TheDeadeye
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The USA underpowered?

Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:44 pm

Hey,

I was having a look at the way the US is portrayed in the game after I managed to secure its entry into the war....to my dismay I only noticed that the entire US army consisted of merely 2 corps...

Now okay, I understan that they have been running on peace economies but it still seemed rather low compared to the size of the US at that time. So I went to check the build options to see if I could build any additional corps...however I wasn't able to build much of anything save a few battleships (of which the US already has aplenty), the odd mine here and there and the AMBs.

Shouldn't there be an option to build more troops, amass them sufficently enough and then ship them to the fronts in Europe? The Economic bonuses are pretty sweet but this hardly would outweigh the effort it takes to bring the US onboard on your side.

Any comments on that?

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sval06
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:08 pm

Despite the huge impact they had on WWI, I don't think that US troops were more numerous than 2 corps on the front.

It should be designed on purpose and maybe another troops come later from event... ;)

But as I also play the CP, I feel comfortable with low US troops :mdr:

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calvinus
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:58 pm

USA cannot build new units. They receive all troops via reinforcements.

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PhilThib
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:19 pm

This was a boardgame design decision that we kept. This worked well with the BG and should not be a major problem here.

Remember this is not WW2 and the USA was not (yet) the superpower and Democracies' Arsenal of the 40's... For instance, by the end of WW1, all tanks and airplanes of the US Army were (mostly) of French manufacture ;)
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comagoosie
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:00 pm

I can see where he is coming from. Here in my town, we in learn in AP American history that one of the main reason why Germany surrenders is not because they were being soundly beaten, but because of the US's manpower reserve, all four million men. US may have not committed as many troops as the others (I think 400,000), but if the war would have continued then Germany could have been facing up to 4 million more foes, and just the prospect of being even more outnumbered was something the German High Command didn't want to see.

Of course WWI ended before that could happen.

My $.02 :)

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PhilThib
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:27 pm

Exact too :thumbsup:
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patrat
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:08 pm

try the 1918 scenerio if you want to see the size of the us army. it eventually gets pretty dam big and can be a major factor in that scenerio.

all in all im impressed with how well the usa and its units are protrayed in the game. they are not underpowered at all imo.


historical note. by the end of 1918 there were 2 million american sodiers in france. eventually the AEF was larger and had a longer front than the bef.

another note, the usa relying on france for all heavy equipment was a political decision, it wasnt due to a lack of ability to design or build that equipment. even at that time american industry was the largest in the world and was already producing large amounts of war material for the allies.

however, the allies agreed that what was needed was for american soldiers to get to france in the greatest numbers as soon as possiable. this decision led to american troops being sent to france without much more than rifles. it was felt at the time that having american troops wait for their own heavy equipment would take to long.

as it turned out that decision probaly saved the allies. during the german 1918 offensives the allies were greatly heartened to know large numbers of americans were already in france and soon would be committed to battle. as it was the allies stopped the germans with miniumal help from the AEF. but just the knowledge that they were there, with more coming soon, really help allied morale during those dark days in the spring of 1918.

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PhilThib
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:14 pm

You are right, that is a key point I had forgotten...but still, among the decisional factors there was still the fact that the US War Industry simply did not really exist to produce in time and quantity those crucial pieces of equipment such as tanks and warplanes...
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Nial
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:31 pm

In Capt. Eddie Rickenbacher's first book he bemoans the fact that the AEF is still using Nieuport 28s in 1918. He also notes that the American pilots were promised late model planes many times only to be repeatedly dissapointed.
He recieved the first American flown Spad in the spring of 1918 I believe. Been awhile since I read his book. His first book is a good read about the late air war. I have heard the second book was more ALL about him based.

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TheDeadeye
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:27 pm

Hmmm I see. So basically just reinforcements? Well that's pretty cool already since I thought that THAT'S it, 2 corps only. I didn't expect the same amount of manpower and equipment to be shipped over to Europe in the proportions of WW2 but still more than just merely 2 corps.....

This is in conjunction with the dedicated diplomacy effort towards them to get them to join the Entente side.

Are the reinforcements tied to events or do they just pop in randomly within the reinforcement window?

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PhilThib
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Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:35 pm

Reinforcements just pop up. You have the details and dates in Special Country Rules - USA of the large manual
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Syt
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Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:20 pm

Between the U.S. entry into the war and actually showing up in strength on the battlefields lie almost a year historically (and then there was still squabbling about their command status, who should train them etc.). It took them so long to simply get into gear for this huge undertaking. They were much better prepared in 1941.

A much bigger contribution in the meantime was the economic, monetary and convoy support that the U.S. offered the Allies, somewhat subdued before officially joining and in full when they officially joined (and they only declared war on Germany, but none of the other Central Powers).

