Discussion:
Horses in the German Army
(too old to reply)
WHL75
2004-07-13 13:31:53 UTC
Permalink
Looking for information on the use of horses in the German Army especially in
the period from 1939 to 1941. How many horses would be attached to an infantry
division? Where did the army obtain their horses. When deployed were
replacements seized from the area in which the unit was deployed or brought
back from Germany? How many members of the division were assigned to the care
and health of the horses?

Thanks
russell holroyd
2004-07-14 15:30:28 UTC
Permalink
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Germany had, and still has, many superb breeds available so taking them from
occupied areas would have been a low priority.
Post by WHL75
Looking for information on the use of horses in the German Army especially in
the period from 1939 to 1941. How many horses would be attached to an infantry
division? Where did the army obtain their horses. When deployed were
replacements seized from the area in which the unit was deployed or brought
back from Germany? How many members of the division were assigned to the care
and health of the horses?
--
Hal Hanig
2004-07-14 23:52:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function.
I can remember the beginnings of WWII in 1939, and pictures in the press of the
advances of German troops into Poland frequently showed the German Wehrmacht
using horses for moving artillery, among other non-ceremonial activities.

The following provides an estimate of the extent of such use of horses during
WWII:

"One of the great misconceptions of the Second World War is the notion that the
German Army was the epitome of mechanical efficiency--combining lightning speed
with awesome military power. DiNardo argues that, although the elite panzer
divisions were indeed formidable units, about 75 percent of the German Army were
infantry divisions who relied primarily on the horse for transport. So, DiNardo
asks, how modern was the Wehrmacht during World War II? Could it have achieved a
higher level of modernity than it actually did? This book takes an unusual
approach to the study of the much mythologized German Army--showing how its
extensive use of horses made it a throwback to the 19th century."

http://www.stormfront.org/archive/t-132340Nazi_Horses.html

This conclusion was reiterated elsewhere:

" A typical German division was slightly smaller than an American division, but
because of material and fuel shortages, it lacked significant mobile transport -
relying on heavy use of horse and train."

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/dday/prelude.aspx



--
Rich Baier
2004-07-14 23:52:03 UTC
Permalink
Russell:

You are mistaken about this. Even though the German army was "mechanized",
this level of transport never equalled the Allied formations, especially the
US and UK. Even an armored division could have horse-drawn artillery, such
as the Panzer Artillerie Reg't 155 in 21st Panzer Division, France 1944. A
casual google search will turn up lots of photos of infantry units with
horse transport. Remember Gert Frobe riding the horse in "The Longest Day",
or the horse-drawn wagon ambushed by the "Band of Brothers"?
--
Rich Baier
Pittsburgh, PA
http://www.spearhead1944.com
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. >
--
Rotwang
2004-07-16 13:40:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Baier
You are mistaken about this. Even though the German army was "mechanized",
this level of transport never equalled the Allied formations, especially the
US and UK. Even an armored division could have horse-drawn artillery, such
as the Panzer Artillerie Reg't 155 in 21st Panzer Division, France 1944. A
casual google search will turn up lots of photos of infantry units with
horse transport. Remember Gert Frobe riding the horse in "The Longest Day",
or the horse-drawn wagon ambushed by the "Band of Brothers"?
Actually, the propaganda department strongly discouraged the photographing
of horses and carriages and put the emphasis on the tanks and trucks.
Chris Martin
2004-07-14 23:52:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Germany had, and still has, many superb breeds available so taking them from
occupied areas would have been a low priority.
Absolutely incorrect. There is a quite large myth that the German army
was highly mechanized, but that's just what it is, a myth.
In the planning stages for the invasion of Poland, the Germans knew that
their biggest priority must be that most of the major fighting had to take
place not too far from the German railheads in Pomerania and Silesia, or the
their supply lines, which were entirely horse drawn, would be stretched too
thin. According to historian Len Deighton, approximately 90 percent of
Germany's army consisted of "old fashioned foot soldiers and horse
transport." (Deighton, _Blitzkrieg: From the Rise of Hitler to the Fall of
Dunkirk_, pgs. 69, 99.) The use of horses was so integral to the army, that
the German Army command paid more attention to the fact that the horseshoes
didn't properly fit the horses requisitioned from German farms prior to the
invasion than they did the fact their model 1934 machine gun suffered
serious problems.
Really, the only general to truly advocate the use of trucks more than
horse-drawn transport in 1939 was Hans von Seeckt and Guderian with his
theories concerning the use of tanks. The rest of them were quite content to
fight this new war with much of the technology of the last one.
The major problem for Germany was that by 1936, the expansion of the
army launched by Hitler had completely outstripped its industrial capacity
to build and repair motor vehicles. According to Deighton, "Apart from a
tiny elite, the German Army was to be a mass army of conscripted foot
soldiers with horse transport and would remain so throughout the war."
Another factor in the fact that the German army never truly mechanized
as much as many people think is the fact that Hitler sacked some of the
people advocating a major creation of motorized and mechanized forces. After
he sacked von Fritsch and von Blomberg, he also sacked Guderian's Chief of
Staff, Gen. der Panzertruppen Oswald Lutz because Hitler knew he wasn't a
Nazi supporter. Guderian would have faced a similar fate without his book
proclaiming his support for Hitler and the Nazis. Lutz did just as much, if
not more, than Guderian to advocate mechanized forces, especially to supply
the infantry which would still be the biggest part of the German army.
In terms of raw numbers, in 1939 an "ordinary" German infantry division
could expect to have approximately 5,375 horses and only 942 motor vehicles.
To compensate for the lack of vehicles coming off assembly lines because
Germany simply didn't have the industrial capacity to keep up with demand
anymore by 1939, the army "requisitioned" 16,000 civilian motor vehicles
prior to the invasion of Poland. However, this doesn't do much good when
even in peacetime the army's attrition rate from wear and tear on its trucks
was 2,400 trucks every three months. Only 1,000 were coming off assembly
lines every three months and arriving to infantry units in 1939 and this is
without being shot at! (Deighton, 148-149) Once the war began, this only got
worse and ultimately would have caused a cease in automobile production
without the raw materials sent by the Soviet Union.
In France, while Guderian was showing off his theories in the northern
part of France, the fighting around the Somme resembled the 19th century
rather than Blitzkrieg. Horses played more of a major role in the fighting
in Southern France than Guderian's theories did. Guderian just gets
publicity because the Northern part of France was a perfect layout for his
theories to be tested. Over most of the rest of Europe, they were largely
useless because the terrain wasn't right.
In the Eastern front, horses played a much bigger part than anywhere
else in the war because Blitzkrieg tactics were unsuited for war on most of
the Eastern front, particularly once the spring rainy season set in every
year. Omer Bartov's book _The Eastern Front, 1941-45: German Troops and the
Barbarization of Warfare_ includes great detail on the importance of horses
and how the Germans struggled to keep the ones they brought from Germany
alive and quite frequently stole whatever horses they could find in Russian
villages because their horses were not used to the sparce Russian landscape
and couldn't survive on what was left to eat. Not to mention that often
German troops were forced to kill their own horses to survive once the
German supply lines were stretched too far. They also considered Russian
horses more adapted to that climate and foraging conditions, so they stole
what they could get.

Regards,
Chris Martin

--
Cub Driver
2004-07-15 15:34:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Martin
Absolutely incorrect. There is a quite large myth that the German army
was highly mechanized, but that's just what it is, a myth.
Well, not entirely. The German army made brilliant, unprecedented use
of tanks, trucks, and airplanes in support of one another; it can
fairly be said to have invented air-land warfare. Really, there never
was a mechanized army before the Heer in 1939.

That line toward the end of Band of Bros: "We had General Motors, you
had horses -- what were you thinking?" had a cutting edge in 1945. But
while the U.S. had GM in 1939, it was far from applying that resource
to the U.S. Army. We learned that from the Germans, and in the end of
course we did it better. But it's not really fair to mock the Heer of
1939-1940 as horse- and train-drawn. So were all armies. (Well, the
Japanese had bicycles.)

all the best -- Dan Ford
email: ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

The Warbird's Forum www.warbirdforum.com
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Andrew Clark
2004-07-15 23:41:41 UTC
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Post by Cub Driver
But it's not really fair to mock the Heer of
1939-1940 as horse- and train-drawn.
So were all armies.
The British Expeditionary Force in 1939-40 was fully
mechanised, without a pack animal to be seen. It was in fact
the first fully mechanised army in the world.

You need to remember that the state of the US military in
1940 was so parlous that in terms of mechanised modern
divisions the Canadian Army was quite a bit bigger than the
US Army.

--
Cub Driver
2004-07-17 04:08:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
The British Expeditionary Force in 1939-40 was fully
mechanised
Proof, if any be needed, that it was not mechanization that was
needed, but the will and the intelligence to use mechanization as a
tool of war. The BEF fell before the blitzkrieg as easily as did the
Polish and French armies.

all the best -- Dan Ford
email: ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

The Warbird's Forum www.warbirdforum.com
Adventure sailboat charters www.expeditionsail.com
Andrew Clark
2004-07-18 20:52:20 UTC
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Post by Cub Driver
Proof, if any be needed, that it was not
mechanization that was needed, but
the will and the intelligence to use
mechanization as a tool of war.
The BEF fell before the blitzkrieg
as easily as did the
Polish and French armies.
I suppose you aren't suggesting that the BEF of 4 front-line
combat divisions and five second-line territorial divisions
should have stood against the 75 German divisions, 10
armoured, committed to defeating Fr 1st Army Group once the
French had broken and the Belgians surrendered?

Given the inevitability of retreat, it is particularly
notable that the BEF brilliantly carried out that most
difficult of military manoeuvres - retreat in a formed and
cohesive body whilst in fighting contact with an enemy in
far superior numbers. That could not have been achieved
without full and skilful tactical use of mechanised
transport - eg 3rd Division's overnight leapfrog.
Louis Capdeboscq
2004-08-13 14:10:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Given the inevitability of retreat, it is particularly
notable that the BEF brilliantly carried out that most
difficult of military manoeuvres - retreat in a formed and
cohesive body whilst in fighting contact with an enemy in
far superior numbers. That could not have been achieved
without full and skilful tactical use of mechanised
transport - eg 3rd Division's overnight leapfrog.
I think that the BEF would be better described as a motorized, not a
mechanized, force.

It certainly didn't fight as a mechanized force, but its ability for
behind-the-lines movement was excellent. The BEF reached the planned
Allied positions in Belgium ahead of all other armies (i.e. the
Belgians, French and German ones).

Its ability for quick strategic movement also came in handy during the
retreat, but it had also benefitted from the fact that it had initially
held a very narrow frontage so had been deployed in echelon, and
basically it only started to be engaged after the retreat began, in
other words the maneuver was carried by fresh troops (as opposed to the
neighboring Belgians and French who had less motorized transport and had
been engaged for longer).

The elite of the Wehrmacht, call it 15 divisions or so, was a mechanized
army. The BEF wasn't. Claiming on the one hand that the BEF was the
first full-mechanized army while on the other hand arguing that a
comparison with the much larger German and French armies is irrelevant
sounds like double standard to me. Surely, if the Germans and the French
had limited themselves to fielding 10 divisions they would also have
been fully motorized !


LC
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Presidente Alcazar
2004-08-14 13:53:58 UTC
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Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Surely, if the Germans and the French
had limited themselves to fielding 10 divisions they would also have
been fully motorized !
Sure, providing they started from the same strategic basis of imperial
policing, small regular army tradition, ten year rule, priority for
naval and air force expansion, and the reluctant acceptance of a
continental commitment to deploy and fight those divisions only two
years beforehand.

Gavin Bailey

--

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ask? Simple, chip get real HOT. System not work, but no can tell from this.
Exactly same as before. Do it now. - Bart Kwan En
Andrew Clark
2004-08-16 11:54:37 UTC
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Post by Louis Capdeboscq
I think that the BEF would be better described
as a motorized, not a mechanized, force.
What's the difference? Really, I'm not sure. I work on the
basis that mechanised means that no animals are used for
labour, and motorised that all troop and logistic movement
is (or at least could be) by motor transport.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
It certainly didn't fight as a mechanized force,
but its ability for behind-the-lines movement
was excellent.
This seems a little confused, surely. Advancing to contact
is surely a combat function of an army, as is retreating in
contact. The BEF did fight as a motorised/mechanised force
from these two examples alone, surely.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Claiming on the one hand that the BEF was the
first full-mechanized army while on the other hand
arguing that a comparison with the much larger
German and French armies is irrelevant
sounds like double standard to me.
I haven't done so. I have claimed that the BEF (which was a
goodly chunk of the British Army at the time) was the
world's first fully mechanised army in the world. It was.
It's entirely appropriate to point out that it was only a
small army, but it was nevertheless an army, and it was
fully mechanised/motorised/whatever
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Surely, if the Germans and the French
had limited themselves to fielding 10 divisions
they would also have been fully motorized !
The French might, but the Germans lacked the vehicles to
even motorise/mechanise their panzer divisions. I'd guess
that the Heer might have scraped together 5 or 6
fully-motorised divisions on the British scale.
Cub Driver
2004-08-18 16:11:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
What's the difference? Really, I'm not sure. I work on the
basis that mechanised means that no animals are used for
labour, and motorised that all troop and logistic movement
is (or at least could be) by motor transport.
I understand a mechanized force to be one that fights primarily with
tanks, with infantry in close support. Close air support would be
desirable but probably not a defining factor. In any event, I doubt
that the BEF would have qualified as mechanized.

A motorized force would transport its troops to and from battle on
trucks or personnel carriers, even if it had no tanks whatever. No
horses, no trains required, except incidentally. As I understand it,
most German divisions were not motorized in 1940.


all the best -- Dan Ford
email: ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

The Warbird's Forum www.warbirdforum.com
Expedition sailboat charters www.expeditionsail.com
Rich Rostrom
2004-08-21 04:30:26 UTC
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Post by Cub Driver
I understand a mechanized force to be one that fights primarily with
tanks, with infantry in close support.
That would be "armored", I think.

