Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Mar 2021 03:20

daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 02:54
...

Actually, that's an interesting point about the Argentine Marine; give the doctrinal partnerships between the USMC and (essentially) almost all the Allied marine establishments, seems like some planners might have been thinking about talking with their opposite numbers with the ROK, Philippine, Thai, etc; the Latin Americans as well, maybe the Spanish and Portuguese, etc.
We did routinely. I thought the Japanese SDF ground combat guys were really good at camouflage. Thurough.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by rcocean » 29 Mar 2021 03:21

My point was that the USA had incredible advantages including 2.5 years to plan the invasion of France. there's no reason we should have had a infantry replacement problem. How that got twisted into a "Rah, Rah we won the war didn't we?" is beyond me.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 29 Mar 2021 03:38

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Mar 2021 02:47
rcocean wrote:
29 Mar 2021 02:38
... Had the Germans ever manage 200 Divisions in June 1944, despite losing millions of men?
Oh people make claims about reduced strength TO/TE formations, returning crippled & otherwise medical unfit men to combat units, a plethora of badly understrength formations, stripping the air force of personnel, creating ground combat units out of naval personnel, sending seventeen & sixteen year olds as infantry replacements, recruiting replacements out of PoW cages, recruiting foreign nationals....
Wait ... you're saying ... the WehrLuftPanzerWaffeKriegsStaffelSchwarzMarineRaumFallschimGrenadierJaegermeisterSonderverbandSturmKorps was "not" the be all and end all of the operational art?!

Mind ... blown! ;)

Semper fi, Marine...

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 29 Mar 2021 03:41

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Mar 2021 03:17
daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 02:40

Goldich makes a good point in his commentary from War on the Rocks:
(linked one page back)

"... I am not the only one to have talked about the unjustifiable assumption made by British historians about America’s alleged lack of military capability and skill. Let’s go to something which happens more often: hysterical and slavish adulation of the German Army in World War II. Atkinson correctly points out several occasions – the German counterattack at Mortain in early August 1944; the entire Battle of the Bulge; the lesser known January 1945 German offensive in Alsace – where the Germans were outmaneuvered and outfought by Americans from riflemen to army group commanders. What is interesting is that German operational concepts and attitudes don’t seem to have been very different from ours, and that the key area where the Germans had an advantage over us was very simple – experience. When troops from platoons to field armies are led by men with extensive combat experience in a current war, they’re generally going to have better leadership than units going into combat for the first time. American divisions that fought in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy didn’t have this disadvantage, and that comes through quite clearly in The Guns at Last Light. In fact, what struck me was that the much-vaunted German operational excellence was cancelled out by an astonishingly rapid American learning curve. All of that military education and doctrinal excellence that was supposedly inculcated in the Reichswehr and the peacetime Wehrmacht in the 1920s and 1930s ended up mattering little once American formations gained a few months of combat experience. Those historians who have multiple orgasms about Wir fahren gegen der Kesselschlachts Schwerpunkt mit Auftragstaktik und Fingerspitzengefuhl* ought to be looking into this, although I suspect they won’t."
Not historians, but back in the 1980s a hefty portion of the Marine officers rebelled against the hyper methodical practices of the 1970s. A subset held up the Wehrmachts infantry as a shining example of what we should be. The debate went on in multiple directions for a decade or more, but in the later years the German Uber Infantry were no longer held up as a example. To many problems and failures on the battlefield were identified balancing the examples of success. Perhaps the largest mistake we made was considering company level infantry operations to exclusion of everything else. The extremists of the manuverist school tended to not explain how artillery, Close Air Support, Engineers, and ammo supply drivers fit into their vision. I eventually joined the school who saw that Methodical Battle is not necessary Slow Battle. If you actually know your business, learned your drill, and internalized procedure to the point you don't have to think about it & slowly write out detailed directions for everyone. The battalion or division commander & his staff can make fast decisions and coordinate multiple arms with speed. Its like a gun crew who are well enough drilled they can put out sustained fires and displace the weapon quickly without smashing fingers & malfunctions.
Thanks; was the "methodical" approach part of the reaction to the Vietnam experience?

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 29 Mar 2021 03:46

rcocean wrote:
29 Mar 2021 03:18
"Oh people make claims about reduced strength TO/TE formations, returning crippled & otherwise medical unfit men to combat units, a plethora of badly understrength formations, stripping the air force of personnel, creating ground combat units out of naval personnel, sending seventeen & sixteen year olds as infantry replacements, recruiting replacements out of PoW cages, recruiting foreign nationals...."

Yet somehow the Germans held off the 400 Division Red Army, and the UK and USA armies which were NOT full of 16 year olds and crippled old men and had massive air superiority, tanks superiority, and artillery superiority. Or, I guess that's not true, just some make claims about that.
"Did" the Germans hold off the Allies and the Soviets, though? High tide was the autumn of 1942, at which point the Germans were pretty much on the retreat everywhere... there were some swings on the Eastern Front (Kharkiv changed hands, what, four times?) but we know who ended up with what was left...

