Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Richard Anderson » 06 Jan 2021 17:25

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
06 Jan 2021 04:17
Well, I think you could look in here:

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a401069.pdf
That was an interesting one to work on.
P.56-57

Italian campaign army-level data ‘implies a 30% casualty effectiveness difference in favour of the UK [compared to US], and is opposite to the patterns shown with the division level data.’

The study then discusses six possible reasons that it was thought might cause such a result.

Authors of the study - Chris Lawrence and Richard Anderson. :lol: :lol:
The author of that sentence was Chris.
I did note that the postulated possible causes for the improved British ‘score’ at Army level didn’t include the possibility that 8th Army HQ, being more experienced than 5th Army HQ, ensured that its operations were conducted in a casualty efficient way.
Given that I don't think there is any data that showed that conducting operations "in a casualty efficient way" actually resulted in efficient casualties that would be speculation of the highest order.
And of course, the study doesn’t pass up the chance to state that:

‘Trevor Dupuy’s studies indicated that [46 and 56 British Divisions] performed particularly poorly’.

Which is odd, because in one of Dupuy’s books he praises the “north country” troops of 46 Division for their doughty defence of their bridgehead at Salerno, perhaps not realising that one of its Brigades was made up of Hampshire regiment battalions and that during the crisis of the battle it had under its command one of the brigades from 56 Division.
Perhaps because Trevor recognized that armies, corps, and divisions are not monolithic entities, performing the same way day in and day out? Anyway, I suspect that part of the problem is that the original division engagements were flawed, overstating British casualties, and sometimes understating or overstating the strengths of each side. I've never been certain how the errors got introduced, but I suspect it had to do with at least partly relying on Fifth Army sources, as well as misunderstanding some details of the German and British organizations.

The other potential issue, as you identified, is that all these operations by British units were with X Corps under Fifth Army command. While there is no evidence that those operations were micro-managed by Fifth Army, it doesn't exclude the possibility that X Corps and McCreery might have had something to do with it as well.
"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: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 06 Jan 2021 18:04

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Jan 2021 10:46
I'll take that as "Agree."

More specifically - "Analysts find as you say, TMP, but they're wrong."
Sorry, I misinterpreted your ambiguous question... :lol: I thought you were asking if I agreed with Messrs Lawrence and Anderson.

If you were actually asking if I agreed with you, I would have responded more along the lines of:

For what it's worth, it does appear that those (almost entirely American) analysts and historians who have made an attempt to make a subjective or objective comparison of the performance of British and American forces (air, land and sea - or just land and sea - or just land) in work almost entirely either sponsored by the US Army / US DoD, or based at least in part in generalisation from such work, have mostly postulated that US forces were better, whatever that actually means and despite the admitted limitations of their work.

Of course, being a contrary so and so, I would go on to point out that much of the work we are discussing here is relatively ancient now (with due apologies to Rich for my mention of the passage of time) and that those sections of it generalised from secondary sources and a cursory nod to the actual analytical work sponsored by the US Army is largely based on the same often contentious sources (I noted the multitude of references to the popular history author Max Hastings in Williamson Murray's chapter on "British Military Effectiveness" with particular cynicism). Murray, in my opinion, revealing his prejudiced prejudgement when repeating old canards about the Guards Armoured Division drinking tea rather than discussing its performance during Operation SABOT.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Jan 2021 10:46
Lawrence's entirely sensible and straightforward resolution of the superficial paradox you identify.
Clearly I must be one of those "dumb Brits" you mentioned as I did not see anything sensible about the way Chris Lawrence dealt with the contrary results from Army-level and Division-level data nor do I regard such a sharp swing in "results" as superficial!
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Jan 2021 10:46
It seems you need to find at least one analyst with the opposing viewpoint
Why? I'm just pointing out the extreme narrowness of the field you are describing, the shallowness of much of the work and the vast generalisation that goes into grading "[British] Military Effectiveness" across such a wide field in terms of both time, armed force, scale of conflict, geography and opponent.

