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Does Conscription Produce Mediocre Soldiers?

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  • #31
    many aspects to consider
    ..one example is Vietnam....they had 1 year to be in Nam, then they were rotated out [USMC was 13 months? ]
    ...I read a book on this, and it talked all about the terrible combat effectiveness of this system
    --and IIRC, the officers were rotated every 6 months [ can any Vets confirm? ]

    During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army used a personnel rotation policy that at first blush defies military logic. The Army rotated soldiers through Vietnam on one-year tours. Officers also spent a year in country, but only six of those months were in a troop command.
    --so you clearly see the huge problems with this system

    http://www.historynet.com/vietnam-wa...ion-policy.htm

    ..KRJ mentions the Israelis [ great point ] and what we see here is totally different from Nam--they are/were fighting to save themselves from destruction

    Regulars are best for COIN and counter-terror.
    I agree with Rimmer...good points
    Last edited by Moulin; 03 Apr 17, 08:11.

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    • #32
      Limits to which conscripts will act does vary. For example Finnish many conscripts (and reservists) that formed the bulk of the army in the Continuation War initially refused to obey direct orders to cross the old state border and similar issues came up when the Finnish forces advanced further. In other words the motivation, morale, and all that of the conscript & reservist forces went down very quickly after a certain limit.
      It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion, it is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed. The hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion

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      • #33
        KRJ mentions the Israelis [ great point ] and what we see here is totally different from Nam--they are/were fighting to save themselves from destruction
        So were the South Vietnamese. It's just that many of them preferred to bury their heads in the sand and ignore that little fact. All the North Vietnamese I met in the RVN Forces, those from the 1954 generation, were quite aware of what the alternative was.
        dit: Lirelou

        Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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        • #34
          Originally posted by lirelou View Post
          So were the South Vietnamese. It's just that many of them preferred to bury their heads in the sand and ignore that little fact. All the North Vietnamese I met in the RVN Forces, those from the 1954 generation, were quite aware of what the alternative was.
          thanks for the reply
          interesting comparisons/differences
          the Israeli aspect is different from the Nam aspect. yes?
          ...the Arabs wanted to totally destroy Israel--NVN wanted to unify the country? wanted to dispel the imperialists ?
          ..I don't want to get off topic, as we had a similar discussion in the Vietnam forum--however--
          ..in the end, the Israelis were victorious, against an enemy that greatly outnumbered them, and had a strategic geographic advantage--and SVN was not victorious ....we have great comparisons/differences here to discuss with regard to the thread subject

          ..the US training and supplying SVN ..pouring millions of $ into SVN
          ..and the Israelis?
          Last edited by Moulin; 04 Apr 17, 07:43.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Moulin View Post
            --and IIRC, the officers were rotated every 6 months [ can any Vets confirm? ]
            Not a Vietnam vet, but US Army officers were in country for 12 month tours, too. The difference was that, in order to spread combat command experience among as many officers as possible, platoon leaders and commanders rotated to staff jobs after 6 months.

            My mom's cousin was an engineer battalions S3 in Vietnam from 6/67 to 6/68, for example. But if you read the unit quarterly AARs, you see commanders changing out every 6 months.

            Because the volume of enlisted men on staffs is not nearly the same as officers, the same dynamic doesn't apply. But I have read numerous accounts of units trying to rotate short timers (men with only a short time left in their 12 month tour) to rear echelon jobs. I'm sure that didn't happen for everyone, but I'm not sure what proportion did get that treatment.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
              And yet the Royal Marines on active service in various ways in Europe, were almost totally Conscripts. Also they were the equal of the professionals, not on the parade grounds perhaps but most definitely in action. And no we were not 'creamed off' as you say, we were trained into being Royal Marines. lcm1
              I should have said apart from trade apprentice's, they were not 'called up' for in those days it was for 7 years from 14 to 21. The Government fixed that problem by stopping all unsigned Apprenticeships the moment the war started. Hence my 'Call up' at the age of 18. I Tell you what despite the bad parts of my life from then on, I would not have missed it, and someone up there looked after me and I came out without a scratch the other end!! The only thing I have ever regretted about it was, I never achieved my aim of being a Draftsman. lcm1
              Last edited by lcm1; 04 Apr 17, 02:52.
              'By Horse by Tram'.


              I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
              " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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              • #37
                -NVN wanted to unify the country? wanted to dispel the imperialists ?
                Moulin;

                That was their PSYOP message for the masses and the foreign press, not the reason they were waging the war. The Vietnamese Party leadership believed in communism and collectivization, which they had started implementing in the 'liberated' areas in the early 1950s.

