Evaluation of the Performance of the U.S. Army

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
DIREWOLF75
Member
Posts: 169
Joined: 04 Jan 2003 13:48
Location: Sweden

Post by DIREWOLF75 » 15 Jun 2005 02:00

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.
Sure i can divide it up. Any attempted evaluation like this has to be "cut off" from its surroundings at one point or another. I choose tactical level because its most directly affected by the troops themselves rather than supporting "parts". And no, that isnt a perfect way to divide it, but as i said, cant even try to do any comparison without it.
Simplistic? No, more like an attempted composite.

USA WWII army good points that had a direct part in the "action":
Artillery call, probably the single best part of USA doctrine/organisation.
Generally plentiful supply.
Semiautomatic rifles.
Decent or good radio gear.

Things causing problems:
Very uneven leadership quality.
Uneven or lacking "grunt" training.
Extremely poor procedure for integration of casualty replacements.
Poor tactical doctrines.
Unit "hijacking/borrowing"(ie without "higherups" knowledge, unlike the official German kampfgruppe doctrine which worked alot better).

And i probably forget several both good and bad points.
If anyone has any serious comments on my points, do say, but hurt national pride rants i can be without.

And yes, USAs army was NOT WITHOUT tactical successes, but its not like it was the norm. And operational and higher level is quite a different thing.
Since im not recent on reading up on any individual battles im not even going to try to address any. Especially not since i already in my previous post said nothing about USA army having NO "wins".

DIREWOLF75
Member
Posts: 169
Joined: 04 Jan 2003 13:48
Location: Sweden

Post by DIREWOLF75 » 15 Jun 2005 02:19

Larry D. wrote: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.
Well, it did become a bit more "sweeping" than meant to. Compared to other armies of same general timeframe.
However, the statement can be extended to WWI, Vietnam and probably also to Korea even if reasons may differ.

I would say that tactical doctrine is still lacking, even though strategic and operational planning usually compensates more than enough for that, at least most of the time, from end of Vietnam and until today.
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.
At any time during WWII, in an "equal"(same level of training and unit size) unsupported fight, i would definetly prefer to stick with the Germans. And i really suck at speaking German. :wink:

Andreas
Member
Posts: 6938
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Post by Andreas » 15 Jun 2005 09:21

DIREWOLF75 wrote: Things causing problems:
Very uneven leadership quality.
Uneven or lacking "grunt" training.
Extremely poor procedure for integration of casualty replacements.
Poor tactical doctrines.
Unit "hijacking/borrowing"(ie without "higherups" knowledge, unlike the official German kampfgruppe doctrine which worked alot better).
I remain unconvinced that the operational and the tactical level can be split up - except for some very special occasions, Allied units could always rely e.g. on heavy artillery support (an operational tool) to save the day. Reading almost any allied unit history will make this very clear. Tactical fights just did not occur in a vacuum. Tactical disadvantages such as those described above can and were also be mitigated by operational advantages. That is something the Germans did in 1940/41, and the allies did it in 1944/5. Hence it would be necessary to find isolated examples of combat where neither side could draw on operational resources to make a direct comparison, or to construct a model in which you can control for it. To my knowledge that is what Dupuy did.

As for the specific examples, numbers 1, 2, 4 certainly apply to late-war Germans. Namely declining quality of junior leaders due to shortened training, lack of proper infantry training for formations raised in/after summer 1944, and a heavy reliance on the section MG to the detriment of proper infantry combat. Jary in '18 Platoon' analyses the combat performance of the Germans on the platoon level, and IIRC says that once the MG was taken out, the German sections tended to fold very quickly, and that the rifleman were really just ammo carriers for the squad MG. YMMV, but Jary was the longest-serving infantry platoon commander in 21st Army Group, and involved in numerous fights on this level. He was not overly impressed by what he saw of his opponents.

I agree that it was not 'the norm' for the US Army to be tactically successful. Neither was it the norm for the Wehrmacht, or the Red Army, or the Italians. That statement does not really tell us much.

If you want another drawback for the US Army, raised by their British comrades - inability to get hot food to units in combat, and reliance on cold combat rations. Apparent inability to control occurrences of trench foot in e.g. the Huertgen.

DIREWOLF75
Member
Posts: 169
Joined: 04 Jan 2003 13:48
Location: Sweden

Post by DIREWOLF75 » 15 Jun 2005 13:28

I remain unconvinced that the operational and the tactical level can be split up - except for some very special occasions
Agreed that isnt the easiest, or necessarily best idea, but for any sort of comparison, as i said, its almost impossible to do a total, all over comparison.
As for the specific examples, numbers 1, 2, 4 certainly apply to late-war Germans. Namely declining quality of junior leaders due to shortened training, lack of proper infantry training for formations raised in/after summer 1944, and a heavy reliance on the section MG to the detriment of proper infantry combat.
Correct, however #4 was mainly a problem with "quick raised" units that lacked "any" experienced personnel.
I agree that it was not 'the norm' for the US Army to be tactically successful. Neither was it the norm for the Wehrmacht, or the Red Army, or the Italians. That statement does not really tell us much.
Ehrm? So you are saying that only the British and the French out of the larger powers had successful tactical outcomes as a norm?
Strongly disagree.

Or did everybody manage to loose more fights than they won?
So who won them? Aliens?

Andreas
Member
Posts: 6938
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Post by Andreas » 15 Jun 2005 13:49

DIREWOLF75]Ehrm? So you are saying that only the British and the French out of the larger powers had successful tactical outcomes as a norm? Strongly disagree.[/quote] So would I. I can also not see that I said anything of that kind. [quote= wrote:Or did everybody manage to loose more fights than they won?
So who won them? Aliens?
Everybody won some fights at some time on the tactical level. There was no norm.

From Dictionary.com:
norm
n.
A standard, model, or pattern regarded as typical
That's the definition I am using. I contend it was neither the standard or the pattern that anyone won on the tactical level, if only because it will be impossible to deduce that. The norm was that the Germans got the living daylights pounded out of them late in the war. Mostly because they were playing at least one league, maybe two below their opponents, operationally. Tactical advantages did not undo that. Where they were operationally superior they did win tactical fights as well.

Why don't you give us some suggestions as to what you are thinking of when you are thinking of the string of tactical defeats that the US Army suffered? That may make it easier to discuss the concept.

All the best

Andreas

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Post by RichTO90 » 15 Jun 2005 15:20

DIREWOLF75 wrote:Things causing problems:
Very uneven leadership quality.
Something that all armies faced. For the Germans, it was the dearth of well-trained senior NCO's and junior officers in the over-rapidily expanded Heer that were blamed for the poor performance of the infantry in the Polish and French Campaigns and which led to the extensive retraining programs of fall 1940 and winter-spring 1941. And it was the existance of that cadre - albeit it shrinking - that made the Heer such a formidable tactical foe in 1942-1944 before attrition and exhaustion again eroded it.
Uneven or lacking "grunt" training.
Ditto. Initial US "grunt" training was on forming units rather than on tactical proficiency, especially in the infantry, but that was almost ineveitable given the mobilization that was required. But combat experience also revealed the deficiency and caused wide-spread wartime changes in how training was done. A similar experience was had by the British.
Extremely poor procedure for integration of casualty replacements.
All replacement systems have their pros and cons. If you like we can get into a major discussion on this and especially the practical inadequacies of the German system, which essentially required an army within an army (the Ersatzheer) to function, along with the requirement that a large fraction of the army be unengaged so as to facilitate training.
Poor tactical doctrines.
What parts of the doctrine were poor? The emphasis on combined arms warfare? The emphasis on fire and maneuver? The emphasis on concentration of force? The emphasis on unity of command? Failures in doctrinal methodology caused by inexperience and inadequate training related to mobilization are not fundamental flaws.
Unit "hijacking/borrowing"(ie without "higherups" knowledge, unlike the official German kampfgruppe doctrine which worked alot better).
Huh? I honestly have no idea what you are talking about here?

Aps
Member
Posts: 88
Joined: 11 Apr 2004 11:10
Location: France

Post by Aps » 15 Jun 2005 18:50

Hello RichTO90,
All replacement systems have their pros and cons. If you like we can get into a major discussion on this and especially the practical inadequacies of the German system, which essentially required an army within an army (the Ersatzheer) to function, along with the requirement that a large fraction of the army be unengaged so as to facilitate training.
I would be interrested to get further informations on this point. Do you have any recomandation for books on the subject- comparative analysis of replacement systems, or just on the subject of replacement systems of the majors belligerants?

Thank you in advance!

Best Regards,

Thomas

DIREWOLF75
Member
Posts: 169
Joined: 04 Jan 2003 13:48
Location: Sweden

Post by DIREWOLF75 » 15 Jun 2005 22:06

So would I. I can also not see that I said anything of that kind.
You implied it due to saying all other major powers did not have a "norm" of tactical success. And since there tends to be one side able to say they got the better side of a fight, someone had to be "winning"...
That's the definition I am using. I contend it was neither the standard or the pattern that anyone won on the tactical level, if only because it will be impossible to deduce that. The norm was that the Germans got the living daylights pounded out of them late in the war. Mostly because they were playing at least one league, maybe two below their opponents, operationally. Tactical advantages did not undo that. Where they were operationally superior they did win tactical fights as well.
I would say the Germans had the higher tactical successrate of the major powers in WWII. Otherwise, i think the western allies would have been to push forward alot faster than they did, considering how much force they were using.
And how they had pretty much most of the odds stacked in their favour.
Why don't you give us some suggestions as to what you are thinking of when you are thinking of the string of tactical defeats that the US Army suffered?
Thats not what i said, well actually i was just quoting someone else, but his description was interesting so i used it.

Andreas
Member
Posts: 6938
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Post by Andreas » 15 Jun 2005 22:30

DIREWOLF75 wrote:
So would I. I can also not see that I said anything of that kind.
You implied it due to saying all other major powers did not have a "norm" of tactical success. And since there tends to be one side able to say they got the better side of a fight, someone had to be "winning"...
I implied nothing of the kind - you were imagining things or read something into my statement for whatever reason. Best indication of that for you should be that I also did not mention the Romanians, Hungarians, Danish, Yugoslavs, Greeks, Poles, Finns, Norwegians, Kiwis and Australians, the Dutch (either home or under the British), Belgians, Brazilians, Vichy French, Canadians, Spanish, Turkmen, Nordic, or French volunteers in the Wehrmacht and SS, the Slovakian Motorised Corps, and von Pannwitz's Cossacks. (And I am sure some are still missing from this list)

Saying that an army has a higher tactical success rate is rather different from stating that its opponents were suffering a string of tactical defeats, wouldn't you agree? So why bring up the poster from another forum if you don't agree with him?

DIREWOLF75
Member
Posts: 169
Joined: 04 Jan 2003 13:48
Location: Sweden

Post by DIREWOLF75 » 15 Jun 2005 22:42

Something that all armies faced.
Yes but not for same reasons and not to same extents.
Germany had a lack of numbers of well trained officers, their training however was of generally good quality.
USA had lack of numbers and also uneven training, similar to those the UK army had, if for different reasons. Actually, if you go dig into the USA department of defense you can find texts saying that is still true and complaining like ¤%&¤# about it and why the #¤&¤% can they allow that to continue for another century etc etc. 10-1 the officer that wrote that harshly already had botched career or wanted a kick out.
Ditto. Initial US "grunt" training was on forming units rather than on tactical proficiency, especially in the infantry, but that was almost ineveitable given the mobilization that was required. But combat experience also revealed the deficiency and caused wide-spread wartime changes in how training was done.
Oh yes, it was improved. But while ill call the early "system" disastrous, ill only call the later "versions" halfdecent.

