British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

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Sheldrake
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sheldrake » 11 May 2021 09:01

Sid Guttridge wrote:
10 May 2021 12:54
Hi Sheldrake,

I think the metropolitan British slice of Commonwealth POWs was about 170,000 in Europe and some 30,000 in the Far East.

Cheers,

Sid.
True. I estimated commonwealth figures as this figure represents the shortfall to the Imperial command.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 May 2021 22:24

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
06 May 2021 20:45
daveshoup2MD wrote:
06 May 2021 02:35
The British used infantry battalions as the basis for their beach groups as a matter of doctrine, going back to (at least) HUSKY
Agreed, thanks for the list - I'm not sure about 3rd Monmouths (weren't they in 11th Armd Division?) but I have no argument with your general point that the British employed units as Beach Units that were called "infantry" and the US used units as Beach Units called "Seabees", etc. Both recognised a need obviously. :D

The good thing is though that my curiosity took me here:

http://www.lightbobs.com/1944-1bucks-19 ... s-loc.html

Which suggests many of those employed on L of C duties in the British Army after the assault were probably best placed on the L of C. :lol:

Regards

Tom
Joslyn lists the 3rd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment as assigned to the 115th Infantry Brigade as of 8 April, 1945, which in turn was assigned to the 21st AG and/or various subsidiary commands (2nd Army, I Corps, VIII Corps, XII Corps, or the LofC; all non-divisional) from February, 1945, until after VE Day (p307); before that, it was assigned to 159th Infantry Brigade (in turn, part of 11th Armoured Division) from 1939 to April 3, 1945, at which point it was replaced on April 6, 1945 by 1st Battalion, Cheshires - which in turn, had been assigned to 115th Brigade from August, 1944, when the brigade had been part of the abortive Channel Islands liberation (Force 135).

So, net result, either one was still a non-divisional battalion in 1944-45 - so it comes out to a wash.
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 May 2021 22:40

Richard Anderson wrote:
07 May 2021 07:28
daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 04:25
You're link is to the 1st Bucks as they were reformed for LOC duties in August, 1944, not as they were when they were assigned to beach group duty in 1943.
The rest of the story.

http://www.lightbobs.com/1939-1940-1buc ... wbury.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1940-1bucks-fr ... lgium.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1940-1bucks-hazebrouck.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1940-1942-1bucks.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1943-1944-1buc ... d-day.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1944-1st-bucks ... d-day.html

The battalion was nearly destroyed in France, coming home from Dunkirk with just over 200 officers and men. By May 1941 the battalion was completely rebuilt and retrained...and then was used to provide replacement drafts until November-December 1942. By that time the battalion consisted of an officer and NCO cadre, but few actual riflemen. At that point it was transferred from the 48th to the 54th Division 12 December 1942 in the anticipation the 54th would be used in combat. However, by March 1943 the battalion, still badly understrength, was chosen to form one of the beach groups for the invasion and the 54th Division was broken up 15 May and disbanded 15 December 1943, its constituent parts used to flesh out the beach and LOC organizations, 8 AGRA, and RE HQ 6 Airborne Division.
Still amounts to a rifle battalion assigned to non-divisional duties, which was the point. Going through Joslyn, one comes up with the following in the period of discussion, between 15th and 21st AG: some 14 rifle battalions, of various capacities, most of which got folded into operational divisions or brigades as such, or were broken up for fillers and replacements.

Beach Groups battalions, 21st Army Group
101st Beach SA/Brigade, 5th and 6th Groups (p. 585)
5th Battalion, Kings Regiment + 1 RE co, 4 Pioneer cos.
1st Buckinghamshire Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regiment + 1 RE co, 4 Pioneer cos.

102nd Beach SA/Brigade, 7th and 8th Groups (p. 584)
8th Battalion, Kings Regiment + 2 RE cos, 4 Pioneer cos.
5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment + 2 RE cos, 4 Pioneer cos.

104th Beach SA/Brigade, 9th and 10th Groups (p. 582)
2nd Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment + 2 RE cos, 2 Pioneer cos.
6th Battalion, Border Regiment + 2 RE cos, 2 Pioneer cos.