That the US Army wanted data to tell them how many prisoners of war they could expect to take on a range of possible late 20th Century campaigns and found a gang (Rich, have you ever been in a gang?) of willing analysts who were very keen to collect a load of WW2 data whilst being paid for the trouble doesn't mean that the work necessarily tells us anything from a historical perspective. You could argue that it says more about the musings of the US Army at a particular time in it's (mostly) distinguished history.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 06 Jan 2021 18:23

Richard Anderson wrote:
06 Jan 2021 17:25
That was an interesting one to work on.
I imagine they were all interesting to work on - combining your personal interest with payment for your time has got to be the nirvana we all dream of! :D
Richard Anderson wrote:
06 Jan 2021 17:25
The author of that sentence was Chris.
:lol: :lol: :lol:
Richard Anderson wrote:
06 Jan 2021 17:25
Given that I don't think there is any data that showed that conducting operations "in a casualty efficient way" actually resulted in efficient casualties that would be speculation of the highest order.
Fair, but then why speculate about other possible causes for which you had no data?
Richard Anderson wrote:
06 Jan 2021 17:25
Perhaps because Trevor recognized that armies, corps, and divisions are not monolithic entities, performing the same way day in and day out?
Indeed, which makes scoring in that way (i.e. enormously generalised and subjectively) by the so-called analysts in the DoD Military Effectiveness books worthless as you have previously pointed out.
Richard Anderson wrote:
06 Jan 2021 17:25
Anyway, I suspect that part of the problem is that the original division engagements were flawed, overstating British casualties, and sometimes understating or overstating the strengths of each side. I've never been certain how the errors got introduced, but I suspect it had to do with at least partly relying on Fifth Army sources, as well as misunderstanding some details of the German and British organizations
Unfortunately, this hasn't stopped other authors using (misusing) the data to reinforce their prejudices - not your fault at all.
Richard Anderson wrote:
06 Jan 2021 17:25
The other potential issue, as you identified, is that all these operations by British units were with X Corps under Fifth Army command. While there is no evidence that those operations were micro-managed by Fifth Army, it doesn't exclude the possibility that X Corps and McCreery might have had something to do with it as well.
Well almost, X Corps weren't present at Anzio as the British units were under the tender care of both US Army and Corps command there weren't they?

Incidentally, we've been talking about the way McCreery was parachuted into the Salerno operation at the last moment due to Horrock's wounding on the thread about 46 and 56 Divisions in the "Africa and Mediterranean" section. As Gooner points out this was McCreery's first command at this level and he hadn't commanded at divisional level in combat either. So, when seen alongside Mark Clark and Ernest Dawley, there was a serious lack of combat command experience in the Allied command set up for 'Avalanche'. Can you remember whether your original work included any factors related to differences in such higher level command (or Army staff) experience levels?

Regards

Tom

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 06 Jan 2021 23:59

Tom from Cornwall wrote:Clearly I must be one of those "dumb Brits"
Brits and Germans are no longer smaller/weaker/dumber than Americans on average - they were in WW2.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jan 2021 02:57

Cult Icon wrote:I have training in financial and business modeling & projections and am very jaded at what it really amounts to in the real world.

Have you considered that this "combat modeling" is basically artificial and of dubious value- just an intellectual exercise like what goes on in finance, economic, and sociological analysis where legions of eggheads get degrees & employed to do what usually amounts to reference material at best and mental masturbation at worst?
To be clear, I don't credit these models with a high degree of accuracy or precision. I find that they have a basic intuitive sense at the level of numerical ratios - a sense that becomes more questionable as the models spool out to scoring weapon systems, rating terrain factors, etc.

Like you I trained on models for a long time - economics. Even more than QJM-style analysis, economics has some useful insights but is a fake science that can be twisted by nefarious actors to serve nefarious purposes.

As I've been pretty clear throughout, I doubt the availability of data/analysis to quantify the combat effectiveness impact of inter-country intelligence or fitness differences at the levels we're discussing. Nonetheless, to the extent that inter-country comparisons have been made, one should hold in mind certain underlying and pre-military factors that the field leaves unquantified.
Cult Icon wrote:I've collected, read, and referenced hundreds of memoirs, unit histories, and tactics material both axis and allied that don't really gel with the conclusions and broad brush strokes painted by "Fighting Power', a very outdated and old analysis.
Reaching the truth via narrative has as many pitfalls as via data and analysis. Both are necessary, plus some epistemic humility.
Mori wrote:Thanks for asking. There are comparisons of British vs. American during the NW Europe campaign where British do significantly better.

A couple of cases:
These aren't global comparisons, they're anecdotes as well explainable by variance as by systemic factors.
Mori wrote:Add a couple more such statements and Richard Anderson will block you, if he hasn't already
If anyone is actually concerned about this, let me reassure you that he is less able to maintain a blockade than the Kriegsmarine. Take it from someone who's received multiple "ignore" announcements from Richard.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 Jan 2021 04:39

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
06 Jan 2021 18:23
I imagine they were all interesting to work on - combining your personal interest with payment for your time has got to be the nirvana we all dream of! :D
Yes, occasionally I was paid for my time, I was also put out of work due to contractual endings in 1991, 1997, and 2005, one leading directly to the dissolution of my marriage, and all leading to more or less financial hardship. I finally jumped ship and did other contract work for the government, which meant that I only had to scramble for a job in 2010 and 2012. However, I was reasonably well compensated when I wasn't scraping for pennies to stay afloat on.
Fair, but then why speculate about other possible causes for which you had no data?
Because neither Chris nor I thought to speculate on it at the time I suppose? Meanwhile, spec·u·late, /ˈspekyəˌlāt/, verb: speculate; 3rd person present: speculates; past tense: speculated; past participle: speculated; gerund or present participle: speculating
1. form a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence.

If we had data to work with we wouldn't have been speculating and vice versa.
Indeed, which makes scoring in that way (i.e. enormously generalised and subjectively) by the so-called analysts in the DoD Military Effectiveness books worthless as you have previously pointed out.
There are "DOD Military Effectiveness books"? Where? I'm not sure I've ever seen one.
Unfortunately, this hasn't stopped other authors using (misusing) the data to reinforce their prejudices - not your fault at all.
Quite, and I am getting rather tired of having to point out that others misusing and misunderstanding the work we did IS NOT MY PROBEM.
Well almost, X Corps weren't present at Anzio as the British units were under the tender care of both US Army and Corps command there weren't they?
Indeed, but then I was thinking about Salerno, Volturno, and Garigliano, but good on you for catching me out in an irrelevancy.
Incidentally, we've been talking about the way McCreery was parachuted into the Salerno operation at the last moment due to Horrock's wounding on the thread about 46 and 56 Divisions in the "Africa and Mediterranean" section. As Gooner points out this was McCreery's first command at this level and he hadn't commanded at divisional level in combat either. So, when seen alongside Mark Clark and Ernest Dawley, there was a serious lack of combat command experience in the Allied command set up for 'Avalanche'. Can you remember whether your original work included any factors related to differences in such higher level command (or Army staff) experience levels?
Since the original work was done in the 1970s some 15 years before I started working at DMSi and 20 years before I noticed the flaws in the British data, I can't tell you if that was a factor.
"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: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by histan » 07 Jan 2021 04:39

It might be of interest that analysis seems to have shown that Gurkha units appeared to be more "combat effective" than British Infantry in defensive battles in both World War 1 and World War 2 as well as in Malaya. The measure used was ability to inflict casualties.
[Sorry but as an aside strongly dislike the use of output measures as a performance indicator of effectiveness - we spent quite a lot of time in the OA community in the 1990s and 2000s sorting out the difference between the two and trying to understand how to specify true measures of effectiveness and identify valid PIs for them.]

Gurkha soldiers might be smaller, possibly stronger, not sure about IQ. One thing they did seem to be was braver, as measured by gallantry awards.

Regards

John

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by David Thompson » 07 Jan 2021 05:43

TheMarcksPlan -- Please avoid posting personal comments about other forum members.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 07 Jan 2021 09:16

Richard Anderson wrote:
07 Jan 2021 04:39
Yes, occasionally I was paid for my time, I was also put out of work due to contractual endings in 1991, 1997, and 2005, one leading directly to the dissolution of my marriage, and all leading to more or less financial hardship. I finally jumped ship and did other contract work for the government, which meant that I only had to scramble for a job in 2010 and 2012. However, I was reasonably well compensated when I wasn't scraping for pennies to stay afloat on.
Ah, the grim reality of nirvana...sorry for encouraging you to rake that up.
Richard Anderson wrote:
07 Jan 2021 04:39
There are "DOD Military Effectiveness books"? Where? I'm not sure I've ever seen one.
Sorry, that should have been DOD-sponsored "Military Effectiveness Books" - see the new introduction to Mil Effectiveness Vol. 3 - p.xi by Murray and Millett.
Richard Anderson wrote:
07 Jan 2021 04:39
but good on you for catching me out in an irrelevancy
It's a pleasure. :lol:
Richard Anderson wrote:
07 Jan 2021 04:39
Quite, and I am getting rather tired of having to point out that others misusing and misunderstanding the work we did IS NOT MY PROBEM.
And as I tried to make clear.
Richard Anderson wrote:
07 Jan 2021 04:39
Since the original work was done in the 1970s some 15 years before I started working at DMSi and 20 years before I noticed the flaws in the British data, I can't tell you if that was a factor.
Thanks. I'll ask Chris Lawrence via the TDI Blog.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 07 Jan 2021 09:25

