Sid Guttridge wrote: ↑
19 Jan 2022 14:28
Sorry for the delay in replying.
I was awaiting your reply with barely bated breath.
The 1913 Class is a gap in my notes. I have it being trawled for volunteers, but not initially for conscription. I have it placed collectively in the Ersatz Reserve rather than the Reserve, which was where time served conscripts or ex-regulars went. Can you confirm it was called up en masse in 1935?
It was fully mobilized by 26 August 1939.
You post, "That amounted to about 2.2-million trained reservists or active duty personnel over the course of four years. The US Army received under 1-million unductees from Fall 1940 through fall 1941." So, in 1940-41 the US was mobilizing men in roughly twice the numbers of the Germans in the late 1930s, when they could raise about 500,000 in each year group? Or to put it another way, per capita, in 1940-41 the USA was raising men at about the same rate as Germany in the late 1930s?
Sure the rate was higher, because the US had a much larger demographic to work from, but I do not see that the rate matters, it is the total mobilized.
Yup, the expansion of the Reichsheer began in 1934, not 1935. The US Army was expanding in 1939. However, conscription began in Germany in the autumn of 1935, whereas in the USA it began in the autumn of 1940.
I think I just said that?
You post, "By the end of 1934 it consisted of 21 active divisions and 27 by the end of 1935." Those are the plans, not the reality. Probably only by the end of 1936, when they had had a year of conscription to fill out their establishments with reasonably trained men could anything ressembling divisions have been put in place. Even then they may well have been under strength because they had almost no reserves to top them up to war establishment.
Do you think that at the end of 1941, the 37 active divisions in the US Army were complete? Two of the five armored divisions were more or less complete, two were organizing, and one was a cadre, one of the two cavalry divisions was more or less complete, the second was organizing. Of the remaining 29 divisions, one was an isolated and understrength garrison force and the two in the Hawaiian Islands, while nominally now mobile divisions, were still effectively static garrisons, each at about two-thirds strength. The 27 infantry divisions in the Z/I, 9 Regular and 18 National Guard, were woefully incomplete. Of those, three of the nine Regular divisions were more or less fully manned and equipped. The rest were fully manned, but equipment varied from 30 to 50% of requirements.
You post, "It then had four more peacetime years to expand and train." Yup, and that produced very nearly three years of time-served conscripts and one year of half-served conscripts. It then had to employ every single one of them on an actiive battlefront. By contrast, in November 1942 the USA employed only a tiny fraction of its manpower in TORCH two years after introducing conscription. (The number of divisions initially employed there was so small that they could all, in theory, have been provided by the pre-war regular army). The overwheming majority of US divisions only saw combat from mid 1944, 2-5 years after the first were originally ordered embodied.
Again, did I say anything different? And do you have a point? By the end of September 1942, the US Army committed 20 infantry divisions overseas, including the 24th and 25th in Hawaii. So two-thirds of those available in the Z/I as of 7 December 1941. That many did not see combat is irrelevant, their early commitment overseas affected the mobilization and training of the entire Army. Simply put, the American Army never developed the mobilization expertise exhibited by the Germans, but then, the Germans were building on a basis of expertise and experience about 100-years old, whereas the American one was ad hoc in the extreme.
You post, "The 65th Infantry was activated and the PR National Guard was federalized, which actually about quintupled the garrison, from a few thousand to 17,000." The 65th was a regular unit. The expansion in Puerto Rico in 1939 came largely from continental US artillery units being deployed there. The PR National Guard was called out in the autumn of 1940, like its continental equivalents. The quintupling you talk of took place in 1940.
Then what was the point of your factoid regarding the Puerto Rico garrison expansion?
You are right, like me, you also did not not mention the "when the odds were even scenario". I aplogise. That was daveshoups's introduction to the conversation.
Good of you to notice.
I did not say anything about Dupuy ever having expressed "......a low opinion of US infantry". I actually wrote that he, "did not express a very high opinion of US infantry." The two are not the same thing and I don't have to defend what I did not write. Unless, of course, you are contending that he did express a very high opinion of US infantry? Did he?
