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31 December 2010

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SAC Brat

Mr Richardson,

Thanks for the post. An airplane is just a static display without fuel, lots of parts, trained pilots, trained and experienced maintenance personnel and airfields. Set any variable in the equation to zero and the plane won't be effective.

As for adapting techniques, Japanese Naval Staff Officer Masatake Okumiya also noted the US forces quickly changing practices in the Pacific theatre. What surprised me was his envy of how the US took care of morale with logistical support and search/rescue sweeps after battles.

rkka

"Walrus: "'We won because we learned the discipline of 20th Century warfare the fastest."

And because the Red Army had the Heer gut-shot and on the run well before we ran into more than handfuls of German divisions.

Seven weeks into Barbarossa, Halder was expressing concern about German losses because casualties were already far greater than the General Staff had planned for, and provided replacements for, the entire campaign.

walrus

Thank you for your post Mr. Richardson, and a happy New Year to all at SST.

On the subject of learning, there is no doubt that the American Forces were the fastest learners in WWII. Much of that learning came at great initial cost. For example, according to Anthony Beavor, American casualty rates in the Normandy campaign exceeded those of the Russians on the Eastern front.

For the British, "learning" seems to have occurred in different dimensions, for example their crypto abilities and intelligence services seemed to have produced superior results.

There is no question also that American resourcefulness and "can do" attitude produced marvels, for example, the Swedish insights of Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch in January 1939 became the Atom bomb.

That naturally leads us to speculation; what did we learn in 2010? Will we put those lessons to good use in 2011? In Afghanistan have we had Ten years of consistent learning or One year, Ten times over?

I fear that America is facing a "learning gap". For example, I watched the entire healthcare reform debate slide into stupidity. Did anyone take the time to compare the American system with those of the rest of the developed world, and perhaps draw some cogent lessons from them? It appears not.

It does however appear that folk are waking up to the risks inherent in creating a vast national security apparatus apparently in support of endless war.

So my hope for this New Year is that our learning may be painless and make the world a better place.

Tyler

Are we digging up that old saw that Stephen Ambrose made so much money off of that America won WWII and the average American conscript was equal to the cream of the Wehrmacht?

Lysander

I'm no military expert, but when I look back at counter-factual possibilities of how the Germans might have won, I can only think of two:

1) Avoid war with Russia

2) Persuade the Japanese to attack Russia instead of the US. (The later would have been difficult as the Russians gave them a very bloody nose in 1938 IIRC)

That would have given the Germans a fighting chance. Even then, it's not clear that Stalin would not have seized the moment and launched his own surprise attack circa 1943 or so.

In retrospect, Germany could have avoided war entirely and used its greater economic and military power to dominate Europe behind the scenes rather than through overt military invasion and occupation. But that is not the nature of Nazism. One might as well advise a gorilla to swim.

A happy and Prosperous new year to one and all.

Neil Richardson


Dear walrus:

"On the subject of learning, there is no doubt that the American Forces were the fastest learners in WWII. Much of that learning came at great initial cost. For example, according to Anthony Beavor, American casualty rates in the Normandy campaign exceeded those of the Russians on the Eastern front."

Actually I'm not sure if that's true. I see that on page 522 Beevor uses the D+84 figures from Carlo D'Este's _Decision in Normandy_ without attribution. 125,847 casualties would've been smaller than almost every major campaign losses suffered by the Red Army. For example, the Battle of Moscow (over a million including the Soviet counteroffensive), the Battle of Stalingrad (over 1.1 mil), Case Blue and Voronezh (over 800,000), the Battle of Kursk (860,000), the Lower Dnieper Offensive (over a million), and Bagration (750,000), East Prussian Offensive (500,000), and Berlin (360,000 in two weeks). Beevor ought to know something about this as he has written on Stalingrad and Berlin.

Also I'm not sure if LTC D'Este would actually agree with this assessment. In fact I'm fairly certain he would concur with Doubler's assessment on US casualties. The learning came at much lower cost than you suggest here because D+84 also includes 1) D-Day and Omaha was a terrible killing ground, 2) the US VII Corps advance to cut off Cotentin and the mad dash to capture Cherbourg, 3) slugging match in the Bocage, 4) Cobra, 5) the Third US Army's breakout, 6) Luettich and Falaise, and then 7) liberation of Paris and most of France.