Line of Communications battalions, 15th Army Group (p.466); presumably some had "beach" duties
1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
1st Battalion, Welch Regiment
2/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
2nd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

Line of Communications battalions, 21st Army Group (p. 463)
18th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry
7th Battalion, East Yorkshires Regiment (p.350)
4th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment (p.307)
3rd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment (p307; changed places with 1st Cheshires)

The point is, the US used Army Engineers and/or Navy beach battalions and Seabees on the beaches; presumably the British "may" have been able to use Pioneer Corps troops or their like - including additional elements from the RE, as well as the RN - to form their beachhead groups.

LOC troops were a drain, but in the Med, simply using the three battalions of the Palestine Regiment that were raised (historically) and a single line battalion of the Cyprus Regiment could have replaced all four battalions above; more troops from the BWI, second-line Canadian NRMA conscripts (who did get shipped to the ETO in 1945, historically, despite all the previous sturm und drang), or any number of additional manpower pools could have helped fill the gaps in 21st AG's rear-areas.
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 15 May 2021 23:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 May 2021 22:43

Sid Guttridge wrote:
07 May 2021 07:32
Hi daveshoup,

You post, "Nothing was in play other than throwing away troops in a sideshow or a sideshow without any effective air power or sea power."

I wish to correct my earlier post that, "You may need to do a little more reading on the Aegean to learn what was in play and the roles of the US, Italians, Greeks and Turks before offering such definitive opinions."

You clearly need to do A LOT more reading on the Aegean.

Cheers,

Sid.
The British military deploying a British Army infantry brigade into the Aegean in 1943 absent effective air and sea power to support it accomplished what, exactly?

Other than giving Germany four more battalions of British POWs to house and feed?

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 May 2021 22:47

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
07 May 2021 12:27
daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 04:25
You're link is to the 1st Bucks as they were reformed for LOC duties in August, 1944, not as they were when they were assigned to beach group duty in 1943.
Agreed, and what I wrote - "...after the assault..."! :)

And, when they were assigned to beach group duty in1943, I don't think there was a crisis due to the shortage of infantry replacements. What there was, however, was a real need to form units that would increase the likelihood of successful amphibious operations on the mainland of Europe.

Regards

Tom
The British decision to (historically) use infantry as stevedores was a policy decision, that was - at the very least - a sharp contrast to the US decision to use naval stevedores (the "special" Seabee battalions) as stevedores.

Given the British, historically, had to break up three combat divisions in the ETO in 1944 because of a lack of infantry replacements, and the Americans did not, it seems the British chose poorly.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 May 2021 22:48

Richard Anderson wrote:
07 May 2021 15:34
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
07 May 2021 12:27
daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 04:25
You're link is to the 1st Bucks as they were reformed for LOC duties in August, 1944, not as they were when they were assigned to beach group duty in 1943.
Agreed, and what I wrote - "...after the assault..."! :)

And, when they were assigned to beach group duty in1943, I don't think there was a crisis due to the shortage of infantry replacements. What there was, however, was a real need to form units that would increase the likelihood of successful amphibious operations on the mainland of Europe.

Regards

Tom
It also gave Home Forces something else to do other than training and sending off drafts to active fronts, and defending the UK against the unlikely possibility of a SEELÖWE...something they did not really stop worrying about until well into 1942.
Which has nothing to do with British policy in 1943 and afterwards.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 May 2021 22:59

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
07 May 2021 16:40
Hi Sid and Daveshoup..

I need to clarify what I precisely meant :

1) To beat Germany, invasion of Western Europe was a must. As it turned out, the Italian outing didn't achieve any decisive outcome but gobbled up enormous resources. The Americans in particular were peeved at this, I am told. Imagine if those Anglo US Formations went to France and the Indian Divs went to the Japanese front in Mid 43.

2) However there is an alternative viewpoint. If the Italian mainland wasn't invaded, Italy would have stayed in the Axis side. The half million German troops, LW assets and Heer heavy equipment would have gone to France... von Kesselring would be available for the OB West job (enormous improvement on Rundstedt)

3) The Central Italian Airfields wouldn't have been available to the allies.

So maybe Churchill's POV wasn't that FUBAR?

