Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

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Mori
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Mori » 05 Jan 2021 15:40

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
05 Jan 2021 08:54
That is admittedly not a comprehensive listing of all historians to have considered whether American or British forces had greater combat effectiveness. Nonetheless, we have the 21 authors in the Military Effectiveness compendium, three dudes from TDI, and 2 from the 88th Infantry book. I consider it at least a representative sample in support of my statement that most analysts consider the Americans to have had higher combat effectiveness than Brits by '44 or so.

Do you have any analysts of military effectiveness representing the opposite view?
Is there any British author in that whole group, by the way? TDI team is American, the 88th ID book too. Checking vol. 3 of Military Effectiveness (the one on World War 2), it's all US writers again, except for Jürgen Forster chapter on Germans.

So there might be a biais there... Conclusions on US vs. British/Canadians would probably be different should contributors be Terry Copp, David French or John Buckley.

(Similarly, you will find French authors claiming that military effectiveness or whatever of the French army in 1940 was better than German's. What is it worth?)

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 Jan 2021 19:51

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
05 Jan 2021 13:06
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
05 Jan 2021 08:54
In their book about the U.S. 88th Infantry Division, authors Sheridan and Hammerman compared 24 representative divisions of countries that fought on WW2's Western Front. Of the top 10, nine were German, one American, none British.
I think this work was done for Trevor Dupuy wasn’t it? Rich, please jump in here. I’ve found a reference to a HERO report by Sheridan and Hammerman. So that would be based on the Italian campaign database?

Regards

Tom
I may have to unignore TMP again, some of his posts are just too interesting to miss. Yes, indeed, The 88th Infantry Division in World War II: Factors Responsible for its Excellence was coincidentally Report Number 88 in the HERO/DMSi/TNDA/TDI catalog, it was not a "book" although it seems to appear that way in Amazon. The "24 divisions" were all from the QJM "Italian" data base and all are from Italian engagements, except for the 4th Armored Division. Rick and Gay did no comparison, they simply reproduced the table of comparative CEV as Appendix C. They did suggest that an actual comparative study be done, but that is about it. The British divisions considered were 46th Inf, 7th Armd, 1st Inf, 5th Inf, and 56th Inf, in order of ranking.

Parenthetically, this study was done about six years before I joined HERO/DMSi to work on Breakpoints and then the ACSDB and other projects. Rick Sheridan had moved on, but oddly enough he was a neighbor a few years earlier, c. 1975-1977, but at that time was running a war gaming shop. I worked with Gay on Breakpoints, she was an interesting lady. Even more interesting, John Sloane Brown was a consultant in the study, but had a falling out with Trevor (making him part of a ginormous club) and thus did not appear as a contributor IIRC. He later wrote Draftee Division a few years later and was the grandson of Maj. Gen. John E. Sloane, the division commander in Italy. Brig. Gen. Brown later was CMH before his retirement.

Also parenthetically, one of my favorite and one of the most popular "Trevor had no idea what he was talking about" arguments used to run "the 1st and 5th ID didn't fight in Italy. the Big Red One only fought in Sicily and the 5th ID was in Iceland and then went to England in August 1943 and neither fought at Anzio". :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: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 05 Jan 2021 20:05

Richard Anderson wrote:
05 Jan 2021 19:51
Parenthetically, this study was done about six years before I joined HERO/DMSi to work on Breakpoints and then the ACSDB and other projects.
Rich, many thanks for the clarification.

Incidentally, and I may be talking utter tosh here (it's happened before! :D On to BERLIN! :lol: ) but IIRC all the British divisional engagements were when those divisions were fighting under 5th US Army. Is that right? Was that a conscious decision or driven by the availability of better German information?

Regards and stay well,

Tom

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 Jan 2021 20:21

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
05 Jan 2021 20:05
Rich, many thanks for the clarification.

Incidentally, and I may be talking utter tosh here (it's happened before! :D On to BERLIN! :lol: ) but IIRC all the British divisional engagements were when those divisions were fighting under 5th US Army. Is that right? Was that a conscious decision or driven by the availability of better German information?

