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Old 12-18-2012, 09:13 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default The United States Army in World War Two

So why this thread? It is estimated that of all of the millions of Americans who served in World War Two, roughly a million are still alive. The end of the Greatest Generation approches. In part this is to honor the courage and sacrifice those who stepped forward to save a world gone mad.

Another part is that the way that the Army of United States organzied itself from its negelected pre-war start into one of the mighest armies in history can give insight into how the US would have approached World War Three.

Unless other stated, sources include “Hitler’s Last Gamble” (Trevor Dupuy); “Battle of the Bulge” (Steven Zaloga); “Battle of the Bulge” (Danny Parker); “Battle of the Bulge” (Hugh Cole); “A Time for Trumpets” (Charles MacDonald); “US Army Order of Battle in WWII” (Shelby Stanton); “US Army Handbook 1939-1945” (George Forty); “The Armies of George S. Patton” (George Forty); “Dirty Little Secrets of World War II” (James Dunnigan and Albert Nofi); “Citizen Soldiers” (Stephen Ambrose); “Band of Brothers” (Stephen Ambrose); U.S. Infantry Weapons of World War II (Bruce Canfield); “The American Arsenal” (Ian V. Hogg)

Enjoy!
__________________
The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.

Last edited by dragoon500ly; 01-17-2019 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:17 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default In the Beginning, Chapter One

By September of 1945, the United States Army was perhaps the strongest in the world, numbering 8,300,000 out of a total of 12,350,000 of the U.S. Armed Forces. It was only exceeded in manpower by the Russians, and it led the world in weaponry, strategic mobility and logistic capabilities. Winston Churchill described it thus:

“I saw the creation of this mighty force, victorious in every theater against the enemy in so short a time and from such a very small parent stock. This is an achievement which the soldiers of every other country will always study with admiration and envy.”

“But that is not the whole story, nor even the greatest part of the story. To create large armies is one thing, to lead them and to handle them is another. It remains to me a mystery as yet unexplained how the very small staffs which the United States kept during the years of peace were able not only to build up the Armies and the Air Force units, but also to find the leaders and vast staffs capable of handling enormous masses and of moving them faster and further than masses have ever been moved in war before.”

When compared to the pitifully inadequate state of the U.S. Army in 1939 (sixteenth in size, right after Romania), most of whose units were still trained in the combat methods of 1918, rather than those needed to meet the oncoming onslaught that the Germans were prepared to unleash, then the true magnitude of this achievement can be seen in its proper perspective.

On June 30, 1939, the U.S. Army was made up of three elements. The Regular Army consisted of 187,893 men, including 22,387 men in the Army Air Corps. This force manned 9 infantry divisions, 2 cavalry divisions, and a single mechanized cavalry brigade. The National Guard totaled 199,491 men forming 18 infantry divisions. All of these units were at minimal peacetime strengths, available equipment was sorely lacking, and most of what was available was either obsolescent or obsolete. The Regular Army was well trained, but the training of the National Guard was regarded with suspicion by their regular counterparts, as they only drilled for only forty-eight evenings a year and attended a mere two weeks’ of field duty every summer.

The third element of the Army was known as the Organized Reserves. Although this only existed in the mobilization plans, it provided a pool of over 100,000 trained officers, mostly graduates of the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps, it was to prove to be a invaluable asset to the Army when the expansion program began.

On September 8, 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared a limited national emergency, which raised the strength of the Regular Army to 227,000, although this was mostly taken up by enlarging the garrison in Panama and increases in the Army Air Corps. The National Guard was also authorized to recruit to a strength of 235,000. These were small concessions, but they did enable the General Staff to establish several tactical corps headquarters and enough army troops to create a fully functioning field Army. This was followed in April 1940 by the first corps maneuvers to be held since 1918, and in May 1940, corps vs. corps exercises took place, testing new weapons and tactics. The emergency proclamation permitted the expansion of the officer corps, by allowing the assignment of reserve officers to active duty as well as emergency expenditures that were used to purchase badly needed motor transport.

On August 27, 1940, Congress authorized the induction of the National Guard into federal service for a period of twelve months and then increased the authorized strength of the Regular Army. The new Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall ordered a reorganization of the infantry division moving from the old four regiment ‘square’ division and into the new three regiment ‘triangular’ division, allowing for greater maneuverability and flexibility. Once the new organization had been fully tested in the Spring 1940 maneuvers, all divisions, including those of the National Guard, were reorganized as triangular.

During May and June of 1940, the Germans swept across Europe, eliminating France as a world power and leaving Britain to stand alone, facing imminent invasion. The gravity of the situation finally struck home with the people of the United States. The public began to demand urgent and enormous increases in the armed forces. On September 16, 1940, the first peacetime draft in US history was passed by Congress. However, the draftees were limited to one year of service. The Selective Service Act authorized the strength of the Army to be raised to 1,400,000 men, of which 500,000 were to be Regulars, 270,000 National Guard and 630,000 Selectees. A month later, in public buildings all over the country, men between the ages of 21 and 35 began registering under the new law. Between October 1940 and July 1941, 17,000,000 men were registered, but of these, only 900,000 were permitted by the SSA to be inducted for service in the Army. General George C. Marshall appeared before Congress on August 7, 1941 and Congress approved (by one vote) an indefinite extension of service for the Guard, draftees and Reserve officers.

By the summer of 1941, the Army had increased eightfold and had almost reached the new ceiling of 1,400,000 men. The ground force in the continental United States now consisted of four armies, containing nine corps and made up of 29 divisions, plus overseas garrisons. The picture on new equipment and weapons was still far from good, due to the President’s lend-lease policy, assisting Britain and any other effective enemies of Germany, even at the expense of American rearmament.

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the United States of America was dramatically brought into the war with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. The first bombing run was made at 0755 hours and was over with within two hours. The U.S. Pacific Fleet lost 18 warships, including eight battleships sunk or damaged, 188 aircraft had been destroyed and 3,581 service members killed or wounded. This attack, followed by the declarations of war by Germany and Italy, involved the United States in a global conflict the likes of which had never been seen before. There was now much to do and precious little time to do it in. Mobilization had to be completed as quickly as possible, so as to develop the full potential of the whole of the country. Men had to be inducted and trained, industrial capacity and output expanded and all military facilities increased to unheard-of proportions.

During this initial period of the war, the U.S. was forced to stand on the defensive and endured many humiliations at the hands of the Axis powers because she was too impotent to strike back. All of the nations efforts were directed to the rapid deployment of the available men and equipment in an effort to slow the momentum of the enemy attacks. At the same time protected lines of communications had to be established around the world, while a vast expansion of the military establishment was begun. It took the U.S. eight months to accumulate the weapons and equipment needed, to train the men that were needed initially and then to transport them to the various theaters where they could be employed in offensive operations against the enemy. The end of this end of this initial phase was marked by the first U.S. amphibious assault in August 1942 against the Japanese, at Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon Islands.

In spite of these measures, expansion was slow. By December 31, 1941, 24 days after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Army consisted of 1,685,403 men ( including 275,889 in the Army Air Corps) in 29 infantry, 5 armored and 2 cavalry divisions. While an increase of 433% in two and a half years was a magnificent achievement, shortages of equipment and trained personnel were serious. Over the next three and a half years, the Army would expand by an additional 492%, to a total of 8,291,336 men in 89 divisions: 66 infantry, 5 airborne, 16 armored, 1 cavalry and 1 mountain division.

On December 16, 1944, 43 of these divisions were deployed in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), including 2 airborne, 10 armored, and 31 infantry divisions. At the same time, an additional 16 divisions were preparing to join them. One armored division had already deployed to Europe and was on its way to the front, and one airborne division was in England, awaiting shipment to France, these would be committed into the fighting by January 16, 1945. One airborne, 3 armored and 7 infantry divisions were completing training in England or in the United States in anticipation of deployment to the ETO.

The Chief of the Army Ground Forces, Lieutenant General J. Lesley McNair was the final decision maker on Army organization. He campaigned tirelessly to reduce overhead in US divisions, insisting on as much streamlining as possible. There were two reasons for this approach. First, shipping space was a premium for not only combat but support units, and all supply items (including food to feed the population of Britain) had to be shipped from the United States to England. Second, McNair and other planners realized that the US manpower pool was not inexhaustible. Industry and farming in the US, as well as the massive expansion of the Navy, Marine Corps and Army Air Corps all absorbed vast numbers of men. The Victory Program of September 25, 1941 called for an Army of 213 divisions, this goal was never even close to being achieved; it proved difficult to man the 89 divisions that were eventually fielded

An adjunct to McNair’s efforts to streamline the division was his effort to pool all non divisional combat assets in the Army into homogeneous battalion-sized units. Pooled units were to be held by corps/armies and were to be attached to divisions as required. Artillery, engineers, armored, tank destroyers, antiaircraft artillery and infantry units were all components of the pool.. Group and brigade headquarters units were created to control manageable aggregations of the large number of pool units.
__________________
The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.

Last edited by dragoon500ly; 01-17-2019 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:20 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default Mobilization, Chapter Two

By the end of December 1941, the U.S. had activated 29 infantry, five armored and two cavalry divisions. Of these, only two were deployed outside the continental United States, the remaining 34 were all short of equipment and only 17 had received sufficient training to be considered ready for combat (had all of the necessary equipment been pooled, then there would have been enough equipment to equip five infantry and two armored divisions). The initial plan (the Victory Plan) called for an army of 200 divisions, with an immediate target set to raise 72 divisions by the end of 1942.

The original mobilization and expansion plan had been carefully worked out in the inter-war years, in its simplest terms it had the following main features:

a. Regular Army units would be brought up to full TO&E scales.

b. The National Guard would be inducted into Federal service and its units brought up to full TO&E strength.

c. The Organized Reserve would be activated.

d. The training cadre for each of these new units would be drawn from existing units.

e. Enlisted and new units would be brought up to full strength by voluntary recruitment or draft and before assignment would be brought through a basic training course at replacement training centers.

f. Officers for these new units would be drawn mainly from the Officer’s Reserve Corps to supplement the cadre officers.

g. Armies would be brought to full strength and activity and would be responsible for the preparation of tactical units for combat.

h. A General Headquarters, United States Army, would be activated as the high command of the field forces.

By July 1940, the nucleus of a General Headquarters had been established with the initial task of organizing and training the field forces within the continental Untied States. This meant that General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, now assumed a second major post, as Commanding General of the Field Forces. This was a formal appointment only and the Chief of Staff, General Headquarters, Major General Lesley J. McNair exercised day-to-day control (on Marshall’s behalf). General McNair was a strong opponent of too much specialization, believing that “special” units usually lacked basic military skills. He also hated the waste of men and material and was especially watchful and highly suspicious of any proposed changes to the Tables of Organization and Equipment.

The War Department planned to activate three to four divisions each month, starting in March, 1942. It would use the cadre system with experienced personnel being drawn from an existing division to form the organizing and training nucleus of a new one. These cadre had to attend special training at the service schools, while the divisional commander and his staff had to attend the Command and General Staff School. Most of the remaining officers would be assigned, directly from the officer candidate schools and the enlisted men from replacement training centers. General McNair opposed this policy as he felt that the new divisions should be built upon men who had just finished their basic training, but the sheer scale of the expansion plan meant that this was impossible to achieve. The War Department allowed only 10-12 months for a division to be formed, staffed, equipped and trained to combat readiness. This period consisted of 17 weeks for establishing the initial organization and completing basic training; 13 weeks for unit training up to regimental level and 14 weeks of combined arms tactical training, to include at least one divisional level exercise.

With such a tight schedule, problems soon emerged. There were severe equipment shortages, so that divisions would be activated with insufficient equipment for proper and realistic training. A system of priorities were worked out, with the categories A, B and C being allocated to the divisions. Those due for immediate shipment to a combat zone received Priority A (their full TO&E organization of personnel and equipment). Priority B units received up to 50% of their authorized RO&E and Priority C units were at 25% or less of their authorized TO&E. On numerous occasions, divisions would receive their A priority so close to their embarkation date, that they did not have time to train with their new equipment. In spite of these problems, the mobilization proceeded at a murderous pace and by the end of 1942, virtually all of the ground combat units had been mobilized. All told, the Army mobilized only 91 divisions (compared to 313 for the Germans, 120 Japanese, 550 Russian and 50 British), just under 50% of the original GHQ estimates. However, these divisions were all maintained up to strength throughout the war, in spite of heavy casualties, a major achievement when the student realizes that by early 1945, 57 infantry regiments in 19 different divisions had suffered between 100% and 200% casualties! With only three exceptions, none of the divisions activated after Pearl Harbor saw combat prior to 1944.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:21 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default Training, Chapter Three

Ground combat in World War II called for many complex and technical skills. An infantryman, just to name one example, had to be able to use and maintain any number of different weapons. He had to have a good grounding of camouflage and concealment; of mines and bobby traps; of patrolling; map reading; AFV and aircraft recognition; how to use captured enemy equipment; how to deal with POWs; of field hygiene and first aid; of how to live under primitive conditions for extended periods of time. All of these skills were essential for the soldier and they had to be taught to the soldiers from scratch. They also had to be taught how to become a member of a team, be it of a rifle squad, a tank or gun crew. Mobile warfare required a high standard of physical fitness and mental alertness and intelligence, skill and stamina were need for both personnel survival and eventual victory on the battlefield.

BASIC TRAINING
The only military training establishments in the inter-war years were the General and Special Service Schools, small organizations with the task of training very limited numbers of key individuals. The much larger task of basic training of the newly enlisted soldiers was left to the units. With the onslaught on new selectees, this system was unacceptable. In 1940, the War Department organized the Replacement Training Centers (RTCs) all over the United States. The mission of the RTC was to provide a steady flow of trained men to the tactical units, thus relieving those units of their training burdens during mobilization and combat. By March, 1941, there were twelve RTCs: three for the Coast Artillery, one Armor, one Cavalry, three Field Artillery and four Infantry. During 1941, these RTCs trained over 200,000 men. With the declaration of war, the RTCs had to fulfill two missions: first to supply “filler replacements” to occupy initial vacancies in units being activated or brought up to strength; secondly, to provide “loss replacements” for units already in training or engaged in combat. More RTCs were established to cover the new “arms” such as Anti-Aircraft Artillery and Tank Destroyer. They trained the newly inducted men in basic military subjects and in the elementary specialist techniques of their arm of service. Courses initially lasted for 12 to 13 weeks, but immediately after Pearl harbor, many RTC programs were cut to 8 weeks. This did not last for long and by the fall of 1943, with a few exceptions, all courses had been fixed at a 17 week period.