One could argue that the British and Commonwealth forces paid a heavy price for the objectives they had failed to reach. The gains in Operations Epsom, Tractable, Goodwood, Totalise, Spring were measured in yards with no other impact than tying up the panzer divisions (and to this day it's been a controversial topic). Sometimes terrain constraints and enemy dispositions would demand such heavy price, but this was a series of operations that demonstrated the same old problems of the British Army in terms of combined operations. Rommel stopped the 1st Tank Brigade with 88s at Arras back in 1940 because the infantry support had been separated from the Matildas. Of course this was repeated over and over again in North Africa. To Hans von Luck's amazement, the British 11th Armored Division again lined up neatly in formation right in front of two 88mm Flak batteries during Goodwood without either artillery or infantry support (he had commanded 125.Pzgrenadier Rgt of 21st Panzer). This wasn't the end of it as 101st Airborne saw the Guards Armored do the same near Veghel. Col. Tucker of 82nd Airborne (as well as MG John Frost later) could not believe how inflexible the Guards Armored had been after his men took the Nijmegen bridge with a daylight river crossing

"For the British, "learning" seems to have occurred in different dimensions, for example their crypto abilities and intelligence services seemed to have produced superior results."

I agree and I've wondered if this is a result of a mindset that seemed prevalent in the British Army until Bagnall's reform. There were numerous examples of British senior officers who denigrated the mission command philosophy in the US Army. (e.g., Anderson and Alexander in North Africa, Frederick Browning in Holland, Montgomery in the northern half of the Bulge) I think something like Operation Fortitude and Operation Mincemeat would obviously require a top-down close coordination with attention to minute detail. I've always felt that the best traditions of the British Army were retained in their special forces (SAS and SBS) where individual initiative was prized. Of course back in 1944, the 21st Army Group was so well prepared for the German offensive at Ardennes that both Montgomery and de Guingand were back in London on day one. Only Col. Oscar W. Koch had the full appreciation of the German buildup even though it wasn't his sector of responsibility. Koch was the epitome of a professional G-2 and really was the secret behind Patton's famous "Sixth Sense."

"That naturally leads us to speculation; what did we learn in 2010? Will we put those lessons to good use in 2011? In Afghanistan have we had Ten years of consistent learning or One year, Ten times over?"

Well, this brings us back to tactics and strategy. As Gian Gentile noted recently, COIN is a tactic in contrast to our geopolitical strategy. As he noted David Galula's France lost in Algeria. Will we learn the right lessons? I have no idea. In the absence of a real existential threat, I fear we are always going to get stuck in these godforsaken places. Even if we withdraw from Afghanistan (and I'm all for it), who knows if a GOP administration would not commit ground forces in Yemen? If one looks at only coldhearted calculations of national power and potential security threat to the United States, there wasn't a real compelling reason for the United States to commit major ground forces in Korea or in Vietnam. (At least the British could claim that Transvaal was a valuable strategic real estate)

"I fear that America is facing a "learning gap". For example, I watched the entire healthcare reform debate slide into stupidity. Did anyone take the time to compare the American system with those of the rest of the developed world, and perhaps draw some cogent lessons from them? It appears not."

It's not that simple though. I think de Tocqueville had it right when he claimed that the Americans don't like to defer to "elites" (in terms of wealth or intellect). Professor Richard Hofstadter used to marvel at the contraditions of the American society whenever he would discuss the Founding Fathers "mythology." I see the same combination of impulses in the Tea Party supporters as well as the healthcare reform debate (You also have to make some allowance for the demagoguery present in American politics since the redistricting in the 1980s). Our political culture has contradictory elements and that's been the case since the founding of the Republic.

"It does however appear that folk are waking up to the risks inherent in creating a vast national security apparatus apparently in support of endless war."

We'll have to see. Right now the first issue is the economy in the mind of the electorate. I don't think either party should think about maintaining power unless the economy improves. This is a very volatile electorate IMHO and that in itself poses a danger.

"So my hope for this New Year is that our learning may be painless and make the world a better place."

Indeed I hope for the same as well. Happy new year to you as well as others here at SST.

Neil Richardson

Tyler:

"Are we digging up that old saw that Stephen Ambrose made so much money off of that America won WWII and the average American conscript was equal to the cream of the Wehrmacht?"

You ought to give just a little more credit to Col. Doubler, Col. Mansoor and a lot of us who toiled during the early years of ALB while poring through AARs in our off duty hours. Ambrose was very sloppy in his later years (a lot of the actual "research" was done by his son which led to problems of plagiarism) as he became a pop historian. Nobody who had ever looked at the battle diaries of the 90th Infantry Division before Gens. McLain and Van Fleet took over would claim that an average US conscript was an equal to a Gefreiter in Grossdeutschland. However, there were plenty of average "unbloodied" conscripts from 4th and 6th Armored Divisions who became terrors of the General Staff from day one. I suggest you look up Arracourt as well as Luettich. In fact 90th Infantry Division became pretty good after its bloody first 40 days.

Here's an excerpt of the First US Army from the war diary of the Armeegruppe B dated Nov.23, 1944:

"1st American Inf.Div.: Exceptionally good, good source of officers and men. Temporarily weakened through losses.
2nd American Inf. Div: Appears to be good, apparently good officer corps.
4th American Inf. Div: Until the most recent replacements good
8th American Inf. Div: Judged as good
9th American Inf. Div: Very good
28th American Inf. Div: With the exception of the newest replacements, good. Temporarily hampered due to high losses
29th American Inf. Div: Good. Good training and fighting spirit.
30th American Inf.Div: Battle value high before the battle for Aachen, the younger replacements are partially poor.
83rd American Inf.Div: Battle value good"

You have to remember that this was right after the bloody Huertgen when the First Army had a massive self-inflicted wound (The nightmare of repo depot is a matter for a whole other topic). As for the Third Army, the simple fact that the Germans called it "Panzerarmee Patton" is all one needs to know about their estimation. They never accorded such compliment to any other opposing formation during the war. During the post Cobra breakout the Third Army used XIX TAC to seal the southern flank along the Loire as they raced across France. Does that sound familiar (e.g., FM100-5 in 1982)? Hammer and anvil were interchangeable depending on terrain and enemy disposition until the fuel and ammo shortage caught up with them in September.

WILL

always learn something here such as the
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thach_Weave

Thach by double teaming the Zeros made up for the lack of performance of the individual airplanes. Quantity becomes Quality. Same principle where the lighter American Sherman tanks were able to swarm & flank the superior German Armor.

Also learned about TOT or time on target. this is where different guns co-ordinate their firing to achieve simulatneous arrival of the ordinance.

Here is something new
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artillery#MRSI
(Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact). This is for long firing 15 miles or so where one gun using rapid firing, different angles & powder charges can put about six shells or so on the target at the same instant for total surprise!

Gives a new meaning to "fire for effect!"

William R. Cumming

Thanks for all the great comments and Neil's post!

So what evidence exists that the Taliban are a learning organization?

William R. Cumming

Did the Thach Weave have its roots in WWI? I know adopted in the Pacific Theatre in WWII first by US!

Neil Richardson

Lysander:


"When I look back at counter-factual possibilities of how the Germans might have won, I can only think of two:
1) Avoid war with Russia."

I agree

"2) Persuade the Japanese to attack Russia instead of the US. (The later would have been difficult as the Russians gave them a very bloody nose in 1938 IIRC)"

One of the consequences of Khalkin Gol was that Zhukov probably escaped the purge due to his posting there in 1939. Had he been in Moscow, who knows if the Red Army's greatest general would've been available in 1941. Zhukov had attended the Kriegsakademie in 1925 which would've attracted NKVD's attention. Konstantin Rokossovskii nearly died at the hands of the NKVD before he was released in 1940. And you're right about the impact of the battle as it convinced the IJA leadership that the Kwantung Army (considered their elite at the time) was no match for even a demoralized Red Army in mechanized warfare. This realization led to their southern axis strategy sealing their fate in 1941. Of course Stalin had Richard Sorge who provided timely intelligence as the Germans were approaching the gates of Moscow.

"That would have given the Germans a fighting chance. Even then, it's not clear that Stalin would not have seized the moment and launched his own surprise attack circa 1943 or so.
In retrospect, Germany could have avoided war entirely and used its greater economic and military power to dominate Europe behind the scenes rather than through overt military invasion and occupation. But that is not the nature of Nazism. One might as well advise a gorilla to swim."

In _Einstein's German World_, Professor Fritz Stern recalled that Raymond Aron had remarked "the twentieth century could have been Germany’s century.” The United States was the chief beneficiary of the brain drain from Nazi Germany. Albert O. Hirschman had written about Hjalmar Schacht's policies regarding Eastern Europe before Hitler and Goering dismissed him. I think Germany could've used non-military statecraft to dominate the region as the world was still divided into trading blocs. One of the books I'd read recently was Bryan Mark Rigg's _Hitler's Jewish Soldiers_. Considering how many Jewish German veterans had been highly decorated in the First World War, the Holocaust was a massive self-inflicted wound for Germany even before looking at the grave moral consequences. However I believe you're absolutely right about advising a gorilla to swim.

Cloned_Poster

The Splendid Chaps Of The Military

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vKIDogy5u8&feature=player_embedded#!

My only response

Rd.

A Happy New Year to all and hopefully a better learned year.

“In retrospect, Germany could have avoided war entirely and used its greater economic and military power to dominate Europe behind the scenes rather than through overt military invasion and occupation. But that is not the nature of Nazism. One might as well advise a gorilla to swim.” Lysander

Would others consider this lesson to be applicable to present US conundrum? (Iraq, Afhgan, war on terror, endless war, endless debt, …..)?

Vs using her economic power, the can do attitude (moon landing), the exceptionalism (which was even evident to the outside world) back in the 50s-60s vs its current policies?

Contrast the MIC approach (interests), cold war, Korea, Vietnam, Balkan, ME, etc.. vs employing that exceptionalism (and the investment) in the continuation of space exploration of the 60s (among others).

The US already had the sole super power status back then (cold war era), and not entirely because of military status, more so because of her example. Far more convincing than mil might. The militarization approach was indeed the greatest threat to the country as outlined by Eisenhower in his farewell address and not the (justification of) cold war or any other wars.

So are we to blame the parties, other countries, entities? If so, what happened to the… “We the people..”?

http://constitutionus.com/

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

“provide for the common defence” didn’t realize this notion could be stretched to justify the existence of more than 800 military outpost(bases) all over the world (outside US)?

We the people here and today, too have a responsibility to understand our todays reality, than waiting for 60-100 years from now for others to read about our todays historical choices and decide….

Tyler

Neil,

I'm not saying that there weren't good units in the US armed forces, but too many histories have become "The brave incredible USA saved the world", and probably part of the reason why the meme about France having a terrible military is so persistent.

I do not think we could have won if Germany had stayed out of Russia.

Fabius Maximus

"On the subject of learning, there is no doubt that the American Forces were the fastest learners in WWII."

Such things cannot be proven, but IMO that's unlikely. As so often in America, we're blind to Russia's accomplishments in WWII. The Russian Army learned much from Germany, paying a terrible price for the education.

"Are we digging up that old saw that Stephen Ambrose made so much money off of that America won WWII and the average American conscript was equal to the cream of the Wehrmacht?"

Ambrose was a bard, molding history into appealing myth. There is a large body of research comparing the Wehrmacht and US Army in WWII. In my opinion the best of these is Martin van Creveld’s book “Fighting Power“. Rather than learn from his well-researched insights, the Army commissioned 3 rebuttals. Weak attempts; perhaps #4 will succeed.

For review of this litterature I recommend “Mythos revisited: American Historians and German Fighting Power in WWII“, Thomas E. Nutter, posted at Military History Online.

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/armies/chapter1.aspx

His follow-up is also worth a look: “The Heresy of Trevor N. Dupuy“, Thomas E. Nutter, In Stahlgewitternm, 6 October 2009.

http://www.instahlgewittern.com/2009/10/heresy-of-trevor-n-dupuy.html

Tyler

As an aside, can someone give me a good book about the perspective of the First World War from the infantryman's point of view? Been reading Storm of Steel, and now I'm looking for the Allied version.

Sidney O. Smith III

Camp Douglas. My guess is that MJE was the sculptor. Absolutely extraordinary.

Unverified info states that Camp Douglas (Oak Wood) contains the largest mass grave in the western hemisphere. Black prisoners of war brought to Camp Douglas were shot on the spot for no other reason than the color of their skin.

