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Saturday, 12 April 2014
The Face of Failure
Topic: Politics & Elections

So this is the thanks she gets! Barack Obama, relying on some dubious stats, just declared that his signature initiative was a huge success after all. And to nprove it he sacked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the good soldier who carried the can for Obamacare’s disastrous rollout.

I’ll say this for Sebelius: Though incompetent, she was loyal. Recall how she insisted that poor President Obama, isolated in the Oval Office, had no idea in the world that the Obamacare website was unready for prime time. You sort of have to respect a woman who can recite a lie that big with a straight face. But then as the weeks and months of torture by Obamacare wore on, Sebelius had plenty of opportunities to perfect her trademark stony expression, which will remain the face of Obamacare long after she has vanished into well-deserved obscurity behind the walls of some Kansas think tank.

In retrospect it appears that despite her high-and-mighty title Kathleen Sebelius actually had little to do with the design and rollout of Obamacare. Certainly she was not distinguished by any special expertise in the area of healthcare reform. And of course, she was the second choice for the post of Secretary of HHS, shoved into the job at the last moment after the original pick, former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle, crashed and burned due to tax problems. Sebelius has been roundly criticized for poor management—but how was she, a political appointee with no clue, supposed to mange the regulation-writing process that put flesh on the bones of Obamacare? The truth is that the DC bureaucracy has become unmanageable.  The monster has taken on a life of its own. No one really understands what it’s doing or what the consequences of its actions may be. Feed the thing a new law and it will regurgitate a mountainous stack of administrative regulations, usually incomprehensible, often contradictory.

Where Sebelius really let down the side was on the PR front. Once the scope of the rollout fiasco became clear, the Obama Administration needed a competent, upbeat, hands-on crisis manager to take charge of the repair job—or at least, someone like that who appeared to be taking charge. But instead there was Sebelius, seemingly the very epitome of clueless incompetence. Among American public figures, she may now hold the record for cringe-inducing moments of public embarrassment. And the fact that she appeared unmoved by all that humiliation and mockery somehow made it worse.

The President can dance in the end zone all he wants, but Obamacare’s comically inept debut has reserved for his signature initiative an early grave. Public opinion already reviles Obamacare. The cynical strategy of postponing the law’s more damaging provisions until after the next elections will only make the pain worse when they do kick in. The next president, whoever that turns out to be, will have no choice but to euthanize Obamacare and replace it with something else. And though Kathleen Sebelius was not the architect of this Rube Goldberg masterpiece, she will always be remembered, and not fondly, as its poster girl.

Posted by tmg110 at 10:59 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 12 April 2014 1:52 PM EDT
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Friday, 11 April 2014
The Shame of the Sisterhood
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Brandeis University just provided us with an exemplary demonstration of politically correct cowardliness by reversing its decision to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is well known for her strident critique of radical Islamism, particularly as regards its oppression and mistreatment of women. Under pressure from apologists for Islamist extremism including the disreputable Council on Islamic-American Relations, Brandeis caved to the false charge that Ali is a hate-spewing Islamophobe. But now that Muslims have become a designated mascot group of progressivism, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. And to expect a demonstration of moral courage from university administrators is, well, utopian in the literal sense of the word.

Even so, can we take a moment to express disgust for one group that might possibly have been expected to rise to Hirsi Ali’s defense? I mean feminists, on the Brandeis campus and elsewhere. These women—privileged Western women who never had to worry about undergoing genital mutilation or being forced into an arranged marriage or being stuffed into a burka—spend endless hours gassing about the glass ceiling and the pay gap and the patriarchy and the injustice of being denied the right to a partial-birth abortion on demand. Wouldn’t you think that they could spare a particle of outrage on behalf of a sister who is battling far worse forms of oppression?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has walked the walk. A native of Somalia, she grew up in a fundamentalist Muslim family that inflicted upon her genital mutilation among other horrors. Fleeing her homeland, she found refuge in the Netherlands. There her vocal opposition to radical Islamism, her exposure of its oppression of women and girls, led to a partnership with a Dutch filmmaker. Together the produced a documentary on the subject. In return they received multiple death threats from Muslim fanatics, one of whom eventually stabbed to death Hirsi Ali’s partner. This so frightened the liberal Dutch establishment that there was talk of revoking her refugee status. The Dutch police expressed doubts that they could protect her from assassination. So she came to America. And here this courageous woman has been welcomed, though not of course by progressives and certainly not by feminists.