For one thing, as a quick example, you could compare the "killconcentration" numbers, where USA had IIRC the most extreme numbers (whenever actually checked that is of course), ie. that in a squad, or even a platoon, one or two of the soldiers did by far the majority of the effective shooting. Thats why training was again changed after the same was realised to still happen during Vietnam war.
All replacement systems have their pros and cons. If you like we can get into a major discussion on this and especially the practical inadequacies of the German system, which essentially required an army within an army (the Ersatzheer) to function, along with the requirement that a large fraction of the army be unengaged so as to facilitate training.
True of course, i still think the German variant, if cumbersome, was a definite advantage.
What parts of the doctrine were poor? The emphasis on combined arms warfare? The emphasis on fire and maneuver? The emphasis on concentration of force? The emphasis on unity of command? Failures in doctrinal methodology caused by inexperience and inadequate training related to mobilization are not fundamental flaws.
Heh, i dont think i can even begin to get into detail on this because while im pretty good at english, this is where it gets really hard explaining what i mean without getting completely misunderstood.
Inadequate training i WOULD call a fundamental flaw though.
Ill see if i can write something up on this over a longer time but dont hold your breath.
Huh? I honestly have no idea what you are talking about here?
You never heard of this practise? Unit "borrowing" became somewhat common in WWII in USA army and remained for quite some time, sometimes meaning a battalion(whatever level) commander might find out half his force temporarily taken over by another battalion(or whatever level). The Germans had the kampfgruppe doctrine to handle the need for such split´n´gather of commands and that usually avoided any of the problems sometimes happening to USAs army.

Interesting that none of my stated advantages were questioned while all disadvantages were, wouldnt you say, hmm?

As i said to Andreas, western allies had immensly more resources and nearly all odds stacked in their favour compared to Germany, and they still moved at snailpace much of the time.

Also as i already said, what does it matter if your troops are the ones that take the worse beating (or gets their advance halted etc.) in the majority of fights if you can still pour in more, and or smack down the foe with artillery or airpower and keep advancing anyway?

DIREWOLF75
Member
Posts: 169
Joined: 04 Jan 2003 13:48
Location: Sweden

Post by DIREWOLF75 » 15 Jun 2005 22:53

Saying that an army has a higher tactical success rate is rather different from stating that its opponents were suffering a string of tactical defeats, wouldn't you agree? So why bring up the poster from another forum if you don't agree with him?
:roll:
The first WAS what i was trying to say, the second neither i or the one i quoted said.
I used the quote because it was fairly correct and i didnt have a better way to summarize it myself.
"mainly" doesnt mean "string of". 100% your interpretation.
I implied nothing of the kind - you were imagining things or read something into my statement for whatever reason. Best indication of that for you should be that I also did not mention the Romanians, Hungarians, Danish, Yugoslavs, Greeks, Poles, Finns, Norwegians, Kiwis and Australians, the Dutch (either home or under the British), Belgians, Brazilians, Vichy French, Canadians, Spanish, Turkmen, Nordic, or French volunteers in the Wehrmacht and SS, the Slovakian Motorised Corps, and von Pannwitz's Cossacks. (And I am sure some are still missing from this list)
What you DID say:
I agree that it was not 'the norm' for the US Army to be tactically successful. Neither was it the norm for the Wehrmacht, or the Red Army, or the Italians.
Ie. you brought up 4 of the major powers, and said that none of them had a norm of tactical success.
So you basically said that it was typical for all of them to loose the majority of their tactical fights. Which only left the Brits and the French of the major powers (well, and the Japanese if you include the pacific of course) to be winning all those fights that the other ones according to you had a norm of not "winning".

I read your statement as you wrote it. And used your phrasing against you.

Andreas
Member
Posts: 6938
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Post by Andreas » 16 Jun 2005 06:35

DIREWOLF75 wrote:Ie. you brought up 4 of the major powers, and said that none of them had a norm of tactical success.
You should just consider that maybe you made a mistake in your call, especially when I tell you that you did. Since I know what I meant when I wrote it, while you think you now what I meant when I wrote it, I think my interpretation has more value than yours. Or to put it another way, you maybe able to convince yourself of all sorts of things that I could have meant, but you won't convince me, since I already know what I meant. That's the benefit of writing it myself in the first place, I guess.
DIREWOLF75 wrote: string of mainly tactical defeats for USA,
[uote]
DIREWOLF75 wrote:The first WAS what i was trying to say, the second neither i or the one i quoted said.
I used the quote because it was fairly correct and i didnt have a better way to summarize it myself.
"mainly" doesnt mean "string of". 100% your interpretation.
I think again you are having trouble to admit you were wrong - to claim that you did not say or quote something which you did is an interesting attempt to get around it though. A string of mainly tactical defeats means a string of defeats. Mainly tactical, some not tactical. "Mainly" does of course not mean "string of", "string of" does however. At least that is my interpretation of the English used. And no, the quote was not fairly correct. It is fairly wrong.

