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How would one design the most powerful ground division of WW2?

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  • How would one design the most powerful ground division of WW2?

    with the benefit of hindsight..and that era's capabilities. Design new equipment for it on the basis of 1940s era technology.

    Limit: 15,000-20,000 men.
    Last edited by Cult Icon; 17 May 10, 23:34.
    Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
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  • #2
    There are a lot of variables. One Division hardly fits in the CBI, North Africa, Italy, The Pripyet Marshes, Karelia. What opponents would you face and what do they have. Also, how much can your economy afford?

    A British Infantry Division with motor transport looks good, but how can you afford enough of them to cover your front in the Ukraine? An American Armor Division just does not fit into the mountains of Italy. An American Marine Division with all its 1945 bells and whistles is too big. An American Infantry Division has a hard time bringing its motor and artillery with it in New Guinea.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
      Design new equipment for it on the basis of 1940s era technology
      !!!!!

      Setting aside how we're supposed to 'design' it - presumably you mean 'make up something plausible-sounding'...

      - what point in the 1940s? 1949 is very different from 1945 is very different from 1940....
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
        with the benefit of hindsight..and that era's capabilities. Design new equipment for it on the basis of 1940s era technology.

        Limit: 15,000-20,000 men.
        Echoing the comments already made, I think you need to refine the question a little. What theatre of war is the division expected to function in? Will it be expected to fight as an autonomous unit or as part of an army of similar units with appropriate support? Is it expected to be able to deal with heavy enemy air attacks or should we assume that they would have nuisance value only. Etc.
        Signing out.

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        • #5
          Any good books on the process' by which the British, Germans, Soviet, French, ect... designed their ground combat divisions? For the US Army there is the Green Book on the US Army ground forces which covers many aspects (tho not all) in detail. The fundamental philosophy of the reorganizations of 1939-1943 were to reduce non combat manpower in the division, moving the maximum support overhead to the corps/army. The principle obstacle to this were the second goals of keeping firepower and mobility relatively high.

          A second debate within the US Army Ground Forces was the number and type of specialized Divisions needed. Mechanized, Light, Mountain - Divisions were tested, as were Armored & Mechanized 'type' Corps. All those were tested to some degree.

          The only similar info I have for the other nations would be a few incomplete bits on the development of the German ground forces, and the British artillery.

          Anyone else?

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          • #6
            Another question not ask is who are you fighting? Are you fighting Russian or German, Japanese or American?
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            • #7
              For Europe? The Red Army's Mechanised Corps.

              An excellent mix of infantry, armour artillery, anti-tank and anti-air assets. It had everything it needed for mobile operation and once it chose its spot to stand, it was almost impossible to move.
              The Purist

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              • #8
                In one of the post-war German memoirs the author sketched out what he believed to be an optimal division. I'll see if I can dig it out.
                Last edited by The Ibis; 18 May 10, 07:54.

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                • #9
                  New Zealand Division in Spring '45 - but that was over 20,000 men.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                    For Europe? The Red Army's Mechanised Corps.

                    An excellent mix of infantry, armour artillery, anti-tank and anti-air assets. It had everything it needed for mobile operation and once it chose its spot to stand, it was almost impossible to move.


                    I concurr. that or a 1945 US Armoured Division (but manned with German ost-front veterans of early 1942 and with German tanks instead of Shermans)
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                      I concurr. that or a 1945 US Armoured Division (but manned with German ost-front veterans of early 1942 and with German tanks instead of Shermans)
                      If you like the table of organization for a 1945 US armored division, there's no need to add in Germans troops to make it any better. The guys wearing these shoulder patches were every bit as good:







                      Now if you gave them some Firefly tanks, you'd be all set.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
                        Now if you gave them some Firefly tanks, you'd be all set
                        Or Comets

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                          I concurr. that or a 1945 US Armoured Division
                          That is a reasonably well balanced formation although it could be argued that it's a little light on artillery and anti-air assets without its corps assets and air cover. I'd like to see a good mix of tanks - Shermans for infantry support, Panthers (or Pershings or Comets/Centurions) for other tank duties. I'd also want to see a heavy tank battalion attached, for breakthroughs - both making then and stopping them. The combat command structure utilised by the Americans was a good concept and if more formal than the German 'Kampfgruppe' still flexible enough to adapt to a good variety of battlefield situations.
                          Signing out.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                            That is a reasonably well balanced formation although it could be argued that it's a little light on artillery and anti-air assets without its corps assets and air cover.
                            That brings up a very important point. Do you delegate heavier assets down the line, allowing greater flexibility (ie German) or do you concentrate them on mass, allowing greater firepower (eg Soviet artillery). One division without heavy artillery assets may look weaker than one with the big guns, but in reality those guns are held at corp or army level, and so still available.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                              That brings up a very important point. Do you delegate heavier assets down the line, allowing greater flexibility (ie German) or do you concentrate them on mass, allowing greater firepower (eg Soviet artillery). One division without heavy artillery assets may look weaker than one with the big guns, but in reality those guns are held at corp or army level, and so still available.
                              Aye. Echoes what I asked here

                              http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...59&postcount=4
                              Signing out.

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