Phil Cattar

Lysander,I don't believe it was so much the "nature"of Nazism as it was Hitler's nature.Hitler was motivated by two very strong factors .He wanted Lebensraum,all the Germanic peoples adjacent to Germany incorporated into Germany.He also was anti Jewish.It seems strange at first thought that an Austrian corporal who feared he might be part Jewish ,and recent dna tests have apparently confirmed this,would be so motivated by these factors .But it is interesting that people who are bicultural or biracial or both can makes very big waves.They do not have a home in either camp and if they are highly intelligent and or sensitive they can be strongly motivated to be more German,Arab ,Muslim or black etc than if they were 100% 'in the family".Some examples that come to mind are Farrakan (who is probably 50% plus white),Osama Bin Laden who was an illegitimate offspring of his Saudi father and a Syrian woman ,therefore somewhat an outcast of the tribe.And even Barak Obama who is bi or tri cultural and bi racial.He does not even have a "home" in the American black family.He does not come from slave blood and was not raised in a Detroit ghetto or a South Carolina small town.If you remewmber the old cowboy and Indian movies of the 50s,the half breed was always bothered and causing the problems .He had to prove he was as much an Indian as anyone else.By far most of the people around Hitler ,whether they were military,big business people ,advisers and friends had no great desire to conquer Europe.Hitler was a driven madman .He had a dreamy (he was an artist at heart )magical,mystical side to him .Read what Carl Jung said about him.Without Hitler Nazism might have worked but without him it probably would not have gotten as far as it did.Spike Lee is another example of someone who feels they must try hard to be as black as the rest of the family.In my humble opinion.

DCA

Of what relevance might the following be?

1. There was a lot of turnover at the highest levels (lots of generals were relieved of duty).

2. A large chunk of the junior officers had been civilians until very recently.

Both seem likely to lead to initial ineptitude followed by successful learning.

Neil Richardson

Tyler:

"I'm not saying that there weren't good units in the US armed forces, but too many histories have become "The brave incredible USA saved the world"

Actually that's not the case at all. Maybe you've only seen pop histories (especially the Greatest Generation stuff), but historians have held on to the opposite myth far too long without looking at actual primary research material. It's all there at BA-MA as well as at CSI. Doubler started to look at this again because it just didn't make sense (and those of us looking at the same material in the early 1980s discussed with Bundesheer counterparts). Tooth-to-tail ratio, small unit fire superiority, number of combat divisions (the Army gambled badly which was why they were rarely pulled off the line in the ETO) and the general offensive nature of operations meant we should've had far higher casualties given that we were fighting their elite mobile reserve. Just look at the Soviet battle histories. In fact Max Hastings repeats the same old meme in Downfall. The Russians were cruel and heartless enough to beat the Nazis. Well perhaps. However the war would've been over in October 1944 had Bradley not short armed a hook at Falaise.

Again if you don't believe me, then look at the German war diaries. Those are more accurate than what some Wehrmacht general said in interrogation after 1945 when he tried to salvage what remained of his professional pride as well as suggest usefulness to his new "ally".

"I do not think we could have won if Germany had stayed out of Russia."

Perhaps. But I didn't know that there was a viable German atomic research. Or that the Germans had a real blue water navy. I'm not denigrating the Red Army's decisive contributions in winning the war. In fact I've pointed out in an earlier post some time ago that the Soviets inflicted 75 percent of all German casualties (a similar ratio in terms of tying down the number of men). However the balanced has been swinging the other way in terms of historiography.

Neil Richardson

Tyler:

"As an aside, can someone give me a good book about the perspective of the First World War from the infantryman's point of view? Been reading Storm of Steel, and now I'm looking for the Allied version."

Are you looking for memoirs or a general discussion? Also the experiences differed depending on where a man had fought. Siegfried Sassoon's _Memoirs of an Infantry Officer_ and Robert Graves, _Good-bye To All That_ were the classics dealing with the Western Front. However I think Paul Fussell's _The Great War and Modern Memory_ is an indispensable book IMHO.

Lysander

Thanks all for the feedback.

Phil, my comment about the nature of Nazism could have been misinterpreted as anti-German. That certainly was not what I meant. Fascism, in its basic sense as the need to dominate others, is a human disease.

I don't think it was inevitable that things turned out the way they did. It seems possible that another leader, a German nationalist but not a sociopath, might have instituted the proper reforms such as halting WWI reparations, and left it at that. But the standard history is that Germany was divided between communists and fascists, leaving no room for anyone else. Don't know enough about the period to comment. Once in power, Hitler seems to have been the main driving force. My impression is that the Wehrmacht leadership was not eager to attack Poland, much less France or Russia. (Correct me if I'm wrong) But once started, easy victory was like gambling at a casino. When you're winning, its hard to stop.

