British Army Replacement System

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Sheldrake
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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Sheldrake » 11 Feb 2019 19:08

Lets get back to the point at issue It was the British not the American's who could not maintain the size opf their expeditionary force in NW Europe August and November 1944. I don't deny that there were competing demands on British resource, but these were not immutable. The shortage of manpower resulted from British policy and were not inevitable. Would the war have been very different if 10% less was committed to the Bomber Command or the internal security of India?

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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Feb 2019 19:19

Sheldrake wrote:
11 Feb 2019 16:33
The British and US were in very different places in 1944. True, both had underestimated the intensity of fighting in Normandy and the number of infantry reinforcements. needed. The Americans called forward reinforcements from formations further up the deployment chain - e.g. soldiers from, the 99th ,100th and 106th which then deployed with raw recruits in late 1944.
The 99th, 100th, and 106th Infantry divisions were not "called forward...from...further up the deployment change", nor were they "then deployed with raw recruits".

The 99th and 100th ID were organized 15 November 1942 and according to mobilization planning should have been ready to deploy on 15 January 1944. However, interruptions caused by time lost due to stripping of 20 to 50 percent of personnel for replacements and the great ASTP/AGCT personnel turnover meant they were not considered ready for overseas movement until mid-September 1944. The 99th began deploying 13 September and the 100th on 30 September. The 106th ID was organized 15 March 1943 and so should have been ready by 15 May 1944. Similar, but less severe, personnel turbulence meant it was not ready until mid-October 1944. It deployed on 10 October.

Divisions that deployed were required as part of the deployment process to be fully manned according to T/O&E. However, the normal course of such movements and confusion meant that typically some were sick, injured, or missed a movement and so prior to embarkation any shortfalls were filled by a reception center near the port of embarkation. Those personnel were fully-trained replacement personnel, so were not "raw recruits", but they were also not fully integrated into the unit, which of course meant little since it was typically nearly two months from embarkation to when the unit actually entered the line.
"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 Army Replacement System

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Feb 2019 20:04

Eugen Pinak wrote:
11 Feb 2019 18:52
You forgot about US 6, 24, 31, 33, 38 77, 81 93, 96, 98 infantry, 11 airborne, 4 USMC divisions, which were also sent to fight Germany in 1944. After all, "Pacific Ocean" - it's somewhere near Germany, right? ;)
And you forgot about the 7th, 25th, 27th, 32d, 37th, 40th, and 41st ID, 1st CD, and two Marine divisions. So what? The 24th and 25th were the old Hawaiian Division, so where already there. In the emergency following Pearl Harbor, the 27th, 31st, and 41st were all diverted to the Pacific before completing training. The 37th, 40th, and 43d went to the Pacific in mid-late 1942 following Midway. The 6th and 7th were both experimental motorized infantry divisions and when converted back, were both on the west coast training, which made the 7th available for the Aleutians operations. Thereafter, no divisions were diverted to the Pacific that were not already planned for operations in the Pacific. OTOH, the 86th and 97th ID, which were in California in December 1944-January 1945, were both diverted to Europe in February 1945 as a consequence of the Bulge and NORDWIND.
Eugen Pinak wrote:
11 Feb 2019 18:52
Of course, of course. That's why US were so occupied in strategically meaningless campaigns in Philippines and China - totally not to control their empire by force ;)
The strategically meaningless campaign in the Philippines was almost entirely due to MacArthur's Republican constituency. :D And was doubly meaningless given that there was no American colonial empire there, given independence was already de facto under the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934. It was delayed by two years due to Japanese action, not American. The CBI may or may not have been strategically meaningless depending on what you might consider to be strategically meaningful? Was tying down the bulk of the IJA in China, Indochina, and Burma strategically meaningless, when it required little more than a continued commitment of American support that included no divisions, no major naval forces, and only token air forces?
Last edited by Richard Anderson on 11 Feb 2019 22:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Sheldrake » 11 Feb 2019 21:50

Richard,

I have a couple of reservations about these posts.

1.
Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Feb 2019 19:19
The 99th, 100th, and 106th Infantry divisions were not "called forward...from...further up the deployment change", nor were they "then deployed with raw recruits".
This is a straw man. I did not write that the divisions were called forwards. I wrote that soldiers from the formations were - which is what you then repeated at greater length. We can quibble about the training standard of the replacements given to these formations, but it is irrelevant to the post topic. The US Army was able to find replacements where the British disbanded formations.

2.
Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Feb 2019 20:04
Sheldrake wrote:
11 Feb 2019 16:33
Of course, of course. That's why US were so occupied in strategically meaningless campaigns in Philippines and China - totally not to control their empire by force ;)
You have misquoted me and attributed to me a post written by Eugen Pinak.

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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Aber » 11 Feb 2019 21:58

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Feb 2019 20:04
Sheldrake wrote:
11 Feb 2019 16:33
Of course, of course. That's why US were so occupied in strategically meaningless campaigns in Philippines and China - totally not to control their empire by force ;)
You have misquoted me and attributed to me a post written by Eugen Pinak.
I think that makes it 15 All :D

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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Feb 2019 22:31

Sheldrake wrote:
11 Feb 2019 21:50
Richard,

I have a couple of reservations about these posts.

This is a straw man. I did not write that the divisions were called forwards. I wrote that soldiers from the formations were - which is what you then repeated at greater length.
I'm sorry, but your reply makes no sense to me? The divisions were deployed. They were not "called forward" and neither were their "soldiers". Their deployment, unlike many earlier divisions in 1942, was when they were judge operationally ready. The soldiers deployed with their divisions, not separately? I think you are getting confused with the three divisional task forces created in late December 1944 from the 42d ID (TF Linden), 63d ID (TF Harris), and 70th ID (TF Herren), intended to reinforce the weak infantry front of Seventh Army? They were formed as the infantry regiments arrived on the Continent and before the divisions completed staging to Europe. For example, the 70th ID began staging out of its POE on 21 December 1944, but TF Herren was created on 26 December.
We can quibble about the training standard of the replacements given to these formations, but it is irrelevant to the post topic. The US Army was able to find replacements where the British disbanded formations.
It is not a "quibble"; you were factually incorrect in your statement. A "raw recruit" is an untrained recruit. They were not. The standard of training they received was the same - in theory - that the troops of the division received, except necessarily for training with the unit they were assigned to. Actually, for slightly different reasons, the US Army replacement situation in December 1944 was every bit as parlous as the British.
Sheldrake wrote:
11 Feb 2019 16:33
You have misquoted me and attributed to me a post written by Eugen Pinak.
Apologies, not sure how that got mixed up, but it should be corrected now.
"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 Army Replacement System

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Feb 2019 23:23

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Feb 2019 19:19
The 99th, 100th, and 106th Infantry divisions were not "called forward...from...further up the deployment change", nor were they "then deployed with raw recruits".
To further clarify:

The 99th ID was considered ready for POM (Preparation for Overseas Movement) and began staging on 13 September 1944. It closed in the ETOUSA (England) on 10 October and moved to the Continent on 6 November and entered combat as a division on 9 November.

The 100th Division staged on 30 September 1944 and closed on the Continent on 20 October. Its first elements entered combat on 1 November (elements of the 399th Inf attached to the 45th ID) and the entire division was in the line on 9 November.

The 106th Division staged on 10 October 1944 and closed in the ETOUSA (England) on 1 November and moved to the Continent of 26 December. It entered combat as a division on 10 December.

Contrary to that:

The 70th Division staged on 21 December 1944, but TF Herron (the three infantry regiments) began arriving 10 December (274th Inf on 10 Dec, 275th Inf on 15 Dec, and 276th Inf on 15 Dec), and entered combat as a task force on 26 December, the entire division did not close on the Continent until 18 January 1945 and the entire division did not enter combat as a division until 3 February.
"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 Army Replacement System

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 Feb 2019 11:06

Hi Sheldrake,

You post, "Churchill was never much interested in logistics." Maybe not, but it forced itself on him by virtue of his "far flung battle lines" and the breadth of empire across the globe.

Britain's empire was rather more populous that 300 million. That was probably less than there were in India alone.

However, that manpower was far from fully employable, mostly by reason of unreliability and limited education. In India only a small proportion of the population had a military tradition and conscription could not be employed for political reasons. Nevertheless, the result was still the largest all-volunteer army the world has ever seen. However, technical training was limited, so these arms were still dominated in the Indian Army by the British - thus stretching their manpower further. African troops had even less technical capacity at the time and had essentially to be used as infantry. West Indian manpower was largely taken up by the US on base construction and as agricultural and forestry workers in the continental USSA.

Much of Canada and South Africa's white population was unenthusiastic, being Francophone or Afrikaaners, which restricted conscription and where they could serve. Newfoundland's garrison was largely French speaking from 1943 for this reason while South Africans were initially only enlisted for service on their own continent. The Newfoundlanders served in the British Army in the field artillery. This was because the Newfoundland Regiment had served as infantry in WWI and suffered the highest proportional casualties on the first day of the Somme. The British were reluctant to risk the entire prime manpower of a white dominion in the same way again. This was why Southern Rhodesians were distributed around British battalions rather than serving together. The Australians and New Zealanders could not be risked too much, which was one reason why the Greek Campaign was abandoned without any attempt to hold the Peloponnese.

The only part of the empire where none of these considerations applied was the UK itself - and even here Northern Ireland was a special case. The UK then had some 45 million people - half that of the German Reich, which had no imperial burdens, including large navy, whatsoever. It was also the technical heart of the empire, with most of the major industries. It therefore necessarily provided most of the manpower for most of the technical arms. To protect against air attack, AA defences grew extremely large. As the air force was the only arm that could strike Germany proper, it got a disproportionate amount of the resources. The navy was likewise vital to the cohesion of the empire and in sustaining distant battlefronts. The world's largest merchant navy was of similar importance.

So, the empire was fragile and the actual disposable manpower of the UK was much less than a body-count of empire might imply, and the infantry was near the bottom of the list, just above the pioneers.

Was this residual army manpower well managed? Definitely not. It was ridiculous that infantry replacements ran out in under two months on continental campaigning, especially as comparatively few British divisions were engaged in Normandy. But it was also not a bottomless pit of fit, healthy, available, spare, male bodies!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Feb 2019 11:37

Sid,

There wasn't any expectation that Britain could field a mechanised army in proportion to the total population of the Empire, but it ought to have been possible to extract some 100,000 infantrymen, from the huge force in the colonies. Rural Africans or Indians made good infantrymen, and that is where there was a shortfall.

I don't deny that from the perspective of the war cabinet manpower was fragile, but much of the fragility was caused by self imposed red lines that, with hindsight were meaningless.

For a start, unrest in India that needed a massive internal security force was the result of a lack of willingness to transfer power to the local population. Churchill's intransigence over devolution of power in India was one reason for his exile into the political wilderness in the 1930s. In retrospect Indian independence was inevitable, especially after the signing of the Atlantic Charter.

With hindsight, what was the point of the Burma campaign? Sure a great triumph for Slim and the forgotten army, but irrelevant to the course of the war against Japan.

I suspect the unstated issue would have been to reconcile a corps of "Native troops" recruited and trained on a colonial basis from the UK homeland where there was nominally no colour bar.

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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 Feb 2019 12:23

Hi Sheldrake,

You post, ".....but it ought to have been possible to extract some 100,000 infantrymen, from the huge force in the colonies."

Actually, the UK extracted many times more than that from India alone for occupation duties in the Middle East and two African divisions served in Burma.

You post, "For a start, unrest in India that needed a massive internal security force was the result of a lack of willingness to transfer power to the local population. Churchill's intransigence over devolution of power in India was one reason for his exile into the political wilderness in the 1930s. In retrospect Indian independence was inevitable, especially after the signing of the Atlantic Charter."

Internal security in India involved very few troops fit for front line service. There was a large police force and states forces troops were also available, besides rear echelon Indian Army units and the training organization. Devolution to India was already under way since the India Act in the 1930s, regardless of Churchill's preferences, and in 1942 Congress agreed to refrain from disrupting the war effort. And remember, Churchill was one of the two original signatories of the Atlantic Charter and he did not oppose independence for India when it came six years later. Churchill was not as unadaptable as you imply.

You ask, "With hindsight, what was the point of the Burma campaign?" Well, the alternative would have been the entry of the Japanese into India, the probable setting up of a pro-Axis government under Bose in the second most populous region on earth, the cutting off of supplies to China, the most populous region on earth, and its likely fall to the Japanese as a consequence, the undermining of the British position in the Middle East from behind and a union of the Axis powers there resulting in the cutting off of supplies to the USSR via Persia........

By late 1944 there were around 10,000 West Indians serving in the UK in the RAF and Forestry units. It was the segregated US Army that had the main problem with accepting them as equals, the British less so. In WWI Indian troops serving on the Western Front had depots in the UK and wounded recuperated there. The basing of "native" troops in the UK was not new. However, there was initially some sensitivity about using Indian troops to liberate Greek territory and the Caribbean Regiment was not brigaded with technically equal metropolitan British regiments in Italy and was instead sent to Egypt. (However, the lack of an adequate replacement pool for it also justified not using it in combat).

British rule was very shallow across the colonial empire. There were only about 1,000 British civil servants running the whole of India and across Africa administrators had to know local languages as so few locals knew English. In peacetime there were about 60,000 British troops in India, one British battalion in the Americas (withdrawn during the war) almost no British battalions in sub-Saharan Africa at all, etc., etc. Parts of the empire had no British military presence whatsoever (i.e. Fiji, the Falklands, etc.). Newfoundland had absolutely no army, British or local, in 1938!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Eugen Pinak » 14 Feb 2019 10:26

Sheldrake wrote:
11 Feb 2019 19:08
Lets get back to the point at issue It was the British not the American's who could not maintain the size opf their expeditionary force in NW Europe August and November 1944. I don't deny that there were competing demands on British resource, but these were not immutable.
Surprise-surprise - there were other demands for British resources :)
As for "not immutable" - it's really nice to have a crystal ball, which lets you to see the future. Unfortunately, British had no such ball.
Sheldrake wrote:
11 Feb 2019 19:08
The shortage of manpower resulted from British policy and were not inevitable. Would the war have been very different if 10% less was committed to the Bomber Command or the internal security of India?
Nice question. Why don't you ask it to Americans, that _doubled_ their strength in India-China during 1944? And, of course, I'd really like to hear a question about that 12 divisions and other forces, deployed at the Pacific area in 1944 - surely they can easily bring victory in Europe in 1944? And - unlike "theoretical" British forces - they _were_ available.

Sheldrake wrote:
12 Feb 2019 11:37
There wasn't any expectation that Britain could field a mechanised army in proportion to the total population of the Empire, but it ought to have been possible to extract some 100,000 infantrymen, from the huge force in the colonies. Rural Africans or Indians made good infantrymen, and that is where there was a shortfall.
I had to disappoint you. Infantryman it not a guy with a rifle, infantryman it a trained and armed member of infantry unit with proper leadership. And unless properly supported, infantry unit quickly become cannon fodder. And guess who will train and lead and support those "rural Africans or Indians"? Surely not the British? ;)

Sheldrake wrote:
12 Feb 2019 11:37
With hindsight, what was the point of the Burma campaign? Sure a great triumph for Slim and the forgotten army, but irrelevant to the course of the war against Japan.
For example: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... and-1.html

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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Eugen Pinak » 14 Feb 2019 10:54

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Feb 2019 20:04
Eugen Pinak wrote:
11 Feb 2019 18:52
You forgot about US 6, 24, 31, 33, 38 77, 81 93, 96, 98 infantry, 11 airborne, 4 USMC divisions, which were also sent to fight Germany in 1944. After all, "Pacific Ocean" - it's somewhere near Germany, right? ;)
And you forgot about the 7th, 25th, 27th, 32d, 37th, 40th, and 41st ID, 1st CD, and two Marine divisions. So what? The 24th and 25th were the old Hawaiian Division, so where already there. In the emergency following Pearl Harbor, the 27th, 31st, and 41st were all diverted to the Pacific before completing training. The 37th, 40th, and 43d went to the Pacific in mid-late 1942 following Midway. The 6th and 7th were both experimental motorized infantry divisions and when converted back, were both on the west coast training, which made the 7th available for the Aleutians operations. Thereafter, no divisions were diverted to the Pacific that were not already planned for operations in the Pacific. OTOH, the 86th and 97th ID, which were in California in December 1944-January 1945, were both diverted to Europe in February 1945 as a consequence of the Bulge and NORDWIND.
Thank you for pointing out, that two divisions were only stated for Pacific deployment and not actually deployed. Nice comparison with Sheldrake's attempts in splitting the hairs to find "some" troops on British side.