SERVICE SCHOOLS
Between July 1940 and August 1945, some 570,000 men completed courses designed to give them the necessary skills for a wide variety of jobs ranging from, for example, infantry battalion commander to anti-aircraft control technician. The Army Ground Forces operated eight schools, four (Cavalry, Coast Artillery, Field Artillery and Infantry) had been formed during the inter-war years and, until the March 1942 reorganization, had been controlled by the chiefs of their respective arms. The remaining schools, established to teach new skills and tactics were Armored, Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Tank Destroyer and Parachute (this was really more than a service school, as all airborne training required specialized training, in effect it was both a school and an RTC).

OFFICER TRAINING
Future officers were trained an selected for commissions in a sub school of each of the service schools known as Officer Candidate Schools (OCS). The mission of the OCS was to convert enlisted men into combat officers to meet the mobilization requirements that could not be filled by Regular, Reserve of National Guard officers. These sources varied from 12 to 17 weeks and trained the candidates in the basic duties of a junior officer of there particular branch, and evaluated whether or not they were fit to recommended for a commission. By 1942, the OCS also took on the task of training the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) who had left college to enter the Army before completing their full ROTC course. This later group represented about one-tenth of all OCS graduated from the AGF schools and thru received Reserve commissions after graduation. When the Army began to mobilization in 1940, it had only some 14,000 regular officers, by the end of 1943, an additional 19,000 National Guard officers were in Federal Service, some 180,000 officers had been drawn from ROTC and nearly 100,000 civilians had received direct commissions (slightly less than half as doctors, dentists and chaplains, the rest in technical and administrative posts). Another 300,000 new officers had been commissioned from OCS or aviation cadets. There was additional pressure, especially from the Army Service Forces, to increase the length of the OCS course to six months, but this was never approved and no major changes were ever made to the course. AGF always maintained that the mission of OCS was to provide the initial and individual phases of officer training, which was then continued when he arrived at his unit.

TACTICAL TRAINING
GHQ developed a program of tactical training which included the phases of small unit training (the coordination of the various weapons of the regiment and the division) and large scale maneuvers. This program remained virtually unaltered throughout the war. This program included proficiency tests at every stage, and an emphasis on elementary training and general proficiency before advancing to specialized training. Maneuvers were conducted with the fewest possible frills and stressed realistic battle simulation, meticulous umpiring and immediate debriefs so that the maximum amount of benefit could be gained by all taking part. A rough idea of the distribution of training time suggested for an infantry division was: 13 weeks of individual training; 5 weeks for unit training; 4 weeks for combined arms training; 7 weeks for maneuvers. and a 6 week period of post-maneuver training.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:34 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Thumbs up Higher Organization, Chapter Four

When General Marshall assumed his position of Chief of Staff in 1939, the Army was operating under its inter-war organization and plans, both of which were hopelessly antiqued. During the 1920s-30, the War Department had operated under the assumption that any future war would be fought in a manner similar to that of World War One, thus using similar command and management techniques. Needless to say, this theory was wrong. One of General Marshall’s first tasks was to adopt the Army’s pre-war structure to a constantly changing world situation. Following the Pearl Harbor attack, General Marshall was even more determined to discard the creaking, old-fashioned structure and create a new one which would be capable of dealing with modern, global war.

Among the many assumptions of the pre-war War Department was that any war would be fought in a single theater of operations and that the Chief of Staff would automatically take to the field as Commander in Chief. It was also anticipated that the President and the Secretary of War would follow the Great War practice and delegate their authority to the professional military officers. This as latter assumption could not have been more wrong as President Roosevelt, in his role of Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, chose to play an active part in directing the military. Indeed, General Marshall soon found himself in the role of the President’s advisor on military strategy and operations.

By the end of June 1943, the Army had expanded to over 5,000,000 men. This unbelievable expansion caused a fundamental reorientation within the War Department and they way in which it conducting its business. Various services and supply agencies had to be integrated into the command organization, in order to insure the efficient assembling in the U.S. of all the means of waging and its transportation and distribution to the combat areas overseas. This not only required an enormous training organization to train the ever growing new army, but for this to be done in an orderly and efficient manner, centralized under one authority. Early in 1942, after over a year of exhaustive study, a committee headed by General Joseph T. McNarney completed a plan that established three great commands under the direct supervision of the Chief of Staff. These were to be known as: the Army Air Forces (AAF), the Army Ground Forces (AGF) and the Services of Supply, latter called the Army Service Forces (ASF). This was approved by the President on March 9, 1942. To give an idea of the scale of these commands, a decision was made in the summer of 1943 to expand the Army to an effective strength of 7,700,000. In 1945, the operating strength was 8,300,000, but this figure included 600,000 ineffectives (500,000 undergoing hospitalization or in the process of being discharged as unfit for active or limited service). Another 100,000 were en-route overseas as replacements, making up the 600,000 total. The following table shows the breakdown of the 7,700,000 effectives between the AAF, the AGF, the ASF and the Theater Forces (personnel directly attached to the theater HQs and the major command installations worldwide):

Army Ground Forces 3,186,000
Army Air Forces 2,340,000
Army Service Forces 1,751,000
Theater Forces 423,000

The Army Air Forces are a work in progress at this time, but a brief look is included. The 1942 reorganization carried previous reorganizations to their logical conclusion, establishing them as an entirely separate command from the ground forces. They now had their own Air Staff, with its own chief, General Henry H. Arnold. It administered its own personnel and training, it organized and supported the combat air forces employed in all theaters of war and exercised considerable influence over both strategic and operational planning. When World War Two began in 1939, the Air Corps had a strength of less than 24,000. By 1945, the Army Air Forces had a strength of nearly 2.4 million. The United States produced nearly a quarter of a million aircraft. Following the end of the war, it would take another two years for the AAF to achieve completely separate and equal status, as the United States Air Force, with General Henry H. Arnold at its first five-star general.

The Army Service Forces have always been the unsung heroes of World War Two. A detailed list of their organization, and units, and indeed, all of their duties would require several books. In summary, they were responsible for the supply, equipping and movement of troops both at home and overseas; for food, clothing, equipment, ammunitions and the medical services; for road, rail and sea transportation; for personnel records and the mail service; they coordinated the production requirements of military munitions in the U.S.; the actual issue of weapons and equipment; plus everything else that affected the efficient and regular maintenance of this equipment; and the steady stream of supplies to all theaters of war. They were also responsible for many aspects of the troop’s morale, such as movies, educational programs and newspapers. Their supply lines extended for over 56,000 miles and they had authority over the seven technical services, eight administrative services, nine corps areas (later called service commands), six ports of embarkation and nine general depots. HQ ASF was responsible for coordinating the work of all this and for the very first time, full recognition was given to the vital importance of logistics and to the tremendous advantages which could be gained by concentrating logistics operations in a single command. How well the ASF fulfilled their mission can be measured by the fact that there were no major supply failures during the course of the war. Troops were successfully transported all over the world and no battle or campaign was lost through a major logistic failure.
For planning purposes and distribution, supplies were broken down into five classes:

Class 1: Those supplies used up at a regular rate, regardless of conditions, principally food.

Class 2: Items (including clothing and weapons) for which there was a laid down scale of entitlement by units and individuals.

Class 3: All classes of petroleum, oils and lubricants, known collectively as POL.

Class 4: A miscellaneous category, used to cover everything not covered elsewhere.

Class 5: Ammunition, explosives and chemical agents.

While the requirements of the different theatres varied with local conditions, it took, on average, 1,600 tons of supplies daily to maintain a divisional slice. This slice consisted of a full strength division, plus a proportional share of all the necessary supporting and service troops, plus two air wing slices, making a total of 500,000 men in all. This 1,600 tons was broken down into: 1,100 tons of all types of dry cargos, 475 tons of POL products and 25 tons of vehicles. Out of this total, 595 tons went to the combat zone for the ground forces, 65 tons for the air forces and 365 tons went into the divisional area. On average each man assigned to Europe received 66.81lbs of supplies per day (67.4lbs in the Pacific). In the ETO, this was broken down into 7.7lbs of rations (6.71lbs in the PTO), 0.426lbs of clothing and equipment (1lb in the PTO), 7.821lbs of construction materials (11.9lbs in the PTO) and 3.64lbs of ammunition (5.14lbs in the PTO).

The Army Ground Forces is the real subject of this paper. During the war HQ AGF administered 230,000 officers and 4,194,000 enlisted men. The AGF suffered 80% of the Army’s battle casualties, took part in more than forty amphibious landings and captured over 3.5 million prisoners. A total of 92 divisions were activated before and during the war. In 1940, there was only eight Regular Army and Philippine divisions active, between 1940 and 1942, another 65 divisions were activated. 90 divisions were prepared for combat and 88 of these were actually committed. In spite of heavy casualties in some divisions, the AGF maintained them all at or near their TO&E strength.

NON DIVISIONAL UNITS, HEADQUARTERS AND THE STAFF

NON DIVISIONAL UNITS
Fewer than half of the tactical troops of the AGF were actually organic to divisions, instead, they were in non divisional combat and service units. On March 31, 1945, the AGF had 1,468,941 personnel assigned to non divisional units and 1,194,398 personnel assigned to divisions. Typically, these non divisional units were grouped at three levels; Corps, Army and GHQ Reserve. In the early years of World War Two, each army and corps had its TO&E organization, for example:

Type Army (July 31, 1942):
Antiaircraft: 1 Brigade

Chemical Warfare: 1 Maintenance Co., 1 Depot Co., 1 Impregnation Co., 1 Lab Co., 3 Decon Cos.

Engineers: 3 General Service Regts, 6 Engnr Bns, 1 Depot Co., 1 Topographical Bn, 1 Water Supply Bn, 4 Lt Ponton Cos., 2 Dump Truck Cos., 1 Camouflage Bn, 1 Maintenance Co., 2 Hvy Ponton Bns.

Medical: 3 Medical regts, 1 Vet Co., 4 Surgical Hospitals, 10 Evac Hospitals, 1Conv Hospital, 1 Lab, 1 Supply Depot.

Military Police: 1 MP Bn

Ordnance: 2 Ammunition Bns, 1 Maintenance Bn

Quartermaster: 3 MM Bns, 1 Motor Trans Co, 1 Trk Regt, 6 Service Bns, 1 Gas Supply Co., 1 Car Co, 1 Depot Co.

Signal: 1 Construction Bn, 1 Photo Co., 1 Pigeon Co., 1 Radar Intercept Co., 1 Operations Bn, 1 Depot Co.

Tank Destroyers: 3 TD Bns

Aviation: 1 Observation Group

Type Corps (July 31, 1942):
Divisions: 3

Antiaircraft: 1 Regt

Chemical Warfare: None

Engineers: 2 Combat Regts, 1 Corps Topographical Co

Medical: 1 Medical Bn

Military Police: 1 MP Co

Ordnance: 1 maintenance Bn

Quartermaster: 2 Trk Cos., 1 MM Coy, 1 Gas Supply Co., 1 Service Co.

Signal: 1 Signal Bn

Tank Destroyers: 5 Bns

Aviation: 4 Observation Squadrons

The AGF was never happy with this rigid system, feeling that the “type” concept set up false preconceptions with regards to tactical and logistical operations. What was needed was a far more flexible system, and while AGF plans were never officially approved, it did go into piecemeal effect in 1943. This plan did away with all organic corps and army troops, and made all non divisional units part of the GHQ Reserve. The only elements retained by corps and army were those over which they needed to exercise proper command, headquarters and signal personnel. Troops were grouped in the smallest and most efficient size possible (usually battalion sized). These units would then be assigned, as needed to the corps and army. Brigade and regimental levels of command were abolished.

In their place was organized the “Group”. Group headquarters were activated in the ratio of one to every four/five battalions. Group headquarters were supposed to avoid administration, being tactical headquarters, being responsible solely for training and combat operations. Battalions would deal directly with army on administrative matters.

HIGHER HEADQUARTERS
The United States Army maintained three levels of field command above the division, Corps, Army and Army Group. Twenty eight corps were organized during World War Two, including four converted from armored corps. A listing of all the corps is as follows:

I Corps
Papua; New Guinea; Luzon
I Armored Corps
Casablanca; French Morocco. Deactivated following the TORCH landings.
II Corps
Algeria-French Morocco; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno; North
Apennines; Po Valley
II Armored Corps
Redesignated as XVIII Corps in 1943
III Corps
Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe
III Armored Corps
Redesignated as XIX Corps in 1943
IV Corps
Rome-Arno; North Apennines; Po Valley
IV Armored
Redesignated as XX Corps in 1943
V Corps
Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe
VI Corps
Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; Ardennes-Alsace;
Central Europe
VII Corps
Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe
VIII Corps
Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe
IX Corps
Pacific Theater without inscription
X Corps
New Guinea; Southern Philippines; Leyte
XI Corps
New Guinea; Southern Philippines
XII Corps
Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe
XIII Corps
Rhineland; Central Europe
XIV Corps
Guadalcanal; Northern Solomons; Luzon
XV Corps
Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe
XVI Corps
Rhineland; Central Europe
XVIII Airborne Corps
Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe. XVIII Corps was redesignated
as XVIII Airborne Corps, August 25, 1944.
XIX Corps
Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe
XX Corps
Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe
XXI Corps
Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe
XXII Corps
Rhineland, Central Europe
XXIII Corps
European Theater without inscription
XXIV Corps
Leyte; Ryukyus
XXXVI Corps
Continental United States (to be deployed with Operation CORNET)

One of the driving purposes of the battalion and group system was to keep down the size of headquarters staffs, reducing the routine administration they had to deal with, thus keeping them as tactical as possible. The TO&E of a Corps Headquarters (January 19,1945) shows that less than 200 men served in the headquarters.

