Combined Arms Battle Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Combined Arms Battle

An Examination of the Use of Armor and Infantry on the Battlefield during World War I from the Battle of Cambrai to the Battle of St. Mihiel

The gigantic logistics organization that supported American forces during the Cold War also had its genesis in World War I. The Army school system set up by General Pershing in France to serve the leaders of the AEF was moved to the United States after World War I, and was instrumental in our winning World War II and the Cold War. And the system, with few exceptions, still provides the backbone of professional education and development within the Army. -- Richard G. Trefry, 2002

The epigram above suggests that General of the Armies John Joseph Pershing was responsible for a legacy that remains largely unrecognized among military leaders in the United States today. Certainly, World War I established new precedents across a number of measures, particularly in terms of the amount of death and destruction it caused. The First World War only lasted four years (1914 -- 1918), but by the time the conflict ended, it had involved most of the European nations of Europe as well as the United States, Russia, countries in the Middle East, and other regions (Royde-Smith, 2005). Along the way, though, a military infrastructure emerged that would serve as the basis for military doctrine and training up to the present day. To this end, the paper will provide an examination of the use of armor and infantry on the battlefield during the First World War from the Battle of Cambrai up the Battle of St. Mihiel. A discussion of the tactics used for the deployment of tanks and infantry will be followed by a description of the integration of combined arms tactics used by General Pershing and others. A summary of how the synchronized or simultaneous application of armor, infantry, artillery, engineers, air defense and aviation changed the course of modern warfare will be provided in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Background and Overview. In his book, The Patton Papers, Martin Blumenson (1972) makes the point that the great military leaders of World War II were able to draw on the battlefield experiences of their World War I counterparts and recognized early on the advantages to be realized through a fully coordinated and synchronized application of armor, infantry, artillery, engineers, air defense and aviation resources. The amount of resources available to the Central and Allied Powers, though, was inordinately balanced against the former from the outset of the conflict as can be seen in Table 1 and Figure 1 below.

Table 1: Respective Strength of the Belligerents, August 4, 1914.

Resources

Central Powers

Allied Powers

Population (in millions)

Steel production (in millions of metric tons)

17.0

15.3

Army div. avail. In August 1914

Modern battleships

20

39

Figure 1. Respective Strength of the Belligerents, August 4, 1914.

Source: Based on tabular data in Royde-Smith, 2005.

The Allied Powers' ability to outproduce the Central Powers in steel and war materiel was clearly became evident as an absolute necessity in winning as the war progressed: "The daily cost of war materials in World War I," Ziff says, "was $10,000,000. Seventy-five tons of metal plus twenty-five tons of powder were shipped for each German killed or wounded" (p. 209). Likewise, the number of military forces available for immediate mobilization was clearly in favor of the Allied Powers from the beginning, but it took some time to realize these advantages on the battlefield (Royde-Smith, 2005). The initial stages of World War I were largely characterized by a variety of uncoordinated and ineffective organizational techniques that failed to provide the level of training required for organizing large numbers of troops and materiel on the modern battlefield.

According to Richard G. Trefry, "The American soldier of today, who experienced the wars in Vietnam, Panama, and the Gulf, may find it difficult to understand that the battle tactics and techniques of World War I were patterned on those of our own Civil War that occurred a half century before" (p. 123). According to Richard G. Terry (2002), "The trials and tribulations experienced by General Pershing in creating an Army, as well as his problems in relationships with the Allied commanders at home and in Europe, provide lessons for any officer aspiring to high command and staff. Joint and combined operations, coalitions, politics, and statesmanship were but a few of the challenges presented to a comparatively innocent American high command" (p. 122). One of the fundamental challenges faced by Pershing was the need to provide the American military with a logistical base and a training command that could transform the amateur American force into an efficient and sustained fighting machine; a further challenge was to integrate this largely untrained American military force with a number of multinational allied forces on a European battlefield that quickly developed into a stalemated quagmire that showed no easy solutions.

The fact that Pershing was able to accomplish this organizational integration with any degree of success at all is remarkable given the enormity of the endeavor and the respective -- and frequently conflicting -- interests of the Allied powers involved. According to Childs, interdepartmental rivalries within the British government caused significant delays of shipments of Mk IV tanks for use in France. In October 1917, those in charge of the various facets of British tanks engaged in such an extended (and heated) debate over their use and effectiveness that by the time the Battle of Cambrai took place, there were an insufficient number of tanks available for use on the battlefield (Childs, 1999).

While much finger-pointed resulted, Childs suggests that, "This is a moot point. The surplus Mk IVs were not delivered until early 1918; only machines from the original 1,000 ordered by the War Office took part in the Battle of Cambrai" (Childs, 1999 p. 22). In fact, of the 1,400 tanks originally ordered for the 1917 British tank program, just 769 had been delivered by the end of September and it was determined that no more than 800 would be required for the fighting in all of France. Childs points there were actually between 380 and 450 tanks used in the Battle of Cambrai, representing half of the machines in use France just a month earlier. "A further 150 would be accepted for training in England and for demands from other theaters," he adds, and "Of the remainder, 216 would be converted for use as tender and supply tanks. The contracts for the remaining 234 were canceled" (p. 23). In his report "Movement of Tanks" (26 November 1917), Major E.W. Hicks of the British Royal Engineers recorded the transport of over 480 tanks in preparation for the Battle of Cambrai (20 November 1917); the major emphasized the numerous logistical difficulties involved in moving large numbers of tanks around the battlefields of France (see graphic at Appendix A) (Childs, 1999 p. 110).

According to Michael E. Hanlon, the Battle of St. Mihiel took place over the course of several days (September 12-16, 1918); this author reports that the Headquarters, United States First Army first became operational on July 31, 1918, and General Pershing and his staff were ready when the orders finally came:

When the situation [in the Aisne-Marne] stabilized...Pershing obtained Foch's permission to take over the St. Mihiel sector instead, leaving three or four American divisions on the Vesle under French command. Preparations for the St. Mihiel attack [the first phase of an anticipated thrust into Germany through Metz] -- long planned by Pershing and his staff -- were begun at once. The St. Mihiel salient, which had been formed in the fall of 1914, seriously hampered French rail communications between Paris and the eastern segments of the front. Pershing's First Army headquarters opened in the St. Mihiel area on 13 August. The concentration of troops for the operation began at once (emphasis added). (Hanlon, 2000, p. 3).

In his book, The Rainbow Division in the Great War, 1917-1919, James Cooke (1994) reports that the concentration of troops for the operation at St. Mihiel had started in earnest by August 10, 1918, when the First American Army was formed with Pershing in command; on that date, Pershing received a dispatch authorizing him to prepare for the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient. "For Pershing," Cooke says, "this document was a personal triumph, culminating months of demanding that an American Army be committed to battle as an American force. There had been severe opposition, but the commanding general stuck to his guns and had finally won" (emphasis added) (p. 144). Pershing recognized that this was an important objective for the Allied Powers. Donald Smythe points out: "It cut the Paris-Nancy railway and served as a jump-off line for a possible German flanking attack against Verdun to the west or Nancy to the east. It also served as an effective German bulwark against any allied advance against Metz or the vital Briey iron mines" (p. 179). In this…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Combined Arms Battle" (2005, May 18) Retrieved December 4, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/combined-arms-battle-64531

"Combined Arms Battle" 18 May 2005. Web.4 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/combined-arms-battle-64531>

"Combined Arms Battle", 18 May 2005, Accessed.4 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/combined-arms-battle-64531

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Battle of Guilford Courthouse the

    "The second line comprised the two battalions of Foot Guards, the Light Infantry, and the Grenadiers… Tarleton's Light Dragoons formed the final reserve." ("The Battle of Guilford Courthouse 1781.") Without much of a choice, due to the terrain, Cornwallis was forced to make his attack head-on, straight at the center of the American line. While suffering major casualties, the British, stopped on the flanks, were able to break the center

  • Battle of IA Drang November 1965

    BATTLE of LA DRANG'S INFLUENCE on HELICOPTERS in COMBAT In November 1965, approximately 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small area in the Ia Drang Valley. Approximately 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers immediately surrounded them, unexpectedly. Three days later, less than two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was chopped to pieces. Combined, these two

  • Army as a Profession of Arms After 10 Years of War

    Profession of Arms After 10 Years of War The Pentagon put out a one-page explanation of the Profession of Arms (POA) in 2011 that points out the "significant impacts" the last nine and a half years have had on the "Army, its Soldiers, Families and Civilians" (Pentagon). This missive pointed out that many of the impacts the wars (in Iraq and Afghanistan) are "well documented and are being addressed. There remain,

  • Battle of the Aleutians a Cold Wake Up Call

    Termed "the forgotten battle," the Battle for the Aleutians represented the only instance during World War II when the Japanese occupied American soil and the campaign exacted a significant toll of American lives and treasure. The Aleutians became strategically significant during World War II for the Japanese as well as the United States, but the American preparations in anticipation of this attack were woefully inadequate. Despite a U.S. naval base

  • Battles of Gettysburg and Antietam

    However, Lee won out, and the solid line attacked. It was a fatal decision as Union forces literally mowed down Confederate troops by the thousands. One historian later concluded, "Apparently it never occurred to him that the position [the Union line on Cemetery Ridge] could not be taken" (Wert 101). While the numbers vary, most people agree the South lost between 3,900 to 4,500 men, while the Union lost about

  • Thermopylae the Battle of Thermopylae

    In the end, the Spartan/Greek army's superior armor and weapons and clever use of topography to counterbalance the Persian's greater numbers helps to explain their victories on a military level. Unfortunately, Leonidas and his fellow Spartans were massacred after a local Greek revealed to Xerxes a secret route around the narrow pass, allowing the Persians to attack the Spartans from the front and the rear at the same time. At

  • First Manassas How the Skirmish at Blackburn s Ford Shaped the Battle...

    Manassas -- How the Skirmish at Blackburn's Ford Shaped the Battle The Skirmish at Blackburn's Ford shaped the Battle of First Manassas by discouraging the Union Army, altering the Union Army's battle plans and encouraging the Confederate Army. The Confederacy's chances of successfully seceding from the Union were initially poor, as the Union had the obvious upper hand: the Union Army was considerably larger and better equipped; their commander was George


Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved