neil hilton wrote:Good Lord! Sorry for causing such an uproar (it is a good argument though isn't it)?
The quote from the US infantry training manual I made was from a TV documentary about infantry weapons and tatcics from ww2, can't remember what it was called but it was part of a series. I remember the program showing pages of the manual, it was a junior officer training manual from 1944 (for the invasion of France and including lessons learned in North Africa and Scicily and Italy). It described how German infantry and armour were organised into 'battlegroups' and how they attacked and defended positions etc. And how the US infantry should act or react according to the situation.
The manual stated that US infantry should never attack German infantry unless they had clear numerical superiority and tactically advantageous terrain.
It isn't a good idea to attack anyone without those advantages.
From what I've read the USMC island hoping campaign in the Pacific, I can't think of an instance where they didn't go in without Superior Firepower Doctrine in mind, except during the middle part of the Guadalcanal operation (which was the only time as far as I know where the Japanese ever outnumbered the US, which they promptly blew by doing a ww1 style frontal assault into MGs). In all the other island invasions of the Pacific the US massively outnumbered the defending Japanese and always had 16" naval gun support and large numbers of naval aviation support.
If somebody can find an example where this wasn't the case I like to hear it.
I can't quote entire books as an example. It isn't practical. The naval gunfire preparation had little effect on the Japanese. They dug in and didn't come out again until the Marines came ashore. They suffered very few casualties from the naval bombardment. Read about Iwo Jima, or Peliliu. Once they came ashore the nature of the terrain was such that naval gunfire couldn't be used ... the Marines were too close to the Japanese and/or the Japanese were in defilade positions. On Okinawa, there were too many beaches to defend effectively so the Japanese set up their defenses inland and the naval prep fires hit nothing but empty land. After Okinawa the 1st Marine Division was no longer combat effective. Most of the men were casualties or suffering combat fatigue .... pyscologically unfit for duty. Fighting an enemy who absolutely will not surrender and fights to the death every single time can wear you down.
On another note: Dauntless vs Barracuda (1943) weren't the USN still using Dauntlesses in '43? When did the Helldiver replace it?
PS: Where did I say 'fanatical troops are better'?
What you said, after describing how wonderful German troops were and how they would fight to the death (as though that was somehow an advantage) was that Soviet troops became fanatical while US troops cared about survival as though the latter is somehow a disadvantage. The clear implication through the paragraph is that fanatical is good.