Cheers
Sandeep
1) Agree.
2) The Germans were actively sending combat troops into Italy, Southern France, and the Aegean in 1943 before Cassabile, because the Italians were seen as having shot their bolt, after the destruction of the Italian 1st Army in Tunisia and the Italian 8th Army in the USSR. Given the scale of losses in both theaters, it's hard to argue otherwise. Hence, by the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily in the summer of 1943, the Germans had two operational divisions in the field (the Italians had four); in Sardinia, the Germans had one, with roughly two Italian equivalents). No matter where the Allies invaded in 1943, the Germans would have been sending troops to bail out the Italians, as they had in Greece and Libya in 1940-41 and afterwards.
3) The Foggia airfield complex was useful to POINTBLANK because it allowed the US 15th Air Force to be built up there from 1944 onwards; it was not critical of course.

None of the above has much to do with how the British used their army's manpower in pursuit of the Allied liberation of Europe in 1944-45, however.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 May 2021 23:00

Sid Guttridge wrote:
07 May 2021 20:07
Hi Sandeep,

Almost the same number of men and amount of materiel would have been doing absolutely nothing over May 1943 to June 1944 if Italy had not been invaded. They still had to be fed and maintained.

We know from real events that the use of forces in Italy did not prevent a successful Allied landing in Normandy, or the south of France, or Greece, so at worst its results were neutral. And that is before one starts rehearsing any arguments in its favour.

Cheers,

Sid.
Well, except for the KIA, missing, POWs, and WIA beyond recovery. Small thing, that...

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 May 2021 23:03

Sheldrake wrote:
10 May 2021 09:35
One factor that should be considered is the extent of British and Commonwealth casualties sustained by 1944. The CWGC records 387,420 military war dead until 1st June 1944. A similar number of men would have been too badly wounded to return to service. There were also around 500,000 British and Commonwealth troops in captivity. That is about a million men, two armies worth, of removed from any order of battle.
Is there a breakdown for the period between June, 1943 and June, 1944, by theater?

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 16 May 2021 08:48

daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 May 2021 22:47
The British decision to (historically) use infantry as stevedores was a policy decision, that was - at the very least - a sharp contrast to the US decision to use naval stevedores (the "special" Seabee battalions) as stevedores.

Given the British, historically, had to break up three combat divisions in the ETO in 1944 because of a lack of infantry replacements, and the Americans did not,it seems the British chose poorly.
What's in a cap-badge? Would you be happier if the Beach Group infantry battalions had been disbanded and their personnel recruited into different regiments or even the RN?

Re "stevedores" - are you still talking about the infantry battalions in the Beach Groups? If so, I don't think they were used as stevedores but as infantry. British Beach Groups included infantry, signals, engineers, pioneers, AA artillery, Ordnance Beach Depots, RASC depots, Petrol Depots, RASC transport units, medical units, Provost traffic control units.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 May 2021 22:47
it seems the British chose poorly.
In your opinion and with hindsight. :roll:

It would be interesting to try to work out how many British soldiers were still in Beach groups when 59th Infantry Division was disbanded in August 1944.

It would also be interesting to know how many USN "Seabees" were sitting idle waiting for the next amphibious assault in the Pacific and would have been better employed opening up French ports or unloading some of the hundreds of merchant ships waiting offshore in Normandy.

Regards

Tom

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 May 2021 16:33

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
16 May 2021 08:48
daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 May 2021 22:47
The British decision to (historically) use infantry as stevedores was a policy decision, that was - at the very least - a sharp contrast to the US decision to use naval stevedores (the "special" Seabee battalions) as stevedores.

Given the British, historically, had to break up three combat divisions in the ETO in 1944 because of a lack of infantry replacements, and the Americans did not,it seems the British chose poorly.
What's in a cap-badge? Would you be happier if the Beach Group infantry battalions had been disbanded and their personnel recruited into different regiments or even the RN?

Re "stevedores" - are you still talking about the infantry battalions in the Beach Groups? If so, I don't think they were used as stevedores but as infantry. British Beach Groups included infantry, signals, engineers, pioneers, AA artillery, Ordnance Beach Depots, RASC depots, Petrol Depots, RASC transport units, medical units, Provost traffic control units.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 May 2021 22:47
it seems the British chose poorly.
In your opinion and with hindsight. :roll:

It would be interesting to try to work out how many British soldiers were still in Beach groups when 59th Infantry Division was disbanded in August 1944.