"mechanized" must have a different meaning, else the
phrase "mechanized infantry" (which I've seen many
times) would be gibberish.
--
Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles,
except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault.
I take this to be enormously to the credit of our language. -- David Stove
--
Richard Macdonald
2004-08-21 14:26:31 UTC
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Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Cub Driver
I understand a mechanized force to be one that fights primarily with
tanks, with infantry in close support.
That would be "armored", I think.
"mechanized" must have a different meaning, else the
phrase "mechanized infantry" (which I've seen many
times) would be gibberish.
In current usage versus WWII usage which varied greatly from nation to
nation.

For units of DIVISION and below:

Armored units, are usually all tank units.

Mechanized are usually infantry formations that are in fully
armored transport and can fight (to some extent) from their
vehicles, sometimes called armored infantry.

Motorized units are those which can pick up am move the
entire unit in one life with organic vehicles.

Everything else is essentially leg.

Terminology for above DIVISION things change a bit,
but armies that no longer use horse transport are usually
referred to as motorized, even if a lot of them still walk,
and mechanized usually refers to Tanks and APC's.

Generally Motorized = wheel
and Mechanized = semi to full track.
--
Richard A Macdonald, CPA/EA
SSG (Ret), USA, ADA, 16P34
Dedicated student of Fr Luca Paccioli, Master Juggler.
Gib mir schokolade und niemand wird verletzt!!
Louis Capdeboscq
2004-08-19 17:57:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
I think that the BEF would be better described
as a motorized, not a mechanized, force.
What's the difference? Really, I'm not sure.
In contemporary parlance, mechanized refers to tracked transport,
motorized to wheeled transport.

The interpretation I used - which I've come upon several times, I didn't
just make it up - was that "mechanized" forces used vehicles to fight,
while "motorized" forces used vehicles to move to the fight.

Sort of the difference between horse and dragoon regiments if you want.
Post by Andrew Clark
I work on the
basis that mechanised means that no animals are used for
labour, and motorised that all troop and logistic movement
is (or at least could be) by motor transport.
On that basis, your average Ukrainian or Yugoslav partisan troop was
"mechanised", and so where some fortification units.

My problem with your basis is it doesn't say much about the way armies
fought, which is sort of their function, in a way...
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
It certainly didn't fight as a mechanized force,
but its ability for behind-the-lines movement
was excellent.
This seems a little confused, surely. Advancing to contact
is surely a combat function of an army, as is retreating in
contact. The BEF did fight as a motorised/mechanised force
from these two examples alone, surely.
What I meant by that was that the BEF used requisitioned civilian
transport to move to the battlefield (and to supplement French and
Belgian milestones with broken down vehicles) but didn't use its
vehicles for tactical mobility, the way the Germans did.

In that regard, the BEF was comparable to the French or Italian
motorized infantry divisions, but not to the German ones and certainly
not to the panzer divisions which I would regard as mechanized.
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Surely, if the Germans and the French
had limited themselves to fielding 10 divisions
they would also have been fully motorized !
The French might, but the Germans lacked the vehicles to
even motorise/mechanise their panzer divisions. I'd guess
that the Heer might have scraped together 5 or 6
fully-motorised divisions on the British scale.
The Germans had some 40,000 trucks prior to the campaign in France, and
frankly I know of some elements in the motorized divisions which used
horse transport, as well as the supply echelon being horse-borne (or, in
the case of Fall Gelb, airborne) but I'd like more details before
accepting that the Germans didn't have 10 motorized / mechanized
divisions in 1940.


LC
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Andrew Clark
2004-08-23 23:10:16 UTC
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Post by Louis Capdeboscq
In contemporary parlance, mechanized refers to tracked transport,
motorized to wheeled transport.
I'm aware of the contemporary usage; what I'm not so sure of
is the contemporaneous usage. What I've found out, from
George Forty and Ian Hogg's books on British military
development in WW2, supports my original impression.

"Mechanised" was definitely a term used in the British Army
to mean that a unit which formerly relied on animal power
now relied upon mechanical transport. Thus, to pick one
contemporaneous example from a long list, the Household
Cavalry training regiment at Windsor was "mechanised" in
1941.

The term "motorised" also had a specific meaning. An
infantry battalion that had RASC 3-ton trucks permanently
allotted to it for troop movement was classed a "motorised
battalion". A battalion without permanently allotted
transport was simply a rifle battalion. An infantry
battalion which had combat vehicles - carriers, half tracks
and armoured cars - permanently allotted to it for
cross-country tactical movement was designated a "motor
battalion".
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
On that basis, your average Ukrainian or
Yugoslav partisan troop was "mechanised",
and so where some fortification units.
With respect, this is facetious. These units were not ones
which "formerly relied on animal power and now relied upon
mechanical transport". Both elements of that equation need
to be satisfied.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
My problem with your basis is it doesn't
say much about the way armies
fought, which is sort of their function, in a way...
Well, I hope the clarification above helps.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
What I meant by that was that the BEF used
requisitioned civilian transport to move
to the battlefield (and to supplement French and
Belgian milestones with broken down vehicles)
but didn't use its vehicles for tactical mobility,
the way the Germans did.
The BEF had hundreds of tanks and carriers which were
certainly used for tactical mobility on the battlefield,
just like the Germans. The infantry divisions had no
fighting vehicles, true, but they did have carriers for
tactical movement under fire, which the Germans lacked. They
also undertook their road movements largely in motor
vehicles, unlike the German infantry which largely walked.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
In that regard, the BEF was comparable to the
French or Italian motorized infantry divisions,
but not to the German ones and certainly
not to the panzer divisions which I would regard
as mechanized.
The 4 Heer "motorised infantry divisions" seem to me if
anything to be inferior in vehicle establishment to British
infantry divisions in that they had no carriers for tactical
movement under fire. All they had were trucks for road
movement of troops, just like the British divisions.

The panzer divisions in 1940 were not anything like fully
equipped with fighting vehicles for all arms of service. The
infantry battalions were not equipped with fighting vehicles
capable of cross-country tactical movement, but merely with
tricks for rapid road movement. The artillery battalions
were equipped with motorised prime movers, but not with SP
guns.

The panzer divisions thus cannot be regarded as "mechanised"
in the contemporary fashion: only the panzer regiments could
be so described.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Surely, if the Germans and the French
had limited themselves to fielding 10 divisions
they would also have been fully motorized !
The French might, but the Germans lacked the vehicles to
even motorise/mechanise their panzer divisions. I'd guess
that the Heer might have scraped together 5 or 6
fully-motorised divisions on the British scale.
The Germans had some 40,000 trucks prior to the campaign in France, and
frankly I know of some elements in the motorized divisions which used
horse transport, as well as the supply echelon being horse-borne (or, in
the case of Fall Gelb, airborne) but I'd like more details before
accepting that the Germans didn't have 10 motorized / mechanized
divisions in 1940.
LC
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Martin Rapier
2004-08-24 15:27:15 UTC
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"Andrew Clark" <***@NOSPAMstarcott.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message

{snip}
Post by Andrew Clark
"Mechanised" was definitely a term used in the British Army
to mean that a unit which formerly relied on animal power
now relied upon mechanical transport.
Yes.
Post by Andrew Clark
The term "motorised" also had a specific meaning. An
infantry battalion that had RASC 3-ton trucks permanently
allotted to it for troop movement was classed a "motorised
battalion".
{snip definition of motor battalion etc}

Yes.
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
What I meant by that was that the BEF used
{snip}
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
but didn't use its vehicles for tactical mobility,
the way the Germans did.
That is quite correct as well, apart from the motor battalions in 1st
Armoured Division (which never fought as a complete division in any case).
Post by Andrew Clark
The BEF had hundreds of tanks and carriers which were
certainly used for tactical mobility on the battlefield,
just like the Germans.
Ummm. Tanks were certainly used for tactical mobility, however the infantry
walked, even if some of the luckier ones got to ride a lorry to the battle
area. Carriers gave tactical mobility to the scout platoons and battalion
carrier platoons, however the primary use of the carrier was as a
weapons/munitions/casevac utility vehicle over fire swept ground - it wasn't
a substitute Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Even the troops in the battalion
carrier platoons were supposed to dismount to fight, even if they often
didn't.
Post by Andrew Clark
The infantry divisions had no fighting vehicles, true,
1940 pattern BEF infantry divisions had an armoured cavalry regiment
equipped with a mixture of carriers and light tanks - in this regard they
were better off than German infantry divisions.
Post by Andrew Clark
but they did have carriers for
tactical movement under fire, which the Germans lacked.
Only selected components - see above.
Post by Andrew Clark
They also undertook their road movements largely in motor
vehicles, unlike the German infantry which largely walked.
Agreed.
Post by Andrew Clark
The 4 Heer "motorised infantry divisions" seem to me if
anything to be inferior in vehicle establishment to British
infantry divisions in that they had no carriers for tactical
movement under fire. All they had were trucks for road
movement of troops, just like the British divisions.
The truck transport of the German motorised infantry was organic to those
divisions (in fact it was organic to the battalions & regiments in
question). This is a far cry from the BEF practice of attaching trucks to
provide the required lift capacity - British infantry divisions were not
designed to be fully motorised, they were designed to be 'mechanised' in
contemporary parlance ie they had no horse transport. The infantry walked,
unless sufficient trucks could be scraped together for them to hitch a lift.

German motorised divisions were designed and equipped as motorised divisions
to support the panzer divisons. There weren't very many of them as the
Germans were short of truck transport.
Post by Andrew Clark
The panzer divisions in 1940 were not anything like fully
equipped with fighting vehicles for all arms of service. The
infantry battalions were not equipped with fighting vehicles
capable of cross-country tactical movement, but merely with
tricks for rapid road movement.
Schutzen battalions were equipped very differently from motorised infantry
battalions - their trucks had cross country capability and were intended to
transport them into the battle area in much the same way as British motor
battalions used their 15cwt trucks. Obviously they weren't intended to be
fought from mounted. Truck shortages (the establishment of trucks for a
schutzen battalion was far higher than a normal motorised infantrr
battalion) was partly why the schutzen regiments only had two battalions and
divisions were beefed up with the addition of a motorcycle battalion.
Post by Andrew Clark
The artillery battalions were equipped with motorised prime movers, but
not with SP
guns.
They generally had halftracked prime movers.
Post by Andrew Clark
The panzer divisions thus cannot be regarded as "mechanised"
in the contemporary fashion: only the panzer regiments could
be so described.
In contemporary British parlance they certainly weren't 'mechanised' as none
of them had any horse transport to start with - the converted light divisons
excepted possibly. They are most certainly 'motorised' in contemporary
parlance - they had sufficient transport on permanent attachment to lift the
entire division at once.

Cheers
Martin

--
Andrew Clark
2004-08-27 22:56:40 UTC
Permalink
"Martin Rapier" <***@sheffield.ac.uk> wrote

(snip lots of agreed stuff)
Post by Martin Rapier
1940 pattern BEF infantry divisions had an
armoured cavalry regiment equipped
with a mixture of carriers and light tanks...
Is the 1940 pattern the same as the 1939 War Establishment
pattern?
Post by Martin Rapier
The truck transport of the German motorised
infantry was organic to those divisions
(in fact it was organic to the battalions &
regiments in question). This is a far cry
from the BEF practice of attaching trucks to
provide the required lift capacity -
I agree entirely, but I think the point I was trying to make
was that the 4 German "motorised infantry divisions" in 1940
had in fact the same practical transport arrangements as the
standard British infantry division - they were not anything
special by British standards.
Post by Martin Rapier
In contemporary British parlance they certainly
weren't 'mechanised' as none
of them had any horse transport to
start with - the converted light divisions
excepted possibly. They are most
certainly 'motorised' in contemporary
parlance - they had sufficient transport
on permanent attachment to lift the
entire division at once.
The information I have (from Horne) is that in May 1940 only
one of the two Pz Gr battalions in each Pz Gr regiment was
fully mechanised; the other was still at least partially
dependant on horse transport. In addition, the infantry gun
company attached to each regiment was non-mechanised, and in
some cases one of the two light artillery regiments also was
not mechanised. This applied even in the so-called motorised
Pz Gr battalions. Is it Hastings who printed a table of
organisation for a 1940 Pz division which showed hundreds of
horses?
Louis Capdeboscq
2004-09-05 15:11:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Is the 1940 pattern the same as the 1939 War Establishment
pattern?
I'm not sure. I gave Joslen a brief check but it wasn't very useful,
there was a Type I organisation dating from 1931, and a type II one
dating from presumably just before the war, plus two other types for
armoured divisions.
Post by Andrew Clark
I agree entirely, but I think the point I was trying to make
was that the 4 German "motorised infantry divisions" in 1940
had in fact the same practical transport arrangements as the
standard British infantry division - they were not anything
special by British standards.
They had not quite the same transport arrangements as the standard
British infantry divisions because they had their own organic transport,
which British infantry divisions as a rule didn't have.

In practice, there were sufficient trucks in the BEF that it made no
difference, i.e. the "standard" British division would usually find
enough trucks to ride rather than walk to the front.

However, the point which I made is that calling a British division
"standard" in such a small army as Britain fielded in 1940 is
misleading, because the standard is bound to increase when an major
industrial power fields a 10-division BEF rather than a 65-division one.
Therefore I pointed out that full British mechanization owed a lot to
the British army being small in 1940. Had the Germans and the French
been able to field a BEF-sized force, it would also have been fully
mechanized.

That point doesn't hold for 1943-45, by which time the British army
wasn't fully motorized, in that a lot of the infantry walked to battle,
but it had indeed more mechanical transport than either the German or
the Soviet armies, despite being by then of respectable size. Of course,
the point mostly applies to the US Army, but that's another story...
Post by Andrew Clark
The information I have (from Horne) is that in May 1940 only
one of the two Pz Gr battalions in each Pz Gr regiment was
fully mechanised; the other was still at least partially
dependant on horse transport. In addition, the infantry gun
company attached to each regiment was non-mechanised, and in
some cases one of the two light artillery regiments also was
not mechanised. This applied even in the so-called motorised
Pz Gr battalions. Is it Hastings who printed a table of
organisation for a 1940 Pz division which showed hundreds of
horses?
I haven't read anything by Hastings about the 1940 Germans, however
while Horne is correct that only one of the infantry battalions was
fully mechanized (i.e. had half-tracks or equivalent vehicles) if he
wrote that the other had horses he was mistaken.

