US Marines in Europe theatre

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panzertruppe2001
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US Marines in Europe theatre

Post by panzertruppe2001 » 12 Sep 2004 21:22

Does somebody know about US Marines fighting in Europe? I know a unit of Royal Marines fought during D Day, but what about US Marines. Only in the Pacific theatre?

Thanks everybody

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Post by James Patrick » 12 Sep 2004 22:28

AFAIK the were no USMC combat units involved during D-Day. However every USN ship involved in the operation would have its normal compliment of Marines. Marines were also involved with some of planning and training for Operation Overlord and might have served in some type of Army/Navy liason or observer capacity.

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Post by Andy H » 12 Sep 2004 23:00

United States Marines did serve on Iceland and as stated before Marine detachments served on the larger warships, Battleships having around 84 Marines on-board.

At one stage the Marine detachment aboard the BB Texas was going to sent as reinforcements to the Rangers at Pont du Hoc, but it seems that the order was cancelled by the Ranger's, fearful of the headline 'Marines come to the rescue of Rangers in Normandy'
The Marines aboard USS Texas came face to face with Germans when some POW's were sent to the BB Texas.

The only Marine to land on DDay or there after was Col.James E Kerr, who was on Admiral Moons Staff. He landed on Utah beach at 10.15 to evaluate the landing.

Source: Spearheading DDay (American Special units in Normandy) by Jonathan Gawne

Andy H

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panzertruppe2001
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Post by panzertruppe2001 » 13 Sep 2004 17:00

Thanks people

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genstab
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Marines in European War

Post by genstab » 19 Sep 2004 12:59

To me it seems the biggest mistake of American troop allocation not to have at least one Marine division in Europe. They were there in World War One and earned battle laurels that will never be forgotten. Think what would have happened if a Marine division had met a Waffen SS division in combat! Even better would have been a Corps HQ with two Marine divisions as a higher ranking general could better look out for his Marines against Army prejudices. The argument that the Marines were amphibious war specialists and that they were needed in all the Pacific landings rings pretty hollow when you consider the landings in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, Normandy and southern France. Normandy was the one that hung by a thread for a while but Anzio was no cakewalk either. To my mind the Marines should have been used in both.

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Genstab

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Post by Polynikes » 23 Sep 2004 04:10

Pardon me for asking but what could marines do that soldiers couldn't?

Perhaps they were more skilled at amphibious assaults but even the best marines wouldn't have out performed the Rangers on Omaha beah.

After D-Day Royal Marines were available for any amphibious work required.

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Post by ritterkreuz1945 » 23 Sep 2004 05:15

Polynikes wrote:Pardon me for asking but what could marines do that soldiers couldn't?

Perhaps they were more skilled at amphibious assaults but even the best marines wouldn't have out performed the Rangers on Omaha beah.

After D-Day Royal Marines were available for any amphibious work required.
Part of this post was removed because it had no bearing on Thread question Andy H

The prosecution rest! Thank you for making The Marine Corps point. Namely that your are right!!! The Army's Rangers can do everything that the Marines do, ecept field themselves in a divisional unit.
On a more historical note, I don't belive the Royal Marine Corps, as good as they are or were during WW2 could achive the sucess of the U.S. Marines ONLY because they were fielded as a "commando" and not as a division.

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Post by Andy H » 23 Sep 2004 13:11

because they were fielded as a "commando" and not as a division
.

Well the Royal Marines were Brigaded at various times throughout the war, but your right in that they never fought as a Division.

Andy H

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Post by Polynikes » 24 Sep 2004 03:11

ritterkreuz1945
The prosecution rest! Thank you for making The Marine Corps point. Namely that your are right!!! The Army's Rangers can do everything that the Marines do, ecept field themselves in a divisional unit.
On a more historical note, I don't belive the Royal Marine Corps, as good as they are or were during WW2 could achive the sucess of the U.S. Marines ONLY because they were fielded as a "commando" and not as a division.
Again I have to ask what could a marine division do that an army div couldn't do (except being more experienced in amphibious warfare). Marines would have not given any significant advantage on D-Day or performed significantly better than the army divisions with their Ranger units acting as their spearhead.

A marine stops a burst from an MG-42 no better than a soldier.

After D-Day there was no requirement at all for marine formations - certainly there was a need for elite formations (divisions) to spearhead assaults but the US army (and British army) had 3 already - their AB divs in addition their armoured divs.

