Where Did Babe Fit Into the Mammoth Structure of the Military?
February 10, 2012 Leave a Comment
Moving on, it will be helpful to know a little about how the army was structured during World War II. At this point, Babe has been assigned to the 34th Infantry Division, 168th Infantry Regiment. Shortly, he will be assigned to the Antitank Company within the 168th.
What does that mean?
According to About.com, Babe’s immediate community within the army would have consisted of anywhere from 62 to 190 soldiers. That’s the complement of an army company (Babe was in the antitank company).
Moving up the line, if I read the About.com article correctly, companies are assembled into brigades or regiments of between 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers (Babe was in the 168th Infantry Regiment). Three regiments make a division of between 10,000 and 15,000 soldiers (Babe was in the 34th Infantry Division).
Two to five divisions rolled up into a “corps” of 20,000 to 40,000 soldiers. Two or more corps combined to form an army of 50,000 or more soldiers. Babe was part of the Fifth Army (and I have the arm patch to prove it).
The function of an “antitank company” is probably self-evident, but I was curious to know a little more. I found “US infantryman in World War II.: European theater of operations, 1944-45,” By Robert S. Rush, Elizabeth Sharp, Ian Palmer, from 2002. The book included this description of an “antitank company.”
The company consisted of a company headquarters, three 2.22 in. (57 mm) antitank platoons, and an antitank mine platoon. Most infantry divisions contained antitank guns towed behind one and one half ton cargo trucks…
…The antitank platoons each contained a headquarters and three antitank squads, each containing one 57 mm (2.22 in.) antitank gun and one 2.36 in (60 mm) bazooka. Each antitank platoon was capable of independently supporting a designated infantry unit. The antitank mine platoon contained a headquarters and three tank mine squads capable of emplacing and removing minefields as well as basic engineering tasks.
The graphic included with this post is from “World War II Infantry Anti-Tank Tactics,” By Gordon L. Rottman