Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

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losna
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Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby losna » 01 May 2017 21:37

As from the title, I was wondering about which were the major Allied advantages in France and Italy, and how the Anglo-Americans managed to defeat so badly the Wehrmacht, being never kicked back into the sea after an amphibious attack, even in 1943 when the Bomber Offensive did not have kicked in as in 1944.
I've supposed that the major advantage was the air superiority, and in second place the powerful American artillery, but these are only suppositions and I'd be glad to read well argumented opinions.
I'd particurarly like quantitative data.
Cheers

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Stephan » 13 May 2017 19:17

Yes, air and artillery, including much more ammo usually available were the great advantages...

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Sheldrake » 13 May 2017 21:55

losna wrote:I've supposed that the major advantage was the air superiority, and in second place the powerful American artillery, but these are only suppositions and I'd be glad to read well argumented opinions.
I'd particurarly like quantitative data.
Cheers


Well for a start you could read something about the British Artillery which was every bit as powerful as the American and had added bonus of command by the observer. Read Nigel Evan's work here http://nigelef.tripod.com/

Air superiority mattered, as did firepower. Bit the allies also developed effective tactics to face the Germans and mobilized the citizen armies to win.

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Stephan » 14 May 2017 08:59

Interesting is reading Eisenhowers book Crusade in Europe, and especielly the part about campain in Africa, reading some between the lines. At the moment of landing, the americans had rather heavy fights with the french defencers, with hundreds of killed and wounded on both sides.

Later on, when they got the french as allied against the germans, the french were a third grade fighters against the germans. They couldnt hold their own even in good defensive circumstances, and needed extra help from the british or americans... In part because of obsolete weapons, but it surely wasnt the whole truth.
And from this (and also other hints we get there) we understand the Americans werent no equal match to the germans, not in 1942 -1943. Although they quickly learned to be better later on later on 1943 onwards.

How much of it continued, I dont know. Possibly they never become fully equal, soldier to soldier.
Last edited by Stephan on 14 May 2017 18:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Stephan » 14 May 2017 09:03

Another plus the americans had, was they could almost always send the fully prepared first grade divisions. (even if they had to send many of the best to the Pacific too). I mean, much of the USA forces never participated in active real fighting. While the germans were forced to use practically every troops to frontline duty.

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby losna » 16 May 2017 10:58

Thanks y ' all.

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Sheldrake » 16 May 2017 11:35

Stephan wrote:Another plus the americans had, was they could almost always send the fully prepared first grade divisions. (even if they had to send many of the best to the Pacific too). I mean, much of the USA forces never participated in active real fighting. While the germans were forced to use practically every troops to frontline duty.


Hmm that depends....

Many American formations lost more men that than their entire t&OE strength. Look at the table "Battle casualties by theater, organization, type, and disposition: 7 December 1941-31 December 1946" in page 80 of this report http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref ... ganization

The 1st, 3,4,9th and 90th Infantry divisions lost well over 100% of their total strength. When you consider that 80% of casualties were suffered by C 5400 members of the rifle companies of the infantry Regiments the rifle companies had been replaced four or five times over in the two and a half years of combat. The remainder of these formations was by contrast, highly experienced in a series of successful operations. These formations were some of the most experienced US formations, which had been in the MTO or ETO since 1943.

The bulk of the US Army was only able to deploy from mid 1944 when French ports became available to land troops en masse. These formations were very green when they arrived and took a while for their command teams to learn what to do well. Many did not have the peopel they had trained with. The Americans had a shortage of infantry replacements in mid 1944. They stripped many of the formations in the US low down on the shipping list such as 106th Division of soldiers who had originally formed that unit and sent them as battle casualty replacements - the worst and most dangerous job. The US Army did not handle this well.

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby JonS2 » 26 Jun 2017 10:29

which were the major Allied advantages

Um ... all of them?

Seriously. The Allies had the wood on the Germans in every realm of the military art. Logistics, medicine, fire support, strategy, intelligence, tactics, ... you name it, the Allies did it better.

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Kingfish » 26 Jun 2017 14:22

JonS2 wrote:
which were the major Allied advantages

Um ... all of them?

Seriously. The Allies had the wood on the Germans in every realm of the military art. Logistics, medicine, fire support, strategy, intelligence, tactics, ... you name it, the Allies did it better.


But the Germans rocked the monocle look
You gotta give them that
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Sheldrake » 26 Jun 2017 14:57

Stephan wrote:Later on, when they got the french as allied against the germans, the french were a third grade fighters against the germans. They couldnt hold their own even in good defensive circumstances, and needed extra help from the british or americans... In part because of obsolete weapons, but it surely wasnt the whole truth.


Not sure what you mean by "later". The French Expeditionary Force that fought in Italy was some of the best light infantry around, needing no help from the British or Americans to break the Gustav line.

The qualities of soldiers and units varied with training and experience. The Germans maintained an edge in low level leadership because of their thorough NCO and Officer training combined with a tactical doctrine which was designed to take advantage of well trained and motivated junior leaders.

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Kingfish » 26 Jun 2017 15:32

Sheldrake wrote:Not sure what you mean by "later". The French Expeditionary Force that fought in Italy was some of the best light infantry around, needing no help from the British or Americans to break the Gustav line.


And of course there is Bir Hakeim
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Richard Anderson » 26 Jun 2017 17:51

Sheldrake wrote:Many American formations lost more men that than their entire t&OE strength. Look at the table "Battle casualties by theater, organization, type, and disposition: 7 December 1941-31 December 1946" in page 80 of this report http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref ... ganization

The 1st, 3,4,9th and 90th Infantry divisions lost well over 100% of their total strength. When you consider that 80% of casualties were suffered by C 5400 members of the rifle companies of the infantry Regiments the rifle companies had been replaced four or five times over in the two and a half years of combat. The remainder of these formations was by contrast, highly experienced in a series of successful operations. These formations were some of the most experienced US formations, which had been in the MTO or ETO since 1943.


Sorry Sheldrake, I missed this when posted, thus the late commentary.

It was actually worse than you painted it. Only the 1st and 3d ID in that list were "experienced formations" in the "MTO or ETO since 1943". For the 9th ID, except for DIVARTY it experienced two weeks of combat in Tunisia and its various regiments, mostly attached to other divisions, experienced about four weeks of combat in Sicily. For the 4th and 90th ID, their combat began when they landed in Normandy, so just under 11 months in total for each. For the 90th ID, its first 22 days in Normandy were simply horrific, the division, with just seven infantry battalions operational for much of the period, suffered approximately 3,507 battle and non-battle casualties and received 3,596 replacements.

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Stephan » 26 Jun 2017 20:01

Sheldrake wrote:
Stephan wrote:Later on, when they got the french as allied against the germans, the french were a third grade fighters against the germans. They couldnt hold their own even in good defensive circumstances, and needed extra help from the british or americans... In part because of obsolete weapons, but it surely wasnt the whole truth.


Not sure what you mean by "later". The French Expeditionary Force that fought in Italy was some of the best light infantry around, needing no help from the British or Americans to break the Gustav line.

The qualities of soldiers and units varied with training and experience. The Germans maintained an edge in low level leadership because of their thorough NCO and Officer training combined with a tactical doctrine which was designed to take advantage of well trained and motivated junior leaders.


Here, with later I mean still in Africa, when the american offensive against germans come alive.

Re the Italy campaign. I know many of the french troops there were "indigenous" soldiers, or "colored" with the then used vocabulary. I wonder if it werent these you talk about??

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby Stephan » 26 Jun 2017 20:15

Sheldrake wrote:
Stephan wrote:Another plus the americans had, was they could almost always send the fully prepared first grade divisions. (even if they had to send many of the best to the Pacific too). I mean, much of the USA forces never participated in active real fighting. While the germans were forced to use practically every troops to frontline duty.


Hmm that depends....

Many American formations lost more men that than their entire t&OE strength. Look at the table "Battle casualties by theater, organization, type, and disposition: 7 December 1941-31 December 1946" in page 80 of this report http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref ... ganization

The 1st, 3,4,9th and 90th Infantry divisions lost well over 100% of their total strength. When you consider that 80% of casualties were suffered by C 5400 members of the rifle companies of the infantry Regiments the rifle companies had been replaced four or five times over in the two and a half years of combat. The remainder of these formations was by contrast, highly experienced in a series of successful operations. These formations were some of the most experienced US formations, which had been in the MTO or ETO since 1943.

The bulk of the US Army was only able to deploy from mid 1944 when French ports became available to land troops en masse. These formations were very green when they arrived and took a while for their command teams to learn what to do well. Many did not have the peopel they had trained with. The Americans had a shortage of infantry replacements in mid 1944. They stripped many of the formations in the US low down on the shipping list such as 106th Division of soldiers who had originally formed that unit and sent them as battle casualty replacements - the worst and most dangerous job. The US Army did not handle this well.



That may be so. Yet reading about the ww2, many authors tells other tales, ie about a big part of the army never participating in actual fightings.

ONE such comparison was Anna Larsdotter giving a reflection about women soldiers: If they didnt participated in actual fighting actually firing weapons sharp, they usually werent counted as soldiers. Woman auxiliary or Help Mädchen they were. The Soviets as the only real exception.
But such details were never ever put to men. Once they were in the army and got uniforms, they were counted as soldiers, had veterans rights, leave money, etc etc... As example it was given most of the americans soldiers were never in fight.

I think Eisenhower hints it too... The army in Europe counted in millions, but its easy to count the actual field divisions were just a part of it. AND not all in the field divisions actually participated in hot fights...

Sorry, I dont have the numbers afresh in my head, just memories of what I read.

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Re: Which were the main Allied advantages on the Western front?

Postby JonS2 » 27 Jun 2017 00:35

Yes, the Westerm Allies devoted proportionately more men to CS and CSS (and HSS) roles than other militaries did. Many significant advantages accrued to them from this. This is not a new insight.


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