Other than the Dodecanese in 1943, not sure the Germans took anything "back" from the Allies in the MTO or ETO for any significant amount of time, and the Dodecanese was essentially Tanga Version 2.0; something of a self-inflicted wound on the part of the British.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 29 Mar 2021 03:48

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Mar 2021 03:20
daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 02:54
...

Actually, that's an interesting point about the Argentine Marine; give the doctrinal partnerships between the USMC and (essentially) almost all the Allied marine establishments, seems like some planners might have been thinking about talking with their opposite numbers with the ROK, Philippine, Thai, etc; the Latin Americans as well, maybe the Spanish and Portuguese, etc.
We did routinely. I thought the Japanese SDF ground combat guys were really good at camouflage. Thurough.
Right; I meant more in terms of attaching a BLT/MEU-equivalent to a US Marine division.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Mar 2021 03:58

Lets just say the German army of 1942 was about as good as the US Army of 1945. In doing that we will pass lightly over a few unfilled infantry slots then ;)

[/quote]Thanks; was the "methodical" approach part of the reaction to the Vietnam experience?[/quote]

In part. The formations returning to the US were fairly good at fighting NVA, at least as far as the leaders & command staff went. But we had to think about NATO or the NKPA, There was a need to retrain the combat arms officers for a different combined arms practice. The emphasis went back to the basics with the five paragraph order & all its permutations. In five or six short years the anal retentive had taken over and the whole point to training battalion officers was writing the perfect Eight Legged Essay, I mean Five Paragraph Order. Instead of being a step to organizing orders & guidance for complex operations writing the order & following the staff procedure became the end in itself. This was not the first time the had happened & the roots of the 1970s rea ossification went back into previous cycles, when the colonels of 1975 were Captains.

Part of the obsession with formalities & planning detail derives from planning landing ops. Those require a immense amount of attention to detail, a habit the hangs over into other planning.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Mar 2021 04:12

daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 03:48
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Mar 2021 03:20
daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 02:54
...

Actually, that's an interesting point about the Argentine Marine; give the doctrinal partnerships between the USMC and (essentially) almost all the Allied marine establishments, seems like some planners might have been thinking about talking with their opposite numbers with the ROK, Philippine, Thai, etc; the Latin Americans as well, maybe the Spanish and Portuguese, etc.
We did routinely. I thought the Japanese SDF ground combat guys were really good at camouflage. Thurough.
Right; I meant more in terms of attaching a BLT/MEU-equivalent to a US Marine division.
Was routine in NATO exercises. Still regularly done. Its almost transparent. The US Marines who were hanging out in Australia the last decade were integrated somehow with the Aussie defense forces. I never read the details. When we trained in PI it was usually with the Philippines Marines. In Korea we had joint ROK/US Marine MEFs. In the CHERRY MOUNTAIN exercises back in the1980s the Japanese 5th GSDF Division was operating closely with the Marine Div. We were doing large scale fire support across the division boundaries. I don't know if you are familiar with artillery raids, but I got to plan a multi battalion artillery raid on targets in the 5th Div sector.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Mar 2021 04:49

daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 02:20
Except, oddly enough, they realized just that, and in enough time to stop the second half of the 1943 division activations, namely the 15th Airborne Division, the 61st, 62nd, 67th, 68th, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 105th, and 107th infantry divisions, so apparently it didn't take ALL that much prescience. :lol:
Except, oddly enough, that realization occurred in June 1943 and resulted in a halt to those activations in the second half of the year. Of 12 divisions, not ten. In 1943, not 1942, 1941, or 1940. :lol:
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 29 Mar 2021 05:12

rcocean wrote:
29 Mar 2021 03:21
My point was that the USA had incredible advantages including 2.5 years to plan the invasion of France. there's no reason we should have had a infantry replacement problem. How that got twisted into a "Rah, Rah we won the war didn't we?" is beyond me.
Having to find replacements for the 5th Army grinding away through the Italian mountains for 18 months+ probably threw the actuarial tables out of whack somewhat, of course...

The ETO army was designed to land in France and drive across (relatively) open terrain to the Rhine, and then cross that, occupy the Ruhr, and head for Berlin. Getting army-sized detachments tied down for months at the Winter Line, Anzio, and the Gothic Line for two winters in a row, and then having to fight set-piece battles to break free (uphill in two cases) would have been fairly manpower intensive.

