200 U. S. trained divisions?

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Richard Anderson
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 26 Mar 2021 04:22

McDonald wrote:
26 Mar 2021 03:59
Yes, I know of the renumbering, but what I am getting at is what would differentiate the guidons of two Infantry organizations with the same numerical designation. For instance the example of the 27th AIB and 27th IR.

It seems to me the guidon for say Company C of both organizations would be a 27 over crossed muskets with a C beneath the crossed muskets, unless some design change in the AIB guidons that I am not aware of..

The reason I want to find out the correct answer has to do with a couple of ideas I have with regard to my modeling activities.
Oh, okay, I see what you meant now. It wouldn't be a problem of course with the battalion that retained the original regimental number, but the others? Yeah, it could be an issue, but I kind of imagine they didn't worry too much about it. They may have used the AIB designation, since that seemed to get quite a bit of acceptance even though it wasn't "official" Army abbreviationese.

I suspect that absent photographic or physical evidence we'll just have to guess.
"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

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 26 Mar 2021 18:54

Yes. I suppose with a war going on they had more important things to figure out than guidon color and configuration, like how to make SPAM taste better, and turning Lucky Strike Green into Lucky Strike White, or was that the other way around.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 26 Mar 2021 20:44

Lucky Strike Green ha s Gone to War! Lucky Strike Reds remained at home. They were supposedly tobaco shed sweepings.
"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: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 28 Mar 2021 20:07

McDonald wrote:
22 Mar 2021 18:49
Mr. Guttridge:

I think the question you should be asking yourself is how much more capable those airborne divisions and the 10th Mountain Division operating in the PO Valley would have been had they been structured and contained the firepower of a conventional Infantry Division. The problem I see here is that when you have specialized units at the division level, they are structured for only one type of mission, in this instance airborne or mountain operations. When no airborne or mountain operations are in the offing, then the natural tendency for commanders is to employ them in a conventional manner, thus wasting that specialized training and know how, and to compound the error, sending them into a combat environment for which they are not fully equipped. No one, least of all me, should have a bad word to say about the individual performance of any of these divisions in combat. Their records speak for themselves, but the fact is we lost a heck of a lot of high priced, quality, manpower by mis-employing these divisions.

Could not we have found a better way to employ airborne and mountain forces, but at an echelon below that of division? I happen to think we could, but if everyone is thinking alike then there are a heck of a lot of people not thinking.
Speaking to the larger issues of the US Army's 91 ground force divisions (and the USMC's six), and what could have been used to increase their number, it's worth considering that in 1940-45, the army's order of battle included 44 AA brigade headquarters, of which 29 served overseas. Obviously, not all of these brigades could have been converted to infantry brigade headquarters equivalents, because of the operational situations in their various theaters during the course of the war, but it's worth noting the 45th's experience.

The 45th AA brigade headquarters, designated at Task Force 45, functioned as a "square" infantry brigade headquarters for much of 1944-45, with what amounted to two provisional infantry regiments, each formed from an AA group headquarters and 2-3 AA battalions, functioning as infantry,; at various times, various US and Allied infantry, cavalry, armor, tank destroyer, FA, AA functioning as FA, and engineer elements were attached, and the task force - at times, with as many as 8,000 troops under command - did well, largely because some careful planning by the corps and brigade commanders and because they were not asked to accomplish missions beyond their capabilities.

Along these same lines, although the FA brigade headquarters (generally) transitioned into divisional or corps artillery headquarters, there were still five FA brigade headquarters overseas and functional during the last year of the war, along with the 29 AA brigade headquarters mentioned; there were also two infantry brigade headquarters active overseas in 1945, a provisional (non-divisional) cavalry brigade headquarters, and a tank destroyer brigade headquarters, as well as no less than 14 engineer brigade headquarters, all overseas (defined as outside of CONUS).

Again, not all of these 52 brigade headquarters could have functioned an infantry (or armored) brigade headquarters, but it does give an idea of the resources that went into the non-divisional combat and support arms necessary for a global war that fielded army groups active in the ETO, field armies in the MTO, SWP, and Central Pacific, and air forces in all the above, plus the CBI, SP, ADC, and CDC... and that's without getting into the deployed armored, tank destroyer, cavalry, field artillery, AA artillery, and engineer group headquarters, and their attached battalions, etc., much less the "old" and "new" Philippine Scout units/formations.