The PTO was ideally suited to marine formations with dozens of small islands and island groups. The ETO had little scope for amphibious warfare; after D-Day the Germans flooded parts of the Netherlands & used various rivers as defensive lines and armoured amphibious vehicles were used by Royal Marines (among others) to help negotiate the water barriers - still not presenting a convincing case for marine divisions.

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Post by JamesL » 28 Oct 2004 15:39

40 US Marines trained with No. 3 Commando at Largs, Scotland in March-April 1941.

“The US Marines won all our shooting competitions and decided that our men were similar in outlook to themselves. We got along beautifully.”

(Brigadier John Durnford-Slater, "Commando", Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland 1991).


6 US Marines participated in the Invasion of North Africa during Operation Reservist. They served as 'commandos' but were KIA. ("An Army At Dawn" by Rick Atkinson, Henry Holt & Co., NYC).



The USMC also ran a ferry service across the Adriatic, transferring downed USAAF crews rescued by Yugoslav partisans to Italy. Some US Marines also served as observers with Patton's THIRD ARMY.

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Marines

Post by genstab » 28 Oct 2004 16:10

Then why does the US need Marines? It's a duplication- a private Navy Army- and Air Force separate from USAF and naval aviation. Someone- I think it was Harry Truman- said the Marines have the best propaganda operation in the world.

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Genstab

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Re: Marines

Post by ritterkreuz1945 » 28 Oct 2004 18:23

genstab wrote:Then why does the US need Marines? It's a duplication- a private Navy Army- and Air Force separate from USAF and naval aviation. Someone- I think it was Harry Truman- said the Marines have the best propaganda operation in the world.

Best regards,
Genstab

what he said is that the Marine Corps has a propaganda machine to rival Josef Stalin. He later that same week went to the Marine Corps League's national convention ( being held in Washington ) and apoligized, seeing that Marines were dying in Korea at the time, it was a little crass.
Why does the US need a Marine Corps? The simple answer is it doesn't.
But what it does have is a highly trained and disiplined Corps of Marines that do there country's bidding for a lower cost per Marine than the Army spends per soldier. That is the black and white of it.

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Post by JamesL » 28 Oct 2004 18:40

DO WE NEED A MARINE CORPS?

"The United States does not need a
Marine Corps mainly because she has a fine
modern Army and a vigorous Air Force. Her
Army fights on the ground--on any kind of
ground--and does it well. Her Air Force
fights in the air and does it well too.
Marines are designed to fight on the ground
and in the air just like the Army and Air
Force, and have no corner on skill in
either place.

"The Marines claim to have a mystical
competence in landing operations, but they
really don't. There are thousands of
soldiers who have been carefully trained
and thoroughly drilled in amphibious
matters too, and they can do anything
Marines can do. And Marines aviators have
no corner on tactical air operations in
support of the infantry either. Our Air
Force has done a lot of it, and can do it
again."



*LtGen. Victor H. Krulak USMC, "First To Fight", (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1984)

LtGen. Krulak later became Commandant of the USMC.

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Re: US Marines in Europe theatre

Post by JoeRoman » 30 Oct 2004 06:27

panzertruppe2001 wrote:Does somebody know about US Marines fighting in Europe? I know a unit of Royal Marines fought during D Day, but what about US Marines. Only in the Pacific theatre?

Thanks everybody
According to "the US Marine Corps Story" by J. Robert Moskin, 1977, he states that, "few Marines served in Europe. Three Hundred and six Marines participated in D-Day at Normandy, including four officers on Ike's staff and enlisted men who acted as riflemen on shipboard and exploded floating mines in their ships' paths. Others worked 5-inch batteries during the North African and Normandy landings. There was a Marine Barracks at Londondery, Northern Ireland. On August 29, 1944, Marine detachments from Augusta and Philadelphia landed on the islands of Ratonneau and If near Marseilles and disarmed 700 Germans." Another bit of info, was a Marine who worked with the OSS, a Captain John hamilton, who was actually the movie actor Sterling Hayden, jumped into Yugoslavia with another Marine and Navy radio operator to provide help and rescue downed Allied pilots and to help Tito's partisans blow up rails and bridges.