I've just had a look at the theoretical OOB for German panzer divisions
in May 1940, everything is supposed to be motorized or mechanized, not a
single horse in sight.

Of course, theoretical OOB's are misleading in that they were rarely
achieved in practice, but I would imagine that there might possibly be a
few horses for some of the services (wasn't it the light divisions which
kept a veterinary company for a while ?) but the infantry had either
halftracks or trucks, and the artillery was always towed.



LC
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Andrew Clark
2004-09-13 15:29:02 UTC
Permalink
"Louis Capdeboscq" <***@yahoo.com> wrote

(snip agreed stuff)
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
However, the point which I made is that
calling a British division "standard" in
such a small army as Britain fielded in 1940 is
misleading,
Yes, I agree inasmuch as it is foolish to indulge in
nationalistic chest-beating over the fact that the British
managed to field a fully-motorised army when that army
consisted of only ten divisions. However, that wasn't;to my
point. Sometime in the distant past, someone pointed out
that all armies in 1940 were dependent on the horse. I
merely pointed out that this wasn't so.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
I haven't read anything by Hastings about the
1940 Germans,
No, my mistake. It was "Blitzkrieg" by Deighton, and IIRC
the frontispiece was a graphic for a 1940 Pz division
including hundreds of horses.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Of course, theoretical OOB's are misleading
in that they were rarely achieved in practice,
Without more data I can't really sustain the argument.
However, I have distinct memories of some reputable author -
other than Deighton - pointing out that even the Pz dictions
in 1940 had a significant horsed component. I'll have to
search around.
Martin Rapier
2004-09-14 16:20:21 UTC
Permalink
"Andrew Clark" <***@NOSPAMstarcott.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
{snip}
Post by Andrew Clark
Yes, I agree inasmuch as it is foolish to indulge in
nationalistic chest-beating over the fact that the British
managed to field a fully-motorised army when that army
consisted of only ten divisions.
And when did we ever engage in nationalistic chest beating on this ng? ;-)

I'm as proud of the fully mechanised (1940 Briitsh Army usage of the term)
BEF as anyone else, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the German
mechanised/motorised divisions were actually horse drawn! BTW the British
Army as a whole was somewhat bigger than 10 divisons in 1940, but as usual
much of it was scattered around the globe doing its colonial policeman
thing.

{snippity}
Post by Andrew Clark
No, my mistake. It was "Blitzkrieg" by Deighton, and IIRC
the frontispiece was a graphic for a 1940 Pz division
including hundreds of horses.
My one has a great big swastika on it - presumably newer ones have a more
polically correct cover. I have no recollection of him mentioning a horse
component in any panzer division.
Post by Andrew Clark
However, I have distinct memories of some reputable author -
other than Deighton - pointing out that even the Pz dictions
in 1940 had a significant horsed component. I'll have to
search around.
The panzer divisons which had been converted from light divisons (e.g. 7th
panzer) were originally cavalry divisions and I believe that some of them
retained horse drawn elements, most notably horse drawn artillery, even
though they were supposed to be fully mechanised before the invasion of
Poland.

Cheers
Martin

--
Andrew Clark
2004-09-14 22:45:00 UTC
Permalink
"Martin Rapier" <***@sheffield.ac.uk> wrote

(snip all sorts of agreed good stuff)
BTW the British Army as a whole was somewhat
bigger than 10 divisons in 1940, but as usual
much of it was scattered around the globe
doing its colonial policeman thing.
Indeed. Chronic under-equipment and training also played a
big role even in the troops in Home Command.

There were 11 armoured or light armoured battalions; 77
infantry battalions; 59 artillery regiments (field, medium,
heavy, and anti-tank) and 55 battalion-sized support units
(engineers, signals, REME etc) in Aldershot and Eastern
commands alone in January 1939. These troops, *if* they were
all adequately trained and equipped, could have formed the
basis for 10 field divisions, two armoured, instead of the 1
Regular and two Territorial (Eastern) and 2 Regular
(Aldershot) infantry divisions actually fielded.



--
Louis Capdeboscq
2004-09-20 16:09:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Rapier
The panzer divisons which had been converted from light divisons (e.g. 7th
panzer) were originally cavalry divisions and I believe that some of them
retained horse drawn elements, most notably horse drawn artillery, even
though they were supposed to be fully mechanised before the invasion of
Poland.
I remember a debate about horses in German light divisions at the time
of Poland (though I don't remember who "won", i.e. if there were or
weren't a few horses left in German light divisions at the time).

By the time of Fall Gelb, and leaving aside a few oddities like a
possibly horsed military mail service, I think it's clear that the
German "fast troops" were fully mechanized (British 1940 meaning of the
term).


LC
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--
Martin Rapier
2004-09-22 14:52:11 UTC
Permalink
{snippity re converted cavalry/light divisons)
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
I remember a debate about horses in German light divisions at the time
of Poland (though I don't remember who "won", i.e. if there were or
weren't a few horses left in German light divisions at the time).
I certainly haven't found anything definitive one way or the other, although
IIRC the Germans fielded 1st Cavalry Division alongside their other mobile
forces which may be one source of the confusion. 1st Cav wasn't converted to
a panzer divison until 1942 IIRC and fought mounted right through the Battle
of Smolensk as well as operating in the Ardennes in 1940.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
By the time of Fall Gelb, and leaving aside a few oddities like a
possibly horsed military mail service, I think it's clear that the
German "fast troops" were fully mechanized (British 1940 meaning of the
term).
I would tend to agree, there weren't that many converted light divisons and
horses just don't ever rate a mention in either OBs or accounts of their
actions in 1940. OTOH one of my pals at the wargames club swears blind that
7th Panzer Divs artillery regiment was horse drawn during the French
campaign, although he likes to be a bit contrary so I'm not convinced....

Cheers
Martin
Louis Capdeboscq
2004-09-20 16:09:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Yes, I agree inasmuch as it is foolish to indulge in
nationalistic chest-beating over the fact that the British
managed to field a fully-motorised army when that army
consisted of only ten divisions. However, that wasn't;to my
point. Sometime in the distant past, someone pointed out
that all armies in 1940 were dependent on the horse. I
merely pointed out that this wasn't so.
Agreed - though absent the fall of France, the expanded BEF would
probably have relied on horses to a measure, as had been the case during
WWI.

My specific point was about your claim that the Germans couldn't, by
pooling their resources, field a fully mechanized force of at least the
size of the BEF.
Post by Andrew Clark
Without more data I can't really sustain the argument.
However, I have distinct memories of some reputable author -
other than Deighton - pointing out that even the Pz dictions
in 1940 had a significant horsed component. I'll have to
search around.
Please let me know the answer.

I am aware of a small horsed component in some of the "fast" divisions.
In particular, the "light divisions" still had a few horses which they
progressively lost when they converted to full armored divisions.

So it looks as if the German armored spearhead was 100% mechanized (in
the British sense of the term) but there's a possibility that this
wasn't so, i.e. there might have been a few horses hanging around.

Regarding sources, I don't have "Blitzkrieg" although I read it years
ago. For having read "Blitzkrieg" and his book on the battle of Britain,
and having skimmed through his book about military doctrines or some
such theme, I have to say that my respect for Deighton as a writer is
greater than my respect for Deighton as a reference source.

That being said, a "significant horsed component", however, is something
that my sources don't corroborate so if you find out more about it I'll
be interested.


LC
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--
Louis Capdeboscq
2004-09-05 22:22:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
I'm aware of the contemporary usage; what I'm not so sure of
is the contemporaneous usage.
Neither am I. Thanks for the precision, though.

I'll add that applying contemporaneous British usage to other armies
isn't necessarily all that useful.
Post by Andrew Clark
"Mechanised" was definitely a term used in the British Army
to mean that a unit which formerly relied on animal power
now relied upon mechanical transport.
According to that definition, the RTR was not "mechanised", and neither
were 6 out of 10 panzer divisions, the German motorized divisions and
the French DCR's.
Post by Andrew Clark
The term "motorised" also had a specific meaning. An
infantry battalion that had RASC 3-ton trucks permanently
allotted to it for troop movement was classed a "motorised
battalion".
Then by that definition the Germans had over 14 divisions with organic
mechanical transport, but the BEF wasn't entirely motorized. With a few
exceptions, British divisions drew on a pool of transport for their
needs but did not have organic transport assets, unlike the German
motorized divisions (and of course the panzer divisions). French
"motorized" divisions and Italian "motorisable" divisions lacked organic
transport either, as opposed to being trained to use trucks and having
truck-mobile artillery for quick deployment.
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
On that basis, your average Ukrainian or
Yugoslav partisan troop was "mechanised",
and so where some fortification units.
With respect, this is facetious. These units were not ones
which "formerly relied on animal power and now relied upon
mechanical transport". Both elements of that equation need
to be satisfied.
It was indeed meant as a joke, so I won't take your remark as
disrespectful. However, it did fit the previous definition which you had
given, i.e. "I work on the basis that mechanised means that no animals
are used for labour, and motorised that all troop and logistic movement
is (or at least could be) by motor transport."
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
My problem with your basis is it doesn't
say much about the way armies
fought, which is sort of their function, in a way...
Well, I hope the clarification above helps.
It does, but it's not very useful in assessing the various armies. See
above.
Post by Andrew Clark
The BEF had hundreds of tanks and carriers which were
certainly used for tactical mobility on the battlefield,
just like the Germans.
No.

The BEF, like the French, had lots of vehicles including carriers but
these didn't substitute for mechanized transport and the infantry wasn't
trained to rely on mechanical transport for tactical mobility, the way
the German infantry component of the panzer divisions or German infantry
did.

The BEF was mostly foot-borne tactically with a few vehicles (like
everyone else, although better off than the average German or French
division in that regard due to its small size), and motor-borne
operationally/strategically. That is why I called it a motorized force,
because it used mechanical transport to move, not to fight (by which I
include tactical movement). The Germans had more than 5 divisions who
could do that, and so had the French.
Post by Andrew Clark
The infantry divisions had no
fighting vehicles, true, but they did have carriers for
tactical movement under fire, which the Germans lacked. They
also undertook their road movements largely in motor
vehicles, unlike the German infantry which largely walked.
1. British carriers were not used for "tactical movement under fire" by
the infantry, as opposed to scouting, heavy weapons support, and
resupply. Same with the French chenillettes. The Germans did have
infantry with what we would call "infantry fighting vehicles" in their
panzer divisions, which the British and the French lacked.

2. Yes, the BEF was more fully-motorized / mechanized than either the
German or the French armies. My point was that this was made possible by
its small size. The British brought ten divisions to the table in 1940
(actually a bit more if you count overseas mechanical units like the 7th
armoured), the Germans had at least 14, the French at least 11. So my
point was that if you're only going to ten divisions of course they will
be your best ten divisions and they will be fully motorized /
mechanised. Therefore, I don't think that saying of the 1940 BEF that it
was fully mechanized or motorized is particularly useful when comparing
it with other forces.
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
In that regard, the BEF was comparable to the
French or Italian motorized infantry divisions,
but not to the German ones and certainly
not to the panzer divisions which I would regard
as mechanized.
The 4 Heer "motorised infantry divisions" seem to me if
anything to be inferior in vehicle establishment to British
infantry divisions in that they had no carriers for tactical
movement under fire.
These divisions had organic transport and therefore were "motorised"
according to British usage of the time while the BEF was not. But you're
right, the BEF division was slightly better off than German motorized
infantry divisions. Of course, if you take the average German
"mechanical transport" (i.e. panzer & mot. inf. divisions) then the BEF
doesn't look nearly as good.
Post by Andrew Clark
The panzer divisions in 1940 were not anything like fully
equipped with fighting vehicles for all arms of service. The
infantry battalions were not equipped with fighting vehicles
capable of cross-country tactical movement, but merely with
tricks for rapid road movement. The artillery battalions
were equipped with motorised prime movers, but not with SP
guns.
The panzer divisions in 1940 had cross-country capability for their
infantry, and for most of their artillery.

They were not as fully-equipped as the Germans wanted - what army was ?
- but were still better off than the BEF divisions.
Post by Andrew Clark
The panzer divisions thus cannot be regarded as "mechanised"
in the contemporary fashion: only the panzer regiments could
be so described.
They were the closest thing to "mechanised" in contemporary (as opposed
to contemporaneous) usage on both sides. They had the organic transport
to lift move all the division at once, most of their components (except
some of the artillery in some divisions) had cross-country ability and
were trained in tactical use of their vehicles. There was a limited
"mechanized infantry" (contemporary parlance) component.

By contrast the only Allied divisions which were mechanized warfare
capable, by which I include 1/ having fighting vehicles, 2/ having
enough transport to lift the whole division, 3/ being trained as a unit
for mobile, mechanized (i.e. using and cooperating with the division's
TO&E vehicles) combat were, as far as I can tell, the 3 French DLM's and
even these had serious flaws. If you are feeling generous, you could add
the 7th armoured although from memory alone I'm not sure in what shape
it was in May/June 1940 and don't feel like looking things up.

The British 1st armoured division was theoretically mechanized, more or
less comparable to a German panzer division on paper, except that it
never trained or fought as a unit and was more, like the French DCR's,
an armored component lashed together with some infantry, artillery and
trucks.

In contemporary fashion, the British infantry divisions deployed in the
BEF, as well as the French motorized infantry divisions were
"motorized". If you're feeling generous, you could add the DCR's to that
category although I wouldn't (but then neither would I add 1st armoured).

Bottom line: the Germans led the world in mechanized warfare (current
usage of the word) in 1940.

LC
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--
Andrew Clark
2004-09-14 16:20:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
According to that definition, the RTR was not "mechanised"
and neither were 6 out of 10 panzer divisions, the German
motorized divisions and the French DCR's.
Precisely.

However, the Royal Tank Regiment wasn't a regiment in the
commonly (ie non-British) sense of the term. It was simply a
parent organisation for a number of battalions, some
reserve, some forming and some operational. Until 1941, some
RTR battalions would be horsed as they had not yet been
mechanised - eg the Household Cavalry training regiment at
Windsor Castle to which I referred earlier.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Then by that definition the Germans had over 14
divisions with organic mechanical transport,
but the BEF wasn't entirely motorized.
No. It means that the BEF consisted entirely of a mixture of
"mechanised rifle battalions" (no more horses; all logistics
and load movement by MT; infantry don't have organic
transport but can usually find a truck anyway) and
"motorised infantry battalions" (organic road motor
transport for all troops). The Heer had motorised infantry
battalions in their motor divisions but the bulk of the
infantry was in un-mechanised rifle battalions (partly or
wholly horse-drawn logistics).
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
The BEF, like the French, had lots of vehicles
including carriers but these didn't substitute
for mechanized transport and the infantry wasn't
trained to rely on mechanical transport for tactical
mobility, the way the German infantry component
of the panzer divisions or German infantry
did.
When you say tactical mobility, do you mean on or off the
battlefield? The regular divisions of the BEF *had*
practiced tactical road movement off the battlefield down to
section level. A typical example might be the rapid movement
of a battalion and its supporting arms by lorry to take up a
screening position. The BEF infantry did not fight mounted
on vehicles.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
The Germans did have
infantry with what we would call "infantry
fighting vehicles" in their
panzer divisions, which the British and
the French lacked.
Yes, the Pz division in 1940 was considerably better
balanced in terms of its fighting arms of service than the
British or French armoured divisions. The use of the
half-track as an infantry fighting vehicle is something that
the British armoured divisions lacked until 1941.

On the other hand, I was talking about the German motorised
infantry divisions, not their Pz divisions. AFAIK, the Heer
motorised infantry divisions had trucks for off-battlefield
movement, not half-tracks for on-battlefield fighting, just
like the standard British infantry division - albeit that
the former had organic transport whereas the latter had not.
Or am I wrong?

(snip agreed stuff)

--
Louis Capdeboscq
2004-09-20 21:32:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
However, the Royal Tank Regiment wasn't a regiment in the
commonly (ie non-British) sense of the term. It was simply a
parent organisation for a number of battalions, some
reserve, some forming and some operational.
Yes, I know. My point was that a definition of "mechanized" which didn't
include such units as the RTR (and spin offs) was at the very best
counter-intuitive.
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Then by that definition the Germans had over 14
divisions with organic mechanical transport,
but the BEF wasn't entirely motorized.
No. It means that the BEF consisted entirely of a mixture of
"mechanised rifle battalions" (no more horses; all logistics
and load movement by MT; infantry don't have organic
transport but can usually find a truck anyway) and
"motorised infantry battalions" (organic road motor
transport for all troops).
I'm sorry, but you supplied the official British definition of what
motorized consisted of, and "can usually find a truck" is no substitute
for "organic transport" according to that definition.

The point which I was making is that you wrote the British had the first
fully mechanized army. I answered "that's easy when you only have to
field a small army", a point on which we agreed. Another thing which you
wrote, and with which I disagree, is that the Germans (and perhaps the
French for that matter, I don't remember), couldn't have fielded a
British-size fully-mechanized force.

My point is that they could have reproduced the BEF if they had wanted
to, i.e. around 15 divisions with wheels and tracks but practically no
horses. Of course, when you only have 15 divisions' worth of mechanical
transport and need to field a large army, the rest will use horses. So
where we disagree is that you wrote that the Germans could have fully
mechanized / motorized 4 divisions or so, while in fact they had at
least 14.
Post by Andrew Clark
The Heer had motorised infantry
battalions in their motor divisions but the bulk of the
infantry was in un-mechanised rifle battalions (partly or
wholly horse-drawn logistics).
Yes, but so what ?

Had Britain fielded 80+ divisions in 1940 as France did (I'm using
France and not Germany because of a more comparable population size),
then it wouldn't have had a fully-mechanized army either.
Post by Andrew Clark
When you say tactical mobility, do you mean on or off the
battlefield? The regular divisions of the BEF *had*
practiced tactical road movement off the battlefield down to
section level. A typical example might be the rapid movement
of a battalion and its supporting arms by lorry to take up a
screening position. The BEF infantry did not fight mounted
on vehicles.
That description includes what I would call "tactical mobility", but the
Germans had more divisions which could do that than the British in 1940.
Post by Andrew Clark
On the other hand, I was talking about the German motorised
infantry divisions, not their Pz divisions. AFAIK, the Heer
motorised infantry divisions had trucks for off-battlefield
movement, not half-tracks for on-battlefield fighting, just
like the standard British infantry division - albeit that
the former had organic transport whereas the latter had not.
Or am I wrong?
They were supposed to have some half-tracks but in practice had almost
only trucks so no, you're not wrong.

However, I don't see why panzer divisions should be excluded from a
count of mechanized divisions.



LC
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David Thornley
2004-07-20 15:33:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Andrew Clark
The British Expeditionary Force in 1939-40 was fully
mechanised
Proof, if any be needed, that it was not mechanization that was
needed, but the will and the intelligence to use mechanization as a
tool of war. The BEF fell before the blitzkrieg as easily as did the
Polish and French armies.
The BEF was never heavily engaged by any sort of blitzkrieg tactics.
It was cut off in Belgium, with most of the more motorized French
divisions. It then had to retreat rapidly and cohesively just to
cover its lines of communications, and could not hold off half the
Germany army in any case.

While I believe the Germans were more efficient at the time, the BEF
was never seriously tested in a straight-up battle.


--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
--
Brad Meyer
2004-07-16 13:52:57 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 15 Jul 2004 15:34:29 +0000 (UTC), Cub Driver
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Chris Martin
Absolutely incorrect. There is a quite large myth that the German army
was highly mechanized, but that's just what it is, a myth.
Well, not entirely. The German army made brilliant, unprecedented use
of tanks, trucks, and airplanes in support of one another; it can
fairly be said to have invented air-land warfare. Really, there never
was a mechanized army before the Heer in 1939.
Certainly, but they lacked the industrial base to exploit what they
had created fully. They simply could not produce enough engines to
fully motorize. They couldn't produce enough electric motors to
provide power turrets for their tanks. They couldn't produce . . .
Post by Cub Driver
That line toward the end of Band of Bros: "We had General Motors, you
had horses -- what were you thinking?" had a cutting edge in 1945. But
while the U.S. had GM in 1939, it was far from applying that resource
to the U.S. Army.
In 1939 they were not at war with anyone. By the time of Guadacanal
and Torch, however, they had almost totally converted.
Post by Cub Driver
We learned that from the Germans, and in the end of
course we did it better.
That's a very debatable point. We certainly had "the mostest" on our
side, and that covered a lot of quality issues.
Post by Cub Driver
But it's not really fair to mock the Heer of
1939-1940 as horse- and train-drawn.
I think it less a case of mocking then of acknowledging the fact. The
German army, for all its innovation in mech warfare, was still, clear
up to the end, largey horse drawn.
David Thornley
2004-07-16 16:12:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Chris Martin
Absolutely incorrect. There is a quite large myth that the German army
was highly mechanized, but that's just what it is, a myth.
Well, not entirely. The German army made brilliant, unprecedented use
of tanks, trucks, and airplanes in support of one another; it can
fairly be said to have invented air-land warfare. Really, there never
was a mechanized army before the Heer in 1939.
That was the mobile troops, which were never a majority of the
army and sometimes were a pretty small minority. The only way
you could describe the Germans as having a mechanized army would
be to consider them as having essentially two armies (actually
not a bad way of looking at it in some ways).

The first motorized army was the BEF of 1940. The first mechanized
army had to be some time after WWII.
Post by Cub Driver
That line toward the end of Band of Bros: "We had General Motors, you
had horses -- what were you thinking?" had a cutting edge in 1945. But
while the U.S. had GM in 1939, it was far from applying that resource
to the U.S. Army.
The US Army was rather poor, and there was a lot of nostalgia for
horses. However, it motorized itself very well, helped by the very
widespread motorization of the civilian population.

We learned that from the Germans, and in the end of
Post by Cub Driver
course we did it better.
The Germans were very good early practitioners of motorized mobile
warfare, and everybody copied them later. However, the full motorization
of the US Army was at least partly an organic process, and first
practiced by the British.

A truck army has less logistic requirements than a horse army, although
it does consume a lot of petroleum products (not much of a problem for
the Allies, and a big problem for the Axis). Moreover, trucks ship
overseas a whole lot better than horses do, and that was very important
for the US.

But it's not really fair to mock the Heer of
Post by Cub Driver
1939-1940 as horse- and train-drawn. So were all armies. (Well, the
Japanese had bicycles.)
Not the British (and lots of armies had bicycles at the time).

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
--
Michele Armellini
2004-07-17 04:11:42 UTC
Permalink
"David Thornley" <***@visi.com> ha scritto nel messaggio news:cd8uop$8ab$***@gnus01.u.washington.edu...

(cut, cut)
Post by Cub Driver
But it's not really fair to mock the Heer of
Post by Cub Driver
1939-1940 as horse- and train-drawn. So were all armies.
Not the British
This post, and others in this thread, seem to me to imply that BEF = British
Army. I realize the BEF was a solid chunk of it, and the best of it, but...
OK, so the BEF was fully motorized. What about of the rest of the British
Army? Was it? Thank you for any info on this.
Richard Macdonald
2004-07-18 14:06:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by Cub Driver
But it's not really fair to mock the Heer of
Post by Cub Driver
1939-1940 as horse- and train-drawn. So were all armies.
Not the British
This post, and others in this thread, seem to me to imply that BEF = British
Army. I realize the BEF was a solid chunk of it, and the best of it, but...
OK, so the BEF was fully motorized. What about of the rest of the British
Army? Was it? Thank you for any info on this.
The only British Army units that I know of that were still mounted in early
WWII was the Cavalry Division in Palestine/Transjordan. Note, this does
not include the Indian Army which may have had mounted/horse drawn
units, but I do not know of any that were committed into active operations
against German, Italy or Japan that had not been motorized first.

The only US Army unit that I know of that was still mounted in combat in
WWII was the 26th Cavalry in the Philippines in 1941-42, unfortunately
when they dismounted, they ate their horses. The only non-motorized/
mechanized elements were mules for supplies in certain terrains in
Italy and the CBI.
--
Richard A Macdonald, CPA/EA
Dedicated student of Fr Luca Paccioli, Master Juggler.
Gib mir schokolade und niemand wird verletzt!!
Cub Driver
2004-07-18 22:43:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michele Armellini
OK, so the BEF was fully motorized. What about of the rest of the British
Army? Was it?
Somehow the definition has morphed from mechanized to motorized! These
seem to me to be very different things. In a mechanized army, trucks
substitute for horses, and tanks for cavalry. In a motorized army, the
troops ride to war. What exactly are we talking about here? Did the
BEF really ride to war like the 1st Marine Division in Iraq ("gun and
run")?

Certainly the British (Imperial) army in Malaya seemed to move about
largely on foot. The Japanese did however capture enough vehicles in
that campaign--civilian as well as military--to equip an armored
division for the Burma campaign.


all the best -- Dan Ford
email: ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

The Warbird's Forum www.warbirdforum.com
Adventure sailboat charters www.expeditionsail.com
--
Andrew Clark
2004-07-19 15:59:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Somehow the definition has morphed from
mechanized to motorized! These seem to
me to be very different things. In a mechanized army,
trucks
Post by Cub Driver
substitute for horses, and tanks for cavalry. In a
motorized army, the troops ride to war. What
exactly are we talking about here?
A very good distinction. The BEF in 1939 was mechanised in
that no animal labour was used, but it was by no means fully
motorised in the sense that every soldier had a vehicle in
which to travel. In fact, I think the only British divisions
in which there was assigned motor transport for every
soldier were the 1944-pattern armoured divisions, which had
a motor infantry brigade carried in half-tracks, trucks and
carriers. I think the same applied to US divisions.

It was possible to assign truck transport to infantry
divisions so as to make them fully motorised, but generally
speaking all Allied WW2 infantry divisions relied on their
troops marching to the front.
Post by Cub Driver
Certainly the British (Imperial) army in Malaya
seemed to move about
largely on foot.
One of Slim's deliberate policies after the retreat from
Burma was to make the front formations of 14th Army
non-dependant on vehicles. Vehicles need roads, and there
were so few roads in Burma that they became choke points
which the Japanese were very skilled at attacking. An
important part of 14th Army's success in driving the IJA
back from India and out of Burma was the transformation of
logistic supply from the usual long vehicle convoy to
self-sufficient units using man-transport, mules and
especially air supply. The US played an important part in
the latter.
Post by Cub Driver
The Japanese did however capture
enough vehicles in that campaign--
civilian as well as military--to
equip an armored division for
the Burma campaign.
Nearly all the vehicles of the entire Imperial force in
Burma were lost during the retreat, together with the
vehicles belonging to the large oil complexes.

--
David Thornley
2004-07-21 15:34:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Martin
Post by Cub Driver
me to be very different things. In a mechanized army,
trucks
Post by Cub Driver
substitute for horses, and tanks for cavalry. In a
motorized army, the troops ride to war. What
exactly are we talking about here?
Strange, I was using "motorized" and "mechanized" in the opposite
sense. Is there an authoritative definition here?
Post by Chris Martin
which to travel. In fact, I think the only British divisions
in which there was assigned motor transport for every
soldier were the 1944-pattern armoured divisions, which had
a motor infantry brigade carried in half-tracks, trucks and
carriers. I think the same applied to US divisions.
What was the status of pre-1944 armoured divisions?

As far as the US goes, I've read that the armored divisions lacked
enough trucks on their T/O&E to transport the entire division at
once, but that that was universally made up in the field by permanently
attaching trucks.

