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Armies living off the land

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by the_diego, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. the_diego

    the_diego Member

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    It sounds unremarkable, until you realize the "land" is meant to feed civilian populations, not invading armies. So was there any Allied doctrine that recommended obtaining food from the civilian population? I'm guessing there is, but I'm also guessing there has to be a clause that says you can't let a population starve to death as a result. Well we all know that the Germans managed to weaponize famine in WWII (Herbert Backe) and that's another matter.
     
  2. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    If we are talking about the Western Allies, they only had to "rely on the land", when things were going horribly. The British had to "borrow" food from the Cretan population when supplies were not flowing into the island due to the impending German invasion. The British also "borrowed" food in their various campaigns across the CBI theater, as supplies was also low on a continual basis. The U.S rarely had to live off the land as well, with superb logistics and supply transportation, but that does not mean they didn't occasionally rely on their surroundings for food. One such instance is the U.S soldiers on Wake island, who had to eat the native Wake island Rail (Which was hunted to extinction) when the Japanese were attacking the island. The U.S usually only had to live off the land in the Pacific and CBI theaters. If we are talking about the Soviets, they took food from everybody and used whatever food was available. The Soviets march to Berlin was fueled by Eastern Europe's food supplies, which led Hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans to starve to death, and then there was the Berlin Airlift after the war, which was a result of Soviets taking the populations food because their logistics were so bad.
     
  3. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    It was not the US Marines, during the period 7 to 22 December 1941, who hunted the Wake Island Rail (Gallirallus wakensis) to extinction, but, rather, the the occupying Japanese, effectively marooned there between 1943 and 1945.

    The Berlin Airlift had nothing to do with poor Soviet logistics. It had to do with, for political reasons, the Soviet blocking of the land routes by which the French, British, and Americans normally used to transport food stuffs to their own occupied areas of the city.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  4. the_diego

    the_diego Member

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    I had the idea that Americans and British followed the "just compensation" principle, though I'm not sure it applies to conquered enemy territory. A far more powerful principle, IMHO, is "The Loser Pays."
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    In the Northern Territory we have a force called "NORFORCE".
    The ideas grew from WW2 experience...part of which was that Aboriginals can track anything anywhere...and stay hidden...after spending 40 thousand years in the driest continent on Earth these blokes can survive out in the bush indefinitely...they only need more bullets, which can be dropped to them.
    So why not train these blokes in modern warfare and give them a modern weapon?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Poor enemy...
     
  6. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Yes the Japanese were the ones who hunted the bird to extinction, but the Marines on the island did eat some of the birds. I poorly stated why the Soviets began the airlift, it was a political move yes, but the Soviets did take food from the East Germans, and while logistics was not the reason for the airlift, it was a real problem the Soviets faced.
     
  7. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    From what I've read the American forces frowned on troops scrounging food. Mainly because of fears of tainted meat/food and a desire to maintain general discipline. Not that it stopped them when they were out of sight of their NCO's.
     
  8. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Thinking eggs were the #1 commodity that American soldiers would scrounge for out of sight of leadership
     
  9. harolds

    harolds Member

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  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Yes there was.

    The Allied armies that liberated Europe were largely self sufficient for food,certainly better fed than Italian.Belgian and Dutch civilians. In Normandy soldiers traded with farmers for local produce eggs butter milk cheese. Unofficial un-authorised requisition is defined in military terms as looting of theft.

    Where the allies requisitioned items either officially or unofficially civilians could make a claim for repayment. Reports of looting would be investigated by the military police.

    The attached extracts from the 15th Arm Encyclopedia and 21st Arm Group Administrative History gives a flavour of the issues.
     

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  11. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  12. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    Agreed, eggs were definitely a primary go to food. Easy to carry and cook. From what I've heard they would buy them from the French and demand them from the Germans during the war.
    My favorite food story is of a troop finding a german fish hatchery and harvesting lunch by dropping a grenade in one of the ponds.
     
  13. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Somehow, I feel sorry for the poor Aborigine... The guy can survive, navigate, and thrive in the Outback armed only with his skills, a bent stick, and a loincloth. So the Australian Armed Forces in their infinite wisdom discover 30+ kilograms of modern gear he has to lug around in the oppressive heat of the North...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    If you can lug the gear there, you can lug the gear any where...Probably the best training grounds Down Under.
     
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  15. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    The gear is also bedding, ammunition, parts for the weapon and radios etc...(probably not lugged around all the time) and the loin cloth suggests a textile industry, they went old fella out in the NT...the cloth is for modern day modesty.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
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