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Size of US vs British forces on the Western Front


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Sgt. Fyodor M Okhlopkov

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 04:15 AM

Hi, do you know how many men the US Army had on the Western Front and how many the British Army had? I can only find numbers of them all combined. thanks

#2 freebird

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 05:44 AM

Hi, do you know how many men the US Army had on the Western Front and how many the British Army had? I can only find numbers of them all combined. thanks


When exactly do you mean?
In June 1944?
At the end of the war?
Grand total or at any one time?
Do you mean to include the entire Western Front or only on the continent? Only those in France? Italy as well?

#3 Skipper

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 06:09 AM

If it's the west front . I suppose it's 1944 and1945. Do you figures includes Free poles, Free French and other allied nations? What about the Commonwealth troops?

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#4 LJAd

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 08:47 AM

on 31 july 1944 :US ground forces:in the UK :161,621
:on the continent :563,638
:+ 118286 GFRS
Source :AHF (post by Carronade,with as source Ruppenthal)

#5 freebird

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 10:11 AM

on 31 july 1944 :US ground forces::on the continent :563,638


563,000 US troops on the continent? Including Italy?
I think the British/Canadian & US both had about 10 - 11 divisions in France by the end of Jul '44

#6 LJAd

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 10:52 AM

Normally,the western front does not include Italy .
About the divisions :from Six Armies in Normandy (J.Keegan)
Britain :
Guards date of arrival :28 june
7th armoured 8 june
11th armoured :13 june
79th :D Day
6 Airborne :DDay (but I presume meanwhile returned to the UK
15th :14 june
43 :24 june
49:DDay
50:DaDay
51:DDay
53 :27 june
59 :27 june
Canada
4th(Arm) :31 july
1stPolish :31 july
2nd:7 july
3th:DDay
US
Armoured:
2:2 july
3 :9 july
4 :28 july
5:2 august
6 :28 july
7:14 august
2nd French:1august
82airb:DDay(returned)
101 airb:DDay (returned)
1:DDay
2:8 june
4:DDay
5:16 july
8:8july
9:14 july
28:27 july
29:7 june
30:15 june
35:11 july
79:9 june
80:8 august
83:27 june
9O:10 june

#7 m kenny

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 01:39 PM

HyperWar: US Army in WWII: The Supreme Command (ETO) [Appendix E]

Strength and Casualty Figures
TABLE 7--ASSIGNED STRENGTH OF U.S. ARMY FORCES IN EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS,
JUNE 1944-JULY 1945a

1944

July 1,770,614
August 1,904,709
September 2,053,417
October 2,203,583
November 2,588,983
December 2,699,467

1945
January 2,829,039
February 2,934,924
March 3,029,579

April 3,065,505

May 3,021,483
June 2,811,820

a Excludes strength in Italy for July 1944 through June 1945 and in Southern France for August 1944 through November 1944 assigned to Mediterranean Theater of Operations.

Source: Location, AGO, Machine Records Branch, "Strength of Army, STM-30"; Type, Office, Chief of Staff USA, SARO report, "Strength of Army"; respective months.



-----------------------------
BRITISH AND CANADIAN STRENGTHS, NORTHWEST EUROPE, 1944-45
Total Strength, British Canadian

31 October 1944 895,912
8 November 1944 925,664
31 May 1945 1,095,744
16 June 1945 c1,072.717

Includes RAF and Royal Navy personnel. The totals under this column, broken down only in the 31 October 1944 report and the 16 June 1945 report, show for the former 82,902 RAF and 8,142 RN personnel; for the 1944 date they show 93,013 RAF and 20,856 RN personnel. The RAF figure of 93,013 is quite near the figure of 96,078 (plus 1,308 WAAF) for 1 May 1945 given in a statement furnished to OCMH by the Air Ministry, London.

Note. These statistics must be used with the warning that they cannont be the basis ofcomparison between the U.S. and British air efforts. U.S. air strengths listed in Table 7 inlcude the air forces both in the United Kingdom and on the Continent. The British forces in this table include only those on the Continent. Total British air force strength (including WAAF) amounted to 819,578 on 1 May 1945. Needless to say a considerable part of this force was used in the preinvasion period and during the campaigns in northwest Europe in support ofthe Allied campaigns.

===================================================================================

The above is a shortened version of the linked data.
Note the word of caution at the end. The RAF in the UK are not counted in the British figures but USAAF numbers in the UK are included in the US totals.
1 would think a final ratio of 2:1 would be about right.
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#8 Sgt. Fyodor M Okhlopkov

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 03:03 PM

Thanks for the informative replies! That's right, I meant in France/Luxembourg etc, and at what time? Just a general figure which is reprsentative of the whole campaign.

#9 GunSlinger86

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 07:59 PM

So that number of around 3 million in 1945 didn't count the Italian theater? So we had a good number of troops over there.



#10 Sheldrake

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Posted 01 May 2016 - 12:03 AM

Hi, do you know how many men the US Army had on the Western Front and how many the British Army had? I can only find numbers of them all combined. thanks

What is your interest?  

