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.
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Sheldrake
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sheldrake » 19 Apr 2021 09:32

daveshoup2MD wrote:
19 Apr 2021 05:46
Did the 9th and 11th Indian divisions do significantly "worse" against the IJA in Malaya and Singapore than the British 18th and Australian 8th divisions did in the same campaign, however? Or are you counting the Australians and British as "under trained, under equipped and under led colonial forces," as well?

Or, for that matter, did the two Indian battalions in Hong Kong do significantly "worse" against the IJA than the two British and two Canadian battalions did?

Did the Indian and Burmese battalions in Burma in 1942 do "significantly" worse than the British?

As far as "Indianisation" goes, the British had done that in WW I, when (I think) four BEF divisions were built on the Indian establishments of three Indian and one British battalion per brigade; I believe they were the 10th, 53rd, 60th, and 75th divisions. Given that experience, presumably the decision was made not to follow the precedent in WW II.
The force in Malaya was neglected because the British government did not think war with Japan likely and therefore used lower quality and under trained troops there. The 9th and 11th Indian divisions were under equipped and poorly trained due the haste with which the Indian army was expanded. Check this in The War Against Japan by Kirby 0.99p on Kindle. The wikipedia entry on the 8th Australian Division, formed July 1940 and split into seperate brigades as " ill-prepared, poorly equipped and hastily deployed, they would ultimately be destroyed."

The 18th British Division was diverted at the last minute to Singapore. It was a well trained and equipped British Division.

I am not aware of any Indianisation of British Divisions in the First World War. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... divisions/ 18 Indian divisions were formed with a mix of British and Indian troops https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Ar ... orld_War_I

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Apr 2021 10:32

Hi Guys,

The garrison of Malaya was initially largely regular Indian Army. However, in order to create new divisions at home on India, these units were regularly combed out to provide regular cadres for this expansion and inexperienced drafts replaced them. The same was true of its British contingent. Malaya was to a great degree an operational training area for Indian and Australian troops. Nevertheless, in combat they inflicted as many battle casualties on the Japanese as they suffered. However, the Japanese casualties were expended for positional advantage that allowed them to take large numbers of prisoners.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 21 Apr 2021 04:53

Sid Guttridge wrote:
19 Apr 2021 07:36
daveshoup2MD,

The communal problem for some in Northern Ireland was not about military service, but any service. Conscription for the mines was still conscription.

You post, "In addition, tens of thousands of British subjects who lived in NI worked in the UK during WW II." Yup, but they were all there voluntarily. You are not comparing like with like.

You post, "Tens of thousands of Irish citizens worked in the UK during WW II; this is simply an extension of that reality, with targeted recruiting." Yes, there were around half a million, tens of thousands in the armed forces. But again, they were all voluntary. Doubtless some did end in the mines anyway.

For neutral countries to allow recruitment of their citizens by a combatant power puts that neutrality into question. The Latin American miners were already working in mines supplying the Allies and only the Allies. The British communities in Latin America were fully tapped by the armed forces for volunteers.

You post, "Canada bowed to the realities of total mobilization and started sending NRMA soldiers to the ETO in 1944, despite the "communal tensions". If you look carefully you will find that to soothe communal tensions, Canada counted Newfoundland as an overseas posting and from 1943 it was largely garrisoned by Quebecois units. And you are still forgetting that Canada had self government. It was not at the beck and call of London. For example, it refused to garrison the Falkland Islands.

You continue to distort the facts about the British West Indies, even though they have been given to you. Their contribution to the war effort in uniform in WWII was as large in WWII as in WWI and of higher technical quality, it just either wasn't all in khaki, or was at home (doing duties British servicemen would otherwise have had to do - see the Falkland Islands). What is more, they were entirely volunteers.

The British had already recruited British Honduran loggers for service in the UK doing their existing jobs in the forests and it was not a happy experience due to the climate and conditions. The unit therefore couldn't recruit up to strength and was disbanded at the end of 1943. You want to repeat this unhappy experience in worse and more alien working conditions on a scale ten times as large?

You ask, "How many non-English speaking German and Italian POWs were put to work in the UK in 1940-45?" I don't know. You are proposing them as a solution, so how many? I know the Italians were widely used, particularly after September 1943, but they couldn't be made to do jobs they didn't want to.

