Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

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DerGiLLster
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Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by DerGiLLster » 26 Sep 2018 03:52

I recall that during the liberation of France, the US Army had created the Red Ball express to solve such transport costs. Did American troops use the railroads at all? Or were they just static for the rest of war? If they did use it, how often and what were they used for?

Now what did the Red Ball express transport? Anything beside military goods? Did it get tied up supplying food for French civilians and German POWs? I remember reading somewhere that the US had a lot of trouble supplying gasoline due to harbor port restrictions.

Also were all the 91 divisions in France motorized?

Sorry if my post doesn't make any sense. Do you any other threads that have covered this subject?

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Sheldrake
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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by Sheldrake » 26 Sep 2018 09:22

DerGiLLster wrote:
26 Sep 2018 03:52
I recall that during the liberation of France, the US Army had created the Red Ball express to solve such transport costs. Did American troops use the railroads at all? Or were they just static for the rest of war? If they did use it, how often and what were they used for?

Now what did the Red Ball express transport? Anything beside military goods? Did it get tied up supplying food for French civilians and German POWs? I remember reading somewhere that the US had a lot of trouble supplying gasoline due to harbor port restrictions.

Also were all the 91 divisions in France motorized?

Sorry if my post doesn't make any sense. Do you any other threads that have covered this subject?
Logistics isn't as popular a topic as tactics or tanks ;)

Much of what you are looking for is here

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... cs2-5.html

Volume one has nopt been completely digitized and what you need is in chaptyers XII to XIV
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-E-Logistics1/

To quote the first reference
"While motor transport operated with greater and greater efficiency and gave a much-desired flexibility to the theater's transportation system, it constituted no substitute for the railways in the sustained movement of large tonnages over great distances. In the long run the railroad was the main workhorse of the transportation system, handling the great bulk of the tonnages."

The biggest problem facign the railway engineers was repairign the damage inflicted by the airforces ;)

Art
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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by Art » 26 Sep 2018 10:27

DerGiLLster wrote:
26 Sep 2018 03:52
Also were all the 91 divisions in France motorized?
How many? US army didn't have 91 division in France. At VE day they had only about 60 armored, infantry and airborne divisions in Western Europe. All US divisions were motorized in a sense that they employed motor vehicles to transport supply and weapons. Still, infantry in normal infantry divisions was supposed to march on foot.

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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by OpanaPointer » 26 Sep 2018 16:00

Walking to work, then getting shot at when you get there. Just one more reason I joined the Navy. We went to war with clean sheets and ice cream machines. :P
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Sheldrake
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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by Sheldrake » 26 Sep 2018 18:24

Art wrote:
26 Sep 2018 10:27
DerGiLLster wrote:
26 Sep 2018 03:52
Also were all the 91 divisions in France motorized?
How many? US army didn't have 91 division in France. At VE day they had only about 60 armored, infantry and airborne divisions in Western Europe. All US divisions were motorized in a sense that they employed motor vehicles to transport supply and weapons. Still, infantry in normal infantry divisions was supposed to march on foot.
The US were part of an Allied force.

The Allies were (almost) 100% motorised to the extent that, unlike the Germans they did not rely on animal transport, except for specialised mountain units such as the French Algerian and Moroccan Divisions. Animal transport places a severe restriction on logistics and needs a rail head close to the front. The Germans could not improvise the Red Ball express.

Neither the British nor the US Army provided enough motor vehicles to move all of its troops at once. Sure all troops in armoured formations coudl move, but infantry and much of the AAA would tend to move between positions or fights. And an infantry advance would be led on foot.

Gary Kennedy
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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by Gary Kennedy » 26 Sep 2018 20:36

I'd also recommend the US Army Order of Battle for the ETO re Divs in Europe, available as a download from CARL -

http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/ ... l8/id/4079

In brief the US Army had 42 Inf Divs, 15 Armd Divs and 3 Abn Divs serve in the ETO (France, Belgium, Holland and Germany and Austria) during the course of the 1944-45 campaign. There were also 6 Inf Divs (including 1 Mtn) and 1 Armd Div that served exclusively in Italy. (Some US Divs served in Italy and then transferred over to the ETO).

