Evaluation of the Performance of the U.S. Army

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Delta Tank
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Post by Delta Tank » 09 Jun 2005 21:08

Benoit Douville,

To answer your question, I think that the overall performance of the United States Army in World War II was very good. We went from 3 divisions skattered throughout the United States in 1939 to 89 divisions and I don't know how many separate regimental combat teams (RCTs), separate FA battalions, separate Anti-Tank battalions, Coast Arty battalions, etc. This does not include the expansion of the US Army Air Corps into the largest (?) air force in the world.

Mike

Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 09 Jun 2005 21:17

Delta Tank, I think you are making a mistake there. I am reasonably certain that the US forces were all under command IInd US Corps. The overall theatre command was exerted by British Marshal Alexander.

US Army Kasserine Staff Ride at CMH

CMH Tunisia brochure

The 'Jock Column' practice you are alluding to had stopped a lot earlier in 1942.

All the best

Andreas

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 10 Jun 2005 00:49

Delta Tank wrote:IIRC the Americans were busted up into regimental packages and placed under British command for the Battle at Kasserine Pass. The design of the US Army Infantry Division was that the entire division fought as a team, not as separate regiments.

[snip]

Apparently breaking divisions up into regimental size units was in vogue during this period of the war in the British Army. I found when reading Monty by Hamilton that FM Montgomery put an end to that when he took over 8th Army. I think the big thing is that it is very hard to coordinate and mass your artillery when you don't have a DIVARTY to control the fires of the organic division and any supporting assets.
The II Corps at that time was under the command of Maj. Gen. Fredendall who was primarily responsible for the scattered deployment of the 1st. Armored (not Inf.) Division. There was also a regiment of the 34th. Inf. Div. involved, and it was upon these units that the Germans' blow first fell.

Technically, II Corps was included in the British 1st. Army commanded by Lt. Gen. Anderson, but he seems to have exerted little control over its tactical dispositions.

BTW, if this is an area that interests you, you could hardly do better than to obtain a copy of An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson. In addition to being well-researched and informative, it's also an entertaining read.

Delta Tank
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Post by Delta Tank » 10 Jun 2005 02:12

Grease-Spot,

I am working on a reply. The breaking up of divisions in the British Army was still in effect when "Monty" arrived in North Africa in August of 1942! So, I would imagine that it would take until September of 1942 to unscrew that. I have loaned out books to my buddies and I will try to find more information, but I still believe that the 1st Infantry Division was busted up into regimental size units that were not in mutual support of each other at Kasserine Pass. MG. Ferendall was no good against the Germans, but he re-appears against the Japenese and in the Phillipine Islands and does very well, or is that a different Ferendall?

Mike

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 10 Jun 2005 05:57

This is my second try at a reply as IE hung and then crashed. :(
Delta Tank wrote:The breaking up of divisions in the British Army was still in effect when "Monty" arrived in North Africa in August of 1942! So, I would imagine that it would take until September of 1942 to unscrew that.
Not really. The reorganisation of divisions into unitary wholes had begun as early as July under Auchinlech but had not been completed. The problem was partly due to having enough divisions on hand to replace brigades as they were pulled out of the line to be reunited with their parent units. But as was sometimes the case, Monty was happy to take credit for others' ideas. ;)
...I still believe that the 1st Infantry Division was busted up into regimental size units that were not in mutual support of each other at Kasserine Pass.
When I was looking around this afternoon I couldn't find any reference to 1st. Inf. at Kasserine. It may have come late into the fighting and I overlooked the passage. The earliest reference I found to them in Tunisia was after the battle for Kasserine was over. In any event, as I posted earlier, the brunt of it fell on 1st. Arm. and 34th. Inf.
MG. Ferendall was no good against the Germans, but he re-appears against the Japenese and in the Phillipine Islands and does very well, or is that a different Ferendall?
I couldn't honestly say. I don't recall offhand from any of my reading, and the only thing I could get on the net was this contemporary article in Time about him returning to the States to take over 2nd. Army.
http://www.time.com/time/archive/previe ... 67,00.html
I think that was a training command. BTW, if you are spelling Ferendall correctly, that's not the same as Fredendall, you notice.[/url]

Delta Tank
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Post by Delta Tank » 11 Jun 2005 14:28

Grease-Spot,
MG. Ferendall was no good against the Germans, but he re-appears against the Japenese and in the Phillipine Islands and does very well, or is that a different Ferendall?
Okay made a mistake (no! yes!, say it ain't so!)! Here is what I read five or six years ago and it got filed in the memory bank incorrectly.

There's A War To Be Won, by Geoffrey Perret, page 507.

Robert Eichelberger took over from Krueger. His Eighth Army headquarters had been activated in September. It consisted mainly of Lloyd Fredendall's Second Army headquarters, shipped wholesale from the United States and given a different number. Leyte was the Eighth's debut.

More to come on the Kasserine Pass thingy. Still looking for one book.

Mike

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Post by Larry D. » 11 Jun 2005 14:52

At the risk of adding my two cents where perhaps they are not wanted, there are two citations in Samuel E. Morison's History of United States Naval Operations in World War Two for Maj.Gen. Lloyd R. Fredenhall. For Operation Torch, he was commander of the Center Tak Force United States Army that embarked from the U.K. for Oran with some 39,000 troops (1st Inf. Div., elements of 1st Armored Div., etc.). In the second citation Morison spells his name Fredendall.

