Where the Marines in Europe in WWII?

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

  1. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    You do know that the Navy is the senior service don't you. Don't lose any sleep over it though, we love you anyway.
  2. petesusn

    petesusn New Member

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    Yea, that's telling them Grump. Don't worry, I've got your back shipmate.

    22 years U.S. Navy Retired
  3. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    There were no major Maine Corps forces used in Europe in WW2. The Maines were primarily used in the Pacific. The Marines did a fantastic job in WW1, but the mission they performed was more appropriate to the Army.

    Think about it - the Marines were typically expected to be a quick reaction force to overwhelm an enemy if possible, or to plug the gap until the Army could be put in place against a major force.

    As great as they were (and are) if they had been inserted against - say Rommel's Africa Corps with his heavy armor and infantry - I don't think the Marines would have had much of a chance. Of course they would have put up a heck of a scrap. The Army is designed more for that kind of fighting than the lighter, more mobile Marine Corps.

    Island operations against the Japanese was a mission perfectly suited to the Corps. They were mobile enough to go quickly from island to island. Those smaller islands did not lend themselves well to heavy armor or infantry for the Japanese.
  4. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    Old Grump the Navy is the senior service only if you are in Great Britain! :)

    Order of seniority of the AMERICAN ARMED FORCES.

    1. U.S. Army birth date 14 June 1775. And many of the American militia units that fought in the American Revolutionary War can trace their roots back well before this.

    2. U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard traces its beginings to the formation of the Revenue Cutter Service on 4 August 1790.

    3. U.S. Navy birth date May 1798. O.K. I can already hear you guys who wore those funny paints say no it was October 13th 1775. That Navy was disbanded after the Revolutionary War. A new Navy was established on May 1798. Even if you Navy guys go with the October 13th 1775 date the Navy would be number two in seniority.

    4. U.S. Marine Corps, birth date July 1798. Same deal as the Navy, the Marines were eliminated after the American Revolutionary War. They had origanly been established on November 10th 1775. So depending on how you score it they are either the 3rd or 4th in seniority.

    5. U.S. Air Force. Established September 18th 1947 as an independent service. Can trace its roots back to the Army Air Forces, Army Air Corp and Army Signal Corps..
  5. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    From 1784 to 1787 there was no standing army because it had been disbanded. A little break in the chain there you forgot about. The official birthdate is still October 13, 1775. From 1783 to 1797, America's armed maritime service was the Revenue Cutter Service. It might have stayed that way if it hadn't been for the Barbary pirates which caused congress to authorize the building of 6 ships. Congress had tried to appease the pirates with payments but you know you just can't trust pirates. Shippers of most nations are making the same mistake today by legitimizing piracy with ransom payments.

    Doesn't make any difference, none of our forces would be worth much without the others. We all do what we do best.
  6. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    Regardless of what birth dates we go with, original or "rebirth" the Army comes out as the senior service.

    The mistake being made regarding the modern pirates isn't just being made by the shippers, it is being made by the governments of the world! The Obama administration could easily under international law could sove this problem. But you also have to blame GWB administration.

    Under international law there is a right to defend you ships in transit in international law. A small detachment of service men on a feighteer with .50 caliber M2 machine guns could cut the small boats the pirates use in half.

    There is an international force of Navies now patroling to stop the pirates. But to me they are a little slow on the trigger.

    I agree 100%, the armed services need each other.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    According to some Marines, there was no need for any Army troops at all. Or airmen. Or sailors. Or support troops. Or tanks, airplanes or ships. In fact there was no need for any Marines except for the two who would have done the job in the ETO and the PTO with nothing but Springfield rifles and bayonets. (Yes, one Marine could have done it, but not soon enough, what with travel time.)

    That is true, isn't? Would a Marine stretch the truth?

    Jim
  8. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    That sums up very well the role of Marines in the European-North African area in WWII.

