200 U. S. trained divisions?

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daveshoup2MD
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 10 Mar 2021 09:43

Sid Guttridge wrote:
20 Jan 2021 17:52
Hi Counter,

I think the optimism of the Allies at the US joining the war was entirely justified, but less for the massive size or quality of the US Army than for other strategic factors.

Without the US in the war, Britain and the USSR were essentially on the defensive and could expect to remain so for the foreseeable future, if they survived at all.

With the resources of the US joining them in the war, they could look forward to going over to the offensive with some prospect of success.

The US Army wasn't outstandingly large or good, but it was quite a fast learner and it certainly became both large enough and good enough to complete the job the other Allies couldn't do on their own.

So, Go Yanks!

Cheers,

Sid
The US Army ground forces available for expeditionary warfare in the ETO/MTO or Pacific in 1942-45 were greater and more capable than those of the rest of the Allies combined, of course, so it's unclear to me what your statement "US Army wasn't outstandingly large or good" is based upon. Compared to what, exactly?

The same statement holds true for the Axis, as well, of course. By 1943, the US had an army group equivalent and multiple air forces deployed outside of North America; the Germans managed to put about a dozen men ashore in the U.S. and Canada during the course of the war, while the Japanese managed one aircraft sortie over the lower 48.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 10 Mar 2021 09:52

Counter wrote:
22 Jan 2021 19:45
Carl Schwammberger wrote:I suspect you meant at the start of 1943?
I meant divisions which actually fought against the germans (only nine), not the Pacific and not those were trained, and equipped but not fought yet either. As a matter of fact, at the end of 1943, 1 infantry division and 2 armored were not in contact with the enemy anymore, they were preparing for D-Day. Germans had at that time more than 200 divisions, some of them fighting, some others expecting (but experienced) plus others in training.

As Carl wisely wrote, is not that easy to train officers, technicians and High Staff personnel. So what I mean -I give to the US forces all the merit they deserved- is that, for the decider people living at that time, the estimate of the US troops value was exaggerated... and that was helpful, anyway.

Reading about planning "Sledgehammer" operation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Sledgehammer, I was schocked how general Marshall thought that madness could have worked (landing in France at the end of 1942, instead of doing "Torch"). That would have been a super-Dieppe disaster... 8O
How is a US division deployed into the European or Mediterranean theaters, or any of the four Pacific theaters where US divisions fought in 1941-43, not "counting." if the every German division in the ETO (of which only "some" are fighting, in your own words) "count"?

Really curious on your thinking, because it's not how any professional would consider the correlation of forces.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 10 Mar 2021 09:58

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 Jan 2021 15:24
Hi Guys,

With the British and Dominion forces you probably have to differentiate between defensive and expeditionary divisions. They usually had as many or more divisions that never left their shores or reached a battlefront as actually did so.

If one is going to count, say, the German 700-series security divisions and Ersatzheer reserve divisions in the German order of battle, or the coastal divisions in the Italian order of battle, then many, most or all the the various Commonwealth divisions should probably be counted. It was not their fault nobody invaded them to draw them into battle, as happened to all the German and Italian divisions above.

Cheers,

Sid
Excellent point. By that measure, the US state defense and territorial forces, the British Home Guard, and the equivalents in the dominions should "count" as well.

Considering the Western Allies had multiple army group and air forces in action against the Axis in Axis "home" territory in (arguably) 1943-45, and the Axis had - nothing - equivalent, seems rather clear which alliance managed to mobilize and deploy more effectively.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Mar 2021 13:41

Hi daveshoup2MD,

You ask, "The US Army ground forces available for expeditionary warfare in the ETO/MTO or Pacific in 1942-45 were greater and more capable than those of the rest of the Allies combined, of course, so it's unclear to me what your statement "US Army wasn't outstandingly large or good" is based upon. Compared to what, exactly?"

1) The Germans and Russians were deploying several hundred divisions each. So the US Army with about 100 divisions available wasn't outstandingly large by comparison. Like the British, its global commitments led to a very large "tail" per division fielded.

2) As regards its relative quality, I would refer you to Dupuy's Numbers, Predictions and War and his other writings. He rates them as roughly on a par with the British but measurably inferior to the Germans.

The key point is that the US Army should be large enough and good enough quickly enough, which it was.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 11 Mar 2021 23:45

Sid Guttridge wrote:
10 Mar 2021 13:41
1) The Germans and Russians were deploying several hundred divisions each. So the US Army with about 100 divisions available wasn't outstandingly large by comparison. Like the British, its global commitments led to a very large "tail" per division fielded.
Counting division numbers is misleading, & so are statements like large tail.

US infantry and armored divisions were usually close to full TO/TE strength. This in contrast toGerman ground combat divisions that averaged between 50% & 70% strength, depending on how one counts, or 25% to 40% for Red Army average infantry divisions. On paper a Soviet or US infantry division were no dissimilar in size. The reality was ten US infantry divisions added up to 140,000+ men while ten Red Army divisions might of a really good day total eighty or ninety thousand men.

The comparison in the weapons of infantry divisions shows a similar problem, that is the US or British division was usually near full strength in MG, mortars, or cannons. The Soviet, German or Italian divisions, had larger shortages.

A common error I see is counting every man not in a US or British 'division' as tail. This means units like independent tank battalions, Tank Destroyer battalions, Separate Regiments, independent engineer units, like the assault brigades on OMAHA Beach, Corps and army Artillery Groups & even the armored Cavalry Groups counted as tail. The Germans for their own reasons went short on combat support. The Red Army like the Brits or US put a huge amount of fire power or combat power outside the infantry division in the form of combat support units. When you add up units like the tank battalions or TD battalions attached the US infantry division in the ETO 1944-45 had more tanks & more other AFV than the typical German Panzer division. Add in the the fire power of the US, British, corps artillery groups, or the Red Army artillery groups. The 300+ German divisions are not what their raw numbers suggest.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 12 Mar 2021 05:55

Sid Guttridge wrote:
10 Mar 2021 13:41
Hi daveshoup2MD,

You ask, "The US Army ground forces available for expeditionary warfare in the ETO/MTO or Pacific in 1942-45 were greater and more capable than those of the rest of the Allies combined, of course, so it's unclear to me what your statement "US Army wasn't outstandingly large or good" is based upon. Compared to what, exactly?"

1) The Germans and Russians were deploying several hundred divisions each. So the US Army with about 100 divisions available wasn't outstandingly large by comparison. Like the British, its global commitments led to a very large "tail" per division fielded.

2) As regards its relative quality, I would refer you to Dupuy's Numbers, Predictions and War and his other writings. He rates them as roughly on a par with the British but measurably inferior to the Germans.

The key point is that the US Army should be large enough and good enough quickly enough, which it was.

Cheers,

Sid.
1) 100+ ground force division equivalents and multiple combat air forces that could fight and win expeditionary warfare at transoceanic distances - and in one case, against an enemy that had the third largest fleet in existence at the time - seems rather more significant than the mass of the leg infantry with a lot of horse-drawn artillery and railroad-dependent logistics the Germans put into the field in Europe. When it comes to correlating forces, I'll bet on the alliance with the ability to put army groups and air forces into action in their enemy's backyard over the ability to - sort of - try and defend that same backyard any day.

2) Dupuy's analytical methodologies are, to be charitable, questionable. In terms of being a witness, given that his combat arms experience was as a field artillery officer, and his actual operational service was in the CBI, his expertise in terms of the Allied or Axis operations in the MTO and ETO also seems slender, to be kind. DePuy, (capital "P") of course, could bring personal experience in the ETO to the table; Depuy (lower case "p") could not. I remember reading one of Alan Cate's reviews in Parameters in the 1990s and he summed up the approach as "some arcane calculations by Depuy," that Cate lumped in with S. L. A. Marshall's "ratio of fire" and footnoting of each other's writing; that has stuck in my memory.

Overall, given the end results of the "German way of war" in 1914-18 and 1939-45, one has to wonder about the lessons being learned.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 12 Mar 2021 05:57

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
11 Mar 2021 23:45
Sid Guttridge wrote:
10 Mar 2021 13:41
1) The Germans and Russians were deploying several hundred divisions each. So the US Army with about 100 divisions available wasn't outstandingly large by comparison. Like the British, its global commitments led to a very large "tail" per division fielded.
Counting division numbers is misleading, & so are statements like large tail.

US infantry and armored divisions were usually close to full TO/TE strength. This in contrast toGerman ground combat divisions that averaged between 50% & 70% strength, depending on how one counts, or 25% to 40% for Red Army average infantry divisions. On paper a Soviet or US infantry division were no dissimilar in size. The reality was ten US infantry divisions added up to 140,000+ men while ten Red Army divisions might of a really good day total eighty or ninety thousand men.

The comparison in the weapons of infantry divisions shows a similar problem, that is the US or British division was usually near full strength in MG, mortars, or cannons. The Soviet, German or Italian divisions, had larger shortages.

A common error I see is counting every man not in a US or British 'division' as tail. This means units like independent tank battalions, Tank Destroyer battalions, Separate Regiments, independent engineer units, like the assault brigades on OMAHA Beach, Corps and army Artillery Groups & even the armored Cavalry Groups counted as tail. The Germans for their own reasons went short on combat support. The Red Army like the Brits or US put a huge amount of fire power or combat power outside the infantry division in the form of combat support units. When you add up units like the tank battalions or TD battalions attached the US infantry division in the ETO 1944-45 had more tanks & more other AFV than the typical German Panzer division. Add in the the fire power of the US, British, corps artillery groups, or the Red Army artillery groups. The 300+ German divisions are not what their raw numbers suggest.
Agree.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 Mar 2021 08:12

Hi Carl,

You post, "Counting division numbers is misleading, & so are statements like large tail." Not necessarily.

You post, "US infantry and armored divisions were usually close to full TO/TE strength. This in contrast toGerman ground combat divisions that averaged between 50% & 70% strength, depending on how one counts, or 25% to 40% for Red Army average infantry divisions. On paper a Soviet or US infantry division were no dissimilar in size. The reality was ten US infantry divisions added up to 140,000+ men while ten Red Army divisions might of a really good day total eighty or ninety thousand men."

The comparison in the weapons of infantry divisions shows a similar problem, that is the US or British division was usually near full strength in MG, mortars, or cannons. The Soviet, German or Italian divisions, had larger shortages.

A common error I see is counting every man not in a US or British 'division' as tail. This means units like independent tank battalions, Tank Destroyer battalions, Separate Regiments, independent engineer units, like the assault brigades on OMAHA Beach, Corps and army Artillery Groups & even the armored Cavalry Groups counted as tail. The Germans for their own reasons went short on combat support. The Red Army like the Brits or US put a huge amount of fire power or combat power outside the infantry division in the form of combat support units. When you add up units like the tank battalions or TD battalions attached the US infantry division in the ETO 1944-45 had more tanks & more other AFV than the typical German Panzer division. Add in the the fire power of the US, British, corps artillery groups, or the Red Army artillery groups. The 300+ German divisions are not what their raw numbers suggest.
"

All true, but it doesn't fundamentally contradict, ".....the US Army with about 100 divisions available wasn't outstandingly large by comparison" with the Germans and Soviet Union with their several hundred, albeit smaller or more understrength divisions, both of which had for years before mid-1944 been suffering attrition far, far heavier than the largely unengaged US divisions.

This also doesn't alter the fact that, taking all this into account, given the number of men mobilised, the Anglo-Americans got a rather lower proportion into the teeth arms at the front, largely because they were operating across the globe, which necessitated a massive tail compared with their opponents. Projecting power over a distance comes at a cost.

Nor does it address the quality issue. By the time the Americans, in particular, entered combat against the Germans in strength, the latter were nearing the bottom of their manpower barrel while the former had barely touched theirs by comparison. Even under armed, under equipped, under supplied and undermanned German divisions were often making a competitive show of it against the Anglo-Americans until the last weeks of the war.

By 1944 the US armed forces were collectively potentially as powerful as those of the rest of the planet put together, but this advantage was, I would suggest, least apparent in the US Army's teeth arms. I rather suspect that, as in WWI, the best of the US Army was yet to come when the war ended.

The key point is that the US Army should be large enough and good enough quickly enough, which it was. Given how small it was in 1940, this was impressive enough in itself.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 13 Mar 2021 07:03

Sid Guttridge wrote:
12 Mar 2021 08:12
I rather suspect that, as in WWI, the best of the US Army was yet to come when the war ended.
The US Army's part in Normandy, France, the Ardennes, and the Rhineland in 1944-45 weren't good enough? Much less Luzon, the rest of the PI, and the Ryukyus?

Compared to what?

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Mar 2021 08:05

Hi daveshoup2MD,

You ask, "The US Army's part in Normandy, France, the Ardennes, and the Rhineland in 1944-45 weren't good enough? Much less Luzon, the rest of the PI, and the Ryukyus?"

I am not sure why you are asking this, presumably of me, when it is exactly the opposite of the last thing I posted above: "The key point is that the US Army should be large enough and good enough quickly enough, which it was."

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 13 Mar 2021 18:08

Sid Guttridge wrote:
13 Mar 2021 08:05
Hi daveshoup2MD,

You ask, "The US Army's part in Normandy, France, the Ardennes, and the Rhineland in 1944-45 weren't good enough? Much less Luzon, the rest of the PI, and the Ryukyus?"

I am not sure why you are asking this, presumably of me, when it is exactly the opposite of the last thing I posted above: "The key point is that the US Army should be large enough and good enough quickly enough, which it was."

Cheers,

Sid
My question was regarding this statement: "the best of the US Army was yet to come when the war ended."

What was left "to come"? OLYMPIC and CORONET?

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Mar 2021 18:38

Hi daves.....,

I was thinking of qualitative improvement brought on by combat exposure and lessons learnt. I suspect that the US Army may not have peaked by the end of the war.

Doing a quick calculation of US infantry divisions, 16 had seen combat before June 1944 and 51 hadn't. One has to suspect that the learning process for many or most of the latter still had some way to run by May 1945.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 13 Mar 2021 19:55

Sid Guttridge wrote:
13 Mar 2021 18:38
Hi daves.....,

I was thinking of qualitative improvement brought on by combat exposure and lessons learnt. I suspect that the US Army may not have peaked by the end of the war.

Doing a quick calculation of US infantry divisions, 16 had seen combat before June 1944 and 51 hadn't. One has to suspect that the learning process for many or most of the latter still had some way to run by May 1945.

Cheers,

Sid.

Okay; thanks for clarifying ... I see your point, but from my perspective, the results on the battlefield of the second half of 1944 and the 1945 campaigns make it clear the US Army was functioning at a very high level on active operations at the corps, army, and army group levels well before VE and VJ days. Eye of the beholder, I suppose.

Only 16 seeing action by June of 1944 seems low, even setting aside situations where a division had a RCT or equivalent detached for an action and returned; I'd count the following:

1st, 3rd, 7th, 9th, 25th, 32nd, 34th, 36th, 37th, 41st, 43rd, 45th, 82nd Airborne, 85th, 88th, Americal, Philippine ("12th"); 1st CD; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th MD = 22.

If the Philippine Division isn't counted, then presumably the British 9th, 12th, 18th, 23rd, and 44th, and (arguably) the 8th, 11th, and 14th Indian don't count, either.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 15 Mar 2021 00:06

There should be one correction to the list of Separate Infantry Regiments posted above. The 175th Infantry Regiment (Fifth Maryland) was organic to the 29th Infantry Division and took part in the D Day invasion and was with the 29th Division throughout four campaigns in Europe.

I believe the poster must have meant to list the 176th Infantry Regiment (First Virginia) as a separate Infantry Regiment, not the 175th. The 176th Infantry was excess to the requirements of a triangular division when the 29th ID was reorganized from a square division in March 1942 and spent some time as a security unit in Washington D,C.. Later it was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, and utilized as school troops until mid 1944 when it was inactivated.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Mar 2021 06:02

daveshoup2MD wrote:
13 Mar 2021 19:55
... Only 16 seeing action by June of 1944 seems low, even setting aside situations where a division had a RCT or equivalent detached for an action and returned; I'd count the following:

1st, 3rd, 7th, 9th, 25th, 32nd, 34th, 36th, 37th, 41st, 43rd, 45th, 82nd Airborne, 85th, 88th, Americal, Philippine ("12th"); 1st CD; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th MD = 22.

If the Philippine Division isn't counted, then presumably the British 9th, 12th, 18th, 23rd, and 44th, and (arguably) the 8th, 11th, and 14th Indian don't count, either.
Technically the four Marine divisions should not be counted as Army. In practical terms their experience had near zero impact on AGFs preparation of US Army formations for serve overseas. There was influence with Army formations teamed with the Marines in the Pacific, but that was a local effect. The exception (there always is) would be from the participation off the Army 1st, 3rd, & 9th ID in Amphibious Forces Atlantic Fleet 1941-1942. Those picked up some useful knowledge of amphibious warfare during that assignment.

1st, 3rd, 7th, 9th, 25th, 32nd, 34th, 36th, 37th, 41st, 43rd, 45th, 85th, 88th Inf Divs, 82nd Airborne, & 1st & 2d Armored all acquired some combat experience by 1 June 1944. For 17 Divisions. Eleven of those were against the Germans, but only seven had more than a months worth of combat experience vs German ground forces.

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