It would also be interesting to know how many USN "Seabees" were sitting idle waiting for the next amphibious assault in the Pacific and would have been better employed opening up French ports or unloading some of the hundreds of merchant ships waiting offshore in Normandy.

Regards

Tom
In a war of mass mobilization, given the British had to disband three combat divisions in contact with the enemy because of a lack of infantry replacements, and the US, Canadians (despite their self-imposed policy of not sending conscripts to the ETO in 1944, which was reversed in 1945), the New Zealanders, etc all did not, yes, it seems the British did chose poorly. No hindsight is involved.

The direct equivalent to the six British Army beach groups at Normandy (each of which included an infantry battalion, for a total of six - or two infantry brigade equivalents) in the US forces were the Army Engineer Special Brigades. Six - each of more than 7,000 officers and men, so the equivalent of an infantry division - were formed during WW II; three of the six were in the ETO for NEPTUNE. Two were linked in a task force (referred to as an Engineering Special Brigade Group) totaling more than 14,000, so about the equivalent of an infantry division. The third was separate. Total ESB personnel for NEPTUNE was more than 21,000.

Typical ESB organization was:
Headquarters and Headquarters Company
2x Engineer Shore Regiments (each with 3x Engineer Shore Battalions)
Amphibian Truck Battalion
4x Quartermaster Battalions
2x Ordnance Battalions
Medical Battalion
3x Port Battalions

Each ESB included two engineer regiments of three battalions each, for a total of six per ESB or 18 for the entire force, so there's the direct equivalent (and then some) to the British beach groups (two groups to an "area" command) with the equivalent of six infantry and six-nine composite RE-Pioneer Corps battalion equivalents. The remainder provided similar "amphibious" capabilities the British beach groups, pot groups, and LOC commands did, except without using infantry battalions.

In addition, for NEPTUNE the USN provided three numbered beach battalions, and three detachments of roughly 350 naval combat demolition troops (the ETO equivalent of the Pacific War's UDTs, except less combat swimmers and more boat-borne combat engineers) these were attached to the three ESBs, and served as part of the brigade; the USN's NEPTUNE force also included the 25th Naval Construction Regiment, with five full Seabee battalions - all in all, something like 9,000 USN personnel were assigned to the NEPTUNE landing forces (as opposed to landing craft crews, salvage units, follow-on port operations, etc.)

Given that the ETO and MTO theaters were much more developed than the Pacific, and the Allies had extensive transportation and supply organizations, as did the US Army (port construction and report, port operations, transportation, quartermaster, etc.) the USN's construction resources were concentrated in the Pacific, unsurprisingly.

The USN's official history of the Civil Engineering Corps (which included the Seabees, the Bureau of Yards and Docks, etc) during WW II runs to multiple volumes and thousands of pages, but also makes clear the ETO got whatever USN resources were needed.

See:https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... bases.html
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 17 May 2021 06:48, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 16 May 2021 19:55

daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 16:33
In a war of mass mobilization, given the British had to disband three combat divisions in contact with the enemy because of a lack of infantry replacements, and the US, Canadians (despite their self-imposed policy of not sending conscripts to the ETO in 1944, which was reversed in 1945), the New Zealanders, etc all did not, yes, it seems the British did chose poorly. No hindsight is involved.
So, I see you have avoided answering my question about the number of infantry trained individuals in the beach groups at the time those British combat divisions were disbanded.

Did the ESB's not have signals detachments? No provost?
daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 16:33
Each ESB included two engineer regiments of three battalions each, for a total of six per ESB or 18 for the entire force, so there's the direct equivalent (and then some) to the British beach groups with the equivalent of six infantry and six-nine composite RE-Pioneer Corps battalion equivalents.
And what happened to all those engineers when the need for them on the beaches was reduced? Did they become infantry replacements?