Neil, do you think Richard Sorge might have known the Japanese planned to attack Pearl Harbor?

Rd, in it's relevance to the US, I do think an enormous amount of economic potential is wasted on the military industrial complex. The MIC seems to define US national security as the ability to win any conflict at any point on the globe, against any adversary, while conducting a few COIN wars at the same time. I'd like to define it more modestly; as long as we can repel an invasion of Hawaii, we are ok. My apologies to the South Koreans, Taiwanese, Georgians, Israelis, Estonians, etc. In the Lysander Administration, they would be on their own.

Neil Richardson

Lysander:

"My impression is that the Wehrmacht leadership was not eager to attack Poland, much less France or Russia. (Correct me if I'm wrong) But once started, easy victory was like gambling at a casino. When you're winning, its hard to stop."

I think you're right. Halder and Beck had led a group of Heer officers who were ready to overthrow Hitler in 1938 during the Sudentenland crisis. Col. Karl Heinz-Frieser in _The Blitzkrieg Legend_ describes how the General Staff as well as the senior leadership (other than Rundstedt whose army group had the responsibility of launching a fixing attack) didn't have much faith in Case Yellow until the battle of Sedan. The Germans had to maintain extreme road march discipline in the Ardennes. A few turns here and there could've been the difference in getting reserves to Sedan in time. However the French decision-making process was poor as the Methodical Battle was the antithesis of what men like Hermann Balck did at Sedan. What seems clear is that the General Staff was understandably elated after France (The French Army was considered the strongest in the world back in May 1940) and perhaps suffered from "victory disease." Halder admittedly underestimated the Red Army's potential as he had believed Hitler's claim that the Wehrmacht would have "only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come down." As Halder stated in postwar interrogations, rapid victories made Hitler untouchable from coup plotters in the Heer until Stauffenberg emerged.

"Neil, do you think Richard Sorge might have known the Japanese planned to attack Pearl Harbor?"

I think Sorge knew that a decision was made to avoid a war with the Soviet Union as early as June 1941. What we know from the internal discussions of Prince Konoe's inner sanctum (Ozaki was a part of this) is that the Japanese Army pushed for southern and southeastern axes as early as July. Konoe and the Kaigun were opposed to this idea as both realized a war against the US was unwinnable. They tried to engage the Army to at least consider some concessions in China which led to inevitable threats of assassination (even Yamamoto was threatened). Ozaki and Sorge were arrested in October. I'm not sure if they knew the exact timing of the Pearl Harbor attack, but contingency planning had been very well advanced at the time.

FB Ali

Neil Richardson,

It seems to be inherent in the nature of the military institution (everywhere) that it generally permits only mediocrities to achieve higher rank. That is why armies usually spend the first year or two of a conflict shedding this deadwood to make room for battle-tested commanders.

The Germans dealt with this problem through their General Staff corps. This enabled the planning and conduct of operations to be in the hands of highly trained staff officers, irrespective of the quality of the commander. As a bonus, the system encouraged commanders to get out of their HQs and lead their troops in the field. Where this system coupled up with outstanding field commanders, such as Guderian, Rommel, Manstein, it produced spectacular results. (The fighting quality of the German army should not be judged by its performance in 1944 and 1945. By then it had been thoroughly chewed up by the Red Army).

The odd WW2 tactics of British armoured formations and units that you note had a lot to do with their reluctance to shed their original cavalry mindset. For them the epitome of the cavalry was the charge: all neatly lined up, stirrup to stirrup!

walrus

I must re read my Beavor again and seek more sources as well.

D'Este is mentioned in a footnote on page 263, I haven't yet had the time to check for attribution elsewhere.

I suspect that some of the "learning" was as a result of superior American logistics and productive capacity. More things can be tried. Unproductive avenues can be closed off with little consequence. I don't believe Britain had the luxury of doing that to the same extent. If anything, in the area where British capacity did match American capacity - academic brainpower, the British seem to me to have been highly innovative and learned very quickly as exemplified by their crypto abilities.

As for the British performance in Normandy, Beavor puts it down to a "War weary, risk averse" British army. My personal experience with narcissists suggest that it would be a very brave or foolish commander who attempted to operate outside the boundaries of thought and deed established by Montgomery since salvation by any other means than himself would have been seen as as much a sin as outright failure.

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