London couldn't just "send" Belgians down British mines. They had their own government and own mines to worry about.

You ask, "16,000 Bevin Boys had been conscripted by November 1944?" Yup.

You ask, "And if a 19 to 25-year-old British man was physically fit enough to work in a coal mine, how are they not physically fit to serve as infantry replacements? Please, explain." Who said they weren't fit enough? I don't have to justify what I haven't posted.

You seem to take absolutely no account of the constitutional complexities and limitations the British were working under. The British Empire was not a monolith with interchangeable and equally available manpower.

Cheers,

Sid.
Again, 16,000 physically fit Britons go to the mines in 1944-45, at the same time three British divisions (one armored and two infantry, of a grand total of five and 14, respectively) are being broken up because of a lack of infantry replacements. Given the amount of manpower available to the UK, Commonwealth, Empire, Allies, and neutrals within the Atlantic littoral, seems rather questionable that the British government couldn't scare up the requisite manpower to dig coal from less useful sources than physically fit 19-25 year old Britons.

Axis POW manpower used in the Allied war economies was extensive, even before VE Day; the British had captured hundreds of thousands of Italians (100,000 of which were organized into paramilitary "service units" following Cassabille), and 70,000 Germans were in the UK working by the spring of 1945. There were tends of thousands more of each nationality in British custody in Africa, Australia, and Canada, and 175,000 in the US by January, 1944.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 21 Apr 2021 05:03

Sheldrake wrote:
19 Apr 2021 09:32
daveshoup2MD wrote:
19 Apr 2021 05:46
Did the 9th and 11th Indian divisions do significantly "worse" against the IJA in Malaya and Singapore than the British 18th and Australian 8th divisions did in the same campaign, however? Or are you counting the Australians and British as "under trained, under equipped and under led colonial forces," as well?

Or, for that matter, did the two Indian battalions in Hong Kong do significantly "worse" against the IJA than the two British and two Canadian battalions did?

Did the Indian and Burmese battalions in Burma in 1942 do "significantly" worse than the British?

As far as "Indianisation" goes, the British had done that in WW I, when (I think) four BEF divisions were built on the Indian establishments of three Indian and one British battalion per brigade; I believe they were the 10th, 53rd, 60th, and 75th divisions. Given that experience, presumably the decision was made not to follow the precedent in WW II.
The force in Malaya was neglected because the British government did not think war with Japan likely and therefore used lower quality and under trained troops there. The 9th and 11th Indian divisions were under equipped and poorly trained due the haste with which the Indian army was expanded. Check this in The War Against Japan by Kirby 0.99p on Kindle. The wikipedia entry on the 8th Australian Division, formed July 1940 and split into seperate brigades as " ill-prepared, poorly equipped and hastily deployed, they would ultimately be destroyed."

The 18th British Division was diverted at the last minute to Singapore. It was a well trained and equipped British Division.

I am not aware of any Indianisation of British Divisions in the First World War. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... divisions/ 18 Indian divisions were formed with a mix of British and Indian troops https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Ar ... orld_War_I
Okay, so the Indians and Australians in Malaya were "under trained, under equipped and under led colonial forces," but the British were " well trained and equipped." Okay, interesting...

However:

10th "Irish" Division history in your own source:
The Division was involved in the Palestine campaign thereafter. Between April and June 1918, a major reorganisation took place as many
British units were replaced by Indian ones.
https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... -division/

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... -division/

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... -division/

[urlhttps://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-b ... -division/][/url]

Always an interesting question why what appears to have been a successful policy in 1914-18 was not followed in 1939-45.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 21 Apr 2021 05:04

Sid Guttridge wrote:
19 Apr 2021 10:32
Hi Guys,

The garrison of Malaya was initially largely regular Indian Army. However, in order to create new divisions at home on India, these units were regularly combed out to provide regular cadres for this expansion and inexperienced drafts replaced them. The same was true of its British contingent. Malaya was to a great degree an operational training area for Indian and Australian troops. Nevertheless, in combat they inflicted as many battle casualties on the Japanese as they suffered. However, the Japanese casualties were expended for positional advantage that allowed them to take large numbers of prisoners.

