Evolution and Endurance

The U.S. Army Division in the Twentieth Century

by Richard W. Kedzior


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The division has proved itself a durable organizational concept for the U.S. Army. Despite numerous permutations, it prevailed as the Army's preeminent fighting organization throughout the twentieth century. Its robustness, flexibility, and adaptability have allowed it to absorb and exploit new technologies and doctrinal concepts. This brief history of thedivision examines the changes the division has undergone, exploring the most significant rationales for each step in the evolutionary cycle. It asks important questions about the division's future and recommends serious and intense experimentation to determine whether the division has outlived its usefulness or is still the optimal unit to best serve the Army and the nation.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Figures

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgements


  • Guide to Symbols

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Birth of the Modern Division (1910-1911) and the U.S. Army Experience in World War I (1917-1918)

  • Chapter Three

    The Interwar Period and World War II

  • Chapter Four

    The Pentomic Era (1956-1960)

  • Chapter Five

    The Road Division

  • Chapter Six

    The Modern Heavy Division

  • Chapter Seven

    The Light Infantry Division

  • Chapter Eight

    Division XXI

  • Chapter Nine


  • Appendix A

    Personnel Strengths of Selected U.S. Army Divisions

  • Bibliography

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This research was sponsored by RAND's Arroyo division.

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