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US military last stands

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  • #61
    The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, the men of Taffy 3, would qualify as a heroic last stand, even though their action resulted in a withdrawal of the Japanese task force.
    For many it was a last stand, there was little hope the small vessels could survive the dual with a overwhelming Japanese fleet.
    In the annals of US Naval history, there are a number of instances that demonstrate the courage and determination of a committed group of dedicated officers and men.

    The one that stands out most in many people’s opinions is the battle which occurred on October 25th 1944. On this day, a small group of scrappy warriors took on a force many times its size and contributed to one of the greatest naval victories of all time.
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    • #62
      The 506th PIR certainly qualifies as such a group, the men of that elite group fought in Market Garden and in the Battle of the Bulge cut off from any support and with little hope of survival,
      http://www.ww2-airborne.us/units/506/506.html
      Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
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      • #63
        Originally posted by Frtigern View Post
        I'm doing a brief on a last stands in the US military, from its inception to now. Who was involved, what happened, where did they happen, when did they happen and why did they happen. Besides the obvious ones like Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Alamo, what other last stands were American forces apart of? More importantly, could they have been avoided or the outcome changed? What reasons does a commander resort to making a last stand?
        Thanks
        "The 24th Division's first mission was to "take the initial shock" of the North Korean assault, then try to slow its advance until more US divisions could arrive."

        Task Force Smith; 540 men against over 5,000 plus tanks. They were a speed bump but it did delay the North Koreans 7 hours. that gave 7 more hours for the UN to set up the Pusan Perimeter.

        There were also numerous last stands throughout the Pusan Perimeter campaign involving various other units while the UN (US) unassed itself.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24th_I...(United_States)

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        • #64
          In response to jf42's excellent list of western conflicts.
          I've never thought of Carrington (Ft.P. Kearny) being a last stand: more of a siege of containment. IMO Rosebud was simply a battle. Crook's Indian scouts saved his behind. Buffalo Wallow and Adobe Wells were not US Military.

          Under the nit picky category: Troops involved in the Hay Field Fight were from Ft. C.S. Smith. The Wagon Box fight involved an ordinance train headed for Kearny. Though they were relived by troops from that Fort.
          Some great stories in your list.
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          • #65
            Originally posted by Urban hermit View Post
            The 506th PIR certainly qualifies as such a group, the men of that elite group fought in Market Garden and in the Battle of the Bulge cut off from any support and with little hope of survival,
            http://www.ww2-airborne.us/units/506/506.html

            As part of the 101st Division, one of several holding the Bastogne bottleneck, were the 506th really cut off entirely from support? There seemed to be regular contact with the rear. Not that the rear was really any better off than the forward positions.

            I would say the 101st were beleaguered, frozen and short of pretty much everything material needed to continue the fight, but where was the 'last stand'?

            Was it not Brig.Gen McAuliffe who said that with Germans on all sides, the 101st had the enemy surrounded?

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            • #66
              You could say that the 101st was in a stand to hold off the Germans until reinforcements could break the siege. I doubt that they would fight to the last man but it could have gone really badly. I wonder what would've happened if the 101st simply surrendered right before Patton got there? May have given the Germans a chance to breakout and seriously delay the western campaign to where they wouldn't have had a chance to push into Germany.
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              • #67
                Some people get the impression that the 101st was a delicate, Airborne formation. In fact the division was over strength and had lots of extra units attached. There was two Combat Commands in Bastogne as well as "Team SNAFU" which was composed of mostly 28th Infantry Division refugees. There were also a number of Corps Artillery Battalions on call to support the division.

                Because so many men were on leave and had to routed out of the fleshpots of Paris, they were missing combat fatigues, weapons, ammo, grenades, helmets and web gear. The refugees passing through Bastogne were more than glad to donate most of these items to the shivering Paratroopers. Many men also helped themselves to bed linen to wear as white camouflage.

                Actually the Germans bypassed the place and did not really try to take the place for quite a while. The Germans used a Volksgrenadier Division to surround the town. How a six Battalion division surrounded a town with eleven Infantry Battalions plus, I can't say.

                Pruitt
                Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                  Some people get the impression that the 101st was a delicate, Airborne formation. In fact the division was over strength and had lots of extra units attached. There was two Combat Commands in Bastogne as well as "Team SNAFU" which was composed of mostly 28th Infantry Division refugees. There were also a number of Corps Artillery Battalions on call to support the division.

                  Because so many men were on leave and had to routed out of the fleshpots of Paris, they were missing combat fatigues, weapons, ammo, grenades, helmets and web gear. The refugees passing through Bastogne were more than glad to donate most of these items to the shivering Paratroopers. Many men also helped themselves to bed linen to wear as white camouflage.