Corps Headquarters
Entire HQ: 196
Commander and Aides: 4
General Staff Section: 60
Engineer Section: 12
Signal Section: 10
Chemical Warfare Section: 5
Adjutant-General’s Section: 28
Inspector-General’s Section: 7
Judge Advocate-General’s Section: 5
Finance Section: 8
Medical Section: 9
Ordnance Section: 18
Quartermaster Section: 9
Special Services Section: 4
Chaplain’s Section: 6
Public Information Section: 11

The Field Army (to give it its full title), was composed of a headquarters, two or more corps as well as the necessary support and service units needed to achieve its mission. Unlike the corps, the army was both a tactical and an administrative organization. In administration and supply, it bypassed corps HQ and to a certain extent, the division as well. It was responsible for the normal distribution of food, fuel and ammunition. The army would push its supply points forward to easily accessible positions for the trucks of the user units. Army personnel would sort and load supplies into unit loads and place them on their trucks. In order to give an idea of the number of administrative units, the following is a listing of units assigned to the US Third Army (November 10, 1943):

Corps: 5

Divisions: 19

Antiaircraft: 2 Brigade HQ, 4 Group HQ, 8 Bns

Armored: 2 Group HQ, 13 Tank bns

Cavalry: 1 Brigade, 3 Mechanized Regts

Chemical: 5 Decon Cos, 1 Depot Co., 2 Chemical Mortar Bns

Engineers: 9 Group HQ, 1 Sep Bn, 24 Combat Bns, 1 Topographic Bn, 1 Water Supply Bn, 2 Camouflage Cos, 1 Depot Co, 1 Depot Trk Co, 3 Lt Equip Cos, 5 Lt Ponton Cos., 5 Maintenance Cos, 4 Treadway Bridge Cos.

Field Artillery: 16 Group Hqs, 4 Observation Bns, 40 Field Artillery Bns

Infantry: 2 Infantry Regiments

Medical: 5 Grp HQ, 2 Ambulance Bns, 9 Medical Bns, 1 Gas Treatment Bn, 2 Ambulance Cos, 14 Clearing Cos, 28 Collection Cos, 1 Depot Co, 1 Sanitary Co, 3 Vet Cos, 6 Evacution Hospitals, 2 Labs, 2 Vet Evac Hospitals

Military Police: 3 MP Bns, 2 MP Cos.

Ordnance: 2 Ammunition Bns, 1 Ordnance Bn, 20 Group HQ, 8 Ammunition Cos, 8 Depot Cops, 2 Evac Cos, 7 Hvy Auto Maint Cos, 10 Hvy maint Cos, 4 Hvy Maint Cos (Tank), 1 Lt maint Co, 1 AA Maint Coy, 19 Med Auto Maint Coys, 13 Med Maint Cos.

Quartermaster: 1 Trk Regt, 13 Group HQ, 2 Gas Supply Bns, 1 Service Bn, 1 Ster Co, 4 Bakery Cos, 3 Car Cos, 4 Depot Cos, 2 Laundry Cos., 6 Pk Trs Cos, 5 Railhead Cos, 1 Salvage Collection Co, 24 Troop Transport Cos, 33 Trk Cos.,

Signal: 6 Signal bns, 2 Construction Bns, 2 Operations Bns, 1 Construction Coy, 1 Depot Co, 2 Pigeon Cos, 1 Photo Coy, 2 Repair Cos, 2 Radio intercept Cos

Tank Destroyers: 7 Group HQ, 21 TD Bns

Miscellaneous: 7 Bands, 14 HQ Special Troops, 1 MRU (fixed), 4 MRU (Mobile)

The Army Headquarters (TO&E of October 26, 1944) had the following assigned personnel:
Entire HQ: 778
Commander and Aides: 7
General Staff Section: 180
Engineer Section: 72
Signal Section: 73
Chemical Warfare Section: 26
Adjutant-General’s Section: 91
Inspector-General’s Section: 18
Judge Advocate-General’s Section: 9
Finance Section: 25
Medical Section: 61
Ordnance Section: 55
Provost Marshal’s Section: 9
Quartermaster Section: 83
Special Services Section: 3
Chaplain’s Section: 7

During the Second World War, the AGD organized eleven armies:

First Army
European Theater of Operations
Second Army
Continental United States (Training)
Third Army
European Theater of Operations
Fourth Army
Continental United States (Training)
Fifth Army
European Theater of Operations
Sixth Army
Pacific Theater of Operations
Seventh Army
European Theater of Operations
Eighth Army
Pacific Theater of Operations
Ninth Army
European Theater of Operations
Tenth Army
Pacific Theater of Operations
Fifteenth Army
European Theater of Operations

The largest headquarters was the army group, which would control several armies. The army group was primarily a tactical headquarters, that eased the burden of the theater commander by reducing the numbers of commanders that he had to directly deal with. During World War Two, the United States Army formed only three army groups: the 12th (General Omar N. Bradley); the 6th (General Jacob L. Devers) and the 15th (General Mark W. Clark).

Only one superior headquarters was ever established to control the Army Groups, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHEAF) was commanded by General Dwight D. Eisenhower and commanded the Allied military efforts in the ETO. At its peak, SHEAF had some 6,000 personnel assigned.

THE STAFF
At the top of any of the major headquarters was the commanding general; normally a major general commanded a corps, a lieutenant general an army and a full general an army group, but this pattern was not always followed. No matter his rank, the commander was ultimately responsible for everything that went on in his command. He was assisted by his Chief of Staff (COS) who was the chief assistant and the coordinator of the staff. The COS had, in turn, a deputy chief of staff. Beneath them were the staff, who were comprised of two groups (and their responsibilities):

The General Staff:
Chief of Staff; G-1 Personnel; G-2 Intelligence; G-3 Operations; G-4 Supply and G-5 Civil Affairs and Military Government.

The Special Staff:
Adjutant-General; Artillery; Antiaircraft; Chaplain; Chemical Warfare; Engineer; Finance; HQ Commandant; Inspector-General; Judge Advocate; Medical; Ordnance; Provost Marshal; Public Relations; Quartermaster; Signal; Special Services and Tank Destroyers.

Each of the General Staff sections, at army level, was lead by an assistant chief of staff in the rank of colonel. The Special Staff sections was led by either a colonel or a lieutenant-colonel.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:36 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default Armor, Chapter Five

“Armor as the ground arm of mobility, emerged from World War II with a lion’s share of the credit for the Allied victory. Indeed armor enthusiasts at that time regarded the tank as being the main weapon of the land army" (US Army Lineage Series: Armor-Cavalry).

The first armored formations larger than brigades were formed on July 15, 1940 when the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions were activated. The Armored Force was expanded by 3 additional divisions in 1941; nine in 1942 and two in 1943. The initial divisional organization was tank-heavy, with one three regiment armored brigade (a total of 6 light and 3 medium battalions, with 368 tanks) and a single two battalion armored infantry regiment. Field tests and reports on early operations soon proved that this organization was too cumbersome and efforts to streamline the armored division began. The March 1, 1942 reorganization replaced the armored brigade with two “combat command” headquarters, armored strength was reduced to two three-battalion regiments (with one light and two medium tank battalions each) and the armored infantry regiment was expanded to three battalions. This became known as the “heavy” armored division. Combat experience resulted in another major organizational change on September 15, 1943. The existing heavy armored divisions were reorganized to the new “light” division organization. By August 1944, all armored divisions were organized as lights, except for the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions, which retained the heavy organization. All tank battalions in the light divisions and in the separate tank battalions were organized similarly, in theory, they were interchangeable, in practice, they never were exchanged.

The light armored division was organized with a Divisional Headquarters and Headquarters Company, two Combat Command Headquarters (known as CCA and CCB), a Reserve Combat Command (CCR), three tank battalions (each of one light and three medium tank companies), three armored infantry battalions, thee armored field artillery battalions, a cavalry reconnaissance squadron, an armored engineer battalion as well as divisional services. The division was commanded by a major general, the combat commands by a brigadier general (the assistant division commander) and two colonels. The division included 77 light tanks, 168 medium tanks, 18 assault guns, 17 M-8 HMC, 54 M-7 HMC and 54 armored cars. Total personnel strength was 10,754 men.

The heavy division organization was almost the same, except that the three tank battalions were replaced by two three-battalion tank regiments (first battalion was made up of three light tank companies and the second and third battalions each had three medium tank companies) and the three armored infantry battalions were organized as a regiment under a single regimental headquarters. While the light division had 3 light and 9 medium tank companies, the heavy had 6 light and 12 medium tank companies. The heavy division’s equipment included 158 light tanks, 232 medium tanks, 25 assault guns, 17 M-8 HMC, 54 M-7 HMC, and 79 armored cars. Total personnel strength was 14,664 men.

Separate tank battalions were standardized as medium battalions, which were identical to those in the light armored division or as light battalions, which were identical to the light tank battalions of the heavy armored division. The medium tank battalions fielded 17 light tanks, 54 medium tanks, and 6 assault guns. Personnel strength was 724. The light tank battalion of three companies, fielded 56 light tanks and 3 M-8 HMC. Personnel strength was 532 men.

Normally, one armored division was assigned to a corps. An additional armored group headquarters would be assigned to control any separate tank battalions assigned to the corps. In practice, the massing of these separate battalions was rarely done in the ETO, the armored groups were therefore administrative units only, although ETO practice was to assign these organizations to the armored divisions to augment the capabilities of the combat commands.

Theoretically, armored divisions were to act as the maneuver reserve for the corps and were to be employed to break through enemy fronts ruptured by the infantry divisions. The armored division was then to be used to conduct deep pursuit of the enemy once the front was broken through. In practice, the width of the front meant that armored divisions were often used in defensive roles, for which they were not designed. A critical weakness was the fact that the infantry component of the division was too small to withstand the attrition of long-term defense or offensive missions.

In spite of its flaws, the flexible organization of the armored division permitted it to be adopted to may situations. Typically, CCA and CCB acted as headquarters to which battalion task forces were assigned. US armored tactics stressed the combined arms approach. Cross-attachments of tank and infantry companies into battalion task forces and company combat teams were a routine practice. While the Reserve Combat Command was not intended as a combat unit, with the addition of an armored group headquarters, CCR was often used as a third combat element.

Forty separate armored battalions served in the ETO. They were normally assigned on the basis of one per infantry division. However, not all infantry divisions had a tank battalion attached. In theory tank battalions could be assigned to an armored group headquarters, in practice, this was seldom done. Usually when a separate tank battalion was assigned to an infantry division, it retained that affiliation throughout the war. As a result, many infantry divisions developed a high degree of coordination with their associated tank battalions.

The standard US medium tank was the M-4 Sherman. The Sherman was designed in April 1941 and the first prototype was completed that September. Following testing, it was standardized for production in October 1941 with production beginning in early 1942. At the time, the Sherman was highly advanced; however, under the drive of wartime experience, tank design was evolving rapidly; thus the armor and firepower of the Sherman, adequate for the conditions of 1942 and 1943, were insufficient by 1944. The tank was originally designed with a short-barreled, medium-velocity 75mm gun. The armor piercing capability of this piece was adequate to penetrate the German PzKpfw MkIII and MkIV at the time, As the new Panther tank entered production, the Sherman could knock out the tank by attacking from the flanks and rear, its frontal armor was impervious to the 75mm APC round. The Tiger could only be destroyed by firing into its rear.

By late 1944, the 75mm gun was being replaced by a long-barreled, high-velocity 75mm gun (commonly called the 76mm) with good penetration and increased accuracy. But supplies of the up-gunned Sherman were short and the older 75mm gun remained in service until the end of the war. The combination of weak armor protection, and a poor gun was only partially made up for by the Sherman’s mechanical reliability, its high speed electric-hydraulic turret traverse and its numbers.

A number of Shermans were designed or specially equipped for specialized roles. These included standard M-4s equipped with dozer blades, mine-clearing tanks, recovery vehicles and an assault gun variant armed with a 105mm howitzer. Six M-4 assault guns were assigned to the assault gun platoon of the standard tank battalion headquarters company. A important variant was the M-4A3E2 “Jumbo”. This was a standard M-4 that was fitted with additional armor, substantially increasing its protection. The Jumbo was, in fact, better protected than the German Panther, although the Panther was fitted with a superior cannon. The M-4A3E2 was built in limited numbers (254). In the ETO, Ordnance workshops, working with armor plate produced by French steel mills or with salvaged armor, converted a number of M-4s to the Jumbo standard. It is uncertain exactly how many were available in Europe (Third Army workshops alone converted some 200 Shermans by December 1944), but, despite their small numbers, the Jumbo helped even the odds in tank-vs.-tank combat. The Jumbos were scattered throughout the ETO; Most of the armored divisions had 20-30; separate tank battalions would field a platoon of 4-5.

The standard light tank was the M-5 Stuart. It mounted a 37mm cannon and was lightly armored. Like the M-4, the M-5 had a number of variants, most important of which was a Howitzer Motor Carriage. The M-8 HMC was equipped with a 75mm howitzer and was found in the cavalry reconnaissance squadrons and in the armored infantry battalions. The usefulness of the M-5 had long been in question and it was slowly being replaced by the M-24 Chaffee, which had heavier armor and a 75mm cannon. Those units equipped with the Stuart were mostly used as reconnaissance units or as escorts for convoys. So light was the Stuart’s armor, and so underpowered was its 37mm gun, that they were seldom deployed in the front line.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:40 AM
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Default Tank Destroyers, Chapter Six

An important adjunct to the armored formations was the Tank Destroyer Force. The example of the awesome power of the German Blitzkrieg in 1940 resulted in the creation of separate antitank battalions within the US infantry Division in 1940. In 1941, General McNair decided that the ideal method of countering massed armored formations would be to deploy a highly mobile reserve of antitank guns, grouped at the corps or army level. As a result, the antitank battalions were removed from their divisions and, in an effort to foster an aggressive image of their role, were renamed tank destroyer (TD) battalions.

The first TD battalions were all self-propelled, a collection of 37mm armed weapons carriers (the M-6 Fargo) and old French 75mm field guns mounted on half-tracks (the M-3 Gun Motor Carriage). Following the Tunisian campaign a number of TD battalions were converted from SP to towed guns. This was a deliberate imitation of German practice. Unfortunately, it was not realized at the time that the Germans made extensive use of towed antitank weapons only because of necessity; they desired SP carriages for all of their antitank guns but had insufficient means to produce them.

By 1944 the error had been recognized. Towed guns had proven to be too heavy and immobile for efficient use in a mobile combat environment. By late 1944 many of the towed TD battalions in the ETO were being reconverted to SP guns as the weapons became available.

Tank Destroyer Battalions were all organized with three companies, each equipped with twelve guns, for a total of thirty-six in the battalion. The guns employed by the TD battalions in late 1944 included the M-5 3-inch towed gun; the M-10 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage, the M-18 76mm Gun Motor Carriage and the M-36 90mm Gun Motor Carriage. The M-10 was the first standardized self-propelled TD gun, it was lightly armored, its chassis was a variant of the standard M-4 tank and it had poor cross-country mobility and speed. By late 1944 it was being replaced by the new M-18. While still lightly armored and with a open-topped turret, its improved suspension system gave it excellent cross-country mobility and impressive speed (it was the fastest AFV in the world until the introduction of the M-1 Abrams in the 1980s). Its 76mm gun was an improved long-barreled design that had greater hitting power than the 3-inch gun. The M-36, which was deployed in July 1944, was the most powerful antitank weapon in the US arsenal. Experience with heavy German armor had showed that the 75mm, 3-inch and 76mm series of weapons had insufficient penetrating capability. The M-36 was a stopgap measure. It was a marriage of the M-10 chassis with the powerful 90mm gun. With the newly developed high-velocity armor-piercing (HVAP) round, the 90mm was easily capable of defeating current German armor, if it could off the first hit. Unfortunately, there were few of these weapons available in late 1944.

Like the mass employment of separate armor battalions, the deployment of the tank destroyers in mass to defeat enemy armored attacks was never actually practiced. Fifty-six TD battalion eventually served in the ETO. However, a number were inactivated so as to provide personnel for infantry replacements, and others served in other roles. In the Ardennes campaign the Third Army deployed one TD battalion as an augmentation to the army’s Military Police force. One TD battalion was normally assigned to each division: SP battalions were always assigned to armored divisions, while infantry division might have either a SP or a towed battalion attached.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:40 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default Cavalry, Chapter Seven

CAVALRY
Reconnaissance duties in the US Army were performed by mechanized cavalry units. Normally a corps would have a mechanized cavalry group assigned to it. This consisted of a headquarters and headquarters company and two mechanized cavalry squadrons. Squadrons were organized with three cavalry troops, each equipped with thirteen M-8 armored cars and jeeps; an assault gun troop with eight M-8 HMCs and a light tank company with seventeen M-5 light tanks. The heavy armored division’s armored reconnaissance battalion and the light armored division’s cavalry reconnaissance squadron, mechanized were almost identical (adding a fourth cavalry troop). Infantry divisions each had a single cavalry reconnaissance troop. In addition, the heavy armored division’s two armored regiments had a reconnaissance platoon attached to regimental headquarters; tank battalions had a reconnaissance platoon in the battalion headquarters, while towed TD battalions had a reconnaissance platoon in each TD company.

The cavalry groups were often attached either in whole or by squadron to divisions, but would also operate independently under direct control of a corps. For most missions, the group would be augmented by corps or divisional tank, tank destroyer, engineer and/or artillery assets.

Interestingly, the cavalry groups were almost never called to perform their primary duty; post-war analysis showed that pure reconnaissance missions accounted for only 3% of their activities. The remaining 97% of missions assigned to cavalry groups were as follows: Defensive operations made up 33%; special operations (mobile reserve, rear area security and operations as an army information service); made up 29%; security missions (blocking, screening, flank protection, maintaining contact between units and filling gaps) made up 25% and offensive operations made up 10%.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:46 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default The Queen of Battle, Chapter Eight

“During World War Two new terrains, new climates, strange weapons and unfamiliar peoples acted upon the American infantryman. These destroyed thousands of men, put a lifelong mark on others, and changed somewhat the techniques of fighting on foot; nevertheless, in spite of everything, the basic characteristics of the infantry hardly shifted. Foot soldiers continued to be the only carriers of weapons who, in theory, were never exhausted, could always go another mile, and who can be counted upon to move across any terrain in every quarter of the globe.” (US Army Lineage Series The Infantry).

World War Two saw the US infantry at its largest expansion in its illustrious history. By 1945, some 317 regiments of infantry of various types had been activated. These included 3 mountain, 12 glider and 16 parachute regiments as well as 99 separate battalions. Among these where 6 Ranger battalions, the 1st Special Service Force and the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), who became better known by their nickname of “Merrill’s Marauders”.

Another new type of infantry were the new armored infantry battalions. They differed from the normal infantry only in that they were provided sufficient organic transport to move all of its personnel and equipment in a single lift. Unlike truck-mounted infantry, their half-track vehicles were capable of cross-country movement as well as lightly armored.

In World War II, the infantry also had units made up exclusively by Americans of different racial or ethnic extraction. These included Native American, Negro, Puerto Rican and Filipino units as well as the 442nd Infantry Regiment of America-born Japanese and the 99th Infantry Battalion of Norwegian Americans.

As well as the massive expansion of personnel, World War Two also brought a bewildering increase of weapons, resulting in the infantryman having to be capable of effectively using such weapons as mines, booby traps, various types of grenades, bazookas and flame throwers, as well as carbines, rifles, machine guns and mortars. Battlefield communications, based on sound-powered field telephones had evolved by the end of the war with no less than eight radio sets being assigned to the rifle company. Finally, the infantry had to learn a new method of war, the amphibious assault on hostile shores.

Forty-two infantry divisions eventually served in the ETO. The first permanent divisional organizations in the Regular Army had appeared in World War One. Nine of the divisions organized continued to exist (at very reduced strength) through the 1920s-30s. These divisions were the so-called “square”, that is, their basic infantry component were four three-battalion infantry regiments organized in two brigades. This organization was felt to be un-necessarily cumbersome and soon after the Army’s expansion began in September 1939, the divisions were re-organized into a “triangular” three-regiment organization. Other minor changes, mainly to reduce personnel overhead were made in 1939 and the in the spring of 1944.

The 1944 infantry division had, in addition to its three infantry regiments, four artillery battalions (three 12-tube 105mm light howitzer battalions and one 12-tube 155mm medium howitzer battalion), an engineer battalion, a cavalry reconnaissance troop and division service troops. The division was commanded by a major general with a brigadier general as assistant divisional commander and a second brigadier general as division artillery commander. Total personnel strength in the division was 14,043.

Each of the infantry regiments had a headquarters and headquarters company (which included a ammunition and pioneer [A&P] platoon and an intelligence and reconnaissance [I&R] platoon; three battalions (each with a headquarters and headquarters company [including a antitank gun platoon], three rifle companies and a heavy weapons company), a cannon company (with six 105mm howitzers), a antitank company (with nine 57mm antitank guns, in three-gun platoons and a mine platoon) and a service company. Total personnel strength of a infantry regiment was 3,118 men.

Within the three infantry regiments, the smallest sub-unit was the rifle squad of 12 men, armed with 10 M-1 Garand rifles, one M-1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle and one M-1903 Springfield rifle fitted with a grenade launcher. Three squads made up a platoon and three rifle platoons and a heavy weapons platoon formed a rifle company. The weapons platoon was equipped with two .30-caliber M-1919A4 light machine guns, one .50-caliber M-2HB heavy machine gun, three M-2 60mm mortars and three M-9 Bazookas. Total strength for a rifle company was 193 personnel. A battalion would contain three rifle companies, as well as a heavy weapons company equipped with six M-1 81mm mortars, eight .30-caliber M-1917A1 water-cooled heavy machine guns, three .50-caliber M-2HB heavy machine guns, and seven bazookas. The HQ Company of the battalion contained an anti-tank platoon of three 57mm antitank guns. The infantry battalion would have 871 personnel assigned to it.

The infantry division did not, in theory, have sufficient vehicles to execute long-distance motor marches. Normally six Quartermaster Truck Companies were attached to a division to allow it to conduct rapid road movements. However, in emergencies, the vehicles of the artillery battalions, plus those of the standard division attachments (tank, tank destroyer and antiaircraft artillery battalions) were enough to allow most divisions to make fairly lengthy motorized movements.

The triangular organization allowed the division commander to deploy tactically with three regiments in line abreast or with two forward and one in reserve. Official doctrine even allowed for an offensive operation with one regiment on the line and two in reserve. The triangular organization of the regiment, battalion, company and platoon allowed the similar deployment at each of the division’s various echelons. In combat, the infantry regiments were often augmented with the attachment of one of the division’s 105mm howitzer battalions and by an engineer, medical, tank and/or TD company. Such an augmented regiment was known as a Regimental Combat Team (RCT).

There were also non divisional infantry regiments and battalions (including the Ranger battalions), organized exactly as their divisional counterparts. These units were usually used for rear area security (one such regiment was deployed in France with the mission of cracking down on the thefts of material from Allied convoys and supply dumps), or were used to augment divisions on line.

AIRBORNE INFANTRY
Starting from a test platoon, the U.S. created an airborne force that eventually totaled five divisions, as well as several independent regiments and battalions. The organization of the US airborne division underwent many official (as well as semiofficial and unofficial) changes during the war.

Originally, the division was triangular with two two-battalion glider infantry regiments (1,605 men ea), one three-battalion parachute infantry regiment (1,985 men), a airborne engineer battalion (with two glider and one parachute company), a antiaircraft/antitank battalion (three AAA and three AT companies), two glider and one parachute artillery battalions (armed with 16 75mm pack howitzer) and divisional services. This organization was soon changed to one glider and two parachute infantry regiments.

There was always a problem of how to arm these troops, as they were transported by air and weight was at a premium. In addition, the airborne troops had practically no motor transportation, everything had to be carried or towed. The parachute infantry company had 130 men, equipped with 12 M-1919A6 light machine guns, 3 60mm mortars and 3 bazookas. The parachute infantry platoon had 36 men with 2 M-1919A6 machineguns, 1 60mm mortars, 1 bazooka, 1 sniper rifle, 22 rifles and 14 carbines. In contrast, the standard rifle company had 193 men, 15 Browning Automatic Rifles, 2 M-1919A4 light machine guns, 1 M-2HB heavy machine gun and 3 60mm mortars. The infantry platoon had 41 men, 3 BARs, 37 rifles and 1 carbine. First appearances show that the paratroopers enjoyed heavier armament than the infantry, but appearances are deceiving. The regular infantry had more heavy weapons, and the transport to carry them and their ammunition available from the battalion and regimental heavy weapons units than the paratroopers. By the end of 1944, the parachute infantry companies were reorganized and reequipped. Each company now had 176 men, 9 M-1919A6 machine guns, 9 BARs, 3 60mm mortars and 3 bazookas. The parachute infantry platoon now had 49 men, 3 M-1919A6 machine guns, 3 BARs, 1 60mm mortar, 1 bazooka, 39 rifles and 10 carbines.

The initial combat experiences of the 82nd Airborne Division in Sicily and Italy demonstrated that the glider regiments were too weak. As a stopgap, the separate 401st Glider Infantry Regiment was split with one battalion being assigned as the 3rd Battalion, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division and one battalion as the 3rd Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. In addition, the infantry component of the two divisions was increased for the Normandy Invasion by the attachment of two non divisional parachute infantry regiments (the 501st and 506th) to the 101st Airborne Division and with a single regiment (the 508th) to the 82nd Airborne Division. These attachments became semi permanent. The 17th Airborne Division (formed with two three-battalion glider regiments and a single parachute regiment) was reinforced by the attachment of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment when it reached the ETO. Thus, all of the ETO’s airborne divisions had, in effect, four infantry regiments, although strengths differed slightly between the divisions. Their authorized strength (plus attachments) on December 16, 1944 were as follows: 17th Airborne Division: 12,967; 82nd Airborne Division: 12,921; 101st Airborne Division: 12,335.

As with the regular infantry, there were a number of separate glider and parachute infantry regiments and battalions. As the war progressed however, these separate units were disbanded, in order to provide badly needed replacements for the depleted airborne divisions.

ARMORED INFANTRY
The armored infantry battalion in the armored division (as well as the usual separate formations) was organized with a headquarters and headquarters company, three rifle companies and a service company. The battalion was very strong with 1,031 men. Unfortunately, much of the battalion’s manpower was absorbed in drivers and maintenance personnel for its extensive collection of vehicles. The battalion had seventy-two half-tracked personnel carriers, fifty-six other vehicles and three half-track mounted 81mm mortars. Its weapons inventory, in addition to the SP mortars, included nine 60mm mortars, three M-8 HMCs, nine 57mm antitank guns, forty-nine .50-caliber HMGs, and seventy-four M-9 bazookas, as well as numerous individual automatic weapons. In comparison, a regular infantry battalion had 894 men, with forty-one vehicles (none armored), six 81mm mortars, six 60mm mortars, three 57mm antitank guns, six .50-caliber HMGs and twenty-nine bazookas.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:50 AM
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Default The King of Battle, Chapter Nine

“I do not have to tell you who won the war, you know our artillery did.” (General George S. Patton).

In World War One, the artillery arm of the US Army had fought in Europe equipped entirely with French and British weapons. There are many reasons for this; the need for standardization in Allied arms, lack of shipping space and lack of industrial capacity (in the short time available before the war ended) in the United States. Another factor was that many ordnance specialists in France and Britain felt that the indigenous US gun designs were not up to war-tested European standards. As a result, several years after the war, the US Army Chief of Staff (General Charles P. Summerall) established a board of review to examine the army’s ordnance requirements for the future. The Westervelt Board report was impartial and farsighted and it had dramatic consequences for the Artillery Branch in World War Two. The board recommended that the standard divisional artillery piece be increased in size from 75mm to 105mm, while the general support weapon was to be standardized as a 155mm howitzer. Furthermore, the 120mm corps-level general support gun was to be discarded in favor of a new 155mm gun. In addition, the board recommended that designs should be begun for heavier supporting pieces of the most modern type, suitable for rapid motorized road movement. Finally, improvements in artillery communications and fire control methodology were recommended.