You can read what Hirsi Ali planned to say in her Brandeis speech and judge for yourself if the charges of bigotry and Islamophobia leveled against her are true. Personally, in view of her life story, I find such charges nothing short of vile. They confirm every negative judgment I’ve formed about the intellectual and moral corruption of liberalism, progressivism, leftism—call it what you will. Confronted with an inconvenient truth—that their latest mascot group, adopted out of dislike for George W. Bush and his war on terror, is the primary culprit in the great crime of our time—progressives stick their fingers in their ears, close their eyes and chant the same old la-la-la. And that portion of progressivism that markets itself as the champion of women’s rights is particularly worthy of contempt. The shame of Brandeis is nothing compared to the shame of feminism.

Posted by tmg110 at 3:02 PM EDT
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Thursday, 10 April 2014
Gay Rights and Progressive Bigotry
Topic: Liberal Fascism

The next time that you hear someone describe gay marriage as a “civil rights issue”—don’t believe it.

That such a minor, unimportant issue has become the Great Crusade of Our Time may appear strange at first glance. Gays constitute a small percentage of the population and no one cares much what they do. Nor can it be said the gay Americans have faced the same level of discrimination as black Americans. Gayness being an inner rather than an exterior characteristic, the de jure segregation that once burdened blacks was never a practical proposition. True, homosexuals were once disqualified for enlistment into the US armed forces. But over a long military career, most of it served prior to the don’t-ask-don’t-tell era, I knew more than a few gay soldiers. They didn’t make an issue of their sexual orientation, nor did anybody else.

So framing the gay-rights movement as a noble civil-rights crusade is basically an exercise in hyperbole, and it’s not surprising that many blacks are inclined to resent what they see is the hijacking of their cause by a far less oppressed and in many ways far more privileged group. It’s true of course that gays have had to deal with a certain amount of discrimination. Welcome to the club, boys and girls. Offhand I can’t think of a single religious, ethnic, racial or social group in America that hasn’t attracted hatred from some quarter.

Here’s what I think: Same-sex marriage, the flagship demand of the gay rights movement, has become a Godzilla-sized issue for reasons having nothing to do with civil rights. No, what we have here is another front in the progressive war in American society, another rationalization for the destruction of traditional institutions, another pretext for the imposition of censorship. It is, in short, a manifestation—a particularly offensive and ugly manifestation—of liberal fascism.

To claim that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue while demanding the purging and persecution of dissenters from that view is an exercise in doublethink—defined by George Orwell as the ability to hold two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting them both. One of the chief persecutors of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Each gave an exemplary demonstration of this mental perversion. Sam Yagan, the CEO of online dating site OkCupid, explained that he sees same-sex marriage as a ‘basic civil right.” But he also sees Brendan Eich as a pariah whose heterodox position on same-sex marriage is utterly intolerable. Accordingly, Eich must be reviled, condemned and purged in a manner reminiscent of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. From this it is evident that Yagan has not the slightest regard in principle for civil rights. He is, rather, an obnoxious secular Puritan of a type very familiar to anyone who studies the demographics of the leftie fever swamps.

And the doublethink doesn’t stop there. Progressives were outraged when their argument that corporations are not people and therefore cannot free speech was rejected by the Supreme Court in its decision on campaign finance law. Yet now they applaud Mozilla’s defense of its cave-in to the totalitarian bigots of the gay rights movement as an example of progressive corporate vales in action. Now I ask you, if a corporation has no civil rights, how can it embody values?

Well, I suppose that doublethink is helpful when you’re engaged in the defense of the indefensible. And that’s precisely the point. Gay marriage is indefensible in the context of marriage as a traditional institution. For biological, psychological, social and economic reasons that are or should be obvious, a union of two men or two women is an arrangement quite unlike the union of a man and a woman.  Same-sex unions are not additions to the existing institution of marriage. They’re new institutions with their own dynamics and no one has the slightest idea how they may evolve. Overlooking this key point is necessary when making an argument in favor of gay marriage—also shouting down those who have the audacity to make it.

And no doubt doublethink is also helpful when your advocacy on behalf of gay marriage springs not from a commitment of civil rights but rather from a desire to parade your own enlightenment, wisdom, sensitivity and virtue. This it seems to me is the secret wish that motivates many supporters of gay marriage who are not themselves gay. Like voting for Barack Obama, beating the drum for “marriage equity” makes them feel good. And civil rights? Merely a branding strategy…


Posted by tmg110 at 9:55 AM EDT
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Monday, 7 April 2014
Spare Us the Good Intentions. Please...
Topic: Decline of the West

One of the characteristic products of contemporary journalism is the unintentionally devastating profile piece. Usually penned by a starry-eyed admirer of the subject, such stories reveal by accident those inconvenient truths that the journalist would never report on purpose. Here’s a prize example of the genre: a profile of UN Ambassador Samantha Power in the Washington Post. Manuel Roig-Franzia, who writes for the paper’s Style section, just can’t say enough about his subject. And that’s just the trouble…from Power’s point of view.

Samantha Powers made her name as a human-rights activist focusing on genocide. She became famous for her denunciations of US policy where such episodes of mass murder are concerned, most notably in her book A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (2003), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize. Tapped by presidential candidate Barack Obama for service as a senior adviser on foreign policy issues, she stumbled badly in 2008, calling arch-rival Hillary Clinton a “monster.” Power believed that she was speaking on background and that her juicy comment would not be reported—early evidence of her political naiveté. For this embarrassing faux pas she was dumped by the campaign. But Power is Barack Obama’s kind of foreign policy expert: young, female, well credentialed and, not least, highly critical of past administrations. So a place was found for her on the new president’s national security team.

“The education of Samantha Power” as Roig-Franzia calls it began in the winter of 2009 when she and a number of other “grimly determined” White House staffers undertook to get the United States to sign a long-stalled treaty banning land mines. This appeared to them to be a no-brainer. More than 150 countries had signed the treaty—so why not the America? When Power & Co. began pushing to get the treaty signed they found out. The Pentagon was against it, pointing out the million land mines sown along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea constitute a key component of the US/South Korean defense plan. Confronted with this argument, Powers grumbled: “I didn’t have any idea how complicated these things become once you’re in government. This is as far from a no-brainer as I’ve ever seen.” This from a woman described by Roig-Franzia as “one of her generation’s most dazzling diagnosticians of our government’s failings”!

Nothing daunted by this initial rebuff, Power kept pushing on behalf of the treaty. But in 2012 she suffered a brutal put-down at the hands of General James Thurman, then commanding US forces in South Korea. “I wake up every morning with 1 million North Korean troops right across the border,” he told her bluntly. The general scoffed at Power’s argument for high-tech alternatives to the mines, calling them costly and unrealistic…and that was that. President Obama, Power’s great admirer, proved unwilling to side with her against the opinion of his military advisers.

There’s more along these lines in Roig-Franzia’s piece, much of far from flattering to its subject. I don’t doubt that Samantha Power means extremely well. But this profile shows that Power’s impressively credentialed celebrity activism left her unprepared to grapple with the realities of politics and power. In this she much resembles her boss, Barack Obama. Their education, alas, has come at America’s expense.

Posted by tmg110 at 9:23 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 7 April 2014 10:10 AM EDT
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More on Mozilla
Topic: Liberal Fascism

A correction and some additional information/commentary to supplement my last post, on Brendan Eich's ouster as CEO of Mozilla:

I was not quite correct to say that Eich was the company’s newly hired CEO, imp0lying that he was a new guy brought in from the outside. In fact he is the company’s cofounder and had served it for many years. He was Mozilla's Chief Technology Officer before being named as CEO in March. This makes the dishonest and craven statement of Monilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker even more despicable: She was Eich’s longtime business partner. They launched Mozilla together. Way to go, Mitchell, you politically correct coward. This also means, incidentally, that many of the people who were baying for Eich’s blood quite literally owed their jobs to him. What a pack of contemptible little scoundrels!

