Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

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von thoma
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Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by von thoma » 11 Oct 2021 22:54

Was the US military ill-equipped during Ardennes Offensive ?

I mean snow clothes and coats mainly....Thanks in advance for your answers.


Military Miniatures showing U.S. Soldiers with Coats and Jackets.
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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by Gorque » 12 Oct 2021 03:18

:thumbsup: Nice paintings.

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AnchorSteam
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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by AnchorSteam » 16 Dec 2021 21:01

"Poorly equipped", compared to who, the guys they were up against?
Their allies?
Check out their kit, I think you will find that the US soldier had all he needed and then some. However, certain key items of Cold-Wether gear was missing because the nefarious supply clerk kept a lot of it for themselves.

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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by Sheldrake » 17 Dec 2021 03:03

By and large US Army equipment was well designed and made. US Army clothing and equipment was designed to cope with the wide temperature and climate range the USA itself.

Not every individual soldier had the full winter clothing. Infantrymen have to carry their posessions on their backs. White snow camouflage is something issued only when there was sustained cold weather.

There wasn't much snow in the firest week or so of the Ardennes operation. Hitler's "Fuhrer weather" was overcast, low clouds and and hill fog - which kept the temperature high - around zero. Snow fell on the 17th. When the weather cleared it got much colder and there was heavy snow and very cold conditions around New Year's Day 1945.

Two formations were ill equipped.

The 106th Infantry division took over the bits of the Siegfried Line on the Schnee Eiffel on 11 December from the 2nd Infantry Division. The 2nd Infantry Division took with them the stoves from the bunkers and gthe wire communications and extra telephones they had err "acquired." Thgis lef the incoming 106th Timberwolves cold and with limited communications.

The 101st Airborne Division left its camp at Reims in a hurry and without much of its stores. Many soldiers just had what they were wearing.

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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Dec 2021 04:50

Sheldrake wrote:
17 Dec 2021 03:03
The 106th Infantry division took over the bits of the Siegfried Line on the Schnee Eiffel on 11 December from the 2nd Infantry Division. The 2nd Infantry Division took with them the stoves from the bunkers and gthe wire communications and extra telephones they had err "acquired." Thgis lef the incoming 106th Timberwolves cold and with limited communications.
The 106th were the "Golden Lions". It was the 104th, which was the Timberwolf.

Yes, the main problem for the 106th was that they had the wires on the ground, but no idea where they went, so had to relay everything. Then they did not have the collection of captured German field telephones the 2d ID had collected...and they did not have the 2d Division's attached Tank battalion and SP TD battalion .
The 101st Airborne Division left its camp at Reims in a hurry and without much of its stores. Many soldiers just had what they were wearing.
Anecdotally, many of the 101st (and 82d for that matter) troopers came into Mourmelon from leave and were hustled into the cattle cars wearing their Class A's. However, the worse problem was ammunition.
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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by T. A. Gardner » 17 Dec 2021 06:24

The big item every soldier wanted and was in short supply was the shoe pack over shoe.

There were several variations of this rubber overshoe in the supply system, but it took time to get them to the troops.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by Sheldrake » 17 Dec 2021 10:52

T. A. Gardner wrote:
17 Dec 2021 06:24
The big item every soldier wanted and was in short supply was the shoe pack over shoe.

There were several variations of this rubber overshoe in the supply system, but it took time to get them to the troops.
ahh - the American rubber overshoe. A prized aquisition from the PX in the 1980s.. I still have mine for whenever an inch of snow causes devastation across southern England.

North West Europe can be surprisingly inhospitable. It is rarely as cold as it can be in the north east and mid west USA.

The temperature rarely drops much below zero, though it did in early January 1945. Clothing for thse conditions - lots of layers, padded quilting - gloves and hats. The Russian felt boots stuffed with straw worked. So do the overboots. In 1985 when we were living from vehicles for three weeks in November I had to loan mine to my driver who was suffering frost nip on his feet.

Sometimes the worst conditions were experienced around zero. Wet cold with a wind chill. The ground is muddy and keeping feet dry and warm can be a challange. Wool and cotton cold weather clothing gets wet and heavy. Great coats like those portrayed on the miniatures can collect their pown weight in mud and water. Leather boots soak through and you have to keep a close watch for trench foot. Goretex had not been invented and anthing waterproof would be heavy and leave the wearer drenched with sweat. IRRC the Huetrgen Forest battles in Nov 1944 were as tough as the Ardennes in December.

US Rubber overboots are brilliant here. You would not want to run a mile in them but they keep the feet and boots dry even if you have to stand in a muddy trench or gun position.

One disadvantage the US Troops had was a lack of hot food. Wet cold saps morale. The Germans tried to provide at least one hot meal a day - a stew or soup. Field Kitchens behind the lines were one measure for collectoign soldiers drifting away from combat. The British rations were full of stodgy food and a brrew of hot sweet tea was and still is a big morale raiser. (As a remedy it mastches the Jewish chicken soup) US Rations seem to have been less filling and less providion for hot food.

