« America's Client Paralysis (by CP) | Main | Turkish Elections on November 1, 2015 (by CP) »

28 October 2015

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Nick11766

US involvement in Syria, yet another violation of our rights. The gov’t constantly violates our rights.
They violate the 1st Amendment by banning books like “America Deceived III”.
They violate the 2nd Amendment by banning guns.
Both parties are lawless.
Last link of “America Deceived III” before it is completely banned:
http://www.amazon.com/America-Deceived-III-E-Blayre/dp/1517571243/

Ulenspiegel

"Was Manstein in the trenches every day?"

No, of course not, nor most of his division commanders. However, the German army lost one order of magnitude more generals in combat than the western allies. Therefore, I as amateur have to assume that they were more exposed to unfriendly fire :-) and more serious this may to a certain extend explain the good performance of German divisions.

But I fully agree with your morale argument.

prisoner6

Colonel,
I think the original language in your comment was more appropriate.

turcopolier

prisoner6

It was late at night and SWMBO has been trying to housebreak me. pl

turcopolier

ulenspiegel

It is absolutely true that the standard of leadership in the German ground forces was very high and a great many senior officers died for that habit of command. in fact the higher the rank in the Heer, the greater was your chance of being "hit." This was because the officers spent so much time in the front lines. The existence of the General Staff institution probably contributed to this since it freed commanders of a lot of detailed staff work. The situation was the opposite in the US Army in WW2. when I was a troop leader I tried to remember which was the more appropriate way of doing things. Bill Mauldin observed that in Italy, a German soldier would often stay with a wounded officer to help him surrender. Such officers were treated with great respect by American troops who knew very well that there were few of their own officers for whom they would risk that. pl

Patrick Bahzad

Plantman,

"You might expect that kind of training at West Point" ? I guess you've never been to WP, or any other military academy for that matter ... Do you have an agenda here with talking up these groups ? They have basically been gone up and down the desert, doing parallel drives to the main government LOC, looking for weak spots and then setting up check points when they found a poorly defended SAA post. Just wow ...

As for "sophisticated communications system", how about radio transmissions ? Finally, not gonna comment on "special forces" working with JaN or ISIS.

Get real, I told you already !

Neil R

"Unkind. This depends on the echelon of command. We had a number of generals killed in VN. A division commander is generally up front. Was Manstein in the trenches every day? pl"

Col. Lang:

The German command philosophy was for a division commander to be present at the Schwerpunkt of the next day's operation while the chief-of-staff and other GS officers to adjust to changing situations during the following day/night. Obviously this was the ideal type of command under Auftragstaktik. In offensive operation or active defense (e.g., Hermann Balck with the 11th Panzer at the Chir River) it worked extremely well. However in defensive operations this style of command didn't work that well if Ia and Ic were not competent staff officers who could adjust in the absence of division commander. It's also noting that German command staffs were very very small compared to western allied counterparts. Over a sustained period the workload took its toll as the Heer could no longer afford to pull a division out of the line after 60 days during the latter part of the war.

One thing to note about the German divisional commander casualty rate is that many in France had fallen under artillery or air strikes. The RAF and USAAF were quite good at sniffing out higher echelon headquarters (e.g., Geyr von Schweppenburg's Panzergruppe West). About a third of casualties were due to air attacks which was hardly surprising in the west after April 1944. A number of officers were killed by small arms fire in the east as they were ambushed by Red Army units that had been bypassed or by partisans.

As for the effect on morale, that's old Army stuff as you know. Patton famously told his staff that it wouldn't hurt to have general officers take fire and *be seen* by men. Patton himself certainly took risks everyday. "P" Wood used a Piper Cub to lead the 4th Armored during the drive across France. The Army's record in WWII was varied which is hardly surprising considering that we grew in size 40 times in a little over a year. Airborne generals like Ridgway, Gavin, Taylor and others were probably lucky as well. Armored division commanders who were brought up by Patton all took personal risks as they shared German command philosophy (or the cavalry state of mind if one were to ask them at the time). Wood, Grow, Ernie Harmon, Bruce Clarke, Morris and certainly Maurice Rose led from the front. After Patton replaced Fredendall, he rode Orlando Ward very hard as the 1st Armored had performed poorly after Kasserine (It wasn't a division that had Patton's mark either in maneuvers or at the Desert Training Center). At El Guettar Patton ordered Ward to lead the attack himself. Patton took measure of men like McLain, LeRoy Irvin (just about the only bright spot at Kasserine), and Van Fleet according to their leadership style.

My concern though is the appropriateness level of exposure. When you have a corps spread out all over the place with a toxic command style as was the case with X Corps, I don't believe it's the smartest decision to direct a tank platoon against a target of opportunity. I also don't believe it's the job of a division commander to lead a tank hunter team when all hell was breaking loose at Taejon after the 24th ID had been cut off. And General Dean later admitted that it was his greatest mistake in command.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

August 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          
Blog powered by Typepad