46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

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Aber
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Aber » 19 Feb 2018 23:01

Montgomery cable to Alexander 1800 29 April

56 Division gave very bad showing today under heavy shell fire and I must accept fact that the division has little fighting value at present and will take time to learn.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 22 Feb 2018 18:25

Hi Aber,

Thanks, that's the one I was talking about. Monty was never one to mince his words!

I think I might do a bit of digging into when 56 Div moved to 5th Army and whether 8th Army made an especial effort to help it with training over the next few months.

Regards

Tom

Aber
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Aber » 23 Feb 2018 13:39

New commander Douglas Graham (who had commanded a brigade in 51st Division across North Africa) early May; sent to Libya late May to start amphibious training; Guard Brigade added late July

At least Montgomery didn't insist that they attack again with the same objectives the next day.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 25 Mar 2018 13:04

Aber,

The 29th April date for Monty's acerbic note about 56 Division is interesting. He seems to be referring to the withdrawal of 2/6 Queens (169 Brigade) from their positions under shellfire - but the whole of 167 Brigade was yet to enter the line.

I had always thought that he was referring to the 56 Div attack.

Regards

Tom

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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 25 May 2018 17:59

To indicate the disdain in which the UK 56th Division was regarded by some historians I found this quote in a study on-line (Capture Rate Study Phases I and II)

http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/pdf/e-4epw1and2final.pdf
[For the Italian Data]...most of the British data comes from the 46th and 56th Infantry Divisions. Trevor Dupuy's studies indicated that these divisions performed particularly poorly.
Regards

Tom

Aber
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Aber » 26 May 2018 07:54

Tom from Cornwall wrote:To indicate the disdain in which the UK 56th Division was regarded by some historians I found this quote in a study on-line (Capture Rate Study Phases I and II)

http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/pdf/e-4epw1and2final.pdf
I'll do some digging, but this document published in 2000 also says:
In the process of reviewing the Italian engagement records, TDI ended up modifying some of them. Some engagement records were changed as a result of identifying more complete sources and correcting some errors in the original work. Consequently, all of the Salerno engagements were corrected and British casualties for most of the engagements were recalculated.

Because some data accuracy problems were encountered in the original HERO data, this research effort turned out to be broader, more detailed, and more time consuming than originally expected. Therefore, TDI went through all the German Army and Corps records for the entire Italian Campaign and through many of the US Army records for the campaign.
The original Dupuy data was reviewed in 1987 by an independent team of historians who found different historic data eg

56th Division (9-11 Sept) casualties 1,154 vs reviewed 763
56th Division (12-15 Sept) casualties 1,639 vs reviewed 900
56th Division (17-18 Sept) casualties 300 vs reviewed 391

46th Division (9-11 Sept) casualties 1,530 vs reviewed 704
46th Division (12-15 Sept) casualties 1,164 vs reviewed 1,095

Therefore the original Dupuy conclusions on realative divisional performance may not stand up.

The other 56th Division engagements in the database are:
Capua 13 October 1943
Monte Grande 16-17 October 1943
Monte Camino 5-7 November 1943
Monte Camino 8-10 November 1943
Monte Camino 2-6 December 1943
so the assessment of their performance is based mostly on Salerno and Monte Camino.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 26 May 2018 10:44

Aber,

Thanks. That's interesting.

I also have noted a discrepancy in the description of the performance of 56 Division at the Moletta River in the Anzio bridgehead on 16 - 19 Feb 44 as described by the respective US and British Official Histories.

Salerno to Cassino, Martin Blumenson (1969), p.420
Against the British, the diversionary attack of the 4th Parachute Division [on 16 Feb 44] had greater success, breaking through the 56th Division front and plunging forward for nearly two miles until it was stopped by British reserves.
The Mediterranean and the Middle East, Volume V, Molony, (1973), pp.745
West of the Via Anziate parts of 4th Parachute and 65th Infantry Divisions infiltrated into 167th Brigade's positions south of Buonriposo ridge but could not break through. In short, from the German point of view 6th U.S. Corps' main defences had nowhere been breached.
I think it is also worth noting that d'Este's description of the 56th Division in his "Fatal Decision" on p.240 at this time [17 Feb 44] as "the fresh 56th Division" is very much wide of the mark. Not only had 168 Bde been fighting independently of the rest of the division at Anzio since the beginning of Feb but the Division as a whole is well described by Molony as "battle-worn" [p.744] after it's operations at the Garigliano in January 1944 and it's third Brigade (169 Bde) was not even to arrive at the Anzio bridgehead until after the German Fischfang offensive had been defeated.

The historical fact of the defeat of the Germans at the Moletta also seems to call into question the assessment of the respective attacker's and defender's mission accomplishment in the Dupuy study:

Winner: Attacker (Ger 65th Inf Div) as Outcome was: "attack advances". With Attacker achieving Mission Accomplishment score of 7 and Defender achieving Mission Accomplishment score of 5.

Regards

Tom

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 26 May 2018 10:52

I've had a look at WO170/628 - war diary for 168 Bde for 16 and 17 Feb and it appears that only two companies of the London Irish Rifles were actually committed to support 167 Bde at this point and then only on 17 Feb.

Regards

Tom

Aber
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Aber » 26 May 2018 14:11

Part of Dupuy's performance assessment is based on his fighting power calculation. For Moletta River II he credits 56th Division with:
9761 men
243 rifle squads
203 anti-tank weapons
59 tanks
185 artillery pieces
0 mortars

and gives casualties as 1693


Dupuy's narrative:

On 16 February 1944, the British 56th Division, with the 167th Brigade in the line, was the target for a diversionary German attack designed to draw Allied attention away from the main effort to break the Anzio bridgehead, made against the US 45th Division. The 56th Division had come ashore in early February, and on 14 February it relieved the British 1st Infantry Division in defensive positions along the Moletta River on the left flank of the bridgehead.

The German 4th Parachute and 65th Infantry Divisions attacked at dawn on 16 February and, surprising the defenders, broke through the lines and advanced rapidly. The attackers mission was simply to pin down the British but their sudden success created a major threat to the Allied beachhead. However, having planned to make the main effort along the Anzio-Albano road, the German command did not have available reserves to exploit this success.

The attack was eventually stopped on the first day by reserve elements of the 56th Division. Three more days of hard fighting followed, and the British regained some lost ground before the German counterattack was finally called off.

Significance: The Germans achieved more than their objective of diverting Allied forces from the area of their main counteroffensive but did not have the resources to exploit their unexpected success. The British mounted firm enough defence to halt them and thus contributed to the failure of the German attempt to drive the Allies off the beach.

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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Richard Anderson » 26 May 2018 15:23

Tom from Cornwall wrote:To indicate the disdain in which the UK 56th Division was regarded by some historians I found this quote in a study on-line (Capture Rate Study Phases I and II)
I'm not sure "disdain" is the correct word? The report simply described the assessment of the two divisions (albeit that of the 46th was not really correct, see below).

The 56th Division assessment was built partly on incorrect data. Since at least three of the six engagements nearly doubled British casualties and that is a strong component of score effectiveness, which helps determine CEV, the average weighted CEV score for the division should probably be higher than the 0.60 for nine engagements as recorded in NPW. Unfortunately, we were never funded to rework the data base.

Nor was the report correct in stating that the 46th Division was assessed as performing "particularly poorly"...it scored 0.96, better than the other four divisions, better than six of the seven U.S. divisions, and better than three of the 12 German divisions, while nearly matching two of the other German divisions.
Last edited by Richard Anderson on 26 May 2018 15:36, edited 1 time in total.
"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: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Richard Anderson » 26 May 2018 15:33

Aber wrote:The original Dupuy data was reviewed in 1987 by an independent team of historians who found different historic data eg
I've never been described as a "team" before...I must have put on more weight than I imagined. :lol:
Therefore the original Dupuy conclusions on realative divisional performance may not stand up.
They would certainly shift somewhat. The performance assessment of both divisions would also likely change if the Garigliano was included in the engagements. In the same way, the assessment of the U.S. 36th ID would shift of the Rapido was included.
so the assessment of their performance is based mostly on Salerno and Monte Camino.
Yes, one of the problems with the database is it is selective rather than truly random, but then assessing inactive periods between battles might not tell much, and analyzing engagements is expensive and was rarely funded (it's still occasionally surprising to me just how much lack of interest the military has in using operations research to actually research operations in order to derive performance assessments).
"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

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 26 May 2018 16:10

Aber,

Where did you find that narrative? There is a lot in it that seems wrong to me.
The 56th Division had come ashore in early February, and on 14 February it relieved the British 1st Infantry Division in defensive positions along the Moletta River on the left flank of the bridgehead.
Only one Brigade (168) came ashore in early Feb, and it suffered terribly during the next 10 days. The second Brigade of 56 Div (167) only came ashore just before the German attack and the third did not arrive until after the German attack had been defeated.
The attack was eventually stopped on the first day by reserve elements of the 56th Division
Not according to 168 Bde War Diary - which was the reserve. To be fair there was a tank unit in support of 56 Division and I'm not sure if it played a role on 16 Feb.
Significance: The Germans achieved more than their objective of diverting Allied forces from the area of their main counteroffensive
I'm not sure the German attack "diverted" any Allied forces from the area of their main counteroffensive.
The British mounted firm enough defence to halt them
Yep, that seems right - does that not indicate that it was a defensive success?

Regards

Tom

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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Aber » 26 May 2018 22:27

Dupuy Associates did some studies for the Pentagon (US Army Concepts Agency) in the early 1980s which were later declassified. Richard Anderson can tell you in far more detail.

Following on from Numbers, Predictions and War as far as I can tell it was an attempt to produce battle statistics covering warfare from 1600 onwards, using his WW2 numbers plus collecting data about other periods. This volume is the basic data about WW2 engagements

http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADB087721

When the Pentagon did the analysis, they highlighted issues which generated other reports. One key point was computerised analysis threw up a lot of outlier results in the WW2 data, and they commissioned other historians (lead by Charles B MacDonald) to independently produce their own statistics for certain battles.

Salerno - Volturno
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a195726.pdf

Anzio-Rome
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a195382.pdf

The report you found seems to be a later iteration of work (mostly done by Richard Anderson) which included reworking the Italy data as I understand there were poor records for where the data included in NPW came from.

I stumbled upon some in the DTIC reports available online a few years ago, and dug around.

Together with reading NPW, it convinced me that although there was a lot of useful analysis there, the evidence for the conclusions was weaker than it appeared.

Have fun...

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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 May 2018 05:29

Aber wrote:Dupuy Associates did some studies for the Pentagon (US Army Concepts Agency) in the early 1980s which were later declassified. Richard Anderson can tell you in far more detail.
Details? Ugh, its complicated. For one thing, the CEV comparisons are from NPW and the work that was done c. 1969-1977. The work I did in revising the data in the engagements, was c. 1997. However, we were not revising the QJM/TNDM engagements, we revised the data. Redoing the engagements is time consuming and the analysis of the results can be even more so.
Following on from Numbers, Predictions and War as far as I can tell it was an attempt to produce battle statistics covering warfare from 1600 onwards, using his WW2 numbers plus collecting data about other periods. This volume is the basic data about WW2 engagements

http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADB087721
That is the oldest and most imperfect version of the Land Warfare Database, which was in essence an update of Bodart's Kriegslexikon.
When the Pentagon did the analysis, they highlighted issues which generated other reports. One key point was computerised analysis threw up a lot of outlier results in the WW2 data, and they commissioned other historians (lead by Charles B MacDonald) to independently produce their own statistics for certain battles.
The Pentagon never did any "analysis" of the data. What they did, in various iterations of ever growing silliness, is nitpick the numbers.
Oh dear God, LFW Management Associates again... :roll: Somewhere I think I still have a copy of the assessment I made of their preliminary report on the ACW battles. Let me just say that the depth of their analysis was matched by the depth of their research. :lol:
The report you found seems to be a later iteration of work (mostly done by Richard Anderson) which included reworking the Italy data as I understand there were poor records for where the data included in NPW came from.

I stumbled upon some in the DTIC reports available online a few years ago, and dug around.

Together with reading NPW, it convinced me that although there was a lot of useful analysis there, the evidence for the conclusions was weaker than it appeared.
Again, NPW, the LWDB, and the later expanded and corrected data bases created after Trevor's death are all very different animals. So comparing them or assuming a conclusion from one applies to another is asking a bit much. Simply put, since no QJM/TNDM analysis of the later work was ever done, there is no way to know how the conclusions based upon such analysis might have changed. Chris summarized the different data bases just yesterday in a blog. http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/blog/2018 ... 7-article/
Have fun...
Indeed. :lol:
"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

Aber
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Re: 46 and 56 British Infantry Division at Salerno

Post by Aber » 27 May 2018 07:20

Richard Anderson wrote:
The Pentagon never did any "analysis" of the data. What they did, in various iterations of ever growing silliness, is nitpick the numbers.
Well they did produce this:
Graph of anomalies.PNG
:)
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