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US Armies Organization

Discussion in 'Military Training, Doctrine, and Planning' started by GunSlinger86, Mar 31, 2020.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The US armies such as the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, etc. How many men and units determined what made the army, and was there a standard size of men and units for all the armies deployed during the war?
     
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    FM 101-10 Staff Officer Field Manual P52

    About 500,000 men - a fair sized city.
     
  3. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 9th US armies we in the ETO simultaneously, so that is approximately 2 million US troops on one front, and another army in the MTO fighting Germany.
     
  4. harolds

    harolds Member

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    With about 10% of those doing the actual fighting!
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Overall the US Army had 9 out of 10 people in support positions, but that included all the people in the US too. The combat engaged percentage in Europe and the Pacific was higher.
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    An old post of mine that relates to this.

    Comparison of Service Personnel in the US Infantry Division versus the German Infantry Division Typ-44


    The non-combat personnel in the US Infantry Division consisted of a Military Police Company (authorized 73 men), an Ordnance Light Maintenance Company (141), a Quartermaster Company (186), a Signal Company (239), a Medical Battalion (443), and the Division Headquarters (166) and Headquarters Company (104), a total of 1,352 men in a division of 14,037 men. In addition, there was a division band (58, who in combat were normally utilized as supernumerary litter bearers), 497 additional medical personnel attached to other units, 15 ‘Special’ troops, and 13 Chaplains, 583 men for a grand total of 1,935. Thus, division-level service and special troops consisted of 13.8 percent of the total.


    In the German Typ-44 Division, non-combat personnel consisted of Division Headquarters (227, including a Military Police Platoon), Signal Battalion (379), Medical Battalion (469), Veterinary Company (156), Quartermaster Transport (442), Maintenance Company (137), Supply (237), and Postal (18), a total of 2,065 men in a division of 11,873. Thus, division-level service and special troops consisted of 17.4 percent of the total.


    However, of the 9,808 troops in ‘combat’ units in the division (Infantrie, Fusilier, Panzerjaeger, Artillerie, and Pioniere, 1,851 were considered to be part of the Tross. Thus, 18.9 percent of the ‘combat’ troops were also service and support personnel and, in the entire division, 3,916 men were in support functions, 33 percent of the division total strength.


    It is more difficult to calculate the ‘Tross’ in the ‘combat’ units of the American division, but it may be approximated as follows. In the three infantry regiments, the Service Companies accounted for a total of 333 men, in the field artillery, the Service Batteries accounted for 298 men. In addition, the ‘Rear’ element of the nine infantry battalions and the engineer battalion each accounted for about 150 men each, for a total of about 1,500, the Division Reconnaissance Troop included about 30 service personnel in its strength of 149, for a grand total of about 2,161 (about 17.9 percent of the total ‘combat’ troops, almost identical to the 18.9 percent Tross in the German division). This translates into a total of about 4,096 service and special troops, 29.2 percent of the total division strength, almost indistinguishable from the 33 percent found in the German division.


    A comparison of service and support functions higher than division-level is more difficult. In both American and German practice the corps headquarters was a tactical unit and had only a limited logistical function. In US service a ‘typical’ corps headquarters consisted of about 4,380 men, in German service a ‘typical’ corps headquarters was about 1,773, or slightly more than 2,200 for a panzer or SS corps headquarters (note that typical is surely a misnomer in both the US and German case). In US service an army headquarters was ‘typically’ about 8,346 men, in German service it was about 7,930 men.


    Where the major difference was found in support units was in the American practice of deploying large numbers of Ordnance, Quartermaster and Medical units, which were attached to army, corps and divisions as needed. Typically, in an army of two or three corps, Ordnance units could comprise 10,000 to 16,000 men, Quartermaster Supply units 6,000 to 10,000 men, Quartermaster Transport units 3,000 to 5,000 men, and Medical units 7,000 to 10,000 men. And, of course army group and theater logistical support added another comparable level of manpower to the structure.


    On the German side there never was such a proliferation of logistical troops in the field. In February 1943 (the latest date I have been able to find data) the Army deployed a total of 405,300 personnel in support units above division level. These included 130,963 in Quartermaster Transport units, 40,094 in Supply units, 87,314 in Medical units, 34,518 in Veterinary units, 64,613 in Ordnance repair and water supply units, and 64,613 in the Military Police.