Update: It's been brought to my attention (by my wife, with a snicker) that in my recent Mozilla posts I misspelled the company name as Monzilla. Thanks, Sweetheart! Error corrected…

Posted by tmg110 at 8:19 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 10 April 2014 8:17 AM EDT
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Friday, 4 April 2014
Oldthinkers Unbellyfeel Mozilla
Topic: Liberal Fascism

The nerve of Brendan Eich! Back in 2008 he contributed $1,000 to Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative to amend the state constitution with a definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. What could he have been thinking? Perhaps that “gay marriage” is an oxymoron, like “jumbo shrimp”?

Well, anyhow, fast forward to 2014. Eich was hired as the new CEO of Mozilla, a company that describes itself in these soaring terms:  “[W]e’re a global community of technologists, thinkers and builders working together to keep the Internet alive and accessible, so people worldwide can be informed contributors and creators of the Web. We believe this act of human collaboration across an open platform is essential to individual growth and our collective future.” Heaven forbid, though, that the dauntless defenders of the “open platform” would allow into their ranks a man who has expressed a doubt about the sanctity of same-sex marriage! When his Proposition 8 contribution came to light, Eich was hounded out of his new job by a raving mob of sensitive, inclusive, progressive thinkers. And this was done in the name of inclusiveness, tolerance, and free expression!

On the Mozilla blog Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced Eich’s “decision to resign” in a statement that bids fair to take the all-time prize for intellectual dishonesty and sheer effrontery:

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.

We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.

This from a woman who permitted one of those employees to be hounded out of his job for…diversity of viewpoint!

What is very obvious is that despite the high-flown corporate rhetoric with which Mozilla robes itself, the management of this company believes in neither freedom of speech nor equality. Nor does it welcome contributions from everyone. Nor does it foster a culture of openness. Mozilla is a little Oceania, complete with doublethink, Newspeak and the Two Minutes Hate.

Posted by tmg110 at 3:30 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 10 April 2014 8:12 AM EDT
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Thursday, 3 April 2014
The Pollard Case: Crime and Punishment
Topic: Decline of the West

The anti-Semitic conspiracy mongers who run around insisting that the sinister Jews secretly control US foreign policy have some explaining to do. Specifically, they need to explain how it is that the all-powerful Zionists and their American sock puppets have not succeeded in getting Jonathan Pollard released from prison.

Pollard, you will recall, is an American Jew and former employee of the US Naval Intelligence Command who was arrested for spying on behalf on behalf of Israel in 1986. Though he and the government concluded a plea agreement by which Pollard would plead guilty to one count of espionage, a crime carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison. He agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation and damage assessment of the affair in the expectation of a reduced sentence. But this plea agreement fell apart, the government alleging that Pollard had violated its nondisclosure provision. Accordingly he was given a life sentence and has been behind bars, in solitary confinement for much of the time, for the past twenty-seven years.

The Pollard case became a cause célèbre. Many people in both Israel and the United States condemned the harsh sentence, pointing out that in other cases where the espionage benefitted a friendly foreign power, the government demonstrated considerable leniency. The State of Israel, while denying until 1998 that Pollard was an officially recruited intelligence asset, has pressed repeatedly for his release. In 1995 he was actually granted Israeli citizenship in anticipation of a release deal that later fell apart. On the other hand, many Americans—not all of them enemies of Israel or anti-Semites— have opposed Pollard’s release, arguing that espionage is a serious crime requiring serious punishment and noting that Pollard and his wife violated the terms of the original plea agreement.

The latest twist in the Pollard case is the work of the Obama Administration. In a desperate bid to get the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks off square one, Secretary of State John Kerry floated a deal by which Pollard would be released in exchange for Israel’s release of several hundred detained Palestinians, including many who were convicted of murderous terrorism. Probably this idea was unwelcome to the Israeli government but typically it was the Palestinians who torpedoed it.

There’s not much doubt that the politics of his case explain why Jonathan Pollard is still behind bars. The US government is highly sensitive to the incendiary charge that Israel controls US foreign policy—a belief shared by various haters of Israel and Jew bashers on both the Left and the Right. Moreover, the US State Department and the US intelligence community have a hard time seeing why they should do Israel a favor in this instance—an understandable attitude. And even if one leaves political considerations aside there remains the fact that Pollard is guilty by his own admission of a serious crime against the United States of America.