                  Actually the Germans bypassed the place and did not really try to take the place for quite a while. The Germans used a Volksgrenadier Division to surround the town. How a six Battalion division surrounded a town with eleven Infantry Battalions plus, I can't say.

                  Pruitt
                  A reflective post Pruitt, and one that nobody has tom twist my arm to agree with either!
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                  • #69
                    It seems nobody mentioned the demise of the 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Division, during Wacht am Rhein. It wasn't one last stand but multiple ones, for instance in Clervaux and Consthum. Each time the US forces of that regiment were attacked, surrounded, repeatedly assaulted by numerically superior enemy forces, and finally obliterated. By the end of it, of the force available to the regiment before the beginning of the German offensive, about 10% was still fit for duty and available. On the plus side, they did delay the German advance and caused serious problems for their (very unrealistic to start with) timetable.

                    That was the "good" last stand by sizable US units in the Battle of the Bulge - Bastogne was relieved so it's not a "last stand" as I read that term.

                    The "bad" last stand at that time is the surrender en masse of not one but two regiments of the 106th Infantry Division. They were badly deployed, badly led, and they fought indifferently. When they surrendered, no other real, significant option was left.
                    Michele

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                    • #70
                      Many survivors of the 110th Infantry Regiment fought at Bastogne as members of Team SNAFU. The entire 28th Infantry Division was scattered. Remnants of one Infantry Regiment ended up on the Northern boundary of the Bulge, one ended up on the Western edge and one was found on the Southern edge. The difference between it and the 106th was the HQ units of the Infantry Regiments survived.

                      Two Line of Communications Infantry Regiments were assigned to the 106th and they assigned some new Artillery and Engineer units and the division itself was back in the line after the Bulge. Many times the American Army suffered severe casualties in line battalions, but as long as the Regimental HQ survived, they could plug in replacements and the generals could still see a pin on the map indicating the division still lived.

                      Pruitt
                      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                        Many survivors of the 110th Infantry Regiment fought at Bastogne as members of Team SNAFU. The entire 28th Infantry Division was scattered. Remnants of one Infantry Regiment ended up on the Northern boundary of the Bulge, one ended up on the Western edge and one was found on the Southern edge. The difference between it and the 106th was the HQ units of the Infantry Regiments survived.

                        Two Line of Communications Infantry Regiments were assigned to the 106th and they assigned some new Artillery and Engineer units and the division itself was back in the line after the Bulge. Many times the American Army suffered severe casualties in line battalions, but as long as the Regimental HQ survived, they could plug in replacements and the generals could still see a pin on the map indicating the division still lived.

                        Pruitt
                        I'd be wary about these pin-on-the-map divisions in general, this is the view that Hitler famously took from his bunker in the last days of the war.

                        In any case, whether or not the 106th Division was combat-ready "after the Bulge" and how much later that actually was, does not change the facts:
                        - the 110th Infantry Regiment, as such, did fight a few last-stand battles over a few days, losing 90% of its strength,
                        - the two regiments of the 106th Division that became some 6,000 POWs of the Germans were indeed bagged in the Schnee Eifel pocket in what counts as another last stand (at least in my take of the term).
                        Michele

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                        • #72
                          It seems that many last stands happened because the defenders didn't like what would happen to them if they surrendered, many times with good logic.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                            It seems that many last stands happened because the defenders didn't like what would happen to them if they surrendered, many times with good logic.
                            Very true. 'last stand' status is seldom planned. The Alamo, although not US military, is one of the few cases of a intended last stand.

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                              The problem is limiting to the US military.

                              The French Foreign Legion and the Brits have numerous heroic, to-the-last-man stands.

                              There was a famous stand on the retreat from Kabul, Rourke's Drift, the fight just before Rourke's drift which I cannot spell, Khartoum, several stands during the Mutiny...the Brits seem inclined to sneer at the odds and fight to the last man on the drop of a hat.
                              Or they were just poorly led...


                              You might include Gallipoli and Arnhem. However, IIRC this thread is about US Military Last Stands?
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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                                It seems that many last stands happened because the defenders didn't like what would happen to them if they surrendered, many times with good logic.
                                Then you are using a different definition than me. To me, if a surrounded force fights, but then surrenders, that's still a last stand. The enemy manages to put either the whole force, or nearly all of it save maybe negligible remnants that manage to run away, out of action, as KIA or POWs. Even if part of a force is taken prisoner instead of it being entirely killed, it stil is the end of a "standing" force.
                                Michele

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