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Old 04-28-2012   #41
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long off-topic story; see PM
Received, thanks... maybe a little off topic but still valuable in terms of learning that the under resourced and over stretched German military from 1942 on still gave the allies a run for their money. I think you should consider posting that in open forum.

If only the world could get over the Nazi connotations and also find a way to overcome the language challenge for english speakers to access German military writing then military scholars will find a new 'world' of military education open up for them. Anyone got a spare few million to start a translation project?
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Old 04-28-2012   #42
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Default German military writing

Quoting JMA:
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If only the world could get over the Nazi connotations and also find a way to overcome the language challenge for english speakers to access German military writing then military scholars will find a new 'world' of military education open up for them. Anyone got a spare few million to start a translation project?
I thought there was a considerable effort at translating German documents, during the war and on a much larger scale after 1945? Plus a whole series of oral history interviews, a few of which became books later.

I would be surprised if training material was excluded.

Perhaps all the documents are too old, not indexed on Google and in filing cabinets in long forgotten places?
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Old 04-28-2012   #43
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SO we agree that deployments should be by unit... but for how long and what size units (by brigade or by battalion)?
Combat wise, I'd say Bns -- but the personnel and training systems and organizations would have to be re-tooled to support that. Right now we're really structured and organized to do it by Division but have actually gone to a by-Brigade model, creating in effect a hybrid -- and not totally satisfactory -- situation.
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Then do we agree that the formation/unit's stateside base provides the replacements?
I don't think it must the unit's home station; a central replacement system works well enough.
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Some interesting stuff there.
It is that and brings to mind a thought. As a result of that WW II experience and the concomitant major combat induced personnel turnover and the psychiatric casualty effect we also had a one year individual tour effort in Korea. However, there were four significant differences. In my order of importance they were:

1. In Korea, most of the Officers above Lieutenant (and even many of them) and almost all NCOs above Sergeant had WW II experience and most also engaged in constant mentoring and training of subordinates. That included newly arriving units and most individual replacements through the end of the war. Not only was the experience factor lacking in Viet Nam, there was all too often a strange drop in mentoring and in unit training...

2 There was no six-month rotation of Officers to 'broadening assignments.'

3. There was no Infusion program. This program, so far as I know, was a Viet Nam era aberration that was designed to place 'experienced ' soldiers, NCOs and Officers in newly arriving units during the 1966-67 buildup of forces. It entailed taking some all rank persons in varying percentages from units in country and assigning them to newly arrived units to provide a leavening of experience and to insure the entire unit did not rotate at tour end as a body. At the same time, taking some newly arriving units and assigning them to units already in-country (assuring that the new guys would be labeled as FNG at best...). Unfortunately, there was IMO little coherence to who came and / or went where; no 'sister' or affiliated unit -- it was done on an individual basis and the swaps were NOT always rank / job for same rank / job. It was not a well designed plan and it was also poorly implemented in an unduly bureaucratic mode. As you can envision, it created major havoc in units. I believe that program did far more damage than the six month rotation of Officers. It also I think was the most significant reason for the lack of mentoring / in unit training. What it obviously did was destroy unit cohesion at a critical time and the knock on effects continued after the build up period. ...

4. The Korean 'experience' of rotation, replacement and combat performance essentially lasted from July 1950 through July 1953, thus there were effectively only three 'rotations' (though there were actually more due to far higher early casualties as compared to other, later wars). Further, by July 1951 an effective stalemate existed and the war of movement ceased to be replaced by the tedium but still dangerous though relatively stabilized trench warfare effort -- two very different wars in one, In any event, the short span insured the deleterious effects of time did not evince themselves as they did in Viet Nam. Whether the system would have continued to work reasonably well cannot be known. My guess is it would have been at least slightly superior to that of Viet Nam due to the first three reasons above.

So we did learn a little and have since wisely opted for unit rotations.

