The United States Army is the land warfare branch of the U.S. Military and one of its two senior services (the other being the U.S. Navy). It is the largest and oldest of the United States's uniformed services. This article is primarily concerned with the modern U.S. Army of the Napoleon's Legacy Universe, which has been extensively re-organized and is of a markedly different character than the pre-New Deal State Army or than the real-world 21st Century Army.
Taft-Wadsworth Act of 1940Edit
(note: this Act in the Napoleon's Legacy Universe is markedly different from the real-world 1940 Burke-Wadsworth Act, which initiated a peace-time draft in preparation for World War II)
The Taft-Wadsworth Act, named for two U.S. representatives - Senator Robert Taft of Ohio (Democrat) and Congressman James Wolcott Wadsworth of New York (Republican) - revolutionized and modernized the structure of the U.S. Army. It converted the small standing all-volunteer Army into a massive, professionalized, semi-Conscripted force more along the lines of European Armies (although it still has many distinctive differences). The German Bundeswehr and French Grande Armée - both Conscript forces - were particular sources of inspiration.
The most prominent change forced by the Taft-Wadsworth Act was to the National Guard, almost completely changing the organization. Prior to this point, the National Guard was actually dozens of different organizations, with each State and several territories having their own National Guards. These were loosely organized under the National Guard Bureau in 1908, although the State organizations remained almost completely independent and functioned essentially as State Militias. In 1933, the precursor to this part of the Taft-Wadsworth Act, the "National Guard of the United States" was created as an umbrella organization for the units of the various States, allowing them to function as a reserve force for the regular Army.
The Taft-Wadsworth Act, however, converted the NG into a true national organization. The National Guard Bureau was subordinated directly to the U.S. Army, making the National Guard a component of the Army in the same way as the USAAF (United States Army Air Forces). The Army proper would remain a volunteer Professional force, but the NG was converted from a collection of provincial militias into a national conscript army unto itself. Every male U.S. Citizen would henceforth be required to do three years of National Service to the country upon graduating highschool (i.e. age 18-21). They could choose to join one of the other, professional branches of the military instead in return for greater benefits, but would be required to perform a normal service term - which would be significantly longer than the simple 3 year conscription.
Thus, the vast majority of the U.S. population ends up in the National Guard, which rapidly expanded through the 30s and 40s into a a massive force of millions containing something in the vacinity of 2.5% of the country's citizenry (more than 200,000,000 people in the Continental U.S. alone, including Canada and northwest Mexico). National Guard troops act as garrisons, paramilitary police forces and rapid response manpower for disaster relief within the U.S. territory. Some units are sent overseas to garrison American colonial holdings or to defend military bases closer to the Alaskan Front, where the possibility of seeing combat exists. These regiments are filled with Conscripts who volunteer for such duties in return for higher pay. The NG also functions as a second readily-available, pre-mobilized reserve to the Army - casualties are replaced from the Army Reserve and with volunteers from the National Guard, by converting their Conscription term into a full military enlistment of 6 years, with full pay and possibilities of advancement. Conscripts transferred to regular Army units are no different from regular volunteers.
The National Guard Divisions, unlike those of the Army, are still organized geographically: i.e. "36th Texas Infantry Division 'Arrowhead'", much like the militia forces of the old pre-20th century U.S. military, particulary of the Civil War period. However, each State is required to raise a certain number of NG units based on their population and "priority". Some of these units are permanently "Activated" (i.e. under the control of the Federal Government), others operate strictly within their State of origin, and still others are both Activated and "Deployed" (i.e. operating outside their home state, for example guarding bases in the Yukon Military district behind the front lines). States only have control of those Divisions which are not Activated, and the National Guard Bureau / Department of War maintain the rights to Activate any Division at will at any time for an unlimited period of time as well as to order states to raise new National Guard units. However, the latter is not commonly done because the National Guard as a whole currently maintains sufficient Divisions to accomodate every single Conscript in all their considerable millions, and the government simply Activates units as needed.