Cheers,

Sid.
Well, that's one way to explain it.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sheldrake » 21 Apr 2021 09:50

daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Apr 2021 05:03
Sheldrake wrote:
19 Apr 2021 09:32
daveshoup2MD wrote:
19 Apr 2021 05:46
Did the 9th and 11th Indian divisions do significantly "worse" against the IJA in Malaya and Singapore than the British 18th and Australian 8th divisions did in the same campaign, however? Or are you counting the Australians and British as "under trained, under equipped and under led colonial forces," as well?

Or, for that matter, did the two Indian battalions in Hong Kong do significantly "worse" against the IJA than the two British and two Canadian battalions did?

Did the Indian and Burmese battalions in Burma in 1942 do "significantly" worse than the British?

As far as "Indianisation" goes, the British had done that in WW I, when (I think) four BEF divisions were built on the Indian establishments of three Indian and one British battalion per brigade; I believe they were the 10th, 53rd, 60th, and 75th divisions. Given that experience, presumably the decision was made not to follow the precedent in WW II.
The force in Malaya was neglected because the British government did not think war with Japan likely and therefore used lower quality and under trained troops there. The 9th and 11th Indian divisions were under equipped and poorly trained due the haste with which the Indian army was expanded. Check this in The War Against Japan by Kirby 0.99p on Kindle. The wikipedia entry on the 8th Australian Division, formed July 1940 and split into seperate brigades as " ill-prepared, poorly equipped and hastily deployed, they would ultimately be destroyed."

The 18th British Division was diverted at the last minute to Singapore. It was a well trained and equipped British Division.

I am not aware of any Indianisation of British Divisions in the First World War. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... divisions/ 18 Indian divisions were formed with a mix of British and Indian troops https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Ar ... orld_War_I
Okay, so the Indians and Australians in Malaya were "under trained, under equipped and under led colonial forces," but the British were " well trained and equipped." Okay, interesting...

However:

10th "Irish" Division history in your own source:
The Division was involved in the Palestine campaign thereafter. Between April and June 1918, a major reorganisation took place as many
British units were replaced by Indian ones.
https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... -division/

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... -division/

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... -division/

[urlhttps://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-b ... -division/][/url]

Always an interesting question why what appears to have been a successful policy in 1914-18 was not followed in 1939-45.
Well I never... (Though I should have done as I have just read the memoir of a man who served in the 60th and 74th Divisions. Every day a learning day....

The British had employed Indian troops on the Western Front from 1914-1917. A Corps of two Infantry divisions and cavalry were deployed in France from December 1914. This was not overly successful as the soldiers were ill equipped, the supply chain from India was long and the high casualties made it hard to maintain the cadre of British officers with the necessary languages. The infantry withdrawn in 1915 and sent to the Middle East. The cavalry remained until early 1918. The British were happier about employing Indian troops in the Middle East for several reasons. The climate had more similarities to the Indian subcontinent than cold wet Northern Europe. Supply lines to India were shorter. The fighting was less intense than on the Western Front

Agreed, that was a strategy that could have been adopted in WW2. Even if this policy was applied only to formations in the Italian campaign, it would have released a lot more British troops to serve in NW Europe. Replacing one third of the British infantry battalions in the 1st, 4th, 46th, 56th and 78th infantry Divisions and the 1st and 6th Armoured divisions could have freed up enough infantry units to maintain the 50th and 59th Divisions from September 1944 to May 1945.

But as I think I have posted elsewhere, the British overall strategy was to do enough in NW Europe to justify a seat at top table after the war, while maintaining as much of the Empire as possible.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Gooner1 » 21 Apr 2021 13:59

daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Apr 2021 04:53
Again, 16,000 physically fit Britons go to the mines in 1944-45, at the same time three British divisions (one armored and two infantry, of a grand total of five and 14, respectively) are being broken up because of a lack of infantry replacements. Given the amount of manpower available to the UK, Commonwealth, Empire, Allies, and neutrals within the Atlantic littoral, seems rather questionable that the British government couldn't scare up the requisite manpower to dig coal from less useful sources than physically fit 19-25 year old Britons.
Actually do we know if those 'Bevin Boys' as they were called after the Minister for Labour, were all medical grade A1? Only men of A1 fitness would be allocated to the infantry.

There's a good PhD thesis available on the net by John Robert Peaty on the 'British Army Manpower Crisis 1944' that's well worth a read.
Axis POW manpower used in the Allied war economies was extensive, even before VE Day; the British had captured hundreds of thousands of Italians (100,000 of which were organized into paramilitary "service units" following Cassabille), and 70,000 Germans were in the UK working by the spring of 1945. There were tends of thousands more of each nationality in British custody in Africa, Australia, and Canada, and 175,000 in the US by January, 1944.
Don't think German POWs could be trusted to work down the mines.
Probably better use would have been made of Italian POWs as volunteers in Italian combat units created earlier.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Apr 2021 17:44

Hi Sheldrake,

That assumes that the necessary Indian battalions were available. The Indian Army had a different replacement system. It rotated battalions through front line divisions from divisions on garrison duty, rather than feeding them continuous small drafts. This was due to the complex ethnic balance of the Indian Army, which meant one couldn't just send any man to any unit. Thus, although there were as many Indian Army divisions in the Middle East as in Italy (and Greece) over 1943-45, those in the Middle East were more like operational training formations. The nearest, but not very exact, equivalent I can immediately think of are the Ersatzheer Reserve divisions the Germans used over 1942-44 to help garrison France, the Low Countries, Yugoslavia, Poland and behind the Eastern Front while still conducting training of manpower intended for the Feldheer.

There is also a political aspect. Dominion troops in both world wars seem to have served in their own divisions (Newfoundland excepted). Using Indian troops in British divisions was a departure that would have to be squared with the increasingly nationalist Indian political establishment first.

The British Empire was not monolithic and its manpower was not freely interchangeable at London's will.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 21 Apr 2021 18:04, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Apr 2021 18:03

Hi daveshoup2MD,

The use of prisoners was regulated by the laws of war: "The State may utilize the labour of prisoners of war according to their rank and aptitude, officers excepted. The tasks shall not be excessive and shall have no connection with the operations of the war."

Firstly, they couldn't be forced to work.

Secondly, "aptitude" rather restricts their use to skills already possessed. Italy had no coal mines and there probably weren't that many coal miners among the German POWs.

Thirdly, mining was hard work and might be deemed to fall under the subjective heading of "excessive".

Fourthly, if the intention was to release manpower for the British Army, it very definitely would have "connection with the operations of the war."

Much of what you suggest was probably doable under an authoritarian government not particularly concerned with the laws if war. However, the UK was neither of those things.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Apr 2021 04:04

Sheldrake wrote:
21 Apr 2021 09:50
daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Apr 2021 05:03
Sheldrake wrote:
19 Apr 2021 09:32
daveshoup2MD wrote:
19 Apr 2021 05:46
Did the 9th and 11th Indian divisions do significantly "worse" against the IJA in Malaya and Singapore than the British 18th and Australian 8th divisions did in the same campaign, however? Or are you counting the Australians and British as "under trained, under equipped and under led colonial forces," as well?

Or, for that matter, did the two Indian battalions in Hong Kong do significantly "worse" against the IJA than the two British and two Canadian battalions did?

Did the Indian and Burmese battalions in Burma in 1942 do "significantly" worse than the British?

As far as "Indianisation" goes, the British had done that in WW I, when (I think) four BEF divisions were built on the Indian establishments of three Indian and one British battalion per brigade; I believe they were the 10th, 53rd, 60th, and 75th divisions. Given that experience, presumably the decision was made not to follow the precedent in WW II.
The force in Malaya was neglected because the British government did not think war with Japan likely and therefore used lower quality and under trained troops there. The 9th and 11th Indian divisions were under equipped and poorly trained due the haste with which the Indian army was expanded. Check this in The War Against Japan by Kirby 0.99p on Kindle. The wikipedia entry on the 8th Australian Division, formed July 1940 and split into seperate brigades as " ill-prepared, poorly equipped and hastily deployed, they would ultimately be destroyed."

The 18th British Division was diverted at the last minute to Singapore. It was a well trained and equipped British Division.

I am not aware of any Indianisation of British Divisions in the First World War. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... divisions/ 18 Indian divisions were formed with a mix of British and Indian troops https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Ar ... orld_War_I
Okay, so the Indians and Australians in Malaya were "under trained, under equipped and under led colonial forces," but the British were " well trained and equipped." Okay, interesting...