To return to your earlier query on tour length, I'd personally opt for indefinite and aim for 18-36 months, type and intensity of combat defined. However, I doubt most democratic legislatures would support that and I think a year is a marginally acceptable compromise -- with the caveat that it be done a whole lot smarter than we did it in Afghanistan and Iraq. Return to the same area of operations should have been the norm but it was deliberately avoided to prove the 'modular' concept would work -- and for other obscure reasons (like too much work for Planners who also rotated at year or so intervals and thus had no memory of what came before...)

I also believe that type of combat makes a major difference in how units are rotated and employed. In a COIN / FID effort, unit stability and continuity are important, casualties will be generally lower and leaving the unit in place and rotating people (in line with some of your suggestions) can be done -- if the legislatures do not interfere too badly. In higher intensity conflict OTOH, a major war of movement against a peer, that continuity is not necessary and the frequent rotation of units in and out of combat can lessen the psychiatric casualty problem; replacements can be received, training undertaken and rest obtained.
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As to the last quote I do realise that casualty rates as mentioned are no longer the norm so that argument probably falls away.
Yes but casualty rates are very much a function of each individual war and the current "norm" can be quickly replaced by one that approaches Viet Nam -- or Korea, even WW II.

No easy answers...
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Old 04-28-2012   #44
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If only the world could get over the Nazi connotations and also find a way to overcome the language challenge for english speakers to access German military writing then military scholars will find a new 'world' of military education open up for them. Anyone got a spare few million to start a translation project?
By anyone else I'd have assumed that this was sarcasm...


There were in fact such efforts till the late 50's "foreign military series", documents, for example.
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Old 04-28-2012   #45
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Default German Military writing

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I thought there was a considerable effort at translating German documents, during the war and on a much larger scale after 1945? Plus a whole series of oral history interviews, a few of which became books later...I would be surprised if training material was excluded...Perhaps all the documents are too old, not indexed on Google and in filing cabinets in long forgotten places?
The US Army made extensive use of former German Officers in documenting their experiences:

LINK.

LINK

The series was quite extensive and quite beneficial. At one time I had a couple of shelves full of the pamphlets, perhaps 20-30 inches worth. The series ran the gamut from Squad to the writings of von Rundstedt and Mannstein among others and specifically for the project.
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Old 04-28-2012   #46
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Then again, it was estimated that more than half of the world's military literature was in German (from Germany or Austria-Hungary) during the late 19th century and the prelude to the First World War.

It did not help that much, the decisive new tactics still had to be developed on the job, under fire.
(You cannot imagine how much this frustrates me!)
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Old 04-28-2012   #47
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By anyone else I'd have assumed that this was sarcasm...

There were in fact such efforts till the late 50's "foreign military series", documents, for example.
Happily you realised I was being serious.

The same applies to writings in French and probably others as well ... and an effort to translate some of the American works into plain English would be appreciated as well. (that's what is called a 'dig'

I suppose it would help if people who knew where already translated works can be found in the public domain could indicate url.
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Old 04-28-2012   #48
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What's really needed is a section in the Gutenberg project that includes ALL public domain publications on military stuff. All. Period.

Sort it by
Land / Sea /Aerospace / general,
with language subdivisions,
followed by era subdivisions (such as pre-blackpowder era, blackpowder era, early smokeless powder era, WWI till End of Cold War era, post-Cold War)
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Old 04-29-2012   #49
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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
What's really needed is a section in the Gutenberg project that includes ALL public domain publications on military stuff. All. Period.

Sort it by
Land / Sea /Aerospace / general,
with language subdivisions,
followed by era subdivisions (such as pre-blackpowder era, blackpowder era, early smokeless powder era, WWI till End of Cold War era, post-Cold War)
OK, until that happens maybe you can suggest which classic German military works are available in translated edition and what each covers and what specific lessons can be learned? Perhaps on a book of the month basis?
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Old 04-29-2012   #50
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Comprehensive response, thank you.

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Combat wise, I'd say Bns -- but the personnel and training systems and organizations would have to be re-tooled to support that.
SO let me understand here. The whole battalion trains together prior to deployment, deploys (fresh) together, stays together and then leaves all together... after a year or so?

From that paper:

Quote:
"Personnel would return to the United States upon serving 12 months in Vietnam regardless of one's proximity to the fighting. Several factors, mostly bureaucratic, influenced this modification of Korean War policy (where tour length had been flexible, depending on type of assignment)."
Different tour lengths would complicate matter beyond the ability of most planners/schedulers.

What should we be concerned about? Apart from tropical diseases perhaps that 180 days of combat represented the "burn-out point" for infantry? What represents '180 days of combat'? Sitting in Khe Sanh for 180 days straight qualify? Being stationed at Cam Rahn?

Quote:
I don't think it must the unit's home station; a central replacement system works well enough.
This is probably the simplified system that would probably have to be used when numbers in the hundreds of thousands are being deployed. A bit like a quality 'lucky-dip' in that you don't know what you are getting, especially when it comes to officers and NCOs.

Not sure how the Brits are working this in Afghanistan but presume with the smaller numbers they are able maintain the rear link to their regimental structures in the UK?

If they came through the same regimental system the troopies would probably share at least the same training point of departure, had the same instructors or at least knew them and were able to share similar horror stories about the wrath of the training sergeant major. In other words the new guys arrive at the same standard the older guys were at the same time, with the new guys lacking only in experience and can learn quickly if attached to an older troopies for mentoring.

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It is that and brings to mind a thought. As a result of that WW II experience and the concomitant major combat induced personnel turnover and the psychiatric casualty effect we also had a one year individual tour effort in Korea.
This 'round figure' of a year being settled on despite evidence that it is not time in theatre that is the problem but rather combat exposure that has a deleterious effect on soldiers?

Quote:
However, there were four significant differences. In my order of importance they were:

1. In Korea, most of the Officers above Lieutenant (and even many of them) and almost all NCOs above Sergeant had WW II experience and most also engaged in constant mentoring and training of subordinates. That included newly arriving units and most individual replacements through the end of the war. Not only was the experience factor lacking in Viet Nam, there was all too often a strange drop in mentoring and in unit training...
Not surprising... how do inexperienced soldiers mentor others?

Quote:
2 There was no six-month rotation of Officers to 'broadening assignments.'
One wonders who the bright sparks are who think up these ideas?

Quote:
3. There was no Infusion program. This program, so far as I know, was a Viet Nam era aberration that was designed to place 'experienced ' soldiers, NCOs and Officers in newly arriving units during the 1966-67 buildup of forces. It entailed taking some all rank persons in varying percentages from units in country and assigning them to newly arrived units to provide a leavening of experience and to insure the entire unit did not rotate at tour end as a body. At the same time, taking some newly arriving units and assigning them to units already in-country (assuring that the new guys would be labeled as FNG at best...). Unfortunately, there was IMO little coherence to who came and / or went where; no 'sister' or affiliated unit -- it was done on an individual basis and the swaps were NOT always rank / job for same rank / job. It was not a well designed plan and it was also poorly implemented in an unduly bureaucratic mode. As you can envision, it created major havoc in units. I believe that program did far more damage than the six month rotation of Officers. It also I think was the most significant reason for the lack of mentoring / in unit training. What it obviously did was destroy unit cohesion at a critical time and the knock on effects continued after the build up period. ...
One understands that even with the best intentions mistakes can be made. The trick is to fix the mistakes and move on. What would have worked better?

