Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades

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USACMH Publication 60-14
MANEUVER AND FIREPOWER
THE EVOLUTION OF DIVISIONS AND SEPARATE BRIGADES
 (1998) 
by John B. Wilson
Cmh1.PNG
  • ARMY LINEAGE SERIES
  • MANEUVER AND FIREPOWER
  • THE EVOLUTION OF DIVISIONS AND SEPARATE BRIGADES
  • by
  • John B. Wilson


  • CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY
  • UNITED STATES ARMY
  • WASHINGTON, D. C., 1998

library of Congress Data[edit]

  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Wilson, John B., 1934-
  • Maneuver and firepower: the evolution of divisions and separate brigades / by John B. Wilson.
  • p. cm.
  • Army lineage series
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • 1. United States. Army-Organization-History. I. Center of Military History. II. Title.
  • UA25W554 1997
  • 355.3'0973-DC20
  • 94-21031
  • CIP
  • CMH Pub 60-14
  • First Printing
  • ARMY LINEAGE SERIES
  • Jeffrey J. Clarke, General Editor

Advisory Committee[edit]

  • (As of September 1997)
  • Joseph T. Glatthaar: University of Houston
  • Michael J. Kurtz: National Archives and Records Administration
  • Raymond A. Callahan: University of Delaware
  • Brig. Gen. Fletcher M. Lamkin, Jr.: U.S. Military Academy
  • Maj. Gen. James J. Cravens, Jr.: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
  • Carol A. Reardon: Pennsylvania State University
  • Carlo W. D'Este: New Seabury, Mass.
  • Col. Everett L. Roper, Jr.: U.S. Army War College
  • George C. Herring, Jr.: University of Kentucky
  • Mark A. Stoler: *University of Vermont
  • Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Inge : U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
  • Lt. Gen. Frederick E. Vollrath: Archivist of the Army
  • Gerhard L. Weinberg: University of North Carolina
  • U.S. Army Center of Military History: Brig. Gen. John W. Mountcastle, Chief of Military History
  • Chief Historian: Jeffrey J. Clarke
  • Chief, Field Programs and Historical Services Division: John T. Greenwood
  • Editor in Chief: John W Elsberg

Foreword[edit]

This work traces the evolution of two unique U.S. Army organizations-divisions and brigades-which combined combat arms, combat support, and combat service support units into well-oiled engines for war. The Army has used divisions for over two hundred and twenty years on the battlefield and for nearly eighty years has maintained them in peacetime as well. Separate combined arms brigades, a newer phenomenon, date to the 1960s. Both organizations have played a pivotal role in the American military experience, and their exploits form the core of the Army's history in the twentieth century.

The following study is a systematic account of the way these two organizations evolved, highlighting the rationales behind that evolution and the many factors that played a part in bringing those changes into reality. This book will also complement the forthcoming revised edition of Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades, a volume in the Army Lineage Series.

In this work the reader, whether military or civilian, can follow the development of two of the Army's complex organizations. Force planners today will find the challenges faced by their predecessors in making these institutions responsive to an ever-changing threat in an evolving political and technological environment highly relevant. By telling this story in a comprehensive manner, the volume makes a significant contribution to the history of the Army.

Washington, D. C.
2 February 1998

JOHN W. MOUNTCASTLE
Brigadier General, USA
Chief of Military History


The Author[edit]

  • John B. Wilson was born and grew up in Imperial, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Duquesne University, receiving a B.A. degree in history in 1963 and an M.A. degree in American history in 1966. He joined the Organizational History Branch, US Army Center of Military History, in 1968 and served there until he retired in 1997. He compiled Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades in the Army Lineage Series and is the author of several articles on the organizations of divisions and separate brigades.

Preface[edit]

This volume examines the evolution of divisions and separate brigades in the U.S. Army as it searched for the most effective way to fuse combat arms, combat support, and service units into combined arms teams. The Army has used divisions and brigades since the colonial era, but the national leadership did not provide for their permanency in the force until the twentieth century. When divisions became a part of the standing force, experiences on American battlefields in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as European military practices, shaped their organization. The permanent divisions and brigades that the Army organized, however, were uniquely American.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century armies had no permanent tactical subdivisions. Administrative organizations called "regiments" were primarily designed to bring armed men to the battlefield. Upon arriving at the battle site, the men were usually grouped into battalions or squadrons, tactical organizations. King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden established brigades during the Thirty Years War as tactical organizations, assigning several battalions to them for the duration of a campaign, an arrangement that minimized the necessity for regrouping or retraining his army before going into battle. Shortly thereafter, other nations adopted the Swedish example.