However:

10th "Irish" Division history in your own source:
The Division was involved in the Palestine campaign thereafter. Between April and June 1918, a major reorganisation took place as many
British units were replaced by Indian ones.
https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... -division/

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... -division/

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/or ... -division/

[urlhttps://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-b ... -division/][/url]

Always an interesting question why what appears to have been a successful policy in 1914-18 was not followed in 1939-45.
Well I never... (Though I should have done as I have just read the memoir of a man who served in the 60th and 74th Divisions. Every day a learning day....

The British had employed Indian troops on the Western Front from 1914-1917. A Corps of two Infantry divisions and cavalry were deployed in France from December 1914. This was not overly successful as the soldiers were ill equipped, the supply chain from India was long and the high casualties made it hard to maintain the cadre of British officers with the necessary languages. The infantry withdrawn in 1915 and sent to the Middle East. The cavalry remained until early 1918. The British were happier about employing Indian troops in the Middle East for several reasons. The climate had more similarities to the Indian subcontinent than cold wet Northern Europe. Supply lines to India were shorter. The fighting was less intense than on the Western Front

Agreed, that was a strategy that could have been adopted in WW2. Even if this policy was applied only to formations in the Italian campaign, it would have released a lot more British troops to serve in NW Europe. Replacing one third of the British infantry battalions in the 1st, 4th, 46th, 56th and 78th infantry Divisions and the 1st and 6th Armoured divisions could have freed up enough infantry units to maintain the 50th and 59th Divisions from September 1944 to May 1945.

But as I think I have posted elsewhere, the British overall strategy was to do enough in NW Europe to justify a seat at top table after the war, while maintaining as much of the Empire as possible.
Keeping the 50th and 59th infantry divisions in action in the 21st AG in 1944-45 would have required 20 infantry battalions; keeping the 1st Armoured Division would have required four.

So, 16,000 conscripts going to the mine labor service; the four battalions of 234th Brigade NOT thrown away in the Dodecanese; 14 battalions assigned to Beach Groups and Line of Communications battalions in the 15th and 21st army groups; five "Motor" infantry battalions detached from independent armoured brigade groups; the RAF Regiment, formed in February, 1943 at some 66,000 strong, and grew (historically) to 80,000 by 1944, at which point 25,000 (historically) were re-assigned to Army for training and re-assignment as infantry replacements in Europe; six battalions of RMs (historically) deployed to 21st AG in 1945; and 21 battalions of AA troops converted to infantry and deployed to the continent in 1945. Total (roughly) 50 formed battalions and (presumably) 25,000 to 41,000 (or more) replacements.

Now, historically, some of the above were used as replacements, so cut it in half - 25 formed battalions, or 20,000 replacements - more than enough to keep the three divisions in question in the line, absent ANY colonial or imperial troops.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Apr 2021 04:09

Gooner1 wrote:
21 Apr 2021 13:59
daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Apr 2021 04:53
Again, 16,000 physically fit Britons go to the mines in 1944-45, at the same time three British divisions (one armored and two infantry, of a grand total of five and 14, respectively) are being broken up because of a lack of infantry replacements. Given the amount of manpower available to the UK, Commonwealth, Empire, Allies, and neutrals within the Atlantic littoral, seems rather questionable that the British government couldn't scare up the requisite manpower to dig coal from less useful sources than physically fit 19-25 year old Britons.
Actually do we know if those 'Bevin Boys' as they were called after the Minister for Labour, were all medical grade A1? Only men of A1 fitness would be allocated to the infantry.

There's a good PhD thesis available on the net by John Robert Peaty on the 'British Army Manpower Crisis 1944' that's well worth a read.
Axis POW manpower used in the Allied war economies was extensive, even before VE Day; the British had captured hundreds of thousands of Italians (100,000 of which were organized into paramilitary "service units" following Cassabille), and 70,000 Germans were in the UK working by the spring of 1945. There were tends of thousands more of each nationality in British custody in Africa, Australia, and Canada, and 175,000 in the US by January, 1944.
Don't think German POWs could be trusted to work down the mines.
Probably better use would have been made of Italian POWs as volunteers in Italian combat units created earlier.
Physically fit to be a coal miner but not an infantry replacement? Okay...

The Italians who wanted to volunteer for the Co-Belligerent Army could; whether they could get to Italy was a different question. However, an Italian POW in the UK, Canada, or South Africa who chose not to volunteer for the Italian Army could have been shipped wherever the Allies chose to ship them; Badoglio's government agreed to that in 1943.