The US did form a motorized infantry division, in the sense that
everybody could ride in the trucks, but it was not sent overseas in
that form. The problem was that it took pretty much the shipping
space and support of an armored division, and didn't have the
same combat power. So, the 4th Motorized Division was stripped
of its extra trucks and formed into another infantry division,
and was then sent overseas.
Post by Chris Martin
It was possible to assign truck transport to infantry
divisions so as to make them fully motorised, but generally
speaking all Allied WW2 infantry divisions relied on their
troops marching to the front.
Sure. In 1944, the Western Allies often had plenty of trucks, and
often moved troops on them for considerable distances. To give some
US examples, the very rapid movement of Third Army through the
Avranches bottleneck and the transporting of the 82nd and 101st
Airborne Divisions to St. Vith and Bastogne come to mind.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
--
Martin Rapier
2004-07-23 13:14:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
Post by Cub Driver
me to be very different things. In a mechanized army,
trucks substitute for horses, and tanks for cavalry. In a
Post by Cub Driver
motorized army, the troops ride to war. What
exactly are we talking about here?
Strange, I was using "motorized" and "mechanized" in the opposite
sense. Is there an authoritative definition here?
I've not idea if there is an authoritative definition but I would use the
terms the same way as David in this context:

motorised = all transport is motor vehicles, no horses at all. This does not
mean that the lift capacity is available to carry everyone in a vehicles
e..g in the 'motorised' BEF, the infantry walked, although it can do in
formations where the transport does not have a tactical role e.g. German
motorised infantry divisions had enough lift for all their men, but the
lorried transport was not used tactically, unlike e.g. Schutzen or
panzergrenadier units which were often accompanied by theri transport into
the tactical battle area.

mechanised = motorised as above, but there is enough vehicle capacity to
carry everyone & everything in a vehicle. The definition may be extended to
include untis whose motorisation allowed tactical as well as operational
mobility e.g. Schutzen battalions, motor battalions, armored infantry etc.

In a more tactical context, motorised is often taken to mean units who have
vehicular lift capacity but it is based on wheeled vehicles, whereas as
mechanised are units with tracked or semi tracked vehicles (often armoured)
who have some cross country mobility - certainly NATO symbols for unit types
support these different definitions. Where British 'motor battalions' riding
M3 halftracks and carriers fit in to this is a matter of debate of course...
Post by David Thornley
which to travel. In fact, I think the only British divisions
in which there was assigned motor transport for every
soldier were the 1944-pattern armoured divisions, which had
a motor infantry brigade carried in half-tracks, trucks and
carriers. I think the same applied to US divisions.
What was the status of pre-1944 armoured divisions?
No. British armoured units were always fully motorised, even if the infantry
brigade was 'lorried' ie they rode great big troop transports (TCVs) but
dismounted to fight.

British infantry divisions had sufficient organic truck capacity to lift the
entire division, but at the expense of their logistic support ie their
operational range was seriously reduced. For divisions with a 72 gun
artillery component and 48 gun AA and AT units this was quite serious and
was why non essential units (like AA regiments) were stripped of their
transport and effectively abandoned to provide further lift capacity for
e..g the pursuit across France.

US units were similar, the armored divisions were fully mechanised but the
infantry divisions could only fully motorise by raiding their organic (or
higher) logistic units.

Cheers
Martin
Giessenlad
2004-07-24 17:48:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
The BEF in 1939 was mechanised in
that no animal labour was used, but it was by no means fully
motorised in the sense that every soldier had a vehicle in
which to travel. In fact, I think the only British divisions
in which there was assigned motor transport for every
soldier were the 1944-pattern armoured divisions
The British 50th (Northumbrian) division was organized
as a "motor division" from Sept '39 to june '40. Every soldier
in this unit did have a vehicle to travel in, but the division
consisted of only 2 brigades, instead of the usual three.

PT
Andrew Clark
2004-07-18 22:43:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michele Armellini
What about of the rest of the British
Army? Was it?
I think the quick answer is that in 1940 the normal
establishment of all British Army units in 1940 was
motorised but MT was not yet available to bring all units,
other than the BEF, up to establishment.

The main exception, of course, was 1st Cavalry Division with
its 20,000 horses, which was sent to Palestine in 1939 for
internal security and converted piecemeal to armour during
1940-41. Apparently there was also a horse or donkey/mule
supply unit earmarked for off-road use in Norway which was
disbanded in May 1940.

--
Rich Rostrom
2004-07-18 22:43:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
The German army made brilliant, unprecedented use
of tanks, trucks, and airplanes in support of one another; it can
fairly be said to have invented air-land warfare. Really, there never
was a mechanized army before the Heer in 1939.
This is not entirely true. During the Italian campaign to subdue
Libya, the Italian army began to use motorized troops on a large
scale for the first time in history.

WW II buffs know of FM Graziani as the Italian commander of 300,000
men in Libya whose army was destroyed by Wavell's "30,000" in the
winter of 1940-41.

But Graziani was not a bungling fool. Ten years before, by the
aggressive, innovative use of motorized forces and air power,
he crushed the Libyan Arab resistance to Italian rule that had
been holding out for almost twenty years.

Granted that Italy lacked the resources for a real mechanized
army, and that by 1940 the Italian army's equipment was mostly
obsolete, and that its policies such as neglect of enlisted
men's welfare and brutal discipline (enthusiastically followed
by Graziani) set them up for defeat.

But in this particular area, the Italian army was actually
among the pioneers, even before Germany.
--
Were there eight kings of the name of Henry in England, or were there eighty?
Never mind; someday it will be recorded that there was only one, and the
attributes of all of them will be combined into his compressed and consensus
story. --- R. A. Lafferty, _And Read the Flesh Between the Lines_
--
Dave
2004-07-14 23:52:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function.
As I recall from Cornelius Ryan's The Last Battle, as late as 1944, most German
units had up to 40 percent of their transport horse-drawn. Did Ryan get it
wrong?

Dave
www.Historylink.org
The online encyclopedia of Washington state history.
--
Colin McGarry
2004-07-14 23:52:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Germany had, and still has, many superb breeds available so taking them from
occupied areas would have been a low priority.
I've got photos of the german troops going through the village in Normandy
where I live using horses to pull troop transport carts. Thay used them to
pull artillery aswell.

www.cpmac.com/normandy

cpmac
Post by russell holroyd
Post by WHL75
Looking for information on the use of horses in the German Army
especially
Post by russell holroyd
in
Post by WHL75
the period from 1939 to 1941. How many horses would be attached to an
infantry
Post by WHL75
division? Where did the army obtain their horses. When deployed were
replacements seized from the area in which the unit was deployed or
brought
Post by WHL75
back from Germany? How many members of the division were assigned to
the
Post by russell holroyd
care
Post by WHL75
and health of the horses?
--
--
Andrew Clark
2004-07-14 23:52:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally,
it is unlikely that horses performed more than
a ceremonial function.
Wholly wrong. All German army units, even panzer divisions,
were wholly or partially dependant on horse-drawn transport
throughout WW2. It was the western Allies that didn't use
horses.

The first fully mechanised army in the world was the British
Expeditionary Force in 1939-40.

--
Colin McGarry
2004-07-15 23:41:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
throughout WW2. It was the western Allies that didn't use
horses.
Perhaps they didn't bring horses to europe but tyhey used them when it was
convenient.
There are photos of GIs in St Mère Eglise and at Carentan using horses

www.cpmac.com/normandy

cpmac

--
Cub Driver
2004-07-16 16:12:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Colin McGarry
There are photos of GIs in St Mère Eglise and at Carentan using horses
Mules most certainly were brought from the U.S. to foreign theaters of
war, notably Burma, where they were glider-landed behind Japanese
lines.

Films of the Italian campaign regularly show mules in operation. In
the doccos, the muleskinner is generally a GI, or at least is wearing
a GI helmet, but as I understand the matter, it was generally Italians
who performed this duty.

all the best -- Dan Ford
email: ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

The Warbird's Forum www.warbirdforum.com
Adventure sailboat charters www.expeditionsail.com
--
David Thornley
2004-07-16 18:02:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Colin McGarry
Post by Andrew Clark
throughout WW2. It was the western Allies that didn't use
horses.
Perhaps they didn't bring horses to europe but tyhey used them when it was
convenient.
There are photos of GIs in St Mère Eglise and at Carentan using horses
Sure - troops in the field will use whatever they can find to get
the job done, rather than waiting for officially approved equipment.
Moreover, there are situations in which animals are more effective
than trucks, since pack animals in particular can go places trucks
can't. Patton organized some animal transport in Sicily, and the
US 10th Mountain Division (which fought in Italy) used horses.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-07-15 15:34:15 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 14 Jul 2004 15:30:28 +0000 (UTC), "russell holroyd"
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
ROTFL!

The German Army in WW2 was so "highly mechanised" that it was EIGHTY
FIVE PERCENT (85%) reliant on horse drawn transport!

Only the Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions were close to fully
motorised.

Standard infantry divisions were almost 100% reliant on horse drawn
transport.

This is such a well known fact to all with even the most passing
interest in WW2 that I am amazed that you were not aware of it.

The Russian Army was also around 85% horse drawn.

Only the Allied armies effectively eschewed horse drawn transport ...
with a few special exceptions (the Brits, and perhaps the US, used
mules to an extent in the mountainous terrain of Italy, forex).

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
--
JDupre5762
2004-07-15 15:34:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Germany had, and still has, many superb breeds available so taking them from
occupied areas would have been a low priority.
The Germans were never really more than partially mechanized and the majority
of German divisions relied on horse transport for the duration of the war.
This is well documented in many histories. Horse transport was even more
important as the Allied bombing and Soviet advances impacted the production of
fuels and lubricants later in the war.

War is generally very wasteful of horses and as much from malnutrition and
overwork as combat. I don't know but would think the Germans appropriated
horses wherever they were no matte what the breed.

John Dupre'
--
John Thompson
2004-07-15 15:34:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Germany had, and still has, many superb breeds available so taking them from
occupied areas would have been a low priority.
During the 1940 invasion of France about 90% of the German army used
horse transport (one infantry corps missed the entire campaign because
its horses were all down with the flu). The mechanized equipment and
units were concentrated, however, which greatly increased their
impact. The BEF was the only completely mechanized force early in the
war.

John
--
Martin Rapier
2004-07-15 15:34:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Germany had, and still has, many superb breeds available so taking them from
occupied areas would have been a low priority.
The vast bulk of the transport used in the German Army was horse drawn, a
standard Infantry Division had a complement in excess of 6,000 horses. The
German Army was also one of the least mechanised of the major combatants,
with only a tiny fraction of their divisions approaching anything like full
motorisation and shortages of transport throughout the war meant that e.g.
'panzer grenadier' regiments were equipped with bicycles or simple had all
their organic transport removed so they had to walk instead...

Like the Russians, the Germans also used horsed cavalry divisions in combat
right until the end of the war (well, until the fall of Budapest at least,
where the SS Cavalry Corps was destroyed).

Cheers
Martin

--
Brad Meyer
2004-07-15 17:12:55 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 14 Jul 2004 15:30:28 +0000 (UTC), "russell holroyd"
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function.
Rather the opposite. The Nazi's were not highly mechanised for the
simple reason they lacked the means. Even the Panzer divisions (never
more then a fraction of the whole army) had horse transport for some
of its supplies. The infantry divisions were as much horse based as
their fathers had been in WW I. Much of the artillery was still horse
drawn. The German army used a lot of horses.
James Linn
2004-07-16 13:14:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Germany had, and still has, many superb breeds available so taking them from
occupied areas would have been a low priority.
Bzzzztt thanks for playing.

I"ve read several sources which contradict that statement. Remember, he was
asking about 39/40. From what I have read - Deighton's Blitzkreig comes to
mind, the BEF was far more mechanized than the German force, and the Germans
had many horses for hauling artillery.

James Linn
n***@hotmail.com
2004-07-16 13:36:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Germany had, and still has, many superb breeds available so taking them from
occupied areas would have been a low priority.
The only truth in the above is that the Nazis
loved pageantry and that Germany had some fine
horses.

The German army was not that highly mechanized. Even
at the end of the war, only some 15-20% of the German
divisions were other than leg infantry.

As for the rest: the German army used horses, numbering
in the hundreds of thousands, from the first day of
the war to the last. They drew artillery pieces as
well as train and supply vehicles. Early war infantry
divisions each had thousands; even panzer divisions
used several hundred horses each in their rear echelons.

The German army that invaded the USSR had about 600k.
These fine beasts didn't hold up too well in Russian
conditions, and were sometimes replaced by the hardier
local horses and ponies. The Germans made requisitions
of horses in all their occupied areas, on both local
and larger scales.
Post by russell holroyd
Post by WHL75
Looking for information on the use of horses in the German Army especially
in the period from 1939 to 1941.
Let us know if you need more deatil.

EGF
Tank Fixer
2004-07-16 13:39:18 UTC
Permalink
In article <cd3jik$jro$***@gnus01.u.washington.edu>,
on Wed, 14 Jul 2004 15:30:28 +0000 (UTC),
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Germany had, and still has, many superb breeds available so taking them from
occupied areas would have been a low priority.
Incorrect, the German army in `940 was even less mechanised that the US or
UK armies.

Much of the transport in infantry divisions was horse drawn.
During the winter of 1941/42 the germans were forced to adopt the small
russian horses as the prime movers. German horses were not up to the
harshness of the Russian winter.
Post by russell holroyd
Post by WHL75
Looking for information on the use of horses in the German Army especially
in
Post by WHL75
the period from 1939 to 1941. How many horses would be attached to an
infantry
Post by WHL75
division? Where did the army obtain their horses. When deployed were
replacements seized from the area in which the unit was deployed or
brought
Post by WHL75
back from Germany? How many members of the division were assigned to the
care
Post by WHL75
and health of the horses?
--
When dealing with propaganda terminology one sometimes always speaks in
variable absolutes. This is not to be mistaken for an unbiased slant.
Cub Driver
2004-07-16 13:44:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function.
Evidently you have not seen the (German) newsreels of the Russian
campaign.

all the best -- Dan Ford
email: ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

The Warbird's Forum www.warbirdforum.com
The Piper Cub Forum www.pipercubforum.com
Viva Bush! weblog www.vivabush.org
Michele Armellini
2004-07-16 13:48:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by russell holroyd
The Germans were highly mechanised and, generally, it is unlikely that
horses performed more than a ceremonial function. The nazis loved pageantry.
Martin quoted a few figures for 1941. In 1939 there 5,375 horses per
infantry division on war establishment. Upon mobilization, there 183,000
motor vehicles and 94,000 motorcycles in the Wehrmacht - and 514,000 horses.
So much for the "highly motorized" Germans and the "ceremonial function" of
horses.

What nobody has pointed out until now is that the Germans not only used
horses for towing wagons and artillery. They also had mounted recon units in
infantry divisions and cavalry brigades, regiments and even divisions. In
this they were not unlike most WWII armies, by the way.