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Post by Larry D. » 11 Jun 2005 15:00

Wikipedia's Answers.com says:

Lloyd Fredendall
Lt. Gen. Lloyd Fredendall (1883-1963) was known as an ineffective tactical commander in battle. Fredendall was disliked by almost everyone, both above and below him. His most infamous loss occurred in February, 1943 against Rommel in the Battle of Tunisia. Upset with Fredendall's lack of aggressive spirit and his penchant for selecting poor subordinates, General Eisenhower sacked him in March and replaced him with General George Patton.
Career
• 1936-1938 Commanding Officer 57th Regiment, Philippines
• 1938-1939 Executive Officer to Chief of Infantry
• 1940-1941 Commanding General 4th Division
• 1941-1943 Commanding General II Corps
• 1942 Commanding General Central Task Force, North Africa
• 1943 Commanding General XI Corps
• 1943 Deputy Commanding General 2nd Army
• 1943-1946 Commanding General 2nd Army
• 1943-1946 General Officer Commander in Chief Central Defense Command
• 1946 Retired

I have not been able to find any listings for a Ferendall or a Ferenhall.

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Post by Delta Tank » 11 Jun 2005 15:23

Larry D,

I was going through The United States Navy in World War II, Compiled and Edited by S. E. Smith and found out on page 750 that:

D-Day dawned clear and fair; the sea was calm. After a last pounding of Makin, Marines stormed ashore and captured the island with relative ease. (Makin was taken by the 27th Infantry Divsion, New York National Guard).

Obvious mistake that made it through the proof readers and others that read it before publication to include Rear Admiral E. M. Eller, Director of Naval History! In fact the 27th Infantry Division was invovled in some of the most controversail rows in the Pacific War.

Oh well they tried their best I am sure.

Mike

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Post by DIREWOLF75 » 11 Jun 2005 17:44

I THINK its supposed to be Mj Gen Fredenhall, but he is listed all over as either that or Fredendall so someone did a whoopsie somewhere, sometime, and it lives on.

Grease_Spot, its not THAT hard to be "masters of logistic" if you have more supplies available then any and all others.
USA did well in manufacturing as much as it did.

As someone said on another forum, USA army vs German army was a string of mainly tactical defeats for USA, but its ability to pour more men, hardware and supplies into an area ensured that German troops were still pushed back because they rarely had the ability to exploit any tactical, low level success so as to turn it into an operational or strategic counterattack or success but was instead forced to retreat or pounded into snailsnot by artillery or air attacks, or, simply couldnt get supplies.
But what does tactical defeats or "draws" matter if the army is still advancing?

My "evaluation"? Well, the USA army, except the paratrooper /airborne parts and rangers have never had any reputation for excellence. And probably wont get it either.

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Post by Andreas » 11 Jun 2005 17:50

DIREWOLF75 wrote:As someone said on another forum, USA army vs German army was a string of mainly tactical defeats for USA, but its ability to pour more men, hardware and supplies into an area ensured that German troops were still pushed back because they rarely had the ability to exploit any tactical, low level success so as to turn it into an operational or strategic counterattack or success but was instead forced to retreat or pounded into snailsnot by artillery or air attacks, or, simply couldnt get supplies.
That is an extremely simplistic view since you can not simply divide the tactical from the operational. Quite apart from that the US had some very clear tactical successes - the most prominent may well be around Metz, but also a lot of the defensive actions during the Bulge battles.

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Post by Larry D. » 11 Jun 2005 17:57

DIREWOLF wrote:
My "evaluation"? Well, the USA army, except the paratrooper /airborne parts and rangers have never had any reputation for excellence. And probably wont get it either.
Covering what time frame and compared to what? I think you made a sweeping generality that needs some tuning. Some WW II U.S. divisions fought well, others did not. Some were combat-experience by the end of 1943 and could generally hold their own, while others didn't even enter the conflict until the end of 1944 or later. I dare say the U.S. 1st Cav. Div. or the Americal Division could whip the doggie doo-doo out of most Wehrmacht divisions and most or all of the higher numbered Waffen-SS divisions in a one-on-one fight, and that goes for some of the lower numbered U.S. armored divisions, too. But could any of them stand up one-to-one against the Liebstandarte or Das Reich? Unlikely.

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Post by Delta Tank » 11 Jun 2005 18:03

DireWolf,

Please explain how you came to this conclusion and then explain how the US Army defeated the German Counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge in the first 96 hours? The German High Command knew that it was all over by end of that 96 hour period, so please explain. Also explain the German defeat of their Mortain counterattack during the US Army's breakout from the Normandy beach-head.

Mike

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Post by Andreas » 11 Jun 2005 18:20

Or the very clear tactical success of securing the Omaha beaches against heavy opposition.

Or the Waal crossing.

Or the defensive successes during GARDEN.

Or the defeat of the Colmar offensive.

Or the defeat of the attempt to destroy the Anzio bridgehead.

Or the defeat of the attempt to destroy the Salerno bridgehead.

The idea that the Wehrmacht continuously won tactically only to be smothered in superior materiel and men has no basis in reality.

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Battle of the Atlantic

Post by kordts » 13 Jun 2005 14:54

The US and Britain had to destroy the U-Boat wolf packs first before we could "smother" the glorious undefeated Wehrmacht with our logistics. The U-Boats dang near brought Britain to her knees, the Admiralty and USN didn't get the upperhand till spring of 43. I can't remember the exact number, but in May of 43 the sub killings skyrocketed, and we turned the corner. The US had to have a strategy and then tactics to win that battle. We just didn't get the stuff over to the ETO in a vacuum.

Peace out,

Kordts

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