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  • #61
    Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
    Maybe people such as full monty can help with ww2 encyclopedic brains but I can hardly imagine that after 5 years of war the soldiers in the British 1st airborne were pea green and raw recruits.
    Afaik they were not vastly experienced as paratroopers with the glider-borne force not at all. It's more of a mindset issue than anything else. Paras, being lightly equipped, need to move quickly and decisively once landed. One of the major criticisms of 1st AB, particularly 1st AB Bde, is that they didn't move quickly enough once landed.
    Signing out.

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
      You know, in retrospect, I guess on paper the 82nd A/B did have the tougher set of objectives. I never thought of it that way, because we have the benefit of knowing where it was most dangerous, unlike the planners.
      Although the planners should have realised that Arnhem was a tougher nut to crack than they initially believed. Hindsight is a difficult thing to cast off though when looking at history.




      I dunno, having a lot of "combat" experienced officers isn't the same as having troopers with campaigns under their belts. I'm a fan of Colonel Frost, but what kind of combat history did he have over the 82nd, a year or two, maybe?
      He was at Bruneval in 1941. That does give him three years+ and that kind of experience rubs off on the men around you.

      And I'm not impressed by North Africa, so I hope he was in Italy. What kind of combat veteran ratio did the whole outfit have? The 82nd A/B had alot of guys like Paul Mann Sr. in their NCO ranks, and that makes a difference in a fight....
      The Mann's certainly seem to like a good fight. (no disrespect intended).
      Signing out.

      Comment


      • #63
        Not impressed by North Africa?! Yes the Afrika corps were very poor troops to fight werent they. hmmm A certain amount of disrespect for the abilty of the paras am I smelling.?I hope not.

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by The Doctor View Post

          2,200 paratroopers?

          You might be confusing British 1st Airborne Division with the 1st Parachute Brigade. Br. 1st AB consisted of 1st and 4th Para Brigades and 1st Air Landing Brigade...plus some attached units...About 10,000 troops.
          Indeed. Bad reference material. Some writes care little for the difference between a Divison and a Brigade.

          Total numbers in the assualt force:

          16,200 paratroopers and 3,200 gliderists. Of that 14,000 are american paratroopers and 1,500 gliderist are also american. -Ridgways Paratroopers by Clay Blair

          That's why switcing the assault force for Arnhem to the 504th PIR or the 505th PIR makes sense to me. That, and the experienced combat veterans, of course. Seems if the British were only going to use the Brigade to start with, it would've been more effective to have used one of the crack 82nd A/B Regiments instead. I'm not as impressed by "Air Landing" outfits as I am by actual Paratroopers, but even if you count all the support, the 82nd A/B still has more to offer than the Brit 1st A/B....

          Originally posted by The Doctor View Post

          Although it is true that Arnhem was the first action for the entire Division, the 1st Para Brigade had extensive experience in North Africa and Italy.
          Yeah, but that's only one section of the division. The 82nd A/B featured Regiments with experience, some less than others, but all blooded. Two of the 82nd's Regiments had history all the way back to North Africa.
          Last edited by Paul Mann III; 28 Dec 07, 17:20.
          "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

          BoRG

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
            Yeah, but that's only one section of the division. The 82nd A/B featured Regiments with experience, some less than others, but all blooded.
            Most of 1st Airborne's troops were 'blooded' but a good proportion weren't blooded as paratroopers, hence my comment above.
            Signing out.

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
              Most of 1st Airborne's troops were 'blooded' but a good proportion weren't blooded as paratroopers, hence my comment above.
              Right, what I'm saying is experienced "Air Landing" troopers aren't as dangerous as experienced Paratroopers. With the Landing Zones of Arnhem being so awful, I would've simply dropped the 504th and 505th right into the area, instead of using so many gliders. That's more Para's, more experience, and a better chance to hold or flee for the Arnhem force, at least in my estimation.
              "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

              BoRG

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                Not impressed by North Africa?! Yes the Afrika corps were very poor troops to fight werent they. hmmm A certain amount of disrespect for the abilty of the paras am I smelling.?I hope not.
                Check my profile, and see if I'm likely to disrespect the Airborne. There's more Jump Wings in my family than there is in an Airborne CP.

