Walrus: "'We won because we learned the discipline of 20th Century warfare the fastest.' With the greatest respect, the Germans taught you, and you were good students. " I think this is quite a bit of oversimplification. We learned not only from the Germans (mainly the earlier "heavy" version of armored division which proved inflexible as both armies discovered), but also the French (Contrary to popular opinion regarding the efficacy of the French army, they were the US artillery doctrine's early inspiration for TOT and other techniques. Artillery was our strongest branch in the Army during the war. The Heer was at least a generation behind us), and the Brits (USAAF fighter section tactics and early convoy tactics although the USN came up with the Thach Weave on its own).
And of course there was The Manhattan Project. The United States also learned from the Russians in the 1970s (Air Land Battle drew important lessons from Tukachevskii's Deep Battle). If there's one trait I can see from the US armed forces over time is that we generally are very quick to throw out what doesn't work and adapt rapidly once we're at war. This is something that our opponents have noted as Rommel stated: "What was astonishing was the speed with which the Americans adapted themselves to modern warfare. In this they were assisted by their extraordinary sense for the practical and material and by their complete disregard for tradition and worthless theories... In Tunisia the Americans had to pay a stiff price for their experience, but it brought rich dividends. Even at that time, the American generals showed themselves to be very advanced in the tactical handling of their forces, although we had to wait until the Patton Army in France to see the most astonishing achievement in mobile warfare. The Americans, it is fair to say, profited far more than the British from their experience in Africa, thus confirming the axiom that education is easier than re-education." (_The Rommel Papers_, pp.521, 523) As for the USN, they didn't need any teachers at all. They did fine on their own including Magic. They pioneered carrier and amphibious ops all on their own in the interwar period. I don't see how the Germans, the Japanese, or the Brits taught them anything of useful value in these areas. "The Germans didn't have your resoucres and what resources Germany did have were extremely poorly managed." What did Sun Tzu supposedly say? (I think it's apocryphal) "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." As I posted above the US Army wasn't nearly as inept as some of the self-serving Wehrmacht generals tried to portray them in the postwar interviews (and this is borne out by numerous studies since Michael Doubler published his seminal work on US tactical innovations in the European Theater of Operation). In fact Armeegruppe B's assessment of the First US Army even after the self-inflicted wound at Huertgen is quite complimentary (Intelligence Annex to Army Group B War Journal, 23 November 1944 pp.2-4, T-311, R1, CARL). There are plenty of documentary evidence regarding what the Germans thought of the Third Army. "For example, the ME262 would have destroyed the American Air Force were it not for vacillation of the German Government and armed forces that postponed its entry until it was irrelevant.." Well this is a myth that has been thoroughly demolished by Williamson Murray's tome on the Luftwaffe. Of course Galland was the one who argued this point, but he neglects to mention the delay in the completion of the Jumo engine prototype (the production model had ridiculous problems in terms of reliability). In addition, given the dearth of experienced pilots (just look at who flew in JV44. Me163s killed even the most experienced test pilots) the Luftwaffe wouldn't have come close to reaching the kill ratio of JV44 even if they somehow miraculously could 1) produce enough Me262s, 2) procure enough fuel to train pilots, 3) concentrate enough high quality flight candidates (The Germans missed the boat in 1941 on that) who can survive the attrition process. Only then could they pray that the Kammhuber line wouldn't screw up when the American B-29s would try to drop the first three atomic bombs on Berlin with the Red Army knocking on their door. This sort of myth is what used to upset a lot of Bundeswehr officers who fought as junior officers in the Panzerwaffe. I've heard them argue that rather than investing so much in wonder weapons such as Tiger, King Tiger and Elephant, they should've concentrated their efforts on PzKpfw Mk IV and Mk V. Mk IV was a reliable track that should've been their "Sherman". Patton was right in one sense regarding King Tiger. You cannot hope to maintain momentum in an offensive operation when the lead platoon's tank breaks down every 50 miles while clogging up small roads. Neil Richardson
The statue, "Appomattox," stands at the corner of Prince and Washington streets in Alexandria, Virginia at the spot from which in 1861 what would be the 17th Virginia Regiment departed the city to join the army forming at Manasses. On the pediment are the names of the hundred or so who did not return, having been lost in four years of war. This memorial, erected long after the war, is generally thought to be a meditation on the costs of war. pl