Rather the opposite really. Opinions are highly individualistic and variable, Military doctrine are the "fundamental principles by which military forces guide their actions in support of national objectives." (FM 100-5, Glossary)Yoozername wrote:Well opinions are like...Doctrines...
It may surprise some to know that the U.S. Army also did not have wartime "doctrine" in that such a definition was not promulgated until postwar. Instead, like the British, although "doctrine" may be found used in various documents, the preferred phrase was "regulations" as in Field Service Regulations. It was only in 1941 that the U.S. Army published its revision to FSR 1939 in three separate volumes identified as FM 100-05 Operations, FM 100-10 Administration, and FM 100-15 Larger Units, which were joined in July 1943 by FM 100-20 Command and Employment of Air Power (replacing the former FM 1-5), rounding out the Army's ground-air "doctrine".
Yes, they are. It is thus always surprising to me that so many, such as Mr. Ward and Mr. Fox, manage to get so confused about who did what.If we look at the more concrete evidence, that is the actual hardware and the generation thereof, we do get a clear picture of the 'evolution' of the 'Tank Destroyers'. The men behind it are also fairly well documented. That is, McNair, Bruce, Devers, etc.
It may also surprise some to know that Patton was surprisingly "doctrinaire' when it came to the FSR. Bradley OTOH is surprisingly difficult to pin down, since he changed his tune and attempted to rewrite his history (a la B.L.M.) a number of times. The experience of North African combat resulted in Tank Destroyer Training Circular No. 88 of 24 June 1943. While paragraph 3a maintained the mantra “Action of tank destroyers is characterized by an aggressive spirit. Their mobility permits them to be concentrated rapidly in an advantageous position.”, paragraph 3d also stated “The vulnerability of tank destroyers to hostile tanks, antitank, and artillery fire requires that every practicable measure be taken to ensure concealment. The most advantageous positions are those affording flanking fire.” And various other similar cautionary remarks, all of which were eventually embodied in the FM 18-5 revision of 18 July 1944.One can look at North Africa, see the results of using French 75s on halftracks and the M10, and draw some conclusions. Some combat generals like Patton and Bradley disliked the performance of the TDs, I am not that sure about how they felt regarding the doctrine, but they were the ones commanding the units using them. A TD uses people, fuel, large ammunition, etc., No Doctrine changes that fact. Many never got into combat and the one 'success' Guettar, was a bit of a wash.
I think you have that scrambled? The first M18-equipped TD units were not available until fall 1943, after Bradley moved to command FUSA in England. He never held more than a corps command in the Mediterranean. It is true the first M18 units were all assigned to Thrid Army initially as the NEPTUNE follow-on, but it appears for the same reason the decision was made not to use the 76mm-armed Medium Tank M4 in the invasion; no one was interested in fielding a new and untested item which required retraining of crews and maintenance reorganization.The knee-jerk reaction of going to towed antitank guns (3 in.), and Bruce's obsession with battlefield hotrod speed (M18), results in an overall lack of focus on what is needed on the coming battlefield. Bradley supposedly refused the M18 in Italy since its speed was of no real battlefield use.
The fact that McNair as an artilleryman was included was due to the simple fact that prewar anti-armor defense was the purview of the Field Artillery and because McNair had been central to its doctrinal development and testing since he was a lieutenant colonel in 1934. I think a more important point would be to ask why anyone would think McNair shouldn't have been "central to the decisions".The fact that artillerymen (McNair) were clearly central to the decisions, brings up another point. They did not see what the Germans were doing.
BTW, the American military attache office in Berlin saw very well what the Germans were doing and reported on it with surprising accuracy through 1941.
The German development of a self-propelled "infantry accompanying gun" was well known to the U.S. Army. What do you think was the impetus for the development of the 75mm SPM by Major Icks in the spring of 1941? Hint, it wasn't initially as exclusively an antitank weapon and it wasn't as a tank destroyer...they got co-opted after the fact into the "tank hunter" experiments of summer and fall 1941 that resulted in the creation of the Tank Destroyer Force.That is, the Germans had developed, for their artillery arm, a multi-function tracked vehicle that could give direct support for the troops, and also act as a antitank weapon. This was the Sturmgeschutz and the branch of the artillery was the Sturmartillerie. If anyone had been paying attention to the Intel, it was part of the Germans success along with the 'Blitzkrieg' early in the war. By 1943, when all the Brass in the US Army were trying to reinvent the wheel, the StuG units had become one of the most important means for the Germans to keep the Soviets from rolling them up.
There is an extensive body of documentation on just what was known and what conclusions were drawn and why, some of which I have contributed to. In summary though, the first real understanding of the potential threat of the Panther was not realized until literally the eve of D-Day. And yet despite that the effort to get "improved punching power" in American tanks goes back to the Medium Tank T6 design as laid out in OCM 17202 of 11 September 1941.The US had experience with Tiger I in North Africa and also Sicily, Panther in Italy and even heavy armor like the Elephant/Brumbar. They had feedback from the Soviets regarding the fielding of panthers in larger numbers. They had evidence that the Germans were developing bigger guns and even APCR ammunition. It just seems, possibly easy in retrospect, that the whole D-Day invasion took on a life of its own, much like the Market garden operation, and any voice that was not gung ho was not listened to. I wonder what Patton was thinking since he was side-lined?