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i was just curious, probably a little off topic for this forum.....i am watching "band of brothers" on dvd at the moment

good show, but i was wondering about the fidelity of the tactics used during filming, i keep hearing how the actors had to do basic training and etc etc to be authentic

all i see are large groups of soldiers patrolling in a closed up herd with no set spacing, chatting away to each other.

people firing from the hip, all sorts of rubbish that would have a size 11 in your arse if you even did this in basic training.....let alone battalion

is this just consessions made to make it better to watch for the viewer? or was most of the tactics used for patrolling, fire and manover and such invented after ww2?

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Originally posted by Captain Adultery:

all i see are large groups of soldiers patrolling in a closed up herd with no set spacing,

This probably has more to do with getting the entire unit within the frame at the same time. The market garden scene with a brit tank column is another example - obviously squeezed together for the camera shot.
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Originally posted by Captain Adultery:

...or was most of the tactics used for patrolling, fire and manover and such invented after ww2?

Two observations.

1. Most US and UK infantry training in WW2 was of a pretty poor standard, and even useless.

2. F&M goes back to the 1890's - or as soon as you get magazine fed rifles. As afar as the UK is concerend, Patrolling as a formal skill was taught as far back as the 1850's - Look at Rangers Orders of Discipline that got buchtered into garbage by the modern Rangers

In terms of what we see today, Patrol skills date from the 1900's and what the British Army taught in India as "Scouting."

"Conduct of Patrols" and "Scouting" are covered in the British Armies 1914 Infantry Training Manual.

hope this helps

[ October 16, 2007, 05:10 AM: Message edited by: RT North Dakota ]

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Originally posted by RT North Dakota:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Captain Adultery:

...or was most of the tactics used for patrolling, fire and manover and such invented after ww2?

Two observations.

1. Most US and UK infantry training in WW2 was of a pretty poor standard, and even useless.</font>

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Infantry training in WWII did not differ much from modern training. The components you mention were all there, and you do see a lot of it, especially fire-manoever, even in the series BoB. Of course training varied. Within Easy company, there were men with 12 months of training, others with just a few weeks. Status was the same with the opposition, German training looked much the same.

Training is overrated. In peacetime professional armies, everybody tends do undergo endless series of courses, usually labelled Advanced or Modern. This - much like Red Tape - is a peacetime phenonema. Speaking the above mentioned facts in evidence, concerning line infantry, it does appear as if the wartime standards (6, 12 and 18 weeks generally speaking) are quite sufficient.

Tactical behaviour is not necessarily evidence of training. Even among elite light infantry such as these paras (indeed German and US alike) the tendency to bunch up was epidemic. Guys huddle up when threatened. You read it in all accounts, of all nations. You see it on documentary reels from the war, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, always the men are bunching up and always the NCOs bark at them to spread out. Seems international and inevitable.

The scene on the road in operation Market Garden was dominated by the simultaneous insight of every man in the column, that their Lt was about to get himself shot, walking in the middle of the road. It is not unreasonable to assume they might have lost focus on spacing.

I for one was surprised to see how spread out the men were in the Bastogne patrol in another episode, seeing as the book clearly describes them as totally bunched up.

Easy company, which at all times contained a core of very thoroughly trained men, indeed bunches up on a number of occasions during their brief war (by German standards), even under enemy fire, and make a series of other tactical blunders. Like bayoneting eachother. Some mistakes due to pressure, others due to bad leadership, and some simply because of the combat endemic confusion, or combat fatigue.

I like the BoB series, though I don't think the main motive producing it was to display combat or behaviour in combat. Or even depict real events (the series diverges from the book on quite a few occasions). MHO is that you're partially correct in your assumption that the Silver Screen requires another reality than ours (thus far shooting from the hip etc). But perhaps partially also wrong, insofar that the men - or rather, the kids - of Easy company, according to themselves, very often did not behave tactically correct. Or even tactically sound. They did bunch up. They did chat and even smoke during patrols and excercised other reckless, dangerous behaviours.

Cheers

D

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Originally posted by RT North Dakota:

Well the US Infantry Commanders conference of 1946 reached the conclusion that infantry training, as conducted in WW2, had serious shortcomings.

There is good published material and research (Bolger, Jary, Harrison Place, Wilson and Forman) that shows that what both US and UK infantry did on operations was NOT what they were trained to do, but what they learnt from bitter experience.

That is leagues different than your original statement. This conclusion is borne out by the evidence you presented.

But then again, the idea that training alone (as apart from experience) may not adequately prepare a soldier for combat is nothing new. Ask yourself why they added slaughterhouse visits and Battle Drill Training to the curriculum in the Second World War - they knew to their core that the standard books couldn't impart experience. They had to know nothing could. They were desperate to provide it. That they couldn't is not a surprise - nor should it have been in 1946. I doubt it was.

For what it was worth, the drills taught in 1943, as Dandelion mentions, are often the same as those taught today. In other words, they've stood the test of time. Ditto battle procedure.

It's also just as "useless", if you want to call it that...

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Originally posted by Dandelion:

Infantry training in WWII did not differ much from modern training.

, German training looked much the same.

Training is overrated. In peacetime professional armies, everybody tends do undergo endless series of courses, usually labelled Advanced or Modern.

D

I submit that training does now differ from WW2. Certainly in the British Army. Things are done differently.

The German Army may have looked the same, but German infantry was trained to think in a very different way. This had very marked consequences. Tiny simple things had very great effect. Jary and Forman both experienced this and have written extensively on it.

Training is overrated? Well I agree a lot of training is process based, andthis not useful. For example, I never understood why UK Soldiers had to go on a 4-week course to operate a Milan Missle, when the German Army taught the same in two days.

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Originally posted by RT North Dakota:

I submit that training does now differ from WW2. Certainly in the British Army. Things are done differently.

Are you talking methods or actual subject matter? I compared the 1937 Infantry Training Manual with the 1982 Infantry Manual (the first a reprint of the British War Office pam, the second the Canadian Forces version) and found entire tracts were identical. There may be changes in terminology but the basics of what the individual soldier in the infantry section is expected to do has not changed in the most general of senses. Battle Procedure is still largely the same, reaction to fire largely the same, the reorg, the all round defence, the assault on a fixed position...what is it you think is different?
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Originally posted by PzKpfwIII:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />.

That is leagues different than your original statement. This conclusion is borne out by the evidence you presented.

But then again, the idea that training alone (as apart from experience) may not adequately prepare a soldier for combat is nothing new. Ask yourself why they added slaughterhouse visits and Battle Drill Training to the curriculum in the Second World War - they knew to their core that the standard books couldn't impart experience. They had to know nothing could. They were desperate to provide it. That they couldn't is not a surprise - nor should it have been in 1946. I doubt it was.

For what it was worth, the drills taught in 1943, as Dandelion mentions, are often the same as those taught today. In other words, they've stood the test of time. Ditto battle procedure.

It's also just as "useless", if you want to call it that... [/QB]</font>

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Hmm...I was under the impression Battle Drill Training (which is distinct from Battle Drill) was put forward in a big way by 47th (London) Division under General Utterson-Kelso - he who declared that "every private is a general", and to which a general is remarked to have replied "I want to be the only general in my division"

My regiment - The Calgary Highlanders - took to Battle Drill Training with a fervor, mostly because they were bored ****less long about 1941, and because of them it spread throughout the Canadian Army - and after Utterson-Kelso's Battle Drill schools were shut down.

Montgomery in SE Command (which he audaciously renamed South East Army) wasn't a fan of Battle Drill Training and felt it was a crutch. Historians of the Canadians in Normandy later agreed with him...

But are we talking about formation training, collective unit training, or individual training?

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Originally posted by Michael Dorosh:

Hmm...I was under the impression Battle Drill Training (which is distinct from Battle Drill) was put forward in a big way by 47th (London) Division under General Utterson-Kelso - he who declared that "every private is a general", and to which a general is remarked to have replied "I want to be the only general in my division"

All true. It was actually General Alexander of UK I Corps that got things going in 1940, but he lost interest. Utterson-Kelso was the guy who got Wigram all fired up, and he went on to write Battlecraft.
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Originally posted by RT North Dakota:

The German Army may have looked the same, but German infantry was trained to think in a very different way. This had very marked consequences. Tiny simple things had very great effect. Jary and Forman both experienced this and have written extensively on it.

How did German squadlevel tactical behaviour differ from, say, US, in june 1944? And what marked consequences did the German frame of mind create?

Cheers

D.

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Originally posted by Dandelion:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by RT North Dakota:

The German Army may have looked the same, but German infantry was trained to think in a very different way. This had very marked consequences. Tiny simple things had very great effect. Jary and Forman both experienced this and have written extensively on it.

How did German squadlevel tactical behaviour differ from, say, US, in june 1944? And what marked consequences did the German frame of mind create?

Cheers

D. </font>

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