I've never found a good summary of the US Inf Divs that served in the Pacific; by my count there were 19 Inf, 1 Cav and 1 Abn Div, but that's from a very old list I haven't looked at for a while.

Gary

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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 Sep 2018 06:34

Gary Kennedy wrote:
26 Sep 2018 20:36
...
I've never found a good summary of the US Inf Divs that served in the Pacific; by my count there were 19 Inf, 1 Cav and 1 Abn Div, but that's from a very old list I haven't looked at for a while.

Gary
Stauntons OB of the US Army in WWII might be worth a look. Includes deployment of the independent regiments, and some of the other smaller units.

Aber
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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by Aber » 27 Sep 2018 08:28

Sheldrake wrote:
26 Sep 2018 09:22


Logistics isn't as popular a topic as tactics or tanks ;)

Much of what you are looking for is here

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... cs2-5.html

Volume one has nopt been completely digitized and what you need is in chaptyers XII to XIV
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-E-Logistics1/
See also Boston Public Library downloads

https://archive.org/details/logisticalsuppor11rupp

Knouterer
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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by Knouterer » 01 Oct 2018 11:31

The Transportation Corps took delivery of 7,570 locomotives and 95,290 railway cars of various types in 1942-45, and quite a few were shipped to NW Europe. The railroad infrastructure in northern France and Belgium was of course largely destroyed by the Allied air forces, the resistance and the retreating Germans. US Army units earmarked for railroad construction included five engineer general service regiments, three engineer dump truck companies and one engineer heavy ponton battalion. More units were assigned later. They used mostly British tracks and railroad bridges. Work began (at Carentan) on 17 June. The first military train (loaded with gasoline) reached Le Mans on 17 August, followed by thirty more at half-hour intervals. Versailles was reached by 28 August.
Fifty days after the breakout at St. Lo the rail net in the Third Army sector extended to Verdun on the Metz line and to Toul on the line to Nancy. In the First Army sector the line was open from Paris northeast through Soissons-Charleroi-Liège.
Map from The Corps of Engineers: The War Against Germany by Alfred M. Beck et al.:
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Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 01 Oct 2018 16:14

Actually the railway infrastructure in Belgium wasn’t widely damaged by Allied bombing - not in the 21 Army Group zone anyway. I can dig out some references if you like, but I seem to recall that the major problem was building railway bridges over the Seine which did not interfere with river traffic up to Rouen and beyond. There was a long tetchy conversation between 21 Armg Grop and SHAEF over the issue.
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Tom

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Andy H
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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by Andy H » 02 Oct 2018 15:20

DerGiLLster wrote:
26 Sep 2018 03:52
I recall that during the liberation of France, the US Army had created the Red Ball express to solve such transport costs. Did American troops use the railroads at all? Or were they just static for the rest of war? If they did use it, how often and what were they used for?

Now what did the Red Ball express transport? Anything beside military goods? Did it get tied up supplying food for French civilians and German POWs? I remember reading somewhere that the US had a lot of trouble supplying gasoline due to harbor port restrictions.

Also were all the 91 divisions in France motorized?

Sorry if my post doesn't make any sense. Do you any other threads that have covered this subject?
Hi DerGiLLster

By mid October'44 over 20,000 railway cars, 1300 locomotives had crossed the Channel into France.
Of those, some 11,288 cars and 702 locomotives by LST & LCT

As an example of what the US ROB units did, in Marseeilles they opened up the line to Lyon in just 5weeks and delivered 415,404 nett tons using 32,951 carloads in 716 train movements.

The Allies used the railways for all manner of things, inc moving German POW to the Channel ports for onward journeys west.

The Red Ball express delivered at its peak 8,500 tons daily to Patton 3rd Army, the equivelent of 15 French frieght trains. The US ROB's started a Toot Sweet Special which carried twice the amount of the Red Ball with little exertion upon the network.

Source: Steel Rials to Victory by Ron Ziel

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Did the US Army use railroads in the Liberation of France?

Post by PZ38t » 29 Dec 2018 22:19

love the one way traffic in red ball express map - could do same for many small railroad lines to troops - note that its 8500 ton max to third Army equal to 15 trains! shows why trains win every time

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