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Monday, December 10, 2012

Sickels: George McClellan, Dayton Moore, and the Kansas City Royals


Dayton Moore is trying to avoid being McClellan. He’s got the farm system built up, the army trained and organized. He’s good at that. Now he’s taking the field of battle and deploying those forces. That’s admirable.

Of course, what’s the next part of the story? Is Moore going to turn into an aggressive, brilliant field commander like Ulysses S. Grant or William Tecumseh Sherman? Will he be cautious but effective like George Gordon Meade? Mercurial and erratic like Joe Hooker? Or will he be the well-meaning but dangerously inept Ambrose Burnside? The suicidally aggressive John Bell Hood?

Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: December 10, 2012 at 07:25 PM | 699 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: civil war, history, rays, royals

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   601. Ron J2 Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4344314)
#598 Rocket armed fighter-bombers were the weapon of choice in the west. (Though I recall reading an after action report saying that the allies considerably overestimated how effective these were)

Also, naval bombardments were extremely effective against strong static defensive points. Naval support pretty much prevents massive gathering of tanks.

In the action McCoy describes the Mayo came to within 500 yards of the coast and did indeed engage specific targets. The Brooklyn was much bigger and had many more guns (15 six inch guns as well as 8 five inch as opposed to the Mayo which I believe had only 5 five inch guns) but couldn't come in nearly as close as the Mayo.
   602. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4344317)
Rommel's experiences in North Africa made him extremely fearful of Allied air power. Thus, he wanted to position his forces so as to neutralize that as best he could. Rundstedt knew the invasion would be fast and hard, and he wanted to maintain a flexible response, and he feared naval bombardment. In truth, the Germans were between and a rock and a hard place. They were at the choose your poison stage, podnuh.


Was it his experience in North Africa -- or -- his own experience, but from the other end, in the invasion of France?

One of the other advantages the Wehrmacht had in 1940 was that their tank columns were able to call in air support via radio in then-amazingly quick timeframes (15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on which sources you use). The allies didn't quite have that advantage during the Normandy landings but would once they were able to secure a few airstrips.
   603. Ron J2 Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4344319)
#600 Large guns were called in to specific map coordinates. As at Salerno, the destroyers worked much closer in and could potentially go after a specific target. (typically fixed emplacements like pillboxes_
   604. Ron J2 Posted: January 10, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4344324)
#602 He talked about his own experience on the receiving end.

And during the Normandy campaign as long as the weather cooperated it was pretty common to have fighter-bombers lurking -- waiting for targets of opportunity (or to be called in). The allies often had more tactical air power than they could effectively use. The extreme example being Falaise -- where the fighter-bombers had to queue up waiting their turn to attack.
   605. zenbitz Posted: January 10, 2013 at 06:54 PM (#4344586)
The other thing restricting the German armor in Normandy was lack of fuel... but they could barely even move during the day because of the allied planes.
   606. McCoy Posted: January 11, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4345227)
I've been on a war jag the last couple of weeks but I'm slowly running out of books to read. Wouldn't mind reading something about the Spanish American war but I can't seem to get my hands on any good ones. Also wouldn't mind reading some of Mosier's books but again I can't get my hands on any of them.
   607. Ron J2 Posted: January 11, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4345242)
#605 The effectiveness of the resistance is generally overplayed, but they also did a good job here. I remember reading that Das Reich encountered so many sabotaged bridges and what have you that it took them more than two weeks longer than expected to reach Normandy.

   608. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 11, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4345259)
Wouldn't mind reading something about the Spanish American war


My favorite thing I read about the Spanish American War was how during the Battle of Cavite/Manila, Gridley was worried that they were running low on ammo and wanted to do a weapons check, but Dewey didn't want to worry the crew, so he called off firing and had the gun crews go to breakfast...
   609. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 11, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4345263)
So what it sounds like was irregardless of what the Germans did, the Allies were going to be successful because of the amount of men and material they had. It was just going to be the question of how much casualties they were going to run into on that first day because there was no way the Germans would have been able to knock them off that beach head.

This link supposes what might have happened had it failed.
   610. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 11, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4345268)
   611. McCoy Posted: January 11, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4345300)
It's possible that the Allies could have failed on D-Day but under the conditions they did fight the battle under it was highly unlikely that they would fail and we only know that because we get to look back in hindsight and have all the information from both sides.
   612. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 11, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4345371)
It was just going to be the question of how much casualties they were going to run into on that first day because there was no way the Germans would have been able to knock them off that beach head.


