Where the Marines in Europe in WWII?

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by dbltap, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. dbltap

    dbltap New Member

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    I was lounging the other evening and watching Band of Brothers and a random thought crept into my head. I don't remember seeing any WWII movies showing the Marines in Europe.

    I know they were in the Pacific Theater, but they had to be in Europe, some where, weren't they?
  2. red14

    red14 Active Member

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    I can't be 100% sure, but, didn't marines serve on most Navy vessels for protection? Some of our old Marine buddies should know this. Dad was in the European and Pacific theater, and it seems like there were Marines on his ship always.

    I think it's a great question. I'd like to know for sure.
  3. killbuck

    killbuck New Member

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    I can't really answer 100% but I don't recall ever being taught about Marines fighting in Europe in WWll. Marines before WWll served security at Naval amd Marine bases and installations and aboard naval ships. After WWl the Marines over the years started gearing up as FMF units (Fleet Marine Force). To jump on a ship and go anywhere to fight. When Pearl Harbor came along the Marines used that FMF to head out and fight the japs where ever they were at, which was in the pacific and that held all thier attention.

    Hope that helped a wee bit but as I said I was never taught we fought in Europe at all.

    Semper Fi.
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    There were a few loose Marines in Europe, but as far as combat operations, no, the ground war in Europe was exclusively a Army war. Before someone says " Air Force", remember, it was the Army Air Force at the time. The Pacific war was both Army and Marines.
  5. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

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    The only marines to see combat in the ETO were either ships company, attached to navy logistics shore commands or with the OSS.
  6. red14

    red14 Active Member

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    That is what I thought, 'attached to ship's company'. I don't believe the OP asked about 'being in action'.
  7. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    ??????? By the way the question was worded, in reference to watching the Band of Brother and where were the Marines, he inferred Combat operations.:)
  8. red14

    red14 Active Member

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    'In reference to' and 'he inferred', c'mon now. I'm an old broken down baseball coach. I can't try to figure out what somebody really meant. He asked were they there, I thought they were.
  9. petesusn

    petesusn New Member

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    There was a detachment of Marines in Iceland but they were there mainly to support occupying British forces.
  10. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Being minor picky here. Wasn't it the Army Air Corps?
  11. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Six of one and half dozen of the other, still army untill we were able to clean house and get rid of them.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  12. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk New Member

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    # U.S. Army Air Service 24 May 1918–July 2, 1926
    # U.S. Army Air Corps 2 July 1926–June 20, 1941**
    # U.S. Army Air Forces 20 June 1941–September 18, 1947**
    # United States Air Force 18 September 1947–Present
  13. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

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    There were Marines floating around in europe. But nothing to the scale that the army was. Keep in mind at that time they were (and still are) a small branch of the service. They were "intended" for amphibious operations. Thus were best suited in the Pacific. And the pacific pretty much used up all of the Marine Corp it could provide. The Marine Corp isn't really a full-fledged "army" like the army, but a dedicated surprise invasion force not really designed for a protracted battle but just to secure a front for a mass grouping of the general Army that is more suited to a protracted and enduring battle.
  14. red14

    red14 Active Member

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    Hence the name 'A few good men'.;)
  15. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Why hey, we had to give the junior services something to do while we took care of Europe :) United States Army Retired:)
  16. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The Marines were used in the Pacific for the obvious reason that they were the experts in amphibious warfare and beach landings, which were a lot more common in the Pacific theater than in the ETO. There were Marine advisers to Eisenhower for the amphibious operations in Africa and Europe, but not combat troops.

    Jim
  17. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Actually this may have been one of the biggest blunders by Ike and the US Army. Simple Arrogance.

    By 1943 Marines were going ashore against fortified beaches without getting their feet wet, had naval gunfire support down to a science, and naval close air support almost there too.

    The Navy dutifully sent Combat experienced Marines to SHAEF to help Ike plan for Overlord....and they were IGNORED. In fact, it was even worse than that, no record of them briefing anybody other than low level liason officers.

    The reason? Every body KNEW our strategy was "Germany First," so by logical extension, we had the "A" team in Europe.

    What was POSSIBLE to be learned from the "B" Team?


    How about LVTs? Not only LVTs but ARMORED LVTs already in service.

    How about a MINIMUM of 12 hours heavy naval bombardment, not 2?

    How about that the USAAF anywhere but New Guinea had already proven inept at truly CLOSE air support? And that Heavy bombers can only work long BEFORE troops are in the water?


    A lot of those dead GIs in the water off Utah and Omaha should have made it ashore, IF only those Marines didn't have to "cool their heels" at Shaef.



    And yes, many individual marines were "seconded"m to the OSS and served in France, many of whom went back to the Corps after the war.
  18. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    Polish, I think you have to think of the timeline:
    August 1942 the Marines land at Guadalcanal. This landing had little opposition and was done by a single division. The Invasion of North Arica by U.S. Army and British forces was already being planned as a multi-division landing. In November 1942 the North African landings put Five U.S. divisions plus a British division and additional units ashore in three major landings, Casablanca, Oran and Algiers. I'm sure some lessons could have been learned from the Marines, and it would have been wise to take all information they could have provided.

    So at the end of 1942 the U.S. Army had MORE experience in opposed amphibious landings than the Marines!

    August 1943 the U.S. and British Armies execute another multi-division amphibious invasion of Sicily. September 1943 U.S. and British Armies invade Southern Italy from the sea, with another multidivisional force. October/November 1943 the U.S. Marines in a single division invasion begin to move up the Solomon Islands in an attack on Bougainville. Latter in November 1943 the Marines land at Tarawa, and the U.S. Army lands at Makin Island.

    January 1944 the U.S. and British Army perform another multidivisional seaborne landing at Anzio in Italy.

    By the time of the Normandy landings in June 1944 the U.S. Army had experience in 4 multidivisional landings in North Africa, and Italy. In addition they had several amphibious operations in the Pacific theater of operation. The Marine Corp at that point in time had several single divisional size and smaller amphibious operations.

    As I said before there were lessons that the Army could have learned from the Marines. But at the time of the Normandy landings in June 1944 the Army had just as much if not more experience in amphibious ops as the Marines.

    The Army divisions that landed in the Operation Torch landings in North Africa in 1942 did in fact recieve some amphibious training from the U.S. Marine Corp.
  19. Gooseman

    Gooseman New Member

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    I agree with this, however there is a lot more to it. A big reason is politics. After WWI, with downsizing of the whole military, the army, the navy, and many politicians were trying to de-activate the Marine Corps. It was thought that they were not needed, and many higher ups in the army and many politicians resented the Marine Corps role in WWI. After the battle of Belleau Wood, newspapers around the world featured headlines stating not that the US saved paris, or America saves France, but the United States Marine Corps saves France. The Corps had been born as a part of the navy, but for years before WWI, Marines had been expeditionary fighters in places such as China and South America. Many senior marine officers and SNCO's went to WWI already combat proven, and Belleau Wood solidified the Marine Corps reputation as a superior fighting force. After the war, higher ups in the Corps foresaw conflict in the pacific, and mastering those amphibious tactics was a way to ensure the survival of the Corps. The Army did not want the Marine Corps in Europe again. Marines still have a large amphibious role today, however there has been more of a shift in recent years to back to an expeditionary fighting force.
  20. wpage

    wpage Active Member

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    Typically Marines lead the way for the army to occupy...
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