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U.S. Army vs German Army

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by keslerian, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. keslerian

    keslerian New Member

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    Hi everyone. I've just finished a comprehensive study of the difference in fighting power between the U.S. and german army during WW2. The bitter-sweet results have been posted in a fairly short article which can be found here. This same topic was the subject of an entire book by martin van creveld, but I felt it would be good to add my own 2 cents on the matter. I've read alot of different sources but come to the same ultimate conclusion: Any way you cut it, the U.S. army was markedly inferior to the german army in the realm of fighting power.

    This fact sits very uncomfortably with some jingoists and historical revisionists, who continue to perpetuate the belief that americas forces were qualitatively superior to those of its foes. But as my post details, the U.S. army was deficient in quite a few categorys (like cohesion and command staffs), and these problems might actually have gotten worse since then! All in all, this is a very important subject which has been obscured and swept under the rug by ignoramuses, who would much rather bloviate about the importance of gold-plated equipment.

    *For those who are curious, fighting power is a military attribute determined by human and organisational aspects rather than technological ones.
     
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  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Australians gave them a run for their money...
     
  3. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Well that's ten minutes of my life I'll never get back. You are one self-important ass aren't you. I like the way you paint those that disagree with you as bloviators and ignoramuses.
     
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  4. Dave55

    Dave55 Member Patron  

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    So well sourced and referenced.

    EDIT:

    Add this to your scholarly piece:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2P4xyh5RsI
     
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  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Hmmm... Let's examine this in an objective manner. Allies land in Normandy, June 6th, 1944, and are pissing in the Elbe in April, 1945. Nope, your thesis doesn't seem to hold any water.
     
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  6. Ruud

    Ruud Member

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    A salute for you too, Kodiak. I ran out of them in previous posts.
     
  7. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Be careful. I think we'll join the ranks of "Spacebattles.com" in the "ignoramus" club.
     
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  8. SKYLINEDRIVE

    SKYLINEDRIVE Member

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    Being a retard is like death! It's not yourself who suffer, its the people around you!
     
  9. Otto

    Otto No More Half Measures Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Let's back off the thread starter a bit, as I think we can salvage a decent discussion out if this. The SpaceBattles link always tends to set people off, and I don't think keslerian's tone helped either.

    I suppose it is possible to argue that a German unit (say a company) was a more comnbat effective vs a US unit of the same size in head to head battle. That is given full supply, as well as strategic and tactical battlefield equality. The German army so often performed well against difficult odds, continually throwing wrenches into the efforts of Allied plans.

    Unfortunately for the Nazis, WW2 was not decided by the quality on a unit per unit basis. It was a conflict of economies, of finance, of industrial capacity, of workforce mobilization, logistics, intelligence and counter-intelligence, of technological advancement, and of strategic coordination amongst the belligerents. In these areas Germany performed so poorly it didn't really matter how well their troops did in the field. The Axis were especially poor in coordinating operations and in mass production.

    I think the crux of the original post is the term "Army". If by "army" you mean soldier vs soldier then the original premise might be valid. However if by "army" one means the full capacity of the armed forces of a nation, then the US was obviously superior to Germany in WW2.
     
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  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    There is a saying about a little knowledge, but as I read "James'Rocket" I had a feeling of dejavu, and then I remembered - The Producers!

    What he wrote about German recruit and officer Training is broadly true. German Officers and NCOs were more thoroughly trained that their US or British opposite numbers and probably the only army capable of implementing mission command at a tactical level. However, I also thought some of his assertions were at odds with the evidence. It was his rosy hued comments about the German army which put me in mind of Franz Leibkind ;)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKqvqEX7oSI

    His thoughts about cohesion and racial homogeneity might have been better left out, or at least better researched. Far from being homogeneous, by 1944 the German army incorporated volksdeutche from across Eastern Europe an and the SS seemed to take any warm body - though the only black SS units were I think the tiny Indian legion.

    The blog includes the good old fighting power diagram straight out of ADP Ops p2.2 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/33695/ADPOperationsDec10.pdf

    However, the argument keslerian has put forward is flawed. It is not logical to conclude that the army with the highest conceptual and moral component will automatically win. However good the Germans were at close combat and mission command and well motivated their troops they still lost.

    It was not simply a matter that the Allies had a big advantage in the physical component - lot more kit. There were serious weaknesses in the the German conceptual component. Despite all the effort the Germans spent studying war, at the highest levels of strategy they made some real howlers and were consistently out-thought at a theatre level. The Allies had developed an expertise in coalition warfare totally lacking among the Axis powers. The allies were far better at logistics and less wasteful in harnessing science to their cause. The battlefield tactics deployed in Europe by both the US and British armies played to the allies strengths and took advantage of predictable German doctrine. The Germans were really good at improvisation and low level initiative which gave them an edge in close combat engagements. Their tactics were predictable and the British and US relied on massed firepower to compensate.
     
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  11. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    He means : In my dreams .
     
  12. Otto

    Otto No More Half Measures Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Sheldrake turned this ship into the wind. We now have a much more robust premise than the one I forwarded, and a much better starting point for a discussion. Thanks for that.
     
  13. Dave55

    Dave55 Member Patron  

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    Who is James Rocket? Does he list any sources for saying "German Officers and NCOs were more thoroughly trained that their US or British opposite numbers and probably the only army capable of implementing mission command at a tactical level"


    I don't know about the British but American training stressed improvisation, adaptation and individual initiative. Plus that official racial superiority nonsense but them at a big disadvantage in accurately judging the capabilities of their individual opponents when it got down and dirty.
     
  14. keslerian

    keslerian New Member

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    Dude, whats with the ad hominems? Stop being a blowhard and taking everything so personally. You're obviously offended by what I wrote, so take a minute to chill out. The only reason you would have such an aggressive reaction to my post (which is quite neutral and academic) is because your personal identity is somehow intertwined with the U.S. army and its reputation. If your problem is about a lack of evidence on my part, then I'll be happy to continue the discussion once you calm down. But if your problem is with a deflated ego, then I cannot help you.

    I have a very good reason to label the SBers as bloviators and ignoramuses. They have consistently proven to have a staggeringly innaccurate view of how wars are fought and won, which can be accurately summarised as 'technocentric.' The problem with their beliefs is that in a ground war, technology is much less decisive than human factors. And this isn't a matter of my opinion, either, its all been extensively detailed by martin van crevald and trevor dupuy. They are literary and academic heavyweights who can't be brushed off in the casual manner you do.

    Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945, by Martin van Creveld.

    A Genius For War: The German Army and General Staff, 1807-1945, by Trevor N. Dupuy.
     
  15. keslerian

    keslerian New Member

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    Everything I've said in my article is well sourced and factually grounded, I literally have a huge number of quotes I could bury you with. The bibliography at the bottom is a good place to start, but I also have smaller claims that were sourced from a dozen other books. If you have any problems with a specific claim I made, just let me know. I'll give you a citation and you can check it out for yourself.
    Having a better army doesn't make it impossible for your nation to lose a war. The germans extraordinary performance at the tactical level couldn't alleviate all their operational and strategic deficits. Compared to germany, the U.S. had a larger and more diversified economy, a better mobilisation plan (devised by leo cherne), and had spent the first two years of the war lending money to the commonwealth. This gave them major economic stability and set the stage for the post-war boom, along with the myth that war is good for the economy.

    “Though military excellence is inconceivable without victory, victory is by no means the sole criterion of military excellence. A small army may be overwhelmed by a larger one. Confronted with imposible political and economic odds, a qualitatively superior force may go down to defeat through no fault of its own. Not the outcome alone, but intrinsic qualitys as well must therefore figure in an attempt to measure military (or any other) excellence; omit to do this, and the very notion of quality becomes impossible to sustain.” -Martin van Creveld.
     
  16. Dave55

    Dave55 Member Patron  

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    That link in your post "found here" is NOT the same link you had in your original post.

    Just go away and let us bloviate in peace.
     
  17. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Those aren't his comments, but my summary.

    All armies paid lip service to "initiative," but only the Germans trained their officers and NCOs to actually think two levels up. You can ask your platoon commanders to do what they think the battalion commander would do, but it won't help if their training has been based on the internal economy of the infantry platoon. German platoon commanders were taught to command battalions.
     
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  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, towards the bottom of his blog

    Bibliography

    Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance 1939-1945, by Martin Van Creveld.
    Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, by Jorg Muth.
    Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy 1944, by Max Hastings.
    Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy, by Joseph Balkoski.
    Germany's Panzer Arm, by R. L. DiNardo.


    I've read Muth and Hastings, and they can pretty much be summed up in one sentence...The German was superior.
    While he has claimed to have read several sources, it appears that they are all of the same mindset - The German was superior.
    Yet, in the end, the Allies won, and the Germans lost. Thus, in the end, any real or perceived German superiority mattered not a whit - They surrendered by the tens of thousands.


    Still there was entertainment to be had here, and I found this bit especially amusing...How keslerian poo-poos the ignoramuses bloviating about the importance of gold-plated equipment. While at the same time including this "gem" in the notes section of his essay


    Now...to me any way...A Kriegsmarine without ships and a Luftwaffe without aircraft rather highlights the need and necessity of gold-plated equipment. For a navy without ships is not a navy, and an air force without planes is not an air force.
     
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  19. rprice

    rprice Member

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    Jingoists???

    FYI, At the beginning of the war the biggest jingoists on the planet were the leaders of the axis powers. There's more than a little bit of irony in suggesting that someone is a jingoist for not agreeing with your thesis.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, with tongue planted firmly in cheek

    [​IMG]

    No offense, but your "huge number of quotes" pales in comparison to two simple pages.
     

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