As far as the Germans go, how is a German POW with a shovel or how working on a farm any more of a risk than a German POW working with a pick in a coal mine? Given the alternative to working where they were told was punishment (or being turned over to the Soviets), that hardly seems a risk.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Apr 2021 04:12

Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 Apr 2021 17:44
Hi Sheldrake,

That assumes that the necessary Indian battalions were available. The Indian Army had a different replacement system. It rotated battalions through front line divisions from divisions on garrison duty, rather than feeding them continuous small drafts. This was due to the complex ethnic balance of the Indian Army, which meant one couldn't just send any man to any unit. Thus, although there were as many Indian Army divisions in the Middle East as in Italy (and Greece) over 1943-45, those in the Middle East were more like operational training formations. The nearest, but not very exact, equivalent I can immediately think of are the Ersatzheer Reserve divisions the Germans used over 1942-44 to help garrison France, the Low Countries, Yugoslavia, Poland and behind the Eastern Front while still conducting training of manpower intended for the Feldheer.

There is also a political aspect. Dominion troops in both world wars seem to have served in their own divisions (Newfoundland excepted). Using Indian troops in British divisions was a departure that would have to be squared with the increasingly nationalist Indian political establishment first.

The British Empire was not monolithic and its manpower was not freely interchangeable at London's will.

Cheers,

Sid.
Really? The Indian Army formations that saw active service in Europe in 1944-45 were the 4th, 8th, and 10th, plus the 43rd Brigade attached to the British 1st Armoured Division in 1944 to give it two infantry brigades for Italy; those in the METO on garrison duties were the 6th and 31st Armoured. Those are not the same.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Apr 2021 04:22

Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 Apr 2021 18:03
Hi daveshoup2MD,

The use of prisoners was regulated by the laws of war: "The State may utilize the labour of prisoners of war according to their rank and aptitude, officers excepted. The tasks shall not be excessive and shall have no connection with the operations of the war."

Firstly, they couldn't be forced to work.

Secondly, "aptitude" rather restricts their use to skills already possessed. Italy had no coal mines and there probably weren't that many coal miners among the German POWs.

Thirdly, mining was hard work and might be deemed to fall under the subjective heading of "excessive".

Fourthly, if the intention was to release manpower for the British Army, it very definitely would have "connection with the operations of the war."

Much of what you suggest was probably doable under an authoritarian government not particularly concerned with the laws if war. However, the UK was neither of those things.

Cheers,

Sid.
You may wish to reconsider your arguments, given that there was, in fact, a pretty substantial coal mining complex in Italy before the war:

https://www.erih.net/i-want-to-go-there ... ng-culture

[quote} A workforce of 18,000 (16,000 of whom were miners), a site stretching over 33 hectares, around 100 km of underground galleries going down to a depth of up to 179 metres and two shafts all bear witness to the huge dimensions involved in the project.[/quote]

Given the 100,000s of thousands of Italian POWs working the US and British/Commonwealth/Empire territory (60,000+ in South Africa alone, for example) including thousands working as farmhands (hardly any "easier" than mining), all of the above is so much smoke.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 Apr 2021 06:33

Hi daveshoup,

I stand corrected. Italy did have a coal mine developed in Sardinia in the late 1930s.

However, that doesn't alter my point at all. My guess is that, as Italy was a massive coal importer from Germany, its few coal miners were a reserved occupation and most were probably not called up into the armed forces. But even if they all were and were captured in the same proportions as other Italians, they would only have provided a few hundred miners as POWs. These would then have to be persuaded down British mines. They aren't going to provide the 16,000 men you are looking for.

By the way, you are actually looking for substantially more than 16,000 men, as they would need a replacement pool themselves.

Farming may or may not be easier than mining, but the working conditions are better and it is a lot healthier.

You ask, "Really?". Yes, really!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Gooner1 » 22 Apr 2021 11:29

daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Apr 2021 04:09
Physically fit to be a coal miner but not an infantry replacement? Okay...
Yes, problem there?
The Italians who wanted to volunteer for the Co-Belligerent Army could; whether they could get to Italy was a different question. However, an Italian POW in the UK, Canada, or South Africa who chose not to volunteer for the Italian Army could have been shipped wherever the Allies chose to ship them; Badoglio's government agreed to that in 1943.
Well the Co-Belligerent Army of 6 'Combat Groups' was only formed from July 1944.

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