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Old November 1st, 2014, 02:10 PM   #61
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I'm not quite sure, I mostly see this in the Army. I'm not familiar with the US navy idolizing the Kriegsmarine much. If any foreign navy is idolized, it's the British navy. Although one thing to keep in mind here though is that the US army has a long history of idolizing the Prussian/German military. This dates to the time of the Franco-Prussian War. So for the US military to idolize the Wehrmacht is not too surprising in that long-term context.
I first became conscious of the impact of the battle for the Kasserine Pass when I served in the Peace Corps in Tunisia. I had volunteer friends in Kasserine who filled me in when I came through to visit, although the pass doesn't present tself as being terribly dramatic today. I learned that Kasserine came as quite a shock to the US Army, but I'm not very surprised. It was, after all, the first real encounter the US had with the Afrika Korps which had been fighting the British in N Africa ever since they went in to save Mussolini's bacon - in other words, for years. It just goes to show that one can advise and teach, but it's very difficult to teach experience to a new and unblooded army slamming into a very experienced.deterimed and well-led enemy with hardened soldiers, great artillery and excellent tanks. The other side of this coin, however, is that soldiers who are willing to learn the hard lessons and who are lavishly-resourced are likely to emerge victorious sooner rather than later.

Last edited by royal744; November 1st, 2014 at 02:13 PM.
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Old November 1st, 2014, 03:10 PM   #62

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Originally Posted by Zhang LaoYong View Post
OK, after that craziness that went on for a few pages. . .

The thing I heard about a connection with the Army and the Wehrmacht was in our NCO and officer's schools. I haven't checked this out, but when I was an NCO I was told we got the schools from the Wehrmacht, going back to the Prussian system of educating their leaders.

Does anyone who has studied this know if it is true or not? Did we get the idea for NCO development schools, any officer schools (like the War College maybe) from the Wehrmacht?
I don't know. That doesn't sound right, but i could be wrong. What was the time table for the acquisition such of the idea? American NCO's, i've always thought dating back at least to around the American revolution and the War of 1812, were very significant factor to US military organization.
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Old November 1st, 2014, 03:13 PM   #63

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Originally Posted by Panthera tigris altaica View Post
I don't know. That doesn't sound right, but i could be wrong. What was the time table for the acquisition such of the idea? American NCO's, i've always thought dating back at least to around the American revolution and the War of 1812, were very significant factor to US military organization.
Yes, but I am talking about the academies or schools for professional development being a part of the promotion to leadership posts -- rather than just tacking some stripes on a veteran or taking some rich brat and making him an officer. I was told that our professional development schools came from the Prussian system for training leaders (at the NCO and officer levels).
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Old November 1st, 2014, 05:00 PM   #64

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And I take it that you're just fine then with what the Germans did to the people they conquered? Using one million French as slave laborers, exterminating European Jews by the tens and hundreds of thousands, and a chain of barbarian massacres from 1940-5 is just fine with you?
I don't take issue with the emphasis on the criminal nature of the Nazi regime, I am in agreement with you: I assume no agenda is being mooted here and the rhetoric of the moment shaped the statement, but I would like to point out that whilst exterminations did take place in chunks of thousands and hundreds of thousands, the total number of European Jews murdered by the Nazis totalled in the millions and certainly exceeded the number of French slave labourers by several factors. My apologies to the OP for taking the subject matter away from the main point.
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Old November 1st, 2014, 05:20 PM   #65

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Originally Posted by Zhang LaoYong View Post
Yes, but I am talking about the academies or schools for professional development being a part of the promotion to leadership posts -- rather than just tacking some stripes on a veteran or taking some rich brat and making him an officer. I was told that our professional development schools came from the Prussian system for training leaders (at the NCO and officer levels).
Okay, I see. When i thought about it, it does sound familiar to something roughly similar to what i've read in the past where other Western countries have adopted or modeled theirs after Prussian practices. Or i could be thinking of the concept of the German General staff from World War 1 rather than the topic we're discussing right now? My darn memory!

So, i've consulted "Brassey's Military Encyclopedia of Military History" briefly thinking it would be easier to find the information we're both looking for, but the subject is pretty broad and couldn't find what i was looking for quickly enough that would suggest your query is the case. So i turned to the internet and came across this interesting link:

http://www.ncohistory.com/files/Education.pdf

Specifically under the title, "The birth of NCO Academy" seems appropriate. If you can't read it, let me know. But basically, from what i gather after a precursory scan of this, is that the establishment of such a school was first initiated after American General officers of World War 1, specifically Pershing's, dissatisfaction with the then current crop of American NCOs lack of capabilities of leading and controlling troops during battles. What followed was based on trial and error over the next twenty years starting from the end of World War 1 and to it's final successful establishment of a Academy in 1949.

Another interesting link seemingly worth reading: History of the NCO Seems to confirm the other provided link's general thrust. Except, it seems to clearly suggest under the section title of "The Revolution to the Civil War", that: "The American noncommissioned officer did not copy the British. He, like the American Army itself, blended traditions of the French, British and Prussian armies into a uniquely American institution. As the years progressed, the American political system, with its disdain for the aristocracy, social attitudes and the vast westward expanses, further removed the US Army noncommissioned officer from his European counterparts and created a truly American noncommissioned officer.

Which sounds about right to me in regards to the American historical practice of blending in, rather than creating exact models of foreign military practice and acquired knowledge, to suit it's own purposes within the American system.

I can't find anything for the Prussian influence on direct US officer training other than what i have found above using the internet search engines. Maybe, in time i can find it, if i don't forget. But perhaps, if luck were to shine on us, many others here with the far greater intellect than mine and with far more knowledge on this subject will supply the information on this interesting subject for us both?
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Old November 1st, 2014, 05:26 PM   #66

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Great stuff there, Panthera! I was just curious if anyone had already studied that connection (if indeed there was one) before I went looking for anything. I appreciate the work here!
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Old November 1st, 2014, 05:31 PM   #67

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No problem. The effort was worth it and it was fun.
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Old November 5th, 2014, 02:09 PM   #68

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Originally Posted by Panthera tigris altaica View Post
I don't know. That doesn't sound right, but i could be wrong. What was the time table for the acquisition such of the idea? American NCO's, i've always thought dating back at least to around the American revolution and the War of 1812, were very significant factor to US military organization.
I think that vastly overstates the degree to which the US Army prior to WWII *was* an organization. The US Army, for the bulk of time prior to the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, had a paltry Regular Army barely amounting to a full-strength European division distributed over the whole length and breadth of the USA that was to be filled in by untrained volunteer mass levies in time of war. The system was as balky, inefficient, factionalized, and personality-dominated as one would expect on this basis. Its sole merit, as the Civil War and WWI illustrated, was that when meshed with Industrial-era technology it made creating vast armies very simple.

But what it did not do was create an officer corps suited to conventional warfare against an enemy of even middling levels of skill, and this meant that individuals had an influence no healthy military structure would allow them to have. Even after WWII, the US Army was a puny institution lacking major air support and without a single tank. It was not a force, based purely on what it had before the war started, able to fight the Romanians well, let alone Hitler's army or Stalin's. It's equally fascinating here that the name "Emory Upton" hasn't shown up anywhere in this thread to my knowledge given that he was the main 19th Century proponent of a US military structure on Prussian models. The Union Army that won the Civil War had more influence from the French and actual battle experience than any foreign model, as the US system was the direct inverse of the Prusso-German: civilian controlled, invented during the war and rationalized after the fact as doctrine, and without any kind of legitimate professional military caste as with the one that drove Germany into a self-inflicted apocalypse twice-over.

http://www.historynet.com/emory-upto...e-u-s-army.htm

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Old November 6th, 2014, 11:52 PM   #69

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The Germans fought well and acquitted themselves honourably in combat against us during WWII so they earned our respect, not particularly surprising or disconcerting. It's only natural to respect an enemy who fights well and to hold an enemy who fights poorly in contempt; because of that we speak highly of people such as Cornwallis, Lee, and Rommel and there's nothing wrong with showing some grace in victory and acknowledging your valiant, if vanquished, foes.
I agree
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Old November 7th, 2014, 02:58 AM   #70

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The "lesson learned" at Kasserine was that when one defeats an enemy military formation, he must immediately begin to improve his defensive arrangements and aggressively patrol beyond the forward edge of the battle area.

That is, readiness and hyper-alertness are required rather than high-fiving and back-slapping because it's not a game.
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