Actually, yes he did, his opinion of the US Army as a whole was quite high. What he criticized was its battlefield performance, which did not always revolve around a high or low opinion of infantry.
It is some 30 years since I last read Dupuy's Numbers, Prediction and War. From what I recall, his statistical analysis showed that US (and British) infantry divisions did not tend to perform as well as German infantry divisions in 1943-45, even sometimes when these were recently raised Volksgrenadier divisions. (I am not sure I buy into Dupuy's statistical methodology, but that is my recollection of his conclusions.)
I do not believe statistical analysis is opinion?
You post that Dupuy "criticized their tactics and training. Marshall criticized the training they received in fire discipline and control." These are rather fundamental criticisms and, I would suggest, if true, rather tend to support my more nuanced proposition that they "did not express a very high opinion of US infantry."
Since you are putting words into their mouths, I would hardly described your proposition as nuanced. They criticized the tactics and training practices of the US Army, which is not an opinion, high or low, of US infantry. It is an opinion of the tactics and training practices that resulted in what may be assessed as poor performance. Perhaps that's too nuanced for you?
You post, "most US infantry divisions "reached "peak efficiency" about three to eight weeks after entering combat." What is the source of this quite precise time frame?
Experience of the divisions in combat. An extreme example is the 90th Infantry Division. It entered combat as a complete division, more or less, on 10 June 1944. Its officers and men were incapable of performing relatively simple operations, suffered tremendous casualties to little result, went through two division commanders, and assistant division commander, seven regimental commanders, and numerous battalion commanders (the first of which on his first day of combat announced he had gone blind and went to the rear). And yet seven weeks later were the spearhead of the breakout east into France, capturing 10,709 EPW in the process. Or the 99th Division, which after 37 days in combat, while on an extended and vulnerable front was forced to defend against the attack of three German divisions, reinforced by elements of another.
As your description of 1st, 3rd and 34th Divisions coincides well with my charecterization of the composition of the initial divisions in North Africa, I see no reason to take major issue with it. However, I would suggest that you may be underselling 34th Division. Although it may have been federalized on 10 February 1941, it was actually a longstanding state National Guard formation whose personnel had already had some training. Furthermore, it appears to have conducted its first divisional field exercises no later than September 1941. It was apparently sent to Europe because it was one of the divisions most advanced in its preparation and there it span off 500 volunteers to form the first Ranger battalion. (Perhaps this last cost it some of its more self motivated manpower?)
Do try not to teach your granny to suck eggs. All of the National Guard formations were "longstanding state" formations. A tautology demonstrates nothing.
I am well aware of the history of the 34th Division. It was chosen because, among other things, it was one of the few NG divisions that had recently trained as a division, in August 1937 and then again in August 1940. After Federalization 10 February 1940 and movement from Camp Ripley Minnesota to Camp Claiborne Louisiana 20 February 1940, it participated in the V Corps Maneuvers of June 1941 and the GHQ Maneuvers of August-September 1941, which also were factors in the decision. It was also triangularized 8 December 1941, one of the earliest to complete reorganization, which was another factor in its favor. Then, the 27th, 32d, 37th, and 41st, which were also in similar states of readiness, were already committed to the reinforcement of Pacific garrisons, when the decision was made to send a National Guard division to the UK, which was another factor in its favor. I would have to double-check, but I believe also by then the CG and the three regimental commanders were all RA, replacing the former NG personnel, most of whom were over-age for overseas service.
In any case, I do not see how making a factual statement of the composition of the 34th Division was "underselling" it? It consisted almost entirely of National Guard, except for a leavening of Regular Army and Organized Reserve senior officers. How is that an "undersell"? It did not complete the formal WD training program, the MTP, before it landed in North Africa. How is that an "undersell"? Both are simple statements of fact, I would think that so normally careful a wordsmith as you would realize that?
"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