The United States Army
The United States Army truly came of age during World War Two. The First World War had ended before the Army had had time to demonstrate the enormous potential it possessed, but the next great conflict would provide ample opportunity.
The traditional criticism levelled at the US is its late entry into the war; it was the last 'major power' to commit to the struggle. However, in the light of reason, and trying to ignore my patriotic British voice, it was probably for the best. It seems difficult to believe now, but the US Army was one of the most neglected in the world by its political leaders. The countries who border America offer no threat, and the two oceans which bracket the country provide insurmountable obstacles to any other invader.
Had the USA declared war on Germany following the fall of France, it would still have taken years for her to mobilise and train her armies, and most importantly equip them. It was in this second arena, the industrial, that the US can truly take credit. The arsenals, shipyards and aircraft plants which appeared throughout the States put into the hands of American, British and Russian soldiers the tools needed to defeat Nazi Germany. The Reich was never able to even approximate the volume produced.
On the real frontline, the men of the US Army paid a high toll for their victories. The British Army had enjoyed the brief luxury of being based in friendly France in 1940. The US was based in friendly Britain, but every landing it undertook was against occupied and hostile territory. 234, 874 men died during the campaigns in Africa, Europe and Asia. It was the greatest toll paid by any US Army in a foreign war.
The US Army made a conscious and determined attempt to streamline itself during the war. The aim was to provide a relatively small number of unit types, but an overwhelming number of them. Only three major Divisional organisations saw service; the Infantry, Armored and Airborne. The US never quite embraced the spirit of irregular troops until long after the war, the Rangers providing the most notable example.
The links below lead to a description of each infantry type battalion. There is also a study of the higher formations in which these battalions served.
The United States Infantry Battalion
The United States Armored Infantry Battalion
The United States Parachute Infantry Battalion
The United States Glider Infantry Battalion
United States Army Ranger Battalion
United States Army Divisional Organisations
Published works and Websites