The whole thing was further hindered by Wilson's idealism about the whole affair; i.e. how he wanted to set an example for the Western Allies, too, to get them on board for his vision of a liberal world.
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nessin
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Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:49 am

In addition to what has already been said, keep in mind two other factors (I've yet to see the Americans so I'm not sure if the first item is actually modeled):

1) Whereas most countries started with big troop organizations that got smaller and smaller over time, the US unit organization started big and just got bigger. For example, the First Army (not even the full AEF) at one point was comprised of over 500,000 personnel among SEVEN divisions. SEVEN! Assuming a roughly equal division of men (which I don't think was the case) a single Division was bigger than most pre-war Corps, and some entire Army formations during the war.

2) American combat strength was greatly reduced due to using foreign equipment, often the left-overs. Others have mentioned this, but I just wanted to point out that the US had the basic equipment and capability to mass produce it already (ie, Infantry gear and Artillery) but due to our limited duration with which we actively participated in the war we didn't really get a chance to make use of anything. I'd highly encourage you to look up the history of the BAR, its a very interesting story in relation to the US and WWI.

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Le Ricain
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Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:18 pm

nessin wrote:In addition to what has already been said, keep in mind two other factors (I've yet to see the Americans so I'm not sure if the first item is actually modeled):

1) Whereas most countries started with big troop organizations that got smaller and smaller over time, the US unit organization started big and just got bigger. For example, the First Army (not even the full AEF) at one point was comprised of over 500,000 personnel among SEVEN divisions. SEVEN! Assuming a roughly equal division of men (which I don't think was the case) a single Division was bigger than most pre-war Corps, and some entire Army formations during the war.

2) American combat strength was greatly reduced due to using foreign equipment, often the left-overs. Others have mentioned this, but I just wanted to point out that the US had the basic equipment and capability to mass produce it already (ie, Infantry gear and Artillery) but due to our limited duration with which we actively participated in the war we didn't really get a chance to make use of anything. I'd highly encourage you to look up the history of the BAR, its a very interesting story in relation to the US and WWI.


What do you mean by BAR?
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PhilThib
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Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:28 pm

Browning Automatic Rifle... IIRC :D
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Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:18 pm

A favorite weapon of Clyde Barrow :w00t:

patrat
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Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:39 pm

iirc in a nutshell the BAR (later famous in ww2) was developed in time to see service in ww1. however it was so advanced for its time it was held out of combat for fear that the germans would copy it.

considering how quickly the germans not only copied but improved on the bazooka in ww2 these fears were not unfounded.

however i still think it was a mistake.

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Nial
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Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:04 pm

By July 1918, the BAR began to arrive in France and the first unit to receive them was the U.S. Army’s 79th Infantry Division. Despite being introduced very late in the war, the BAR saw some combat use; it was used extensively during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

But it is also stated that the USA was loathe to have the advance weapon fall into german hands. So we have two statements somewhat at odds. Not unusual but puzzling none the less. :)

The BAR was also widely exported by Colt starting in 1919.

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patrat
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Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:43 pm

hmmm my source was the history channel,,, yeah i should know better.

however it gives me an excuse to research it some.

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Nial
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Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:51 pm

Well, I found both statements in the same wiki. *shrugs* Not sure what to make of that. My first thought is that official policy was to hold them back. But some high level General, maybe Pershing himself? Wanted to put them in action. Not sure we will ever know the truth for sure. But by July 1918 it was also a forgone conclusion. So maybe they figured there was no reason to continue to hold back on unit deliveries.
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Barnacle Bill
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Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:52 am

Actually, the US had difficulty even coming up with the rifles. The US Army hadn't been mass mobilized since the Civil War, and had very little inventory of modern weapons in any category. That's why troops were sent to France with expedients like the M1917 rifle (Remington's P14 production for the Brits diverted to US, in .30-06 instead of .303 British) and the M1917 .45 ACP revolvers - because we didn't have and couldn't make enough M1903 rifles & M1911 auto pistols, respectively. It's also why we took a big batch of Ross rifles off the Canucks' hands (that the Canucks themselves had concluded were useless) to use in stateside training.

The BAR wasn't all that advanced. Conceptually it wasn't that different than the Chauchat, although much more reliable. The concept Pershing was pushing for it was pretty flawed. The intent was that the BAR gunner would fire from the hip while advancing, and they actually issued a special belt for BAR gunners that had a cup in which to insert the buttstock for this firing mode. Few of them actually reached the front during WWI, although (in heavier form) it was the principle US SAW in WWII & Korea.

Another wacky US Army idea of the era was the Pederson device, which was designed to replace the bolt in a specially modified M1903 rifle with a semi-auto action firing a pistol-powered .30 cartridge. Basically turned the M1903 into an 11 pound M1 carbine.

We did get our act together before it was all over, and freshness coupled with enthusiasm was a force multiplier. However, historically it's been the exception for us to be anything like ready when war first breaks out. We do learn fast, though :thumbsup:

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