 

I note that most of the responses have been concerned with North West Europe, but the "Western Front " , as against the western allies stretched from North Cape to the Deodecanese islands  near Turkey.  The Germans had to  defend these against the threat of landings and against air and sea bombardment. The North West Europe figures on their own are misleading 

 

Italy was a major campaign, as a diversionary attack, with 20+ divisions deployed each by the allies and the axis. By 1945 the Allied troops included six Italian infantry divisions - C50,000 combat troops and 200,000 auxiliaries used in labour and logistics.

 

The French also provides substantial forces, including an army sized expeditionary force with two armoured divisions and four + divisions of very good mountain troops.  By May 1945 the Free French had a million men in nominally forty divisions  under arms.  

 

While the combat power of the Italian and French formations may not have been particularly high, they were mainly infantrymen which compensated for some of the shortages in the British and US ranks.  



#11 albanaich

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 11:21 AM

The essential point to bear in mind with any comparison between the US and UK in 1944 was that the UK was rapidly running out of men. In 1944 it had a higher war mobilization than the USSR with the forced conscription of women into the armaments factories.

 



#12 Carronade

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 01:47 PM

The listing LJAd cited shows the near peak strength of the British army in the ETO, although it should also include 3 Division which landed on D-Day and served throught to VE-Day.  In late 1944 they actually had to disband 59 and then 50 Divisions to keep other units up to strengh.  52 Division, which had been designated an air landing unit, joined 21st Army Group after Market-Garden.  In the last weeks of the war I Canadian Corps (1 Div, 5 Armoured Div) was transferred from Italy, bringing 21st AG to 18 divisions.

 

79 Armoured was not a line division; it consisted of specialized armor ("Hobart's Funnies") assigned to other units as needed.

 

US forces continued to build up, with 44 divisions at end 1944 and 60 in May 1945, comprising 15 armored, 42 infantry, and 3 airborne.  Also 13th Airborne was in England, the only US division in Europe not to see combat.



#13 m kenny

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 03:18 PM

79 Armoured was not a line division; it consisted of specialized armor ("Hobart's Funnies") assigned to other units as needed.

79 AD was a front line unit. The Crab/Crocodile Brigades spent all their time at the sharp end.
In terms of vehicles/resources 79 AD was roughly the equal of 3 armoured Divisions minus the infantry component. It was huge.
The Commonwealth also held a lot of tanks in non-divisional Tank Brigades.

Edited by m kenny, 02 May 2016 - 03:20 PM.


#14 Slipdigit

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 03:23 PM

79 AD was a front line unit. The Crab/Crocodile Brigades spent all their time at the sharp end.
In terms of vehicles/resources 79 AD was roughly the equal of 3 armoured Divisions minus the infantry component. It was huge.
The Commonwealth also held a lot of tanks in non-divisional Tank Brigades.


Did it have a fixed TO&E throughout its deployment or did it vary dependent on current needs?

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#15 GaryJKennedy

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 06:49 PM

79th Armd Div grew substantially during the course of the campaign.  As mentioned above it was not a standard Armd Div and began with three Bdes, 1st Assault Bde, RE, 30th Armd Bde (flail tanks for mine clearance) and 1st Tank Bde with Canal Defence Light equipment (CDL).  After Normandy the CDLs were shuffled off and 1st Tk Bde was put into 'suspended animation' by Nov44.  31st Tk Bde joined in Sep44 and eventually became the home of the Crocodile flamethrowers and APC Regts (British and Canadian).  33rd Armd Bde joined the Div in early 1945 when it was tasked with operating LVTs, before returning to tanks and then going back to the Buffalo in Apr45.  The Div also had LVT equipped Regts on the books before that, plus a DD Armd Regt from Sep44.

 

On the original question, yes, the US Army had more personnel in Western Europe than the British Army, certainly by the end of 1944 if memory serves.  My brain finds it easier to think in terms of Divisions, and by Dec44 I think the US had 30 Inf, 11 Armd and 2 Abn, while 21AG had 7 Br and 2 Cdn Inf Divs, 4 Br, 1 Cdn and 1 Pol Armd Divs, plus 1 Br Abn Div, or 16 Br/Cdn/Pol to 43 US.  By May45 the US ETO contingent was up to 42 Inf, 15 Armd and 3 Abn Divs (60) while 21 AG had added 1 Br and 1 Cdn Inf Div plus 1 Cdn Armd Div (19).  I haven't forgotten the French, just I don't have their numbers in spreadsheet format.  US Divs in Italy peaked with 8 in Jun/Jul44, then dipped to 5 after Anvil/Dragoon before rising back to 7 by VE-Day.  Br Divs were also at their in Jul44 in Italy with 8, plus 2 Cdn and 1 each Pol, NZ and SA, and was it 3 Indian?  I'm bound to be forgetting someone, as well as the Free French, again. 

 

I don't fret so much now about the 'size' issue between US and UK; the US population base was at least four times that of the UK I seem to recall, and both nations felt the squeeze of supplying sizeable Army, Navy and Air forces, plus maintaining a large industrial base to keep said forces equipped, and merchantmen to ship these men and machines around the globe.  The US and Canada both scaled back their original mobilisation levels of Divs to meet the realities of getting formations across the oceans.

 

Gary






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