Opinion Poll on America’s Worst WWII Battle

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3 comments on “Opinion Poll on America’s Worst WWII Battle

  1. Pete Rogan says:

    Kasserine Pass. Hands down. A hopeless muddle from start to finish, marred by everything from poor planning to confused communications to poor leadership to faulty reconnaissance to poor equipment and training to complete loss of initiative throughout the battle. Even when Rommel ran out of men and supplies and withdrew, we didn’t know it and failed to pursue. A more complete failure of American arms in World War II is hard to find.

  2. navyphoto22 says:

    Kasserine Pass was bad, there’s no doubt about that. I think many could chalk up the outcome of that battle to all of the reasons you mentioned, plus the inexperience of the American Army. They simply were not battle-tested against a German military that had been in combat for nearly four years. The same could be said of the Navy at Savo Island, against a Japanese Imperial Navy that had the greater advantage through their intense training in night fighting. In my opinion, the debacle in the Hurtgen Forest and MacArthur’s ego-filled need to retake the Philippines ranks up there as two of the worst battles in the war. Both of those battles cost an obscene amount of casualties and rank as the longest battles in US history. But one could argue about other such failures, such as that of American military intelligence just before the German attack in the Ardennes that led to the
    Bulge. Thanks for writing Pete! We could argue all day which battle was the worst or whatever, but for the guys who fought them, I’m pretty sure they’d say it was whichever battle they were involved in!

    • Pete Rogan says:

      Thank you, navyphoto22. I think you’re right. ……(holding hand cupped to ear, listening) ….. I guess they’re either too old to use the Internet or just too old, but this is where I expect the survivors of Guadalcanal to wade in. I miss their stories of hostile jungles, torrential rains, the wind blowing caustic dust in your eyes while you were waist-deep in mud, the lack of support, the lack of supplies, the lack of mail, the snipers in the trees, the horror of the nights, the banzai charges, the Tokyo Express running Jap replacements in every night, the snakes, the scorpions, the fungus…. the way two months in the mud would make your pants rot right off your behind. We won that campaign, but it took months, a lot of Marines, and when it was over they pulled the 1st Marine Division off the line for replenishment and recuperation and it wasn’t back in action for over a year.

      I also miss the way the guys who had been in Italy would now break loudly in, with mud, and rain, and mountains, and the bloody Krauts, the >expletive deleted< Italians, the artillery, the snipers, and the crabs. Sigh. Oh, and the way they never got any press back home. Especially when they took Rome after a year and a half of struggling up the boot and the next day, Eisenhower lands in Normandy and the focus shifts away again. No justice, and they'd shake their heads, and clink their glasses, and the gleam would come to their eyes, and somebody would ask, "Remember that house in Salerno?" And they'd laugh. And the other stories would come out. The ones the women never heard. Or the kids.

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