Now back to the original question. There were two bodies deferring directly
to OKH, one tasked with planning, training, classification, upkeep and
maintenance (of horse-drawn wagons); the other took care of purchases.
Before the war, they planned a war need of 15,000 horses per year of all
types, from saddle horses for officers, to saddle horses for Reiter units,
saddle horses for other uses, to various kinds of draught animals. These
were to be bought in Germany (including Austria).
The Heer did resort to requisition of horses everywhere it went, though. The
Russian panje horses were not officially approved, but they were
commandeered as well. I have no figures of how many men per division cared
for the horses, but there was 1 veterinarian for 300-400 horses and 1
farrier for 250 horses; he travelled on a Hfl wagon which was a complete
workshop. For smaller mounted units and mountain units there was a portable
forge that could fit on two pack horses; the farrier using this took care of
50-100 horses. The cavalry support services in 1939 numbered 13,000 men,
including 5,600 veterinarians, 3,700 farriers, 8,100 NCOs and other ranks;
the rest were officers.
Cub Driver
2004-07-18 22:43:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michele Armellini
They also had mounted recon units in
infantry divisions and cavalry brigades, regiments and even divisions. In
this they were not unlike most WWII armies, by the way.
So there is nothing to the legend that the last cavalry charge was
mounted (as it were) by the Polish army, with horse and saber, against
German tanks? It would be a pity to lose that image!

I would like to know more about cavalry bridgades and regiments
(aren't they more or less the same thing in line service?--perhaps you
meant battalions?) and divisions. A horse division boggles the mind.
Even the vaunted 7th Cavalry was only a regiment! 15,000 men on
horseback?

It must have been a veteran of service in a horse division that looked
forward to the advent of the automobile, since it promised the end of
pollution in New York City.
Post by Michele Armellini
From the newsreels, I carried away the impression that motorcycles did
recon in the German army, but perhaps those are only couriers.

all the best -- Dan Ford
email: ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

The Warbird's Forum www.warbirdforum.com
Adventure sailboat charters www.expeditionsail.com
--
Michele Armellini
2004-07-19 15:59:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Michele Armellini
They also had mounted recon units in
infantry divisions and cavalry brigades, regiments and even divisions. In
this they were not unlike most WWII armies, by the way.
So there is nothing to the legend that the last cavalry charge was
mounted (as it were) by the Polish army, with horse and saber, against
German tanks? It would be a pity to lose that image!
That image is German propaganda, including some staged footage. I'm afraid
you are losing it. However, it is based on a real event of 1939, when on the
evening of September 1, two squadrons of the 18th Uhlans located German
infantyr in battalion strength stopped in a clearing near Krojanty. They
took the Germans by surprise, charging them, inflicting losses, and much
confusion. However, as they were reforming, they came under MG fire (either
by infantry MGs or by a patrol of armored cars, accounts disagree) and
suffered heavy losses. The German infantry had not scouted around enough,
but neither the Polish cavalry had. The horsemen withdrew, but with sizable
losses.
An Italian war reporter arrived on the scene the day after and was told the
little tale; he wrote the first official story, which then was repeated and
made greater each time it was repeated, until the German propaganda made the
movie.

Regardless, one of the last cavalry charges in WWII was performed by the
Poles, when the 1st Independent Warsaw Cavalry Brigade overran undermanned,
demoralized German positions near Schonfeld, on March 1, 1945. So after all
the Polish cavalry defeated German infantry again.
Post by Cub Driver
I would like to know more about cavalry bridgades and regiments
(aren't they more or less the same thing in line service?--perhaps you
meant battalions?) and divisions.
No. A brigade cavalry may be an independent thing, or not. A regiment is
almost always part of a division - or of a brigade! Brigades were often
renamed as divisions. Additionally, there are terminology problems as in
certain armies the cavalry equivalent of what in the infantry is a battalion
is called a regiment.

A horse division boggles the mind.
Post by Cub Driver
Even the vaunted 7th Cavalry was only a regiment! 15,000 men on
horseback?
Way less. Cavalry divisions tended to be much smaller in size than infantry
ones. Besides, "modern" cavalry brigades/divisions might have things like
bicycle squadrons, motorized AT, AA and engineer squadrons, etc.
Additionally, attempts at mixed units were made. Just to name a few, the
French, Italian and Romanian armies all had divisions that included real
cavalry and truck-borne "cavalry" (i.e., motorized infantry), and possibly
tank elements and truck-towed artillery too. These hybrids were difficult to
employ properly and a logistical nightmare, as you can imagine.
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Michele Armellini
From the newsreels, I carried away the impression that motorcycles did
recon in the German army, but perhaps those are only couriers.
Name a device and it will have been used for recon.
Regards.
--
Martin Rapier
2004-07-19 21:27:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Michele Armellini
They also had mounted recon units in
infantry divisions and cavalry brigades, regiments and even divisions. In
this they were not unlike most WWII armies, by the way.
Yes, soldiers on horseback had myriad uses in WW2. Even the last british
cavalry division wasn't converted to armour until 1941 (IIRC). The German
1st Cavalry div fought in Barbarossa but was converted to armour, although
the SS continued to raise cavalry formations throughout the war.
Post by Cub Driver
So there is nothing to the legend that the last cavalry charge was
mounted (as it were) by the Polish army, with horse and saber, against
German tanks? It would be a pity to lose that image!
Various armies have tried to make that claim, although I believe the honours
actaully lie with the Italian army who conducted a regimental strength sabre
charge on the eastern front in 1942. The later war cavalry units operated as
mounted infantry and cavalry-mechanised groups were a vital component of the
Red Army right until 1945 as the horses gave infantry cross countyr mobility
through country impassable to vehicles (and they were cheaper!).
Post by Cub Driver
I would like to know more about cavalry bridgades and regiments
(aren't they more or less the same thing in line service?--perhaps you
meant battalions?) and divisions. A horse division boggles the mind.
Many armies had cavalry divisions, but their TO&E varied greatly. Some of
the Rumanian ones were part mechanised, with some regiments mounted on
horses, others in trucks. Red Army cavalry 'divisions' were quite weak
though, with only around 4000 effectives, partly why they tended to be used
as Cavalry Corps.... IIRC the Russians had over 20 cavalry divisions.
Post by Cub Driver
Even the vaunted 7th Cavalry was only a regiment! 15,000 men on
horseback?
The US Army had a cavalry division when war broke out, IIRC it was stationed
in the Phillipines.
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Michele Armellini
From the newsreels, I carried away the impression that motorcycles did
recon in the German army, but perhaps those are only couriers.
Mixture of vehicles - a 1941 infantry division recce battalion had a cavalry
squadron, a company of infantry on bicycles and a motorised heavy weapons
company. Motorcycles were more the province of those glory boy tankers.

Cheers
Martin
Richard Macdonald
2004-07-19 23:40:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Rapier
Post by Cub Driver
Even the vaunted 7th Cavalry was only a regiment! 15,000 men on
horseback?
Actually 1,500-1,600 is more like it, a Cavalry Brigade (2 Regt and HQ)
would
have 141 Officers, 11 Warrant Officers, & 3,210 Enlisted (other ranks).
Post by Martin Rapier
The US Army had a cavalry division when war broke out, IIRC it was stationed
in the Phillipines.
The 1st (US) Cavalry Division was at Ft Bliss, TX in 1939, staged to
various maneuvers, but did not embark overseas until June 26, 1943 (Stanton)

Only the 26th Cavalry Regiment (Horse)(Philippine Scouts)
fought mounted to cover retreat to battan where eventually
dismounted and horses eaten and surrendered April 9, 1942.
--
Richard A Macdonald, CPA/EA
SSG (Ret), USA, ADA, 16P34
Dedicated student of Fr Luca Paccioli, Master Juggler.
Gib mir schokolade und niemand wird verletzt!!
--
Brad Meyer
2004-07-21 03:53:19 UTC
Permalink
On 19 Jul 2004 16:27:37 -0500, "Martin Rapier"
Post by Martin Rapier
The US Army had a cavalry division when war broke out, IIRC it was stationed
in the Phillipines.
And a mounted regt (detachment actually) in China.
Richard H Miller
2004-07-21 15:33:46 UTC
Permalink
Martin Rapier (***@sheffield.ac.uk) wrote:

: The US Army had a cavalry division when war broke out, IIRC it was stationed
: in the Phillipines.


Actually it had 3 horse cavalry divisions, 1, 2 and 2 (Colored). The 1st was dismounted and
fought in the SWPAC as a dismounted meld between cavalry TOE and infantry TOE
It retained the square organization [the division had two brigades of two
regiments] unlike the typical triangle organization of infrantry divisions.


2nd Cav also was a square and was deactivated at Fort Riley. Its 4th brigade as designated
as colored and had the 9th and 10th Cavalry assigned to it

2nd Cav (Colored) was a segregated colored division. It received the 4th brigade from the
deactivated 2nd Cavalry Division and created a 5th Cavalry Brigade with two new regiments.
When it arrived in the MTO, it was deactivated and its troops were assigned to service
units. It never saw combat.

The only mounted unit in the Phillipines was the 26th Cavalry (Rgmt) and is given the distinction
of being the last mounted unit to see action


Rick


--
Dick C
2004-07-21 16:17:09 UTC
Permalink
Martin Rapier wrote in soc.history.war.world-war-ii
Post by Martin Rapier
Post by Michele Armellini
They also had mounted recon units in
infantry divisions and cavalry brigades, regiments and even divisions.
In this they were not unlike most WWII armies, by the way.
Yes, soldiers on horseback had myriad uses in WW2. Even the last british
cavalry division wasn't converted to armour until 1941 (IIRC). The
German 1st Cavalry div fought in Barbarossa but was converted to armour,
although the SS continued to raise cavalry formations throughout the
war.
One thing that I haven't seen mentioned is that prior to WWII Europe
was not mechanized, nor was there any need to be. Europe was covered
with roads built by and for horses and carts. Plus they had a pretty
extensive rail system. Coupled with the fact that the cities and towns
were not very far apart, there was little need for civilians to have
a lot of trucks, and the requirements were more for them to travel
a short distance on decent roads. That is not what is needed for
military usages.
Plus, the fact that the distances were small, throughout Europe,
and the rails could carry Armies close to a battle, horses worked
very well for that. To say nothing of the fact that in Europe a horse
can almost always eat, making its' support needs pretty low.

America, OTOH, had long distances between cities, was developing an
over the road trucking system. And many of the roads were in very
poor condition. Thus America needed the same type of trucks that would
suit military operations.
--
Dick #1349
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
~Benjamin Franklin

Home Page: dickcr.iwarp.com
email: ***@comcast.net
Andrew Clark
2004-07-22 15:40:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick C
One thing that I haven't seen mentioned is that
prior to WWII Europe was not mechanized,
nor was there any need to be. Europe was covered
with roads built by and for horses and carts.
The UK had a complete nationwide network of tarmac or
asphalt roads suitable for motor vehicles by 1928. Four lane
highways began to be built in 1931 and six-lane highways
immediately post-war.

Germany built 4000 km of six-lane highways between 1933-41
(the famous autobahn).

Italy built several hundred kilometres of six and four-lane
highway starting as early as 1924.

France had 5000 km of tarmac or asphalt motor roads by 1931
and several six-lane highways by 1936.

And so on.
Post by Dick C
Coupled with the fact that the cities
and towns were not very far apart,
there was little need for civilians to have
a lot of trucks,
Ever measure the distance from Glasgow to Berlin?
Post by Dick C
and the requirements were more for
them to travel a short distance on
decent roads. That is not what is needed for
military usages.
In WW1, the French Army supplied Verdun with over 5000 truck
movements *per day* over a road under constant shellfire.
That tends to suggest that even as early as WW1 those
backward Europeans had sort of mastered the idea of major
military movements by makeshift road. Perhaps the US Army
learnt from the French in WW1, even?

Phooey.
mike
2004-07-23 22:32:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
The UK had a complete nationwide network of tarmac or
asphalt roads suitable for motor vehicles by 1928. Four lane
highways began to be built in 1931 and six-lane highways
immediately post-war.
Germany built 4000 km of six-lane highways between 1933-41
(the famous autobahn).
Italy built several hundred kilometres of six and four-lane
highway starting as early as 1924.
France had 5000 km of tarmac or asphalt motor roads by 1931
and several six-lane highways by 1936.
And so on.
1929 USA: 29 million cars(4+ mil brand new) travel over nearly
700,000 miles of Paved&surfaced roads. The State of Illinois
had 7500 miles by itself.

This is before FDRs road building program, that finished the
paving of US 66, Chicago to Los Angeles(2485mi.) in 1937,among
other State Highways, like US 1, Ft. Kent to Key West, 2330 miles
or US 99, Blaine to El Centro, 1670miles on the other coast.

Areas that had over 2000 vehicles per day traffic were set
for multiple lanes, the rest two lane. The Depression, then WWII,
slowed this, and later the new Interstate Highway System would
be 90% Federal funded, finishing what FDR wanted with his
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1938.

**
mike
**
Andrew Clark
2004-07-25 13:30:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by mike
1929 USA: 29 million cars(4+ mil brand new)
travel over nearly 700,000 miles of Paved&surfaced
roads.
This isn't a "my road is bigger than your" contest. I was
answering a poster who alleged that pre-war and WW2 "Europe
was covered with roads built by and for horses and carts".
That plainly wasn't true.
Dick C
2004-08-03 12:46:08 UTC
Permalink
Andrew Clark wrote in soc.history.war.world-war-ii
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by mike
1929 USA: 29 million cars(4+ mil brand new)
travel over nearly 700,000 miles of Paved&surfaced
roads.
This isn't a "my road is bigger than your" contest. I was
answering a poster who alleged that pre-war and WW2 "Europe
was covered with roads built by and for horses and carts".
That plainly wasn't true.
Are you saying that when some roads were paved, the unpaved
roads were totally removed?
--
Dick #1349
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
~Benjamin Franklin

Home Page: dickcr.iwarp.com
email: ***@comcast.net
Andrew Clark
2004-08-08 13:30:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick C
Are you saying that when some roads
were paved, the unpaved
roads were totally removed?
That's a bit of a foolish question. The paved roads in
Europe pre-WW2, generally, were previously unpaved roads
which had been improved. The exceptions were the new
highways which did, generally, follow new routes.
Cub Driver
2004-07-23 22:32:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Germany built 4000 km of six-lane highways between 1933-41
(the famous autobahn).
Many of these however were not paved.

Interestingly, as is the case in Switzerland today, many of the
autobahnen were designed as airfields. The Germans even had control
towers adjacent to some of them.

In a less formal way, the U.S. Army adapted the autobahnen for the
same purposes. I have seen photos of a divided highway with the
southbound land being used for two-way traffic while the northbound
lane was a run for L-4 Piper Cubs, the planes being parked on the
grass verge.

The autobahnen were the parents of the U.S. Interstate system. As a
young officer, Eisenhower was part of the army team that drove across
the U.S. in the 1920s? It was a horrific experience, which he never
forget. When he became president in 1953, remembering the autobahnen,
he persuaded the Congress to fund the Interstate highway system under
the guise of National Defense Highways. There ostensible purpose was
the same as the autobahnen: to move troops and materiel in time of
war. (Remember that the next time you are gridlocked on I-95.)

all the best -- Dan Ford
email: ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

The Warbird's Forum www.warbirdforum.com
Expedition sailboat charters www.expeditionsail.com
Andrew Warinner
2004-07-26 02:51:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
The autobahnen were the parents of the U.S. Interstate system. As a
young officer, Eisenhower was part of the army team that drove across
the U.S. in the 1920s? It was a horrific experience, which he never
forget. When he became president in 1953, remembering the autobahnen,
he persuaded the Congress to fund the Interstate highway system under
the guise of National Defense Highways. There ostensible purpose was
the same as the autobahnen: to move troops and materiel in time of
war.
No, the credit is due to that famed military strategist Franklin Delano
Roosevelt.

In 1939, FDR proposed 43,000 kilometers of:

.... [A] special system of direct interregional highways, with all
necessary connections through and around cities, designed to meet the
requirements of the national defense and the needs of a growing
peacetime traffic of longer range.

Greater concerns distracted the Roosevelt administration and little was
done to actually build the highways, though much work was done on
planning and research. Political problems also hindered the plans; how
the roads should be funded and where they should go were vexing politcal
problems.

In 1944, Roosevelt turned his attention to returning the US economy to a
peacetime footing, especially finding employment for demobilized GIs. He
revived the highway program and expanded it to 65,000 kilometers.
However, the fundamental issue of who pays was not adequately solved.

If Eisenhower deserves any credit, it was in finding a way to fully fund
the highway system (though Senator Albert Gore Senior can claim that
too), in devising a formula for the allocation of the roads and imposing
uniform standards on their construction.

Eisenhower did not justify the highway system primarily on military
needs (if he did we would have ended up with a national defense railroad
network):

The vice president [Richard Nixon] read the president's recollection
of his 1919 convoy, then cited five "penalties" of the nation's
obsolete highway network: the annual death and injury toll, the waste
of billions of dollars in detours and traffic jams, the clogging of
the nation's courts with highway-related suits, the inefficiency in
the transportation of goods, and "the appalling inadequacies to meet
the demands of catastrophe or defense, should an atomic war come."

<http://www.tfhrc.gov/pubrds/summer96/p96su10.htm>

Oh, and the urban legend that interstate highways must have one mile
straight in five to provide landing strips is a legend.

Andrew Warinner
***@xnet.com
http://home.xnet.com/~warinner
--
Dick C
2004-07-26 23:43:41 UTC
Permalink
Andrew Clark wrote in soc.history.war.world-war-ii
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Dick C
One thing that I haven't seen mentioned is that
prior to WWII Europe was not mechanized,
nor was there any need to be. Europe was covered
with roads built by and for horses and carts.
The UK had a complete nationwide network of tarmac or
asphalt roads suitable for motor vehicles by 1928. Four lane
highways began to be built in 1931 and six-lane highways
immediately post-war.
Germany built 4000 km of six-lane highways between 1933-41
(the famous autobahn).
Italy built several hundred kilometres of six and four-lane
highway starting as early as 1924.
France had 5000 km of tarmac or asphalt motor roads by 1931
and several six-lane highways by 1936.
And yet, they still had miles and miles of roads that had been
built over thousands of years as foot trails, and roads for horses
and carts. Which would lead to the front lines easier than
the paved roads would.
Post by Andrew Clark
And so on.
Post by Dick C
Coupled with the fact that the cities
and towns were not very far apart,
there was little need for civilians to have
a lot of trucks,
Ever measure the distance from Glasgow to Berlin?
Funny thing though, the horses did not have to travel
from Berlin to Glasgow, only from the rail road stageing
areas to the army encampments or battle fields. And since
German army marched most places in Europe, the horses were
more than adequate to keep up with them. Or to even go
back and forth to get supplies and remove the injured.
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Dick C
and the requirements were more for
them to travel a short distance on
decent roads. That is not what is needed for
military usages.
In WW1, the French Army supplied Verdun with over 5000 truck
movements *per day* over a road under constant shellfire.
That tends to suggest that even as early as WW1 those
backward Europeans had sort of mastered the idea of major
military movements by makeshift road. Perhaps the US Army
learnt from the French in WW1, even?
And it is interesting that the German army was able to conquer
Europe with some trucks, and a lot of horses. While the French
Army fell, with some trucks and a lot of horses. Oh, by the
way, the I never said the Europeans were backwards. I simply said
that the military made perfectly good use of available forms of
transportation. And that the European needs for motorized transportation
was not the same as American needs.
If anything, America was more backwards in road building and rail
transport than the Europeans. And that led to the ability of the
Americans to build the rugged trucks that helped give the advantage
to the Allies.
Post by Andrew Clark
Phooey.
Try not to read into things that were not said. Perhaps I didn't word
my message that well, so my point was that the Europeans did not have
need for a completely mechanized army, when most of their fighting was
done in areas that had always been served by horses, over roads that
were built for horses, and in distances that horses could handle quite
well. And their industry was geared for building vehicles to take
advantage of the paved roads that had been built.
While in America the cities were farther apart, and the paved roads
were not in the abundance that they were in Europe.
Another interesting little point, regarding the differences in vehicles.
Germany did not have oil fields, which meant that they had to rely on
imported oil. They did, however, have plenty of coal. Some of which they
used to run some vehicles with.
America had lots of oil, which led to an Army entirely dependant upon
oil. And that meant that the American Army had to transport far more
oil into Europe than Germany. So, Germany, using horses and coal powered
vehicles, could fight with fewer worries about the petroleum products.
Of course, all that gasoline that Americans used was too tempting for
the Germans, so when they planned a counter attack part of its' success
hinged on capturing American supplies
--
Dick #1349
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
~Benjamin Franklin

Home Page: dickcr.iwarp.com
email: ***@comcast.net
--
mike
2004-07-28 22:51:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick C
Andrew Clark wrote in soc.history.war.world-war-ii
<snip>
Post by Dick C
Post by Andrew Clark
France had 5000 km of tarmac or asphalt motor roads by 1931
and several six-lane highways by 1936.
<snip>
Post by Dick C
If anything, America was more backwards in road building and rail
transport than the Europeans. And that led to the ability of the
Americans to build the rugged trucks that helped give the advantage
to the Allies.
<snip>
Post by Dick C
While in America the cities were farther apart, and the paved roads
were not in the abundance that they were in Europe.
might not have seen my post on 1930 era roads in the USA upthread.

I listed the State of Illinois, in 1930 had 7500 miles of paved
roads: compare with France above, 3125 miles of surfaced road for
a country about four times the sq.mile area of Illinois. Downstate was
just as rural as upstate was Metro.

States having plenty of good roads didn't stop Mack, GMC,or Diamond T
from making beefy trucks that had good off road performance.

American 'roads' of the WWI era were not all that different from
Soviet roads of WWII: Mud half of the year. The US just kept
building trucks that could handle that, even though those conditions
were rare by WWII

**
mike
**
Chris Mark
2004-07-29 15:37:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by mike
I listed the State of Illinois, in 1930 had 7500 miles of paved
roads: compare with France above, 3125 miles of surfaced road for
a country about four times the sq.mile area of Illinois.
In 1943 I drove from Myrtle Beach, S.C. to Miles City, Montana, all on paved
roads. Got 100+ mph out of my ported and polished flathead V-8 Ford on some
stretches. Once you turned off the main "pike" the farm roads were very often
dirt, sometimes gravel. But the trunk routes were all paved. A day and a half
to cover about 1700 miles, one way. Five-day pass. _Lots_ of truck traffic.
Dodges, Studebakers, Macks. One of my buddies went from Myrtle Beach to
Prescott, Arizona--on his Indian 30.50 motorcycle! Now I know that's something
Europeans, even today, have a hard time getting a handle on, let alone 60 years
ago. But for an American, it's just a road trip today, and it was just a road
trip then. Get your motor running. Get out on the highway. As the song says.


Chris Mark
--
Cub Driver
2004-07-30 15:31:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Mark
But for an American, it's just a road trip today, and it was just a road
trip then. Get your motor running. Get out on the highway. As the song says.
The US highways (by that I mean the highways designated US 66, US 1,
whatever, and built with federal aid) were pretty much in place by
1939. Indeed, US 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles was planned in 1925
and was in place by 1927. I don't know if it was all paved, but it
soon would be.

all the best -- Dan Ford
email: ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

The Warbird's Forum www.warbirdforum.com
Expedition sailboat charters www.expeditionsail.com
--
Chris Mark
2004-07-30 23:39:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
The US highways (by that I mean the highways designated US 66, US 1,
whatever, and built with federal aid) were pretty much in place by
1939....
I don't know if it was all paved, but it
soon would be.
It probably was. The Lincoln Highway (coast-to-coast) certainly was. When you
turned off onto a county road, at least in the great plains, you would likely
encounter a (well-graded) gravel road, sometimes dirt.
The trunk road system was so well-developed by WW2 that a guy in a hurry would
prefer to travel by car than train, if he could manage it. In fact, in those
times, it was faster and surer to hitch-hike than to try to get on board one of
the jam-packed trains. On my run to and from Miles City, I picked up dozens of
hitchers, mostly servicemen. Truck stops were like transportation centers, with
hitchers switching from truck to truck and car to car to get farther along on
their journeys, and guys with cars bumming cigarettes and gasoline and a can or
two of motor oil from sympathetic truckers, everybody fueled by hamburgers and
Coke (Coca-Cola). As you got ready to hit the road again, you let it be know
what direction you were heading and how many people you could take. After
everybody tumbled aboard, you'd fire up that sweet V-8, enjoy the pleasant
rumble it made at idle for a few seconds while oil pressure built up to the rod
journals, and then throw her into gear and roar off back on the highway again.
The whole trip was like one long party and it was sort of a shame when it was
over.
Somebody mentioned, as if it was impressive, the distance between Glasgow and
Berlin. Piece of cake. You could drive that far in 12 to 14 hours in the US
back in WW2 days.




Chris Mark
--
Andrew Clark
2004-07-30 15:31:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dick C
And yet, they still had miles and miles of
roads that had been built over thousands
of years as foot trails, and roads for horses
and carts. Which would lead to the front lines
easier than the paved roads would.
What, it's easier to take an unpaved road than a paved one?
That makes no sense. If you look at military movements from
the Roman Empire onwards, paved roads which do not
disintegrate under intense use are a necessity for the
movement of large armed units. What is your point, exactly?
Post by Dick C
Funny thing though, the horses did not
have to travel from Berlin to Glasgow,
only from the rail road stageing
areas to the army encampments or
battle fields. And since German army
marched most places in Europe, the
horses were more than adequate
to keep up with them. Or to even go
back and forth to get supplies and
remove the injured.
Your original point was that "Coupled with the fact that the
cities and towns were not very far apart, there was little
need for civilians to have a lot of trucks...". You are now
saying that there was no need for the German Army to have
trucks as they depended on rail, foot marches and
horse-drawn transport. Those are completely different
points.
Post by Dick C
And it is interesting that the German army was
able to conquer Europe with some trucks,
and a lot of horses. While the French
Army fell, with some trucks and a lot of horses.
The spearhead of the Heer attack in May 1940 was armoured
divisions with motorised assault and combat elements, even
if the supply elements were still horse-reliant, followed up
by marching infantry divisions with mostly horse-drawn
transport. The effect of the fast-moving motorised elements
of the armoured divisions was to dislocate the cumbersome
French command and logistics system. Units cut off from
their sources of supply and command by the armoured columns
were then reduced by the infantry as it arrived.

I have no idea how this fact relates to your hypothesis,
whatever it is.
Post by Dick C
Oh, by the way, the I never said the Europeans
were backwards. I simply said
that the military made perfectly
good use of available forms of
transportation.
You said: "prior to WWII Europe was not mechanized, nor was
there any need to be. Europe was covered with roads built by
and for horses and carts. Plus they had a pretty extensive
rail system".

That was factually inaccurate.
Post by Dick C
And that the European needs for motorized
transportation was not the same as American
needs.
Yes, But you were completely wrong. European industry had
the same, or greater, need for commercial motor transport as
the US, both long-range and short-range. And manufacturers
including Morris and Renault set out to satisfy that need,
although without the advantage of the superb US
mass-production methods.
Post by Dick C
If anything, America was more backwards in road
building and rail transport than the Europeans.
This has also been proven to be factually incorrect.
Post by Dick C
And that led to the ability of the
Americans to build the rugged
trucks that helped give the advantage
to the Allies.
Except that both the French and British war offices wwre
sponsoring manufacturers from 1933 onward to produce rugged
4WD truck models for military use. And, in the British case,
the successors of these models operated very successfully
throughout WW2. This is not to say that the US did not also
manufacture good trucks - it did. But it did not have the
monopoly on good designs or mass production which you are
suggesting.
Post by Dick C
my point was that the Europeans did not have
need for a completely mechanized army, when
most of their fighting was done in areas that
had always been served by horses, over roads that
were built for horses, and in distances that horses
could handle quite well. And their industry was
geared for building vehicles to take
advantage of the paved roads that had been built.
And this is completely false.

(snip point about oil).