The Marine Corps' non-divisional combat and support elements (III and V 'Phib each had a corps artillery headquarters equivalent, as well as two separate provisional FA group headquarters and two provisional AA group headquarters, for example, that were all still active in 1945, as was a single Marine combat engineer group headquarters).

So should, for that matter, the Navy's naval construction expeditionary elements, presumably weigh in the mix, as well. More than 300,000 officers and men served in the USN's CEC during WW II, and the mobile elements required the formation of 54 regiments, 12 brigades, and under various designations, five naval construction forces - roughly, a division headquarters equivalent. Again, not all of these organizations could or should be considered the equivalent of ground force combat arms, but they do indicate the scale of the mobilization and the resources created to meet it.

Two other elements that can be considered, although at significant remove: the "Allied" elements that were equipped and sustained, and in some cases, led by (or advised by), US personnel - as opposed to those formed as such and equipped under Lend-Lease. Although the 16 French divisions the US agreed to sustain (8 under the ANFA agreement, 8 with the follow-up LMP agreement), and the Brazilian 1st Division fall entirely under the later category, the PCA field forces (10-12 "light division" diminishing to brigade equivalents, depending upon how one considers them, in 1941-42 and then again, ad hoc, in 1944-45 as the PI were liberated) presumably are worth considering, certainly in terms of the draw on the US Army's officer corps; as do various elements of the ROC field forces sustained by the US in 1942-45 (X Force and Y Force, largely); the same consideration presumably goes to the OSS, SACO, the Philippine resistance units recognized by and cooperating with U.S. forces prior to liberation, the Kachin and Jingpaw Rangers, and the other special operations organizations that required US Army (and Navy) manpower.

Then there are the organized defense reserve units in Hawaii, the Alaska TG, and the local elements (PR and USVI) of the CDC; not huge, but definable. The state defense forces in CONUS, and the AGF, AAF, and ASF elements in CONUS, are a different category.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Apr 2021 03:18

daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Mar 2021 04:24
My understanding of the 90th Division's training and leadership "churn" is based on Gen. DePuy's oral history
Sorry to circle back to this so late, but I just made a fascinating discovery in Changing an Army. For years I've known that a lot of that was written with an agenda, basically DePuy's lifelong interest in changing the U.S. Army. :D However, I have never read it straight through, mostly I've always been interested in his early remarks in it about the 90th...I know, I know, too much to read, too little time. However, what I have read of it always has given me the feeling that he was exaggerating to make his point, you know, the whole thing about an American infantry battalion just being their to escort the FO so the artillery could pound the Beejezus out of the Germans and such. This time though, I've caught the good general, God rest his soul, in a little fib that he may have indulged in to cover his own mistake. :D

I'm reading his account on pages 54-57 about the assault crossing by his battalion of the Saar River at Dillingen in the early hours of 6 December and see he says he made the mistake of relying on an inexperienced AA lieutenant to follow his instructions regarding providing covering fire from his "AA halftracks" they had "infiltrated" into the village of Rehlingen on the flank of the crossing site.

The funny thing is that story doesn't correspond with Doc Cole's account in Lorraine Campaign...and deviates even further from the account by my Dad, who happened to be the "AA lieutenant" in question! :D

For one thing, his provisional platoon of M16A1 of Company A, 537th AAA Battalion didn't "infiltrate" into Rehlingen, they had been there since 4 December, establishing positions, along with elements of the 607th TD Bn, to provide direct fire support of the crossing.

For another, my Dad never met DePuy (as DePuy implies), although he knew him. His orders for the crossing were delivered as a Frag order scribbled on a message form, which was passed to him on the evening of 5 December. It actually specified a time for him to open fire, not "don't open fire unless we're getting heavy fire from the pillboxes on the river" as DePuy recalled.

Anyway, about half an hour after he opened fire on the German bank an "officer in a jeep" came speeding down the main street (really the only street) in Rehlingen. When the officer alighted he starting demanding they cease fire, wanted to know who the officer was, what the screw up was, and so on. Dad said he didn't say much in reply, other than to pull the crumpled message form from his pocket and point to the time it said he was to open fire. The officer promptly shut up, climbed back into his jeep and left. :D After reading DePuy's account I'm now wondering of it may have been DePuy's S-3?

Nor was Dad "inexperienced"...he landed on UTAH on 14 June, just a six days after DePuy. His Bronze Star with "V" was actually for his actions supporting the crossing of DePuy's battalion, 10-20 December and he was recommended for promotion to 1st Lieutenant on 8 December (authorized 23 December).

