World best soldiers ever

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

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:21 pm

RF,

And don't forget that in British Somaliland in August 1940 British Empire forces, outnumbered by the Italians by a ratio of 55 to 1, held up Neto's invasion for five days before being successfully evacuated to Aden almost without loss.....


Of course you are right, but I was not mentioning the Italians (only if they were Roman legionaries) but the Waffen SS Panzergrenadier soldiers or US Marines.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby lwd » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:14 pm

Excuse me but I see a bit of a disconect between this:
Karl Heidenreich wrote:RF,
And don't forget that in British Somaliland in August 1940 British Empire forces, outnumbered by the Italians by a ratio of 55 to 1, held up Neto's invasion for five days before being successfully evacuated to Aden almost without loss.....

Of course you are right, but I was not mentioning the Italians (only if they were Roman legionaries) but the Waffen SS Panzergrenadier soldiers or US Marines.

and this:
Karl Heidenreich wrote:The Panzergrenadier Waffen SS units fought in the greatest numerical disadvantage of WWII ....

Is it just me?

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RF
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:20 pm

Well, was there a force outnumbered by more than 55 to 1 that was able to hold its own anytime in WW2?
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby lwd » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:44 pm

I'm sure you can find a few cases somewhere. For instance if you look at the number of armed US aircraft that engaged the Japanese at PH you will probably get a ratio near that and the US planes shot down more than they lost. If you look at other small unit actions especially there's a pretty good chance. Over on the WWII board for instance there's this thread:
http://www.ww2f.com/western-europe/4748 ... diers.html
A lot will depend on how you define the odds. Another possible example if you define the odds in terms of man power then the DDs and DE's of Taffy 3 vs the Japanese Center Force off Samar may qualify. Or how about the Japanese sub that put a torpedo into both a US CV and a US BB and escaped unharmed. For ground forces the UK's Long Range Desert Group is probably in the running. However once you get to larger formations examples become much rarer.

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby 19kilo » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:59 pm

B co 24th Reg had kind of a rough fight.

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RF
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:47 pm

lwd wrote:....For instance if you look at the number of armed US aircraft that engaged the Japanese at PH you will probably get a ratio near that and the US planes shot down more than they lost.


These US planes took on a section of the Japanese air armada, not the entire force. Lieutenants Taylor and Walsh attacked a flight of bombers for example, so the local superiority and surprise initially ran in their favour. But overall they could only impose a ''fleabite'' on the Jap force.

The British and Somali troops in front of Berbera took on the entire invading Italian forces head on and held them up. Here the allies were not a flea but a stubborn obstacle that stopped the Italians dead in their tracks, until forced to give way, and did so in good order.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby lwd » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:26 pm

I'm not sure I agree with all of that but in any case it's irrelevant to the question asked. This amply illustrates one of the worst problems with such threads ie poorly or perhaps better ambiguously defned terms and questions resulting in a lack of common ground/picture on which to base the discussion.

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby Ray » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:14 pm

Have arrived a little late to skim through all the previous posts but given my interest and knowledge I would offer an opinion that the best soldiers under 'most' circumstances and 'situations' in the past have been the German soldiers of WW2. I forget who it was said - 'Give me an army made up of German tenacity, British courage and American supply and I will conquer the world'. I agree somewhat with that opinion. I may have got the 'quote' slightly wrong in the wording but it is correct in all essentials. The practice of automatic individual 'leadership' practiced by the German soldier - i.e. taking control of the situation in rank order proved invaluable to them when things got difficult and resulted in less loss of men and equipment when up against it. I believe it to have been more a cultural thing than a policy of training - weird as that may sound.

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby Bgile » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:37 pm

Rather hard on us Americans though, isn't it? Some people seem to assume that all we have to offer is lots of stuff. Kind of like human wave attacks.

If you have ever read stories of the US Marines in the Pacific I don't think you would doubt their courage.

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:50 am

Ray wrote: The practice of automatic individual 'leadership' practiced by the German soldier - i.e. taking control of the situation in rank order proved invaluable to them when things got difficult and resulted in less loss of men and equipment when up against it.


Except of course where you have a Fuhrer issueing all the orders from a bunker hundreds of miles away.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:53 am

Bgile wrote:Rather hard on us Americans though, isn't it? Some people seem to assume that all we have to offer is lots of stuff. Kind of like human wave attacks.

If you have ever read stories of the US Marines in the Pacific I don't think you would doubt their courage.


The US Marines were not deployed to any great extent in the European theatre as far as I am aware, so their reputation is not as visible as it should be. Nevertheless the Battle of the Bulge for example did bring out the courage and tenacity of the US soldier - in parts.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby Bgile » Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:40 pm

RF wrote:
Bgile wrote:Nevertheless the Battle of the Bulge for example did bring out the courage and tenacity of the US soldier - in parts.


Yes, the bad part being the famous slaughter and surrender of much of the 106th infantry division, which was green and had been placed in a very quiet sector of the line to get some experience.

Green troops also ran away at Kasserine Pass, but I don't think those defeats were necessarily representative of overall US infantry performance during the war.

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby tommy303 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:50 pm

A study by the US Army War College did seem to indicate, based upon comprehensive post war analysis of combat reports, that unit morale and cohesion was much more fragile in the US Army than it was in German and British armed forces, and decidedly inferior to the close knit US Marine Corps. There were exceptions within the US Army, such as in US Airborne and Army Rangers who, like the US Marines had a high morale fueled by a strong esprit d' corps and were led by an officer corps that practiced less social separation than normal in the Army.

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby Bgile » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:27 pm

That makes sense. I'm actually surprised that the Marines stood up to the Japanese on Guadalcanal as well as they did. There were many green soldiers, but they had long term veteran NCOs and professional officers.

My brother in law flew A4s in the Marines. They had to go to the Marine "Basic School", where they crawled through the mud right along with Infantry officer trainees. It helps for a guy who is going to do close air support to know what it's like for the ground pounders. That is one reason Marines prefer their own aircraft over the air force when it comes to close support.

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:55 pm

tommy303 wrote:A study by the US Army War College did seem to indicate, based upon comprehensive post war analysis of combat reports, that unit morale and cohesion was much more fragile in the US Army than it was in German and British armed forces, and decidedly inferior to the close knit US Marine Corps.


Would that be because the US was actually in WW1 and WW2 for much shorter periods than Britain and Germany, who were in it right from the start?
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