By the way, I've come across a vast swathe of debate/argument/discussion about British manpower choices in the summer/autumn of 1943 in the Cabinet papers on line.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 16:33
it seems the British did chose poorly. No hindsight is involved.
Unfortunately when they were making the decisions of which you so disapprove, they had no idea of what the next year would bring. So, yes, hindsight is involved ... :roll:

Regards

Tom

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 May 2021 22:28

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
16 May 2021 19:55
daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 16:33
In a war of mass mobilization, given the British had to disband three combat divisions in contact with the enemy because of a lack of infantry replacements, and the US, Canadians (despite their self-imposed policy of not sending conscripts to the ETO in 1944, which was reversed in 1945), the New Zealanders, etc all did not, yes, it seems the British did chose poorly. No hindsight is involved.
So, I see you have avoided answering my question about the number of infantry trained individuals in the beach groups at the time those British combat divisions were disbanded.

Did the ESB's not have signals detachments? No provost?
daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 16:33
Each ESB included two engineer regiments of three battalions each, for a total of six per ESB or 18 for the entire force, so there's the direct equivalent (and then some) to the British beach groups with the equivalent of six infantry and six-nine composite RE-Pioneer Corps battalion equivalents.
And what happened to all those engineers when the need for them on the beaches was reduced? Did they become infantry replacements?

By the way, I've come across a vast swathe of debate/argument/discussion about British manpower choices in the summer/autumn of 1943 in the Cabinet papers on line.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 16:33
it seems the British did chose poorly. No hindsight is involved.
Unfortunately when they were making the decisions of which you so disapprove, they had no idea of what the next year would bring. So, yes, hindsight is involved ... :roll:

Regards

Tom
Feel free to provide links to records showing the personnel strength of the following battalions in the third and fourth quarters of 1944. According to Joslyn they existed, were on the Continent, saw action, and were not "in suspended animation" or any other odd designation that he used. The point, of course, is that six battalions of infantry assigned to beach groups were six battalions of infantry not available for use in infantry divisions; the US amphibious support organizations did not include infantry, and accomplished their missions. It's worth noting that when the Australians set up similar units for the Pacific War, they used pioneer battalions, not infantry. Only the British thought this was a good use of riflemen.

101st Beach SA, 5th and 6th Groups (Joslyn, p. 585)
5th Battalion, Kings Regiment
1st Buckinghamshire Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regiment

102nd Beach SA, 7th and 8th Groups (p. 584)
8th Battalion, Kings Regiment
5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment

104th Beach SA, 9th and 10th Groups (p. 582)
2nd Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment
6th Battalion, Border Regiment

The US Army''s Engineer Special Brigades had signals troops, inherent in the brigade (and "brigade group") headquarters and the attachments that built them up to ~21,000 strong for NEPTUNE; the attached NBB and NCBs had signal elements as well. MPs handled POWS in the US Army, if that's the point of your question about "provosts"; none of which, of course, has anything to do with why the British, facing a shortage of infantry that led to three of their divisions being broken up in 1944 for lack of replacements, thought using infantry for amphibious support assignments was good doctrine.

The 1st, 5th, and 6th ESBs headquarters and their subordinate units all remained in the ETO, with the 1st's assignments ranging managing the Utah Beach entry point and the Normandy Base Sector until December, 1944, at which point the brigade returned to the US for redeployment to the Pacific and the planned invasion of Japan; the 5th ESB served in a similar role on Omaha, and then the Seine and Le Havre, until after VE Day; the 6th operated in support of construction projects across France, including the Seine and Marne rivers, Verdun, and Le Havre, until after VE Day. Of the separate regiments, the 531st became the 1186th combat engineer group in 1944; while the 540th, which landed in southern France during DRAGOON, became the 540th combat engineers in 1944; the 591st, also in the Med, had converted in the winter of 1943, being redesignated as the 1185th. The other Army engineer regiments assigned to NEPTUNE generally made the group transition in 1944-45; the USN NBBs and NCBs (generally) were transferred to the Med for DRAGOON and then to the US and Pacific in 1945, again as part of the buildup for Kyushu and Honshu.

So, no; the US didn't use engineers as infantry replacements; but US Army engineers (and Marine engineers, and the Seabees) have always had a combat capability, and have frequently been used in defensive positions when necessary; the Ardennes being an obvious example.

Again, when the Americans didn't use infantry in these assignments, and Australians didn't use infantry in these assignments; seems quite clear that the British were outliers.

