as well?
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 26 Mar 2021 03:59

Yes, I know of the renumbering, but what I am getting at is what would differentiate the guidons of two Infantry organizations with the same numerical designation. For instance the example of the 27th AIB and 27th IR.

It seems to me the guidon for say Company C of both organizations would be a 27 over crossed muskets with a C beneath the crossed muskets, unless some design change in the AIB guidons that I am not aware of..

The reason I want to find out the correct answer has to do with a couple of ideas I have with regard to my modeling activities.

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