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Old 10-17-2009, 08:54 PM   #1
Yotam Wei
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WW2 - marine's V army

in neal stephenson's historical fiction, "cryptonomicon", the author implies that general mcarthur didn't think the marine commanders were good quality tacticians. he said something like, "in the army, we have this thing called tactics. we don't just charge in".

how accurate is this portrayal of mcarthur's opinions of the marines?
how did the marines perform in ww2, compared to the army?
and since ww2?
what is the difference between marine and army? just the fact that marine's spend non-war time on ships? do they both have the same access to/training in artillery, tanks etc?
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:05 PM   #2
Eric Montgomery
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Re: WW2 - marine's V army

There's always been interservice rivalries and disagreements about who is better--are SEALs tougher than Marine Force Recon, are they tougher than Army SF or Rangers, etc....for the most part it's all a ****-measuring contest. There's not a lot of difference between the services.

There was a big controversy during the battle for Saipan when Marine Gen Holland Smith convinced the overall Task Force Commander to relieve Army General Ralph Smith from command so that led to a lot of bad blood as the Army and Marines fought side by side throughout the rest of the campaign and in subsequent battles in the Pacific.

As for tactics, there was a perception that Marine tactics were unimaginative and amounted to "hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle" and that Marines wished for high casualty numbers in a perverse sort of way, so they could brag about how valiantly and gloriously they fought. The Marines did fight several extremely bloody campaigns (Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Peleliu, Okinawa, etc) but those would likely have been nasty fights regardless of tactics, and there wasn't a whole lot of room for creativity--it was pretty much land on a hostile beachhead and sweep across the island.

The Army did their job in Europe in WWII--I doubt even the most close-minded Marine can badmouth guys like the 101st Airborne from Band of Brothers--and the Marines and Army did alright bouncing across the Pacific.

In Korea there were reports of Army units retreating or surrendering en masse, and I think I've heard somewhere that a majority of POWs who defected over to the Communist side were Army soldiers. Again, probably just propaganda from the Marines to reinforce their belief that Marines were mentally tougher. I have read books that featured interviews from captured North Korean and Chinese troops that reported the Communists were under strict orders to avoid attacking the Marines, that they should seek out Army units to attack instead. Dunno how much credence can be given to that either.

My perception from my time in Iraq was that the Army took a little longer to catch onto good counterinsurgency tactics--before I get flamed by all the Army guys on here, this was obviously my exposure to a few units and may not have been their mindset as a whole--but the Army units near us didn't seem to do as many foot mobile patrols where they could interact with the population. That was also the Marines' opinion of things in Vietnam--the Army leadership bought into the "search and destroy" mentality, while Marines like LtGen Victor Krulak were all about doing the counterinsurgency thing...the ink blot theory, combined action platoons, etc.

I can't speak about Army training but they have far more armored and mechanized assets than Marines, though Marines still have some tanks, artillery, AAVs, and LAVs to roll around in. Marines don't necessarily spend a lot of time on ships--our main bases for ground forces are Camp Pendleton (SoCal), 29 Palms (Cali. desert), Camp Lejeune (North Carolina), and Okinawa. While MEU deployments aboard ship are a fairly regular thing, Marine units also do deployments to Okinawa, Africa, and other land-based spots.

So to sum all this up--everyone likes to brag that they're the most elite, or toughest, or fill-in-the-blank-est service, but there's not that much difference.
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Last edited by Eric Montgomery : 10-17-2009 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:33 PM   #3
Randy Hill
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Re: WW2 - marine's V army

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
...the Communists were under strict orders to avoid attacking the Marines, that they should seek out Army units to attack instead. Dunno how much credence can be given to that either.
I found this quote online: "Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army" ~ Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War; shortly afterward, the Marines were ordered to not wear their khaki leggings to keep the enemy from immediately fleeing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
So to sum all this up--everyone likes to brag that they're the most elite, or toughest, or fill-in-the-blank-est service, but there's not that much difference.
I agree with this. Too many times I hear "Nasty Army" this, "Disgusting Air Force pigs" that. I spoke with some British infantrymen while giving them a ride from one part of base to another last night. They asked what the deal was with the Marines' turned up nose. He also asked if Americans hated the Scottish, because I was the first American to give them a ride. They were walking back to their living area after getting some food. It's about a two mile walk, and it was dark out at 8PM.

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Old 10-19-2009, 08:31 AM   #4
Phil Miller
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Re: WW2 - marine's V army

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Hill View Post
I found this quote online: "Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army" ~ Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War; shortly afterward, the Marines were ordered to not wear their khaki leggings to keep the enemy from immediately fleeing



I agree with this. Too many times I hear "Nasty Army" this, "Disgusting Air Force pigs" that. I spoke with some British infantrymen while giving them a ride from one part of base to another last night. They asked what the deal was with the Marines' turned up nose. He also asked if Americans hated the Scottish, because I was the first American to give them a ride. They were walking back to their living area after getting some food. It's about a two mile walk, and it was dark out at 8PM.

That kind of upsets me that other NATO Forces feel Marines are snobs. Being a Marine I have always enjoyed working with other forces. Since I was a PFC in the Phillipines I have always seen others in service to there country as a brother. That we are the chosen few in this world willing or crazy enough to do what has to be done. Even if they were the enemy (uniformed enemy not the bastards we fight now) I honeslty have no animostity towards them, our job is to make them die for there cause and we can go home.

As far as tactics the Marine Corps is much smaller than the Army. Our job is forceable entry from the Sea. We traditionaly are not a land based Army but can be employed as one. We use over whelming fire power, manuever at the lowest level and desentralized leadership to acomplish the mission. Those three things is what really sets us apart. Not saying we are better then anyone we are simply employed differantly then the Army. The Marine Corps is used to instill fear as much as it is a fighting force. Marines are also trained differently. Ask a Soldier what he wants to do. You may get differant answers. Ask a Marine what his purpose is and it will be some thing about murder, destruction and probably include sodamy. We are wired differant.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:32 AM   #5
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: WW2 - marine's V army

MacArthur was a prima donna SOB. Of course he thought the Marine commanders weren't a good as His Highness.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:10 AM   #6
Robert D Taylor Jr
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Re: WW2 - marine's V army

I'm not Army or Marines,

Most of the we're better than you talk is interservice rivalry stuff, akin to harassing your brother. The military today is too joint to have too much disparity between each other. This was true in WWII as well, with the Army & the USMC in the Pacific, the USMC and the Army Air Corps in China, and of course the Navy providing a ride and massive fire support, as well as beach recon and amphibious delivery.

If you asked an Army grunt, he'd say to close with and destroy the enemy, same answer different cammie pattern.

You're all battling for 2nd place anyway, Go Navy.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:31 PM   #7
John Corona
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Re: WW2 - marine's V army

I've heard it put this way before:

There's a fortified area that needs to be taken.

The Army will:
1. Pound it with artillery first
2. Send in soldiers to clear out the area

The Marines will:
1. Send in the Marines as the area is being pounded by artillery

Last edited by John Corona : 10-19-2009 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:14 PM   #8
Barry Cooper
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Re: WW2 - marine's V army

Creighton Abrams was Army, and he was first rate.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:14 PM   #9
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: WW2 - marine's V army

If a building needs to be secured:

The Marines will lay down covering fire and surround the building.
The Army will call in for artillery support.
The Navy will post a sentry at the door.
The Air Force will take out a 5-year lease.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:19 PM   #10
John Corona
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Re: WW2 - marine's V army

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincoln Brigham View Post
The Navy will post a sentry at the door.
Before we do that, we empty the trash bins, turn off the lights and lock the door.
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