The various States are grouped into Military Districts: East Atlantic District, Great Lakes & Ohio River District, South Atlantic District, Mississippi Valley District, Southwestern District, South Pacific District, Northwestern District and the new North Atlantic District which covers Eastern Canada. These Districts are responsible for the administration of the Activated NG units within their confines and for the supply of all NG troops in general. They coordinate the management of the U.S.'s considerable coastal defense and anti-aircraft networks, the movement of supplies, etc. Many U.S. military installations, particular the huge Flak Towers that have been constructed in the major cities, are manned by State-controlled NG units even though they are considered Federal property. In other words, there is a high level of cooperation between the State governments and District administrations, with an informal kind of Federalism where the costs are shared by the government and the States (although technically the States are not obligated to pay for any of it).
In times of Crisis, the President can order the Activation of the National Guard at large. This would remove the normal restrictions on how the Guard units can be employed, essentially converting them into normal - if somewhat less-well equipped - Army units which can be deployed for combat. At present, only Activated and Deployed Guard units see combat, and only rarely even then. They cannot be ordered into combat by their Regular Army General Officers unless the officer in question feels he can justify the action, and can make his case before a War Department investigation afterwards.
Army Command StructureEdit
The Taft-Wadsworth Act also consolidated and reformed the Army itself. In addition to effectively making the National Guard a component of the U.S. Army, it introduced a number of "Professionalization" administrative forms: creating a German-style General Staff system for units.
General Staff SystemEdit
The General Staff Corps is a body of professional administrative officers - created by the Taft-Wadsworth Act, implemented by General George Catlett Marshall and selected purely for intelligence and merit - responsible for the continuous study of all aspects of war, the head body of which is the "Joint Chiefs of Staff" - although the JCS is often referred to unofficially as the "General Staff" as well. In a broad sense, the General Staff Corps is a fraternity-like body of officers who qualify - through rigorous training, merit, educational excellence and patriotic dedication - to become Staff Officers. Although they alternate between Staff and Line (i.e. command) duties in order to keep them from becoming out of touch, membership in the Corps is lifelong. The exhaustive and rigorous training weeds out all those without sufficient dedication and skill or without a particular outlook and methodology: producing professional military experts with a uniform outlook and methods, and an almost monastic dedication to the Military Sciences.
Every unit from Regiment size on up has a General Staff of its own, the size and complexity of which increases as the units become larger. General Staff officers have a unique right to dissent, in writing, the orders of their units' commanders IN THE FIELD, appealing to the commander of the next highest unit in the chain (i.e. the General Staff of a particular Division in the III. Army Corps might make a written disagreement to the commander of the III. Corps). Ultimately, these dissents could theoretically reach as high as the desk of the President of the United States herself. This helps to compensate for misguided or incompetent field commanders (who often receive their commands based on seniority), as few officers would not give way before the threat of being forced to answer for their decision before their superior. Conversely, Staff Officers who abuse or misuse this unique perogative tend to get in a rather large amount of trouble from the Staff Corps - often far more trouble than would their unit commander for executing his flawed plan and/or failing in his assigned objective. In some cases, when an appeal is made to said superior, he will take the side of the unit commander rather than the Staff Officer. When this happens, his own Staff has the right to dissent HIS judgement to HIS superior. In essence, this means that only a tiny handful of stupid, or very ballsy, commanders would dare do things without the advice of their Staff. It is, however, normal for Staff officers to allow their unit commanders to make decisions and draft orders as they please, so long as the Staff's advice is listened to and taken into consideration. Only when the commanders fail to consult their Staff, or when they are making particularly desastrous errors, is the dissent perogative employed.
Because of the General Staff system, unit commanders tend to issue orders in broad and general terms. Their Staff Officers - who are professional and singularly dedicated Military Scientists - are responsible for turning these orders into detailed plans, organizing their preparation and to a lesser extent, overseeing their execution. A unit's General Staff takes the burden of administrative responsibility off of its commander and is far more qualified / better trained for such duties, ensuring that the coordination of forces, the movement of troops and supplies and the conduct of operations is done as efficiently as possible. This allows the commanding officer himself to deal with the actual aspects of conducting his men in the field.
At the top of the General Staff Corps are the Joint Chiefs of Staff themselves: the supreme ranking uniformed officers of their respective Service Branches. Each Joint Chief has his own General Staff but is himself a qualified Staff Officer. There are presently four full members and two junior members of the JCO, headed by the Chief-of-Staff to the Commander in Chief (who also holds the position of "Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff" and is usually addressed as "Mr. Chief-of-Staff", never "Mr. Chairman"). The current holder of this position is General of the Armies (retired) Dwight David Eisenhower. Eisenhower serves as the head of the JCO as well as the civilian head of the Department of War, a Presidential Cabinet position and, although retired, also holds the highest possible military rank in the U.S. Armed Forces: General of the Armies (a lifelong title). This makes him superior in rank as well as position to all of the other commanders except General of the Armies Omar Bradley, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army - but Eisenhower, having received the rank much earlier, is senior to him.
Note that normally, having two "Six Star" Generals of the Armies is unheard of and only a handful of people have ever held the position. Bradley was given the rank in recognition of his outstanding success in the Anglo-American War.
The other three full members of the JCO are the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army - General of the Armies Omar Bradley, the Chief of Naval Operations - Fleet Admiral Raymond Ames Spruance, and the Chief of the Army Air Forces - General Curtis Emerson LeMay (who, because the USAAF is technically subordinate to the Army, is the Army Chief of Staff's junior by rank and the most junior overall full JCO member). The Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau are also members, although they are subordinated (to the heads of the Navy and the Army, respectively) and have far less official imput. Together, the JCO acts as the Supreme General Staff and as a kind of General Staff to the President in his/her capacity as Commander-in-Chief. The level of active control which the President exerts over the conduct of the military varies, however, and the JCO often acts autonomously with the implied blessing of the President. And of course, the Joint Chiefs have no superior they can appeal to (save God Himself, as they often joke) when the President disagrees with them or overrides them...
The Taft-Wadsworth Act also consolidated the Military's civilian leadership by creating a Department of the Army and subordinating the Department of the Navy to the Department of War. Prior to this, the Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of War (who was responsible only for the Army) had both been Presidential Cabinet positions. With the change, however, the Department of War became the supreme governing agency of the entire U.S. Military, controlling the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of Military Intelligence (reponsible for the various Intelligence sub-units of the Armed Forces' branches).
The modern U.S. Military - but most famously and comprehensively, the U.S. Army - utilizes a complex system of colored detailing on its uniforms to distinguish between its various specialized corps and troop functions. This system - another borrowing from Germany - is a considerably more complex form of the simple arms distinction system used by soldiers during the U.S. Civil War (who had their rank insignia and some details of their uniforms done in light blue if they were Infantry, Red for Artillery and yellow for the cavalry). The modern Corps Colors system is considerably more complex, and in some cases employs two colors when a further distinction is needed (in which case they will be striped like the red and white on a candy cane). The Corps Colors of the U.S. Army are as follows:
- Light Blue - Infantry
- Red - Artillery (including self-propelled artillery vehicle crews)
- [Lemon] Yellow - Cavalry (armored / mechanized only)
- Rose Red (Pink) - Armor [note that Armored troops are also distinguished by distinctive black uniforms & silver skull-and-crossbone lapel pins]
- Fandango / Fuschia - non-Cavalry armored fighting vehicle crews (i.e. assault guns)
- Indigo - General Staff [color often called "Royal Purple" informally, a comment on the prestige / power of Staff officers]
- Black - Pioneers [name for combat / field engineers]
- Copper - Cavalry [motorized or airborne cavalry - i.e. cavalry that fights as high mobility infantry]
- Magenta [pinkish-purple] - Medical troops
- Purple - Chaplains
- Grey-blue - combat vehicle crews (for Half-tracks and such, but excluding self-propelled Artillery & Tanks)
- Forest Green [Dark Green] - Supply / Service troops & general support personnel (including messengers and non-combat vehicle crews)
- Orange - Military Police [also distinguished by distinctive uniforms]
- Grey - Propaganda troops, war correspondance troops
- Maroon red - Rocket Artillery
- Navy blue - Army Aviation crews (used by helicopter pilots and such, but not in the USAAF)
- Tan - Signals & Communications troops (but not couriers, couriers wear Forest Green)
Note: the crews of combat vehicles and amored fighting vehicles wear the distinctive plain uniforms like the Armored troops but in the Army's normal blue uniform color, rather than black, and without the skull-and-crossbones.