The financial climate of the 1920s and 1930s delayed the development and deployment of such an improved artillery system. But innovative Artillery and Ordnance officers continued to experiment with new gun designs and doctrine. As a result, when the Army began its expansion in the late 1930s, much of the necessary background work to modernize the artillery was already complete. Designs had been completed and prototypes developed for most of the guns and howitzers that were to see service during the war.

Divisional pieces included the M-1 105mm howitzer and the M-1 155mm howitzers, both were excellent weapons, with good range and, particularly in the case of the 155mm, excellent accuracy. Other new weapons included the M-1 75mm pack howitzer and the M-3 105mm howitzer; both were lightweight and relatively short-ranged, but were ideal for use by airborne forces. The M-3 105mm howitzer also saw use in the infantry regiment’s cannon company. The armored division’s artillery was equipped with an SP version of the M-1 105mm, the M-7 Howitzer Motor Carriage “Priest”.

Non-divisional artillery included battalions equipped with these same weapons, as well as other, heavier pieces. A companion to the 155mm howitzer was the 4.5-inch gun. The tube was of British design and manufacture, the carriage was that of the 155mm howitzer. The 4.5-inch gun was not well liked by US artillerymen. The shell (also of British manufacture) was of low-grade steel, thick-walled and with a small bursting charge. Its range was insufficient to compensate for the relative ineffectiveness of its round. A the war’s end it was immediately withdrawn from service.

A much better weapon was the M-1 155mm gun. This combined long range, accuracy and hitting power with a very well designed, highly mobile carriage. It was one of the best weapons in its class in World War Two. The M-12 155mm Gun Motor Carriage was an interesting amalgam of the old and the new. This did not utilize the modern M-1 155mm gun, but rather the older, shorter-range, French-designed GPF developed during World War One. The Ordnance Department had experimentally mounted GPFs on obsolescent M-3 Lee tank chassis in 1942 and, after tests, 100 M-12s were built, only to have the AGF declare in October 1943 that there was no requirement for it. The M-12 languished in storage until early 1944, when urgent requests from England for a heavy SP gun resulted in 74 being rebuilt. Seven field artillery battalions preparing for the invasion were equipped with the M-12. Its mobility fully compensated for its shorter range. Heavier supporting pieces were the M-1 8-inch howitzer, the M-1 8-inch gun and the M-1 240mm howitzer. The 8-inch howitzer was mounted on a carriage adapted from that of the 155mm gun and was renowned for its accuracy and hitting power.

The 8-inch gun and its companion piece, the 240mm howitzer came into service in late 1943. When organized, the first 8-inch gun battalion was hastily rushed to Italy as a counter the deadly, long-ranged German 170mm gun. After a few teething troubles, the 8-inch gun proved to outrange the German piece, was as accurate, and fired a more lethal shell. The 240mm howitzer was the heaviest artillery piece fielded by the United States in World War II. Designed to batter fortifications, it proved to be invaluable in the fighting along the Westwall during the fall of 1944, but its numbers were limited.

All US field artillery battalions were organized with three firing batteries, each battery usually only having four tubes. Batteries in the armored field artillery battalions had six M-7 HMCs each. The 240mm battalions had only two tubes per battery. Divisional artillery was controlled by the division’s artillery headquarters, usually commanded by a brigadier general. Nondivisional artillery battalions were initially organized as two-battalion regiments. However, in 1943, the regiments were eliminated, the regimental headquarters battery reorganized as artillery group headquarters and the battalions became independent. Artillery Groups were normally assigned to a corps, which in turn, often attached them to divisions. Usually two to four battalions were assigned to a group, which was under the command of a colonel. Artillery Brigades were also created as headquarters formations in 1943. It was initially planned that an artillery brigade would control two or more groups, although this was rarely done in practice. Often, the brigade was used to control the heavy artillery of a field army, for example, the 32nd Field Artillery Brigade controlled all 8-inch and 240mm battalions in the First Army. An artillery brigade was usually commanded by either a colonel or a brigadier general.

Unlike German artillery, US artillery was highly mobile. The towed 105mm howitzer battalions used two-and-a-half-ton trucks as prime movers. Five-ton trucks were used to pull the 155mm howitzers. The other towed howitzer battalions were either truck drawn or, more frequently, were equipped with fully tracked M-4 (13-ton) or M-5 (18-ton) high-speed tractors as prime movers. Even the howitzers of the airborne divisions were motorized, towed by the jeep.

All in all, the US artillery arsenal was at least as well designed as, if not better than, most of its German counterparts. Adding immeasurably to the effectiveness of the US artillery was a communications and fire-control system that had no equal in the world. Forward observers of the individual artillery battalions; supported by the personnel from divisional headquarters batteries, artillery brigade and group headquarters batteries, and by the highly skilled, specialist field artillery observation battalions (which were assigned on the basis of one per corps), had access, via powerful radios or extensive telephone landlines, to a formidable array of weaponry. The highly redundant observation and signal system meant that, even when all other contact between front-line units and their headquarters was lost, the artillery communications net usually remained open.

Perhaps, most important, and making the US artillery the best in the world in World War Two, was a fire-direction system that had been developed at the US Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, between the wars. This was a highly refined development of the crude system pioneered in World War One. This sophisticated system permitted rapid engagements of targets and allowed the coordination of fires of many units from many widely separated firing positions. One of the most deadly tactics employed by the artillery was the Time-On-Target (TOT) concentration, the massing of fires from a large number of firing batteries, from several battalions, onto a selected target in which the times of flight from each battery were carefully calculated so that the shells form all landed on the target at nearly the same moment. The effect of a TOT was devastating both psychologically and physically to an unprepared enemy.

Further enhancing the deadliness of the US artillery was the deployment in December 1944 of the new proximity fuse. Also known by its code name of VT (for variable-time) or POZIT, the proximity fuse contained a tiny radar that triggered reliable detonation of the round in the air, prior to impact with the target. This significantly simplified and enhanced the lethality of “time fire” or “air bursts” by significantly augmenting the lethality of the individual round on targets on the ground. By the end of 1944, the German Army had developed a quite reasonable fear of the deadly US artillery, a fear only matched by their fear of the omnipresent Allied air forces. Germans who had faced the more numerous Soviet artillery were unanimous in declaring that US artillery, even though less numerous, was far more deadly.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.

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  #11  
Old 12-18-2012, 09:53 AM
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Default Antiaircraft Artillery, Chapter Ten

Antiaircraft artillery was descended from the Coast Artillery Corps, and did not gain a separate identity until 1943. Antiaircraft units, like the tank destroyer, had been massively expanded in the wake of the German blitzkriegs of 1939 and 1940. Hundreds of battalions were formed in 1940-43, but many were made redundant by the almost complete Allied air superiority of 1944. Many battalions were disbanded in order to provide replacements for the infantry. However, every division had a antiaircraft battalion attached. These towed battalions consisted of four batteries equipped with a total of sixty-four weapons, equally split between the M-1 40mm Bofors gun and the M-55 quad .50-caliber machine gun mount. The armored divisions had a self-propelled antiaircraft battalion attached. Like its towed counterpart, the SP battalion had sixty-four pieces divided into four batteries. Half of these were the M-15 Machine Gun Motor Carriage which consisted of a 37mm gun and two .50-caliber machine guns. The other thirty two mounts were the M-16 MGMC, each carrying a M-55 mount fitted to a halftrack. Heavy antiaircraft support was provided by the gun battalions, which deployed sixteen 90mm guns in four batteries. The 90mm gun was an accurate, high-velocity piece, full capable of engaging ground targets. It was similar in performance to the famous German FLAK 88, and, in some ways, was its superior (its data transmission system, automatic fuse-setter, and high-speed automatic rammer were second to none in design and performance). Enhancing the lethality of the 90mm was the proximity fuse, which had originally been designed for antiaircraft use as well as the use of portable early-warning and fire-control radar sets.

Towed battalions assigned to divisions were all designated as mobile, which meant that there was a full complement of prime movers for the guns. Some antiaircraft battalions were designed as semi-mobile, which meant that there was only one prime mover per two or three guns. Semi-mobile battalions were intended for the static defense of installations.

Automatic weapons battalions were normally assigned directly to a division or were part of an antiaircraft artillery group, which consisted of a headquarters and headquarters battery and two or more attached battalions. Groups assigned to a corps usually consisted entirely of automatic weapons battalions, but occasionally had one or more gun battalions. Most gun battalions assigned to groups were held directly under an army headquarters. Separate from army control were the antiaircraft battalions of the IX Air Defense Command. This had originally been part of the Ninth Air Force but had been detached in August 1944 and placed directly under SHAEF control. The IX Air Defense Command was tasked with the security of the various air bases and other rear-area installations scattered throughout Belgium, France and Luxembourg. Most of the semi-mobile battalions in the ETO were assigned to the IX Air Defense Command.

The increasing threat of the German V-1 weapons to the port of Antwerp in the fall of 1944 gave the IX Air Defense Command a new mission. The Allies deployed large numbers of antiaircraft artillery units in a corridor (soon known as buzz-bomb ally) that extended north from the town of Elsenborn, Belgium almost to the sea. This massive concentration of guns was to prove a fortuitous and welcome addition to the Allied defense in the early days of the Battle of the Bugle.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:54 AM
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Default We Build and Fight, Chapter Eleven

It is perhaps fitting that the U.S. Army, with an officer corps heavily influenced by the teaching at the United States Military Academy (the first engineering school in the United States), should be lavishly equipped with engineer troops and equipment. Every division was supported by a three-company combat engineer battalion, which was capable of performing most engineering tasks (including demolitions, obstacle emplacement, fortification and light bridge building) for the division. When necessary, a division’s engineers were augmented by additional combat engineer battalions from corps or army. Corps battalions were assigned to the command of an engineer group headquarters, which consisted of a headquarters and headquarters company, an engineer light equipment company and two to six engineer battalions. There are usually two to four engineer groups per corps and army. Combat engineer battalions tended to have a high esprit de corps; they rightly considered themselves to be elite specialists. In an emergency, the combat engineer battalion could act as infantry and did so frequently.

In addition to the combat engineer battalion there were also various bridging units; heavy ponton battalions (1-3 per army), light ponton companies (1-2 per group), and treadway bridge companies (usually one per armored division, but held at army level). The remainder of the engineer corps was made up of various specialist companies (such as heavy equipment companies, topographical and maintenance companies) and engineer general service regiments. These engineer general service regiments were indeed specialists, capable of building roads, airfields, bridges, and other permanent structures and were lavishly outfitted with heavy construction equipment, but, unlike, the combat engineer battalions, were neither well equipped nor trained for infantry action.

Some 40% of the Corps of Engineers were serving with the AGF, another 40% with the ASF and the remaining 20% with the AAF. By June 1945, 89 divisional combat battalions, 204 non-divisional combat battalions, 79 general service regiments and 36 construction battalions were in service.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:55 AM
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Default The Signal Corps, Chapter Twelve

Communications within the U.S. Army was provided primarily by radio, secondarily by telephone, and lastly by motorcycle dispatch riders and runners. U.S. radios were well designed and were found at all echelons from platoon up. The small tactical radios (the famous handi-talkies and walkie-talkies) were short ranged and of temperamental reliability, but had no counterpart in any other army. The larger sets used by battalion and above were very well built FM units, that suffered from a common limitation: all were subject to line-of-sight performance, in hilly or heavily forested terrain, their performance was severely degraded. The standard field telephones (including sound-powered phones) worked well in a static situation, although their telephone lines could be easily cut during artillery barrages.

A typical infantry division included some 1,500 Signal Corps personnel, who were responsible for all communications within the division. A field army would have a HQ signal service company; a signal operations battalion, one or more construction battalions that laid telephone cable and wire installations down to corps level and back to army rear HQ; one or more signal radio intelligence companies, a pigeon company and a signal photographic company, as well as a signal repair company and a signal depot company which would deal with the supply and maintenance of the signal equipment for the field army. An example of their scale of work would be that of the signal en of the U.S. Third Army, in their 281 days of active campaigning, they laid 16,000 miles of telephone wire, repaired and rehabilitated 4,000 miles of French and German wire and over 36,000 miles of underground cables. Their Message Center alone, handled a total of 7,220,261 code groups, while the forward and rear echelon switchboard operators handled an average of 14,000 calls per day.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:00 AM
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Default Transport & Logistics, Chapter Thirteen

An examination of the European Theater of Operations logistics operation best illustrates the U.S. approach to logistics. By 1944 the U.S. transportation and logistic network was heavily strained by limitations resulting from the lack of available ports and damage to the road and rail system in Europe. Rear area communications and transportation were the responsibility of the Communications Zone (COM-Z), under the command of the irascible, autocratic and efficient Lieutenant General John C. H. Lee (better known as “Jesus Christ Himself Lee”). COM-Z moved supplies from the ports to the forward supply depots within the geographic limits of the COM-Z (roughly 100 miles behind the front lines). The supplies would then be picked by the Quartermaster truck companies of the field armies and dispersed to the main army supply dumps and to the corps forward supply dumps. Corps and army truck units and divisional organic transportation would then move the supplies forward to the divisional units. Ammunition supply was performed in a similar manner, but its transportation and distribution was the responsibility of the Ordnance Corps. On many occasions, divisions or lower echelon units would draw their supplies directly from the main supply dumps, bypassing the intervening chain.

With so much of the French road and rail network damaged or destroyed, novel methods were adopted to insure that the supplies were brought forward as quickly as possible. One example was the Red Ball Express which used a one-way loop highway system, in which roads were reserved exclusively to Red Ball vehicles. At its peak (August 29, 1944), Red Ball Express had 132 truck companies, running 5,958 trucks and delivering 12,342 tons of supplies per day. Air resupply was also used, when the U.S. Third Army was pushing into Austria and Czechoslovakia, some 22% of its POL and 11% of its rations were delivered by air between March 30 and May 8, 1945.

During the September and October operations, Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) had been in short supply, but in December, the near-static front, combined with the opening of the cross-Channel pipeline and its extension across France, had allowed for the stockpiling of huge quantities of POL.

Although POL supplies were no longer a problem in the ETO, ammunition was a nagging worry to Allied planners. In the early stage’s of the Army’s expansion there were plans calling for a high priority of 105mm artillery shells of all types as these were the standard divisional field piece. Ammunition for the heavier guns had been accorded a lower priority, under the assumption that mobile warfare would reduce the need for the more unwieldy big pieces. Congressional criticism of the large overstock age of all types of artillery ammunition that had accumulated in Tunisia in 1943 had forced the Army to scale back production. As a result, by late 1943, priorities had changed. Many ammunition plants were retooled for other types of ordnance production while some 105mm production lines were closed completely. Events in France and Germany changed all of these assumptions as Allied staffs in Europe discovered that the determined German resistance encountered in Normandy and the Westwall had placed a premium on all types of ammunition, just as stockpiles of the 105mm rounds, already short after the Normandy campaign, had almost disappeared. Rationing was introduced and captured German weapons and ammunition were utilized; two field artillery battalions were re-equipped with German field pieces. By January 1, 1945, stockpiles of 105mm ammunition had fallen to a twenty-one day supply (2,524,000 rounds). This dire situation has exacerbated by the miserable flying weather that prevented Allied airpower from filling in the gap. Emergency measures taken in the theater and in the United States improved matters, but shortages of artillery ammunition were to remain a problem until the end of the war.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:01 AM
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Default Chemical Warfare, Chapter Fourteen

At the start of the war, the Chemical Warfare service consisted of 1,128 personnel, by 1943 its strength had risen to 69,790 men. Their initial mission was to defend against enemy gas attack and to be ready to retaliate efficiently. This meant having defensive chemical equipment, such as protective masks and clothing, as well as offensive material, such as toxic agents and the necessary weapons and munitions to deliver them. While World War Two was, fortunately, a non-gas war, the need to always be prepared was present throughout the war. Instead of gas weapons, other chemical weapons were deployed, such as large and small area smoke generators, flamethrowers and incendiary devices. While the Chemical Warfare Service deployed a number if specialized units, such a chemical laboratories, decontamination (loved by the front line troops when they were used to provide hot showers), processing, maintenance and service companies; the most common CW unit’s were: Smoke generator companies, these produced an artificial fog, by the condensation of water and oil; Chemical Mortar Battalions, armed with the rifled 4.2-inch mortar and capable of firing toxic chemical, HE and smoke bombs, these battalions, few in number and greatly overworked became a favorite weapon of the infantry, able to place heavy and accurate fire on targets up to 5,000 yards downrange; Portable and mechanized flamethrowers. These were employed more frequently in the Pacific than in the European theaters.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:02 AM
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Default Quartmaster Corps, Chapter Fifteen

The strength of the QM company in the infantry division was 186 personnel and consisted of three truck platoons and a service platoon. Each truck platoon had 29 personnel who operated 16 2 ½-ton trucks, which drew Class 1 and Class 3 supplies daily from the army truck heads and distributed them to the vehicles of the combat units at divisional distribution points. The service platoon (49 men), manned the distribution point and transferred the supplies. Whenever possible, men of the service platoon also went with the trucks to the army truck heads to help load supplies as this saved valuable time, and it was time, not tonnage, that was the main limiting factor in all QM truck operations. Using trucks going back to collect rations for such extra purposes as evacuating POWs and salvage, was necessary, but placed an extra strain on drivers. Relief drivers could seldom be found, the service platoon was also responsible for collecting salvage, sorting laundry, operating showers, assisting grave registration units as well as a hundred other essential jobs. During combat operations, when supply lines lengthened and thousands of addition combat troops were attached to the division, the organic QM company couldn’t cope, so the corps would, whenever possible, loan extra troops from its service company to help the hard-pressed divisional companies. Each armored division went into combat with two QM truck companies, one used to haul regular supplies and one hauling POL products. The airborne division had a QM company with a strength of 87 men and 15 jeeps and trailers until 1944. During ground combat, after link up, a standard QM truck company would be attached to support the division. In late 1944, the airborne QM company was increased to a strength of 208 men, this was simply the permanent combination of the old airborne QM company and the attached truck company.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:03 AM
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Default Ordnance Corps, Chapter Sixteen

To keep the vehicles rolling, each infantry division had a Ordnance Light Maintenance Company (a Ordnance Maintenance Battalion was assigned to each armored division). Battlefield recovery of disabled equipment was a unit responsibility as were basic repairs and routine maintenance. Units were expected to carry out vehicle maintenance to the very limit of their tools and the skill of their mechanics. Many units were happy to do this, rather than lose their vehicles to another unit. Thus the divisional unit was deliberately designed to undertake only 60% of the third echelon repairs required during quiet periods and only 30% during combat. The infantry division company had 147 personnel assigned, while the armored division’s battalion had 762.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:04 AM
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Default Medical Corps, Chapter Seventeen

In the divisions, the medical personnel were divided into two types; those that were permanent assigned to all major units and provided the immediate first aid and casualty evacuation to the battalion or regimental aid stations. These were backed up by the divisional medical battalion. These personnel assisted the unit medics in collecting the wounded and transporting them to the unit aid stations. They also evacuated the wounded on up the chain to the clearing stations and then on to the evacuation hospitals which were operated at army level. Divisional medical officers either worked at clearing stations during operations or reinforced the regimental and battalion aid stations. One clearing company could be attached to each of the three regimental combat teams.

Medical evacuation within the combat zone was by litter, jeeps and ambulances. Air evacuation could also be made by liaison plane or light transport. Surface evacuation from the combat zone was the responsibility of the combat zone commander, it did not matter I the evacuation was by road, rail or sea. Three types of hospitals were assigned to armies; these included evacuation, convalescent and portable surgical. In the combat zone, there were four types of hospitals; these included field, convalescent, station and general. Evacuation hospitals funneled all casualties from the front on their way to the communications zone. These would be located 12 to 30 miles from the battle front, on good roads and near airfields, railways and waterways. Portable surgical hospitals (of 25 bed capacity) were mobile units used to reinforce divisional clearing stations by providing immediate surgical treatment for patients too seriously wounded to be moved to the rear.

Those casualties who could be returned to their units in a short period of time remained at convalescent hospitals in the army area. Field hospitals were mobile hospitals, capable of giving station hospital type of care in the field whenever there was a temporary need. Station hospitals were fixed units which served a limited assigned area only. These did not usually receive patients from the combat zone. General hospitals were also fixed units capable of supporting 1,000-2,000 patients at a time, providing complete care for all cases in the theater. Air evacuation to the U.S. was the responsibility of Air Transport Command, but the ComZ had to arrange for the patient’s arrival at airfields and care for them until they boarded the aircraft.

The chief surgeon of the theater prepared the general plan for evacuation and hospitalization of the sick and wounded. The system was based on upon the premise that it was the responsibility of rearward units to relieve forward units of their casualties; there was also a laid down number of days that patients should be held in a particular theater for treatment before evacuation to the U.S.. Due to a lack of fixed hospital facilities in the South-West Pacific, South Pacific and North Africa, this was fixed at 90 days. For the European Theater of Operations and all other theaters, this was initially fixed at 180 days and later reduced in late 1944 to 120 days.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:05 AM
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Default Nanpower, Chapter Eighteen

By late 1944, a severe problem in the U.S. Army in general, and in the forces in Europe in particular was the manpower shortage. The prewar plans to expand the Army to 213 divisions were never met, a total of 89 divisions were eventually formed. In addition, prewar planning for replacements was found to be totally inadequate. The causes were many; U.S. industrial and agricultural manpower requirements could only be partially met by bringing women into the workforce, the Army was segregated, with Negro manpower restricted to non-combat units and a few independent combat units; the Army was forced to fight a two-front war; fear of the blitzkrieg had resulted in a huge expansion of the antiaircraft artillery and tank destroyer arms; and the requirements generated by the massive expansion of the U.S. Navy and the Army Air Force had further reduced the available manpower pool, By the end of 1944, the results were nearly catastrophic for the Army.

The lack of Infantry replacements was the most serious problem. For example, on December 8, 1944, the Third Army was short 11,000 infantrymen. Now this number represents only 4% of the quarter-million-strength of the Third Army. But 11,000 infantrymen was equal to the strength of some fifty-five rifle companies (the rifle strength of two infantry divisions) or about 15% of the infantry combat power of the army.

To meet this problem, the army resorted to a number of expedients; many antiaircraft and tank destroyer battalions were disbanded and their personnel reassigned to the Infantry; rear areas were combed of non-essential personnel; air cadets were transferred to the Infantry; the Army Specialized Training Program, which allowed selected enlisted men to gain a college education was canceled and their personnel found themselves transferred to the Infantry; finally, divisions not yet deployed in the theater were ruthlessly stripped of men. Nevertheless, the problem persisted and was only solved by the collapse of Germany.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:07 AM
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Default Doctrine, Chapter Nineteen

U.S. Army doctrine, as developed during the prewar and early-war expansion, emphasized mobility and combined-arms in both attack and defense. Mobility was achieved by the development of reliable, robust armored and soft-skin vehicles. Unfortunately, in the case of tanks and tank destroyers, thickness of armor (and thus weight) was sacrificed in the interest of mobility to the detriment of the combat effectiveness of U.S. armored vehicles in tank-versus-tank combat. This flaw was exacerbated by General McNair’s belief (later proved to be fundamentally unsound) that the armored division would not be required to engage and destroy enemy armored formations, since this was the mission of the tank destroyers. Rather he visualized the armored divisions as a cavalry force to exploit gaps opened in the enemy lines by the tank-supported infantry division. The major flaw in this concept was that the lightly armored TD battalions were unable to engage and destroy enemy armor when attacking in mass, even when the TDs were deployed in concealed defensive positions. While the tank destroyers on defense were often capable of delaying and occasionally blunting armored attacks, it was found that they could rarely defeat them. Instead of operating in an independent antiarmor role, TD units were often semi permanently attached to infantry and armored divisions, while armored divisions were required to assume defensive as well as offensive missions. Necessity forced the armored divisions into all types of offensive missions. Thus the concept of the armored division as an exploitation rather than an assault forces disappeared.

In theory, the standardization in the organization of the combat arms facilitated the cross-attachment of units into combined-arms team. The close cooperation required of combined arms required extensive training and combat experience to be effective. Unfortunately, the prewar and early war training for combat was often little more than an exercise in the movement of troops to contact than an actual rehearsal for combat. Poor training habits carried over into combat, often actions on the battlefield were dictated by rote rather than by common sense. U.S. tactics, at best, were often mechanical and even worse, predictable. This, and the lack of a coherent doctrine for cross-attachment, resulted in mishmashes of units, confusion, and blurred (and even, destroyed) chains of command. As a result, the introduction of a ‘green” U.S. division into combat often resulted in disaster rather than success. Eventually, combat experience and unnecessary casualties forced commanders to change the emphasis in the training program. By December 1944, costly experience allowed most new divisions to make an easier transition to the realities of combat, but problems still persisted.

The U.S. Army had both strengths and weaknesses. The majority of its weaknesses were attributed to its massive expansion between 1939 and 1945. Its strength were the results of years of hard work by a relatively few dedicated professionals in the 1920s and 1930s, work that was performed by men who were almost completely unrecognized outside of their professional community.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:09 AM
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Default Uniforms and Personnel Gear, Chapter Twenty

In 1941, the U.S. Army was, after years of peacetime garrison soldiering, ill prepared to cloth and equip its soldier for battle all over the world under all types of climatic conditions. Uniforms at the start of the war were still very similar to those worn by the doughboys of the AEF in World War One, the most recognizable items beginning its headgear, either the British designed Brodie helmet or the Campaign Hat. By 1944, however, the U.S. soldier was undoubtedly the best and most sensibly dressed of all the combatants, thanks to the care put into designing his clothing and equipment. For example, the U.S. was the first military to issue its soldiers with separate clothing to fight in as well as for parade and garrison duties. While the British Army had to make the best of its battledress for virtually every activity, the American combat jacket was the first real attempt by any nation to design a special item of clothing, just for battle. Even the Germans had to fight in a tailored, badged and braided tunic for most of the war. Another milestone was the principle adopted of providing layers of clothing so that the same basic combat uniform could be worn in winter and summer, with or without woolen liners, sweaters, hoods, etc. which were worn when necessary.

TEMPERATE DRESS
The GIs non-combat service dress consisted of an open-necked tunic with four straight flapped pockets, a pair of straight trousers, brown leather boots or shoes, plus either a peaked cap or the envelope type “overseas” cap. All clothing was olive drab in color, but varied considerably in tone. Shirts and ties ranged from olive to light tan. Officers wore a similar service dress, but with a dark worsted wool band around each cuff, which was the mark of an officer, regardless of rank. Later in the war, the “Ike” jacket was also worn by soldiers. This resembled the British battledress blouse, but had many variations in color, style and cut. This was the uniform the GI wore on and off duty.

For battle, the GIs wore the M-1 steel helmet. The helmet was composed of three parts; the outer steel shell, painted olive drab and sometimes worn with a scrim net (for holding camouflage material) and fitted with an adjustable chin strap (modified for airborne use with an additional chin strap). This fitted snugly over the top of a composite liner of similar shape (but slightly smaller size), with an internal cradle of web straps to grip the head. The third element was an olive knit wool cap, known as a “beanie” designed to be worn under the helmet, but often worn without as it made a comfortable, warm, but casual form of headgear. The outer helmet was an ideal wash basin, cooking pot, an emergency entrenching tool, in fact its uses were legion, depending only on the inventiveness of the wearer!

Shirts were olive drab flannel with attached collars and two patch pockets, usually worn open at the neck. Over the shirt was worn the M1941 Field Jacket, which was hip length or the M1943 Field Jacket which was thigh length. The M1943 was superior, being windproof, waterproof and tear resistant (the M1941 was windproof only). With concealed zip fasteners, four large pockets and able to use a button-in liner and hood for winter use, the M1943 jacket was excellent. Calf-high canvas leggings were initially worn with the brown leather boots, but these were replaced by a new boot which appeared in 1944. This had a built in leather gaiter, which was fastened with two leather straps and buckles. In 1945, yet another high boot appeared, which like the paratrooper’s boot on which it was modeled, laced all the way up to the lower calf.

Miscellaneous clothing included long greatcoats and raincoats, high necked pullover sweaters, scarves and balaclava helmets, herringbone twill overalls (for mechanics and armored personnel), rubber overshoes, and olive wool or brown leather gloves. In addition to their crash helmets, armored crewmen wore the highly sought after “tankers” jacket. Improvised white snow camouflage hooded jackets and over-trousers were used, but were not in general issue. The two piece tropical camouflage uniform was worn in the ETO in the summer of 1944, but was unfortunately very similar to the German Waffen-SS camouflage jackets, leading to several friendly fire incidents.

TROPICAL DRESS
The GIs of the peacetime Pacific garrisons wore the normal hot weather service uniforms, consisting of a shirt and trousers in light tan or khaki drill material which was known as “chino”. This was unsuitable for battlefield use, but a satisfactory jungle uniform did not go into production until nearly the end of the war; so several interim solutions had to be found. The first was the olive green twill fatigues, which replaced the old prewar blue working denims. The first real jungle suit was introduced in 1942 and consisted of a baggy, one piece overall, camouflaged on one side in jungle colors and either plain tan or camouflaged in sandy browns on the other. The latter was intended for beach or open country wear. This garment was very unpopular as it required to the soldier to virtually undress to wash or use the latrine, so a two piece version was introduced. However, the camouflage pattern made the wearer easier to see when he was moving and it was replaced in 1944 by a herringbone twill two piece olive drab green jungle suit, which was the most common only worn combat suit for the rest of the war. A new lightweight jungle suit, made of olive green poplin was introduced in the spring of 1945. Camouflaged helmet covers were worn with all of these jungle suits.

SPECIALIZED CLOTHING
Armored Units
In addition to the normal issue of clothing, armored crewman were issued with four special items during the war; a World War One pilot’s type of fabric tight fitting helmet with housings for earphones (universally disliked by everyone!). Next was a composition crash helmet with a padded and ventilated top and ear pieces which was generally liked and worn in preference to the steel helmet. One piece olive drab herringbone twill overalls were universally worn from 1942 onwards, in two slightly different versions. The last was the zipped tankers jacket which was a much sought after item. It was warm, comfortable and weatherproof and fitted with a zip fastener, knitted cuffs and waistband.

Airborne Units
The steel helmet, designated the M1C was modified so that it could act as a crash helmet as well as providing battlefield protection. This included the fitting of additional web strap on the inside and a molded chin cup. Special airborne combat jacket and trousers were worn, both in light brown. The jacket had four large patch pockets with flaps and it was fastened by a full length, covered, heavy duty metal zip. The collar was fastened at the neck by press studs, as were the cuffs. Airborne combat trousers were similar to the normal combat ones, but had extra large and very distinctive pockets on the thighs, which made them baggy. Airborne jump boots finished off the basic outfit and were one of the most distinctive marks of the airborne soldier. Paratroopers went into combat laden down with equipment. Donald Burgett of the 101st airborne gave a listing of his equipment in his book “Currahee!”:

“My personal equipment consisted of one set of OD’s worn under my jump suit, helmet, boots, gloves, main chute, reserve chute, Mae West, rifle, .45 automatic pistol, trench knife, jump knife, hunting knife, machete, one cartridge belt, two bandoliers, two cans of machine gun ammo totaling 676 rounds of .30 ammo, 66 rounds of .45 ammo, one Hawkins mine capable of blowing the track off of a tank, four blocks of TNT, one entrenching tool with two blasting caps taped on the outside of the steel part, three first-aid kits, two morphine needles, one gas mask, a canteen of water, three days supply of K rations, two days supply of D rations, six fragmentation grenades, one Gammon grenade, one orange smoke and one red smoke grenade, one orange panel, one blanket, one raincoat, one change of socks and underwear, two cartons of cigarettes and a few other odds and ends.”

Personal Equipment
The GI was issued a set of webbing to carry his combat gear. Three types of belts were issued, these were all wide webbing belts, secured in front by a blackened metal buckle. The cartridge belt had two sets of five thin webbing pouches (one on either side of the buckle), each pouch would hold one clip of ammunition. The magazine belt had three larger pouches on each side of the buckle, each holding two BAR magazines. Finally the pistol belt was a plain belt. All three belts had a row of metal eyelets along the top and bottom that allowed a wide variety of equipment pouches to be secured to the belt, these included canteens, entrenching tools, and first aid pouches as well as numerous extras. A set of webbing shoulder straps were issued. These would cross diagonally in the center of the back, then be passed vertically over the shoulders and then divided into two narrower sections. These were both fastened to the top row of eyelets or one set would be passed under the arm and attached to the pack harness. Riflemen were also issued a bayonet, this would either be clipped to the cartridge belt or to a special pocket on the left side of the pack.

Additional items carried would include one or more ammunition bandoliers (carrying another six clips of rifle ammunitions, leather binocular cases, canvas map cases and the gas mask carrier. Another item that was carried was the musette bag which could be slung from one arm and carried essential supplies. All of these items had regulation places to be carried, but the GIs often worn their equipment as they pleased, not to mention adding items of enemy equipment to their personal gear.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:15 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default Rations, Chapter Twenty One

Before World War Two, the U.S. Army divided its subsistence requirements into three types of rations. The Garrison Ration, the Field Ration and the Iron Ration. The Garrison was issued to the permanent mess halls. It was primarily composed of about 70% fresh foods. The Field Ration consisted of non-perishable goods such as canned meat, vegetables and fruit as well as dry foods. The Iron Ration consisted of cans of stew or hash and crackers that would provide one or two meals for a soldier that he could keep in his pack.

By the 1930s, while the U.S. was preparing for its expansion, it took the time to reorganize its food supply. Under the new system, the Garrison Ration became “Field Ration A” and the Field Ration became “Field Ration B”, while the Iron Ration became “Field Ration C”. The rations stayed mostly the same.

During the Africa landings, the U.S. troops were issued the British “Compo Ration” and came to love its variety. The Compo Ration was basically a box filled with a variety of cans of food, this was its greatest attraction. The British simply made sure that each box had a balance of meat, vegetables, bread and condiments. The Compo entered service, replacing the “Field Ration B”. This was also known as the “10 in 1” ration (this provided two hot and one cold meals for ten men for one day).

The Field Ration C was developed in 1939 and was intended to be issued for units in actual combat when no mess facilities were available. The C was packed in six small cans, three containing the meat (M) items and three the basics (B items). The ration was designed to be palatable hot or cold. The initial M items were corned beef hash; beef stew; and chicken & vegetables. The B items included crackers, premixed & compressed cereal, powdered coffee, cubed sugar and chocolate coated peanuts or chocolate drops.

A major problem with the first version of the C Ration was its meat components. The C Ration was never intended to be issued for more than three days, hence the limited selection. Troops in combat found themselves living on C Rations for weeks at a time, and to add insult to injury, when the troops were rotated out of the front line and were able to go to proper messing facilities, they were greeted with duplicates of the hated meat component in the first B Rations.

By 1944, the C Ration had reached a new level. The original title of “US Army Field Ration C” was abandoned and the new title “Ration Type C, Assembly, Packaging and Packing” was adopted. The new C Ration now consisted of three cans of basic (B items), three cans of meat (M items) and one accessory pack. Six combinations of components or menu arrangements were specified in order to provide a wider variety. Six B items were listed, two each for breakfast, dinner and supper. B item components varied in accordance with a grouping that would fit the meal, including crackers, compressed and premixed cereal, chocolate-coated peanuts or raisins, powdered coffee, granulated sugar, lemon/orange or grape drink powder, hard candies, jam, peanut butter, cocoa beverage powder and caramels. The accessory packet included nine “good commercial quality” cigarettes, halazone water-purification tablets, a book of matches, several sheets of toilet paper, chewing gun and a can opener. The M items included: meat & beans; meat & vegetable stew; meat & spaghetti; ham, eggs & potatoes; meat & noodles; pork & rice; frankfurters & bans; pork & beans; ham & lima beans; and chicken & vegetables.

The final version of the C Ration started being issued in April 1945. It contained more improvements resulting from combat experiences. Hard candy and the chocolate coated peanuts and raisins were deleted from the B Items because of their poor keeping quality and a fudge disc and a cookie sandwich was substituted. Salt tablets were added to the accessory pack. Sugar tablets were substituted for the granulated sugar packets. Beef stew was added to the M Items. The halazone tablets were deleted from the accessory pack. Finally the accessory pack was divided into two packets, first named the “long pack” and the “short pack” and later called the “accessory pack” and the “cigarette pack”. Gum, toilet paper, can opener, granulated salt, salt tablets and wood spoons were included in the long pack. The short pack consisted of a pack of nine cigarettes and a book of matches.

Upon the entry of the U.S. into World War Two, there was an avalanche of enthusiasm for special troops. Each of these special units demanded their own types of rations. The paratroopers asked for concentrated “Parachute Rations”, the jungle units wanted a “Jungle Ration” and the mountain troops wanted a “Mountain Ration”. Each of these special rations were assigned a letter (running from “E” to “J”) while they were being developed.

The Subsistence Branch tried to fulfill the orders flowing into it, but the requests were coming in faster than they could develop and test rations to meet these ever increasing requirements. The final blow came when the European Theater of Operations asked for a “Assault Ration” for the troops to carry when they were assaulting beaches. Enough was enough! The Subsistence Branch stopped working on all of these special rations. And the decision was made to develop one concentrated ration that would take the place of the parachute, jungle and assault rations. This was called the “Field Ration K”.

The K Ration was designed to meet the need for an individual, easy to carry ration that could be used for combat operations. It was noted for its compactness and superior packaging and was acknowledged as the ration that provided the greatest variety of nutritionally balanced components within the smallest package.

The prototype K Ration was designed as a pocket ration for paratroopers. Two menus were originally developed, one with pemmican (dried meat pounded into a powder and mixed with dried fruit and then melted together), crackers, a peanut bar, a meat preparation and orange drink powder. The second consisted of pemmican crackers, a D-bar, a meat preparation and grape drink powder. It was later redesigned into a three meal menu which contained common items as pemmican crackers and chewing gum. In addition, the breakfast unit contained malted milk tablets, canned veal loaf, powdered coffee and sugar cubes; the dinner unit had dextrose tablets, canned ham spread, and bouillon cubes; the supper unit had a D-bar, sausage, lemon drink powder and sugar cubes.

Due to the success of this ration, it was adopted for all-service use as the “Field Ration, Type K”. Further development led to no less than seven revisions before the final World War Two specifications. During this period, the variety of crackers was increased, newer and more acceptable meat products were introduced, malted milk tablets and D-bars gave way to a variety of confections, additional beverage components were provided and cigarettes, matches, salt tablets, toilet paper and wooden spoons were added as accessory items.

The cartons containing the individual meals were also subject to several changes. The first cartons were coated inside and out with a thermoplastic compound. Later, they were wax-coated on the outside only, wrapped in waxed paper and then coated with a commercial product made from “unmilked crepe rubber and blendeded waxes” specified not to melt at 135 degrees nor “crack, chip or otherwise become separated” from the carton at minus 20 degrees below zero. Other types of packages were tested, including a “thread opening fiber bodied can with metal ends.” The wax impregnated materials prevailed, and the ultimate requirements were for the familiar wax-coated inner carton inside a second carton labeled and colored to indicate whether its contents were breakfast, dinner or supper.

The final version consisted of:

The Breakfast Unit which contained a canned egg and meat product (chopped pork and egg yolk or chopped ham and egg), crackers, a compressed and premixed cereal bar, powdered coffee, a fruit bar, chewing gum, sugar tablets, four cigarettes, a book of matches, water purification tablets, a can opener, several sheets of toilet paper and a wooden spoon.

The Dinner Unit had a canned cheese product (processed American cheese; processed American cheese with bacon; or processed American & Swiss cheese), crackers, a candy bar, chewing gum, a packet of lemon, orange or grape drink powder, a packet of granulated sugar, salt tablets, four cigarettes, a book of matches, a can opener and a wooden spoon.

The Supper Unit included a canned meat product (pork with carrot and apple or beef & pork loaf), crackers, bouillon powder, hard candy, chewing gum, powdered coffee, a packet of granulated sugar, four cigarettes, a book of matches, can opener and a wooden spoon.

The crackers, beverages, sugar, fruit bar, candy, gum and spoon were packaged in a laminated cellophane bag while the canned meat and cheese products were placed inside a chipboard sleeve-type box. The two units were assembled and sealed in a waxed carton enclosed in a no waxed outer carton labeled with the K Ration design and color. Twelve rations were placed in a fiberboard box which was over packed in a nailed wooden box for overseas shipment.

The first emergency ration, developed in 1932, consisted of a twelve-ounce bar of equal parts of bitter chocolate, sugar and peanut butter. Although palatable, the bar had poor keeping qualities and was thirst-provoking and meet with poor acceptance. While it did not progress beyond the experimental stage, it did provide the groundwork for experiments on a concentrated ration in 1935.

Originally called the Logan Bar in recognition of Colonel Paul Logan, then head of the Subsistence Branch. The Logan Bar was designed to provide the highest possible caloric value in the smallest package and yet retain sufficient palatability to be used daily. The ingredients were chocolate, sugar, oat flour, cacao fat, skim milk powder and artificial flavoring. Three four-ounce bars (each wrapped in aluminum foil and then over wrapped and sealed in parchment paper, constituted the ration.. In spite of the requirement that it qualify for continued daily use, the Logan Bar was never considered to be anything other than suitable for emergency rations. Each four ounce bar provided 770 calories.
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:33 PM
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BRILLIANT work there! Love it!
Hell of a solid read though!
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:07 PM
Adm.Lee Adm.Lee is offline
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Default Another few good books

No arguments from me about anything you've got so far.

