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March/April 1945 Divisions - East compared to West

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  • Pruitt
    replied
    One thing I would like to mention is the US and Great Britain also had units in the "Line of Communication". While the front line went increasing towards Germany, one still had pockets of Germans left behind, like in the French ports. These needed to be reduced. Divisions fresh from the US often learned "how to" for a month or two at places like Brest. Some of the "LOC" divisions were re-building from front line service, but there were also a number of independent Regiments (US) and Brigades (UK) that also were in use.

    The local Louisiana National Guard Regiment (156th Infantry) saw such duty. When the Germans from the Channel islands raided a French port, they were the "reaction force" that was sent.

    The 442nd Infantry was another independent regiment that was shuttled around from division to division. It went from Italy to Southern France.

    The Germans also had a number of independent regiments and battalions that saw duty in the West. While the 442nd was trying to "rescue" a battalion of the 36th Inf Div, that was cut off, the Germans were just as frantically trying to extricate a couple of Mountain Infantry battalions that were cut off.

    Also I wonder if anybody counted the various European units like the Czech Brigade, the Netherlands Brigade or the several Belgian battalions that saw service in the line?

    American Divisions often had Tank Destroyer, Tank, Chemical Mortars (4.2"), Artillery and Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalions attached that did not count on the lower figure of about 15,000 troops that were in the 1944 division. The 1943 Inf Div came in at just over 14,000.

    My Osprey Battle Orders 24 talks about the 28th Inf Div in the line before the "Bulge" only had about 17,000 troops compared the more normal 20,000 to 25,000 figure for divisions in Combat. It also says the 101st in Bastogne had over 20,000 counting attachments. These included remnants of Combat Commands of the 9th and 10th Armor Divisions, a Tank Destroyer Battalion, four non-divisional Artillery Battalions (130 artillery tubes in the pocket!), plus survivors from other units (Team Snafu). The Germans could only use 30,000 men to surround the place.

    Pruitt

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  • Gooner
    replied
    Originally posted by Jon Jordan View Post
    In April 1945? Didn't know they had that many left.

    If they knew what was good for them, I suppose, they were high-tailing it west.
    The W.Allies eventually held something like 10m POWs IIRC. Dunno how many were in the East, less I think.

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  • The Purist
    replied
    Iirc, the CW infantry divs had about 17,000 men on strength (not counting the LOC troops that push the numbers up to 45k) of which perhaps 4000 were actual frontline troops. Of, course, one would be hard pressed to find many divs with anything close to full rifle coys, etc.

    US inf divs come in near 14,000(?) with about 3000-3500 men who actual fight in the frontlines. Manpower should not have been a problem but was.

    Red Army divs come in near 10-11,000 with about 3500 troops up front. Manpower was also an issue but with 6 million ground troops, they could pick and choose which divs to bring up to strength for operations.

    Overall, in the ratio of rifles-to-typewriters, the Red Army had more troops actually fighting than the western armies. But then again, so did the Germans during the latter half of the war. Nature of the respective beasts.

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  • Jon Jordan
    replied
    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
    What were the 6-7 million other German military personnel doing?
    In April 1945? Didn't know they had that many left.

    If they knew what was good for them, I suppose, they were high-tailing it west.

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  • Gooner
    replied
    Originally posted by Jon Jordan View Post
    Glantz did a paper in 2001 that said that in April 1945, the Germans fielded 1.9million men against the 6.5 million Red Army in the East, while 4 million Allies in the West faced under 1 million Germans.
    What were the 6-7 million other German military personnel doing?

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  • Gooner
    replied
    Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
    Well, the official ToE of the infantry divisions shows the UK division with about 4,000 extra men over the US equivalent. This would suggest that the US 'tail' was larger than their British counterparts.
    Uh, which ToEs - the June 1944 ones? By Spring '45 there had been adjustments in the British ones notably a reduction in anti-aircraft guns and personnel.

    This would suggest that the US 'tail' was larger than their British counterparts.
    No, why would it? The US kept a greater part of their combat assets - independent tank, artillery and anti-tank battalions - out of their divisional org. and in pool. In practice though attachments would be pretty permanent.

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  • Full Monty
    replied
    Originally posted by Jon Jordan View Post
    Glantz did a paper in 2001 that said that in April 1945, the Germans fielded 1.9million men against the 6.5 million Red Army in the East, while 4 million Allies in the West faced under 1 million Germans.
    That would tally with Overy in a very rough manner.

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  • Full Monty
    replied
    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
    Bin it. The UK and the US had very similar teeth to tail ratio - both averaged about 45K men per division in the field, on the continent that is.
    Well, the official ToE of the infantry divisions shows the UK division with about 4,000 extra men over the US equivalent. This would suggest that the US 'tail' was larger than their British counterparts.

    You shouldn't be, it can't be measured.

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  • Jon Jordan
    replied
    Glantz did a paper in 2001 that said that in April 1945, the Germans fielded 1.9million men against the 6.5 million Red Army in the East, while 4 million Allies in the West faced under 1 million Germans.

    I was unable to upload the PDF paper, but it's called "The Soviet-German War 1941-1945: Myths and Realities: A Survey," given at Clemson Univ. in October 2001. I believe you can still get it on the internet.

    Leave a comment:


  • Konev
    replied
    The Red Army had in the Operational Army (those on the Eastern Front) and in Stavka Reserves the following division-sized or division title formations:
    (number in parenthese in Stavka Reserves) as of 1 March 1945:

    459 Rifle Divisions (+3)
    9 Airborne Divisions
    21 Cavalry Divisions
    35 Artillery Divisions (+2)
    5 Rocket Artillery Divisions
    87 AAA Divisions (+3)
    22 Tank Corps
    12 Mechanized Corps (+1)
    162 Aviation Divisions (+8)
    10 NKVD Divisions

    These numbers do not included those assigned to the Military Districts nor those assigned in the Far East.

    konev

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  • Gooner
    replied
    Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
    Ellis - 'Brute Force' (amongst others)
    Bin it. The UK and the US had very similar teeth to tail ratio - both averaged about 45K men per division in the field, on the continent that is.

    I thought you didn't like such 'indefinables'.

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  • Full Monty
    replied
    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
    Source?
    Ellis - 'Brute Force' (amongst others)

    And ignore that some 'teeth' are sharper than others.
    I thought you didn't like such 'indefinables'.

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  • Gooner
    replied
    Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
    Bearing in mind that the US forces had a far greater proportion of non-combatant troops than any of their allies one would get a very rough balance of 3:2 in favour of the East,
    Source?

    something that would increase if we only included 'teeth'.
    And ignore that some 'teeth' are sharper than others.

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  • Full Monty
    replied
    Bearing in mind that the US forces had a far greater proportion of non-combatant troops than any of their allies one would get a very rough balance of 3:2 in favour of the East, something that would increase if we only included 'teeth'.

    Leave a comment:


  • panther3485
    replied
    OK guys, thanks for the replies so far. To put the question another way then, in your best estimation, what was the approximate balance of forces on the Allied side, East and West, by that date? Was it anywhere near equal by then, or was the greater weight still very much to the East? (Not counting air forces - land forces only.)

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