Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 31 Mar 2021 05:53

Richard Anderson wrote:
30 Mar 2021 15:40
daveshoup2MD wrote:
30 Mar 2021 07:31
So the decision is made in June, which means - at the very least - the 1943 activations that historically took place in the summer of 1943 could have been stopped. Excluding the 10th Mountain and 71st Infantry (since they more or less existed as provisional formations), that frees up everybody who went into four infantry divisions, an armored division, and an airborne divisions - call it cadre and fillers for some 70,000+ billets, and another 12,000 replacements (based on the historical casualties for these six divisions). 82,000+ seems like a useful addition to in the replacement pool in 1943-44.

AUS 63d Infantry 15 June Camp Blanding, Fla.
AUS 70lh Infantry 5 June Camp Adair, Oreg.
AUS 42d Infantry 14 July Camp Gruber, Okla.
AUS 16th Armored 15 July Camp Chaffee, Ark.
AUS 13th Airborne 13 August Fort Bragg, N.C.
AUS 65th Infantry 16 August Camp Shelby, Miss.

And it's a reasonable point that there would be a pretty large number of Cat 1s and Cat 2s in this group; the initial division commanders alone are an interesting group: George Griner, Harry J. Collins, Louis Hibbs, Stanley Reinhart, John Dahlquist, and Douglass Greene.

Makes more sense than forming a division later and committing it at the point the conflict was ending.
Sure, except by the point of activation the cadres were already withdrawn from the parent division and were at the end of their training cycle, but sure, just send them back or put them into the replacement system. Some disruption, but still possible

However, that still does not explain why when the whole objective at the time was continuing to expand the division base, the War Department would decide to differ the activation of six additional divisions?
Somebody thinks ahead and realizes a 1944-45 campaign with two army groups in NW Europe, fought at the same time there's an army-sized offensive grinding forward in Italy from 1943-45, might require more infantry replacements for the two theaters combined than the 1942-43 campaign in Tunisia and Sicily would have suggested, perhaps?

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 31 Mar 2021 05:58

Richard Anderson wrote:
30 Mar 2021 15:46
daveshoup2MD wrote:
30 Mar 2021 08:10
DeGaulle was under the British thumb in 1940-42, however. Koenig and his merry men wouldn't have had a bullet or a can of beans, otherwise.
Tell that to DeGaulle...and Churchill and Brooke. :lol:
In 1942-43, Giraud was under the US thumb, however, and in return he was the one who got the ANFA agreement, which - along with DeGaulle's acceptance of the facts of life in 1943 - led to three armored divisions and at least five infantry divisions being added to the US OOB in the ETO in 1943-45;

5th Army certainly needed Juin's corps in Italy, and I'm unaware of anyone suggesting Juin and the FEC didn't do everything the US asked and then some... same for the French 1st Army, pretty much from their commitment in DRAGOON to the end. Devers wouldn't have had an army group without them. And for that matter, the Alpine and Atlantic detachments meant that 2-4 divisions worth of American troops not having to sit on those areas, either, for most of 1944-45.

In 1943-45, the French put more ground forces - and under US command - into the field than the Canadians and Poles combined. They weren't equipped by the US for show.
Yeah, it does look like the U.S. was pretty Machiavellian in their exploitation of their French allies.
Considering DeGaulle was quite cognizant that the single division equivalent the Free French managed to organize and put into the field in 1942-43 would not have existed absent British sustainment, he was well aware of it.

There's a reason DeGaulle agreed to the agreement with Giraud after ANFA; absent it, the Free French would have amounted to a British foreign legion. After that, they amounted to a field army, air force, and a pretty respectable navy and merchant marine.

As far as the US-French relationship in 1942-45, it was a two-way street, obviously; no idea what point you're trying to make otherwise.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 31 Mar 2021 06:02

LineDoggie wrote:
30 Mar 2021 23:52
Richard Anderson wrote:
30 Mar 2021 15:46


Yeah, it does look like the U.S. was pretty Machiavellian in their exploitation of their French allies.
How dare those Americans want some of the people they were fighting for, to also help fight
Yeah, the messages are a little opaque at times...

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 31 Mar 2021 06:27

LineDoggie wrote:
30 Mar 2021 23:56
daveshoup2MD wrote:
30 Mar 2021 08:10


In 1943-45, the French put more ground forces - and under US command - into the field than the Canadians and Poles combined. They weren't equipped by the US for show.
Some of those new French Formations in mid 44 were damned near barefoot or wooden clog wearing Maquisards given a rifle, helmet and jacket and told to hold an area. They all weren't French 2nd Armored by any means
True, but the ones that were in active operations in 1944 were, for the most part, the eight divisions organized/re-quipped in 1943 under ANFA, the 1st, 2nd, and 5th armored divisions, and the 1st ID, 2nd ID, 3rd ID, 4th Mountain, and 9th ID.

The LMP divisions were organized in 1944-45, and came along quickly enough that two of the LMP divisions (the 1st and 14th IDs) were assigned to the 6th Army Group and ended the war in Germany, while the 27th Mountain Division provided roughly half the field forces of the Army Detachment of the Alps (the 1st DMI provided most of the rest), and the 10th, 19th, 23rd, and 25th were in the Army Detachment of the Atlantic, keeping the attention of the Germans in Atlantic Pockets. The only agreed-to LMP division that wasn't in active service was the 3rd Armored, which was still training, if I remember Rearming the French correctly.

That's pretty respectable, all things considered. All in all, by the spring of 1945, nine divisions (three armored and six infantry in Germany), two facing the Axis in the Alps, and four second-line divisions on active service on the Atlantic coast amount to 15 formations the US (much less the other Allies) didn't have to provide.

Considering the Canadians at the height amounted to five divisions and the Poles to three, again - pretty respectable.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by wwilson » 31 Mar 2021 07:14

Re: Number of French divisions equipped to U.S. standard etc.

I may have made these comments before in the threads here; if so -- regrets, but FWIW.
-------

Politics in the sense of national goals obviously played a huge part in the regeneration of the French forces. Neither the USA nor France shied from playing hardball when it came to questions of French sovereignty and how much of a postwar role France would have in Europe. But why even mention this?

Well, after the landings in S France and the breakout from Normandy, the bulk of France was liberated, and French manpower that had not been placed in StaLags or drafted for German industry, was available for the Allied war effort.

We know how this asset was used -- replacements for the First Army, and the formation of poorly equipped regiments and divisions for use along the Alps etc. But the USA could have taken a different approach; one in which the priority would have been on limiting American casualties and maximizing the use of French manpower in combat operations during the last eight months of the war.

Such an approach would have meant equipping French divisions vice American divisions, and forming a French army group, with appropriate logistical support from the USA.

To be sure, that approach would have not been without risk: there would have been the question of if the French were up to the task of taking on a larger role on the Western front. That question, of course, involves much more than manpower considerations.

To be honest, though, I don't think considerations of risk played into the decisions made, because the USA had no desire to see a larger French role in the war beyond what was agreed to. The national goals of the USA did not include a strong postwar France; therefore, part of the losses incurred by American troops was the butcher's bill that had to be paid to meet those goals.

I don't mean to question the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the decisions made regarding the regeneration of French forces, but one should bear in mind what the options were when viewing things like the dismal state of the Métropolitain formations or the magnitude of French military losses during the final year of the war. Decisions were made with political goals in mind, and they came with consequences.

I believe De Gaulle would have welcomed a larger role for France in the final year of the war; again, a decision that would have been rooted in political considerations and ripe with consequences.

Cheers

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Sheldrake » 31 Mar 2021 09:19

One other factor might have been the perception that the war might end in 1944. If it had there would have been no need to equip French forces that would not have been ready for combat until long after VE day.

The Germans had already combed France for young men as foreign workers and held much of the 1940 French army as PW. The FFI was about the only structure around which an army could be mobilised quickly - and some of the most effective bits run by communists. oh and De Gaulle was the political head.

All in the too difficult pile.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Mar 2021 12:47

Sheldrake wrote:
31 Mar 2021 09:19
One other factor might have been the perception that the war might end in 1944. ...

All in the too difficult pile.
Agree. It may've been much different if the perception had been the war would drag on through or beyond 1945.