Omaha went as badly as it was possible to go- the preliminary bombardment (both Naval and Aviation) completely missed- the shore defenses were untouched- but we still took and held the beach area (and even if we hadn't Omaha would have been untenable for the Germans after a few days anyway- we had 5 landing beaches and Point du Hoc - the Germans would have to have outright repelled at least 3 of those landings (if not all of them)to have chance- but they only came close at one.

Te Japanese defended quite few more naval landings than Germany, they eventually decided that defending the beach given our naval and air superiority was futile - so they adopted the "cornered rat" defense- which was basically designed to inflict as many casualties on us as possible- while simultaneously conceding that the battle was going to be lost. Bad strategy/tactics- if the enemy has naval and air superiority that does in fact make to tougher to repel the initial landing- but it ALSO make repelling it imperative- when the guy with air and naval superiority gets toehold- he's in fact won the damn war- you can never dislodge him and he can build up and build up without you being able to prevent it
   613. GGC Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:37 AM (#4382647)
I see commercials for a movie about MacArthur starring Tommy Lee Jones.
   614. Ron J2 Posted: March 07, 2013 at 09:16 AM (#4382704)
#613 Interesting casting. I think it rates to work.
   615. Morty Causa Posted: March 07, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4382715)
MacArthur, the general, has not been served well by cinema. I don't see that changing with this movie. Now, had Daniel Day-Lewis taken the role...? Part of the reason the MacArthur representations in film are unsatisfying is that MacArthur is not an easily accessible character like, oh, say, Patton.

Also, as to the movie's subject itself, I don't think MacArthur ever seriously considered doing away with the emperor. He thought the emperor had a real use. He understood what symbolism meant to a culture like Japan--indeed, he had been something of a symbol like that.
   616. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: March 07, 2013 at 09:36 AM (#4382718)
Was this the thread that spawned some Diplomacy games?

If so - did anyone catch the news that Allan Calhamer, inventor of the board game -- died a week or so back?
   617. Esoteric Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:32 PM (#4432542)
Sure, this thread is old. But it's still possibly one of the greatest OT threads in the history of Primer, at least for history buffs.
   618. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 02, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4432558)
what Eso quotes in 25 is straight out of the Faulkner playbook.

Withdrew in 12 years to assure compliance the law. Well, that's one way of euphemising it.
   619. GregD Posted: May 03, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4433038)
Brooks Simpson came up in this thread and his blog post today shows what he can do when he is not distracted by stomping on every neo-Confederate commentator but instead shows his own analysis to argue that the decisions 150 years ago today in Mississippi have a better case to be turning points than the simultaneous action near Chancellorsville. link
   620. GGC Posted: October 11, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4569692)
Sure, this thread is old. But it's still possibly one of the greatest OT threads in the history of Primer, at least for history buffs.


This is the last thread I ever bookmarked. It could be edited and published as an ebook.
   621. Esoteric Posted: October 20, 2013 at 11:42 PM (#4579254)
Still a great thread!
   622. GGC Posted: July 28, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4759058)
It sure is, Depressoteric.
   623. McCoy Posted: July 28, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4759102)
My dad got me No Simple Victory for Christmas and I found it dissapointing and boring.
   624. Ron J2 Posted: July 28, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4759192)
#623 I'm thinking The War That Ended Peace (Margaret MacMillan) is next on my list. Road to WWI
   625. McCoy Posted: July 28, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4759202)

Is there anything new there? There have been numerous great books about the road to WWI and I just wonder if there is any fresh veins to tap on that front.
   626. Ron J2 Posted: July 28, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4759217)
#625 I was sort of thinking the same thing. That reservation is the reason I didn't buy it yesterday. I liked the research in her Paris 1919 book so I have hopes even if it's just in making it clear which stories are urban legends and which can be substantiated.
   627. McCoy Posted: July 28, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4759223)
I will probably take a look at Max Hastings's Catastrophe 1914.

I read Paris 1919 awhile back and have no recollection of it and unfortunately the same could be said for The Sleepwalkers.
   628. zenbitz Posted: July 29, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4759897)
I have been reading "The Blitzkrieg Legend" (WWII obviously)... it's pretty good, although I suspect author likes to argue with strawmens.
   629. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 29, 2014 at 05:07 PM (#4759904)
Is there anything new there? There have been numerous great books about the road to WWI and I just wonder if there is any fresh veins to tap on that front.


It's not new, but Dreadnought is a must read on the subject.
   630. McCoy Posted: July 29, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4759932)
Read it.
   631. McCoy Posted: July 29, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4759934)
I said the other day that I read The Sleepwalkers and couldn't remember anything about it. Well, today I noticed I had it on my iPad where I discovered I hadn't started reading it yet. I guess that is why I couldn't remember anything about it.
   632. GGC Posted: December 15, 2015 at 04:31 PM (#5114905)
This may still be the gold standard of OT threads. I've been listening to Gary Gallagher's Great Course CDs on the ACW and started to reread Confederates in the Attic.
   633. OCF Posted: December 15, 2015 at 05:25 PM (#5114973)
Responding to something from way back on the first page:

My biggest complaint about Civil War commentary is this invoking of "army could have been destroyed"

Civil War armies were damned hard to destroy. Nashville is about as comprehensive a victory as you can imagine and the army wasn't "destroyed". Likewise Chattanooga. As long as a hard core of the army remained it was just plain difficult to organize the kind of pursuit that turns defeat into destruction.


All very true. But less than a decade later, large French armies were destroyed by the Prussians. What was so different then?
   634. McCoy Posted: December 16, 2015 at 09:09 AM (#5115238)
Better guns, better artillery, better military, better leaders, better trained, faster mobilization.

Imagine the north fielding an army of say 300,000 soldiers that knew what they were and marching them down to Richmond within the first month of the war. Pushing the south back back back and then having Davis and lee decide to make a stand at some town outside of Richmond and then surrendering.
   635. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 16, 2015 at 09:16 AM (#5115242)
All very true. But less than a decade later, large French armies were destroyed by the Prussians. What was so different then?

They weren't destroyed, they were captured.

The two major French Armies were Bazaine's, which was surrounded and captured at Metz, and MacMahon's that was surrounded and captured at Sedan. The French maneuvered poorly and let themselves get cut off, and surrendered.
   636. Greg K Posted: December 16, 2015 at 09:32 AM (#5115252)
Is there anything new there? There have been numerous great books about the road to WWI and I just wonder if there is any fresh veins to tap on that front.


It's not new, but Dreadnought is a must read on the subject.

For the First World War, I think David Stevenson's Cataclysm is my go-to text. I like Margaret Macmillan, but her 1914 book seems like its geared towards a lay audience (to be exquisitely condescending for a moment). More a gathering of what's already floating around.
   637. Ron J Posted: December 16, 2015 at 10:13 AM (#5115276)
Further to #634 Civil War the victors rarely had any troops in good enough shape for a vigorous pursuit. A Civil War battle was rough on everybody involved. (One general said something to the effect that it was like cats fighting in a sack. No way to avoid being badly hurt even if you win)

In particular nobody ever kept large bodies of cavalry in reserve for a pursuit.
   638. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: December 16, 2015 at 10:18 AM (#5115283)
I somehow missed this thread originally, which is a shame because for once I have something of substance to add, if it hasn't already (I only got through the first page before I realized there's 7 pages of comments.
2.) For a guy whose scholarly bread and butter is the Abolitionist movement, it's bizarre to my mind how McPherson fails to adequately discuss or credit the pivotal role of American Christian sects and Protestant religious values (particularly Quakerism and New England Episcopal and Puritan strains) in driving the Abolitionist cause. He nods towards this, of course, but fails to provide it with the proper weight.
Battle Cry of Freedom is part of the Oxford History of the United States series; What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe (the book that covers the antebellum period) covers this topic in quite a bit of detail.
   639. GregD Posted: December 16, 2015 at 12:46 PM (#5115433)
This may still be the gold standard of OT threads. I've been listening to Gary Gallagher's Great Course CDs on the ACW and started to reread Confederates in the Attic.
If looking for stuff to listen to or have playing in the background, I would supplement with David Blight's course--available free online at Yale--is quite good and is--without getting into intramural skirmishes between historians--which I find a bit more balanced and reliable if a bit less detailed.
   640. Ron J Posted: December 16, 2015 at 01:20 PM (#5115469)
#639 "White Mansions" mixes decent history with music I like (and I'm very far from a fan of country).
   641. GGC Posted: December 16, 2015 at 01:51 PM (#5115506)
Too many Gregs here. I'm confused ;).
   642. zenbitz Posted: December 16, 2015 at 02:10 PM (#5115517)
Necro'ing threads with George McClellan gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME.

If you like complicated war games (table top!), GMT just released "The US Civil War" which I think is the new standard for strategic ACW games. I think you could probably play it 1 CW year (4 turns, each with 4 action phases) per long day, so call it 60 hours.
   643. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 16, 2015 at 02:48 PM (#5115555)
Just finished my first play of The US Civil War last week; did the 1862 scenario. With pauses for eating, etc. it took us around 6 hours. Incredible fun, a very good game. Plan on starting a campaign game online this week.
   644. Greg K Posted: December 16, 2015 at 02:52 PM (#5115561)
If looking for stuff to listen to or have playing in the background, I would supplement with David Blight's course--available free online at Yale--is quite good and is--without getting into intramural skirmishes between historians--which I find a bit more balanced and reliable if a bit less detailed.

Those Yale courses are great! I really liked Early Medieval Europe and Early Modern England. Civil War and Reconstruction sounds like a grand idea as I've been trying to get more of a background there lately.

Too many Gregs here. I'm confused ;).

My rule of thumb is, if he sounds like he knows what he's talking about, it's GregD.
   645. GGC Posted: December 16, 2015 at 04:28 PM (#5115647)
And if the post is outre, it's Omineca Greg?
   646. GregD Posted: December 16, 2015 at 04:51 PM (#5115664)
My rule of thumb is, if he sounds like he knows what he's talking about, it's GregD.
My rule is if it sounds like he knows what he's talking about, it's Greg K

If it is about baked goods, it is undoubtedly Omineca Greg
   647. Zach Posted: December 16, 2015 at 06:30 PM (#5115750)
I'm very late to this discussion, but personally I would say that Moore is an Eisenhower. He's a staff guy who kept the same attitude when he was elevated to the top job. Very big on making sure everybody is a team player. A bit of a reputation for being simple minded, which doesn't really hold up in retrospect.
   648. Zach Posted: December 16, 2015 at 07:10 PM (#5115772)
Whoa -- I didn't realise how late I was. Still, I think you have to realise that the Civil War in the East wasn't set up to be a general's war. The distances involved were too small, which funnelled the armies into the same few spots. The technology of the time favored the defense, and it was all but impossible to destroy a retreating army. The geography was set up in a way that an advancing army would have to cross multiple rivers, giving the defense plenty of time to get into position.
   649. zenbitz Posted: December 17, 2015 at 01:59 PM (#5116261)
@643 I think you're right - I was playing this "all weekend" with a bunch of guys (at one point, 3 to a side) drinking tequila and arguing about the rules. Joe Youst even added a house rule BEFORE EVEN PLAYING THE GAME (his rule was that instead of taking all your actions at once, that you should alternate point-by-point and roll init each time!). When 2 of us played 1962 it didn't take more than 6-8 hours (i.e., not the 12 I estimated) and neither of us knew the rules either.

   650. McCoy Posted: December 17, 2015 at 02:08 PM (#5116272)
What's the 1962 scenario? Texas leads a new rebellion because that damn Harvard boy is ruining the South with his civil rights talk?
   651. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 17, 2015 at 02:10 PM (#5116279)
Joe Youst even added a house rule BEFORE EVEN PLAYING THE GAME


That's his schtick. I am not sure he's ever played a game with the rules in the box.
   652. GGC Posted: December 17, 2015 at 02:40 PM (#5116309)
TIL that the major protagonist from Confederates in the Attic has a website:

http://www.robertleehodge.com/
   653. GGC Posted: May 02, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5664685)
I just went down to Gettysburg for the first time since 1991. Spent two and a half days on the ground and all my wife and I got through was the auto tour and a side trip to the East Cavalry Field. I'd like to go again someday.
   654. McCoy Posted: May 07, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5667887)
Did not realize that GGC brought this back up
   655. GGC Posted: May 09, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5669232)
It should be a perma-ACW/WWII thread. After my vacation, I expected to be on a war jag. Instead, visiting Gettysburg has got me on a Lincoln jag.
   656. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5669250)
It should be a perma-ACW/WWII thread. After my vacation, I expected to be on a war jag. Instead, visiting Gettysburg has got me on a Lincoln jag.

Have you read the Atkinson trilogy on the US Army in WW2? Highly recommend.
   657. McCoy Posted: May 09, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5669353)
I mentioned it in another thread but:

Live near the Kennesaw Mountain battlefield park and have gone up and down the mountain numerous times. Yesterday was the first time I actually walked the trails that go along that actual battle lines of the Civil War battle which was a lot more eye opening. Walked along the trail of Cheatham Hill where the divisions of Illinois assaulted the lines along an area that would come to be known as the "Dead Angle". The battle lines can still be seen and they appear to have kept the geography of the charge similar to how it was back then. Kind of insane that people as late as 1864 still did these suicidal frontal assaults (never mind 1914). At the apex of the assault the lines were a mere 30 to 40 yards apart and they would stay that way for 6 to 7 days. The union got to building a tunnel that they were going to use to blow a hole in the Confederate lines. Dug about 80 feet of it before the Confederates abandoned the position. Something like half the union casualties (3,000 for the Kennesaw Mountain Battle) happened at Cheatham Hill. In 1866 they would move the dead to the city of Marietta where I live across the street from the Confederate dead and about a mile away from the Union dead but in 1938 they found a Union body buried just feet away from the Confederate lines and they decided to leave the body there and turn it into a tomb of the unknown soldier.
   658. GGC Posted: May 09, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5669392)

Have you read the Atkinson trilogy on the US Army in WW2? Highly recommend.


No, but I'll keep it in mind.

If I had to pick one aspect of WWII that I'd like to learn more about, it would be aviation; esp strategic bombing.
   659. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 02:44 PM (#5669395)
If I had to pick one aspect of WWII that I'd like to learn more about, it would be aviation; esp strategic bombing.

That's one of my least favorite areas. So much futility, waste, and slaughter. It's like WW1.

The Battle of the Atlantic is fascinating. The tactics, the technology, the see-saw nature, with each side adapting to the other.
   660. GGC Posted: May 09, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5669408)
As an aside,I found markers for the namesakes of two close friends while at the Soldier's Cemetery in Gettysburg. I texted them the pics.
   661. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5669411)
As an aside,I found markers for the namesakes of two close friends while at the Soldier's Cemetery in Gettysburg. I texted them the pics.

How ghoulish. Were the pics of you dancing on "their" graves?
   662. GGC Posted: May 09, 2018 at 03:01 PM (#5669416)
That's one of my least favorite areas. So much futility, waste, and slaughter. It's like WW1.


That's why I'd like to learn more about it. It's horrifying. Earlier this winter I was reading books by Eric Schlosser and Daniel Ellsberg about nuclear weapons and it opened my eyes so that I could see some of the mass destruction that took place between the mustard gas in the Western front trenches and Hiroshima/Nagasaki. Also, I'm interested in Billy Southworth and his sonn was in the 8th Air Force before returning home and fatally crashing a plane at LaGuardia.
   663. GGC Posted: May 09, 2018 at 03:02 PM (#5669417)
How ghoulish. Were the pics of you dancing on "their" graves?


Nah, I told them and they asked for the pics.
   664. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 03:11 PM (#5669423)
it opened my eyes so that I could see some of the mass destruction that took place between the mustard gas in the Western front trenches and Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

Interestingly, gas was less lethal than high explosives. Th vast majority of gas casualties survived. Though many had disabilities resulting from it, they weren't as badly maimed as those wounded by HE.

I've always wondered why the world is so horrified by poison gas in war, while blowing your enemies into paste is considered A-OK.
   665. GGC Posted: May 09, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5669480)
Interestingly, gas was less lethal than high explosives. Th vast majority of gas casualties survived. Though many had disabilities resulting from it, they weren't as badly maimed as those wounded by HE.


My wife's maternal grandfather was a Canadian soldier who was gassed. He was one of the ones who survived, but had a tough life after the war; probably more due to what was referred to as shell shock 100 years ago.
   666. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 04:50 PM (#5669525)
My wife's maternal grandfather was a Canadian soldier who was gassed. He was one of the ones who survived, but had a tough life after the war; probably more due to what was referred to as shell shock 100 years ago.

I actually like the term Shell Shock better. It doesn't minimize what soldiers go through.
   667. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5669544)
The Battle of the Atlantic is fascinating.


Iron Coffins: A Personal Account Of The German U-boat Battles Of World War II

Fascinating read if you haven't already, how he didn't end up dead a hundred times over is a bloody miracle.
   668. Traderdave Posted: May 09, 2018 at 05:32 PM (#5669565)
If I had to pick one aspect of WWII that I'd like to learn more about, it would be aviation; esp strategic bombing.


That's one of my least favorite areas. So much futility, waste, and slaughter. It's like WW1.


One of the more interesting aspects of strategic bombing is the degree or revision and re-revision that history has undergone.

Immediately after the war, John Kenneth Galbreath led a study that concluded it ineffective. That conclusion came largely from the fact that a low pctg of bombs made direct hits on planned targets and that German arms production rose so sharply as the campaign got serious in '43. The effect on the Japanese economy was minimized in an effort to strengthen the justification for the A-bombs.

Those conclusions are now regarded as flawed by most. German production rose because of Speer's aggressive campaign to ramp it up. In retrospect it is stunning that most German munitions factories were running 1 shift a day until '43. Absent the bombing campaign, their production would have risen even more sharply, and The Oil Campaign was a disaster for the Germans separate & apart from other bombing. The Japanese economy was brought to a standstill by nightly fire bombing through the spring & summer of '45. They endured many Dresdens. A good case can be made that the A-bombs were completely unnecessary for a strategic perspective, the fire bombings plus blockade would have ended their war effort soon. The bombs happened because the Red Army was charging through Manchuria and Korea and Truman wanted a quicked ending to keep Stalin at bay.

I can't think of another theater or aspect of the war that's had such major shifts in convention.

   669. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 06:07 PM (#5669576)
One of the more interesting aspects of strategic bombing is the degree or revision and re-revision that history has undergone.

Immediately after the war, John Kenneth Galbreath led a study that concluded it ineffective. That conclusion came largely from the fact that a low pctg of bombs made direct hits on planned targets and that German arms production rose so sharply as the campaign got serious in '43. The effect on the Japanese economy was minimized in an effort to strengthen the justification for the A-bombs.

Those conclusions are now regarded as flawed by most. German production rose because of Speer's aggressive campaign to ramp it up. In retrospect it is stunning that most German munitions factories were running 1 shift a day until '43. Absent the bombing campaign, their production would have risen even more sharply, and The Oil Campaign was a disaster for the Germans separate & apart from other bombing. The Japanese economy was brought to a standstill by nightly fire bombing through the spring & summer of '45. They endured many Dresdens. A good case can be made that the A-bombs were completely unnecessary for a strategic perspective, the fire bombings plus blockade would have ended their war effort soon. The bombs happened because the Red Army was charging through Manchuria and Korea and Truman wanted a quicked ending to keep Stalin at bay.

I can't think of another theater or aspect of the war that's had such major shifts in convention.


Even if it wasn't as ineffective as Galbraith said, strategic bombing was still a terribly poor use of resources by the Allies. It consumed massive resources (the B-29 was more expensive than the Manhattan project), and diverted lots of high quality manpower away from other arms of service.
   670. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 06:26 PM (#5669581)
If I had to pick one aspect of WWII that I'd like to learn more about, it would be aviation; esp strategic bombing.


There's evidently a (hopefully) upcoming HBO project that will cover a B-17 group from the 8AF, called Masters of the Air (based on a book of the same name).

Here's the main writer's twitter feed, if you want to keep on eye on the project.
   671. McCoy Posted: May 09, 2018 at 07:07 PM (#5669593)
It wasn't really the fire bombing but the submarine and surface campaign that destroyed the Japanese economy and ability to wage war.
   672. GGC Posted: May 09, 2018 at 07:34 PM (#5669607)
Even if it wasn't as ineffective as Galbraith said, strategic bombing was still a terribly poor use of resources by the Allies. It consumed massive resources (the B-29 was more expensive than the Manhattan project), and diverted lots of high quality manpower away from other arms of service.


IIRC, D Ellsberg wrote that the Norden bombsight project was quite pricey, too.
   673. Traderdave Posted: May 09, 2018 at 07:46 PM (#5669619)
In addition to the money, the bombing campaign also cost about 80,000 American lives but more lives would have been lost without it, both American as well as Allied. It's not a stretch to say that millions of Russian lives were saved by it. It was costly but worth it, on balance.

It wasn't really the fire bombing but the submarine and surface campaign that destroyed the Japanese economy and ability to wage war.


Yes, those two cut off nearly all of Japan's oil, while the firebombing literally shut down the economy. It was a 1-2 combination punch
   674. McCoy Posted: May 09, 2018 at 07:57 PM (#5669625)
How were millions of Russian lives saved?
   675. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 07:57 PM (#5669627)
In addition to the money, the bombing campaign also cost about 80,000 American lives but more lives would have been lost without it, both American as well as Allied. It's not a stretch to say that millions of Russian lives were saved by it. It was costly but worth it, on balance.

I don't think so. If all those resources had been invested in more Army divisions, better tanks (the Sherman was a good 1942 tank, but we make very little upgrades while both the Germans and Russians introduced multiple generations of new tanks) landing ships, and more Tactical airpower, the war might have been won in 1944.

In the ethical calculus I value the millions of civilians killed, not to mention the destruction of art and architecture, over the Red Army suffering more casualties. The World would have been far better off with a weaker USSR in 1944-45.
   676. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 09, 2018 at 07:59 PM (#5669629)
How were millions of Russian lives saved?

I don't think they were. Until the Allied airforces got long-range fighter escorts in 1944, the bombing campaign almost certainly cost the Allies more resources than it inflicted damage. Even in '44, giving the 8th Airforce to Eisenhower to use in a tactical/operational role would have been a better use of resourcs.
   677. Traderdave Posted: May 09, 2018 at 08:26 PM (#5669643)
How were millions of Russian lives saved?


It is only a guess, of course, but here is the rationale:

The Soviets suffered approx 1MM casualties in '45 alone, against a depleted German force they outnumbered 4 or 5 to 1. If the Western Allies hadn't bombed the #### out of Germany the war easily drags into 1947, with that much more blood lost on the Eastern Front. No bombing campaign also means that Romania probably stays in the war, which keeps Germany's Southern flank in place a lot longer than what happened in reality.
   678. Traderdave Posted: May 09, 2018 at 08:47 PM (#5669657)

The World would have been far better off with a weaker USSR in 1944-45.


Undoubtedly so, but regardless, the Soviets suffered badly and earned the right to be a superpower. That was damned unfortunate for the East Bloc nations, but when you suffer 20+ million deaths, you get a lot of leeway. Our only option to stop it was to take them on ourselves, which was never going to happen outside of Patton's fever dreams.
   679. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 09, 2018 at 09:08 PM (#5669682)
I don't think they were. Until the Allied airforces got long-range fighter escorts in 1944, the bombing campaign almost certainly cost the Allies more resources than it inflicted damage.


We could afford it. It forced Germany to pour massive amounts of resources, which they could not afford, into anti-aircraft guns and ammunition. And it brought the Luftwaffe home from the Russian front.

We might have expended more than Germany, but again, we could afford it. Germany couldn't.
   680. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 09, 2018 at 09:10 PM (#5669685)
There's evidently a (hopefully) upcoming HBO project that will cover a B-17 group from the 8AF,


I was in the 8th AF. I still have the patch I wore on my flight suit. pretty cool, or so I thought.
   681. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 09, 2018 at 09:13 PM (#5669688)
I don't think so. If all those resources had been invested in more Army divisions, better tanks (the Sherman was a good 1942 tank, but we make very little upgrades while both the Germans and Russians introduced multiple generations of new tanks) landing ships, and more Tactical airpower, the war might have been won in 1944.


Unless you reposting that sans a strategic bombing scheme, we invade France in 1943 (which is ridiculous), this doesn't follow. The reason we didn't end the war in 1944 wasn't because we didn't have more and better tanks. it's because we couldn't supply the army we did have.
   682. greenback took the 110 until the 105 Posted: May 10, 2018 at 12:01 AM (#5669827)
I've always wondered why the world is so horrified by poison gas in war, while blowing your enemies into paste is considered A-OK.

Asking naively, and assuming I don't need to elaborate here: How much of this is literally Adolf Hitler's doing?
   683. Traderdave Posted: May 10, 2018 at 09:50 AM (#5669892)
Gas was demonized and heavily propogandized in the First War. Zyklon B surely didn't help its reputation but it was already considered barbaric before Hitler.
   684. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5669919)
HE are largely a sudden and instant death. Gas was wildly uncontrollable, could end up gassing your own troops, an excruciating death, poison water & food supplies and could disable humans permanently to a higher degree than HE. That almost all sounds great if your enemy isn't using it and you are but when everybody is using it then everyone is paying a very high price for a somewhat ineffective weapon.
   685. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2018 at 10:39 AM (#5669924)
HE are largely a sudden and instant death. Gas was wildly uncontrollable, could end up gassing your own troops, an excruciating death, poison water & food supplies and could disable humans permanently to a higher degree than HE. .

You obviously have never seen photos of the facial injuries from WWI that led to the development of plastic surgery.
   686. GGC Posted: May 10, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5669929)
I actually like the term Shell Shock better. It doesn't minimize what soldiers go through.


I think I agree. It's better than the term that preceded it in the ACW; "seeing the elephant." And it is better than battle fatigue or PTSD.
   687. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 10, 2018 at 10:58 AM (#5669936)

I don't think so. If all those resources had been invested in more Army divisions, better tanks (the Sherman was a good 1942 tank, but we make very little upgrades while both the Germans and Russians introduced multiple generations of new tanks) landing ships, and more Tactical airpower, the war might have been won in 1944.


It's not quite that simple. Unlike some games, you can't just flip a switch and change from building B-17s to LSTs in a short amount of time. Not to mention all the other bottlenecks. There were severe port limitations on how much we could ship to France -- there were massive stockpiles in Britain that couldn't be taken over the Channel as it was. Bombers in the UK can be supplied much more easily.
   688. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5669948)
You obviously have never seen photos of the facial injuries from WWI that led to the development of plastic surgery.

You obviously didn't read the terms "largely" and "to a higher degree".
   689. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5669951)
I think I agree. It's better than the term that preceded it in the ACW; "seeing the elephant." And it is better than battle fatigue or PTSD.

Except as we have learned you can get PTSD even if you haven't experienced a bombardment. That's why terms like "shell shock" and "battle fatigue" are not used anymore. It didn't accurately describe what was going on. I'm reminded of a Rescue Me episode where Lou goes to a support group to talk about 9/11. The people there are probably suffering from PTSD and Lou is as well and it appears he's benefiting from talking about his experiences but at the end of scene he discovers that none of the people in the support group were at or around ground zero on 9/11 so he walks out in a huff.
   690. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5669954)
You obviously didn't read the terms "largely" and "to a higher degree".

I did. I just think you're wrong. Losing limbs or being maimed beyond recognition is far worse than lung or skin damage.
   691. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5669958)
Except as we have learned you can get PTSD even if you haven't experienced a bombardment. That's why terms like "shell shock" and "battle fatigue" are not used anymore. It didn't accurately describe what was going on. I'm reminded of a Rescue Me episode where Lou goes to a support group to talk about 9/11. The people there are probably suffering from PTSD and Lou is as well and it appears he's benefiting from talking about his experiences but at the end of scene he discovers that none of the people in the support group were at or around ground zero on 9/11 so he walks out in a huff.

I don't have any sympathy either for someone who get PTSD without actually suffering trauma. Trauma's right there in the second letter.

A soldier who claims PTSD, when he never left Fort Riley, or a New Yorker who claims 911 PTSD, from watching it on TV from the Upper West Side, should basically be laughed out of the room.
   692. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5669967)
I don't think you quite know the definition of trauma.
   693. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5669971)
For instance,

Let us say you live in NYC and your mother has moved down to Florida for retirement. While down there three meth heads break into your mother's condo and brutally rape her and murder her. Have you or have you not experienced trauma?
   694. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5669972)
Let us say you live in NYC and your mother has moved down to Florida for retirement. While down there three meth heads break into your mother's condo and brutally rape her and murder her. Have you or have you not experienced trauma?

You can call it trauma, but it's not the same thing.
   695. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5670004)
So sayeth the latest edition of DSM?

How close to ground zero does one need to be to actually suffer trauma in your book?
   696. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5670009)
How close to ground zero does one need to be to actually suffer trauma in your book?

To suffer the kind of Trauma referenced in PTSD? Within range to experience the negative sights, sounds, and smells directly, and immediately with your own senses.

Watching an artillery bombardment from a hill 5 miles away is in no way comparable to being subjected to that bombardment. Likewise, watching the towers fall from Jersey City has nothing at all to do with experiencing it on Liberty St.
   697. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5670043)
You can't tell people how to feel and process so you can't say it is in no way comparable.

DSM-V PTSD

DSM-5 Criteria for PTSD
Full copyrighted criteria are available from the American Psychiatric Association (1). All of the criteria are required for the diagnosis of PTSD. The following text summarizes the diagnostic criteria:
Criterion A (one required): The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, in the following way(s):
Direct exposure
Witnessing the trauma
Learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma
Indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics)
Criterion B (one required): The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced, in the following way(s):
Unwanted upsetting memories
Nightmares
Flashbacks
Emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders
Physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders
Criterion C (one required): Avoidance of trauma-related stimuli after the trauma, in the following way(s):
Trauma-related thoughts or feelings
Trauma-related reminders
Criterion D (two required): Negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s):
Inability to recall key features of the trauma
Overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world
Exaggerated blame of self or others for causing the trauma
Negative affect
Decreased interest in activities
Feeling isolated
Difficulty experiencing positive affect
Criterion E (two required): Trauma-related arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s):
Irritability or aggression
Risky or destructive behavior
Hypervigilance
Heightened startle reaction
Difficulty concentrating
Difficulty sleeping
Criterion F (required): Symptoms last for more than 1 month.
Criterion G (required): Symptoms create distress or functional impairment (e.g., social, occupational).
Criterion H (required): Symptoms are not due to medication, substance use, or other illness.
Two specifications:
Dissociative Specification. In addition to meeting criteria for diagnosis, an individual experiences high levels of either of the following in reaction to trauma-related stimuli:
Depersonalization. Experience of being an outside observer of or detached from oneself (e.g., feeling as if "this is not happening to me" or one were in a dream).
Derealization. Experience of unreality, distance, or distortion (e.g., "things are not real").
Delayed Specification. Full diagnostic criteria are not met until at least six months after the trauma(s), although onset of symptoms may occur immediately.
Note: DSM-5 introduced a preschool subtype of PTSD for children ages six years and younger.
   698. zenbitz Posted: May 10, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5670141)
The Germans didn't really run out of tanks or weapons or airplanes or ammo or even really gasoline. They ran out of men. Not really seeing how the strategic bombing contributed much to that.
   699. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5670185)
Well, if they hadn't run out of men they would have!

But like in all wars it is the civilian population that takes it in the shorts first. Also the Germans most certainly had to husband their resources and were limited in their options because their resources were dwindling.
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