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Thread: Basic Training (Boot Camp) During WWII

  1. #11
    One Too Many Flitcraft's Avatar
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    Yeah, there was definitely a lot of variation in how the different companies were run. We had an "apprentice" DI whose MOS was Electrician, so he was young and dumb. He was always trying to goad somebody into punching him, but it got to the point where it was just plain silly.

    I kept wishing we'd spend more time on small unit tactics, instead of useless pseudo-psychological conditioning.

  2. #12
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    Army and Marine Basic back then wasnt as spit and polish as it is now. Basically you have to look at it like this, it was a period in time when our nation was in a crisis and they needed men in uniform, any men, and they needed them fast. As my grandfather (USMC 1945-53) said upon seeing "Full Metal Jacket", we didn't have that micky mouse boy scout stuff when i went through Paris Island and graduated in Aug of 45. It was an indoctrination into the marines and some of the methods were strange, the DI's were strict and swore and called you "stupid" and other colorful things, but it wasn't something where if you said something incorrect the DI made you do pushups and scream all in your face. They didnt have the time for that. It was a crash course for the ultimate invasion of Japan and they needed marines fast. It was tough, believe me, but it was the best accomplishment of my life.
    "All i ask out of this country is a decent glass of scotch, is that wayyyy to much to ask????"

  3. #13
    One of the Regulars MagistrateChris's Avatar
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    In talking with s few old timers during my West Point/Army days, The biggest differences were motivation of the recruits and the training methods of the instructors. Speed was much more important then, as we were at war. Also, in the Army, you were dealing with draftees as often as volunteers. Instructors were often harsh with recruits, physically so on occassion, because they were training troops for combat. Lessons had to be learned quickly, forcefully if necessary, due to the demands on the troops in battle. Keep in mind West Point was turning out two classes of butter bars a year to meet the needs of the Army.

    Today is much more spit and polish, as there is the "leisure" of time. Although we are at war now, the threat is not the same to our homeland. The demand for troops (though great) is not on the same level as a two front world war.
    Chris, Esquire

    "Son, this is a Court of Law, not Burger King. You don't get it your way."

  4. #14
    I'll Lock Up Fletch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagistrateChris
    Also, in the Army, you were dealing with draftees as often as volunteers. Instructors were often harsh with recruits, physically so on occassion, because they were training troops for combat.
    Were they harsher with draftees?
    When are trainers not harsh with recruits? Ideally all are trained for combat, even in peacetime.

  5. #15
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    Yeah, i went through a peacetime boot camp and it sucked. Wayyy to much time spent on telling and teaching us how to be garrison soldiers. Now adays, its the same as it was for WW2, scraping the bottom of the barrel for every volunteer they can get. No, it didnt matter back in WW2 whether u were volunteer or draft, they were doing the same thing, scraping the bottom of the barrel. Physical training was called "calestenics" and that was usually in the morning when the recruits woke up before chow, same as it is today. PT and then chow so that they dont vomit up their costly army chow. DI's (as the marine corps and navy call them) Drill Sgt's as the Army calls them, are harsh on their troops initally in the first weeks of Basic as it is meant to break the recruits, then as time wears on, the DS starts to become more of a father figure to them and tho he maintains his distance and harshness, they become somewhat of a family and the recruit thus learns the discipline without fully undermining the role of the DS and thus, disrespecting the DS thinking he is his friend just because he is being somewhat easy on the recruit. In WW2, it was less physically strict. Recruits werent expected to drop and give the drill sergeat 50 if he answered a wrong answer. The physical standards of the 40s were less than they were today. Also, recruits could smoke back then where they arent allowed any nicotine at all today. Its safe to say that because recruits in WW2 were on a "Crash-course" that standards were somewhat relaxed, yet it was difficult for many because the army had to make soldiers of them in a short period of time and therefore had to cram a hell of a lot of knowledge into them in 14 weeks (basic infantry school i.e. basic)
    "All i ask out of this country is a decent glass of scotch, is that wayyyy to much to ask????"

  6. #16
    I'll Lock Up Story's Avatar
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    I think alot depends on A) branch and B) the personality of your Drills (particularly the senior Drill).
    My Cold War era basic armor crewman training was laid-back (the company was blessed with a minimum of 8-up types), but always with the undertone of "if you're too slow, you are going to die gruesomely". In retrospect, I attribute this to the most of the E7s having recently returned from the German (or Korean) border.

    D.S. Edwards favorite non-standard Jody:
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    this ain't no disco,
    this ain't no foolin' around

  7. #17
    I'll Lock Up Story's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by green papaya
    what was basic training boot camp like during WWII? was it much different than modern day basic training?
    I've wondered how accurate BILOXI BLUES was, as well.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094746/

  8. #18
    Practically Family Naphtali's Avatar
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    A correlative question comes to mind: Was intensity of training different among camps in World War II?

    When I was in the army 1969-72, Basic Training at, for example, Fort Dix was a joke, and with apparent reason. Those who were to be sent to Vietnam had very intense, disagreeable training, Basic and A.I.T., at places like Fort Polk, Fort Jackson, Fort Leonard Wood aka Fort Lost-in-the-Woods aka Little Korea, and Fort Lewis.

    The OCS's were in a different category. Benning School for Boys was physical hell for eight weeks. After the pikers were weeded out, TAC officers became less bizarre (and less funny -- this means you lieutenants Perry and Wynn).
    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair)

  9. #19
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    Some of these threads bring back neat memories for me.

    Years later...my father was at Fort Ord in the mid-fifties. I think he was in the Transportation Corps. I don't remember too many stories. He did tell me about "WPLJ" (white port / lemon juice ) though. It was a drink so popular that some of the guys on base (The Four Deuces) wrote a song about it. Frank Zappa covered it later on.

  10. #20
    Practically Family Bebop's Avatar
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    I suspect that basic training during WWII was with a get-as-many-men-as-possible attitude. They were probably tough but I don't think there were very many men that did not make it into the service because of anything short of huge physical problems. They needed all the guys they could come up with. The worse basic is the basic training you get when there is no combat happening. It's full of shoe shinning and perfect haircuts.
    When I went into the Army in 1975, they were being real nice to you and giving us bonuses for going into combat arms. The drill sgts. were burnt out from Nam and were still slapping us around and treating us in a way that today would get them thrown out of the service. We did not have women to talk to, smoked and drank as much as possible and morale was exceptionaly low with the taste of Viet Nam still on everyones spirit. I remember a few years later finding out that both men and women were doing basic together and in some cases the billets housed men on one floor and women on another and I thought "well, that is the end of any serious military force for the U.S." Later the D.Sgts. had to "respect" the recruits and could not hit or smack them anymore. Then the "no smoking" deal came on and that was a sure sign of no more real men in the military. I think I was wrong . They never let us shave out heads. The military haircut was real close but when I shaved my head, like with a razor, I was severely reprimanded because I was now able to get a sunburn on my head. Which could mean time off.

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