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"The Combat Efficiency of American Forces in WWII" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2019 2:18 p.m. PST

Interesting thread….

link


Amicalement
Armand

Lee49424 Jan 2019 2:39 p.m. PST

Well some interesting, if unsupported by fact, opinions. Simply another Uber American thread. Give any troops complete air and naval supremacy, virtually unlimited food and fuel and twice as many bullets as your enemy and I'd hope they'd do well! US Combat efficiency in WWII was more due to "logistics" than any "combat" efficiency, skills, quality or capability of the actual troops involved. WWII was a war of logistics not heroics and at that yes the US did excel. Cheers! (smile)

mjkerner Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2019 2:55 p.m. PST

They (Allies) weren't "given" air and naval superiority, they took it, the hard way. And America had to tool up, and get those supplies to England and the Pacific. Guadalcanal wasn't won by an abundance of supplies, and air and naval superiority wasn't even achieved there until near the end of the campaign. So I for one will give my father and his generation some credit for their fighting abilities as well, thank you very much.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2019 5:36 p.m. PST

I agree with MJK.

Also, our leaders and military personnel were astute enough to know that you can't win wars without an effective logistics train, and they certainly raised the bar in that area, e.g. with the US merchant marine, our ship building programs, with "The Redball Express", etc., etc., etc..

Skarper24 Jan 2019 9:47 p.m. PST

Hmmn. Didn't read the thread but it's just impossible to generalise.

At first, US Army was green and had to learn the hard way. They also encountered Germans at their peak tactical efficiency.

Later the balance swung back and forth. Some units were highly efficient. Others less so. The same goes for the Germans and British.

In my opinion you have to look at the unit concerned and evaluate their performance taking into account as many factors as can be studied.

The Axis tried to make up for logistical and strategic failures with tactical advantages. That's never going to work.

Lee49424 Jan 2019 10:26 p.m. PST

Mj thanks for enlightening me, Deleted by Moderator My apologies!

Legion 425 Jan 2019 1:18 p.m. PST

"Amateurs talk tactics … Professionals talk Logistics…"

"Who won WWII ? ; General Motors, General Foods and General Electric …"

Nick Bowler25 Jan 2019 2:12 p.m. PST

I thought this had been studied by Dupuy.

Blutarski25 Jan 2019 2:20 p.m. PST

Strictly my opinion, but that link = a congregation of high-fiving fan-boyz.

B

goragrad25 Jan 2019 8:11 p.m. PST

While not entirely convinced by Dupuy, that thread is definitely skewed.

Logistical superiority was a major factor.

Murvihill26 Jan 2019 6:40 a.m. PST

I think the remarks reflect a backlash from the Nazi fanboy Aryan Superman arguments. Looking at the casualties in the Polish and French campaigns it's obvious the Germans weren't supermen, they just didn't complain as much as allies about taking casualties (maybe the propaganda machine didn't allow it). I also remember an anecdote about a French and German mother who found out their child got in a fight: The French woman said "You shouldn't be fighting", the German woman said "Next time win."

Lee49426 Jan 2019 8:40 a.m. PST

I know people, personally, who were in the SS, the US army, and the Polish Army. You know what? They were all people. Pretty much the same. Not a Uber Man among them.

Now Germany grabbed a head start on general population exercise and nutrition programs which might have given them a SLIGHT edge in raw material. I also dismiss the Moral Superiority angle of the allies fighting for good vs. evil.

Everyone I talked to fought to keep themselves alive, their buddies alive and their farms and families out of enemy hands. In that order. Any political agenda was a far distant fourth.

So starting with the same human "stock" it was the training, doctrine, leadership and YES logistics that decided the outcome.

If I sound annoyed yes. I have no patience for ANY Uber Man philosophies whether US, German, Soviet Russia or Martians. Cheers!

Blutarski26 Jan 2019 3:09 p.m. PST

"So starting with the same human "stock" it was the training, doctrine, leadership and YES logistics that decided the outcome."

Although I continue to believe that certain "national characteristics" play a role, +1 to Lee494 for the above.

B

Legion 426 Jan 2019 3:29 p.m. PST

Everyone I talked to fought to keep themselves alive, their buddies alive and their farms and families out of enemy hands. In that order. Any political agenda was a far distant fourth.
So starting with the same human "stock" it was the training, doctrine, leadership and YES logistics that decided the outcome.
If I sound annoyed yes. I have no patience for ANY Uber Man philosophies whether US, German, Soviet Russia or Martians. Cheers!


Yeah I have to agree with much of that Lee … However I'd had to be careful when mentioning anything about Nazis or the SS. So get upset if you try to be academic, and not say everything negative about them as one large group. Which isn't to say they were not guilty of many, many, many war crimes. That is well known. But to paraphrase SUN TZU, "Know your enemy !" …

And we all know about those that don't study history …

But AFAIK you can get away with saying anything about Martians ! At least so far !

Blutarski26 Jan 2019 5:27 p.m. PST

Martians are highly susceptible to germ warfare. See "War of the Worlds" for reference.

B

donlowry26 Jan 2019 6:15 p.m. PST

That's a "planetist" remark!

Starfury Rider26 Jan 2019 6:24 p.m. PST

"I know people, personally, who were in the SS, the US army, and the Polish Army. You know what? They were all people. Pretty much the same. Not a Uber Man among them."

No, not a one. Unfortunately for the rest of Europe, Nazi ideology was built on a number of extreme tenets, one being the 'superiority' of the 'Aryan race' over every other. Given all the Nazis in Nazi Germany it seems reasonable to assume it was a widely, if not universally, held belief, and certainly strong enough to enable the Holocaust.

"Everyone I talked to fought to keep themselves alive, their buddies alive and their farms and families out of enemy hands. In that order. Any political agenda was a far distant fourth."

Yes, I imagine in 1943, when you haven't conquered the entire world, and much of said world is now knocking on the door and rolling its sleeves up in an ominous manner, I imagine the farm and its fate is going to loom larger in the mind. Not quite the mindset of 1939-41 though was it.

"I also dismiss the Moral Superiority angle of the allies fighting for good vs. evil."

And there's another dilemma, if you're living under Nazi occupation and seeing your citizens carted off on a regular basis for being Jewish, or Roma, or homosexual (it's a really LONG list), can you really afford to interview your proposed liberators to ensure they meet the necessary, exacting moral standards? I mean you don't want just anyone sending its men and women to die for you; what will far removed commentators think of that in 6 or 7 decades?

"If I sound annoyed yes. I have no patience for ANY Uber Man philosophies whether US, German, Soviet Russia".

If I sound annoyed it's more because Nazi Germany did embrace Uber Man philosophy, as did by a different route Imperial Japan, so whether you do or not is besides the point. It's kinda why they went to war with every nation unlucky enough to share a border with them or be within sailing distance.

I'm not aware of a similar Uber Man philosophy infecting US troops in WW2, though more than a few post-war US historians clearly only accept people or products emanating from within CONUS as being of any significance.

Gary

Fred Cartwright26 Jan 2019 11:54 p.m. PST

I'm not aware of a similar Uber Man philosophy infecting US troops in WW2, though more than a few post-war US historians clearly only accept people or products emanating from within CONUS as being of any significance.

Really? What was the attitude of the US services to black recruits during the war? Racial superiority was a depressingly common view at the time. The main difference between the US and Germany was the US concluded its genocidal war of conquest in the previous century, although not with the same ruthless efficiency.

Starfury Rider27 Jan 2019 4:13 a.m. PST

"What was the attitude of the US services to black recruits during the war?"

It was pretty well appalling. Segregation was enshrined in law in more than a couple of US States, and I think it genuinely shocked others to see it being practised by US units based in other nations. Black or African Americans were recruited into the US Forces, they were paid (I can't pretend to know if they got the same amount as their white, Native American, Japanese American or whatever other American counterparts), they served in combat and service roles. They had the same kit, they fought the same enemy and when it was over they went back to segregation. So all in all, pretty appalling.

So yes, racism was pretty rife, here in the UK, in other Commonwealth nations and written into law in parts of the US. Now extermination, that was pretty much a Nazi thing. Not discrimination, not exploitation, but extermination. Not treating a large portion of your own citizens as second or third class, not denying them rights available to others and using them as a cheap resource, but deciding they should not be alive. And then making that happen. And not being content with carrying that out at home, as an 'internal matter' but going into every neighbouring country you can and doing it, then going into the neighbouring countries of those places and doing it again, and again, and again.

Personally, I can't shrug off the Holocaust as something that had parallels in other nations at other times and was just 'one of those things'. You can't have the Nazis and dump the Holocaust, you can't have WW2 and all the toys without the Nazis. It's a job lot.

Gary

Legion 427 Jan 2019 7:35 a.m. PST

Martians are highly susceptible to germ warfare. See "War of the Worlds" for reference.
Be careful … you might be called "anti-Martian" and calling for genocide. And in turn you will be called racist, a fascist and don't like little green or grey people … evil grin


picture

But seriously we all know that the Nazis and their ideology was very bad to say the least. As was the Japanese version of imperialism and racism. No excusing that. But certainly worth studying and understand why, etc. Plus as we see we have uber-racists with terrorist e.g. ISIS, AQ, the Taliban, etc. still today. Who believe they are a "master race" of some sort so to speak.

The main difference between the US and Germany was the US concluded its genocidal war of conquest in the previous century, although not with the same ruthless efficiency.

It was pretty well appalling. Segregation was enshrined in law in more than a couple of US States, and I think it genuinely shocked others to see it being practised by US units based in other nations.
Sadly yes very much so. And today in the USA we are still struggling with segregation, racism, etc. But of course the US is not alone. Again, look at what is going on in the Mid East, Africa, A'stan, etc., etc. Many shades of grey and many dirty hands …

Fred Cartwright27 Jan 2019 7:51 a.m. PST

you can't have WW2 and all the toys without the Nazis. It's a job lot.

I think you could have quite easily had WW2 without the Nazis. Things would have kicked off in the Pacific at some point. It is not impossible that a non Nazi aggressive nationalist party could have got power in Germany and started the war in Europe.

Now extermination, that was pretty much a Nazi thing. Not discrimination, not exploitation, but extermination.

Genocide is not a uniquely Nazi thing. Rwanda, Pol Pot et al have all attempted that. What the Nazis did was pursue with a ruthless efficiency. The war gains that the Nazis made enabled them to spread that vile terror further than any of the others, but the intent to wipe out a whole cection of the population was not unique.
I think you are also confusing German war aims with the holocaust. Germany didn't go to war to spread the holocaust. Their war aim was quite specific – to carve out a colonial empire for themselves in the east where the Germans are in charge and the natives working for them. Such a plan was what all colonial powers were doing at the time so not unique. Hitler admired the British Empire, God help us, he thought we had the right idea! Displacing the native population from their land and then bringing in slave labour to exploit the resources is just what the white settlers did in North America in the 19th century with similar disaterous results for the native population, all be it not pursued with such evil ruthlessness. The uniqueness of the Nazis is in their utter ruthless efficiency in pursuing such an aim and their up front admission of what it was they planned, but I think you are deluding yourself if you think the Nazis are somehow unique in history or that given the right circumstances it could not happen again.

Legion 427 Jan 2019 8:01 a.m. PST

Genocide is not a uniquely Nazi thing. Rwanda, Pol Pot et al have all attempted that. What the Nazis did was pursue with a ruthless efficiency.
So very true … and so it continues today. E.g. The West/UN still has forces in the former Yugoslavia, IIRC. To name at least one current location.

Starfury Rider27 Jan 2019 9:52 a.m. PST

Come on Fred,

"You can't have the Nazis and dump the Holocaust, you can't have WW2 and all the toys without the Nazis. It's a job lot."

"I think you could have quite easily had WW2 without the Nazis. Things would have kicked off in the Pacific at some point. It is not impossible that a non Nazi aggressive nationalist party could have got power in Germany and started the war in Europe."

You know there I'm talking about the actual war that did happen, not an alternative reality or what if Hitler had choked on a strudel in pre Heimlich manoeuvre 1932. You cannot look at the World War of 1939 to 1945 without major reference to Nazi ideology and actions.

"So yes, racism was pretty rife, here in the UK, in other Commonwealth nations and written into law in parts of the US. Now extermination, that was pretty much a Nazi thing. Not discrimination, not exploitation, but extermination."

"Genocide is not a uniquely Nazi thing. Rwanda, Pol Pot et al have all attempted that. What the Nazis did was pursue with a ruthless efficiency."

No Fred, I did not mean that genocide was unique to the Nazis, and I didn't use the word unique either. I said pretty much, because I'm well aware of what happened under Stalin and what the IJA did in China, during the self same time period. And being born in 1970 I'm just about able to recall the news reports of Pol Pot and Year Zero, and certainly those from Rwanda. Both those particular examples are of course post-war, so perhaps Nazi Germany can be regarded as a pioneer in mass extermination? And yes, they were very good at it weren't they, which might demonstrate a certain degree of belief and motivation on their part.

"I think you are also confusing German war aims with the holocaust. Germany didn't go to war to spread the holocaust." Where did I say that they did? But they still went to war and they still brought the Holocaust to every nation they occupied. I'm well aware of the Nazi plans for Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and what it meant for their populations, because as you say, they were upfront about the need to 'depopulate' the areas they were planning to invade and settle.

"The uniqueness of the Nazis is in their utter ruthless efficiency in pursuing such an aim and their up front admission of what it was they planned, but I think you are deluding yourself if you think the Nazis are somehow unique in history or that given the right circumstances it could not happen again." Where did I say that only Nazi Germany was capable of genocide? And what were the right circumstances for it to happen in Nazi Germany? I thought it was because the Nazi hierarchy decided that's what they wanted to do?

As a sidebar, 27th January 2019 is Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK. It seems that while those of us with an interest in military history and its attendant political baggage like to argue about minutiae there's still a few folks struggling with the basic history;

link

On the basis of circa 65 million people in the UK, 1 in 20 works out to sizeable 3.25 million. Even if that's an excessive estimate, it's still pretty damning.

Gary

Fred Cartwright27 Jan 2019 12:33 p.m. PST

Both those particular examples are of course post-war, so perhaps Nazi Germany can be regarded as a pioneer in mass extermination?

I think that epithet belongs to our very distant ancestors who wiped out Neanderthal man. There is nothing new under the sun.

You know there I'm talking about the actual war that did happen, not an alternative reality or what if Hitler had choked on a strudel in pre Heimlich manoeuvre 1932.

No I didn't. I thought you were implying no Nazis = no WW2, which I don't you could say.

Where did I say that they did?

Apologies if I misrepresented your views, but it seemed to me you were lumping German war aims in with the holocaust and implying that anyone who fought to expand the Greater German Reich bought into the holocaust, assuming they were fully informed of what it involved. I doubt that is true. I think as Lee said many didn't give it a moments thought and they fought for things much more personal than that. Certainly that is what my family members that I talked to that fought with various branches of HM's armed forces have told me. They fought for their friends, to stay alive and to protect their loved ones. In fact when I asked what the Germans were like that they interacted with during the war the comment is "they were just like us". But weren't they all Nazi fanatics I asked? "No most just wanted to survive and get back home to their families and return to what they were doing before the war" was the reply.

On the basis of circa 65 million people in the UK, 1 in 20 works out to sizeable 3.25 million. Even if that's an excessive estimate, it's still pretty damning.

Sad, but true that less and less know anything about the war, the holocaust or much of anything about our history. Asked a woman the other day, late 50's what year the Second World War started. No idea she said. It is a standard question in mental test scoring. Now she is baby boomer generation like me and grew up when WW2 was still recent history and the people who fought it still around. My physics teacher at school was a Lancaster pilot, maths teacher flew Wellingtons for Coastal Command and my biology teacher was in the infantry.

William Ulsterman28 Jan 2019 8:09 p.m. PST

But the thread completely ignores how effective the Red Army was in destroying the German army and basically extols or is critical of the 'modelling' of Dupuy, as well as getting almost every statistic wrong or at least arguable.

No wonder the response to it here has concentrated more upon applying our modern day morals as a template for the motivations of German, Japanese and American societies of the 1940's. Hitler was voted into power by the German electorate and German society was not motivated solely by fear of the Nazis, many agreed with Hitler and actively supported the regime, not all were members of the party. All those 'willing executioners' just lining up for their turn…not that Stalin's lot was really any different. And as for the pioneers of mass extermination, for a political purpose, were probably the Turks who wiped out the Armenians in WWI and in the aftermath of WWI wiped out their Greek population. As the Grofaz himself said – who remembers the Armenians?

Legion 429 Jan 2019 8:09 a.m. PST

And as for the pioneers of mass extermination, for a political purpose, were probably the Turks who wiped out the Armenians in WWI and in the aftermath of WWI wiped out their Greek population. As the Grofaz himself said who remembers the Armenians?
Very true, the Armenians are still trying to get the Turks to admit to and accept what horrible atrocities they committed. It rivaled ISIS in many ways. And if you were an Armenian female in most cases you'd be better off dead than to be in the hands of the Turks.

As we see with, e.g. ISIS, some horrendous acts still occur. Just ask a Yazidi if you can find one … The Turks'treatment of the Armenians was has bad or worse. Some things never change, it appears. As in both cases it was based on the Armenians and Yazidis religious beliefs vs. those of both the Turks and ISIS.

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