World best soldiers ever

Armed conflicts in the history of humanity from the ancient times to the 20th Century.
ryan hart
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by ryan hart » Sun May 01, 2011 2:58 am

And while I'm at it the German army has a strong case. I think it was a British general (Alexander) who said something like: that whether the Germans were attacking or defending whether they had artillary superiority or not whether or not they had air superiority or not and whether or not they were outnumbered in a straight fight they usually won. And another British general (Auckinleck I think this time) who commanded the British troops in the desert used to complain that whenever some of his troops failed in some particluar mission they would explain it away by saying; "we bumped into some Germans." And there is a certain Michael Howard who is quoted in 'Armageddon' as saying that, "the commanders of british and american ground forces on anything approaching equal terms, they're own men were likely to be soundly defeated. they were better than we were that cannot be stressed too often."

And lets not forget the Russian army. It's soldiers were ferocious and scared their German opponents to death (literally sometimes). The Russians for their part while admitting that the German army was 1st rate (afterall the Germans taught them everything they knew) they didn't rate the German soldier in hand to hand combat and thought them a bit sissy. come to that even the German officers in WWII complained that this lot wern't as good as their boys in WWI make of that what you will.

so my list (in no particular order) is:
Germans - WWI & II
Russians - agst Napoleon, agst Hitler
Romans - agst virtually anyone (except agst the Germans and Parthians perhaps)
Mongols - agst anyone
Hittites - ditto
Assyians - ditto
Ottomans - up until 1683.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun May 01, 2011 9:01 pm

ryan:
And while I'm at it the German army has a strong case. I think it was a British general (Alexander) who said something like: that whether the Germans were attacking or defending whether they had artillary superiority or not whether or not they had air superiority or not and whether or not they were outnumbered in a straight fight they usually won. And another British general (Auckinleck I think this time) who commanded the British troops in the desert used to complain that whenever some of his troops failed in some particluar mission they would explain it away by saying; "we bumped into some Germans." And there is a certain Michael Howard who is quoted in 'Armageddon' as saying that, "the commanders of british and american ground forces on anything approaching equal terms, they're own men were likely to be soundly defeated. they were better than we were that cannot be stressed too often."

And lets not forget the Russian army. It's soldiers were ferocious and scared their German opponents to death (literally sometimes). The Russians for their part while admitting that the German army was 1st rate (afterall the Germans taught them everything they knew) they didn't rate the German soldier in hand to hand combat and thought them a bit sissy. come to that even the German officers in WWII complained that this lot wern't as good as their boys in WWI make of that what you will.

so my list (in no particular order) is:
Germans - WWI & II
Russians - agst Napoleon, agst Hitler
Romans - agst virtually anyone (except agst the Germans and Parthians perhaps)
Mongols - agst anyone
Hittites - ditto
Assyians - ditto
Ottomans - up until 1683.
:clap: :ok: :clap:

Excellent appraisal, really. And the German Army must be clasified between the regular army, which was very good, with the Gross Deutschland Division which was regular army's better, with the Waffen SS Pz and Pz Grenaider divisions such as 1st, 2nd and specially 3rd ones which were man by man the best.

Also special attention must be brought to the US Marines divisions which were by far better than regular US Army divisions and had to fight in much more hostile situations (Ok, they had incredible air and naval superiority but still they had to dig out the japs from their foxholes).

According to Stephen Ambrose book on Easy Company (for what can be worth) a veteran of the US Army of WWII, Korea and Vietnam and that had something to do with training the "new" US Army declared textually that any airborne soldier of WWII was by far better than what the US Army has now. That means a lot, that means that WWII quality Marines, Jap Imperals or Waffen SS soldiers were man by man better to whatever the actual world could field now.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by lwd » Sun May 01, 2011 11:47 pm

But then there are books like When Odds Were Even that make rather a different case. That wasn't the only time the Germans were defeated by smaller or inferior foes either. One of the things that make it hard to answer something like this is how to separate out what combat effects were due to the quality of the soldiers vs other things. For instance at the start of WWII the Germans had a clearly superior doctrine. There replacement system was also designed to maximize the quality of the unit but may have been partially responsible for their units being understrength most of the time from mid war on.

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RF
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by RF » Tue May 03, 2011 1:49 pm

That becomes difficult to judge in a modern setting.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue May 17, 2011 3:49 pm

neil hilton:
The US infantry manual from ww2 states that US troops should only engage German troops when they have clearly superior numbers, this is why American divisions were usually very large.
Very interesting.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by Bgile » Tue May 17, 2011 4:45 pm

The US Army division size had nothing to do with a fear of German soldiers. It had to do only with desired tactical employment. Please show us something which said they made them that size because they were afraid of Germans.