The size of armies increased by the early eighteenth century, and Frederick the Great of Prussia began dividing his army into columns, which marched as wings or lines that fell into a prearranged order on the battlefield. Such maneuvers required discipline and well-drilled troops. To overcome the Prussians, Marshal Maurice de Saxe of France reintroduced the cadence step, which had fallen into disuse, and stressed discipline to control an army on the march and in combat. By marching troops at a measured step, Maurice could judge the time required to move his army to engage an enemy. With the ability to calculate marching time, Marshal Victor E Broglie in the mid-1700s began dividing the French Army into several permanent columns or divisions of infantry and artillery for a campaign. These divisions made an army easier to maneuver and occasionally permitted him to use part of it as an independent force. Almost two hundred years later Basil Liddell Hart described that process as making a limbless army grow arms that could grip an enemy at different points while others struck him.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries European military theorists incorporated the doctrine for organizing divisions and brigades into their publications, and many of those works were known to military leaders in colonial America. The British Army also brought European methods of war to North America before the Revolutionary War, and the colonists adopted much of that practice and doctrine in developing their own divisions and brigades as command and control units.

Against this background, Chapter I surveys the types of brigades and divisions the Army employed in the various wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These units and the doctrine underlying them were the basis for organizing and maintaining permanent divisions and brigades in the twentieth century Chapters 2 through 14 trace the evolution of United States Army divisions and separate brigades from approximately 1900 to 1990. Their various reorganizations and their roles in the total Army are the grist of the study Chapter 15 draws together some of the lessons explored in the main body of the volume. Since the manuscript was prepared seven years ago momentous changes have occurred in the Army, and a brief look forward examines some of them.

The word "division" over the years has had many meanings within the Army, as well as within the other military services. As used in this study, the term addresses only a large, combined arms team capable of independent operations. But an integral part of the story is also the development of the "brigade," initially a command and control headquarters for two or more regiments or battalions from the same arm or branch. In the mid-twentieth century the brigade evolved into a combined arms unit smaller than a division. The combined arms brigade, although a relatively new structure, is also a subject of this study.

A few words need to be said about the charts and tables in the volume. Tables of organization and equipment (TOE) published for divisions and separate brigades and their subordinate elements served as the skeleton for the study, and the charts were derived from them. No one table, however, contains all the information that appears in each chart. Therefore, to develop each chart, I began with the largest unit, such as the division, and compiled the data for each subordinate element down to and including company, troops, battery, or detachment. The charts, nevertheless, represent only windows in time, for the organizations constantly changed. The tables listing divisions and brigades, their location, maneuver elements, and other information were also drawn from many sources. Hence, they are not attributed to any particular work or document.

Many colleagues have served as mentors in the research and writing of this manuscript. To name everyone who assisted in the work is impossible, but key supporters in the Center of Military History have been Morris J. MacGregor, Acting Chief Historian of the center in 1989-90; Dr. David Trask, former Chief Historian; and Lt. Col. Clayton R. Newell, former Chief, Historical Services Division. I am also indebted to Col. Raymond K. Bluhm, Colonel Newell's successor, who read the manuscript and offered insightful suggestions, and to Dr. John T. Greenwood, who arranged space and support for me within the center after I retired to complete the work. Janice E. McKenney, Chief, Organizational History Branch, read, commented on, and edited numerous versions of each chapter, and Romana M. Danysh from the Organizational History Branch read and commented on the work and listened to endless hours of discussion about the scope and presentation of the material. Rebecca Robbins Raines, Donna Everett, and Edward Bedessem, all currently assigned to the Organizational History Branch, assisted in defining ideas and the relationships of arms, support, and service units to divisions and separate brigades.

Outside the branch but within the center, Dr. Edward Drea, former Chief, Historical Research and Analysis Division, offered invaluable help in clarifying the ideas presented. Maj. Glenn Hawkins and Dr. Edgar E Raines read sections of the manuscript and forced close examination of some of its basic assumptions. Dr. Robert K. Wright, Chief, Historical Resources Branch, offered suggestions for organizing and presenting the material. Over the years the center's library staff, especially James Knight, offered indispensable help in locating books and articles and completing citations in the notes and bibliography. Geraldine Harcarik from the Historical Resources Branch cheerfully searched for countless documents in the center's archival holdings.

No serious historical work about the Army can be accomplished without drawing on holdings of the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. The staff there was a steady source of help. In particular, John Slonaker, Dennis Vetock, and Louise Arnold-Friend always found time to stop during a busy day to respond to my requests for documents, books, and articles. They gladly shared their knowledge of Army organization, suggesting works that might not have come to my attention. Another individual in the historical community who shared his knowledge about the Army was John L. Romjue of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

The preparation of the volume for publication has also been the result of the efforts of many people. I would like to express my appreciation to Susan Carroll, who edited the manuscript and prepared the index; Joycelyn M. Canery, who typed the final text; Beth E MacKenzie, who designed the charts and obtained and placed the photographs; John A. Birmingham, who created the pages and designed the cover; and Sherry Dowdy who created the maps. I am particularly appreciative of the work of Catherine A. Heerin, who oversaw the editorial process, and Arthur S. Hardyman, who saw the production effort to fruition.