Regards and stay well,

Tom
Sorry, but yes it is utter tosh. :D The reason the British engagements were all under Fifth U.S. Army is because it was easier to find American and German records for the engagements at NARA, which meant that much of the early data for the British for Salerno, Volturno, and Anzio was fro Fifth Army sources that were later filled out by visits to Kew. Chris, Shaun, and I collected an enormous amount of Eighth Army and other records at Kew for the Capture Rate Study and some other work in 1999, 2000, 2004, and 2006, but we never created engagements from them since there was no longer any funding for such work...and no funding for any such data-driven work since c. 2009 when TDI went moribund. Chris now is a one-man-band, I moved on to other employment in fall 2008 and Shaun did the same earlier...I think it was 2007?

Worse, Chris now has the TDI archival files in his basement and I only have electronic copies of some of it. Twenty-four or so legal-size file drawers of 40+ years of HERO/DMSI/TNDA/TDI records, plus about twenty file boxes of BFME and Eighth Army records. Sigh...

Cheers!
"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 TheMarcksPlan » 06 Jan 2021 03:06

Tom from Cornwall wrote:Thank you for the reference which I will follow up.

Firstly, which volume is that from?
Volume 3. I'll send you a link.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:It’s all so arbitrary and subjective as to be, IMHO, worthless.
Ok. You asked for other military analysts saying the late-war US Army was better than the British. I'm not necessarily committed to their conclusions though I tend to credit the broad sweep of analyst's opinions unless I see glaring evidentiary or analytical errors.

Can you cite any military analysts who claim the British forces were better? I'm sure there are some but I seem to be doing all the work here...
Tom from Cornwall wrote:on occasion some US units seemed to struggle, on some occasions the British units struggled and on some occasions even the German units struggled.
Sometimes a good team struggles to defeat, or even loses to, a bad team. Sometimes good authors' sentences are worse than bad authors' sentences. Sometimes it rains in the Sahara and not in the Amazon.

The existence of variation is why we conduct analysis of high-level phenomena like national military effectiveness at the higher levels.
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 Tom from Cornwall » 06 Jan 2021 04:17

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Jan 2021 03:06
Can you cite any military analysts who claim the British forces were better? I'm sure there are some but I seem to be doing all the work here...
Well, I think you could look in here:

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a401069.pdf

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:

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.

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.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 06 Jan 2021 05:17

Tom from Cornwall wrote:Authors of the study - Chris Lawrence and Richard Anderson
Agree or disagree - the authors conclude that American combat effectiveness was higher?
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 Tom from Cornwall » 06 Jan 2021 09:40

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Jan 2021 05:17
Agree or disagree - the authors conclude that American combat effectiveness was higher?
Well actually, in their conclusions they ignore the fact that the data from the army-campaign level contradicted that from the division-level engagements in this respect and kind of analytically sweep the contradiction under the carpet. To be fair, neither the aim of this report nor any of the TDI work (as far as I am aware) was to conduct an analysis to say whether US combat performance was “better” at some point or over a certain period than the British. Nor was it, and Rich has made this point on another of the multiple threads, aimed at producing an artificial table of best to worst divisions [edited to add: despite the statement in the report that 46 and 56 Div’s were “particularly poor”]. That’s how some people have used it though.

That’s my point in this debate - if someone was to say that this data suggests something that would be fine but to say that the data is ‘conclusive’ is IMHO too much of a stretch.

At least the debate keeps me entertained during another drizzly dark day... :D

Regards

Tom

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 06 Jan 2021 10:46

Tom from Cornwall wrote:Well actually, in their conclusions they ignore the fact that the data from the army-campaign level contradicted
I'll take that as "Agree."

More specifically - "Analysts find as you say, TMP, but they're wrong."
Tom from Cornwall wrote:That’s my point in this debate - if someone was to say that this data suggests something that would be fine but to say that the data is ‘conclusive’ is IMHO too much of a stretch.
Understood but that's why I have been reluctant to engage on the issue. I am describing what most analysts actually say, you are arguing about what analysts should say. I don't want to engage in that debate with you, which is why I won't defend Lawrence's entirely sensible and straightforward resolution of the superficial paradox you identify.

Most analysts say the American Army was qualitatively better than the British. Full stop.

It seems you need to find at least one analyst with the opposing viewpoint - else my statement was wrong in saying "most" rather than "all."

-----------------------------------------------

My position actually defends the British Army as a professional system. Because the average British soldier was smaller, weaker, and probably dumber than the average American, the British system should be spotted a few points in the comparison with the American. [same goes for Germans vs. Americans]
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 Cult Icon » 06 Jan 2021 14:26

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? These materials are mainly used to buttress someone's rhetoric and decision making hence the demand of these services. Ultimately it serves the vanity of human beings and their natural desire to get concrete answers & reassurance to the inconcrete & intangible.

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.


“Even though you have exhausted the abtruse doctrines,

it is like placing a hair in a vast space.

Even though you have learned all the secrets of the world,

it is like a drop of water dripped on the great ocean.”


Te-shan Hsüan-chien, 782-865

Mori
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Mori » 06 Jan 2021 14:35

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Jan 2021 03:06
Can you cite any military analysts who claim the British forces were better? I'm sure there are some but I seem to be doing all the work here...
Thanks for asking. There are comparisons of British vs. American during the NW Europe campaign where British do significantly better.

A couple of cases:
- post-Market-Garden fight in Western Holland. The 7th US Arm Div fails at capturing an objective, then British take over and do better (operation Constellation). This is for example discussed in Buckley's Monty's Men

- post-Bulge fight to reach the Roer river: British operation Blackcock (16-26 January 1945) vs. US advance to the Roer river dams (5-10 February 1945).

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Mori » 06 Jan 2021 14:41

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Jan 2021 10:46
Most analysts say the American Army was qualitatively better than the British. Full stop.
More analysts say the Chinese political system is the best in the world because, China having a much larger population, it has more analysts than any other country.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Mori » 06 Jan 2021 14:43

Cult Icon wrote:
06 Jan 2021 14:26
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.
Add a couple more such statements and Richard Anderson will block you, if he hasn't already :D :D

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 06 Jan 2021 14:49

per ideological and cultural motivations, there is a lack of good reference material on the Japanese I've found but there are a few that provide some introductory understanding or a small degree of illumination.

The influential book of the Samurai ethics, the Hagakure (infamous as being popular with Japanese soldiers in WW2). The classic "Bushido: the soul of Japan" connects feudal attitudes to the present (written shortly after the Japanese victory against the Russians circa 1900) and DT Suzuki has talks about Samurai and Zen, the audiobook for all three can be found on youtube. A bit that Niobe remarks is how the discipline of shame and community is instilled in childhood among Japanese youth.

On the topic of religious motivations of the Japanese, Brian Victoria has a few books "Zen at War" and "Zen War Stories" among them. These provide insight to how expansive the Buddhist system in Japan was pre 1945 and how it molded itself to state policy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Victoria

Ultimately it requires an in-depth interest in Wabi-Sabi artistic aesthetics, traditional Japanese culture, Bushido, Samurai culture, and Zen Buddhism to more clearly understand Japanese fighting spirit & their special attitude towards life and death. In Buddhism the matter of life & death, karma & rebirth is of vital importance. The samurai, according to the Hagakure, was to mediate on the moment of death daily, and die daily. Dying daily, dying moment by moment is a fundamental mode of Buddhist thought. Emptiness and No-Self. The practice of wearing death poems by priests and soldiers. All very foreign attitudes to westerners.

All of these cultural influences should make the propaganda proliferated by the 12- year Reich pale in comparison.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by histan » 06 Jan 2021 16:57

A question for Richard mainly, I guess. Did any of the work consider the impact of shock and surprise on combat outcomes?

Secondly, how does the concept of 25% "heroes", 50% "sheep", and 25% "will run away" figure in the calculation of the human component and do these proportions vary across the armies considered?

Regards

John

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