Quote:
4. The Korean 'experience' of rotation, replacement and combat performance essentially lasted from July 1950 through July 1953, thus there were effectively only three 'rotations' (though there were actually more due to far higher early casualties as compared to other, later wars). Further, by July 1951 an effective stalemate existed and the war of movement ceased to be replaced by the tedium but still dangerous though relatively stabilized trench warfare effort -- two very different wars in one, In any event, the short span insured the deleterious effects of time did not evince themselves as they did in Viet Nam. Whether the system would have continued to work reasonably well cannot be known. My guess is it would have been at least slightly superior to that of Viet Nam due to the first three reasons above.

So we did learn a little and have since wisely opted for unit rotations.
Ok so so maintaining unit integrity is the key. How would one be able to extend tour lengths without compromising unit cohesion?

Quote:
To return to your earlier query on tour length, I'd personally opt for indefinite and aim for 18-36 months, type and intensity of combat defined.
And (as per my earlier question) how does one maintain unit cohesion and what replacement system does one use?

Quote:
However, I doubt most democratic legislatures would support that and I think a year is a marginally acceptable compromise -- with the caveat that it be done a whole lot smarter than we did it in Afghanistan and Iraq. Return to the same area of operations should have been the norm but it was deliberately avoided to prove the 'modular' concept would work -- and for other obscure reasons (like too much work for Planners who also rotated at year or so intervals and thus had no memory of what came before...)
Yes, there is no accounting for what politicians get up to.

Yes and the military general staff as well... I mean if troops were to return to areas where they had operated before it would mean they would have some local knowledge. Can't have that now can we? I'm telling you between the politicians and the general staff they are 100 times more effective in screwing up the intervention than the Taliban could ever be. What is the definition of treason again?

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I also believe that type of combat makes a major difference in how units are rotated and employed.
Absolutely.

Quote:
In a COIN / FID effort, unit stability and continuity are important, casualties will be generally lower and leaving the unit in place and rotating people (in line with some of your suggestions) can be done -- if the legislatures do not interfere too badly.
Yes again.

Quote:
In higher intensity conflict OTOH, a major war of movement against a peer, that continuity is not necessary and the frequent rotation of units in and out of combat can lessen the psychiatric casualty problem; replacements can be received, training undertaken and rest obtained.Yes but casualty rates are very much a function of each individual war and the current "norm" can be quickly replaced by one that approaches Viet Nam -- or Korea, even WW II.
yes again... (three in a row)

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No easy answers...
Not sure about that Ken, what you have summarised in this post would go a long way to making the Afghanistan deployment more effective for starters.
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Old 04-29-2012   #51
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OK, until that happens maybe you can suggest which classic German military works are available in translated edition and what each covers and what specific lessons can be learned? Perhaps on a book of the month basis?
Most big ones are available in English. Pick up a copy of any old Eike Middeldorf (author) book you find (the best one should be called "handbook of tactics"). I saw an ad in one of his later books that claimed an earlier book of his was translated in 3 languages, so there's almost certainly some English book of his around, and I'd spend 100+ bucks on it if I hadn't have it already. German copies are easily found, didn't ever find an English one in google. maybe library networks know more.


must have:
The Blitzkrieg Legend: The 1940 Campaign in the West by Karl-heinz Frieser and John T. Greenwood (Hardcover - Nov 10, 2005)


the classic "TF":
On the German Art of War: Truppenfhrung: German Army Manual for Unit Command in World War II by Bruce Condell and David T. Zabecki (Paperback - Dec 17, 2008)


this one might fit your interests:
Gefechtsfeld Mitteleuropa: by Franz Uhle-Wettler ~1980. Not sure if it was ever translated, though.


should have:
The German Infantry Handbook 1939-1945: by Alex Buchner (Hardcover - Apr 1, 1991) It's not meant to provide general lessons, but there are still plenty. A newer English edition may exist, for a newer German edition exists.


depending on taste:
Panzer Tactics: German Small-Unit Armor Tactics in World War II by Wolfgang Schneider (Paperback - Nov 30, 2005) About life and skills of German armour crews in WW2, very different from other armour-related books.


That's all German stuff from my 'favourite' stack of books that's available in English.