...& thats a WI not many have chewed on.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Mar 2021 16:17

daveshoup2MD wrote:
31 Mar 2021 05:53
Somebody thinks ahead and realizes a 1944-45 campaign with two army groups in NW Europe, fought at the same time there's an army-sized offensive grinding forward in Italy from 1943-45, might require more infantry replacements for the two theaters combined than the 1942-43 campaign in Tunisia and Sicily would have suggested, perhaps?

"Somebody thinks ahead"? Okay, perhaps, but this is the first half of 1943, not the first half of 1944, which again implies extraordinary prescience on the part of "somebody".

COSSAC was in existence less for two months and there was still no agreement on the where, when, or how much for an invasion of France in June 1943. General Morgan first met with his staff 17 April 1943, basing his discussions with them on a draft directive the Americans had not yet agreed to. The first tentative directive on timing and size of the force was 25 May 1943.

There was no final decision on Sicily or a possible invasion of Italy or when or how much. In June 1943, there was no experience from Sicily to draw on, only Tunisia and the SWPA. Battle casualties after the initial losses to the Japanese were 1,581 officers and 23,178 EM 1 July 1942-30 June 1943, serious, but manageable. The recognition of the replacement crisis began in the winter of 1943/1944 and early spring of 1944.
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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 31 Mar 2021 22:01

wwilson wrote:
31 Mar 2021 07:14
Re: Number of French divisions equipped to U.S. standard etc.

I may have made these comments before in the threads here; if so -- regrets, but FWIW.
-------

Politics in the sense of national goals obviously played a huge part in the regeneration of the French forces. Neither the USA nor France shied from playing hardball when it came to questions of French sovereignty and how much of a postwar role France would have in Europe. But why even mention this?

Well, after the landings in S France and the breakout from Normandy, the bulk of France was liberated, and French manpower that had not been placed in StaLags or drafted for German industry, was available for the Allied war effort.

We know how this asset was used -- replacements for the First Army, and the formation of poorly equipped regiments and divisions for use along the Alps etc. But the USA could have taken a different approach; one in which the priority would have been on limiting American casualties and maximizing the use of French manpower in combat operations during the last eight months of the war.

Such an approach would have meant equipping French divisions vice American divisions, and forming a French army group, with appropriate logistical support from the USA.

To be sure, that approach would have not been without risk: there would have been the question of if the French were up to the task of taking on a larger role on the Western front. That question, of course, involves much more than manpower considerations.

To be honest, though, I don't think considerations of risk played into the decisions made, because the USA had no desire to see a larger French role in the war beyond what was agreed to. The national goals of the USA did not include a strong postwar France; therefore, part of the losses incurred by American troops was the butcher's bill that had to be paid to meet those goals.

I don't mean to question the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the decisions made regarding the regeneration of French forces, but one should bear in mind what the options were when viewing things like the dismal state of the Métropolitain formations or the magnitude of French military losses during the final year of the war. Decisions were made with political goals in mind, and they came with consequences.

I believe De Gaulle would have welcomed a larger role for France in the final year of the war; again, a decision that would have been rooted in political considerations and ripe with consequences.

Cheers
There's a timing problem, however, as Carl makes clear farther down. Even given a wide open spigot of funding and material, no liberated manpower can be organized into a second French army until after they are liberated; which wasn't (historically) in the cards until the late summer-early autumn of 1944, which means (realistically) finding the cadre, screening the fillers, organizing and equipping them, training on US standard equipment, and then going into the field as the greenest of the green when it comes to formations and units, no matter what individual experience a soldier or officer may have had in 1939-42, etc.

The LMP manpower came into the line, so to speak, in the winter-spring of 1945, so I don't really see that being able to have been "sped up" ... the French certainly didn't expect the eight LMP divisions to be capable of significant offensive actions until then, and the history of what they did with them bears that out.

All things being equal, absent any major change in 1942-43, France's second mobilization was going to play out the way it did historically in 1943-45.
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 01 Apr 2021 07:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 31 Mar 2021 22:49

Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Mar 2021 16:17
daveshoup2MD wrote:
31 Mar 2021 05:53
Somebody thinks ahead and realizes a 1944-45 campaign with two army groups in NW Europe, fought at the same time there's an army-sized offensive grinding forward in Italy from 1943-45, might require more infantry replacements for the two theaters combined than the 1942-43 campaign in Tunisia and Sicily would have suggested, perhaps?