--
Tank Fixer
2004-07-20 23:00:09 UTC
Permalink
In article <cdeuep$6af$***@gnus01.u.washington.edu>,
on Sun, 18 Jul 2004 22:43:37 +0000 (UTC),
Post by Cub Driver
I would like to know more about cavalry bridgades and regiments
(aren't they more or less the same thing in line service?--perhaps you
meant battalions?) and divisions. A horse division boggles the mind.
Even the vaunted 7th Cavalry was only a regiment! 15,000 men on
horseback?
IIRC the pre-war TOE of the US Army Cavalry divisions was somewhere around
9500 soldiers.
--
When dealing with propaganda terminology one sometimes always speaks in
variable absolutes. This is not to be mistaken for an unbiased slant.
David Thornley
2004-07-21 15:34:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Michele Armellini
They also had mounted recon units in
infantry divisions and cavalry brigades, regiments and even divisions. In
this they were not unlike most WWII armies, by the way.
So there is nothing to the legend that the last cavalry charge was
mounted (as it were) by the Polish army, with horse and saber, against
German tanks? It would be a pity to lose that image!
Polish cavalry were excellent troops, and maneuvered with armor, so
they did know better than to try to saber a tank. One story I've read
is that the legend comes from a Polish charge that was surprised by
German armored cars and machine-gunned, presumably as written up by
Goebbels or one of his employees.

Like most WWII cavalry, the Polish rode horses but fought dismounted,
and since they were good troops were quite effective. I like to think
of Polish cavalry more like the fighting around Mokra at the start
of the invasion, where Polish cavalry did very nasty things to the
Fourth Panzer Division (which had even less infantry than the usual
Panzer division, and was in bad tank terrain).
Post by Cub Driver
I would like to know more about cavalry bridgades and regiments
(aren't they more or less the same thing in line service?--perhaps you
meant battalions?) and divisions. A horse division boggles the mind.
Even the vaunted 7th Cavalry was only a regiment! 15,000 men on
horseback?
Cavalry organization varied from army to army, like all other
organizations.

A US cavalry division in about 1941 would have about 12,000 men and
5400 riding horses. A Soviet cavalry division in about the same
time would have about 9000 men and 8000 horses. Clearly, not
everybody in a cavalry division would be on horseback.
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Michele Armellini
From the newsreels, I carried away the impression that motorcycles did
recon in the German army, but perhaps those are only couriers.
The Germans used a lot of motorcycles for recon. The newsreels would
presumably show more of the German mobile troops, and hence would
exaggerate the state of German motorization.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
--
Adrian
2004-07-14 19:50:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by WHL75
Looking for information on the use of horses in the German Army especially in
the period from 1939 to 1941. How many horses would be attached to an infantry
division? Where did the army obtain their horses. When deployed were
replacements seized from the area in which the unit was deployed or brought
back from Germany? How many members of the division were assigned to the care
and health of the horses?
Thanks
I can't answer all your questions but a number of draft horses used to pull
artillery were brought from the British when mechanization was complete in
the early thirties. A British officer captured during the fall fo France
noticed the hoof markings.

ExpatEgghead
Martin
2004-07-14 23:52:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by WHL75
Looking for information on the use of horses in the German Army especially in
the period from 1939 to 1941. How many horses would be attached to an infantry
division? Where did the army obtain their horses. When deployed were
replacements seized from the area in which the unit was deployed or brought
back from Germany? How many members of the division were assigned to the care
and health of the horses?
You could try the Axis History Forum at:

http://forum.axishistory.com/index.php

There is a topic from 2003, "Horses and the German Army WW2", with some
info on the subject, e.g.:

Into Russia: Depending on the weather and distance traveled, each
infantry division needed up to 55 tons of feed per day for its horses.
There were more than 750,000 horses in the attacking force in June of
1941 and they required 16,350 tons of feed per day.

Each ger inf div in 41 would have almost 6000 horses. The 20 panzer divs
and some mot divs would have none. 100 inf div commited would make
600,000. The remainder being in the corp, army, army group and EF
numbers.

The ger army in the east in mid may 43 had almost 500,000 troops in non
combat GHQ units. Of these 24,300 were in veternairy units. This does
not include all veterry units of all 3 mil troops on the east since this
is just non combat units. Nor does it include vet units in other places
than the east the whermact had alsmost 10 mil soilders in mid 43 but
only 3 mil were in the east.

As posted above 'the horsepower' in WW2 was paramount. While everyone
knows how many trucks and tractors and tanks were made, deployed and
lost/survived - where did all the horses come from? I know that East
Prussia supplied collossal numbers, others were bought/confiscated from
Poland, France,Denmark - not least Hungary and Rumania - any other clues
and NUMBERS? The horse was - in WW2 as in all wars before it - The Most
Important Animal.

Cheers,
Martin.

--
Klaas46
2004-08-01 13:54:43 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 14 Jul 2004 23:52:08 +0000 (UTC), "Martin"
Post by Martin
As posted above 'the horsepower' in WW2 was paramount. While everyone
knows how many trucks and tractors and tanks were made, deployed and
lost/survived - where did all the horses come from? I know that East
Prussia supplied collossal numbers, others were bought/confiscated from
Poland, France,Denmark - not least Hungary and Rumania - any other clues
and NUMBERS? The horse was - in WW2 as in all wars before it - The Most
Important Animal.
Cheers,
Martin.
Starting 22. June 1944 the middle part of the german army in russia
came under russian attack. Within 10 days the german army faced a
cathastopic defeat, far seriously than Stalingrad. Not only one army
was involved. like in Stalingrad, but three. The front line had a gap
of nearly 500 km. The army lost around 350,000 men. Around August 1944
it became clear, that the german army lost around 250,000 horses too.

Best regards
Klaus
George Hardy
2004-07-15 01:47:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by WHL75
Looking for information on the use of horses in the German Army especially in
the period from 1939 to 1941. How many horses would be attached to an
infantry division? Where did the army obtain their horses. When deployed
were replacements seized from the area in which the unit was deployed or
brought back from Germany? How many members of the division were assigned
to the care and health of the horses?
The US Army produced an excellent study of the German's use of
horses in the Polish campaign. Almost all of the supply train
was horse drawn. It remained so throughout the war. Any veteran
who claims to have fought in France and does not comment on the
dead horses (killed by aircraft fire) simply was not there.

The study was classified, but probably is not today. My brother,
who was in the Army Quartermaster Corps in the mid 1950s, gave it
to me. It was one of a series of booklets produced by the US Army
on German tactical solutions to military problems. All of these
booklets (that I have read) were very good.

Heinz Altmann commented that the Germans could smell the Americans
coming. Not BO, but exhaust fumes. Not something that the Germans
were producing.

GFH
Tank Fixer
2004-07-15 15:34:23 UTC
Permalink
In article <cd4nne$***@gazette.corp.bcm.tmc.edu>,
on 14 Jul 2004 20:47:26 -0500,
Post by George Hardy
The US Army produced an excellent study of the German's use of
horses in the Polish campaign. Almost all of the supply train
was horse drawn. It remained so throughout the war. Any veteran
who claims to have fought in France and does not comment on the
dead horses (killed by aircraft fire) simply was not there.
The study was classified, but probably is not today. My brother,
who was in the Army Quartermaster Corps in the mid 1950s, gave it
to me. It was one of a series of booklets produced by the US Army
on German tactical solutions to military problems. All of these
booklets (that I have read) were very good.
I am not sure those were classified.
--
When dealing with propaganda terminology one sometimes always speaks in
variable absolutes. This is not to be mistaken for an unbiased slant.
--
George Hardy
2004-07-17 04:06:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tank Fixer
on 14 Jul 2004 20:47:26 -0500,
Post by George Hardy
The US Army produced an excellent study of the German's use of
horses in the Polish campaign.
I am not sure those were classified.
They were. OK, RESTRICTED, which is the lowest level, or
is CONFIDENTIAL. But RESTRICTED, never the less. Why would
they print on the book that it was restricted if it were not?

GFH
Tank Fixer
2004-07-18 20:58:53 UTC
Permalink
In article <cda8k8$***@gazette.corp.bcm.tmc.edu>,
on 16 Jul 2004 23:06:32 -0500,
Post by George Hardy
Post by Tank Fixer
on 14 Jul 2004 20:47:26 -0500,
Post by George Hardy
The US Army produced an excellent study of the German's use of
horses in the Polish campaign.
I am not sure those were classified.
They were. OK, RESTRICTED, which is the lowest level, or
is CONFIDENTIAL. But RESTRICTED, never the less. Why would
they print on the book that it was restricted if it were not?
Lets see, I just pulled my original copy of DA PAM 20-261a "The German
Campaign in Russia-- Planning and Operations (1940-1942)"

No classification markings at all.

My reprint copy of others show no such marking either, and if it were at one
time restricted there would be a cover page to reflect that fact.
--
When dealing with propaganda terminology one sometimes always speaks in
variable absolutes. This is not to be mistaken for an unbiased slant.
Rotwang
2004-07-15 15:34:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Hardy
Heinz Altmann commented that the Germans could smell the Americans
coming. Not BO, but exhaust fumes. Not something that the Germans
were producing.
A GI said that Germans smelled of cheap tobacco, leather and sweat.
--
Nicholas Smid
2004-07-15 15:34:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by WHL75
Looking for information on the use of horses in the German Army especially in
the period from 1939 to 1941. How many horses would be attached to an infantry
division? Where did the army obtain their horses. When deployed were
replacements seized from the area in which the unit was deployed or brought
back from Germany? How many members of the division were assigned to the care
and health of the horses?
A 1940 German infantry division according to the ToE I'm looking at was
meant to have 5,375 horses, and 942 motor transport. If I'm reading it right
the Artillery regiment was meant to have 2,274 horses, no mention of MT for
them but I read somewhere the Pak battalion was meant to have trucks to tow
its guns.
On the next page is a ToE for a 1940 infantry regiment, with a note that
each battalion had 11 MT and 177 horses.
The ToE for a 1944 infantry division says each regiment had 45 MT and 165
horses, the Artillery had 30 MT and 2,318 horses, the scout battalion 8 MT
and 141 horses, the engineering battalion had 17 MT and 97 horses, the
Pak/Flak battalion was motorised with 113 MT, they seem to have limped the
Flak and Pak together on the chart here.
The 1944 infantry regiment, well each battalion HQ is shown with 7 MT and 63
horses well each company is shown with 102 horses, that seems just a bit odd
for a company thats supposed to have 142 men.
Ofcourse by 1944 the ToE's were more a matter of wishful thinking than
something anyone seriously expected to see compleat.
And yes looking back over these charts I see they aren't internally
consistant, but maybe they will give some ideas.

--
Andrew Clark
2004-09-15 21:08:30 UTC
Permalink
"Martin Rapier" <***@sheffield.ac.uk> wrote

(snip all sorts of agreed good stuff)
BTW the British Army as a whole was somewhat
bigger than 10 divisions in 1940, but as usual
much of it was scattered around the globe
doing its colonial policeman thing.
Sorry, meant to add this to the other post.

A quick hand count of the OOB for the British Army Overseas
on 3 September 1939 indicates that there were 5 armoured
regiments; 47 infantry battalions; 40 artillery, AT and AA
regiments and 16 battalion-sized support units (engineers,
signals, REME etc) of the regular British army stationed
abroad in garrison and defence roles. This *excludes* India.

Notionally, this was the personnel for a further armoured
division and five infantry divisions, although in practice,
of course, very few of the artillery or support units could
be transplanted entire from their fixed locations.

As an amusing fantasy, I suppose if all the manpower and
resources scattered around the world had been brought home
to the UK and trained and equipped for continental service,
the BEF in 1939 might have been 40 divisions (roughly 90
German divisions) rather than 10.
Martin Rapier
2004-09-17 18:24:45 UTC
Permalink
"Andrew Clark" <***@NOSPAMstarcott.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
{snip}
Post by Andrew Clark
As an amusing fantasy, I suppose if all the manpower and
resources scattered around the world had been brought home
to the UK and trained and equipped for continental service,
the BEF in 1939 might have been 40 divisions (roughly 90
German divisions) rather than 10.
Presumably that excludes the Commonwealth armies though - the Indian Army
was enormous (the largest all volunteer military force ever raised IIRC).

Some people have a strange idea that the British Army in 1939/40 was small.
The BEF was quite small but the army as a whole was pretty big, it just had
global commitments, unlike e.g. the Germans who were however keen to acquire
a few global commitments of their own...

Cheers
Martin
Andrew Clark
2004-09-19 22:53:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Rapier
Presumably that excludes the
Commonwealth armies though
Yes, I was only counting British Army troops. Sensibly, one
might count the Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, South
African, West African and Indian troops' contributions too.
Post by Martin Rapier
The BEF was quite small but the army as a
whole was pretty big, it just had
global commitments,
Absolutely. Dispersal versus concentration was the main
Anglo-German military issue, in fact.

And of course there was the world's largest navy and
merchant marine to fund and man as well, along with an
airforce which was rapidly expanding to be the third-largest
in the world in terms of numbers of modern aircraft.

--
Drazen Kramaric
2004-10-08 23:45:09 UTC
Permalink
On 15 Sep 2004 16:08:30 -0500, "Andrew Clark"
Post by Andrew Clark
As an amusing fantasy, I suppose if all the manpower and
resources scattered around the world had been brought home
to the UK and trained and equipped for continental service,
the BEF in 1939 might have been 40 divisions (roughly 90
German divisions) rather than 10.
What available resources do you have in mind? Able bodied men with
British passports or uniformed men in one of the armed services (Army,
Navy, Air Force)?

In addition, how did you reach the conclusion that 1939 British
infantry division equals two German infantry divisions?

Brief look at Ellis' TO&Es for German vs British 1939 infantry
divisions show German division having _more_ men than the British one.


Drax
--
Andrew Clark
2004-10-11 16:38:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Drazen Kramaric
What available resources do you have
in mind?
I'm afraid that I no longer have the figures and sources to
hand. Sorry. But, from memory, it was an OOB of the British
Army Overseas in 1939.
Post by Drazen Kramaric
In addition, how did you reach the conclusion
that 1939 British infantry division equals
two German infantry divisions?
Wrongly. I am too used to comparing 1944-pattern divisions.
In 1939, a fully-equipped Heer infantry line division had
circa 17,000 men, and the British 1939 War Establishment
division at full establishment had 13,863. Thanks for the
correction.

--

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