Maybe sometime some wealthy army will spend something on translating "Kriegsnah ausbilden", but don't hold your breath on this. Google will probably translate it earlier.
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Old 04-29-2012   #52
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this one might fit your interests:
Gefechtsfeld Mitteleuropa: by Franz Uhle-Wettler ~1980. Not sure if it was ever translated, though.
This one perhaps?

Battlefield Central Europe ;: Danger of overreliance on technology by the armed forces / by BG Franz Uhle-Wettler ; translation approved by Franz Uhle-Wettler

Quote:
Bundeswehr General Uhle-Wettler’s paper discusses the problems of overreliance on mechanized forces at the expense of foot-mobile infantry. Wehrmacht armored units during WWII were supported by large numbers of marching infantry units. Who will support the modern Bundeswehr when it moves to a completely mechanized force? Who will protect the flanks and rear? Who will fight in built-up areas and execute those difficult infantry-specific tasks?
Will keep an eye out for it.
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Old 04-29-2012   #53
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Yes, it's a bit dated and some of his ideas were a bit more extreme than necessary (such as using agricultural tractors to pull towed howitzers in reserve brigades), but he's really good at convincing one that infantry was being neglected.

The Bundeswehr accepted the book, promoted him once more - but ultimately it only shrugged its shoulders, knowing that a good infantry coverage of the Central European frontier would require more reservists and budget than politicians would allow. Cold War talks were about missiles, aircraft, helicopters, tanks, artillery ordnance - not about the ability to block forest roads with infantry.
Luckily, the post-WW2 Red Army structure was rather weak on actually available infantry as well - a consequence of bleeding white in 41-45.

Interestingly, the Bundeswehr neglected its motorised rifle (Jger) units even more during the 90's and 00's (drawing down to almost only mountain, mechanised and airborne infantry), trying to keep a decent quantity of highly visible big equipment (AFVs). Eventually, it had to admit that more infantry is needed. The draft for the new army structure ("Heer 2011") has a most strange mix in some brigades:

1x HQ Coy
1x Armour Bn
1x Mech Infantry Bn
1x Motorised Rifle Bn
1x Recce Bn
1x Armoured Engineer Bn
1x Supply Bn

Looks like a one-size-should-fit-all-rotation-schedules structure.
The entire brigade has only a single 120 mm mortar platoon (which is an infinite improvement over the earlier structure), that's how much organic indirect fires are being neglected. The designation of this as armour brigade instead of mech infantry brigade is strange as well, but the earlier Heeresstruktur wasn't consistent in this regard either.


I'd know more about their reasoning if some phone was manned at the centre for transformation of the Bundeswehr for a change. I kept calling them for a while, but there's never an answer. Even the PR officer is apparently rarely if ever at his desk - even during early afternoon on work days.
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Old 04-29-2012   #54
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Default Well, easy answers -- but hard to achieve...