                As far as British and American paratrooper experience in North Africa, none of it was good. Most every aspect of every Airborne Op in North Africa went askew somehow. I admit a lack of knowledge for the contributions of the Brit Airborne in Italy, but it matters little, as the 504th PIR was the premier airborne outfit of the Italian campaign, that's why they got stuck there until just before Normandy.
                Last edited by Paul Mann III; 28 Dec 07, 19:23.
                "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                BoRG

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
                  Right, what I'm saying is experienced "Air Landing" troopers aren't as dangerous as experienced Paratroopers. With the Landing Zones of Arnhem being so awful, I would've simply dropped the 504th and 505th right into the area, instead of using so many gliders. That's more Para's, more experience, and a better chance to hold or flee for the Arnhem force, at least in my estimation.
                  Whether the first part is true or not is by the by. But you might run into serious problems getting the Transport Aircraft to do what you ask. Although in a 'what if' scenario anything is possible I suppose.
                  Signing out.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                    Whether the first part is true or not is by the by. But you might run into serious problems getting the Transport Aircraft to do what you ask. Although in a 'what if' scenario anything is possible I suppose.
                    Well yeah, if the Transport Aircraft were assigned by objective, rather than to a specific division, than the 82nd would be deployed peice meal, like the British, and that could present an issue. A simple substitution of the 504th PIR for the 1st Brit A/B Brigade would still equal the same amount of aircraft, or close to it, and I still think the 504th or 505th alone could've out performed the Brit Brigade, with or without all the support attachments that require more aircraft. If all the support is factored in, the 307th Airborne Engineers and the 80th A/A Battalion, as well as the 456th Parachute Artillery and both of the 82nds Glider arty outfits were "crack" troops, too. I'm not sure the British support could make that claim.

                    In sum, I am boldly saying that either the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment or the 505th PIR were more suited for Arnhem than the British 1st Airborne Brigade, regardless of the impending doom brought by the German force.
                    "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                    BoRG

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
                      In sum, I am boldly saying that either the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment or the 505th PIR were more suited for Arnhem than the British 1st Airborne Brigade, regardless of the impending doom brought by the German force.
                      I think I've already clocked that one.
                      Signing out.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
                        Check my profile, and see if I'm likely to disrespect the Airborne.

                        As far as British and American paratrooper experience in North Africa, none of it was good. Most every aspect of every Airborne Op in North Africa went askew somehow. I admit a lack of knowledge for the contributions of the Brit Airborne in Italy, but it matters little, as the 504th PIR was the premier airborne outfit of the Italian campaign, that's why they got stuck there until just before Normandy.
                        Paul...

                        I think you make a good case that 82nd AB...particularly 504th PIR...was the best paratrooper combat outfit...They made the Waal River crossing near Nijmegen...one of the toughest battles of M-G.

                        I still don't see how they cover the 8 miles or so from the DZ's faster than Br. 1st AB. One of 1st AB's biggest problem was the loss of most of their glider-borne Jeeps...Even if the 82nd could have covered the 8 miles on foot faster and secured both ends of the bridges...XXX Corps still had to travel all the way up that God-awful narrow, elevated roadway...Plus some other outfit would have had to handle Nijmegen and the Waal crossing.

                        :flag:
                        Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
                          I still don't see how they cover the 8 miles or so from the DZ's faster than Br. 1st AB. One of 1st AB's biggest problem was the loss of most of their glider-borne Jeeps...
                          1.) Out of 24 Battalions, the Americans miss dropped 2 Battalions, I suspect they would've held on to their Jeeps.

                          2.) In Italy the 504th PIR (with the help of Rangers) made record times up and down the mountains all winter long. I also suspect that they would've made a light jog out of the 8 miles, or, as they had done in the past, taken local items (carts, trucks, ect) to speed their movement.

