Accession Number:

AD1111588

Title:

Re forging the Iron Division: The Reconstitution of the 28th Infantry Division between the Hrtgen and the Ardennes

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2015-05-21

Pagination or Media Count:

69.0

Abstract:

The 28th Infantry Division of the Pennsylvania National Guard suffered near collapse in the Battle of the Hrtgen Forest in November 1944 but recovered in time to delay a German force eight times its size in the Battle of the Bulge just four weeks later. This analysis looked at how the Division was able to recover by analyzing it as a system set in a larger systemic context. The individual replacement system, despite its reputation, ultimately enabled the foundation for the Divisions rapid reconstitution by improving the average replacement soldiers physical and mental quality, their level of individual training, and providing them when requested and in sufficient numbers. Also, headquarters elements at battalion and above, supporting units, and core groups of veterans in the infantry companies provided continuity that enabled reconstitution. In addition, during the four-week recovery period, leaders at all levels rebuilt teamwork by strengthening the effectiveness of their teams, conducting progressive training, and working holistically to raise morale. The Iron Divisions example shows that many of the conditions for success or failure in a future war may already be set. The Army and nation must look holistically at how current systems tie back to the broader national moral and physical capabilities. Quality, training, and morale of soldiers remain critical to maintaining the cohesion and effectiveness of units in combat, and when they falter, it requires a holistic effort, with sufficient time and space to fix it.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE