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  #31  
Old 25 Aug 16, 19:43
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Originally Posted by Metryll View Post
Germany first never meant that Pacific had secondary priority quite the contrary. Most of USN, Marines Corps and a lage chunk of US Army/USAAF fougth there. By end of war the biggest CW Army was the 14th deployed in Burma.

Whether Germans had or not a chance change nothing to the fact that Allies had to use a large part of their industrial ouput into Atlantic. In order to use large stock of supply in all theaters they had first to be shipped oversea in first instance. Most of naval assets of 'world's most powerful navies' had been build after war breakout.
Changes nothing. Germany and Japan couldn't attack in any serious way British and US soil, allowing them to build up their forces - navies included.
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  #32  
Old 26 Aug 16, 02:44
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Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
Welcome back!

In the battle of Carrhae, 53 BC,despite being heavily outnumbered, Parthian cavalry completely outmaneuvered Roman heavy infantry, killing or capturing most of the Roman soldiers. Extrapolating from the ancient battlefields to WWII battles and operations is reaching. Dispersal on battle grounds has increased significantly in space and duration of operations, and requires mobility and maneuver to place forces in the main effort or reinforce defenders in the defense.

The Soviets looked to the mobile forces' operations in the Red Army during WWII to fashion their concept of an Operational Maneuver Group in the 1980's. They found in the Red Army operations that successful offensive operations would require not only a decisive penetration of the enemy defenses, but also a rapid transfer of the main efforts of the attacker to the enemy's operational depth for the purpose of developing the offensive.

From their war experience, the decisive condition for complete destruction of the enemy was achieving a high attack tempo, for even short halts gave the enemy breathing space to maneuver or counterattack. The Germans conditioned the soviets well by their ability to react literally overnight to Soviet maneuver.

For those interested in the details and examples from the Red Army experience, see my article in Parameters (Journal of the US Army War College), "Mobile Groups: Prologue to OMG, Vol. XVI, No.2, Summer 1986. It is free and available online at Parameters.
See your point, what Gerry argue, if I understand him correctly, is that maneuver does no exist in a vacuum. For an exploitation to happen, a breaktrough must have been made previously.

This is what North Korean attempted for almost two months before In'chon in Pusan perimeter. Each day Walker picked the equivalent of a regiment among his Divisions + 5th Marines and used it to spoil any breatrough attempt.

In Normandy Allied did not lacked any doctrine for a maneuver, German density simply negated any attempt to use such a doctrine. Cobra is often seen as breach made by VII Corps towards Avranches. Actually it is the US rigth flank which pivoted again 7th Army left flank. VII Corps advance allowed VIII Corps to breach German line at a point out of reach of German reserves. This quite visible when one look at CCB/4 advance.
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  #33  
Old 26 Aug 16, 02:53
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Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
Changes nothing. Germany and Japan couldn't attack in any serious way British and US soil, allowing them to build up their forces - navies included.
A sea power can be blockaded which is equivalent to an invasion for a land power. Seas are not the protection you believe it to be, this is a two edged situation. USA did not fielded more than 100 Divisions, not due to lack of base manpower, but because suppling those units called for a massive logistical net. By end of war Tooth to Tail ratio was close to 5 to 1. IIRC it never went below 3 to 1 with a Russian ratio closer to 1 to 1 in 1942.
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  #34  
Old 26 Aug 16, 07:20
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Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
Thank you for your purchase of Soviet Operational Deception.

I have not read Harrison's book on Isserson, but he did good work in his, "The Russian Way of War: Operational Art, 1904-1940". Isserson served on the Frunze and General Staff Academy faculty/staff and his writings were in such journals as "Military Thought" during the 1930's when the Red Army worked theories and issues of contemporary warfare and deep operations. Isserson's writings contributed to understanding where the Red Army wanted to go with mechanization. My primary focus is what the Soviet Army learned from the Red Army's experiences with those theories at the operational and tactical levels. My burning historical question as an intelligence officer was how did the Red Army win. because the U.S. Army during the Cold War period, and before David Glantz, was buying wholesale the German interpretation of what happened on the eastern front.

Now, after the 50th Anniversary of WWII, studies on the Red Army experiences are marketable, but I spend my time at the operational and tactical level--I find men in battle more interesting than military theory. So, I will probably not pickup this work by Harrison.
I've underlined the (un)asked question and will provide my interpretation. The US Army swallowed the German explanation because it was easy. The Germans were culturally, politically and ideologically closer to the US than the USSR, thereby making it harder to challenge German assumptions, explanations, or excuses. Any explanation coming out of the USSR was automatically subject to an " it's from the enemy so it must be propaganda" mindset because of the Cold War.
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  #35  
Old 26 Aug 16, 07:34
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Originally Posted by Metryll View Post
See your point, what Gerry argue, if I understand him correctly, is that maneuver does no exist in a vacuum. For an exploitation to happen, a breakthrough must have been made previously.
I agree maneuver does not exist in a vacuum. There is a spectrum of options from attrition to maneuver for a commander, depending on level of command and situation. Historically, quantitatively and qualitatively inferior forces have to avoid attrition. The wisdom has been to find the enemy weak point and attack it. This often requires movement.

The spatial differences of North Africa and Eastern Front allowed, if not required, a reliance on maneuver to hit the weak spot and exploit it through an operational depth which, at times collapsed army group level forces and significantly moved strategically the front line.

Maneuver gives the capability to rapidly accomplish the mission; to react to change in the situation; to create flexibility in using firepower; and the ability to operate at the necessary moment and at the necessary place faster than the enemy (an unexpectedly for him).

Maneuver connects the principles of concentration of efforts, surprise, aggressiveness, and sustainability. Conversely, forces with mobility to maneuver will hardly be ale to amass superior forces and means in a timley manner at the necessary place, achieve surprise, or conduct active combat operations while retaining their combat effectiveness.

Maneuver at a high tempo ensure the rapid surmounting of defensive lines and zones of the enemy which have been struck, deprive the enemy of the opportunity of maneuvering from the depth and laterally with the aim of building up efforts on the decisive axis and closing breaches in the defense, and they also do not permit the enemy to move its surviving units and combat equipment out from under the blows of attacking forces.

One can see this, on the western front, in the German invasion of France, very often French and British forces were deprived of the opportunity to take up lines favorable for defense in a timely manner and dig in on them. The Germans often captured these positions on the move.

After the breakout, one can see in the above referenced 4th Armored Div at Nancy, the Americans were unprepared to continue a maneuver into the depth of the German defense: it had split the combat power of the 4th AD, the CCA cdr proposed after capturing Arracourt that he advance on Sarrebourg which the corps cdr denied because the it lay outside the corps' zone, and the Corps had made no provisions to support a continued armor advance beyond the 20 miles. If a reinforced CCA had continued, it would have preempted the Germans later counterattack which put 4th AD on the defense in an attrition fight.

One can be sure there is fighting that reduces forces in these maneuvers, but the emphasis is on maneuver, not a static, stand-up exchange forces.
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  #36  
Old 26 Aug 16, 08:18
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The density of german forces in the West front (fall of 1944) remains to be seen.

There were around 300 operational tanks right after the fall of the falaise pocket and german divisions holding the front were quite small and weak compared to earlier on in the war. (literally half strength in just manpower terms- I am not even referring to bayonet strengths. A lot of divisions that escaped the Falaise pocket were literally rear echelon only, including all the panzer divisions) The artillery park in the west was shattered along with its tank force. (with the majority of OOB holdings removed). However, as time went on the front was repaired to an extent.

So a divisional count is not accurate and using theoretical OOB strengths to read west front history would lead to the wrong conclusions.

I have never seen a historian try to measure the 'density' of this compared to the eastern front (in general).

Last edited by Cult Icon; 26 Aug 16 at 08:27..
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  #37  
Old 26 Aug 16, 09:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong
Welcome back!...
Cheers,... just popping as time (and secure connections) allows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong
...In the battle of Carrhae, 53 BC,despite being heavily outnumbered, Parthian cavalry completely outmaneuvered Roman heavy infantry, killing or capturing most of the Roman soldiers. Extrapolating from the ancient battlefields to WWII battles and operations is reaching. Dispersal on battle grounds has increased significantly in space and duration of operations, and requires mobility and maneuver to place forces in the main effort or reinforce defenders in the defense...
Parthian cavalry was certainly more mobile than Roman infantry but Carrhae did not shatter the Roman front (assuming the front here equals the Roman frontier). Parthian success was tactical and short lived and the Parthians were never a serious threat to the Roman east. The Parthians, and their Sassanid Persian successors were never able to match Roman firepower, even after the empire was reduced by the collapse of the western half. They might raid and plunder as far as Edessa and Antioch, even hold some areas for a short time but Roman 'reserves' always arrived to set the situation right and recover the lost ground. By the time the Romans had been weakened enough to be strategically defeated in the east the Persians were already broken.