Anyway, your remark made me look at DePuy's account again and led to me noticing this, so thanks very much.

BTW, one thing that made Rehlingen attractive was that for some reason some of the buildings in town still had running water and one house had running water as well as a coal-fired water heater and a bath tub...the only problem was the wall facing the German-occupied bank of the Saar had been excised by a shell, exposing most of the room to German observation and fire, which made for some interesting nighttime attempts at bathing. :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

McDonald
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 01 Apr 2021 04:30

Mr Anderson:

I know people who loath the guy, and also know people that believe that DePuy represents the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I may even know a couple that think both. A very controversial figure in the U S Army of my time, and to tell you the truth, I believe he did more harm than good.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Apr 2021 04:59

McDonald wrote:
01 Apr 2021 04:30
Mr Anderson:

I know people who loath the guy, and also know people that believe that DePuy represents the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I may even know a couple that think both. A very controversial figure in the U S Army of my time, and to tell you the truth, I believe he did more harm than good.
I am of two minds on the subject. I suppose in a way I feel like Tom Ricks...the Army in the aftermath of the problems of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam abdicated its strategic and operational responsibilities in a single-minded pursuit of tactical excellence. The all-volunteer force was another manifestation of that myopic view of why you have a military and what its role is in a democracy.

This discovery - DePuy basically falsifying an incident in order to create a "teachable moment" - was pretty disturbing. His teachable moment, "look at me, even great tacticians like me make mistakes" was in reality dumping the blame on another junior officer. So the "teachable moment" was in reality teaching how to deflect blame...something the Army has gotten all too good at.

Anyway, I had much the same experience with General Michael Flynn...on the outside looking in he seemed pretty good, but from the inside looking out the view was quite different.
"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: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 01 Apr 2021 05:30

I would just as soon never have to discuss Michael Flynn, As far as I am concerned he is right up there with Benedict Arnold, and Aaron Burr.

The composition of an army in a democracy, in my view, should be a strong core of professionals, with the rest, the bulk of the Army, made up of those in the mold of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

Richard Anderson
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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Apr 2021 06:13

McDonald wrote:
01 Apr 2021 05:30
I would just as soon never have to discuss Michael Flynn, As far as I am concerned he is right up there with Benedict Arnold, and Aaron Burr.

The composition of an army in a democracy, in my view, should be a strong core of professionals, with the rest, the bulk of the Army, made up of those in the mold of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus
Agreed, but that would require a draft and that is unlikely to come back in a lifetime, if ever.
"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: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 01 Apr 2021 06:58

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2021 03:18
daveshoup2MD wrote:
17 Mar 2021 04:24
My understanding of the 90th Division's training and leadership "churn" is based on Gen. DePuy's oral history
Sorry to circle back to this so late, but I just made a fascinating discovery in Changing an Army. For years I've known that a lot of that was written with an agenda, basically DePuy's lifelong interest in changing the U.S. Army. :D However, I have never read it straight through, mostly I've always been interested in his early remarks in it about the 90th...I know, I know, too much to read, too little time. However, what I have read of it always has given me the feeling that he was exaggerating to make his point, you know, the whole thing about an American infantry battalion just being their to escort the FO so the artillery could pound the Beejezus out of the Germans and such. This time though, I've caught the good general, God rest his soul, in a little fib that he may have indulged in to cover his own mistake. :D

I'm reading his account on pages 54-57 about the assault crossing by his battalion of the Saar River at Dillingen in the early hours of 6 December and see he says he made the mistake of relying on an inexperienced AA lieutenant to follow his instructions regarding providing covering fire from his "AA halftracks" they had "infiltrated" into the village of Rehlingen on the flank of the crossing site.

The funny thing is that story doesn't correspond with Doc Cole's account in Lorraine Campaign...and deviates even further from the account by my Dad, who happened to be the "AA lieutenant" in question! :D

For one thing, his provisional platoon of M16A1 of Company A, 537th AAA Battalion didn't "infiltrate" into Rehlingen, they had been there since 4 December, establishing positions, along with elements of the 607th TD Bn, to provide direct fire support of the crossing.

For another, my Dad never met DePuy (as DePuy implies), although he knew him. His orders for the crossing were delivered as a Frag order scribbled on a message form, which was passed to him on the evening of 5 December. It actually specified a time for him to open fire, not "don't open fire unless we're getting heavy fire from the pillboxes on the river" as DePuy recalled.