histan wrote:
07 Jan 2021 04:39
Gurkha soldiers might be smaller, possibly stronger, not sure about IQ. One thing they did seem to be was braver, as measured by gallantry awards.
John,

Thanks for the input. I have no doubt of the effectiveness of well-trained Gurkha units but would note the presence in the British Army of a Gurkha "cabal", somewhat equivalent to that of the airborne units, which might perhaps skew the numbers of gallantry award nominations. I'm sure each award was well earned but wonder if similar actions in more demure units might not have generated a nomination or at least one for a lower award?

I note you mention "defensive battles" - did your analysis not cover attacking scenarios or was their no discernible difference?

Regards

Tom

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jan 2021 09:43

histan wrote:Gurkha soldiers might be smaller, possibly stronger, not sure about IQ. One thing they did seem to be was braver, as measured by gallantry awards.
This seems a subtweet of my OP so I'll respond...

Note that it's practically certain that Germans were shorter and smaller than Americans on average; from that I am reasonably confident they had IQ deficits caused by nutritional effects that underlie both physical and intellectual characteristics. So much for Herrenvolk theory. Nonetheless German army units performed better than American by near consensus of analytical opinion.

Combat effectiveness - however defined - involves multi-variable causation. It's a matter of raw human material plus effects endemic to the army's organization/culture. I'm suggesting that the German army's WW2 system may be underrated, for all its praise. The system may have been better than rated, once underlying demographic features are considered. OTOH the Germans pushed more of their high-quality men into army service - via cultural factors - than seems to have been the case for UK/USA. Probably true for Ghurkas as well.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Mori » 07 Jan 2021 11:18

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Jan 2021 09:43
Note that it's practically certain that Germans were shorter and smaller than Americans on average; from that I am reasonably confident they had IQ deficits caused by nutritional effects that underlie both physical and intellectual characteristics.
First time I ever read IQ is correlated to height. Can't understand why psychologists still use WISC V or other complex tests while they could just measure height.

(I now expect to read a convoluted explanation along the lines of "I oversimplified deliberately but, while one should not forget this and that caveat, it's still a sound & valid idea").

Edit: the IQ-height correlation idea is actually in Huxley's Brave New World...

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by histan » 07 Jan 2021 14:55

Tom

I don't know if you are aware of the book
The Stress of Battle: Quantifying Human Performance in Combat by David Rowland

It summarizes the historical analysis and field trials work done in the UK in the 1970s through to the early 2000s.

The objective was to gain an understanding of human performance in combat and how this could be represented in combat models.
They started with infantry combat (rifles and machine guns), moved on to artillery, and then onto armour and anti-armour. They went further, looking at the impact of leadership and heroism and finally at shock and surprise.
The shock aspect of military activities was regarded as significant because this has always been an element of military doctrine and in particular Soviet doctrine. The importance of shock was summarised in the statement made by General Sir John Hackett that the results of all land battles are determined by the number of people who run away.

My guess is that some of the work from the 1970s may have found its way into the national archives.

Regards

John

PS It doesn't cover the concept whose name (like Voldemort) could not be mentioned within NATO circles in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Mori » 07 Jan 2021 16:18

histan wrote:
07 Jan 2021 14:55
The importance of shock was summarised in the statement made by General Sir John Hackett that the results of all land battles are determined by the number of people who run away.
This conclusion is already in Ardant du Picq's Battle Studies, published posthumously in 1880.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by histan » 07 Jan 2021 17:32

Hi Mori

It's quite possible that Hackett was repeating it for a modern audience!

Regards

John

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