This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you prove someone wrong

I don’t normally check out Youtube comments but I just happened to glance down at the section for this video and saw a rather impressive takedown of a guy who was erroneously stating that the Marine Corps had it harder in World War II than the Army.  Now, the guy’s comment was actually pretty innocuous so whether he deserved to be taken down like that is a different question altogether, but I’m all for the use of more facts and explanation to tell someone they are wrong.  I mean, it would have been more awesome if the guy was mouthing off, as is distressingly common whenever us mere civilians talk about the Marine Corps.  Also, the commenter doesn’t come across as being condescending, in my opinion, which is totally cool.

If anyone ever comes across Ravenguard1000, our resident YouTube World War II historian, somebody buy him a beer.  Until then, enjoy this detailed essay on why the Marines did not “have it harder” than the Army:

The marines had it harder than the Army in WW2? Really? Seventeen US Army Infantry Divisions that saw combat in Europe saw more than 200 days in combat and saw casualty rates of OVER 200%. One, the 4th Division, had 299 combat days and 240% casualties. This means that a rifleman arriving in Europe with one of these divisions had a zero statistical chance of seeing the end of the war alive or unmaimed. The marines in the Pacific don’t even come close to this.

The sick joke about the commanding general of the 1st Division (Big Red One) was that he was actually a Corps commander because he had THREE divisions – one in combat, one in the hospital, and one in the graveyard. To counter this, the marines often lie that they had higher casualties than the Army, but this is a statistical trick – the marines got almost all of their logistical support from the Army and Navy, so they can claim a much smaller force and higher casualties.

When the numbers are adjusted for actual fighting strength, the Army in Europe suffered far more casualties than the marines. The fact is that the Germans were a vastly more dangerous enemy than the Japanese (they rarely did us the favor of charging stupidly into our heavy weapons fire). The Japanese never launched a major ground offensive after New Guinea (no marines there) but the Germans were counterattacking almost to the end of the war.

In reality, the European Theater was an Armageddon simply too large, complex, and horrible for the human mind to comprehend. The single Battle of the Ardennes generated more deaths in a few days than the marines have suffered in their entire history and was fought in the worst Arctic weather Europe had seen in generations. If one wants to talk about who suffered in the Pacific, I suggest a look at the New Guinea campaign, where no marines were involved.

New Guinea was fought at about the same time as Guadalcanal, but in conditions far, FAR worse – from stinking disease-ridden jungles up near vertical slopes to freezing, mile-high mountain tops and back down again, poorly-supplied by a single one-mule-wide trail. Few know about New Guinea because marine press agents, as usual, were making sure that the marines got front-page press coverage back home. THIS is the ONLY reason for “marines had it harder” myth.

So, the only thing that the marines have EVER had a harder time of than the Army is telling the truth about their own history. This is only one of numerous examples of where the marines create myth out of truth. The marines are a fine organization for what they do, but their myth is only believed by civilians – the rest of the services regard them with the same kind of amused contempt that the NFL holds for a good High School football team. Be careful when they speak – it may be BS.

Well, I don’t think this gentleman quite speaks for me, as I would not dream of speaking ill of a brother service.  My nose curls a bit whenever I hear someone mouthing off about the Chair Force or telling me that with my ASVAB scores I should’ve joined the Navy.  That said, I’m not above the usual banter between the services.  Also, I’m still in the DEP so I will move back in my lane for the moment.


~ by Teabee on August 5, 2012.

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