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Feb 2019 20:04
The strategically meaningless campaign in the Philippines was almost entirely due to MacArthur's Republican constituency. :D
Nice story, but it has nothing to do with the reality.
Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Feb 2019 20:04
And was doubly meaningless given that there was no American colonial empire there, given independence was already de facto under the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934. It was delayed by two years due to Japanese action, not American.
Philippines were declared independent on October 14, 1943. Of course, they were declared independent with the help of Japan - which was inconceivable for the USA.
As for "there was no American colonial empire there", Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs William Clayton described the independence terms as "clearly inconsistent with the basic foreign economic policy of this country" and "clearly inconsistent with our promise to grant the Philippines genuine independence."

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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Feb 2019 17:39

Eugen Pinak wrote:
14 Feb 2019 10:54
Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Feb 2019 20:04
The strategically meaningless campaign in the Philippines was almost entirely due to MacArthur's Republican constituency. :D
Nice story, but it has nothing to do with the reality.
No, sadly that was part of it. Another part, was MacArthur's former position and authority in the U.S. Army. His political clout prevented what probably should have been his justifiable relief for his actions in the Philippines. Marshall could not relief MacArthur as Short was relieved.
Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Feb 2019 20:04
Philippines were declared independent on October 14, 1943. Of course, they were declared independent with the help of Japan - which was inconceivable for the USA.
Right... :roll: :lol: Nice story, but it has nothing to do with the reality.
As for "there was no American colonial empire there", Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs William Clayton described the independence terms as "clearly inconsistent with the basic foreign economic policy of this country" and "clearly inconsistent with our promise to grant the Philippines genuine independence."
Sure, but that was his description of certain provisions of the Bell Trade Act, which was rather more fair and considerably less "colonial" than the effects of the Japanese occupation. The economic loss resulting from the Japanese occupation and unfair trade practices (AKA rapine), reduced the Philippine economy some 62% of its 1940 output by the end of the war...not to mention the Bell Trade Act had no provision for enslaving thousands of Filipinos as "comfort women".

So please go pedal your moral equivalency argument somewhere else.
"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 Army Replacement System

Post by Sheldrake » 15 Feb 2019 01:07

Eugen Pinak wrote:
14 Feb 2019 10:54
Thank you for pointing out, that two divisions were only stated for Pacific deployment and not actually deployed. Nice comparison with Sheldrake's attempts in splitting the hairs to find "some" troops on British side.
I am not trying to split hairs. The points I am making are as follows:-

1. Although both the British and American armies found casualties higher than expected in Normandy, the US Army had more troops in reserve and did not disband formations.

2. The British manpower problems may have been self inflicted in that the British chose to do other things with the manpower under their control.

3. It is hard to believe that an extra hundred thousand men could not be found from the largest empire the world has seen.

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Re: British Army Replacement System

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Feb 2019 12:37

Hi Sheldrake,

Your 1.: Certainly true, but then the USA had far fewer inherited global responsibilities than the UK and far more resources to deal with them. The metropolitan UK had to carry most of the burdens of empire with about a third of the metropolitan USA's population and far fewer industrial resources.

Your 2.: I tend to agree that the infantry manpower shortages were self inflicted in that the British, rightly or wrongly, chose different priorities and completely misjudged likely attrition rates.

Your 3.: Extra men were found, but it takes time to retrain. The problem was particularly acute in July-August 1944 but eased thereafter.

Cheers,

Sid

P. S. I think it arguable, as mentioned above, that the second Philippines Campaign was rather less necessary than the Burma Campaign. I am not sure how dependent the USA was on Philippine bases for its proposed conventional invasion of Japan, but the atom bombs made both redundant.

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