Many have contributed to the completion of this work by their knowledge, advice, cooperation, and encouragement---and to all of them I owe a debt of gratitude. For any and all errors of fact or interpretation, I am responsible.

Washington, D. C.
2 February 1998

JOHN B. WILSON

Chapters[edit]

  1. EARLY EXPERIENCES
  2. GENESIS OF PERMANENT DIVISIONS
  3. THE TEST: WORLD WAR I
  4. THE AFTERMATH OF WORLD WAR I
  5. A RETURN TO THE PAST; A LOOK TO THE FUTURE
  6. PRELUDE TO COMBAT
  7. THE CRUCIBLE-COMBAT
  8. AN INTERLUDE OF PEACE
  9. THE KOREAN WAR AND ITS AFTERMATH
  10. THE SEARCH FOR ATOMIC AGE DIVISIONS
  11. A NEW DIRECTION-FLEXIBLE RESPONSE
  12. FLEXIBLE RESPONSE
  13. THE TOTAL ARMY
  14. A NEW ASSESSMENT
  15. CONCLUSION
  16. A LOOK FORWARD
  17. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Division Histories[edit]

Armored Divisions[edit]

Cavalry Divisions[edit]

Infantry Divisions[4][edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. 15th Armored Division was authorized, but was never Constituted and Organized.
  2. 17th Armored Division was authorized, but was never Constituted and Organized.
  3. 18th Armored Division was authorized, but was never Constituted and Organized.
  4. Infantry Divisions are the original source for Airborne, Mountain, Light, and Motorized, Named and Training Divisions. All divisions are listed here under their original World War Two designations, even though many divisions existed prior to World War Two under other designations.
  5. The 12th Infantry Division was redesignated from the Philippine Division.
  6. The 13th Infantry Division was redesignated in World War Two as the 13th Airborne Division.
  7. The 15th Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized. As such, it was never a combat-oriented unit. If it had been Constituted and Organized, it would have been an Airborne Division.
  8. The 17th Infantry Division was redesignated in World War Two as the 17th Airborne Division.
  9. The 23rd Infantry Division was redesignated from the Americal Division.
  10. The 24th Infantry Division was carved out of the reorganized Hawaiian Division at the start of World War Two.
  11. The 25th Infantry Division was carved out of the reorganized Hawaiian Division at the start of World War Two.
  12. Currently, the 27th Infantry Division has been reorganized as the 27th Infantry Brigade.
  13. Currently, the 30th Infantry Division has been reorganized as the 30th Infantry Brigade.
  14. Currently, the 39th Infantry Division has been reorganized as the 39th Infantry Brigade.
  15. Currently, the 41st Infantry Division has been reorganized as the 41st Infantry Brigade.
  16. Currently, the 45th Infantry Division has been reorganized as the 45th Infantry Brigade.
  17. Currently, the 53rd Infantry Division has been reorganized as the 53rd Infantry Brigade.
  18. The 61st Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized.
  19. The 62nd Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized.
  20. The 67th Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized.
  21. The 68th Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized.
  22. The 70th Infantry Division is known today as the 70th Training Division, and, as such, is not a comab-oriented unit.
  23. The 72nd Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized.
  24. The 73rd Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized.
  25. The 74th Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized.
  26. The 75th Infantry Division is known today as the 75th Exercise Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  27. The 76th Infantry Division is known today as the 76th Training Division, and, as such, is not a comabat-oriented unit.
  28. The 78th Infantry Division is known today as the 78th Exercise Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  29. The 80th Infantry Division is known today as the 80th Training Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  30. The 82nd Infantry Division was redesignated in World War Two as the 82nd Airborne Division, the designation it retains.
  31. The 84th Infantry Division is known today as the 84th Training Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  32. The 85th Infantry Division is known today as the 85th Exercise Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  33. The 87th Infantry Division is known today as the 87th Exercise Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  34. The 89th Infantry Division is known today as the 89th Training Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  35. The 91st Infantry Division is known today as the 91st Exercise Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  36. The 95th Infantry Division is known today as the 95th Training Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  37. The 98th Infantry Division is known today as the 98th Training Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  38. The 100th Infantry Division is known today as the 100th Training Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  39. The 101st Infantry Division was redesignated in World War Two as the 101st Airborne Division, which is the designation it retains today.
  40. The 104th Infantry Division is known today as the 104th Training Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
  41. The 105th Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized. As such, it was never a combat-oriented unit.
  42. The 107th Infantry Division was a World War II Division that actually was authorized, but was never Constituted nor Organized. As such, it was never a combat-oriented unit.
  43. The 108th Infantry Division is known today as the 108th Training Division, and, as such, is not a combat-oriented unit.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).