                Putting aside the reality that North and northern Central Vietnam had been dependent upon the Mekong Delta rice crop to alleviate hunger in bad harvest years (the last such famine n 1944-45 being exacerbated by Japanese rice war-time levies and allied interdiction against north/south lines of communication), the Party stalwarts truly believed that communism, with its centralized planning and collectivization, was the quickest way for a colonized country to modernize. Remember, the great majority of Viet Minh leadership was from the mandarin and colonial middle classes, not the rice paddies.

                The Mekong Delta rice harvest was far richer than the Red River Delta's for two primary reasons, the first and most important being the Mekong Delta's surplus of still virgin lands that could be converted to rice paddy, and the second being the difference in weather patterns between those two primary agricultural regions. The French had insinuated themselves into Vietnam in 1858 precisely because they understood that. The Imperial Army bottling the Franco-Spanish force up in Danang were reliant upon rice shipments coming from the Mekong and Bassac regions through Cho Lon and shipped from Saigon, which is why the French left a holding force in Danang while they moved south to seize Saigon/Cho Lon. (Brocheux and Hemery's book "Indochina; an Ambiguous Colonization" details how the northern Central Vietnamese provinces and the Red river Delta were producing populations that outstripped their region's ability to produce enough rice to feed them in times of crop failures or war as early as the 1700s.)

                "Viet Nam" was traditionally divided into North and South, with the "North" being that part of Vietnam that had been part of China, and it's immediate northern Central provinces, which became the "South" under the Nguyen Lords, who added to their domains by moving into former Cham lands, and those adjacent to the "Uplander" tribes. Until the 1700s, that was the "South". Then when they moved into the Mekong, a new South developed that was consolidated by Gia Long's victory in 1802; when Vietnam finally had "Bac Ky", "Trung Ky", and "Nam Ky", the "Ky"s now termed "Mien"s.

                IF yo have any doubts about what the Party was really fighting for, google this: "Nguyễn Thị Năm and the Land Reform in North Vietnam"
                dit: Lirelou

                Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                • #38
                  Moulin, one final aside, since this thread deals with regulars versus conscripts, the Vietnamese military system has always been dependent upon conscripts, as well as corvee labor. Their military leaders were often from the frontier provinces, experienced in war against each other or the Uplanders. But the rank and file during internal wars (most common) and foreign invasions came from the masses of people who served in village militias.

                  Here is something to give you an idea of the origins of Vietnam's military system.
                  The management of military manpower was (Gia Long"s) most critical concern. In early 1789 men were required to register for conscription. Those who had served in the Tay Son armies but failed to register were subject to the death penalty. Parents were allowed to keep one son at home to care for them. Severe punishments for draft dodgers and deserters extended to their families, and rewards were posted for ...information about the whereabouts of these fugitives. Soldiers were warned against bothering people or harassing merchants and were forbidden to carry weapons unless they were on duty. ... In addition to regular units, there were also local militia units. In 1790, regulations for establishing peasant-soldier settlements (don dien) were published and incentives were posted for officials to organize such settlements in the Vam Co region west of Saigon...
                  K.W. Taylor, "A History of the Vietnamese". p. 383

                  Visit some of the older villages around Son Tay and note how the villages were organized for defense, with a gate that could be closed for the night. Piracy was a problem along the upper Red River and along the Tonkin coast even into the 1800s, often raiding for women and children slaves that were sold into China. This lasted until the French period. They put a stop to it.
                  Last edited by lirelou; 04 Apr 17, 11:34.
                  dit: Lirelou

                  Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                  • #39
                    This entirely depends on what way you look at this. Are "regulars" better paid, trained, experienced etc etc? Sure, on average without a doubt. Does it matter? Not really.

                    Though Rambo is a tough guy and a veteran of many wars, in war such people don't really matter(unless they are leading units). What matters are functional units and their ability to continue functioning. The one massive benefit conscript army has over a volunteer army is the ability to replace losses quickly with trained personnel.

                    If you look at the bigger picture the performance of conscripts depends a lot on the nation itself. If the people have no reason to fight they mostly wont. If the nation is filled with corruption so is the army, etc etc.

                    From my personal experience I can say that the "undesirables" are mostly filtered away to support and supply units. The average rifleman is not the same as the average conscript.

                    One problem a volunteers army and career soldiers is that all structures begome rigid with time. Though the officer corps in conscript armies is professional as well, I would think that the vast pool of people that it drafts from brings certain flexibility and innovation that professional armies find hard to compete with.

