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Thread: Support vs Line Troops

  1. #16
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    Default Re: Support vs Line Troops

    Thank you!
    "...we have met the enemy and he is us." -- Pogo (Walt Kelly)

  2. #17
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    Default Re: Support vs Line Troops

    If Ardee thinks he's getting old with comprehension problems, where does that leave me with the following ratio?

    Wedemeyer had divided manpower between combat units and support units on the basis of the G-3 ratio of 1:1, figuring a 30,000-man division slice for each 15,000-man division.
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/...Victory-5.html

    1:1 for a 30,000 division equals 30,000 for me, albeit on arithmetic I learnt in the 1950s, so maybe there have been advances since then which produces a different figure, being the quoted 15,000 'slice', whatever that means.

    I may be showing how utterly ignorant I am of American military organisation in saying this (which is likely as I know nothing about it, but I do know a little about formations at divisional level and somewhere in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 would probably be a fully manned Western infantry division in WWII), but 30,000 seems about 50% larger than what I'd expect in the best staffed WW1 or WWII American [infantry] division.

    If Wedemeyer's (obscure) figures of 30,000:15,000 are correct, the ratio is 2:1, not 1:1.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 01-15-2014 at 09:47 AM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  3. #18
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    Default Re: Support vs Line Troops

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    If Ardee thinks he's getting old with comprehension problems, where does that leave me with the following ratio?

    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/...Victory-5.html

    1:1 for a 30,000 division equals 30,000 for me, albeit on arithmetic I learnt in the 1950s, so maybe there have been advances since then which produces a different figure, being the quoted 15,000 'slice', whatever that means.

    I may be showing how utterly ignorant I am of American military organisation in saying this (which is likely as I know nothing about it, but I do know a little about formations at divisional level and somewhere in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 would probably be a fully manned Western infantry division in WWII), but 30,000 seems about 50% larger than what I'd expect in the best staffed WW1 or WWII American [infantry] division.

    If Wedemeyer's (obscure) figures of 30,000:15,000 are correct, the ratio is 2:1, not 1:1.
    Did you try to read the rest of it as well - or the other one - eeeep a few pages and my brain was starting to revolt.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  4. #19
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    Default Re: Support vs Line Troops

    Quote Originally Posted by leccy View Post
    Did you try to read the rest of it as well .
    Yes, but I actually got a few pages further into War and Peace many years ago.

    They all made my brain hurt, so I stopped reading.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  5. #20
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    Default Re: Support vs Line Troops

    The whole number thing is about impossible to nail down to a certain number and as was stated it wont always be the same. One thing that I always wonder about is that when Germany attacked the USSR most historians say they attacked with just over 3 million men. Well I have always wondered how many of them 3 million were considered combat troops. They say in western Europe the US had a little over 3 million men by March 1945 but I have seen the breakdown of the US troops as about half 1.5 million are listed as combat troops in just western Europe. But I have never found a breakdown on the Germans when they went into the USSR in 1941 ? I have read that at Okinawa the US had about 550,000 troops involved including 200,000 ground troops along with the Naval troops and Marines. But even that does not say if thats 200,000 combat troops or combat and service troops ? It can be confusing. I have also read that the allies had 4.5 million troops in western Europe in 1945 with 3 million US , 1 million British and Canadain and 500,000 French and other allies. Now I do know that is combat , support (service) , and air force troops. Another book says they had 2 million troops in western Europe in 1945 with 1.5 million US , 400,000 British and Canadian and 100,000 French which did say it was the field army (combat troops). Yes it can get confusing. Ron
    Last edited by 383man; 01-18-2014 at 04:53 PM.

  6. #21
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    Default Re: Support vs Line Troops

    Quote Originally Posted by 383man View Post
    The whole number thing is about impossible to nail down to a certain number and as was stated it wont always be the same.
    It gets more complicated if one tries to work out numbers on the basis of supposed unit strengths in some armies.

    IIRC:
    1. German units with the same designation e.g. battalion or division, in WWII could have wildly different numbers depending upon their function and posting, such as a garrison unit having a fraction of the number of troops in a combat unit with the same designation.

    2. Japanese divisions numbered above 100 had about half the number of troops in those established earlier and numbered below 100.

    Then there are differences between armies which make comparisons difficult. For example, the Japanese used about 60,000 Allied POWs on the Burma Railway plus about 250,000 to 300,000 Asian civilians as conscripted labour, where the British or US armies would usually have used military engineers etc on the same sort of task. The Australians made heavy use of native porters in Papua New Guinea on foot transport in rugged country where in Europe the equivalent Allied task would have been carried out by military transport corps.

    Then there is the question of: Supporting whom? Significant efforts were made by American and British forces to supply the Chinese forces over The Hump for several years in WWII. They weren't combat troops. They weren't supporting their own armies. But they would on a simplistic calculation of troops in support roles throw out the ratio of, say, American service people supporting American combat troops in that theatre. The same applies to various other odds and sods dotted around the globe during WWII, such as the non-Soviet Allied effort to supply the Soviets through Iran.

    If one had access to all relevant information and nothing else to do for about twenty to fifty years, I think it might be possible to work out a ratio of support to combat troops with some accuracy in a given campaign in WWII, but I doubt it could be done even for a given theatre, let alone the whole of WWII or any other war.

    As for current armies, in the West the first thing we'd have to do is work out whether policy wonks and media officers etc are support troops, or just a waste of space (or food bandits as they were sometimes called in the Australian Army in the past) which should be excluded from all calculations related to military activities.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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