Some of Pollard’s partisans have portrayed him as a hero: misguided, perhaps, but a man with his heart in the right place. Not only is this wrong as a matter of fact but it’s faulty from a public-relations standpoint. Though most Americans view Israel favorably, few have sympathy for a man they regard, colloquially, as a traitor. The argument that justice should be tempered with mercy is well and good. The claim that Pollard’s good intentions somehow trumped his clear duty to the United States is one that average Americans, perhaps not intimately familiar with the particulars of his case, summarily reject. And rightly so.

As for the anti-Semites and Jew bashers, no doubt they’ve spun some absurdly convoluted conspiracy theory to explain the fact, inconvenient to them, that despite Israel’s supposed control of the US government, Jonathan Pollard is still in prison. Yes, those wily Zionists may pretend that they want him released but in reality the Jew bankers who control the Federal Reserve and the City of London…well, you know.

My own view is that Pollard put himself in this trick bag. Nobody twisted his arm and forced him to betray America's secrets to a foreign power. That he spied for Israel rather than China or the USSR only slightly mitigates his guilt. Yes, his sentence was harsh, perhaps unduly so. But life is often unfair and if Pollard had honored his oath and kept faith with his country he’d be a free man today. He’ll be eligible for parole next year, at which time I believe Pollard should be released. By then he will have been imprisoned for nearly thirty years—condign punishment for a weighty crime. Therefore let justice be tempered with mercy. Let Jonathan Pollard go, I say, and let us close the book on this sad and painful case.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:21 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 April 2014 10:34 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Normandy: The Allied Order of Battle
Topic: Military History

Operation Overlord was entrusted to the British 21st Army Group, General Bernard Law Montgomery commanding. For the invasion of Normandy and the battle of the bridgehead, this force would consist of two armies: US First Army on the right and British Second Army on the left. As the bridgehead expanded and more Allied divisions came ashore, two more armies would be activated: US Third Army and Canadian First Army. At that point, the two US armies would come under the command of US 12th Army Group, General Omar Bradley commanding. Montgomery’s 21st Army Group would retain command of British Second Army and assume command of the new Canadian army. The whole array would then come under the command of General Eisenhower’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, relocated from Britain to France.

Organizationally, the US and British armies stood in stark contrast to the defending German Army with its polyglot order of battle. Within each Allied Army, divisions of the same type were exactly alike (Canadian divisions were organized along British lines.) For example, every US Army infantry division consisted of three regiments, each with three infantry battalions, three field artillery (FA) battalions with a total of 36 105mm howitzers, one FA battalion with twelve 155mm howitzers, a mechanized cavalry reconnaissance troop, a combat engineer battalion and various support units. Equipment and weapons were standardized down to the level of the rifle squad. British infantry divisions were similarly organized: three brigades, each with three infantry battalions. US armored divisions were similarly standardized with three armored battalions totaling about 150 medium tanks and 60 light tanks, three armored infantry battalions, three armored field artillery battalions with a total of 54 105mm self-propelled howitzers, an armored cavalry reconnaissance squadron and various support units. Again, British armored divisions were broadly similar. In both armies the division was the largest unit with a fixed organization. Between two and four divisions constituted a corps, and three to six corps formed an army.

Both armies disposed of a large number of non-divisional combat units. Before the war the US Army had envisioned employing tank and tank destroyer (antitank) battalions in independent groups. By 1944, however, it had become clear that the group concept was flawed and most such battalions were attached directly to divisions. Non-divisional FA battalions were controlled by FA group headquarters, most of which were assigned to corps. Mechanized cavalry groups, consisting of two armored cavalry reconnaissance squadrons, were also corps-level assets. On the British side the picture was similar, though non-divisional tank battalions were grouped in independent brigades.

For the actual invasion, the assaulting divisions had a large number of supporting units attached to them, e.g. amphibious tank battalions, special combat engineer units, naval gunfire direction teams, etc. Most such units were detached again after the landing.

On D-Day itself, five Allied divisions would come ashore: From right to left US 4th Infantry Division (Utah Beach) US 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions (Omaha Beach), British 50th Infantry Division (Gold Beach), Canadian 3rd Infantry Division (Juno Beach) and British 3rd Infantry Division (Sword Beach). They would face elements of five German divisions: three static infantry divisions, one field infantry division and one panzer division. (For more information, see Dr. Leo Niehorster’s detailed German and Allied orders of battle for 6 June 1944.)

