British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
Richard Anderson
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 May 2021 05:09

daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 May 2021 04:56
That's all interesting detail, counselor, but if you'll read the statement, you'll note that it does not "say" the ~14,000 (caveated) were all on the beach. The rest of your information is just that, and does nothing to address why the British insisted on using infantry battalions for beach duties, when the Americans and even the Australians did not.
No, sorry, you did not say anything about "beaches" and neither did I. What you did say was "Six [ESB] - each of about 14,000 officers and men, so the equivalent of an infantry division - were formed during WW II". That is quite simply incorrect. The T/O&E of the ESB "formed during World War II" were nothing like that strong, even counting attachments.
But you be you.
And you be you. Wow man, that's really heavy.
And, along those lines:

Nor was it the 27th NCT, it was the 25th,28th Navy Construction Battalion (NCB) (provided construction elements to Drew units), 81st NCB (operate RHF, RHT and RWT, constructed and operated naval base camps at UTAH), 108th NCB (assembled and operated MULBERRY “A” at OMAHA), 111th NCB (operated RHF, RHT and RWT, constructed and operated naval base camps at OMAHA), 146th NCB (constructed, operated and maintained petroleum, oil and lubricants installations at UTAH and OMAHA)and 1006th NCB (Det) (constructed and operated causeways at OMAHA and UTAH). Note also it was not "five full Seabee battalions", the 1006th was present as a detachment, while the rest of the battalion remained in Blighty."

By the way, sorry, but what's an "NCT," professor? Do you perhaps mean an NCR?
Why, yes, I did, but that pesky R key is right next to the T key...and if that's the only "argument" you got then you are being you, so back to ignore for you dude.
And as far as the NCBs go, let's see - 28th, 81st, 108th, 111th, 146th ... him. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... or: I, II, III, IV, V ... or, uno, dos, treis, quatro, cinco, woolly bully...

Looks like five.
Damn, what a score. Buh-bye dude.
"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: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 17 May 2021 05:14

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 May 2021 05:09

Why, yes, I did, but that pesky R key is right next to the T key...and if that's the only "argument" you got then you are being you, so back to ignore for you dude.
Oh, say it ain't so! ... .quelle horreur[!/i]

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 17 May 2021 07:06

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
06 May 2021 11:47
[
Hi...

Sorry to butt in..

Just wanted to point out that apart from those 4 battalions lost in a sector of NO consequence, the British lost the precious LRDG squadrons too ... What a waste of irreplaceable talent and experience, when these LRDG squadrons went in the bag!

Cheers
Sandeep
Interesting point; absent the question of the lost German troopship, throwing away four infantry battalions AND elite special operations types in - as you say - a "sector of no consequence," isn't the best use of manpower, is it?

Of course, given the losses the Allied forces suffered in the 1942-43 Arakan offensive, not an example found only in the MTO in the same year. Better than 10,000 Allied KIA, wounded, and missing (not including the Italians, of course) in two separate and equally failed campaigns, the second beginning about three months after the previous one had ended,,,

At that rate, not really surprising the British ran short of infantry replacements in 1944.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 17 May 2021 08:22

daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 22:28
Feel free to provide links to records showing the personnel strength of the following battalions in the third and fourth quarters of 1944. According to Joslyn they existed, were on the Continent, saw action, and were not "in suspended animation" or any other odd designation that he used.
Yawn, treat yourself, or even better try an internet search it should only take you a few minutes:
Here is some details on the 2nd Bn, Hertfordshire Regiment:


2nd Battalion, The Hertfordshire Regiment, The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (T.A.)

162nd Infantry Brigade – 5 September 1939 to 17 September 1942
73rd Infantry Brigade – 22 September 1942 to 8 December 1942
198th Infantry Brigade – 9 December 1942 to 23 August 1943
The battalion was raised from the Nos. 1 and 2 Companies of the 1st Battalion, which were located at St. Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead. Its first officer was commissioned from 1st Battalion on August 9th, 1939. In the early months of the war the battalion was engaged in defence duties in East Anglia. It moved to Northumberland in January 1940. It then served on coast defence on the Northumberland coast from June 1940 until August 1943. It was located at Cheltenham, Thame, Southwald, Woodbridge, Loue, Bodmin and Ipswich. It was deployed on an anti-invasion role until the end of 1942. In July 1943 the battalion was training as infantry in close support of the new armour of the 79th Armoured Division.

