Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
Armor Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: Armor Division Makeup
Idaho    8/9/2003 10:16:04 PM
Can anyone tell me the typical WWII US armored division composition? It is my understanding that 1 or 2 retained the original heavy composition, but the rest were converted to the "Combat Command" structure that resulted in a relatively small organization, about 10,000 men versus a WWII infantry division of about 15,000. My reading indicates that there were 2 combat commands that consisted of; 1 armored bn, 1 infantry bn, and 1 artillery bn. The division maintained a smaller 3rd command as a reserve. Can anybody confirm this or clarify the structure? Thanks
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Pages: 1 2
Shaka of Carthage    RE:Armor Division Makeup   8/10/2003 3:58:23 AM
The "heavy" to&e for a WWII US armored division had: six (6) tank battalions; three (3) armored infantry battalions; three (3) artillery battalions; almost two (2) reconnaissance battalions and one (1) engineer battalion. The tank battalions were organized into two (2) tank regiments, each with one (1) light tank bn and two (2) medium tank bn's. Each bn had 53 tanks, in three (3) companies. Division had 158 light tanks and 232 medium tanks. About 14,600 people. The "light" to&e reduced the number of tank battalions to three (3). It also reorganized the tank battalion, so that it had three (3) medium and one (1) light tank company per battalion. Each battalion now had 41 tanks. The division had 77 light tanks and 168 medium tanks (may be 18 more light tanks in recon bn, but not sure). Everything else is the same as the "heavy", except the recon bn is now bn size. About 10,900 people. The "light" division had the Combat Command A and Combat Command B. Combat Command R was supposed to be a reserve formation, not intended for combat. It depends on who you ask, but basically the "light" was developed because the "heavy" had too many tanks and the US tried to copy "lessons" that the Germans had learned. The problem with the "light" was that it was short on trucks and the CCR command. So two (2) QM truck companies were attached and CCR was changed into CCC by taking the Armor Group HQ (Corp level HQ intended to command the seperate tank battalions that were suppossed to be attached to Corps) and adding it to CCR to become CCC. Since the independent tank battalions were all attached to Infantry divisions, the loss of the HQ was no big deal. And the one thing the US military had alot of, was trucks. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Armored divisions were organized under the "heavy" to&e. 1st converted to the light to&e while in Italy, 1943. 2nd and 3rd kept the "heavy" to&e.
Quote    Reply

Idaho    RE:Armor Division Makeup   8/10/2003 3:28:58 PM
Thanks Shaka. Now to the present. We have talked about pro's & cons of Stryker vs M113A3 for medium interim brigade. How about looking at faster deployment from the small WWII division model? I know, the Abrams & Bradley's are too heavy for C130 air deployment. (But the numbers of aircraft indicated for the Medium Interim Brigades seems almost too much & the size of the Stryker appears headed north of C130 capability anyway) But, what if the Army changed to a small armored division for some of its needs? A division with 2 or 3 brigades composed of 1 Arm Bn, 1 Inf Bn & 1 Art Bn each with maybe the 3rd bde being a recon/reserve unit composed of a 1 Helo Bn, 1 LAV Bn, & divisional MRLS arty bn. My thought is that a smaller armored force would be nearly as effective as the larger division in many potential initial contact situations, while a higher infantry component in follow up units would be helpful ( Iraq ). So, lets say 3 light armored divisions (as above) with the smaller brigades & 3 mech. infantry divisions each with 3 conventional infantry heavy brigades. Then the remaining 4 light divisions. Would the logistics tail for a smaller armored division be small enough to allow faster real response than the proposed "medium interim brigades". Which would you rather have, a bn of Strykers or a company team of Abrams & Bradleys. Flame away :-)
Quote    Reply

oregon_x_marine    RE:Armor Division Makeup   8/11/2003 12:33:13 AM This is an excellent link that has a terrific amount of information on each division for the European Theater of Operations in WW2.
Quote    Reply

Shaka of Carthage    RE:Armor Division Makeup   8/11/2003 4:40:41 AM
For various reasons that have been discussed in other topics, I favor a different approach. Maneuver warfare is combined arms warfare. The Armored Cavalry approach (where the armor and infantry are combined at the battalion level), eliminating the need to "cross attach" units is a superior method. There is a topic here, COMBINED ARMS Battalion where I go into some detail. In effect, you get your Armor Bn, Infantry Bn and Artillery Bn combined at the Bn level. The next thing would be the Division. As an operational command, it need to be eliminated. In some ways, this is already happening, its just not "official". This would give you the "smaller armored force that would be nearly as effective". This still doesn't solve the logisitcal problems, allowing you to get this heavy armored force into some sort of medium force package. The current equipment is just too big and heavy. For better or worse, its Stryker. The Stryker units are always gonna be faster to respond than the scaled down heavy armored units you are talking about. Personally, I'd rather have the Bn of Strykers than a company team of Abrams and Bradleys, because for the envisioned missions, the company team would be too small.
Quote    Reply

oregon_x_marine    re: Shaka...Combined Arms BN   8/11/2003 12:26:34 PM
Shaka: Do you know how much "cross attach-ing" occured in the BDE's of the 3rd ID during GW2? Were Task Forces and Teams constantly re-organized to meet specific tasks or were they rather static throughout the campaign? Your threads regarding combined arms BN were interesting. But I wondered if a hypothetical combined arms BN in the latest war would have been able to fight the entire campaign as a unit or had it's subordinate units parceled out to other BDE TF's.
Quote    Reply

