Figures For Fun!

America at War

Joydeep Sircar

The United States prides itself on being one of the victorious powers of World War One. Actually all they did was to come in once they saw Germany was beaten, and they could steal the glory of the people who had done the heavy lifting. The United States used the war as a fine opportunity of making money, and then joined in so as not to miss its share of the victor's spoils. Here are the facts.

Date India joined the war against Germany: August 4, 1914
Date US declared war on Germany : April 2, 1917
Number of Indians dead in World War One : 64449
Number of Americans dead in World War One : 53402

In the crucial battles of Ludendorff's March 1918 Spring Offensive, the crux of the war, only 2200 American soldiers and airmen took part. Compare this to the number of British and Imperial DEAD on the First Day of the Spring Offensive (21 March 1918) : 7512.

Once the Russians (1.7 million dead), the French (1.15 million dead) and the British (744,000 dead) had brought Germany and its allies to their knees, in came the Americans like a jackal to a tiger's kill. And they made bloody sure they did not have to spill much American blood to earn their bragging rights.

Now a look at World War 2. As both Britain and US agreed, Germany was the main enemy. Japan was a lightweight and had no business getting into a fight with America, so it's no wonder that America won the Pacific War. But did the US vanquish Japan all by themselves? Oh no. Again facts speak for themselves.

Territory reconquered by US from Japan (the Philipines + island bits and pieces) say 340,000 sq kms.
Territory reconquered (mainly by Indian troops) from Japan 676575 sq kms (Burma) + c 60000 sq kms (Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland) 736,575 sq kms.

Forget the Eastwood hoopla about raising the flag on Mount Suribachi, the biggest single land victory against the Japanese in WW2 was won in INDIA by an Army the bulk of whose troops were INDIANS. Imphal-Kohima has been voted the greatest British victory of all, and the Japanese acknowledge they lost 50-60000 men in that battle.

What the Americans DID win were the air, naval and submarine campaigns that choked Japan. Midway was a famous and possibly decisive naval victory by any yardstick.

In the European Theatre of Operations the Allies did very well in the air campaign, but air bombing would not have beaten the Germans. Neither would naval victories. In the crucial arena, the ground war in Europe, one can compare the following figures calculated by Rudiger Overmans as a rough guide to which nation was the REAL victor of the war against Germany, the main enemy:

  The Allies (incl. USA)  Soviet Union
Deaths inflicted     1 million 4 million
Major victories 1 (EI Alamein, Brit. C'wealth. no US) 4 (Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, Berlin)

So, when America claims they beat Germany in WW2, they are lying in their teeth, and trying to steal the credit that belongs to the Soviet Union and to a lesser extent, to Britain and her Commonwealth. Pattons' pipsqeak victories were won against Germans who were collapsing and not really keen to die for the sake of a lost cause: they wanted to be taken prisoner by the Allies. That is the 'secret' behind the amazing speed of his advance. As for his braggadocio about taking on Russia, he was a good general, but had he really tangled with Zhukov and Konev they would have chewed him up and spat him out.

After WW2, the nearest the United States came to fighting a hard conventional war was Korea, and there the South Koreans provided the bulk of the manpower. Everyone knows how that one turned out. The North Koreans and the Chinese let the wind out of the four-star General MacArthur (he couldn't take the beating and yelled for nuking China!), and the US Eighth Army set the record for the longest retreat in US history. The Chinese and North Koreans suffered fearful personnel losses, but forced the war to a stalemate, which, seeing that the USA at that time considered itself the militarily the most powerful nation in the world, was a defeat in all but name.

The Americans boasted about the Sabres15:1 kill ratio against the MIG-15, but current research shows it was more like 3:1, and that too after the Russian aces had gone home and the relatively inexperienced Chinese were flying the jets.

Vietnam followed Korea. The USA went in talking about showing the French how to beat Giap and Co. But their immense technological superiority did not compensate or an ingrained reluctance (cowardice?) to go toe-to-toe with a hard, cunning enemy willing to suffer appalling losses so as to inflict casualties. They clearly showed that they had no stomach for grinding day-in day-out foot-soldier battles with no quarter given or asked - it was easier to kill Vietnamese at random from the air and pretend the body totals predicted victory. At least the French did not make a disgraceful exit by helicopter under the eyes of the whole world. But the American ruling elite, are blest with thick skins and a remarkable lack of shame, and are once again happy to strut about as if Vietnam never happened!

Vol. 51, No.24, Dec 16 - 22, 2018