21st Army Group – 23 August 1943 to 21 August 1944
On August 23rd, 1943 the battalion moved to Scotland to the Combined Operations Training Centre at Dundonald, Gailes and Inverary to become the infantry element of the No. 9 Beach Group It spent the next three months forming the sub-units of the No. 9 Beach Group into a cohesive unit. It did exercises in January 1944 at Gullane in the Firth of Forth. In March 1944, No. 9 Beach Group was designated to land with the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division and moved to Studland Bay, Bournemouth area and Hayling Island in the south for rehersals of its role. It concentrated at Winchester in May 1944 and broke down into loads in the Southampton Area. The battalion embarked on June 5th, 1944 at Southampton.
It landed on June 6th, 1944 as part of the 104th Beach Sub-Area at La Riviere, Normandy. It served on the beach unloading stores until July 14th, 1944, when it moved one and a half miles inland to Ver-sur-Mer. It was then announced that it would be used for infantry reinforcements. It was placed into suspended animation on August 17th, disbanded on August 21st. By August 31st, 1944 the last of the men had left the unit.
I’ll let you look for the others! :roll:

Regards

Tom
Last edited by Tom from Cornwall on 17 May 2021 11:25, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 17 May 2021 11:24

Here would a good place to start (try Google, its amazing!):

http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/8t ... ent.72429/

Note that first post:
Hi everyone. Does anyone know anything at all about the Liverpool Irish on D-Day. My dad Joseph Smith was with the 8th Irish on D-Day, and landed on Juno beach at Mike Green near the village of Grey Sur Mer, along with Canadian forces, namely the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. I've been told that the Liverpool Irish were part of the 7th beach group, but I'm not sure. Is this right ? If so what was the beach groups job. My dad stayed on Juno for 6 weeks before his battalion was disbanded. He was transferred to the 1st Batt The Royal Ulster Rifles.
Regards

Tom

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 May 2021 05:43

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
17 May 2021 08:22
daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 22:28
Feel free to provide links to records showing the personnel strength of the following battalions in the third and fourth quarters of 1944. According to Joslyn they existed, were on the Continent, saw action, and were not "in suspended animation" or any other odd designation that he used.
Yawn, treat yourself, or even better try an internet search it should only take you a few minutes:
Here is some details on the 2nd Bn, Hertfordshire Regiment:


2nd Battalion, The Hertfordshire Regiment, The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (T.A.)

162nd Infantry Brigade – 5 September 1939 to 17 September 1942
73rd Infantry Brigade – 22 September 1942 to 8 December 1942
198th Infantry Brigade – 9 December 1942 to 23 August 1943
The battalion was raised from the Nos. 1 and 2 Companies of the 1st Battalion, which were located at St. Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead. Its first officer was commissioned from 1st Battalion on August 9th, 1939. In the early months of the war the battalion was engaged in defence duties in East Anglia. It moved to Northumberland in January 1940. It then served on coast defence on the Northumberland coast from June 1940 until August 1943. It was located at Cheltenham, Thame, Southwald, Woodbridge, Loue, Bodmin and Ipswich. It was deployed on an anti-invasion role until the end of 1942. In July 1943 the battalion was training as infantry in close support of the new armour of the 79th Armoured Division.