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Post by RichTO90 » 16 Jun 2005 15:41

DIREWOLF75 wrote:
Something that all armies faced.
Yes but not for same reasons and not to same extents.
Germany had a lack of numbers of well trained officers, their training however was of generally good quality.
USA had lack of numbers and also uneven training, similar to those the UK army had, if for different reasons. Actually, if you go dig into the USA department of defense you can find texts saying that is still true and complaining like ¤%&¤# about it and why the #¤&¤% can they allow that to continue for another century etc etc. 10-1 the officer that wrote that harshly already had botched career or wanted a kick out.
Actually for much the same reasons and to much the same extent. That is, mainly due to over-expansion of a peacetime organization and reliance on peacetime training regimes. It was the combat experience gained in the Polish and French campaigns that created a cadre of experienced junior officers and NCO's and which also revealed many of the shortcomings in pre-war tactical doctrine and training. And the after action analysis of junior leadership in the Heer after those campaigns was pretty damning as I recall and was directly responsible for many of the changes in training during 1940-1941. You might want to go "dig" into some of those sources as well.

But I agree wholeheartedly that the US military - well at least the US Army - does suffer from a congenital inability to carry forward past lessons into the future. Some of the mobilization lessons learned in World War I were applied to World War II, but many of the lessons regarding training and the development of junior leaders in combat were either lost or ignored. That in fact is quite possibly the greatest strength of the Heer, it's ability to transmit lessons and doctrinal changes throughout its "corporate" structure and it's ability to retain the "memory" of past events as something other than sterile "history" but as something that has a direct application to the present and future.
Ditto. Initial US "grunt" training was on forming units rather than on tactical proficiency, especially in the infantry, but that was almost ineveitable given the mobilization that was required. But combat experience also revealed the deficiency and caused wide-spread wartime changes in how training was done.
Oh yes, it was improved. But while ill call the early "system" disastrous, ill only call the later "versions" halfdecent.
Really? I would be curious as to what you know of the early as opposed to the later training methods?
For one thing, as a quick example, you could compare the "killconcentration" numbers, where USA had IIRC the most extreme numbers (whenever actually checked that is of course), ie. that in a squad, or even a platoon, one or two of the soldiers did by far the majority of the effective shooting. Thats why training was again changed after the same was realised to still happen during Vietnam war.
Sorry, but you need to stop putting so much reliance in Men Against Fire. SLAM had a kernel of truth in his thesis, but it is evident that it was exaggerated out of all proportions in his search for self validation (and self promotion). And of course it is possible to say that a similar phenomena happened in the Heer, as witness what came to be seen as the overreliance on the LMG to the detriment of supporting fire and maneuver by riflemen (a view seen both internally by the Heer and externally by their opponents).
All replacement systems have their pros and cons. If you like we can get into a major discussion on this and especially the practical inadequacies of the German system, which essentially required an army within an army (the Ersatzheer) to function, along with the requirement that a large fraction of the army be unengaged so as to facilitate training.
True of course, i still think the German variant, if cumbersome, was a definite advantage.
A major advantage to them - at least until the dissolution of the Ersatzheer. :D And you simply ignore that however "advantageous" its advantages may have been, such a system could not have been utilized by the US Army.
What parts of the doctrine were poor? The emphasis on combined arms warfare? The emphasis on fire and maneuver? The emphasis on concentration of force? The emphasis on unity of command? Failures in doctrinal methodology caused by inexperience and inadequate training related to mobilization are not fundamental flaws.
Heh, i dont think i can even begin to get into detail on this because while im pretty good at english, this is where it gets really hard explaining what i mean without getting completely misunderstood.
Inadequate training i WOULD call a fundamental flaw though.
Ill see if i can write something up on this over a longer time but dont hold your breath.
Okay, I won't :D . But training isn't doctrine and vice versa, although doctrine is promolugated in training. But the fundamental flaw in US Army training was that in most cases it was made secondary to other requirements - organizing formation, preparing them for overseas movement, getting them overseas, and getting them into combat. That was the fundamental flaw, everthing else that had priority meant that in many cases training time was minimal - although a division might have spent 18 months or more from activation to entering combat, its actual time in training may have been no more than one-third of that (two months of basic recruit/platoon training, one month each of company, battalion and regimental exercises, and one month of divisional maneuvers. The rest of the time was taken up in packing, movement and unpacking, punctuated by periodic culling for cadres for new units or replacements for units already in combat.
Huh? I honestly have no idea what you are talking about here?
You never heard of this practise? Unit "borrowing" became somewhat common in WWII in USA army and remained for quite some time, sometimes meaning a battalion(whatever level) commander might find out half his force temporarily taken over by another battalion(or whatever level). The Germans had the kampfgruppe doctrine to handle the need for such split´n´gather of commands and that usually avoided any of the problems sometimes happening to USAs army.
I still have no idea what you are talking about? Are you referring to "attachments"? If so the term "borrowing" doesn't apply, attachments are created by commanders orders in the same manner that a kampfgruppe was created and like a kampfgruppe a task force was a unit with attachments under a single designated task force commander. And a German battalion commander could just as easily find "half his force temporarily taken over by another battalion" - the term was "taktische unterstellte" - tactically subordinated. And, just like in the US Army, Heer units could also be administratively subordinated or subordinated for supply purposes.