AlbanyRifles    RE:re: Shaka...Combined Arms BN   8/11/2003 12:42:50 PM
The task organization of 2d Bde 3 ID HHC, 2d BDE TF 1st BN, 64th 2 tank 1 mech TF 4th BN, 64th AR 3 tank TF 3d BN, 15th INF 2 mech 1 tank 26th Forward Supt BN E Trp, 9th CAV (HMMWV) TM B 103d Mil Intel BN 1st BN, 9th FA 10th ENG BN CO B 123d SIG BN B Btry 1st BN, 3d ADA At one time each battalion task force was 2 tank 1 mech
Quote    Reply

Shaka of Carthage    RE: response: oregon_x_marine   8/11/2003 3:14:05 PM
I don't know how much cross attaching occurred. I believe the benfits from unit cohesion far outweigh any optimum matching of companies. We can get away with doing it "wrong", because of the overwhelming combat power we bring against our opponents.
Quote    Reply

oregon_x_marine    RE: Albany Rifles   8/11/2003 5:23:06 PM
Thanks for the information and please answer the following. Where do you get all this info?? Are BDE's automatically re-organize into TF's for combat? Were the armor BN's in GW1 supplemented with mech infantry? In a Mech Infantry unit, how are the Bradleys organized? Does each company have a fixed number of M2's assigned to them? Do the M2's constitute the 4th (armor) platoon within the company? I thought the Army had 4 companies per BN and/or 4 BN per BDE. When did this change? Are Cav troops assigned to each BDE? Will more Cav troops or a 4th company be added to BN's given the "over stretch" and security issues stemming from GW2? Enquiring mind(s) want to know!
Quote    Reply

AlbanyRifles    RE: Albany Rifles   8/11/2003 6:09:10 PM
O-X-M, 1. To answer the first, mis-spent youth! No actually I am a retired army officer and have friends who are serving in 3 ID as well as some fellowemployees who were in country with them. And in my present job, I have to know force structure cold so knowing that stuff is my job. 2. Yes, the brigade commander and S3 task organize the subordinate battalions into task forces dependent on mission. Usually it is habitual relationships (I always got the same tank platoon attached to my mech company and always sent the same platoon to the tank company.) And in GW 1, yes this was the same. This has been army doctrine for heavy forces since 1960s. 3. Mech Company 14 BFVs 3 platoons x 4 BFVs each 2 ea in company HQ (CDR/XO) Each platoon has 3 squad Squad BFVs and Platoon leader BFV (3 man crew per) 6 Dismounts are aprt of each squad. Tanks are the same minus the dismounts. 4. The Army switched to 3 cpmp[anies and 3 battalions about 4 years ago as the new difitized battle command systems came on line. Supposed to be more lethal so don't as much. Still unsure of that. Leads to s shortage of infantrymen IMHO. 5. Each heavy brigade as a HMMWV mounted recon troop. They are called CAV and have CAV scounts assigned but they have a recon not combat mission. The Army picked those up about 3 years ago. Prior to that a brigade commander had no dedicated bde level recon assets he directly controlled. 6. Will we add a company back? Only if Rumsfeld allows the Army to get bigger. Anything beyond that would be pure anal extraction on my part. I think its needed but I became a loggie awhile ago so I don't get a vote anymore! Lager, Albany 3.
Quote    Reply

Idaho    RE:Armor Division Makeup   8/11/2003 9:01:01 PM
Shaka, Sorry, I am a little slow. Your reply confirmed my reading on the light division make up regarding battalions. But, the numbers of tanks you report also matches what I have read. They don't seem to match up in either the heavy or the light. 3 tank battalions with 41 tanks = 123 tanks total. Add a fourth recon & that is still only 164. The reported total of 77 light + 168 = 245, a lot more than 164 & nearly double the 123. The same problem exists with the heavies. 2 rgts of 2 bn of 53 tanks each = 212 tanks, but the total reported of 158 light & 232 mediums = 390 total. Add 2 recon bn of 53 each still only gets you to 318. This descrepency has bugged me for years. What am I messed up on. Thanks.
Quote    Reply
1 2