21st Army Group – 23 August 1943 to 21 August 1944
On August 23rd, 1943 the battalion moved to Scotland to the Combined Operations Training Centre at Dundonald, Gailes and Inverary to become the infantry element of the No. 9 Beach Group It spent the next three months forming the sub-units of the No. 9 Beach Group into a cohesive unit. It did exercises in January 1944 at Gullane in the Firth of Forth. In March 1944, No. 9 Beach Group was designated to land with the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division and moved to Studland Bay, Bournemouth area and Hayling Island in the south for rehersals of its role. It concentrated at Winchester in May 1944 and broke down into loads in the Southampton Area. The battalion embarked on June 5th, 1944 at Southampton.
It landed on June 6th, 1944 as part of the 104th Beach Sub-Area at La Riviere, Normandy. It served on the beach unloading stores until July 14th, 1944, when it moved one and a half miles inland to Ver-sur-Mer. It was then announced that it would be used for infantry reinforcements. It was placed into suspended animation on August 17th, disbanded on August 21st. By August 31st, 1944 the last of the men had left the unit.
I’ll let you look for the others! :roll:

Regards

Tom
Nothing there refutes the point this battalion was trained infantry, was diverted to a role the other Allied powers didn't use infantry for (during which, presumably, it didn't have much time to continue to train as infantry), and then was disbanded and the individuals were drafted into the replacement pool. So much for unit cohesion. The same point was made many posts ago.

Again, the British made many questionable choices when it came to infantry manpower (and manpower generally) in 1943-45. Using infantry for beach battalions was simply one of many.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 May 2021 11:48

Hi daveshoup,

You post of the Italian Campaign in 1943-44, "Well, except for the KIA, missing, POWs, and WIA beyond recovery. Small thing, that..."

You seem to want the British Army to fight the war without taking any operational risks and even avoiding combat for an entire year altogether!

Nobody is denying that the Aegean Campaign in late 1943 was a failure. However, you clearly need to do a lot more reading as to why it was attempted and why it failed. There was a lot more in play than just a few minor Aegean Islands.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 18 May 2021 19:22

daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 22:28
Feel free to provide links to records showing the personnel strength of the following battalions in the third and fourth quarters of 1944.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 May 2021 05:43
Nothing there refutes the point this battalion was trained infantry, was diverted to a role the other Allied powers didn't use infantry for (during which, presumably, it didn't have much time to continue to train as infantry), and then was disbanded and the individuals were drafted into the replacement pool. So much for unit cohesion. The same point was made many posts ago.
So, the battalion did not exist in the third and fourth quarter of 1944. Which was what you were disputing. So, do you admit that some at least of the units you have been rambling on about were used during the assault phase of NEPTUNE and then disbanded. Which was my point. :roll: :roll:

Regards

Tom

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sheldrake » 18 May 2021 21:27

daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 May 2021 05:43
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
17 May 2021 08:22
daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 22:28
Feel free to provide links to records showing the personnel strength of the following battalions in the third and fourth quarters of 1944. According to Joslyn they existed, were on the Continent, saw action, and were not "in suspended animation" or any other odd designation that he used.
Yawn, treat yourself, or even better try an internet search it should only take you a few minutes:
Here is some details on the 2nd Bn, Hertfordshire Regiment:


2nd Battalion, The Hertfordshire Regiment, The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (T.A.)

162nd Infantry Brigade – 5 September 1939 to 17 September 1942
73rd Infantry Brigade – 22 September 1942 to 8 December 1942
198th Infantry Brigade – 9 December 1942 to 23 August 1943
The battalion was raised from the Nos. 1 and 2 Companies of the 1st Battalion, which were located at St. Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead. Its first officer was commissioned from 1st Battalion on August 9th, 1939. In the early months of the war the battalion was engaged in defence duties in East Anglia. It moved to Northumberland in January 1940. It then served on coast defence on the Northumberland coast from June 1940 until August 1943. It was located at Cheltenham, Thame, Southwald, Woodbridge, Loue, Bodmin and Ipswich. It was deployed on an anti-invasion role until the end of 1942. In July 1943 the battalion was training as infantry in close support of the new armour of the 79th Armoured Division.