Posted by tmg110 at 11:21 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 April 2014 8:16 AM EDT
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Monday, 31 March 2014
Obamacare's Big Wow
Topic: Politics & Elections

Today the White House is crowing that Obamacare has met its goal of enrolling seven million people by the end of March.

I don't believe it for a nanosecond.

There is first the not-insignificant fact that the Obama Administration has been lying about the President's signature initiative since day one. So why, I ask myself, should the Administration be believed now?

Then there's the fact that the Administration's numbers are, not to put too fine a point on it, soft and fuzzy. We have absolutely no idea what the figure—seven million enrollees—actually means. Are they all paid-up customers? Seemingly not. Are they all people who previously had no health insurance? Probably not. Have enough young people signed up to keep Obamacare's financials on an ev en keel? Almost certainly not.

In typical Obama fashion, the needed triumph was achieved by proclaiming it. I doubt, therefore, than anyone outside the craven Obama claque will be impressed by all this—including the large number of Democratic senators and representatives whose jobs are on the line in November.

Posted by tmg110 at 3:58 PM EDT
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Saturday, 29 March 2014
Normandy: The German Order of Battle
Topic: Military History

For the defense of the Channel coast, Rommel’s Army Group B controlled some 45 divisions in the Seventh Army (Normandy) and the Fifteenth Army (Pas de Calais). If this total seems impressive, it must be borne in mind that the German divisions were very variable in quality. Nor did divisions of the same type all have an identical organization.

When the war began, the German infantry division was similar in structure to its American and British counterparts, consisting of three infantry regiments with three battalions each: the so-called triangular organization. Additional infantry divisions were mobilized in “waves” (Wellen), and the divisions of each wave were structured according to the tables of organization in force at the time of mobilization. These tables had to be revised several times during the war. Faced with an increasingly acute manpower crisis as the war dragged on, the Army found itself compelled to reduce the size of the infantry division. Usually one battalion was removed from each infantry regiment, leaving the division with a total of six (plus a so-called fusilier battalion with heavy weapons). The 352nd Infantry Division, defending Omaha Beach, was organized in this manner. The loss of manpower was partly offset by increasing the division’s firepower with more machineguns, mortars and infantry antitank weapons.

Some waves produced divisions for special purposes. Those of the Fifteenth Wave, for example, were the first of the so-called static (bodenständig) infantry divisions. As the designation implies, these divisions were configured for static defense. Generally they received lower-quality manpower, were armed with captured weapons and lacked sufficient transport to move as a unit. The 709th Infantry Division, defending Utah Beach, was a unit of this type, its artillery regiment being equipped with captured French and Russian guns. Of the Seventh Army’s fourteen infantry divisions, half were bodenständig types. There were also two Luftwaffe parachute divisions and a separate parachute regiment in the Seventh Army sector. Neither division was up to strength at the time of D-Day but organizationally they were similar to the prewar Army infantry division.

The Army’s panzer divisions were not formed in waves, but they too had been cut down in size, partly because of the manpower crisis and partly because their original organization had proved too unwieldy. The 1944 panzer division usually consisted of a panzer regiment of two battalions with about 150 tanks, two panzer grenadier regiments each with two motorized infantry battalions, an artillery regiment with one motorized and one self-propelled battalion, an armored reconnaissance battalion, and various supporting units. But no two were exactly alike, being equipped with whatever happed to be available at the time they were raised or rebuilt. The panzer and panzer grenadier divisions of the Waffen SS were similar but larger and usually had the latest equipment.

Besides its divisions, Army Group B also disposed of a large number of separate brigades, battalions and static coast artillery batteries. Prominent among these units were the so-called East (Ost) battalions, whose personnel were drawn from various ethnic groups in occupied Russia: Ukrainians, Georgians, Lithuanians, Cossacks, etc. The officers and NCOs, however, were German. Lightly armed and sketchily trained, the Ost battalions were of low combat value. Most were attached to the static infantry divisions.

It was with this somewhat motley array that the German Army in the West confronted the invader: General Bernard Law Montgomery’s 21st Army Group.


Posted by tmg110 at 3:12 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 March 2014 3:14 PM EDT
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