    Actually, at the time of Pearl Harbor, the Marines were not the experts in amphibious operations that they later became. Prior to WWII, the Marines were lightly equipped and intended only as a landing party; at best they would hold a small piece of territory which could be used to land Army forces. The landing ships and landing craft the Marines would later use didn't exist, and most Marine landings up to that time were from ordinary ships' boats.

    While experiments had been conducted in the 1930's, the true landing craft was not well developed until 1943. At the time of the Guadalcanal invasion in August 1942, only the LCM and LVT were available in any numbers and the LCM, while it carried tanks, had no bow ramp (actually a Japanese invention).

    But landing craft and landing ships were rapidly developed and built in large numbers, and by mid-1943 the Marines had full fighting and staying capability. They had tanks, heavy artillery and close air support (primarily Navy and Marine), plus support from naval guns when and where feasible.

    I have often made fun of Marine mythology, but there were no myths involved in what the Marines did in the Pacific. The fighting was hard and brutal and the Marines were heros in every meaning of that word. They deserve the respect of all Americans.

    On a lighter note, someone on another site said the Marines had no artillery or air support. I pointed out that they did have integral Marine support in those areas, plus the U.S. armed forces fight as a team and that Marines could, when necessary, call for Army, Navy, or Air Force support, and receive it. A poster, who claimed to have served in the USMC in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam (!!) stated that only the panty-waist Army soldiers needed artillery or air cover and that Marines took those Pacific islands by fixing bayonets and charging. What silly nonsense! I hope that by the time the "three-war Marine" graduates from high school, he might have learned better.

    Jim
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  10. corsair

    corsair New Member

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    If anyone has encountered combat anywhere, I'm sure that they cannot forget all thier brothers in all branches of the U S Military, as all being part in some way enabling them to return to our USA. The Navy bobarding the beaches, the air support before and after the landing,the Army contending with enemy forces in another part of the world and our Coast Guard protecting the perimeter of the USA, all working in unison to forbid the enemy his goal. Also, I have not ever met a REMF I didn't appreciate.JMHO
    Semper Fidelis
  11. Ratel

    Ratel New Member

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    So in other words, the Marines landed with single divisions and the Army landed with several divisions AND the British. Looks like the Marines did the job with 1 division and the Army needed several with help. :)
  12. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    :) Thats true ( except they landed with more than one division ), The Marines took little bitty Islands and the Army took entire countries:)
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2010
  13. SemperFi0311

    SemperFi0311 New Member

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    Hi I am a young pup to this forum.

    In answer to your question: This story comes from LeatherNeck Magazine:

    "One of the most decorated Marine officers of World War II, Colonel Peter Ortiz served in both Africa and Europe througout the war, as a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

    Although born in the U.S., he was educated in France and began his military service in 1932 at the age of 19 with the French Foreign Legion. He was wounded in action and imprisoned by the Germans in 1940. After his escape, he made his way to the U.S. and joined the Marines. As a result of his training and experience, he was awarded a commission, and a special duty assignment as an assistant naval attache in Tangier, Morocco. Once again, Ortiz was wounded while perfoming combat intelligence work in preparation for Allied landings in North Africa.

    In 1943, as a member of the OSS, he was dropped by parachute into France to aid the Resistance, and assisted in the rescue of four downed RAF pilots. He was recaptured by the Germans in 1944 and spent the remainder of the war as a POW.

    Ortiz's decorations included two Navy Crosses, the Legion of Merit, the Order of the British Empire, and five Croix de Guerre. He also was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French. Upon return to civilian life, Ortiz became involved in the film industry. At the same time, at least two Hollywood films were made based upon his personal exploits. He died on 16 May 1988 at the age of 75."

    --A Different War: Marines In Europe And North Africa, Marines In WWII Commemorative Series, By LtCol Harry W. Edwards (Ret)
    There are numerous detailed accounts of the background and exploits of Ortiz in various publications; I will list those of which I am aware at the end of this article. He had been born in New York City and educated in France where he left school before graduation to join the Legion. He was said to be the youngest sergeant in the history of the French Foreign Legion. He was wounded in action between the Legion and Germans in 1940, then imprisoned in a concentration camp in Austria.