So again, what are you talking about?
Interesting that none of my stated advantages were questioned while all disadvantages were, wouldnt you say, hmm?
Sorry, run those past me again, hmm, I was focusing on your errors you see. :P
As i said to Andreas, western allies had immensly more resources and nearly all odds stacked in their favour compared to Germany, and they still moved at snailpace much of the time.
Could you define "snailpace" and "much of the time" please? And just exactly how it applies? AFAIK the Germans took from about September 1939 to September 1942 to "peak" during their strategic offensive - a snails pace of three years, which left their enemies mostly intact and able to riposte. The Allies then took from September 1942 to May 1945 to respond, utterly crushing Germany a slightly faster snails pace of two years and seven months. :D
Also as i already said, what does it matter if your troops are the ones that take the worse beating (or gets their advance halted etc.) in the majority of fights if you can still pour in more, and or smack down the foe with artillery or airpower and keep advancing anyway?
What part of "you don't bring a knife to a gunfight" do you not understand? :D

Delta Tank
Member
Posts: 2457
Joined: 16 Aug 2004 01:51
Location: Pennsylvania

Post by Delta Tank » 16 Jun 2005 16:46

RichTO90,

When we discuss officer training in the USA I think you have to differentiate between which commissioning source you are talking about. Generally speaking the Active Army gets their officers through West Point, ROTC, and OCS. They all go on active duty to receive training and most stay long enough to get with a unit and continue their training and gain more experience. Nation Guard Officers, well it depends on which state you are in. I think they have tried to tighten the standards up after Gulf War 1, but IIRC the constitution gives the states the right to run their own commissioning programs. The brand new Lieutenants will go to their Officer Basic Course (initial training) but after that most of their schooling is by correspondence courses. I could tell you stories from when I was in the 28th Infantry Division (PAARNG, [Pennsylvania Army National Guard]), but I will spare the audience.

Another problem with National Guard and maybe Reserve units is that the Army keeps changing their units from one branch to another branch. Example: I was in a 4.2 in mortar platoon (I had been active duty Field Artillery Fire Direction) assigned as a manual computer in the Fire Direction Center (FDC). The guys in the platoon didn't know anything, I mean nothing! I asked them how they did last year at summer camp and they told me that they were a highly rated Shower and Bath Platoon!!!! Yep, they got changed and as you know it takes a long time to train guys from scratch to be mortar men and really long when they only are on duty about 58 days a year!!

Mike

DIREWOLF75
Member
Posts: 169
Joined: 04 Jan 2003 13:48
Location: Sweden

Post by DIREWOLF75 » 21 Jun 2005 22:30

Andreas, you fail to see the difference in context and wording.
You claimed i stated "string of defeats", what i wrote, as a quote was " a string of mainly tactical defeats". There is a world of difference.