"Somebody thinks ahead"? Okay, perhaps, but this is the first half of 1943, not the first half of 1944, which again implies extraordinary prescience on the part of "somebody".

COSSAC was in existence less for two months and there was still no agreement on the where, when, or how much for an invasion of France in June 1943. General Morgan first met with his staff 17 April 1943, basing his discussions with them on a draft directive the Americans had not yet agreed to. The first tentative directive on timing and size of the force was 25 May 1943.

There was no final decision on Sicily or a possible invasion of Italy or when or how much. In June 1943, there was no experience from Sicily to draw on, only Tunisia and the SWPA. Battle casualties after the initial losses to the Japanese were 1,581 officers and 23,178 EM 1 July 1942-30 June 1943, serious, but manageable. The recognition of the replacement crisis began in the winter of 1943/1944 and early spring of 1944.
Actually, for at least four of the divisions that were activated in 1943, it was the "second half"...

AUS 42d Infantry 14 July Camp Gruber, Okla.
AUS 16th Armored 15 July Camp Chaffee, Ark.
AUS 13th Airborne 13 August Fort Bragg, N.C.
AUS 65th Infantry 16 August Camp Shelby, Miss.

Not that extraordinary. The planned 1943 activations that (historically) were cancelled were known in June, according to Matloff's chapter in Command Decisions., as was said, one page ago...

From Matloff's chapter in Command Decisions:

In mid-June 1943 General Marshall and the Secretary of War approved the committee's general report. The Chief of Staff informed the press that the activation of twelve additional divisions would be deferred until 1944. Lest this news lead the American public to overconfidence and a relaxation of the war effort, and obversely, lest the enemy conclude that the reduction signified that the United States was unable to fulfill its mobilization schedule, he requested that the information be kept in confidence. On 1 July 1943 the War Department circulated a new, approved troop basis for 1943. In accord with the committee's recommendations, it provided for 88 divisions and an Army strength of about 7,700,000. Two provisional light divisions, which were also authorized, soon were given permanent status. As a result, the new troop basis for 1943 envisaged a 90-division Army.

So the decision is made in June, which means - at the very least - the 1943 activations that historically took place in the summer of 1943 could have been stopped.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Apr 2021 01:31

daveshoup2MD wrote:
31 Mar 2021 22:49
So the decision is made in June, which means - at the very least - the 1943 activations that historically took place in the summer of 1943 could have been stopped.
Yes, I understand, the decision was made in June to differ activation of 12 divisions to 1944...basically hoping the problems would go away by then. My question is why if they thought they were still going to activate divisions differed to 1944 and were still struggling to get what was considered a calculated risk, barely enough divisions for expected requirements fielded, they would suddenly think, "oh, the solution to all our problems is to cut back the activation of divisions even more...we really need fewer divisions, not more divisions!"

I'm not saying it wouldn't have worked...it might have. However, I don't follow the possible thought process that gets the War Department from, "oh shit, we're only going to be able to field 90 divisions in 1944-1945, not 114!", to "oh, wonderful, we're only going to field 76 divisions in 1944..."
"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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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 01 Apr 2021 06:51

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2021 01:31
daveshoup2MD wrote:
31 Mar 2021 22:49
So the decision is made in June, which means - at the very least - the 1943 activations that historically took place in the summer of 1943 could have been stopped.
Yes, I understand, the decision was made in June to differ activation of 12 divisions to 1944...basically hoping the problems would go away by then. My question is why if they thought they were still going to activate divisions differed to 1944 and were still struggling to get what was considered a calculated risk, barely enough divisions for expected requirements fielded, they would suddenly think, "oh, the solution to all our problems is to cut back the activation of divisions even more...we really need fewer divisions, not more divisions!"

I'm not saying it wouldn't have worked...it might have. However, I don't follow the possible thought process that gets the War Department from, "oh shit, we're only going to be able to field 90 divisions in 1944-1945, not 114!", to "oh, wonderful, we're only going to field 76 divisions in 1944..."
76 well manned divisions in 1943-44, with a larger proportion of Cat 1s and Cat 2s, and a less thinly-spread cadre of officers and senior enlisted, offers some obvious advantages over 90 (96 including the USMC) that are not all ready for action until 1945.