    Primarily that was because those functions were theoretically absorbed into the support structure of the Wehrmacht in the Reich, linked to the armies in the field by the rail transportation net, and supplemented by impressing local resources. For instance, medical support of the army was augmented by using the existing hospital and medical care facilities in Germany and occupied regions. Similarly, motor maintenance was dependent on evacuating most long-term repairs to Germany (often for complete factory rebuilds) or to support contracted from occupied countries (especially in France and the Low Countries, and in Italy). Army subsistence was also highly dependent on local requisitions, especially for fodder and grain. All these were resources not initially available to the Allies in France, although they became an important supplement to the Allied logistical structure later in 1944.
     
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  7. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Were the Air Forces, such as the 8th and 9th, considered their own armies, and what was the men and composition that made an Army Air Force such as the 8th?
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    It was variable depending on need, units available, etc. An army would usually have 2-4 corps, each with 3-5 divisions, so you can see the total could vary considerably. There was also shifting of units as the situation required; for example, six different corps and 39 divisions spent time in 3rd Army.

    As our troops built up in Normandy after D-Day, US 1st Army briefly reached 21 divisions, AFAIK the most for an American army. At that point it was split, with Patton's 3rd Army taking nine of them, and both continued to grow as more troops came ashore. This also when 12th Army Group was activated to command them.

    Here are a couple of late war OOBs for 12th AG, as our armies reached peak strength:

    Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, April 6/11, 1945:
    1st Army - 4 corps, 17 divisions
    3rd - 3 corps, 12 divisions
    9th - 3 corps, 13 divisions
    15th Army - 2 corps, 6 divisions. This was not a front line army but controlled forces in the rear areas all the way back to the French coast.

    Bradley, A Soldier's Story, May 7, 1945:
    1st - 2 corps, 9 divisions. XVIII Airborne Corps had been detached and assigned to 21st Army Group.
    3rd - 4 corps, 18 divisions
    9th - 3 corps, 11 divisions
    15th - 2 corps, 5 divisions
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
  9. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I know the German Armies in Normandy in the West were made up of good units mixed with older/foreign/unfit troops for the summer of 1944. The 7th and 15th German armies were in Normandy, correct? Did Germany have the same manpower make-up of an Army for the 1944 summer campaign?
     
  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The Fifth US army in the MTO was made up of seven US and five allied formations.

    II US Corps, 3 x US Divisions
    IV US Corps 3 x US Divisions 1 x South African Division and 1 x Brazilian Division.
    XIII British Corps 2 x British Indian Division 1 x British division
    Army reserve 1 x US Divison

    The MTO was an allied operation.
     
  11. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    That's what I meant, that the MTO was another Allied fight against Germany, so the US had appx. 2.5 million troops engaged against Germany based on the active Armies in the theaters against Germany, not counting the Army Air Force.
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    As you probably know, prior to D-Day, 7th Army was in Normandy/Brittany and 15th in the Pas de Calais area where, with help from Allied deception operations, the Germans expected the invasion or possibly a second invasion. As the fighting in Normandy intensified, units were transferred from 15th to 7th, but 15th remained where it was until forced to withdraw by the Allied advance. Reinforcements also came to Normandy from southern France and other areas, so they established a new army, 5th Panzer, to control a portion of them, including of course many of the panzer divisions.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The "ulcer troops" were on special diets, but otherwise fit for duty.
     
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, while a U.S. Army Corps Headquarters was a fairly lean organization without any permanently assigned combat troops and relatively few headquarters personnel, more similar to the German than the British pattern.

    However, half a million was uncommon, more like 300,000-400,000.
     
  15. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, a USAAF Air Force was the equivalent of an army. Typically, it consisted of a headquarters and various "commands" that were more or less equivalent to corps. Thus, Eighth Air Force included Eighth Bomber, Fighter, and Service Commands. The commands in turn consisted of divisions (usually bombardment), wings (which were more or less synonymous with divisions), groups, squadrons, flights, and detachments of various types.

    Of course, the air forces included both a ground and air component and its personnel included both "Army Air Corps" and "Army", the former making up the flight personnel and some of the ground personnel, while the Army types were almost all Army Service Forces ground personnel. However, combat units like the IX Air Defense Command of Ninth Air Force could include both, since originally it included both air units (a fighter wing) and ground units (an antiaircraft division).
     
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  16. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks
     
  17. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The largest permanent organizations were divisions for the ground forces and groups for the air. I say "permanent" because it was relatively uncommon for their component regiments or squadrons to be changed, though not unheard of. Corps, armies, wings, air divisions, and air forces were formed as needed and could be flexible depending on availability of units and the overall situation.
     

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