Anyway, about half an hour after he opened fire on the German bank an "officer in a jeep" came speeding down the main street (really the only street) in Rehlingen. When the officer alighted he starting demanding they cease fire, wanted to know who the officer was, what the screw up was, and so on. Dad said he didn't say much in reply, other than to pull the crumpled message form from his pocket and point to the time it said he was to open fire. The officer promptly shut up, climbed back into his jeep and left. :D After reading DePuy's account I'm now wondering of it may have been DePuy's S-3?

Nor was Dad "inexperienced"...he landed on UTAH on 14 June, just a six days after DePuy. His Bronze Star with "V" was actually for his actions supporting the crossing of DePuy's battalion, 10-20 December and he was recommended for promotion to 1st Lieutenant on 8 December (authorized 23 December).

Anyway, your remark made me look at DePuy's account again and led to me noticing this, so thanks very much.

BTW, one thing that made Rehlingen attractive was that for some reason some of the buildings in town still had running water and one house had running water as well as a coal-fired water heater and a bath tub...the only problem was the wall facing the German-occupied bank of the Saar had been excised by a shell, exposing most of the room to German observation and fire, which made for some interesting nighttime attempts at bathing. :lol:
You know, there's an obvious counterpoint to your idea as to who may have been telling a tale, right?

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 01 Apr 2021 07:01

McDonald wrote:
01 Apr 2021 04:30
Mr Anderson:

I know people who loath the guy, and also know people that believe that DePuy represents the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I may even know a couple that think both. A very controversial figure in the U S Army of my time, and to tell you the truth, I believe he did more harm than good.
He made it to four stars and CG of TRADOC; who or what would have been the alternative, do you think?

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 01 Apr 2021 07:04

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2021 04:59
McDonald wrote:
01 Apr 2021 04:30
Mr Anderson:

I know people who loath the guy, and also know people that believe that DePuy represents the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I may even know a couple that think both. A very controversial figure in the U S Army of my time, and to tell you the truth, I believe he did more harm than good.
I am of two minds on the subject. I suppose in a way I feel like Tom Ricks...the Army in the aftermath of the problems of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam abdicated its strategic and operational responsibilities in a single-minded pursuit of tactical excellence. The all-volunteer force was another manifestation of that myopic view of why you have a military and what its role is in a democracy.

This discovery - DePuy basically falsifying an incident in order to create a "teachable moment" - was pretty disturbing. His teachable moment, "look at me, even great tacticians like me make mistakes" was in reality dumping the blame on another junior officer. So the "teachable moment" was in reality teaching how to deflect blame...something the Army has gotten all too good at.

Anyway, I had much the same experience with General Michael Flynn...on the outside looking in he seemed pretty good, but from the inside looking out the view was quite different.
Comparing Flynn to DePuy is a pretty loaded comment.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 01 Apr 2021 07:05

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Apr 2021 06:13
McDonald wrote:
01 Apr 2021 05:30
I would just as soon never have to discuss Michael Flynn, As far as I am concerned he is right up there with Benedict Arnold, and Aaron Burr.

The composition of an army in a democracy, in my view, should be a strong core of professionals, with the rest, the bulk of the Army, made up of those in the mold of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus
Agreed, but that would require a draft and that is unlikely to come back in a lifetime, if ever.
One can always volunteer. There are those of us who did.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by McDonald » 01 Apr 2021 15:22

Mr Shoup:

I agree on both counts.

Comparing Michael Flynn to General DePuy does a disservice to General DePuy, regardless of his faults.

The Spirit of the Cincinnati can exist without conscription.

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Re: 200 U. S. trained divisions?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Apr 2021 16:30

daveshoup2MD wrote:
01 Apr 2021 06:58
You know, there's an obvious counterpoint to your idea as to who may have been telling a tale, right?
Well sure, did you think that didn't cross my mind?

1. The first time I heard there was a discrepancy was c. 1976, when I borrowed Lorraine Campaign from the library and my Dad read through it and first remarked what his version was, pointing out where Doc Cole varied from his recollection.
2. DePuy's version of events is yet a third version, first apparently enunciated by the general in 1979.
3. Elements of DePuy's version also differs from the historical record, it does not match Cole's version or what details may be gleaned from the unit records.
3. My Dad's version was personal, spoken only to my Mom and myself. It was not intended for publication or to teach.
4. It is not the only part of DePuy's recollection that doesn't match the actual record.
"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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