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View Full Version : The US Replacement System?



Nickdfresh
12-06-2007, 06:30 PM
The cruelest, worse policy for sending new soldiers to the Front?

Time and time again, I've read that many replacements suffered horrendous casualty rates largely due to the fact that veterans wanted nothing to do with them and avoided mentoring new soldiers in combat, not because they didn't care, but because it was generally thought that the stupid things new jittery soldiers do would get them killed as well. I've heard that the Soviets were the only other nation that had similar replacement system whereas everyone else integrated new soldiers when the units were pulled off the line in order to allow the vets to give advice, field retraining, and a time to bond with the kids...

Rising Sun*
12-06-2007, 06:38 PM
The cruelest, worse policy for sending new soldiers to the Front?

Time and time again, I've read that many replacements suffered horrendous casualty rates largely due to the fact that veterans wanted nothing to do with them and avoided mentoring new soldiers in combat, not because they didn't care, but because it was generally thought that the stupid things new jittery soldiers do would get them killed as well. I've heard that the Soviets were the only other nation that had similar replacement system whereas everyone else integrated new soldiers when the units were pulled off the line in order to allow the vets to give advice, field retraining, and a time to bond with the kids...

I think it applied even to some veterans in the US Army, which IIRC had a policy of not returning recovered wounded to their units, whereas the Marines did.

New men, experienced or not, were always going to be more vulnerable in a new unit until they became part of it.

Carl Schwamberger
12-06-2007, 08:08 PM
I think it applied even to some veterans in the US Army, which IIRC had a policy of not returning recovered wounded to their units, whereas the Marines did.

New men, experienced or not, were always going to be more vulnerable in a new unit until they became part of it.

The actual policy varied widely from one unit to the next. Some divsions, regiments, or even battalions had some sort of taining program for integrating the replacements. Others neglected them. In post D Day 1944 the 4th Armored Divsion an 30th Divsion seem to have had training programs for replacements. The Third Armored Div does not seem to have had such. The paratrooper Donald Burgett in his books remarks several times about "doing field problems" between campaigns, and he wrote that his comrades did not take them very seriouslly after a while. Where there was dead time between campaigns most units instituted refresher training of some sort. Between the Tunisian and Sicillian campaigns for example. However some commanders neglected this. ie: Allen of the 1st Divsion was criticised for lack of attention to this. In the Pacific the US Marines and many US Army divsions had the luxury of several months between each campaign. This allowed a reasonable ammount of time to integrate replacements

The disposition of recovered wounded varied as well. Charles B Macdonald describes his experince in the US 2d Div in his book 'Company Commander'. He describes a large portion of the recovered wounded returning to the same battalion and company, although not all did. Burgett also describes returning to the same company and platoon after he was wounded.

While the German policy was that wounded would return to the same unit, this was often not the actual practice. From late 1942 the increasing number of emergencys caused men returning from leave or the hospital to be gathered off the trains and sent as replacements to other units. this happened after chaotic retreats when the mixed groups were sorted according to the need of the units at hand and not according to their original unit.

overlord644
12-06-2007, 10:27 PM
only special US units such as the paratroops (burgett) and rangers had the luxury of returning to the same unit, this however created problems with the individual unit tracking down his outfit after being gone for an extended period of time. However i think there were exceptions to this rule, if you read or watch band of brothers several troopers mention going AWOL from the hospital for fear of being reassigned to another unit, so i think the longer your gone the better your chances are of being shuffled to another outfit.

Carl Schwamberger
12-06-2007, 10:33 PM
only special US units such as the paratroops (burgett) and rangers had the luxury of returning to the same unit, this however created problems with the individual unit tracking down his outfit after being gone for an extended period of time. However i think there were exceptions to this rule, if you read or watch band of brothers several troopers mention going AWOL from the hospital for fear of being reassigned to another unit, so i think the longer your gone the better your chances are of being shuffled to another outfit.

Time gone was one factor. How far away the wounded was moved would be another.