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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by Sheldrake » 17 Dec 2021 10:57

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Dec 2021 04:50
Sheldrake wrote:
17 Dec 2021 03:03
The 106th Infantry division took over the bits of the Siegfried Line on the Schnee Eiffel on 11 December from the 2nd Infantry Division. The 2nd Infantry Division took with them the stoves from the bunkers and gthe wire communications and extra telephones they had err "acquired." Thgis lef the incoming 106th Timberwolves cold and with limited communications.
The 106th were the "Golden Lions". It was the 104th, which was the Timberwolf.

Yes, the main problem for the 106th was that they had the wires on the ground, but no idea where they went, so had to relay everything. Then they did not have the collection of captured German field telephones the 2d ID had collected...and they did not have the 2d Division's attached Tank battalion and SP TD battalion .
The 101st Airborne Division left its camp at Reims in a hurry and without much of its stores. Many soldiers just had what they were wearing.
Anecdotally, many of the 101st (and 82d for that matter) troopers came into Mourmelon from leave and were hustled into the cattle cars wearing their Class A's. However, the worse problem was ammunition.
Mea culpa - late night post from memory.

One of the most memorable battlefield presentations I heard was given by a then British Army Warrant officer in one of the Easy Company trenches at the Bois Jacques. He stood there and talked in the first person about what he imagined a paratrooper might have felt. He might not have been an American but he was a very experienced soldier. The words its EFFing cold came up e very few seconds.....

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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by OpanaPointer » 17 Dec 2021 14:10

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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by Cult Icon » 17 Dec 2021 14:30

The clumsy, heavy trenchcoats were not optimal gear for anyone in WW2.

Optimal were the two-piece snowsuits.

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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Dec 2021 17:01

Sheldrake wrote:
17 Dec 2021 10:57
One of the most memorable battlefield presentations I heard was given by a then British Army Warrant officer in one of the Easy Company trenches at the Bois Jacques. He stood there and talked in the first person about what he imagined a paratrooper might have felt. He might not have been an American but he was a very experienced soldier. The words its EFFing cold came up e very few seconds.....
My Dad's battalion was attached to the 90th ID when it made its January motor march from the Saar to Bastogne. He described engineers winching daisy chains of vehicles up and down hills that they could not negotiate with chains, the ice was so solid, and watching a 712th Tank Battalion Sherman sliding sideways downhill with people frantically trying to dodge out of the way as its tracks spun on the ice, before it ended in a ditch. Then after crushing the 5. FJD, they spent the rest of the month in little actions fighting for possession of small villages so they could have some shelter. He said it was the coldest he ever was in his life and he spent a Korean winter in Camp Casey on the DMZ.
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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by McDonald » 17 Dec 2021 17:29

Talking off the top of my head here, and I have not checked references, but what I will say is that veteran US Army divisions seemed to be better off than the newer divisions in the theater during the Ardennes Campaign.

The extra equipment procured by whatever means and that captured equipment that supplemented what the MTO&E's provided added combat power. The field telephone, for instance, is just as much of a weapon as a rifle, when properly networked. American soldiers are also known for their ability to improvise. Newer organizations did not have the time to acquire and adapt. The 106th, referred to by one old soldier I knew as the "hungry and sick" was by far the most ill prepared to meet the enemy. There were many reasons for that but they were primarily logistics and training, topped off by inexperienced, and in some instances poor leadership. I would think though that if the 106th had been in the line a few weeks longer, before the attack, their's would have been a different fate.

The 99th "Checkerboards had been in the line for about a month facing little enemy activity, but if you read carefully they were much better off than the 106th and their performance when tested showed that. Of course the "Indianheads" that were backing them up helped quite a bit too.

Then we look at the 2nd and the 4th divisions. One gets the impression in reading their narratives that the Bulge was just another day at the beach. A hard day mind you, where they were subjected to severe sunburn. Nevertheless you don't read about any major difficulties with equipment only the weather and the enemy.

That brings us to the 28th, a division I personally rate quite low. Perhaps I am being unfair, and I do try to make allowances for how they were deployed, spread out over a front that would be difficult were it manned by three divisions. Their leadership was spotty, and they were worn out. There were some bright spots, but I do not recall seeing any complaints about equipment. In the end though they did their job.

I don't think there is much to add or subtract concerning comments made about the 82nd and 101st. Both were rushed into battle. Both had severe equipment deficiencies. Both performed in the highest tradition of the U S Army.

So poorly equipped, the original question. I will echo, the original answer - Compared to who?"

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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Dec 2021 18:39

Uh, yes. That would be the question.

Dig into this far enough you may find the question is really about how the weapons were used, rather than of numbers.

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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by McDonald » 17 Dec 2021 18:52

As far as digging goes Carl, my digging is confined to performance in battle. That is a combination of leadership, training, and logistics. Units can get by with mediocre logistics, get by being the operative words. What they cannot do though is perform to any acceptable standard without outstanding leadership and training. Then you must combine that leadership and training and salt it with experience. Good units are not created, they are made the hard way.

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Re: Poorly Equipped U.S. Army

Post by Sheldrake » 21 Dec 2021 22:32

Cult Icon wrote:
17 Dec 2021 14:30
The clumsy, heavy trenchcoats were not optimal gear for anyone in WW2.
A great coat isn't too bad if it is cold and you are standing about or if you need to rest and don't have a sleeping bag.

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