Joe

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Post by Delta Tank » 03 Aug 2007 17:55

ritterkreuz1945
ritterkreuz wrote: what he said is that the Marine Corps has a propaganda machine to rival Josef Stalin. He later that same week went to the Marine Corps League's national convention ( being held in Washington ) and apologized, seeing that Marines were dying in Korea at the time, it was a little crass.
Why does the US need a Marine Corps? The simple answer is it doesn't.
But what it does have is a highly trained and disciplined Corps of Marines that do there country's bidding for a lower cost per Marine than the Army spends per soldier. That is the black and white of it.
Below are some facts from the Army Times printed sometime in 1995 in response to some comments made by Major Gibeson (USMC) in the 27 February 1995 edition of the Army Times.

HIDDEN COSTS

Mere twaddle
I have had the fortune to serve with Marines for the past two and a half years during which time I have come to admire the Corps and respect many of its members. Which is why I must hasten to their defense. I fear Maj. Noel Gibeson's Feb. 27 commentary, "Do you want more bang for your buck? Think Marines," is terminally flawed article that will induce most soldiers to conclude that their Marine brothers and sisters are raving lunatics. And such is no the case.
True, Maj. Gibeson trots out the old "bang for the buck" canard and tries to pass it off as fact. This misrepresentation has been easily demolished on many occasions, most recently by Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen in the December 1994 issue of Army magazine ["Would you really rather have a Marine"].
Gen. Kroesen points out that as a part of the naval establishment, the Marine Corps gets a huge budgetary free ride from Navy, even Army appropriations.
[For examples, the Army not only trains Marine artillerymen, air defenders, missilemen and engineers, but also foot the bill. The Army even pays for Marine recruiting stations.]
As Gen. Kroesen notes, when these factors are taken into account, the operation and maintenance costs alone of your average Marine are 25% higher than your average soldier. Factor in all the Marine-related research, development, test and evaluation funds tucked away in the Navy budget and the cost per Marine skyrockets.
It is also true that Maj. Gibeson seems to have overlooked the “minor” fact that the Army is structured much differently than the Marines. Where, for example, would one find Marine heavy divisions? One wouldn’t, of course, because they don’t exist.
Maj. Gibeson glibly proceeds to compare apples to oranges. Few sane people would wonder that a Marine rifle company would be cheaper to field than an Army mechanized company. But what in heaven’s name would anyone hope to prove with such a simplistic comparison?
Maj. Gibeson’s article admittedly has the tenor and bluster more appropriate to a unit “jody” than to a serious publication. Despite the normal service differences, they are very much like us: professional, competent and proud. Yes, there is a certain subspecies of semi-sentient Marine life which is unable to differentiate between institutional myths and reality. Fortunately, this subspecies is small and I am happy to report that the vast majority of Marines understand that the Marine and Army missions are complementary and that comparisons such as Maj. Gibeson’s are mere twaddle
Lt Col. Charles R. Herrick
Spring Valley, Calif.

Another reader responds to Maj. Gibeson.

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM THE ARMY
I question why you chose to print Maj. Noel Gibeson’s commentary. This article can only be calculated to inflame and not inform.
I was professionally appalled at the somewhat stilted conclusions drawn from his study of the fiscal year 1994 operating dollars. Cost-effectiveness has never been one of the principles of war nor has it historically been a harbinger of victory. How then, can he justify his comments?
Maj. Gibeson adroitly points out that the Army puts 234,000 soldiers into operational billets fro a relatively larger share of the Pentagon budget. In sharp contrast, 108,507 Marines cost much less. Once again, apples and oranges. What has been ignored is that the Marine Corps often achieves its leaner cost-effective posture at the expense of the U. S. Navy and Army. Look around camp Lejeune, N. C., or Camp Pendelton, Calif. Notice the tanks, M198 artillery pieces and attack helicopters. . . that’s right they were all developed by the U. S. Army.
Now glance at many of the doctrinal publications available for reference. Once again, the doctrine written by U. S. Army Training and Doctrine Command has been made available for the Marine Corps to borrow from. If that does not seem plausible, thumb through any Marine manual describing intelligence preparation of the battlefield.

Maj. Mark J. Reardon
Fort Bragg, N.C.

There were two more responses to this canard that Marines give you “more bang for the buck”, but I am tired of typing! For full disclosure I am retired from the Army, my daughter is in the Marine Corps (she has a civil engineering degree so she does not need Senator John Kerry’s help) and her husband is in the Army National Guard (he is a mechanical engineer and does need the Senator’s help either) and is currently deployed to Iraq. I would have printed the article by Gen Kroesen but I could not find it on line, but I may have it in the basement. I did keep a copy of this Army Times page, but I do not have the date.

Mike

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