Not spending the manpower resources that went eventually into an ineffective strategic bombing campaign mounted from China, and freeing up the manpower locked away in the ASTP at the same time, would have helped as well. Put the above together, and the "manpower crisis" of 1944 has been addressed.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Apr 2021 16:48

daveshoup2MD wrote:
01 Apr 2021 06:51
76 well manned divisions in 1943-44, with a larger proportion of Cat 1s and Cat 2s, and a less thinly-spread cadre of officers and senior enlisted, offers some obvious advantages over 90 (96 including the USMC) that are not all ready for action until 1945.

Not spending the manpower resources that went eventually into an ineffective strategic bombing campaign mounted from China, and freeing up the manpower locked away in the ASTP at the same time, would have helped as well. Put the above together, and the "manpower crisis" of 1944 has been addressed.
Well, sure, its a brilliant solution that works so long as you know in advance that the bombing campaign from China will be ineffective, the ASTP will dissolved before it serves its purpose, and that the late 1943 divisions would not be needed to prosecute the war into 1946...so whose crystal ball are you using?
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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 01 Apr 2021 19:43

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2021 16:48
daveshoup2MD wrote:
01 Apr 2021 06:51
76 well manned divisions in 1943-44, with a larger proportion of Cat 1s and Cat 2s, and a less thinly-spread cadre of officers and senior enlisted, offers some obvious advantages over 90 (96 including the USMC) that are not all ready for action until 1945.

Not spending the manpower resources that went eventually into an ineffective strategic bombing campaign mounted from China, and freeing up the manpower locked away in the ASTP at the same time, would have helped as well. Put the above together, and the "manpower crisis" of 1944 has been addressed.
Well, sure, its a brilliant solution that works so long as you know in advance that the bombing campaign from China will be ineffective, the ASTP will dissolved before it serves its purpose, and that the late 1943 divisions would not be needed to prosecute the war into 1946...so whose crystal ball are you using?
One could suggest the experience of the AEF in 1917-19 would have been useful. If the invasion of NW Europe had been mounted in 1943, the urgency of the need to sustain the expeditionary forces would have, presumably, effected the necessary changes; absent the 1943 invasion, multiple sideshows were pursued, to the ultimate detriment of the field armies and supporting air forces that were deployed to defeat Germany in the West in reality, as opposed to theoretical strategies.

Having said that, the reality is that even with the manpower crisis, those same forces made it from the Channel to VE Day in roughly 11 months, which is a spectacular success and makes it clear how outstanding in global terms the US Army of 1940-45, built by GCM and his staff with the approval and support of FDR and his, truly was... the same, by extension, for the USN and its associated services.
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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Apr 2021 22:14

daveshoup2MD wrote:
01 Apr 2021 19:43
One could suggest the experience of the AEF in 1917-19 would have been useful. If the invasion of NW Europe had been mounted in 1943, the urgency of the sustain the expeditionary forces would have, presumably, effected the necessary changes; absent the 1943 invasion, multiple sideshows were pursued, to the ultimate detriment of the field armies and supporting air forces that were deployed to defeat Germany in the West in reality, as opposed to theoretical strategies.
They did use the AEF experience.

It was the basis for the casualty estimation factors used by the War Department in World War II. The error made was not in estimation of casualties, but distribution of casualties by branch. They expected much higher casualties to the new arms, Armored and AAA, and thus initially over-emphasized the needed size of those arms and its replacement requirements.

The AEF experience was also applied to the mobilization planning prewar, but the problem was the planning predicated by the PMP was never fully followed, as circumstances forced expediencies. It simply wasn't a very flexible plan and it was never tested. Is it any wonder it wasn't perfect.
Having said that, the reality is that even with the manpower crisis, those same forces made it from the Channel to VE Day in roughly 11 months, which is a spectacular success and makes it clear how outstanding in global terms the US Army of 1940-45, built by GCM and his staff with the approval and support of FDR and his, truly was... the same, by extension, for the USN and its associated services.
Agree 100 percent. The manpower issues, while possibly unnecessary if planning and experience were better, were not crippling to the war effort or the capabilities of the U.S. Army. It wasn't perfect, but it was certainly good enough.
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