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Custer in WWII.

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  • Custer in WWII.

    How would Custer do as an armor officer in WWII?

    Let us say he is in the 4th Armored Division under MG John S. Wood. I think he does great commanding a battalion or even a combat command under a division commander like Wood.

    But could he have done Wood's job and commanded the 4th Armored Division during the breakout in Operation Cobra, the encirclement of Nancy, the dash across France, the relief at Bastogne, etc.? That's where it gets iffy for me. B.H. Liddell Hart once referred to Wood as, "the Rommel of the American armored forces." I can't see Custer like that.

    I think Custer would have been great at battalion command or even combat command. I think he would have been iffy at division command but he might have managed it okay if the corps commander was outstanding. I think he would have been a flop at corps command. Patton probably would have relieved him as a corps commander.

    An army commander? Never. He would have been a disaster. He could not have done Patton's job.
    "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

  • #2
    The US tankers who got transported back to 1876 & fought with the 7th in the Twilight Zone should be able to give a report on Custer's ability to handle armour

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    • #3
      Good one! I repped you for that.
      "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

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      • #4
        I doubt that Custer would have made much of a combat officer actually. If you look at his history it is only because Major General Alfred Pleasonton had him on his staff as a Lieutenant and Pleasonton, like Custer liked flashy uniforms and was used to political maneuvering of the sort that went on in some National Guard units prior to WW 2 that he went anywhere.
        While Custer could be aggressive and brave his tactical sense wasn't up to par. That is, he wasn't a team player in a combined arms type of action where his unit(s) had to interact with other ones.
        My bet would be he would have been quietly shuffled off to some desk job or such somewhere "safe" where he couldn't mess things up. His political wrangling might have had him at the Pentagon or a staff states-side were he was using that ability to "climb the ladder" feather bedding for the post-war military.

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        • #5
          December 25th, 1941;
          "Major G.A. Custer, USMC, disobeyed the orders of the Naval Commander of Wake Island and organized a counter-attack that broke the back of the Japanese invaders at a critical moment. Despite severe casualties and the lose of one hand, Custer managed to consolidate his gains and forced a second withdrawal by the Japanese invaders.
          It has been estimated that it will require at least 3 weeks for the IJN to make another assault on that brave garrison. 'Time enough' said admiral Nimitz, 'to secure the island properly, and ensure the survival of the garrison.'"

          When it comes right down to it, were he and Chesty Puller really that different?
          "Why is the Rum gone?"

          -Captain Jack

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mifletz View Post
            The US tankers who got transported back to 1876 & fought with the 7th in the Twilight Zone should be able to give a report on Custer's ability to handle armour
            Actually, no, they didn't bring up their Stuart, they fought dismounted.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
              December 25th, 1941;
              "Major G.A. Custer, USMC, disobeyed the orders of the Naval Commander of Wake Island and organized a counter-attack that broke the back of the Japanese invaders at a critical moment. Despite severe casualties and the lose of one hand, Custer managed to consolidate his gains and forced a second withdrawal by the Japanese invaders.
              It has been estimated that it will require at least 3 weeks for the IJN to make another assault on that brave garrison. 'Time enough' said admiral Nimitz, 'to secure the island properly, and ensure the survival of the garrison.'"

              When it comes right down to it, were he and Chesty Puller really that different?
              Yes. Custer actually took pride in his being (and still is) the record holder for demerits at West Point. He was court martialed for AWOL (he deserted his post to go visit his wife in Chicago) and took his case to the press / papers who raised a sufficient stink that the matter was all but totally dropped.
              Custer's success in the Civil War was due far more to luck than skill.
              His rise in rank was due almost totally to political and social wrangling rather than merit.
              I could see him wrangling a position with a unit like the 27th (NY) National Guard division on political and social connections where he is given rank above his competence. That is equivalent to how he got promoted to Brigadier General of volunteers to begin with (along with two other Lieutenants / Captains).
              What would happen, as happened with many National Guard units is after their first combat where the unit performed poorly he along with many other officers are cashiered and replaced by competent ones. The cashiered officers get to be desk jockeys or are sent to some "safe" billet commensurate with their rank where their tactical incompetence will keep them out of trouble.

              Captain what's his name in Band of Brothers gets that treatment. The higher ups just sugar coat the transfer.

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              • #8
                Custer would have been over 100 years old during World War 2 so don't know how much he could have done.
                “When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, 'Damn, that was fun'.”
                ― Groucho Marx

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Checkertail20 View Post
                  Custer would have been over 100 years old during World War 2 so don't know how much he could have done.
                  Ahh, Checkertali20 made a funny!
                  "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                    When it comes right down to it, were he and Chesty Puller really that different?
                    Chesty was born and raised in Virginia. He learned his trade in Haiti and Nicaragua. Chesty walked about as many miles as Custer rode on a horse! Puller also believed that going straight at the enemy was better than trying to find a flank. I have major problems comparing the two.

                    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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                    • #11
                      Not much good I'm afraid. I mean he was dead at the time!

                      Regards,
                      Dennis
                      If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                      Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by D1J1 View Post
                        Not much good I'm afraid. I mean he was dead at the time!
                        Ahhh, another master of the obvious. This board is full of them.
                        "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KRJ View Post
                          ...How would Custer do as an armor officer in WWII?...
                          Lackluster.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KRJ View Post
                            Ahhh, another master of the obvious. This board is full of them.
                            Perhaps, but still accurate. Custer's personal bravery is unquestioned. His intellectual acumen leaves a lot to be desired in terms of strategy and tactics (see Battle of Little Bighorn).

                            Had his skill at self-promotion been a corresponding level of ability at the command level you would have a legitimate argument.

                            Regards,
                            Dennis
                            If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                            Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                              When it comes right down to it, were he and Chesty Puller really that different?
                              Extremely different.

                              Chesty Puller was an extremely competent leader of men who commanded troops from the platoon through division with considerable distinction, in multiple conflicts under wildly different conditions.

                              Custer, on the other hand, was a moron.
                              Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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