                    Place the best professional army against the best conscript army and the conscript army will win by attrition. On the other hand, the conscripts usually bring home such tales of horror that it changes the nation.
                    In a swamp scum rises to the top

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Karri View Post
                      This entirely depends on what way you look at this. Are "regulars" better paid, trained, experienced etc etc? Sure, on average without a doubt. Does it matter? Not really.

                      Though Rambo is a tough guy and a veteran of many wars, in war such people don't really matter(unless they are leading units). What matters are functional units and their ability to continue functioning. The one massive benefit conscript army has over a volunteer army is the ability to replace losses quickly with trained personnel.

                      If you look at the bigger picture the performance of conscripts depends a lot on the nation itself. If the people have no reason to fight they mostly wont. If the nation is filled with corruption so is the army, etc etc.

                      From my personal experience I can say that the "undesirables" are mostly filtered away to support and supply units. The average rifleman is not the same as the average conscript.

                      One problem a volunteers army and career soldiers is that all structures begome rigid with time. Though the officer corps in conscript armies is professional as well, I would think that the vast pool of people that it drafts from brings certain flexibility and innovation that professional armies find hard to compete with.

                      Place the best professional army against the best conscript army and the conscript army will win by attrition. On the other hand, the conscripts usually bring home such tales of horror that it changes the nation.
                      I agree with most of what you say, accept for the last sentence, I think that most guys will leave out the real 'Nasty' bits when talking about the war and the fighting to people that have never 'Been there, Done that.' lcm1
                      'By Horse by Tram'.


                      I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                      " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                      • #41
                        Did the army in 92 , in the 1st Regiment d 'infanterie , in Sarreburg , Alsace.
                        A professional one.2 months there , kind of boot camp .
                        They hated us , draftees.1 draftee for 10 pros..

                        The officers advised us not to walk alone in the base when it was dark, the pro loved to train on us.They hated us , plain and simple.
                        Not , to say the least , my best memories.

                        Despite this , I managed for breaking my foot during an exercice , cause I charged alone an enemy pillbox, and put too much energy in it , apparently..
                        That rug really tied the room together

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
                          Did the army in 92 , in the 1st Regiment d 'infanterie , in Sarreburg , Alsace.
                          A professional one.2 months there , kind of boot camp .
                          They hated us , draftees.1 draftee for 10 pros..

                          The officers advised us not to walk alone in the base when it was dark, the pro loved to train on us.They hated us , plain and simple.
                          Not , to say the least , my best memories.

                          Despite this , I managed for breaking my foot during an exercice , cause I charged alone an enemy pillbox, and put too much energy in it , apparently..
                          Yes, enemy Pillboxes are inclined to do that to you. lcm1
                          'By Horse by Tram'.


                          I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                          " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
                            Did the army in 92 , in the 1st Regiment d 'infanterie , in Sarreburg , Alsace.
                            A professional one.2 months there , kind of boot camp .
                            They hated us , draftees.1 draftee for 10 pros..

                            The officers advised us not to walk alone in the base when it was dark, the pro loved to train on us.They hated us , plain and simple.
                            Not , to say the least , my best memories.

                            Despite this , I managed for breaking my foot during an exercice , cause I charged alone an enemy pillbox, and put too much energy in it , apparently..
                            Pillbox

                            Your starting to sound like 101.

                            More like charging the mess hall.
                            "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                            Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                            you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                              I agree with most of what you say, accept for the last sentence, I think that most guys will leave out the real 'Nasty' bits when talking about the war and the fighting to people that have never 'Been there, Done that.' lcm1
                              They can leave them out in talk but they can't leave em out of their heads. WW2 resulted in a lot of broken people. My grandpa only talked of the war in his sleep...
                              In a swamp scum rises to the top

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by lirelou View Post
                                Moulin, one final aside, since this thread deals with regulars versus conscripts, the Vietnamese military system has always been dependent upon conscripts, as well as corvee labor. Their military leaders were often from the frontier provinces, experienced in war against each other or the Uplanders. But the rank and file during internal wars (most common) and foreign invasions came from the masses of people who served in village militias.

                                Here is something to give you an idea of the origins of Vietnam's military system.
                                K.W. Taylor, "A History of the Vietnamese". p. 383

                                Visit some of the older villages around Son Tay and note how the villages were organized for defense, with a gate that could be closed for the night. Piracy was a problem along the upper Red River and along the Tonkin coast even into the 1800s, often raiding for women and children slaves that were sold into China. This lasted until the French period. They put a stop to it.
                                thanks for replies.....I guess everyone can agree the culture/schooling/etc would affect how the different countries' conscripts would or would not be easily ''trainable''....?
                                US with good food surplus/schooling/more mechanically inclined recruits/etc easier to 'train' than SVN/etc ...?

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