And given that the British Army was the one that broke up one in five of its armoured divisions and two of its 15 infantry divisions in the Italy and/or NW Europe in 1944 because of the infantry replacement issue, seems like its worth examining - especially when the Americans and Australians didn't use infantry in those roles.
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 17 May 2021 06:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 May 2021 04:24

daveshoup2MD wrote:
16 May 2021 16:33
The direct equivalent to the six British Army beach groups at Normandy (each of which included an infantry battalion, for a total of six - or two infantry brigade equivalents) in the US forces were the Army Engineer Special Brigades.
Er, no, sorry, but you are woefully confused on this subject. The "direct equivalent" to the US Army Engineers Special Brigades were the British Beach Sub-Areas.
Six - each of about 14,000 officers and men, so the equivalent of an infantry division - were formed during WW II; three of the six were in the ETO for NEPTUNE.
Sorry, but again, no.

Total 5th ESB effective strength (number of personnel for which lift was to be provided) was 5,396. Effective strength of attached units was 2,368; of those a total of 4,225 O and EM, 304 vehicles and 23 trailers were to be lifted as part of Force O and 1,473 O and EM, 258 vehicles and 23 trailers as part of Force B; the residue was to be lifted later; total assigned and attached authorized strength including T/O and authorized over-strength (25 percent for O and EM in Engineer units of the brigade, 15 percent for EM of other units, officer over-strength only authorized for assigned units of the brigade) was 9,809 O and EM, 916 vehicles, and 304 trailers. The mission of the ESB was “to facilitate and regulate the landing and movement of assault and build-up personnel and equipment over the beach, to unload and land all types of supplies from cargo ships, to move and receive supplies into dumps, to operate supply dumps, to establish and maintain communications and local security, and to evacuate casualties and prisoners of war to ships”. (HQ V Corps 1944, PESBG 1944, and Engineers, 5th Special Brigade, File ADM 120, Records of the ETOUSA). 6th ESB effective strength (number of personnel for which lift was to be provided) was 5,383; effective strength of attached units was 2,368; of those a total of 2,112 O and EM, 132 vehicles and 8 trailers were to be lifted as part of Force O and 1,935 O and EM, 205 vehicles and 8 trailers as part of Force B; the residue was to be lifted later; total assigned and attached authorized Strength including T/O and authorized over-strength (25 percent for O and EM in Engineer units of the brigade, 15 percent for EM of other units, officer over-strength only authorized for assigned units of the brigade) was 9,862 O and EM, 916 vehicles, and 310 trailers (HQ V Corps 1944 and PESBG 1944). The two were subordinate to the Provisional Engineer Special Brigade Group, which was authorized 56 O, 1 WO, & 191 EM and actually consisted of 270 O & EM on D-Day. (HQ V Corps 1944 and Provisional Engineer Special Brigade Group (PESBG), Operation Report NEPTUNE OMAHA Beach 26 February-26 June 1944, (NP, 30 September 1944)), File ADM 493e, Records of the ETOUSA.

1st ESB T/O strength was 6,252 (HQ FUSA 1 June 1944). The 1st ESB was the first specialized amphibious unit organized by the U.S. Army in World War II and as originally conceived consisted of separate “Shore” and “Boat” regiments. Unlike the 2d, 3d, and 4th ESB the 1st ESB never reorganized as “Boat and Shore” regiments. After the 591st Engr Boat Regt and 561st Engr Boat Maint Co were detached in December 1942, the 1st ESB functioned primarily as a “Shore” organization with any required “Boat” capability achieved through the attachment of Amphib Trk Cos. This was also the organization used by the 5th and 6th ESB formed by the ETOUSA for NEPTUNE.
Typical ESB organization was:
Headquarters and Headquarters Company
2x Engineer Shore Regiments (each with 3x Engineer Shore Battalions)
Amphibian Truck Battalion
4x Quartermaster Battalions
2x Ordnance Battalions
Medical Battalion
3x Port Battalions

Each ESB included two engineer regiments of three battalions each, for a total of six per ESB or 18 for the entire force, so there's the direct equivalent (and then some) to the British beach groups with the equivalent of six infantry and six-nine composite RE-Pioneer Corps battalion equivalents. The remainder provided similar "amphibious" capabilities the British beach groups, pot groups, and LOC commands did, except without using infantry battalions.
Yeah, that organization was only used in TORCH and in the Pacific. "Typical" organization was actually:

