U.S. Armored Force personnel accounting

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ntuma
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U.S. Armored Force personnel accounting

Post by ntuma » 10 Mar 2021 12:53

Hello everyone,

I've got a question I have been quite curious about for a while. While searching through U.S. Army unit battle death lists for armored units (tank battalions and armored regiments), I have noticed that some enlisted personnel, perhaps the majority, have "INF" (infantry) as their branch of service, while others have "AMD" (armored). While checking morning reports for the 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, I noticed that both "AMD" and "INF" enlisted personnel had "tank" MOSs (795, commander; 531, loader/cannoneer; 604, bow gunner; 616, gunner; 736, driver). What was the cause of this difference in assigned branch of service? Was it because of the origin of the personnel (assigned directly to a unit versus trained in a replacement training center)?

How does it square with the list of battle casualties produced by the Adjutant General's office in 1953 that lists 6,827 casualties among "Armored Force" men (enlisted men only, no officers), and 627,521 casualties among "Infantry" enlisted men? Would the men with "AMD" as their branch of service be counted under the "Armored Force" tally, while the men with "INF" as their branch of service be counted under the "Infantry" tally?

I am aware that officers for Armored Force tank units were commissioned either in the Infantry or Cavalry.

See attached files for examples.
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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: U.S. Armored Force personnel accounting

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Mar 2021 13:06

Probably best answered by Rich Andersen. My guess is this:
Was it because of the origin of the personnel (assigned directly to a unit versus trained in a replacement training center)?
but thats just a guess.

Richard Anderson
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Re: U.S. Armored Force personnel accounting

Post by Richard Anderson » 10 Mar 2021 17:36

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
10 Mar 2021 13:06
Probably best answered by Rich Andersen. My guess is this:
Was it because of the origin of the personnel (assigned directly to a unit versus trained in a replacement training center)?
but thats just a guess.
This is from the Appendix on Armored Force casualties in For Purpose of Service Test. I hope to have a decision on publication soon.

"The number of personnel lost by the Armored Force in World War II may appear to be a question with a simple answer, but upon examination it proves to be one of the most difficult to answer accurately. Among other things, since the Armored Force was not officially constituted by Congress as a formal Army Branch of Service, officers could not receive a commission as “Armored Force”, but instead retained their original Branch, Infantry, Cavalry, Field Artillery, and so forth. Furthermore, the 530 officers and 9,329 enlisted men that formed the initial Armored Force units in June-July 1940 (I Armored Corps, 1st AD, 2d AD, 70th Tk Bn) were drawn from existing Cavalry “Combat Car” and Infantry Tank regiments, so were mostly personnel of the Cavalry and Infantry branches of the Army. Another roughly 1,600 officers and enlisted men were National Guardsmen called to federal service in 1940-1941, who were also Infantry Branch. Later, many of the personnel forming the 9th Armored Division were drawn from the inactivation of the 2d Cavalry Division.

Similarly, although 77,353 officers and enlisted men eventually graduated from the Armored Force School and a further 168,228 enlisted men trained at the Armored Force Replacement Training Center, not all were “Armored Force” personnel. Rather, the Armored Force School and the Replacement Training Center were initially responsible for training personnel of all Army service branches, including Cavalry, Infantry, Field Artillery, Coast Artillery (AA), Engineers, Quartermaster, Signals, Ordnance, and Medical. It was not until 9 June 1941 that basic training of Quartermaster, Signal, Medical, Ordnance and Engineer components was assigned to the Replacement Training Center of those Branches.

Furthermore, not all such trained men sent to theaters of war were used as replacements in tank units. Since armored replacements received extensive training as vehicle drivers, many were utilized as truck drivers when they arrived in theater and were never assigned to an Armored Division or Tank Battalion. Perhaps worse, when General Gillem conducted an inspection of Armored units in North Africa, he discovered that all 1,435 Armored Force enlisted men replacements in theater were planned as armored infantry replacements, even though none had received any infantry training.

Complicating things even more, while many of the Armored School and Replacement Training Center graduates were used to fill out the mobilizing divisions and battalions of the Armored Force in the Z/I, the actual number of Armored personnel specifically required for the Armored divisions and Tank battalions were fairly small. As of 31 December 1943, only 2,187 Armored personnel were required per Armored Division. Another 515 were required per division in AGF for the non-divisional Tank battalions and companies and armored group headquarters. Thus, somewhere between 80,000 and 87,000 Armored personnel were actually required to fulfill all Army TO&E requirements, just a fraction of the well over quarter-million soldiers that were transferred into or trained by the Armored Force."
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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R Leonard
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Re: U.S. Armored Force personnel accounting

Post by R Leonard » 11 Mar 2021 06:15

And the problem Gillem found in North Africa continued . . . this passage found in the 1946 Infantry Conference on Personnel Policies and Procedures:

"’All replacements were received and absorbed during combat. Infantry and armored replacements were deplorably unsatisfactory. Few infantrymen knew extended order formations, scouting and patrolling or their crew-served weapons. Out of 26 replacements for the tank company, only one man had ever driven a tank. Many were needlessly lost.’
-- Col -C. E. Steele, CO, 141st RCT, 36th Inf Div, 7 October 1944, Vosoges, France.”

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