"There's a war to be won" by Geoffrey Perrett-- a very good single-volume history of the US Army in WW2.

"The GI offensive in Europe: the triumph of American infantry divisions 1941-1945" by Peter Mansoor

I probably can come up with a bunch more: the South Pacific and the 1944-45 campaigns have been favorites of mine for a long time.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:05 PM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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And I've trimmed over 40 pages from this. Truelly, the best works to study the subject is the US Army's "Green Books" the 32 volume study of WWII written by some of the foremost historians of the 1940s-50s. Problem is, tis a very dry read!
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:50 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default First Aid Equipment, Chapter Twenty Two

The standard first-aid packet held a bandage, an envelope of sulfanilamide powder and 5 sulfadiazine tablets. These were held in a tinned-metal container that kept the contents fairly waterproof. This was carried in a rectangular-shapped web pouch that was usually suspended from the right front of the cartridge belt.

To use, the GI would remove the metal tin from his pouch, break the seal, one the envelope of sulfa powder and sprinkle it on the wound, place and then tie the bandage and then take the sulfa tablets.

The parachutist’s first-aid packet was a waterproof package that held a bandage, an envelope of sulfanilamide powder, 5 sulfadiazine tablets, a tourniquet, and a morphine syrette. The paratroopers would normally tie this package to the front or back of their helmet or on the right front suspender. This was also issued to assault troops during the Normandy and Southern France landings as well as during some of the heavier fighting in the fall/winter of 1944. Most infantry commanders frowned on this, due to the misuse of the morphine syrette.

The medic would normally be issued an extra canteen and cover (for casualties) and were authorized to use either the pistol belt or the BAR magazine belt (its larger pouches would allow for more medical supplies to be carried). In addition, two aidman’s bags would be issued, each would carry: 12 3-inch gauze bandages; 12 small field dressings; 3 triangular bandages; 1 2oz metal bottle filled w/alchol; 3 tourniquets; 2 boxes of 5 morphine syrettes each; 6 2oz shackers of sulfanilamide powder; 6 iodine swabs; 1 2oz box with 50 sulfadiazine tablets; 1 roll of 1-inch adhesive tape; 1 pencil, 1 thermometer and several injury tags.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:14 AM
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Excellent Articles!!!!

Great Reading!!!

My $0.02

Mike
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:55 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default Weapons: The Bayonet, Chapter Twenty-Three

The use of edged weapons for combat purposes has its roots in ancient history. For thousands of years, swords, daggers, spears, pikes and other weapons were the main weapon of the foot soldier. With the introduction of firearms, the use of edged weapons waned, but never disappeared. In their early years, firearms were single shot weapons that were cumbersome and time consuming to reload. The bayonet was an important adjunct to the musket as it transformed a unloaded weapon into an effective spear-like weapon. Other edged weapons, such as swords, lost their usefulness as weapons and became little more than symbols of rank or authority.

With the introduction of metallic cartridges and breech-loading, repeating rifles, bayonets became less important. By the start of the 20th-Century, most “modern” military minds believed that the day of the bayonet was gone. The first American military rifle of the 20th-Century, the M-1903 Springfield, was designed with a flimsy rod bayonet instead of the robust knife-bayonet of its predecessor, the .30-40 Krag rifle. But one of the first wars of the 20th-Century, the Japanese-Russian War of 1905, saw numerous occasions in which bayonets were used. This caused the War Department to reconsider and the M-1903 was redesigned to accept a standard knife bayonet.

With the outbreak of World War One, the bayonet was soon proven to be an important infantry weapon, indeed, with the troops settled into bloody and frustrating trench warfare, the bayonet was used in brutal, close-quarter combat and along with numerous designs of specialized combat knives.

The standard bayonet for the M-1903 Springfield rifle was the M-1905 bayonet with a 16-inch long blade. It was built from 1905 to 1920 and then again from 1942 through 1943. Some 1,540,578 were built during the Second World War alone, an additional 1,007,671 were modified into M-1 bayonets (having 6-inches of blade ground off).

In World War One, production of the Springfield was not able to keep up with the rapid expansion of the U.S. Army, resulting in a need to secure another source of rifles. The British government had contracted with three American firms to produce the Pattern 1914 .303-caliber rifle, with the British contracts ending as the U.S. was entering the war, it was decided to modified the P14 rifle in the .30-06-caliber as a supplement to the M1903 rifle. This was the M-1917 rifle and was the most widely issued rifle in the AEF. The
M-1917 bayonet was also adopted. This had a 17-inch blade, and was not manufactured during WWII, but 2,500,000 WWI were reissued during WWII. Besides being used on the M-1917 rifle, it was also issued for use with the various shotguns that were used.

The M-1905 bayonet could be used with both the M-1903 Springfield as well as the new M-1 Garand rifle, but its long blade came in for criticism as it was cumbersome and uncomfortable for troops riding in vehicles. The decided to reduce the blade length down to 10-inches and the M-1 bayonet entered service in 1943. Produced from 1943-1945, some 2, 948,648 were built as well as 1,007,671 modified from M-1903 bayonets.

With the introduction of the M-1 Carbine, there became a need for a bayonet for the new weapon. The M-4 Bayonet-Knife was designed to fill the need for both a bayonet and a combat knife. This entered service in 1944 and some 2,260,519 were made by 1945. The modification of the M-1 Carbine to accept the new bayonet lagged well behind production and only a handful were actually issued to the troops in WWII.

The last of the WWII issue bayonets was the M-1941 Johnson Rifle Bayonet. The unusual recoil operated action of the Johnson required that the barrel slide back and forth with each shot. If a standard knife-bayonet was attached to the barrel, the weight would cause the weapon to malfunction. The bayonet would have to be very light in weight. The result was a all metal bayonet with a simple triangular blade and grip forged from a single piece of steel. The blade was only 6-inches long and it weight only 1/3 of a pound. The Marines who used the Johnson Rifle derisively referred to its bayonet as a “tent peg”. It was withdrawn from service well before the end of the war. Some 70,000 were produced, but less than 2,000 were ever issued.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:51 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default Weapons: Combat Knives, Chapter Twenty Four

The term “combat knife” was never an official designation in WWII, although several types of knives were designed and procured for use as combat weapons. In addition, numerous civilian hunting and pocket knives were used by the GIs throughout the war. This chapter is concerned only with those knives actually designed and issued for combat uses.

At the time of the America’s entry into WWII, the only knife designated as Standard Issue was the M-2 Pocket Knife, this was a simple folding design with two knife blades and a can opener.

At the start of the war (for the US), requests flooded the Ordnance Department for combat knives to be issued to special purpose troops, such as paratroopers and Rangers. The Army issued some 139,000 M-1918 Mark I Trench Knives from storage for use. There were no plans to reintroduce this knife back into production because it was not an effective combat weapon, in spite of its fearsome appearance. This was a brutal weapon with a 7-inch, double-edged blade, a heavy brass grip with a “knuckle” hand grip (the outer edges of the knuckles were fitted with cone-shaped points, as well as a larger cone on the pommel designed as a “skull crusher”. With its limited utility as combat knife (it could only be used in clenched-fist attacks) as well as its requirement of a large amount of brass, the M-1918 was soon withdrawn from service.

In December of 1942, the Army issued a requirement for a new combat knife with a 6.75-inch blade, leather handle and a steel pommel. This was standardized in January 14, 1943 as the Trench Knife, M-3. It was designed as a strong and rugged knife, yet capable of being efficiently mass produced. Some 2,590,247 were built between 1943 and 1945. The M-3 soon proved to be very popular with the troops and was later chosen to be redesigned with a bayonet attachment point as the M-4 Bayonet-Knife.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:45 AM
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Default The Handguns, Part One, Chapter Twenty-Five

During World War One and Two, most of the European armies viewed handguns, primarily as badges of rank for officers. The U.S. military viewed the handgun as a valuable weapon in its own right and issued pistols and revolvers in greater numbers than most other nations of this period.

This is not to suggest that all, or even most, of the servicemen of World War Two were armed with handguns. In the U.S. Army handguns were widely issued to officers, non-commissioned officers, members of crew served weapons, aviators, tankers as well as a variety of other types of personnel.

The various Tables of Organization and Equipment did not call for the wide-spread issue of handguns. The basic theory being that the primary weapon was the rifle or carbine. In real life, most infantrymen felt otherwise and it was not unusual for many GIs to obtain (by fair means or foul) a handgun of some type. Officially the tolerance to this practice varied depending on the attitude of the commanding officer. During training or when stateside, the regulations were strictly enforced. In combat situations, it was left to the officer in charge. As one combat veteran stated, “We were too busy trying to stay alive to worry about whether or not somebody was supposed to be carrying a pistol.” Another veteran stated, “The attitude has always been, ‘If I get in a jam bad enough to need my pistol, I can always worry about regulations after I have survived.”

Not all of the handguns used unofficially were government issue weapons. A number of privately procured pistols and revolvers, as well as battlefield captures found their way into the combat zones regardless of the regulations are were put to good use.

Not all handguns found themselves used in anger, many soldiers carried a pistol for a much needed measure of security. As stated by Colonel John George in his Book “Shots Fired in Anger.”

“My own pistol was a constant source of comfort to me after dark and I always had it in my hands. There is no room in a foxhole to wield a rifle against an assailant who is inside the hole with you. The only answer is a pistol.”

The need for handguns in modern warfare has been the subject of hot debate over the years. People in and out of the military have argued that a handgun is not a valid weapon for a infantrymen. Most combat veterans have an entirely different opinion…

“Theorists have been knocking down handgun usefulness for centuries, and staff officers, officially armed with handguns, have been taking them away from GIs for just as long, and the ever practical fighting soldier has continued to beg, borrow, or steal a handgun for his personnel protection right up to this day…The remarkable thing is just how often you can turn a soldier upside down, and---WHOOPS!---a loaded pistol falls out before the loaded dice, both being carried to glean some slight advantage from a not too munificent fate.”

“The bayonet has been reduced to the size of a heavy hunting knife, and bayonet practice is kept on the training schedule as a morale-building factor. Now I ask you: throw a bayonet, scabbard, and the front stud from the end of your rifle on a scale and balance it against…a handgun, loaded mind you---and I’ll eat my hat if the handgun doesn’t weigh less!”

Without question, the most famous United States military handgun of the 20th Century is the Model of 1911 .45 pistol and its variants. Produced by the legendary John M. Browning and developed by the Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, the M1911 is known to several generations of Americans as the “.45 Automatic” or simply, the “.45.”

The M1911 was developed in response to serious problems encountered with the .38 caliber revolvers used in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War and in the subsequent Philippines Insurrection. The .38 Long Colt cartridge failed miserably in combat, and the situation was so bad that the antique .45 caliber Model of 1873 Single Action Army revolver was recalled from storage, refurbished and reissued for use. The old black powder .45 Colt cartridge was a formidable man-stopper, although the antiquated single action design left much to be desired.

With the end of the Philippines Insurrection, the War Department requested a replacement for the unsatisfactory .38 caliber revolvers. The government actually wanted to get away from revolvers in general and sought a semiautomatic pistol chambered for the .45 caliber cartridge. After extensive trails, the Model of 1911 Pistol, chambered for the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) cartridge was adopted.

The M1911 pistol was manufactured by Colt from 1911 onwards and by the Springfield Armory in 1914 and 1915. By the time of the American entry into World War One, the small pre-war Army and Navy had been equipped with the M1911 and production had slowed to a trickle. With the rapid expansions of the American military machine, the demands for pistol production soon overwhelmed the available supply. Colt stepped up production of its pistol, but the Springfield Armory was overloaded with production of the M1903 rifle. Plans were quickly made to produce the M1911 by other firms. However, the only other company to turn out the M1911 in any real numbers was Remington-UMC, which produced 21,000 M1911s during WWI.

By the time of the Armistice of November 11, 1918, 60% of the Doughboys in France were armed with the M1911. The Colt proved to be an outstanding military handgun, where its potent short range stopping power and reliability proved invaluable. After the war, many M1911s found their ways stateside in the duffle bags of the AEF, but there remained adequate numbers in inventory to meet the needs of the postwar U.S. military.

During the inter-war years the decision was made to modify the original Colt design by changing the configuration of the trigger, hammer and grip as well as slight modifications to the frame of the M1911. The M-1911A1 was adopted into service in June of 1926.

Upon the entry of the U.S. into World War Two, Colt stepped up its production of the M1911A1 as well as awarding contracts to several other companies to produce the M1911A1 in bulk, these were:

Remington-Rand 900,000
Colt 400,000
Ithaca Gun Company 400,000
Union Switch & Signal 50,000
Singer Company 500

In addition many M1911s were pulled out of storage and were rebuilt or overhauled by the Ordnance Department (this consisted of replacing worn parts and refinishing the pistol with the standard Parkerizing finish).

A leather hip holster, the Model of 1912, was adopted soon after the introduction of the M1911. This had a full flap and was made with either the standard grommet or a swivel attachment. The swivel attachment was soon removed from service (following WWI). Altogether some 3,000,000 M1912 holsters were made during WWII. Another holster issued with the M1911 was the M-7 Shoulder Holster. This was used by aviators, tank crewmen and by many officers. The last accessory issued with the M1911A1 was the magazine pouch. This canvas webbing pouch held two spare magazines under either a double fastener flap (the 1918 issue) or a single fastener flap (WWII issue). Both saw service in WWII.

The M1911 and M1911A1 have often been criticized as being heavy, awkward and inaccurate, these comments are true, to a certain extent. The M1911 is also very reliable and possessed of a great deal of stopping power and, in the end, that was what the GI was looking for.

After World War Two, the M-1911A1 served with the post-war U.S. military into the 1980s. It is interesting to note that no M-1911A1 has been manufactured since 1945. The ones in service have been extensively rebuilt, multiple times.
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The reason that the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.
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