21st Army Group – 23 August 1943 to 21 August 1944
On August 23rd, 1943 the battalion moved to Scotland to the Combined Operations Training Centre at Dundonald, Gailes and Inverary to become the infantry element of the No. 9 Beach Group It spent the next three months forming the sub-units of the No. 9 Beach Group into a cohesive unit. It did exercises in January 1944 at Gullane in the Firth of Forth. In March 1944, No. 9 Beach Group was designated to land with the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division and moved to Studland Bay, Bournemouth area and Hayling Island in the south for rehersals of its role. It concentrated at Winchester in May 1944 and broke down into loads in the Southampton Area. The battalion embarked on June 5th, 1944 at Southampton.
It landed on June 6th, 1944 as part of the 104th Beach Sub-Area at La Riviere, Normandy. It served on the beach unloading stores until July 14th, 1944, when it moved one and a half miles inland to Ver-sur-Mer. It was then announced that it would be used for infantry reinforcements. It was placed into suspended animation on August 17th, disbanded on August 21st. By August 31st, 1944 the last of the men had left the unit.
I’ll let you look for the others! :roll:

Regards

Tom
Nothing there refutes the point this battalion was trained infantry, was diverted to a role the other Allied powers didn't use infantry for (during which, presumably, it didn't have much time to continue to train as infantry), and then was disbanded and the individuals were drafted into the replacement pool. So much for unit cohesion. The same point was made many posts ago.

Again, the British made many questionable choices when it came to infantry manpower (and manpower generally) in 1943-45. Using infantry for beach battalions was simply one of many.
Beach battalions were not simply to provide labour to unload ships. They were also the command and control element for the beach and provided local defence, including anti tank defences. There was nothing unusual about infantry being used for labouring tasks, such as carrying parties or digging defences.

Nor was there any wastage of training, When the British army mobilised in 1939 it lacked the equipment to mobilise as most of men as anything other than infantry. The 1940 campaign demonstrated the need for more armour, anti tank and anti aircraft troops, and during the next three years significant numbers of infantry battalions were converted.

Since the cross channel assault was a one off operation there was need to maintain specialist beach units. Landing five infantry battalions in that role, pre-positioned 4,000 infantry replacements in Normandy. What was wrong with that?

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 May 2021 22:59

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
18 May 2021 19:22
So, the battalion did not exist in the third and fourth quarter of 1944. Which was what you were disputing. So, do you admit that some at least of the units you have been rambling on about were used during the assault phase of NEPTUNE and then disbanded. Which was my point. :roll: :roll:
6th Battalion, Border Regiment - c. 615 O&EM landed 6 June on 24 different craft, broken up 16 July for replacements, 25 O and 550 EM to the 15th (Scottish) Division, split between six battalions, and 6 O and 200 EM as drafts to other battalions of the Border Regiment.

5th (Hackney) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment - 697 O&EM (of a strength of 725) landed on D-Day, in mid July began providing reinforcement drafts for other units, by August reduced to just 16 O and 136 EM, but maintained as Beach Group HQ until 25 December, when they moved to Lille and received a draft of 370 EM that did not meet physical fitness requirements. February 1945 acted as a "Bank" Group HQ for the crossing of the Rhine.

5th Battalion, King's Regiment - reduced to cadre status by c. 21 July, but retained to the end of the war.

8th (Liverpool Irish) Battalion, King's Regiment - landed with 501 O&EM 6 June, on c. 18 different craft, disbanded 17 August.

2d Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment - landed on D-Day with c. 591 O and EM, split between 42 different craft, broken up 14 July for replacements and disbanded 17 August.

18th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry Regiment - organized March 1943 in Geneifa, Egypt for service in HUSKY and AVALANCHE, reserve on D-Day and not disbanded until August 1945 in Calais.
"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: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 19 May 2021 05:07

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
18 May 2021 19:22
daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 22:28
Feel free to provide links to records showing the personnel strength of the following battalions in the third and fourth quarters of 1944.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
18 May 2021 05:43
Nothing there refutes the point this battalion was trained infantry, was diverted to a role the other Allied powers didn't use infantry for (during which, presumably, it didn't have much time to continue to train as infantry), and then was disbanded and the individuals were drafted into the replacement pool. So much for unit cohesion. The same point was made many posts ago.
So, the battalion did not exist in the third and fourth quarter of 1944. Which was what you were disputing. So, do you admit that some at least of the units you have been rambling on about were used during the assault phase of NEPTUNE and then disbanded. Which was my point. :roll: :roll:

Regards

Tom
Sorry, but go back to Post 166:

Most of these units ended up being assigned to combat formations to replace units that were no longer combat effective, broken up for replacements, or both, in 1944-45, but it speaks to a doctrinal ("policy") issue; the Americans used either Army engineers or naval personnel (Naval Beach Battalions and Seabees) for their equivalents, and the British Army had an existing organization, in the Pioneer Corps, for just this sort of combat support assignment - yet they chose to use line infantry battalions.

This battalion was trained infantry, was diverted to a role the other Allied powers didn't use infantry for (during which, presumably, it didn't have much time to continue to train as infantry), and then was disbanded and the individuals were drafted into the replacement pool. So much for unit cohesion. The same point was made many posts ago.

The Americans and the Australians didn't use trained infantry for these missions; the British did. They also made a lot of other questionable decisions that ultimately led to disbanding three combat divisions in contact with the enemy in 1944, which suggests British manpower policies in a land war with an enemy that was killing British civilians in the UK on a regular basis were somewhat mistaken.

Perhaps you believe that's excusable.
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 19 May 2021 05:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 19 May 2021 05:09

Sid Guttridge wrote:
18 May 2021 11:48
Hi daveshoup,

You post of the Italian Campaign in 1943-44, "Well, except for the KIA, missing, POWs, and WIA beyond recovery. Small thing, that..."

You seem to want the British Army to fight the war without taking any operational risks and even avoiding combat for an entire year altogether!

Nobody is denying that the Aegean Campaign in late 1943 was a failure. However, you clearly need to do a lot more reading as to why it was attempted and why it failed. There was a lot more in play than just a few minor Aegean Islands.

Cheers,

Sid
The British misadventure in the Dodecanese failed because the Germans had air supremacy over the Aegean, which in the circumstances of 1943, meant it was mind-bogglingly stupid for the effort to have been mounted.
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 19 May 2021 05:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 19 May 2021 05:11

Sheldrake wrote:
18 May 2021 21:27
Since the cross channel assault was a one off operation there was need to maintain specialist beach units. Landing five infantry battalions in that role, pre-positioned 4,000 infantry replacements in Normandy. What was wrong with that?
In the circumstances of a conflict defined by amphibious assaults in multiple theaters, how exactly was NEPTUNE a "one-off" operation?

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sheldrake » 19 May 2021 09:08

daveshoup2MD wrote:
19 May 2021 05:11
Sheldrake wrote:
18 May 2021 21:27
Since the cross channel assault was a one off operation there was need to maintain specialist beach units. Landing five infantry battalions in that role, pre-positioned 4,000 infantry replacements in Normandy. What was wrong with that?
In the circumstances of a conflict defined by amphibious assaults in multiple theaters, how exactly was NEPTUNE a "one-off" operation?
The forces assembled for Op Neptune were going to deploy in mainland Europe and win the war against Germany there. There was no intention to mount any further operations on that scale.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Gooner1 » 19 May 2021 11:00

daveshoup2MD wrote:
19 May 2021 05:07

This battalion was trained infantry, was diverted to a role the other Allied powers didn't use infantry for (during which, presumably, it didn't have much time to continue to train as infantry), and then was disbanded and the individuals were drafted into the replacement pool. So much for unit cohesion. The same point was made many posts ago.
The battalions were trained infantry and were used as trained infantry after a period of doing important tasks on the landing beaches. What is the problem here?
Would it have been better to use them as cohesive units, perhaps, but a glance at Rich's post showing the number of all ranks shows that they were well short of a proper infantry battalions full strength (c.845 all ranks), meaning they would have to be reinforced before being attached anywheere.
As a guess I would say they lacked the full range of supporting weapons, mortars, A/Tk guns, Carriers and also full signals and headquarters i.e. they were all mainly riflemen.

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