Observation from The French

Discussion in 'Military' started by Samson, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Samson
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    Samson Póg Mo Thóin Supporting Member

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    serving with an American Unit in A-stan:

    This is very true in my experience: Whereas officers are essential elements in even the smallest of European units, in American Units they are somewhat supervelous.
     
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  2. rightwinger
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    rightwinger Paid Messageboard Poster Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    The same thing happened to the German army in WWII, they could do nothing without orders. In most cases from Hitler himself
     
  3. Samson
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    Samson Póg Mo Thóin Supporting Member

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    Indeed, if Americans on Omaha Beach had depended on orders, D-day may have failed.
     
  4. FiscalSanity
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    Our military was designed that way. Anyone that's spent time in uniform knows that it's really the sergeants that run the day to day operations. On a tactical level most sergeants are just as proficient (if not better) then any LT that might be leading them, and as WWII proved there are a lot of segeants that can swing a company just fine. It's when you start getting to the levels where you need to think about logistics and large scale strategy that the officers really become necessary.
     
  5. Samson
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    Samson Póg Mo Thóin Supporting Member

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    By Why?

    Why is the US Army unique? Where they not modeled by ExBritish, French, and Prussian Officers?

    And up until the Civil War, it appears the US Army WAS very much like their Continental and British counterparts.

    Between the Civil War and WWII something happened to the American Army (or American society?) that did not happen in The British Empire or Germany.

    My theory is that the West Was Won, and this precipitated a large number of very individualistic Americans who had survived The Great Depression.
     
  6. rightwinger
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    rightwinger Paid Messageboard Poster Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I think it may be because we are less of a Class based society. Europe always maintained a ruling class and that ruling class ran the officers corps. Allowing enlisted (commoner) soldiers to make critical battlefield decisions contradicts the class system.
     
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  7. SFC Ollie
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    SFC Ollie Still Marching

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    I learned as a young dumb Corporal to step up and take charge of the situation, just don't do anything stupid.......
     
  8. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    The German Army in WWII was a mess of conflicts regarding command and control. The prussian tradition was actually based on the independent actions of company grade officers when given a directive from above. Hitler turned it to mish-mosh by becoming an interloper in basic millitary strategy and tactics.

    While we remember the held panzer divisions on D-Day, people forget that during the Battle of France in 1940 gurdarian basically pushed his orders to the limit in making the panzer group reach the channel. He had authority to control the situation as he saw fit.

    Local control in the prussian sense was allowable according to thier training doctrine, as in thier view thier training was so thorough that given a situation, every graduate of thier general staff school would come out with the same answer to it.
     
  9. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    Going back to the revolution american millitary philosophy has been almost the opposite of how europeans saw thier forces. Up until during the civil war most officers, at least at the company level, were elected by the men, as they did in thier milita units.

    European armies transistioned from mercenaires to state established forces during the renissance, and into the early industrial era. As these countries had to maintain standing armies the transition happened gradually. In what was to become the US there was no true standing armies, and a milita system took hold.

    Even in the civil war the traditional european powers scoffed at the forces on both sides, with Moltke (the elder) comparing the armies to "armed rabble.)

    We also lacked a knighed class, that transitioned to the officer class in other armies (as rightwinger stated).
     
  10. FiscalSanity
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    Samson,

    There are a lot of cultural and historical reasons, but there is another reason that's just as important. In todays world there are two basic ways to build an army.

    One is to have an army in which the Officers are the people who have long careers, but the enlisted men rarely last more then one enlistment. That's the model most of Europe and Asia used, because it has some advantages. First off, it's cheaper then our type of military. It's also a lot easier to expand it rapidly without effecting the average quality of the troops. The drawback is that enlisted men and low ranking officers usually don't have much authority to make decisions or act on their own initative. There is also a tendency to spend less on equipment and such for the enlisted troops, since the country doesn't have nearly as much time and effort invested in training them.

    The other option is to have an army like ours, in which a large portion of the enlisted men stay in and make it a career. Basically, we have a full time professional army, while a lot of the world uses a professional officers corp backed up by a lot of amateur soldiers. Since our enlisted men are a lot more experienced and aren't (usually) hobbled by micro managing commanders they tend to be a lot better able to improvise and deal with unexpected situations. The drawback to an army like ours is that it's very nature limits it's size, as well as it's ability to expand rapidly without stinting on training. Because such an army is usually going to be fighting at a numerical disadvantage it is also neccessary to equip it with the best stuff you can possibly afford, which makes it even more expensive to maintain.
     
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