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Posted: 1/10/2005 12:51:33 AM EDT
I haven't looked at the full breakdown, but it appears we had more divisions of ground troops committed to Europe.

In Europe we faced an army that had some good weapons. The weather could be bad in many areas with extreme cold. And of course we were fighting against an idiot known as Hitler.

The Pacific, we faced a lot of fighting in jungle areas, filled with disease and heat. We were fighting against a fanatical enemy. The Japanese infantry weapons weren't as good IMHO as those used by the Germans, but their troops did not seem to care to die.

So which battle was tougher? To which theatre did we commit the most troops? And can anyone provide figures for casualties in each theatre of battle.

And btw, I'll end by saying either theatre was obviously a tough place to be with some bloody fighting and US troops who showed great bravery, skill and determination, who all deserve the utmost respect for their sacrifice. My questions are merely geared toward developing a better WWII brain and understanding of the situations.

-CH
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 12:56:06 AM EDT
I think it all depends on how you view it and which war the soldier was in at the time.

Basically, Europe was a land war and the Pacific was a Naval war. Two completely diferant approaches are needed to win two completely different scenerios. And as a land lover being on a ship would be tourture for me...while for someone else it might be okay.



And even though Germany may have been technologically advanced and had a overall better military the Japs had a mental mindset that was easily their most powerful (and effective) weapon which can not be understated.

In short....I don't think the question can be answered.


SGatr15
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 12:57:38 AM EDT
This is a tough question becuase both campaigns had there own downsides. We faced tough determined enemies on both fronts. I will have to wait till this morning to research my answer better.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 1:00:56 AM EDT
easily the japanese front. The conditions with bugs and crocs musta been hell, plus your fighting an enemy that would rather die then surrender. Anybody like humidity? If they captured you..................dont even wanna think about what the japs did to their pow's
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 1:05:42 AM EDT
Keep in mind that the Allies made a consciense desicion to defeat Germany FIRST before going on with all resourses in the Pacific.

Europe was a more IMMEDIATE threat at that point in time.

SGatr15
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 1:06:28 AM EDT
The Pacific by far. Supply was a nightmare. The tropical conditions were often nearly beyond human endurance. The enemy fought to the last man in almost every campaign. Surrender was not an option for the Japanese. The European Theater had two major amphibious landings. One in Italy and one in France. The Pacific had one everytime they had to take an Island.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 1:10:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Va_Dinger:
This is a tough question becuase both campaigns had there own downsides. We faced tough determined enemies on both fronts. I will have to wait till this morning to research my answer better.



Well, trying to pick one, I might have to go with the Pacific for these reasons:

In the island hopping campaigns, infantry would have to assault some very inhospitable areas. Jungles. Mountains. You name it, it was there. In these gritty conditions I'm sure everything wanted to rust or mold, so they probably had all sorts of problems with their gear. But worst of all was the nature of the fighting. In Europe, you had lots of open prairie where advances were often quick. That's also where the bulk of the armor was located. But in the Pacific, it was mainly light forces fighting for ground an inch at a time. And unlike the Germans, Japanese units just did not give up. So when you took an island, you basically fought on foot, fighting hard for every inch or ground, then having to mop up, basically being forced to kill nearly every member of the Japanese defense force.

But again, this is pretty subjective stuff and in large will be answered by our own perceptions of which environment we'd least like to be in. While I'd probably rather be in armored unit fighting on flat ground in a temperate climate as opposed to taking islands and rugged mountains in the hot, wet jungle, others might feel exactly the opposite. But the suicidal nature of the Japanese at the time also factors into my thoughts.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 1:51:31 AM EDT
I'd say neither one was a picnic and leave it at that.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 1:58:53 AM EDT
Pacific… but the fighting for the Huertgen Forest or Monte Cassino in Europe was easilly as grim a slaughter as the worst of the Pacific battles.

ANdy
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 2:00:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 6:31:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/10/2005 6:33:15 AM EDT by Scooter1942]
The pacific was far more barbaric, but more airmen alone died in Europe than did Marines in all of the Pacific.

BTW, get a copy of "Dirty Little Secrets of WWII". It has some fascinating facts and figures. WWII Order Of Battle will also provide a considerable amount of info.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 6:36:35 AM EDT
Europe was a tougher fight overall, but the pacific was definitely a tougher situation fight for fight. The Japanese were some hard core fighters, I would not have wanted to go up against them..
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 6:53:50 AM EDT
In terms of POWs, in the Pacific there were almost no Japanese POWs, and likewise US POWs were treated miserably. Germans treated Western European POWs okay, but Soviet POWs were usually shot.

Germans were begging to surrender to the US, a club Fed resort
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:05:21 AM EDT
There was tough fighting in all theaters and the Germans (in general) had better organization, tactics and weapons. But, I think that consistantly, the toughest battles were fought by the Marines in the Pacific. Basically, each island assault was an exposed assault upon a fanatically defended fortress. Fundamentally, this has got to be the most difficult type of military attack.
When it comes to wading (slowly) across three hundred yards of totally exposed coral reef and beach in the face of concentrated machine gun and mortar fire, I think you can count me out!
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:08:31 AM EDT
One thing to consider is that Germany placed most of its resources against the feared and hated Soviets, and the hardest fighting occured on the Eastern Front. If not for their fear of the Soviets, the Germans would have collapsed much sooner than they did. On the Eastern Front, the German troops often fought with the same determination as the Japanese, except with better tactics and equipment.

The Japanese were not able to fight a modern land war. This is shown by their poor performance against the Red Army in 1939 and in 1945. In both cases, they were completely dominated. They required jungles or bunkers in order to fight us. In an open war of manuver, they would have been toast--essentially a 1915 army in a 1943 war.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:10:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By obershutze916:
For the Americans it would have been the Pacific.



+1.. I'd say the eastern front in Europe had it beat though.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:10:24 AM EDT
I'd say Pacific.

Not only were we fighting an insane enemy, we had to do it across an ocean while also dealing wwith malaria, jungle rot, etc., etc....

In Europe, at least we could identify the food....
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:12:50 AM EDT
The Japs had a different culture than Europe.

Often times, the Germans would allow US medics treat and evac the wounded without firing on them.

The Japs made a point of shooting them.

Japs treated US POWs with total disrespect.

Japs were known to behead or pour gasoline on POWs and burn them up.

German POW camps were much more humane.

Surrender was unthinkable to the Japanese

Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:15:02 AM EDT
Depends on if you are talking to a Marine, or an Army man I suppose.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:22:30 AM EDT
Neither theater was a picnic! I vote the Pacific Campaign was the tougher of the two.

The Pacific theater was a logistics nightmare. Every battle was conducted between the Devil and the deep blue sea, there was NOWHERE to fall back to. The Japanese mindset and code of "warrior honor" was MUCH more tenacious and brutal then that of the Germans.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:25:42 AM EDT
The toughest theater was the air war over western Europe. Losses suffered by the 8th Air Force accounted for 10% of all US loses during the war. Most of the air losses were suffered due to incompetitence of leadership in 1943.

The European Theater was rife with political intrigue that hampered military operations. US Generals/Admirals in charge of US forces in Europe considered themselves to be elite and refused to learn lessons from others. The mistakes of Torch and Tarawa were repeated in Sicily, Anzio and Normandy. Tens of thousands of GIs died unnecessarily due to arrogant leadership.

McAurthur was another polititian who contributed little to the war effort, but got thousands of GIs killed for his grandstanding in New Guinea and Phillipines. The bulk of success in the Pacific theater was due to the brilliance of Nimitz.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:28:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Daytona955i:
Depends on if you are talking to a Marine, or an Army man I suppose.



The USMC were about 98% comitted to the Pacific, but the Army had a large effort in both theators. However, the best army units went to Europe, and the Marines sometimes found their flank being held by army units of poor quality.

A college roomate had a dad who was a three war (WW2, Korea, 'nam) career Marine. A DI prior to WW2 who fought on Guadacanal and later served on a Crusier. He was also in post-WW2 Japan, IIRC. He didn't face the Germans, but he met some at some point and had a very high opinion of them as fighting men. And he had a photo album of girlfriends from around the world. And there was a bar in (IIRC) French Morocco where the bar tender was blantently anti American. He and other Marines would go to the bar while in port to kick the guy's ass. He was Mexican Irish, BTW. And he told me about missing a NK at close range with his 1911, and killing another with a BAR . . .
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 7:32:17 AM EDT
There was also some urban warfare in Europe.

But still, I'd say the Pacific theater sucked the most...
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 9:20:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DnPRK:
The toughest theater was the air war over western Europe. Losses suffered by the 8th Air Force accounted for 10% of all US loses during the war. Most of the air losses were suffered due to incompetitence of leadership in 1943.

The European Theater was rife with political intrigue that hampered military operations. US Generals/Admirals in charge of US forces in Europe considered themselves to be elite and refused to learn lessons from others. The mistakes of Torch and Tarawa were repeated in Sicily, Anzio and Normandy. Tens of thousands of GIs died unnecessarily due to arrogant leadership.

McAurthur was another polititian who contributed little to the war effort, but got thousands of GIs killed for his grandstanding in New Guinea and Phillipines. The bulk of success in the Pacific theater was due to the brilliance of Nimitz.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If toughest means the most likly to die then being an aircrewman over Europe was the most dangerous job in the War
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 9:40:24 AM EDT
US Army and Allies in Burma.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 9:48:21 AM EDT
Pacific was by far the worse of the two.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 9:50:07 AM EDT
I would vote for the ETO- especially the Normandy Campaign.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 9:51:22 AM EDT
Pacific, hands down.
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 10:25:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/10/2005 10:31:34 AM EDT by The_Sgt_Rock]
First off.....upmost respect due to all Americans who faced the Germans & Japs. Thanks to you...we are free.

Personally, I'd rather face the Japs than the Germans.

- Germans were the most professional and well trained soldiers in the world. They also had more than their share of skilled, capable, and intelligent leaders. Hitler was often a bigger hinderance in the heat of battle than the enemy.

- Germans had much better small arms, better armour, and better artillery.......and they produced much more of it all. The Americans had no equal to the Panther and Tiger tanks. The Flak 88 was a devestating anti-aircraft gun and anti-tank gun. MG42 was probably the best overall MG of the war. And this is only naming a few of the weapons in the German arsenal. The Japs did have a few decent weapons at their disposal but so much of it was just inferior shit. Oh yea.....their tanks sucked.

- Germans were better equipped and had fewer supply problems than the Japs.

- Germans could employ the speed of Blitzkrieg to outflank you and bomb you with one of the best dive bombers of the war...the Stuka.

- The Japanese Banzai charges. Are you kidding me? Please...come out in the open with your swords so I can mow you down with my machine guns. Talk about desperate and worthless measures. Be more than happy to cut you down in the open so I don't have to seek and destroy you in you spider holes.

- Back in those days, the average American was MUCH bigger in stature than the average Jap while the same could not be said about the German. Who would you rather tangle with in hand-to-hand combat?

- Fighting conditions and the extremes. I live in the Midwest and to me.....the dead cold of winter is always worse than the heat of summer. No matter how hot it is, you can still get around. Maybe it's personal preference....??....but I've experienced -60 below windchills as well as +105 with high humidity and the cold was so much worse.

- The Germans enjoyed tremendous success against the whole of Europe. I believe they faced much more competent enemies than the Japanese until Japan pulled America into the war.

Again, just my opinion. I'm sure plenty of you will disagree with me but that's okay. Peace!
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 10:28:55 AM EDT
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