Couple that with the necessary "straight-ahead" infantry slugfest in Normandy and the unnecessary "straight-ahead" infantry slugfest in the Hurtgen and some similar bad ideas, and overall, its not amazingly surprising the needs looked more like 1917-18 in France than 1941-43 in North Africa,

The "casualty rates from North Africa" issue is alluded to here:

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... s2-11.html

Could the replacement system been made better? Of course, and some pretty reasonable changes were underway in 1945; it took two general officers departing the ETO Ground Force Reinforcement Command (one dead, one fired) to make it so.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 29 Mar 2021 05:17

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Mar 2021 03:58
Lets just say the German army of 1942 was about as good as the US Army of 1945. In doing that we will pass lightly over a few unfilled infantry slots then ;)
Thanks; was the "methodical" approach part of the reaction to the Vietnam experience?[/quote]

In part. The formations returning to the US were fairly good at fighting NVA, at least as far as the leaders & command staff went. But we had to think about NATO or the NKPA, There was a need to retrain the combat arms officers for a different combined arms practice. The emphasis went back to the basics with the five paragraph order & all its permutations. In five or six short years the anal retentive had taken over and the whole point to training battalion officers was writing the perfect Eight Legged Essay, I mean Five Paragraph Order. Instead of being a step to organizing orders & guidance for complex operations writing the order & following the staff procedure became the end in itself. This was not the first time the had happened & the roots of the 1970s rea ossification went back into previous cycles, when the colonels of 1975 were Captains.

Part of the obsession with formalities & planning detail derives from planning landing ops. Those require a immense amount of attention to detail, a habit the hangs over into other planning.
[/quote]

Thanks for the short yet thoughtful response. BZ

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 29 Mar 2021 05:18

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Mar 2021 04:12
daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 03:48
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Mar 2021 03:20
daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 02:54
...

Actually, that's an interesting point about the Argentine Marine; give the doctrinal partnerships between the USMC and (essentially) almost all the Allied marine establishments, seems like some planners might have been thinking about talking with their opposite numbers with the ROK, Philippine, Thai, etc; the Latin Americans as well, maybe the Spanish and Portuguese, etc.
We did routinely. I thought the Japanese SDF ground combat guys were really good at camouflage. Thurough.
Right; I meant more in terms of attaching a BLT/MEU-equivalent to a US Marine division.
Was routine in NATO exercises. Still regularly done. Its almost transparent. The US Marines who were hanging out in Australia the last decade were integrated somehow with the Aussie defense forces. I never read the details. When we trained in PI it was usually with the Philippines Marines. In Korea we had joint ROK/US Marine MEFs. In the CHERRY MOUNTAIN exercises back in the1980s the Japanese 5th GSDF Division was operating closely with the Marine Div. We were doing large scale fire support across the division boundaries. I don't know if you are familiar with artillery raids, but I got to plan a multi battalion artillery raid on targets in the 5th Div sector.
Got it; I meant specifically for the DS mobilization.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 29 Mar 2021 05:19

Richard Anderson wrote:
29 Mar 2021 04:49
daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 02:20
Except, oddly enough, they realized just that, and in enough time to stop the second half of the 1943 division activations, namely the 15th Airborne Division, the 61st, 62nd, 67th, 68th, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 105th, and 107th infantry divisions, so apparently it didn't take ALL that much prescience. :lol:
Except, oddly enough, that realization occurred in June 1943 and resulted in a halt to those activations in the second half of the year. Of 12 divisions, not ten. In 1943, not 1942, 1941, or 1940. :lol:
Which makes it plain, the same decision could have been made in advance of the 1943 cycle of historical activations. Amazing.

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Re: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Mar 2021 15:56

daveshoup2MD wrote:
29 Mar 2021 05:19
Which makes it plain, the same decision could have been made in advance of the 1943 cycle of historical activations. Amazing.
Sure, except in late 1942, they weren't facing the manpower problems they faced in mid 1943, so were still expecting to have 100 divisions activated by the end of 1943 and the 14 divisions already "differed" activated in 1944. It wasn't the idea that 88 divisions or 76 divisions would be sufficient that was driving the decisions, which is what I understand you're implying. If I understand correctly, you want the War Department to conclude no later than the end of 1942 that 76 divisions would work better than the 114 divisions they still expected to activate. To me, that appears to be a bit of a stretch.

Yes, the AGF recognized manpower and unit activations were problematic, but I just don't see how they would recognize that fewer divisions was actually a good solution, when the evidence is they remained concerned throughout that enough divisions weren't being activated.
"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: Was there a pecking order when some units were stripped for front line infantry?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Mar 2021 16:28

To digress:

Rich, when the agreement to equip & supply the Free French army was reached in 1943 was that seen by Marshal or anyone else as a straight trade for US formations not being activated? That is the Us is still equipping & sustaining X number of divisions, just that some are no filled with French soldiers. Ditto for any Brazilian, Chinese, ect... It looks to me that when the extra Marines & these others are included the US is still sustaining the 114 Division estimate.

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