Greatest American Military Debacles of World War 2

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Day-Tripper, May 27, 2016.

  1. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    I was recently reading about British military debacles in World War 2 and, boy, there were a lot of them.

    Dunkirk in June 1940. British army, which fought the Germans all across Europe in 4.5 years of World War One (Western Front, Italian theater, Gallipoli, Bulgaria, Greece, etc.) & won, was kicked off the continent after a month of fighting in the spring of 1940. Then defeated in Greece & Crete in 1941, with more evacuations. Defeated repeatedly by Rommel in 1941-1942. Defeat & loss of Hong Kong & Malaya colonies to the Japanese, culminating in humiliating defeat at Singapore in February 1942 (120,000 British surrender to 60,000 Japanese.)

    But what of the greatest US defeats of the war? Excluding the first 6 months of the Pacific War (December 1941 to May 1942), when the US was attacked without warning & without being prepared, what were the greatest US military losses in The Good War (as Studs Turkel called it)?

    Some notable nominations are as follows:

    Kasserine Pass - February 1943. First US battle against the Wermacht & a stunning defeat. Nothing like this happened in World War One when the US Army first went into combat against the Germans in 1918. US forces were well-equipped, supplied and trained (or so it was thought) but Rommel's seasoned Afrika Korps & superior panzers soundly defeated the US forces.

    Anzio - January to June 1944. Joint US-British operation, seeking to land from the sea behind German lines in Italy & march on Rome. It fails. Germans hold the Allies to a small beachhead, a la Gallipoli in WW1. 3,000 GIs & 4,000 British troops die, another combined 40,000 become casualties. No major impact on the Italian campaign.

    Peleliu - September to November 1944. A resounding US military victory, with the Japanese garrison wiped out almost to a man. But terrible casualties suffered by both US Marines & Army. 11,000 casualties, about 1/4 of them KIA. And the island held no significant strategic value. It could have easily been bypassed altogether (as General MacArthur did with numerous Japanese-held islands on the way to the Philippines.)

    Hurtgen Forest - September to November 1944. US Army attacks the Germans in this terribly dense forest for 3 months, attempting to break into the Roer Valley. They Germans hold. The Americans fail. 8,000 GIs die for nothing. Another 33,000 become wounded.

    Any other suggestions? Comments?
     
  2. MiddyB

    MiddyB Member

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    I would not consider Peleliu a loss. If you are considering it as such because of the heavy losses we took in order to take it then I would suggest you look at any of the famed Pacific campaigns, i.e. Okinawa, Iwo Jima, etc.

    You must also take into account that the difference between the German Army in WW1 and WW2 is that the Wehrmacht of WW2 had been FAR more experienced and battle hardened than our own forces. The same could be said with the Japanese.
     
  3. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Probably not what I'll choose to concentrate on this Memorial Day weekend. Might be a good historical discussion for another day.
     
  4. Wishful

    Wishful Parent

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    C-Span 3 has programs that cover American History every weekend. Lots of videos in its archives as well. If you haven't visited this site, I urge you to check it out!
     
  5. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Yeah but we won so we get the ability to write the History. Yes there were some great defeats and mistakes in the Pacific and Europe but I don't think that your comment "they died for nothing" (was that a quote from someone, as such it should be annotated). was correct. None of them died or suffered for nothing. Nine thousand casualties killed or wounded on June 6, 1994. Was that for nothing? Then again 620,00 casualties killed or wounded in the Civil War. Was that a mistake or they suffered for nothing? Dunkirk was a great German mistake. They allowed the British armed forces to survive and fight another day. The Maginot Line was a mistake and allowed their country to be overrun. Operation Barbarrossa was the greatest mistake of WW II as violating the Non Aggression Pact Germany created a two front war.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  6. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    Sorry for the very delayed response.

    "...die for nothing..." means that those American combat deaths contributed nothing towards the eventual defeat of the enemy, in this case Nazi Germany. Harsh phrase? Certainly. But technically accurate? Probably.
     
  7. Wishful

    Wishful Parent

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    Operation Market Garden aka "A Bridge Too Far"
     

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