200 U. S. trained divisions?

Discussions on all aspects of the United States of America during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Carl Schwamberger.
daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 1541
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Mar 2021 06:11

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
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.
The poster I was responding to didn't break out the USMC infantry from the AUS infantry; he wrote "Doing a quick calculation of US infantry divisions, 16 had seen combat before June 1944 and 51 hadn't."

You also missed the Americal, which was in action as division from Q4, 1942, 1st CD (which, dismounted,was infantry, and was in action as such in Q11944. which predates June, 1944, obviously), and the Philippine Division (meaning the US Army's "12th" division, not the PCA's 1st, 2nd, 11th, 21st, etc.) which certainly saw combat as a division in Q1-Q2, 1942.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10033
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Mar 2021 06:36

Leaving the Americal out was a error, tho the combat experience vs the Japanese seems to have counted for even less than the experience of those other seven divisions vs the Germans. The Scouts never had a opportunity to pass anything on, so I deliberately did not count them.

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 1541
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Mar 2021 07:55

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Mar 2021 06:36
Leaving the Americal out was a error, tho the combat experience vs the Japanese seems to have counted for even less than the experience of those other seven divisions vs the Germans. The Scouts never had a opportunity to pass anything on, so I deliberately did not count them.
That wasn't Sid's statement, however:

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.

I'd suggest the PD's experience - which included the 31st Infantry and, essentially, two US Army tank battalions, so more than just the Scouts - made clear the need for secure sea lanes and, at least, air superiority. ;)

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 10157
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Mar 2021 08:19

Hi Guys,

As daveshoup2MD points out, I wasn't conducting an exhaustive survey of the entire US armed forces. I was just using the largest divisional slice - Army ground infantry divisions - to make a particular point.

As doubtless some of you have already found out, the same point could be made with US armoured divisions, only two out of sixteen of which had seen combat before June 1944, or airborne divisions, only one out of five of which had seen combat before June 1944.

In the greater scheme of things, the inclusion of the US Marine divisions, which weren't Army, wouldn't make much difference as there were only six of them, two of which hadn't seen combat by June 1944.

Cheers,

Sid.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10033
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Mar 2021 13:25

Looking at the gross number does not align with my question which is the number used in the campaigns in Europe, & their experience influencing the 50+ green divisions sent to the ETO.

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 1541
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 02:20

Sid Guttridge wrote:
15 Mar 2021 08:19
Hi Guys,

As daveshoup2MD points out, I wasn't conducting an exhaustive survey of the entire US armed forces. I was just using the largest divisional slice - Army ground infantry divisions - to make a particular point.

As doubtless some of you have already found out, the same point could be made with US armoured divisions, only two out of sixteen of which had seen combat before June 1944, or airborne divisions, only one out of five of which had seen combat before June 1944.

In the greater scheme of things, the inclusion of the US Marine divisions, which weren't Army, wouldn't make much difference as there were only six of them, two of which hadn't seen combat by June 1944.

Cheers,

Sid.
That's an interesting point of view; turn it the other way - two-thirds (66 percent) of the USMC divisions HAD seen combat between 1942 and the middle of 1944.

The comparable figures for the British Army, in terms of divisions that were still capable of deployment in 1944-45, was 10-11 (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th/70th/36th, 46th, 50th, 51st, 56th, and 78th; maybe the 1st Airborne), which is a little more than half of the total of 19 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th/70th/36th, 15th, 43rd, 46th, 49th, 50th, 51st, 52nd, 53rd, 56th, 59th, and 78th; 1st and 6th Airborne).

My point is, these numbers are what they are; what they make clear is that there was no "special" point where whether an Allied division had seen action or not had much bearing on what the Allies were able to do with them, certainly not in 1942-45, given the realities of expeditionary warfare on a global scale. Basically, if the Navy and Merchant Marine could get an Allied infantryman somewhere and keep them supplied, and the air forces could give them a reasonable level of support, the Allied infantry - whether Tommys, GIs, Marines, Canucks, or whatever - could get the job done, as witness the movement of the battle lines from 1942 to 1945.

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 1541
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 02:27

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Mar 2021 13:25
Looking at the gross number does not align with my question which is the number used in the campaigns in Europe, & their experience influencing the 50+ green divisions sent to the ETO.
Yes, and that's a different question than Sid's, which is what I was answering.

As far as the ETO goes, given the results of TORCH, CORKSCREW, HUSKY, BAYTOWN, AVALANCHE, etc, the record seems pretty clear that if the Allied navies and merchant marines could get the infantry ashore and in supply, and the air forces could provide a reasonable level of support, the soldiers (American, British, Canadian, whatever) could do what was necessary against the Axis (Germans, Italians, whatever)...

The only exception was the British Dodecanese campaign in 1943, which was a textbook of what not to do that makes Tanga and the Dardanelles look like masterpieces of amphibious warfare.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10033
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Mar 2021 03:12

The two navies clearly had a ability to carry lessons learned from one campaign to the next. One of the little professional secrets of amphibious warfare is the Navy carries the weight in planning. Crossing the beach is a lot but its a smaller part in the preparation/planning/execution. Even on the beach the navy side has a major role. Admiral Hewwits battle staff were more important on 6th June than Bradley & company. & probably contributed more to getting the problems resolved that day.