5th Engineer Special Bde (ESB) (-) (+) (att from TUSA)
HQ & HQ Co, 5th ESB – Swansea, Glamorgan
37th Engr C Bn – Dorchester, Dorset
Co C, 6th Naval Beach Bn (NBB)
336th Engr C Bn – Mynydd Lliw, Monmouthshire
Co A, 6th NBB
348th Engr C Bn – Swansea, Glamorgan
Co B, 6th NBB
533d QM Bn, HQ & HQ Det – Pontardulais, Glamorgan
4141st QM Sv Co – Dorchester, Dorset
4142d QM Sv Co – Dorchester, Dorset
4143d QM Sv Co – Winterbourne Abbas, Dorset
619th QM Bn, HQ & HQ Det – Swansea, Glamorgan
97th QM Rlhd Co – Pontardulais, Glamorgan
559th QM Rlhd Co (Cld) – Roche, Cornwall
Co A, 203d QM Gas Sup Bn – Grove, Berkshire
131st QM Bn, Mbl, HQ & HQ Det – Piddlehinton, Dorset
453d TC Amphib Trk Co – Piddlehinton, Dorset
458th TC Amphib Trk Co – Swansea, Glamorgan
459th TC Amphib Trk Co – Piddlehinton, Dorset
251st Ord Bn, HQ & HQ Det (att) – Penllergaer, Glamorgan
616th Ord Am Co – Mynydd Lliw, Monmouthshire
3466th Ord MAM Co – Manselton, Glamorgan
Det B (2d Plat +), 467th Engr Maint Co (att) – Mynydd Lliw,
Monmouthshire
4042d QM Trk Co (Cld) (att frm 102d QM Bn) – Swansea,
Glamorgan
26th Ord Bmb Disp Sq (att) – Swansea, Glamorgan
30th Cml Decon Co (att) – Pontardulais, Glamorgan
61st Med Bn, HQ & HQ Det – Swansea, Glamorgan
391st Med Coll Co – Dorchester, Dorset
392d Med Coll Co – Truro, Cornwall
393d Med Coll Co – Swansea, Glamorgan
643d Med Clr Co – Slapton Sands, Devonshire
Teams No. 7 – 12, 15, & 16, 3d Aux Surg Gp (att) – UNK
294th JASCO – Pontardulais, Glamorgan
210th MP Co (Amphib) – Truro, Cornwall
Attached
6th NBB (-) – Swansea, Glamorgan
2d Plat, 440th Engr Dep Co – Histon, Cambridgeshire
487th TC Port Bn, HQ & HQ Det – Malpas, Monmouthshire
184th TC Port Co – Paignton, Devonshire
185th TC Port Co – Newport, Monmouthshire
186th TC Port Co – Cardiff, Glamorgan
187th TC Port Co – Newport, Monmouthshire
502d TC Port Bn, HQ & HQ Det – Glasgow, Lanarkshire
270th TC Port Co (Cld) – Glasgow, Lanarkshire
271st TC Port Co (Cld) – Glasgow, Lanarkshire
272d TC Port Co (Cld) – Glasgow, Lanarkshire
273d TC Port Co (Cld) – Crockston, Renfrewshire
282d TC Port Co (att) – Southside Wood, Gloucestershire
283d TC Port Co (att) – Southside Wood, Gloucestershire
1219th Engr FF Plat – Barry, Glamorgan
2d Plat, 607th QM Grv Reg Co – Bristol, Gloucestershire
Dets H & N, 175th Sig Rep Co – Norton, Somerset
Det 1, Storage & Issue (S & I) Sec, 215th Sig Dep Co – UNK
1st Sq, 1st Sec, Adv Sup Plat, 1st Med Dep Co – Torquay, Devonshire
Det P, 165th Sig Photo Co – UNK
British R Type Com Det
British VHF Sig Det “A” (30 watt)
British VHF Sig Det (100 watt)