The difference between Jul-Aug, 1944 and 1st C BC (and periods in between) was one of depth (and density) of resources and the pace of operations. Armies in 1st C BC, 6th, 11th, 16th or 19th century AD) were often more than capable of matching the 25 mile per day rate of advance seen in WII, even lacking the internal combustion engine. Armies in WWII and later, thanks to the ICE, could advance further after defeating the enemy's mass but before this was accomplished defensive weight, depth and density had to be overcome.
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  #38  
Old 26 Aug 16, 09:59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metryll View Post
A sea power can be blockaded which is equivalent to an invasion for a land power. Seas are not the protection you believe it to be, this is a two edged situation. USA did not fielded more than 100 Divisions, not due to lack of base manpower, but because suppling those units called for a massive logistical net. By end of war Tooth to Tail ratio was close to 5 to 1. IIRC it never went below 3 to 1 with a Russian ratio closer to 1 to 1 in 1942.
Blockade is absolutely not the same as an invasion. It doesn't requires troop mobolisation, evacuations of industries and populations plus all the rest. In case of USA which had all the needed ressources on their territory, blockade is pretty near to meaningless. Especially considering that Germany and Japan were in absolute incapacity to block USA.
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Old 26 Aug 16, 11:00
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Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
The density of german forces in the West front (fall of 1944) remains to be seen.
Note the sleight of hand
Now the density of the Germans is to be measured after they were battered into submission.

The truth only 'remains to be seen' by those who have no desire to see it.
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Old 26 Aug 16, 12:12
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Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
Blockade is absolutely not the same as an invasion. It doesn't requires troop mobolisation, evacuations of industries and populations plus all the rest. In case of USA which had all the needed ressources on their territory, blockade is pretty near to meaningless. Especially considering that Germany and Japan were in absolute incapacity to block USA.
Effects are the same : industrial output tanks. If no war matériels can be produced, in the end it make no difference between a lost factory or an idle one.
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Old 26 Aug 16, 12:31
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Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
I agree maneuver does not exist in a vacuum. There is a spectrum of options from attrition to maneuver for a commander, depending on level of command and situation. Historically, quantitatively and qualitatively inferior forces have to avoid attrition. The wisdom has been to find the enemy weak point and attack it. This often requires movement.

The spatial differences of North Africa and Eastern Front allowed, if not required, a reliance on maneuver to hit the weak spot and exploit it through an operational depth which, at times collapsed army group level forces and significantly moved strategically the front line.

Maneuver gives the capability to rapidly accomplish the mission; to react to change in the situation; to create flexibility in using firepower; and the ability to operate at the necessary moment and at the necessary place faster than the enemy (an unexpectedly for him).

Maneuver connects the principles of concentration of efforts, surprise, aggressiveness, and sustainability. Conversely, forces with mobility to maneuver will hardly be ale to amass superior forces and means in a timley manner at the necessary place, achieve surprise, or conduct active combat operations while retaining their combat effectiveness.

Maneuver at a high tempo ensure the rapid surmounting of defensive lines and zones of the enemy which have been struck, deprive the enemy of the opportunity of maneuvering from the depth and laterally with the aim of building up efforts on the decisive axis and closing breaches in the defense, and they also do not permit the enemy to move its surviving units and combat equipment out from under the blows of attacking forces.

One can see this, on the western front, in the German invasion of France, very often French and British forces were deprived of the opportunity to take up lines favorable for defense in a timely manner and dig in on them. The Germans often captured these positions on the move.

After the breakout, one can see in the above referenced 4th Armored Div at Nancy, the Americans were unprepared to continue a maneuver into the depth of the German defense: it had split the combat power of the 4th AD, the CCA cdr proposed after capturing Arracourt that he advance on Sarrebourg which the corps cdr denied because the it lay outside the corps' zone, and the Corps had made no provisions to support a continued armor advance beyond the 20 miles. If a reinforced CCA had continued, it would have preempted the Germans later counterattack which put 4th AD on the defense in an attrition fight.

One can be sure there is fighting that reduces forces in these maneuvers, but the emphasis is on maneuver, not a static, stand-up exchange forces.
Fair points. I don't think there is so much differences between us, safe may be on how/when maneuver happen versus non maneuver combat. For example Cobra saw 29th ID taking heavy losses around St Lô in order to clear VII Corps starting area. Should those combats fall under the attrition category or seen as part of a maneuver ?
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Old 26 Aug 16, 12:33
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Originally Posted by m kenny View Post
Note the sleight of hand
Now the density of the Germans is to be measured after they were battered into submission.

The truth only 'remains to be seen' by those who have no desire to see it.
The assumption is even less valid since by Fall 44 Allies most urgent problem was logistic, not Germans
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Old 26 Aug 16, 14:53
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The US Army swallowed the German explanation because it was easy. The Germans were culturally, politically and ideologically closer to the US than the USSR, thereby making it harder to challenge German assumptions, explanations, or excuses. Any explanation coming out of the USSR was automatically subject to an " it's from the enemy so it must be propaganda" mindset because of the Cold War.
The Germans in the beginning were impressive in the Blitzkrieg assaults catching every army off the mark. The pace, the command and control, and implications of leadership (auftragstaktik) of its armored forces was greater than armies' despite some technological superiority over the Germans. This was clearly evident in the early stages of Barbarossa. In the latter part of the war, the Germans were dangerous opponents though outnumbered, dwindling resources and manpower, and fighting on multiple fronts. At a military professional level there were legitimate questions in leadership and experience against a Red Army that became Soviet Army against the US in the Cold War. Students of the eastern front had to sift through the alibis for defeat, as well as, what historians know about any autobiographies and narratives from a vanquished forces that requires vetting and sometimes a saltshaker.

The Soviet side did have its censorship, political correctness, and idealistic Soviet soldiers and commanders. One had to read between the lines of the published memoirs and narratives, just like the average Soviet citizen had to learn to read between the lines in Pravda and Izvestia [which are like any american corporate newsletter or magazine--a lot of happy to glad material, but not the warts, faults, failures]. I think David Glantz's multi-volume study, "Forgotten battles of the German-Soviet War (1941-1945)", exemplifies what students of Soviet accounts had to discover through detective work, comparing different editions of works for differences in censorship, and there was a major window after Khrushchev's denigration of Stalin's cult of personality and what Stalin claimed in the war effort. Glantz through an extraordinary personal effort began tracking on detailed hand-drawn maps day-by-day tracking battle/operations actions from Soviet memoirs, unit histories, staff studies and general histories by respected Soviet historians, such as Samsonov, Radzievsky, Losik, Gareev..... with German unit situation maps, war journals, and seminars with German cdrs relating the experiences in the 1980's.

To be a student of the Red Army, one had to build a personal library that runs into the thousands of books and tens of linear foot files of documents.
(When I visited the Harvard University library and Defense Intelligence Library in Wash DC in 1991-2, my library (English and Russian) on the Red Army was more extensive in books and I have a more complete collection of the Soviet Military history journals as well as the General Staff studies noted above, the Soviet (Under Khrushchev six volume history of the Great Patriotic War, and the Soviet's eleven volume History of the Second World War.) I sit in a study, as of last count several years ago, of over 6000 books of which is 60% is on the eastern front WWII. [Now, you know how I can quote references so quickly. ]
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Old 26 Aug 16, 20:05
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Effects are the same : industrial output tanks. If no war matériels can be produced, in the end it make no difference between a lost factory or an idle one.
Where it tanks ? As said previously, Axis couldn't influence the production in USA and had difficulties to do so in UK. The comparison between lost factory and idle one is pure nonsense, Captured/destroyed factory cannot work anymore where a idle factory can start produce immediately when ressources arrive.
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Old 26 Aug 16, 20:21
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Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500]
Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500] Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500] Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500] Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500] Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500] Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500] Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500] Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500] Metryll is a jewel in the rough [500]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
Where it tanks ? As said previously, Axis couldn't influence the production in USA and had difficulties to do so in UK. The comparison between lost factory and idle one is pure nonsense, Captured/destroyed factory cannot work anymore where a idle factory can start produce immediately when ressources arrive.
You said it all 'when'. With an effective blockade, the 'when' turn to 'never'.
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