    After escaping, making his way to the U.S. and joining the Marine Corps in June 1942, he was commissioned in August 1942, commissioned a captain in the Marine Corps Reseve in December 1942, and assigned to North Africa as an assistant naval attache where he organized a patrol of Arab tribesmen to scout German forces on the Tunisian front. He was asigned to the OSS after recovering from wounds suffered in Tunisia.

    Captain Ortiz had reported back to HQMC in April of 1943, and the following month joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a secretive organization and predecessor to the CIA. He was a graduate of both the Legion's and Marine Corps' parachute schools. Having lived in France he was fluent in that language; he also spoke nine other languages and was fluent in five. He parachuted into France on January 6, 1944, assigned to help organize and lead elements of the French underground forces known as the "Marquis."
    -RWG

    The Leatherneck magazine of January 1991, indicates that:
    In the course of his duties he began frequenting a nightclub in Lyons that catered to German officers. This enabled Ortiz to gain much information regarding German activities in the area, which he turned to good use against the Germans. This Marine had worn his Marine uniform when leading Marquis groups in raids. To have an Allied officer leading them bolstered their morale immensely, especially when the uniform bore such impressive decorations.

    "One night, while Ortiz sat with the German officers at the club in Lyons, an enemy soldier damned President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He then damned the United States of America. And then, for whatever reason, he damned the United States Marine Corps (Ortiz later wrote that he "could not, for the life of me, figure why a German officer would so dislike American Marines when, chances were, he'd never met one.")

    Perhaps Ortiz was bored. Perhaps he......he excused himself from the table and returned to his apartment where....changed into the uniform of a U.S. Marine....he then shrugged into a raincoat and returned to the club....he ordered a round of drinks...refreshments were served.... removed his raincoat and stood brandishing his pistol.
    "A toast, he said, beaming, respendent in full greens and decorations, "to the President of the United States!" As the pistol moved from German officer to German officer, they emptied their glasses.
    He ordered another round of drinks and then offered a toast to the United States Marine Corps!
    After the Germans had drained their glasses, the Marine backed out, pistol levelled at his astonished hosts. He disappeared into the rainy, black night.

    ....The train approached. The explosive device was detonated....the Marqis opened up....Grenades were tossed. Ortiz waited for the firing to subside, then stood in full view in his Marine Corps uniform and ordered the Marquis to withdraw....leaving 47 Germans dead and many others wounded. Not a Marquis was lost.
    His adventures were numerous..."
    --Leatherneck, January 1991 After the war, Colonel Ortiz worked with director John Ford, a former member of the OSS himself.. Two movies were produced depicting the exploits of Ortiz. They were, "13 Rue Madeleine," with James Cagney, etc., and "Operation Secret," with Cornel Wilde, etc.
    Ortiz also had small parts in such films as, "The Outcast," "Wings of Eagles," and "Rio Grande." He also played the part of Major Knott in the film, "Retreat Hell," a movie about the Marines at the Chosin Resevoir in 1950.

    Marine Colonel Peter Ortiz was laid to rest at Arlington National cemetery on May 23, 1988. Prior to burial, the procession was led by the Marine Band in full dress, playing hymns - then a Marine rifle company in full dress, with fixed bayonets - six white horses pulling a caisson with the flag draped coffin and the beautiful black riderless horse with the reversed boot.
    A Navy commander chaplain conducted a short service.
    Representing the U.S. Marine Corps was General Frank Breth, Director of Intelligence; representing France was Colonel Guy Hussenot; representing England was Captain Jeremy Robbins, of the British Royal Marines...

    To all the Jarheads on this forum.

    Semper Fidelis

    SemperFi0311
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