BTW, "stevedoring" was not the mission of the ESB or of Engineers, it was the task of the Quartermaster Transportation Corps Port Company and the Quartermaster Corps Service Company, which were often "Colored" and most equivalent to the British Pioneer Corps, who perfored the similar tasks in the Beach Sub-Area.
In addition, for NEPTUNE the USN provided three numbered beach battalions, each with an attachment of roughly 350 naval combat demolition troops (the ETO equivalent of the Pacific War's UDTs, except less combat swimmers and more boat-borne combat engineers) these were attached to the three ESBs, and served as part of the brigade; the USN's NEPTUNE force also included the 27th Naval Construction Regiment, with five full Seabee battalions - all in all, something like 9,000 USN personnel were assigned to the NEPTUNE landing forces (as opposed to landing craft crews, salvage units, follow-on port operations, etc.)
The mission of the NBB was establishing shore-to-ship communications, marking sea lanes, making emergency boat repairs, removing underwater obstacals, directing the beach landings, and providing beachhead medical care and casualty evacuation. The 6th NBB was typical and consisted of 42 O (including 9 Medical Officers (MO)) and 368 EM organized with a HQ and 3 Cos. Bn HQ consisted of CO, XO, Radio O and 32 other O and EM. Each Co conisited of a HQ of 45 O and EM with HQ Staff (3 O: Beach Master, Assistant Beach Master, and MO), Hydrographic Sec (18 O & EM), Boat Rep Sec (8 O & EM), Com Sec (8 O & EM), and Med (2 MO and 6 EM), and 3 Plats each 26 O and EM).

The NBB had nothing to do with the "naval combat demolition troops", which were not the "equivalent of", but were the same as the combat swimmers in the Pacific. At the time they were not known as "UDT", they were NCDU - Naval Combat Demolition Units - and were organized as part of joint Army-Navy obstacle clearance teams for NEPTUNE, attached to the assault divisions rather than the ESB. Each of the 32 NCDU sent to Europe for NEPTUNE typically began as one officer (JG or Ensign, although some were commanded by CPO) and 12 to 18 enlisted, but were augmented by 100 Seamen 2c volunteers from the 11th PHIB, who were given hasty training beginning 5 May. Most of the teams were 18-20 O&EM by D-Day.

Nor was it the 27th NCT, it was the 25th, with the 28th Navy Construction Battalion (NCB) (provided construction elements to Drew units), 81st NCB (operate RHF, RHT and RWT, constructed and operated naval base camps at UTAH), 108th NCB (assembled and operated MULBERRY “A” at OMAHA), 111th NCB (operated RHF, RHT and RWT, constructed and operated naval base camps at OMAHA), 146th NCB (constructed, operated and maintained petroleum, oil and lubricants installations at UTAH and OMAHA), and 1006th NCB (Det) (constructed and operated causeways at OMAHA and UTAH). Note also it was not "five full Seabee battalions", the 1006th was present as a detachment, while the rest of the battalion remained in Blighty.
"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

daveshoup2MD
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 17 May 2021 04:56

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 May 2021 04:24

snip
That's all interesting detail, counselor, but if you'll read the statement, you'll note that it does not "say" the ~14,000 (caveated) were all on the beach. The rest of your information is just that, and does nothing to address why the British insisted on using infantry battalions for beach duties, when the Americans and even the Australians did not.

But you be you.

And, along those lines:

Nor was it the 27th NCT, it was the 25th,28th Navy Construction Battalion (NCB) (provided construction elements to Drew units), 81st NCB (operate RHF, RHT and RWT, constructed and operated naval base camps at UTAH), 108th NCB (assembled and operated MULBERRY “A” at OMAHA), 111th NCB (operated RHF, RHT and RWT, constructed and operated naval base camps at OMAHA), 146th NCB (constructed, operated and maintained petroleum, oil and lubricants installations at UTAH and OMAHA)and 1006th NCB (Det) (constructed and operated causeways at OMAHA and UTAH). Note also it was not "five full Seabee battalions", the 1006th was present as a detachment, while the rest of the battalion remained in Blighty."

Good catch on the 25th regiment vs the 27th; typo. Not the first one, won't be the last. As has been said, "I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country."

But here's a nice table for the folks at home to read for themselves.

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/hi ... tml#append

But by the way, sorry, but what's an "NCT," professor? Do you perhaps mean an NCR?

And as far as the NCBs go, let's see - 28th, 81st, 108th, 111th, 146th ... humm. ...1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... or: I, II, III, IV, V ... or, uno, dos, treis, quatro, cinco, woolly bully...

Looks like five.

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