It's common dictum that you need at least 3:1 odds on the attack. It has nothing to do with Germans or the size of US divisions. It's simply a tactical dictum taught in military tactics.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue May 17, 2011 5:00 pm

Bgile,

Calm down, the US still was one of the victors against the Germans, by the sheer weight of numbers but still on the winning side.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by lwd » Tue May 17, 2011 5:50 pm

It's actually a very valid question. Why would the size of US divisions be influenced by the performance of German soldiers? If you follow the development of US divisions they actually got smaller during this time as they transitioned from the "square" divisions to the "triangular" ones. As I mentioed elsewhere I'd like a source for the comment on the manual as well. Then there's a question of whether the fighting strength of a US divsion was really that much greater than a German one. If you just look at a nominal infantry division for the two forces I think you will find that a lot of the extra troops in the US infantry division are support troops. US armored division did tend to have more tanks in their TO&Es and US divisions were usually kept pretty close to full strength so in practice US divisions were bigger. Indeed as typically organized an operational US infantry division had more tanks than a German Panzer division under conditions.

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by Bgile » Tue May 17, 2011 6:02 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Bgile,

Calm down, the US still was one of the victors against the Germans, by the sheer weight of numbers but still on the winning side.
Yes, you make us sound like the Chinese in Korea with their human wave attacks.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed May 18, 2011 1:39 am

Bgile,

I already answered you in another thread. Will leave this one as it is.
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Re:

Post by Byron Angel » Sun May 22, 2011 9:02 pm

Orville H. Larson wrote:Maybe the Roman legions were the world's best infantry.
Their iron discipline and harsh training made them virtually unbeatable (and they were rarely defeated, if I'm not mistaken).

American infantry in WW2 was of uneven quality. Our mass army had to be assembled quickly, and the qualilty of their basic training may or may not have been adequate.
Many of its officers had little, if any, combat experience.
Some divisions (the 1st, the 3rd, the 28th) were great, while others (the 27th, the 106th) couldn't hack it.

An American division in the ETO in WW2 needed 700 tons of supplies a day to keep going. A German division, on the other hand, had to get by on 200 tons a day as the war went on--and they fought hard right to the end of the war.

I believe the Germans themselves, comparing their British and American adversaries, considered American armor and artillery to be the best, while the British were superb with infantry.

..... Daily tonnages of supply varied dramatically with the posture (formation type, attacking, defending, static, etc) of the formation in question. That hoary old volume - The German Army Handbook - has a good section on German operational logistics requirements. One thing to keep in mind as well is that the average US "infantry division", with its vast internal armor and motorized transport components, was far more like a German motorized division than a German infantry division.

For what it's worth.

B

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RF
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Re: Re:

Post by RF » Mon May 23, 2011 7:43 am

Byron Angel wrote:
Orville H. Larson wrote:Maybe the Roman legions were the world's best infantry.
Their iron discipline and harsh training made them virtually unbeatable (and they were rarely defeated, if I'm not mistaken).
Defeats did happen, and major ones. Tutorborg is the one that readily springs to my mind. And of course the ambush of the XI Legion by Boudicca's forces.

Hannibal also had a good record against the Romans.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Re:

Post by Byron Angel » Mon May 23, 2011 12:19 pm

RF wrote:
Byron Angel wrote:
Orville H. Larson wrote:Maybe the Roman legions were the world's best infantry.
Their iron discipline and harsh training made them virtually unbeatable (and they were rarely defeated, if I'm not mistaken).
Defeats did happen, and major ones. Tutorborg is the one that readily springs to my mind. And of course the ambush of the XI Legion by Boudicca's forces.

Hannibal also had a good record against the Romans.

..... My post only addressed Orville's last comment about WW2 divisional daily tonnage supply requirements.

OTOH, I have no disagreement with your above comment and can add the defeat of Crassus at Carrhae by the Parthians and the debacle at Adrianople to the list. I don't really fancy myself an ancient history scholar, but such bits and pieces of history tend to accumulate in the course of six years at Boston LATIN School - ;-)

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Mon May 23, 2011 12:32 pm

lwd:
But then there are books like When Odds Were Even that make rather a different case.
That so called text" has been disqualified already as tendencious with no appropiate research. Dupuy or Glantz will give a much better approach with excelent research.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Post by lwd » Mon May 23, 2011 12:51 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:lwd:
But then there are books like When Odds Were Even that make rather a different case.
That so called text" has been disqualified already as tendencious with no appropiate research. Dupuy or Glantz will give a much better approach with excelent research.
"Disqualified" I don't think so. Some of the methods imployed are certainly problematic but then the same can be said of Dupuy or Glantz. In the former case it usually people trying to read more into his work than is there though. Glantz has also been accused of not making enough use of German records.

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