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SO let me understand here. The whole battalion trains together prior to deployment, deploys (fresh) together, stays together and then leaves all together... after a year or so?
I think that's the best compromise -- and virtually all solutions to the issue have to be compromises...
Quote:
What should we be concerned about? Apart from tropical diseases perhaps that 180 days of combat represented the "burn-out point" for infantry? What represents '180 days of combat'? Sitting in Khe Sanh for 180 days straight qualify? Being stationed at Cam Rahn?
Obviously that last shouldn't count and should be avoided if at all possible. Using the Khe Sanh model is probably militarily effective but also probably bureaucratically and mechanically not possible. That entails another compromise -- some units are just going to have it tougher than others and little can be done about it. The truly exceptional can be catered for, minor excursions will have to be tolerated and what constitutes "minor" will change from war to war,
Quote:
This is probably the simplified system that would probably have to be used when numbers in the hundreds of thousands are being deployed. A bit like a quality 'lucky-dip' in that you don't know what you are getting, especially when it comes to officers and NCOs.
True, yet another compromise.
Quote:
If they came through the same regimental system the troopies would probably share at least the same training point of departure, had the same instructors or at least knew them and were able to share similar horror stories about the wrath of the training sergeant major. In other words the new guys arrive at the same standard the older guys were at the same time, with the new guys lacking only in experience and can learn quickly if attached to an older troopies for mentoring.
All true and probably achievable. The better features of the Regimental system can be adopted without picking up some of its less desirable ideas. As an old RSM once said, that system is at one time the strength and the bane of the British Army.
Quote:
This 'round figure' of a year being settled on despite evidence that it is not time in theatre that is the problem but rather combat exposure that has a deleterious effect on soldiers?
IIRC, there was some sense to it. Tours were variously 16 months, 13 months, and 10 months dependent upon various factors such as the type of unit, probably exposure to the stress of combat -- in a 10 month tour, less than 200 days of actual combat would generally be accrued (and I believe the WW II derived figure was 200 days, not 180). That proved to be both politically untenable (Mothers complained to Congress of unfairness if their son was in a unit that hit the 16 month window while a neighbor's was in a 10 month unit...) and too complex for administration when the casualty rates varied dependent upon operational efforts so a year was settled upon as a compromise -- one the politicians could live with...

One interesting note on Korean War casualties, the US / UN rate varied with the quality of the unit in direct opposition and that was true during the war of movement and the static phase. I believe that was also true in WW II but have not seen much about that factor.
Quote:
Not surprising... how do inexperienced soldiers mentor others?
That is certainly true but there were other factors as well.
Quote:
One understands that even with the best intentions mistakes can be made. The trick is to fix the mistakes and move on. What would have worked better?
Unit rotation. We've done that. Now to improve how we do that...
Quote:
Ok so so maintaining unit integrity is the key. How would one be able to extend tour lengths without compromising unit cohesion?
I think that is very much particular war and operational methods driven; the largest impediment being casualty or other attrition rates.. In Viet Nam and Korea, casualties were the largest number of forced replacement (fewer psychiatric than in WW II), I've heard that currently, human factors (family illnesses or deaths, other personal issues) and physical problems not necessarily combat induced rival and occasionally exceed casualty numbers as a driver of replacements or personnel departures -- many are not replaced because the numbers aren't that high when taken by unit. It'll vary. The key, as you wrote is to adjust, adapt and move on -- bureaucracies are notoriously poor at that. Yet, they're like women; can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em...
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And (as per my earlier question) how does one maintain unit cohesion and what replacement system does one use?
Not to be sarcastic but -- only with great difficulty and best according to METT-TC and the particular war.
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Not sure about that Ken, what you have summarised in this post would go a long way to making the Afghanistan deployment more effective for starters.
Yes but implementing all that would / will not be easy due to those Politicians and that General Staff...
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Old 04-29-2012   #55
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Yes but implementing all that would / will not be easy due to those Politicians and that General Staff...
OK, but know we all know where the problem lies.
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Old 04-29-2012   #56
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I think that is very much particular war and operational methods driven; the largest impediment being casualty or other attrition rates.. In Viet Nam and Korea, casualties were the largest number of forced replacement (fewer psychiatric than in WW II), I've heard that currently, human factors (family illnesses or deaths, other personal issues) and physical problems not necessarily combat induced rival and occasionally exceed casualty numbers as a driver of replacements or personnel departures -- many are not replaced because the numbers aren't that high when taken by unit. It'll vary. The key, as you wrote is to adjust, adapt and move on -- bureaucracies are notoriously poor at that. Yet, they're like women; can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em... :wry
Talking about unit cohesion I suggest this piece by Henderson is worth study: Cohesion: the Human Element in Combat

IMHO any action taken by the bureaucracy that damages unit cohesion is criminal. I'm serious... with one stroke of a pen these staff bureaucrats can wreak more havoc in a second than the enemy in a year.
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Old 05-01-2012   #57
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One interesting note on Korean War casualties, the US / UN rate varied with the quality of the unit in direct opposition and that was true during the war of movement and the static phase. I believe that was also true in WW II but have not seen much about that factor.That is certainly true but there were other factors as well.
OK I can understand that but the quality of the own forces will also have an effect on own forces casualties and the like?

This thesis looks at it from that angle:

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COHESION AND CASUALTY RATES: THE 1ST MARINE DIVISION AND THE 7TH INFANTRY DIVISION AT INCHON AND THE CHOSIN RESERVOIR

I quote:

Quote:
The 1st Marine and 7th Infantry Divisions fought two campaigns in Korea between September and December 1950. These divisions’ levels of unit cohesion prior to and during their employment affected the number of men who became casualties during the three and one-half months of combat. Casualty rates can be affected by friendly-enemy force ratios and tactical advantages, but this historical analysis shows that units opposing similar enemies in similar tactical situations still have markedly different casualty rates that are not attributable to enemy numbers and disposition.
Then importantly in the context of our discussions in this thread:

Quote:
Programs such as the Selective Service and the Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA), originally designed to help combat units, ultimately destroyed any hope for cohesion that the 7th Infantry Division might have had.
I'm sure that unit cohesion is a critical success factor - along the lines of Napoleons quote re the moral being as to the physical (and I would add the technical) as 3:1. As long as the tail is wagging the dog this will not be addressed. Time for someone to crack the whip?
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Old 05-01-2012   #58
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Default All true

All known -- and all too frequently disregarded; often for inane or insane reasons.

Obviously, own unit quality has an effect on casualties and all other factors of warfare. The vagaries of that fact are a principal cause of the military propensity for overstrength and perhaps excessive redundancy. Regrettably, legislature, bureaucracies and poor leaders refuse to accept or understand that with obvious failures attributable to that refusal.

As a point of minor interest, I don't believe that the Selective Service issue, the Draft, contributed heavily if at all to a lack of unit cohesion not only in the 7th ID up north but in that Army in Korea as an entity. The KATUSA program was definitely an adverse impactor and a detriment to unit capability and performance (one the Marines refused to accept due to that fact regardless of the political desirability and the practical benefits to the Koreans) but poor Army personnel and training policies of the day contributed far more heavily to unit failures in Korea than did the Draft.

Those personnel and training policies are a little better today still leave quite a bit to be desired...

I'm not at all sure that there's a decent solution to the problem of maintaining unit cohesion over the long term. Good or better cohesion will not always be possible but I believe it could be achieved far more often than not if units were properly organized, equipped and trained and if they were properly led -- and employed. That not least by the political leadership who do not do the employment thing well and who would not like the costs of such units...

We are stuck with the simple fact that good units develop and maintain unit cohesion under adverse conditions. The solution is to simply have more good units and that can be done by more selective recruiting followed by more effective training and by better selection of Commanders. Not really that hard -- but very difficult in an egalitarian democracy that is perhaps overly concerned with 'fairness.'
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Old 05-01-2012   #59
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Not really that hard -- but very difficult in an egalitarian democracy that is perhaps overly concerned with 'fairness.'
I think you mix up poor decisionmaking with the phony justifications of the poor decisionmakers.
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Old 05-01-2012   #60
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I think you mix up poor decisionmaking with the phony justifications of the poor decisionmakers.
That there is poor decision making is without doubt -- that some of that is forced by our Congress' insistence on 'fairness' and 'objectivity' in the recruiting, selection and promotion processes should not be doubted by anyone. Add to that Congress' long standing reluctance if not flat refusal to fund much of anything to do with mobilization and the Army's belief that it must have in place work arounds to provide for that eventuality and you have a personnel system that is not only fails to be conducive to good decisions, it is inimical to them.

Road to hell, good intentions and all that...
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