                          3.) Not sure, but did the Brits have some radio problems? Never happens to the 504th....

                          Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
                          Even if the 82nd could have covered the 8 miles on foot faster and secured both ends of the bridges...XXX Corps still had to travel all the way up that God-awful narrow, elevated roadway...Plus some other outfit would have had to handle Nijmegen and the Waal crossing.

                          Can't say anything for the slow moving XXX Corps, except the would've had an earful if Ridgways troopers had been stuck in Arnhem during the "tea time."

                          Fair enough, but if the 504th goes to Arnhem, then certainly Gavin would've used the 505th at the Waal. As it was, the 504th wasn't supposed to have to deal with the crossing, they were called in (after completing all their objectives) to help out the struggling 507th PIR (whom Gavin overtasked, by his own admission).

                          Ben Vandervoort won his second DSC that day, with 505th PIR. According to Ridgway he would've earned wherever he was. Vandervoort (played by The Duke in The Longest Day) was said to be one of the best, just behind Gavin, on the level of Rube Tucker or Warren Williams, and on that day he was at his best, again, according to Ridgway and Gavin....

                          Last edited by Paul Mann III; 28 Dec 07, 18:45.
                          "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                          BoRG

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Unfortunately, if you are going to compare 1st AB to to Gavin's outfit in the Arnhem drop you have to keep the rules the same for both sets. This means the Yanks drop west of Oosterbeek with the same restrictions and bad luck (lost jeeps, etc.), the same lift capacity, the same limitations placed on the planning by the transport lads as the British. Had the drop been perfect the British would have done better at Arnhem,....right up to the point where Guards Arm'd had to to help shoot the US Paratroopers over the Waal.

                            Likewise, if you allow Gavin the ability to modify the plan for the Arnhem drop to suit a more logical use of assets you must also allow a recasting of the battle allowing the British to do so. What ifs are fine but when comparing how one unit would possibly do in comparison to another there can be no stacking of the deck,...the odds must be even and the restictions imposed equal. Otherwise the whole argument is fruitless.

                            In this case, and facing similar setbacks, there is nothing presented that the Americans at Arnhem would have fared any better. Market-Garden was fatally wounded by the bridge at Zon and the need by XXX Corps to help clear Nijmegen. Had these two historical events not been present, the narrow road, the captured plans, the quick German response, the allied transport commands errors and all the rest would most likely not have been enough to bring about MGs ultimate failure. Not having the bridges to the south of Arnhem captured intact (Zon) or in time (Nijmegen) were the two most salient factors in failing to reach 1st AB in time to be of any good.

                            Brits or Yanks at Arnhem,....facing the the realities such as they were on the ground,...makes little difference if the tanks cannot get to the Rhine in time. If Gavin's unit was the best then it was best used at Nijmegen.

                            Of course, what they would have been able to do at that point is another problem but I suspect the allies would have been stopped due to supply and manpower problems and still possessed a bridgehead to nowhere. Eisenhower simply did not have the physical means to exploit a successful operation in September, although that was not realised at the time.
                            The Purist

                            Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                              Unfortunately, if you are going to compare 1st AB to to Gavin's outfit in the Arnhem drop you have to keep the rules the same for both sets. This means the Yanks drop west of Oosterbeek with the same restrictions and bad luck (lost jeeps, etc.), the same lift capacity, the same limitations placed on the planning by the transport lads as the British.
                              Fair enough, but with all limits and mistakes in play, I still think I've given enough evudence to show the 504th PIR had a better chance in Arnhem than the Brit 1st A/B Bde.

                              Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                              If Gavin's unit was the best then it was best used at Nijmegen.
                              Yeah, I think that's what I've come to see. I guess that's why I started the thread, to figure that out.
                              "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                              BoRG

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                I'll disagree with you on the use of a parachute brigade for Arnhem. What the troops needed most was transport and artillery, which means glider borne troops.

                                Look at it this way, if it wasn't for the 82nd being where they were, a lot less Brits and Poles would have come home. Do you think the 1st AB would have been able to crack the Waal as fast as the 504th?

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