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 1541
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 07:34

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Mar 2021 03:12
The two navies clearly had a ability to carry lessons learned from one campaign to the next. One of the little professional secrets of amphibious warfare is the Navy carries the weight in planning. Crossing the beach is a lot but its a smaller part in the preparation/planning/execution. Even on the beach the navy side has a major role. Admiral Hewitts battle staff were more important on 6th June than Bradley & company. & probably contributed more to getting the problems resolved that day.
You'll find no argument from me; the USN and its antecedents and the RN and its had been landing troops on ocean beaches for centuries by 1939; the problem, of course, is when the sailors were over-ruled for flights of fancy like the Dodecanese.

The Axis attacked beachheads in Sicily and at Salerno; they were defeated each time, even when the Navy wasn't allowed to open fire until after the Axis showed up; the Axis forces never once managed to destroy or evict an Allied landing force.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 10157
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Mar 2021 07:57

Hi daveshoup2MD,

You post,".....there was no "special" point where whether an Allied division had seen action or not had much bearing on what the Allies were able to do with them, certainly not in 1942-45, given the realities of expeditionary warfare on a global scale."

Clearly the US divisions only became considered combat ready over time. Every single Army division used before June 1944 either had regular (1-25) or National Guard (26-45) roots, and less than half of them had been used in combat by then. Not a single division raised after the National Guard series saw combat before June 1944, ten of them not until 1945.

This site has a chart showing all this visually: https://www.armydivs.com/

Cheers,

Sid.

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 1541
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 08:22

Sid Guttridge wrote:
16 Mar 2021 07:57
Hi daveshoup2MD,

You post,".....there was no "special" point where whether an Allied division had seen action or not had much bearing on what the Allies were able to do with them, certainly not in 1942-45, given the realities of expeditionary warfare on a global scale."

Clearly the US divisions only became considered combat ready over time. Every single Army division used before June 1944 either had regular (1-25) or National Guard (26-45) roots, and less than half of them had been used in combat by then. Not a single division raised after the National Guard series saw combat before June 1944, ten of them not until 1945.

This site has a chart showing all this visually: https://www.armydivs.com/

Cheers,

Sid.
"Trained but unblooded" and "combat experienced" are two different things, and your point about combat readiness is not what I'm saying.

Again, there was no "special" point where whether an Allied division had seen action or not had much bearing on what the Allies were able to do with them, certainly not in 1942-45, given the realities of expeditionary warfare on a global scale - this is my point.

That's not the same as saying "whether an Allied division had been trained or not had much bearing on what the Allies were able to do with them, certainly not in 1942-45, given the realities of expeditionary warfare on a global scale." - which is your interpretation.

Which again, is not my point.
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 17 Mar 2021 04:08, edited 1 time in total.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 10157
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Mar 2021 12:30

Hi daveshoup2MD,

You post, "Trained but unblooded" and "combat experienced" are two different things....." Yup. But the second must necessarily follow the first.

I am not quite sure what you are saying. If you mean by "no "special" point" that a division that had seen one day in the line was more like a division that had seen no action than one that had been campaigning for a year, then that is certainly true.

I also don't know what you mean by, "That's not the same a saying "whether an Allied division had been trained or not had much bearing on what the Allies were able to do with them, certainly not in 1942-45, given the realities of expeditionary warfare on a global scale." - which is your interpretation.". Please explain.

Cheers,

Sid.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10033
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Mar 2021 12:48

Sid Guttridge wrote:
16 Mar 2021 07:57
... Clearly the US divisions only became considered combat ready over time. Every single Army division used before June 1944 either had regular (1-25) or National Guard (26-45) roots, and less than half of them had been used in combat by then. Not a single division raised after the National Guard series saw combat before June 1944, ten of them not until 1945.
82d originally activated as a ID March 1942 was not a RA or NG Guard Div. Redesignated a Airborne Div 15 Aug 1942 it went into combat as a division 9 July 1943, tho one regiment had previous combat experience in Africa.

Staunton shows the 85th ID arriving in Morocco 2 Jan 44. It trained for some weeks & then moved to Naples 15/25 March & entered the battle zone 10 April.

88th ID arriving in Algeria 28 December 1943 & training there until arriving in Naples 6 Feb 44. It relieved 36th ID 27/28 February 44.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 10157
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Mar 2021 12:55

Hi Carl,

Thanks for the corrections.

Looking at an online history of 88th Division, a couple of points are notable in terms of this thread:

1) It was the first draftee division to enter combat.

2) It says, "Combat experienced men came from North Africa to offer tips and battle methods to the new soldiers" while it was still in the USA.

Cheers,

Sid.

McDonald
Member
Posts: 59
Joined: 08 Mar 2021 22:47
Location: Colorado USA

Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 16 Mar 2021 17:13

Technically the Americal (which was redesignated 23rd ID in 1954) and the 25th Infantry Divisions were Army of The United States when first constituted. They were formed from already existing maneuver units, with some newly activated smaller supporting units, but the fact remains that the headquarters were brand new, and as someone pointed out previously it is the headquarters that takes the longest time to properly train, become cohesive, and thus fully operational and functional. Both of these divisions were in combat before the close of 1942.

I do question the statement that one "regiment" of the 82nd Airborne Division saw combat in North Africa. The separate airborne battalion which was known over its history under a couple of designations, but ended up as the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, was attached to the 82nd and had seen combat in the invasion of North Africa and afterward, but I am not aware that any of the 82nd's organic regiments had any North African combat experience.

Return to “USA 1919-1945”