But I agree wholeheartedly that the US military - well at least the US Army - does suffer from a congenital inability to carry forward past lessons into the future. Some of the mobilization lessons learned in World War I were applied to World War II, but many of the lessons regarding training and the development of junior leaders in combat were either lost or ignored. That in fact is quite possibly the greatest strength of the Heer, it's ability to transmit lessons and doctrinal changes throughout its "corporate" structure and it's ability to retain the "memory" of past events as something other than sterile "history" but as something that has a direct application to the present and future.
RichTO90, that is indeed one major reason for my less then stellar expectations about USAs army. Not an inability to learn from experience, but the sometimes active resistance to it.
Compare with what happened early in WWI, after a lot of briefing by the Brits and French on their experiences sofar, the USA personnel pretty much discarded it as the result of those nations being wuzzies and then started off their part in the war with 19th century charges just like what the Brits and French had warned about.
The opposite trait is also one of the best parts of the German army.
Sorry, but you need to stop putting so much reliance in Men Against Fire.
Hmm? Come again? I expect that is the name of a book?
Sorry, havent read it. I read about that in documentation at US DoD. Was online when i read it some years ago, probably still is.
Also read about it elsewhere but with not so extensive research behind it.
SLAM had a kernel of truth in his thesis, but it is evident that it was exaggerated out of all proportions in his search for self validation (and self promotion). And of course it is possible to say that a similar phenomena happened in the Heer, as witness what came to be seen as the overreliance on the LMG to the detriment of supporting fire and maneuver by riflemen (a view seen both internally by the Heer and externally by their opponents).
Later in the war, and especially in quickdrafted German units, the same can certainly be said. But i would still argue that it was to a lesser extent.
But training isn't doctrine and vice versa, although doctrine is promolugated in training. But the fundamental flaw in US Army training was that in most cases it was made secondary to other requirements - organizing formation, preparing them for overseas movement, getting them overseas, and getting them into combat.
1, Not enough training, or skimping on training due to more "administrative/logistical matters"... mmm not the best of ideas id say.
2, Training doctrine IS doctrinal. And i can say for certain i am no fan of USAs training doctrines at the time. Or to an extent, today either for that matter.
I still have no idea what you are talking about? Are you referring to "attachments"? If so the term "borrowing" doesn't apply, attachments are created by commanders orders in the same manner that a kampfgruppe was created and like a kampfgruppe a task force was a unit with attachments under a single designated task force commander.
That is PROBABLY the correct term.
However, the problem i referred to was the practise of doing such without information of this "attachment" being properly transferred upwards. Meaning that commanders sometimes found themselves without troops they THOUGHT they still had in area X or place Y.
Ie. not so much with a higher command assigning units under "him" but by commanders in the field "commandeering" nearby units temporarily.
Granted, that it was often necessary and sometimes very beneficial, but it could have used proper "rules" from the start to avoid the problems it caused.
AFAIK, that never or nearly never happened within the German kampfgruppe system.
Sorry, run those past me again, hmm, I was focusing on your errors you see.
Oh, i just held the stupid notion that people might try to be objective once in a while. :roll:
:P
:wink:
Could you define "snailpace" and "much of the time" please? And just exactly how it applies? AFAIK the Germans took from about September 1939 to September 1942 to "peak" during their strategic offensive - a snails pace of three years, which left their enemies mostly intact and able to riposte. The Allies then took from September 1942 to May 1945 to respond, utterly crushing Germany a slightly faster snails pace of two years and seven months.
Heh, well lets see, German campaign against Poland, quite possibly third strongest military in the area at the time (after USSR and Germany), measured in weeks. German campaign running over France, Netherlands and Belgium, also something measured in weeks. And far from easy opposition in either case.
The collective strength of USA, UK, Free French, Commonwealth, and all the minor troop contingents and contributors with superiority in most areas, amazingly massive superiority in some, then take almost a year to "go the other way" even though Germany at this time has its main focus on halting or at least slowing down USSR on its main front. In comparison, yeah, definetly snail paced.
What part of "you don't bring a knife to a gunfight" do you not understand?
Hmm, in this case, perhaps context?
Depends of course, the make of such a knife and how it is put to use.
If someone load a blunderbus with a knife, its definetly major ouchtime on the other side of any gunfight. :wink:

Return to “WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic”