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#1
Old 12-28-2012, 03:41 AM
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What branches of the service could someone get drafted into?

Back when there was a draft in America, what branches of the service could a guy get drafted into? I know the Army was one. How about the Navy? Air Force, post-WWII? I heard once that nobody could get drafted into the Marines; was that accurate?

Did anyone get drafted into the Coast Guard?

What about other countries?
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#2
Old 12-28-2012, 04:05 AM
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Before joining the AF in the 60's, I had to go through an Army physical as part of the pre-draft process and some of the inductees were there as a final step before being bused off to Army boot camp.

I remember that while we were being handed box lunches, a crusty sergeant walked into the room, read two names from a piece of paper while asking the two to raise their hands. He then said those two individuals were being inducted into the Marines instead of the Army in order to satisfy some sort of quota. They were in tears and I'll never forget it but can only imagine what was going through their minds. Perhaps they were thinking about trying to survive the physical and psychological challenges and indignities of Marine boot camp only to face a future of likely death in the jungles of Vietnam while fighting a war only politicians cared about.

Last edited by Dereknocue67; 12-28-2012 at 04:07 AM.
#3
Old 12-28-2012, 09:48 AM
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Apparently the UK drafted people into the Navy at one time.

Did the US ever have naval impressment, or was it Army only?
#4
Old 12-28-2012, 09:56 AM
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I was always under the impression that the draft during the Vietnam period was only for the Army.

My dad joined the Navy because he figured that would be a safer bet than waiting to be drafted; he ended up on the rivers of Vietnam. Whoops!

I don't think that Marines were ever drafted, but I could be wrong.
#5
Old 12-28-2012, 10:15 AM
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The Navy and Air Force needed no draftees, as they had plenty of volunteers who figured it was a better bet than the infantry. Also, the attrition rate for the Army was higher: more meat for the grinder. So yes, the draft was for the Army only, although stories do persist about people being snatched for the Crotch after swearing in. I never met anybody to whom that happened, and would have to see a reputable cite to believe it actually happened. No offense intended to Dereknocue67.
#6
Old 12-28-2012, 10:28 AM
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A quick look on various sites comes up with the same number of Marine draftees. A little over 42,000. I haven't found a direct government cite yet.

http://vvof.org/factsvnv.htm

Last edited by Loach; 12-28-2012 at 10:29 AM.
#7
Old 12-28-2012, 10:31 AM
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For the other countries file: South Korean draftees are assigned as the Military Manpower Administration decides. One possibility is police (riot police), another is civil servant, and yet another is working for a firm designated as essential for national defense.

Another one for the same file is the People's Republic of China. While the law mandates everyone is subject to conscription, they have not had to use it; the People's Liberation Army is fully staffed by volunteers. Oddly, the Navy and Air Force are considered part of the Army.

Last edited by Monty; 12-28-2012 at 10:34 AM.
#8
Old 12-28-2012, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
A quick look on various sites comes up with the same number of Marine draftees. A little over 42,000. I haven't found a direct government cite yet.

http://vvof.org/factsvnv.htm
Looks like you're right:
Quote:
Traditionally, the Marine Corps took great pride in the fact that every Marine had voluntarily enlisted. Well before the Vietnam War, senior Marine officers recognized that the Marine Corps indirectly benefit-ted from the draft by recruiting draft-motivated volunteers. "^ The rapid expansion of the Marine Corps in late 1965 and early 1966 forced the Marine Corps to turn to Selective Service to find enough recruits to fill the ranks. The Marine Corps made four draft calls between November 1965 and March 1966, accepting 19,636 draftees in fiscal year 1966. As soon as possible, however, the Marine Corps returned to its traditional reliance on voluntary enlistments. The Marine Corps did not make another draft call until April 1968, after the Tet offensive, followed by a second call in May. The next call came in December 1968, inaugurating a steady reliance on the draft until February 1970, well after Marine forces had begun withdrawing from Vietnam.**
http://ehistory.osu.edu/vietnam/books/1968/0580.cfm
#9
Old 12-28-2012, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Apparently the UK drafted people into the Navy at one time.

Did the US ever have naval impressment, or was it Army only?
Press-ganging is a bit more than simple conscription, which is what "the draft" implies.
#10
Old 12-28-2012, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
What about other countries?

Just to note that many countries still have a mandatory military service. So, those people would be drafted in whatever service they had served into (including for some of them positions requiring a significant technical knowledge, rather elite forces, or NCO or even lieutenant rank). There might also be afterward recalls on a random, semi-regular or regular basis for reserve duty (not necessarily on a voluntary basis), to keep them operational (able to drive a tank, operate a communication system,etc..) for a longer time.
#11
Old 12-28-2012, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
So, those people would be drafted in whatever service they had served into (including for some of them positions requiring a significant technical knowledge, rather elite forces, or NCO or even lieutenant rank).
I must be misreading you, but even though I know you're French I cannot imagine any armed forces filling elite ranks with draftees. Is this 'elite' as in Special Forces or 'elite' in some sense I'm unfamiliar with?
#12
Old 12-28-2012, 03:26 PM
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For most of WWII, Germans could be conscripted into the other branches but the Waffen SS relied on volunteers. Some people would volunteer to do their military service in the SS because it was felt they got priority on the best equipment. In the final years of the war, the SS did begin drafted people into its service. In post-war denazification programs, these draftees were able to apply for an exemption from being regarded as a former SS member.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 12-28-2012 at 03:26 PM.
#13
Old 12-28-2012, 06:17 PM
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I seem to recall in Leon Uris' Battle Cry, a plot point is that one character was not a volunteer, but was drafted into the Marines (during WWII). No idea if this novel reflects historical reality in this respect or not.
#14
Old 12-28-2012, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth
Back when there was a draft in America, what branches of the service could a guy get drafted into? I know the Army was one. How about the Navy? Air Force, post-WWII? I heard once that nobody could get drafted into the Marines; was that accurate?...
A guy could certainly find himself drafted into the Marines if the local draft board was having trouble meeting it's quota. Or if you were caught trying to fake your physical or dodge the draft. Or pissed off the Marine rep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monty View Post
...Another one for the same file is the People's Republic of China. While the law mandates everyone is subject to conscription, they have not had to use it; the People's Liberation Army is fully staffed by volunteers. Oddly, the Navy and Air Force are considered part of the Army.
It's a translation thing. People's Liberation Army would be better translated along the lines of "People's Liberation Military (or Defence Force)". The actual army part is called the People's Liberation Army Ground Forces. The PLA also uses the same ranks for all service branches. It's not really all that different from the setup in Israel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
I must be misreading you, but even though I know you're French I cannot imagine any armed forces filling elite ranks with draftees. Is this 'elite' as in Special Forces or 'elite' in some sense I'm unfamiliar with?
The US has drafted men into the Army Medical Corps in the past (all military doctors are officers, Captain or higher). During WWII there were plans to draft female nurses (military nurses are also officers), but they were dropped after Japan surrendered. During Vietnam men with certain degrees were given the option of serving as officers (for a somewhat longer term) as opposed to enlisted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate
...My dad joined the Navy because he figured that would be a safer bet than waiting to be drafted; he ended up on the rivers of Vietnam. Whoops!...
My father did the same thing. The closest he got to Vietnam was an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. Also enlisting in the Navy didn't stop the Army from trying to draft him and his wife kept getting threatening letters from the local draft board while he was on his way to Japan.
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#15
Old 12-29-2012, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Apparently the UK drafted people into the Navy at one time.

Did the US ever have naval impressment, or was it Army only?
As it happens, I was just reading a book on John Paul Jones. The Continental Navy and its successor, the U.S. Navy, never had press gangs, which were a hated British practice and seen as repugnant to the American concept of liberty. Remember that it was the Royal Navy's practice of pressing on the high seas that was one of the causes of the War of 1812.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
...It's a translation thing. People's Liberation Army would be better translated along the lines of "People's Liberation Military (or Defence Force)". The actual army part is called the People's Liberation Army Ground Forces. The PLA also uses the same ranks for all service branches. It's not really all that different from the setup in Israel....
Even more oddly, there's no such thing as a "Chinese Navy." Instead, there's a "People's Liberation Army Navy" (the last word is sometimes parenthesized): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%...tion_Army_Navy
#16
Old 12-29-2012, 03:21 PM
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Another odd fact about the People's Liberation Army: it doesn't work for the Chinese government. Technically, the People's Republic of China doesn't have any armed forces. The People's Liberation Army is the military wing of the Chinese Communist Party.
#17
Old 12-29-2012, 03:54 PM
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My grandfather told me the story about after he was drafted in WWII. All of the draftees were given some sort of aptitude test, and from the results of that test, my grandfather was given a result that said he was best suited for the Navy.

On induction day, a man comes in and starts randomly pointing at the new draftees: "You two Army. You two Navy. You five, Army. You, Navy." etc. He pointed at my grandfather and said, "You, Army!"

My grandfather presented the man with the results of his test. The man looked at it, ripped up the paper work, threw it on the floor and said, "You, Army!" and proceeded to dress down the rest of the draftees.

My grandfather served in the army.
#18
Old 12-29-2012, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Even more oddly, there's no such thing as a "Chinese Navy." Instead, there's a "People's Liberation Army Navy" (the last word is sometimes parenthesized): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%...tion_Army_Navy
Check out post #7.
#19
Old 12-30-2012, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Another odd fact about the People's Liberation Army: it doesn't work for the Chinese government. Technically, the People's Republic of China doesn't have any armed forces. The People's Liberation Army is the military wing of the Chinese Communist Party.
That seems extremely odd, and kind of unlikely. Do you have a cite for it? As a practical matter, of course, the PRC is effectively a one-party state (though officially there are multiple parties), and of course the Chinese Communist Party runs the country, most especially including the armed forces. But as a matter of the official legal organization of the country, Wikisource has an English-language translation of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China which states the following:
Quote:
Section 4. The Central Military Commission

Article 93. The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China directs the armed forces of the country. The Central Military Commission is composed of the following: The Chairman; The Vice-Chairmen; and Members. The Chairman of the Central Military Commission has overall responsibility for the commission. The term of office of the Central Military Commission is the same as that of the National People's Congress.

Article 94. The Chairman of the Central Military Commission is responsible to the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee.
And
Quote:
Article 57. The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China is the highest organ of state power.
Note that there are two (officially) separate bodies termed the "Central Military Commission": the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China and the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China. Since the two CMCs have identical memberships, the distinction between the "State CMC" and the "Party CMC" is kind of academic. Nonetheless, it appears to me that, formally speaking, the armed forces of the PRC belong to the state, the same as armed forces do most places.
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#20
Old 12-30-2012, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
I must be misreading you, but even though I know you're French I cannot imagine any armed forces filling elite ranks with draftees. Is this 'elite' as in Special Forces or 'elite' in some sense I'm unfamiliar with?
Bear in mind that draftees can also be volunteers. That's the way it is in Israel - everyone is drafted, but most of the combat arms roles are taken by draftees who specifically asked to be there. For more elite units, there are series of voluntary tests you have to pass to be accepted, with tests often starting when the potential draftee is still in high school.
#21
Old 12-30-2012, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
Bear in mind that draftees can also be volunteers. That's the way it is in Israel - everyone is drafted, but most of the combat arms roles are taken by draftees who specifically asked to be there. For more elite units, there are series of voluntary tests you have to pass to be accepted, with tests often starting when the potential draftee is still in high school.
Huh? I would think that would lead to lopsided recruiting, with the some areas wo are percieved as more interesting getting high percentages of recruits and other seeing shortages. You would never fill artillery for instance. Or is it similar to the Commonwealth Militaries and Navies where a recruit was asked at the outset which arm or regiment he wished to join and it was honoured depending on the vacancies.
#22
Old 12-30-2012, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Huh? I would think that would lead to lopsided recruiting, with the some areas wo are percieved as more interesting getting high percentages of recruits and other seeing shortages. You would never fill artillery for instance. Or is it similar to the Commonwealth Militaries and Navies where a recruit was asked at the outset which arm or regiment he wished to join and it was honoured depending on the vacancies.
Pretty much the latter - because artillery is, in fact, a problem. But they try to make sure that only people who asked for a combat position are posted there, even if their first choice was infantry or tanks.

They also try to solve the problem creatively: for instance, many Flight School drop-outs (which is something like 95% of pilot candidates; the attrition rate there is brutal) are sent to artillery.
#23
Old 12-30-2012, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Press-ganging is a bit more than simple conscription, which is what "the draft" implies.
Well to begin with, they "volunteered" people who didn't even consider themselves British
#24
Old 12-30-2012, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by MEBuckner View Post
That seems extremely odd, and kind of unlikely. Do you have a cite for it?
An easy online cite is Wikipedia.
Quote:
The People's Liberation Army is the military arm of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the de facto armed forces of the People's Republic of China...The PLA is formally under the command of the Central Military Commission of the CPC; there is also an identical commission in the government, but it has no clear independent functions. The Ministry of National Defense, which operates under the State Council, does not exercise any authority over the PLA and is far less powerful than the Central Military Commission (CMC).
#25
Old 12-30-2012, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
Bear in mind that draftees can also be volunteers. That's the way it is in Israel - everyone is drafted, but most of the combat arms roles are taken by draftees who specifically asked to be there. For more elite units, there are series of voluntary tests you have to pass to be accepted, with tests often starting when the potential draftee is still in high school.
In the US, usually when we refer to a draftee, we mean someone who was called up without volunteering. The guy who volunteered, we simply call a volunteer. I guess that's because although we used to have active conscription, we didn't have mandatory military service like some countries (Israel, South Korea, etc.). What you're referring to is someone who volunteered for a particular service or branch within one service instead of waiting for the local equivalent of the Selective Service Administration or Military Manpower Administration to call them to active duty and assign them as the SSA/MMA determines.
#26
Old 12-30-2012, 10:48 AM
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In the "been there done that" category, I can tell you that your draft notice advised you were being drafted into the "Armed Forces." not the Army, Marines, etc. As noted earlier, the Navy & Air Force never needed to draft. In part because many enlisted in those branches to avoid the Army. Ironically, many who elisted in the Navy became corpsmen and were attached to Marine units. Those guys had it every bit as tough as the Marines.

I was drafted in May of 1969. At the AFEES (Armed Forces Entrace & Examination Station) 113 draftees reported in at 6:30 AM on that fateful Chicago morn. Two were selected for the Marines. Considering I returned in one piece two years later it was a very positive experience. Boot camp was challenging, but having grown up in Catholic schools, strict discipline was no big deal. Not so for some. On the other hand, the physical conditioning was tough.
#27
Old 12-30-2012, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Monty View Post
In the US, usually when we refer to a draftee, we mean someone who was called up without volunteering. The guy who volunteered, we simply call a volunteer. I guess that's because although we used to have active conscription, we didn't have mandatory military service like some countries (Israel, South Korea, etc.). What you're referring to is someone who volunteered for a particular service or branch within one service instead of waiting for the local equivalent of the Selective Service Administration or Military Manpower Administration to call them to active duty and assign them as the SSA/MMA determines.
Right. "Volunteering" is mostly meaningless when you've got a universal draft - if you're fit for service, the army will call you up. The only people who can volunteer to serve in the IDF are foreigners, and Israelis who have been found not fit for service for physical or mental reasons.
#28
Old 12-31-2012, 08:30 AM
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During WWII you could get drafted into the Army, Navy or Marines. The Air Force was a branch of the Army then. By Vietnam era, it was only the Army and some Marines.

Nixon ended student deferments, and my lottery number was 76. I got a pre-induction physical notification and volunteered for the Navy. Good times!
#29
Old 12-31-2012, 11:01 AM
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Besides the five uniformed service branches already listed here, there are also the United States Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps. Did anyone get drafted into those? Or alternatively was it possible to escape the draft by volunteering for them?
#30
Old 12-31-2012, 11:02 AM
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"Or alternatively was it possible to escape the draft by volunteering for them?"

Not a chance.
#31
Old 12-31-2012, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim View Post
"Or alternatively was it possible to escape the draft by volunteering for them?"
So five of the uniformed services actively poached officers from the other two? Wasn't this in the least bit controversial?
#32
Old 12-31-2012, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by psychonaut View Post
Besides the five uniformed service branches already listed here, there are also the United States Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps. Did anyone get drafted into those? Or alternatively was it possible to escape the draft by volunteering for them?
I'd speculate that during the Vietnam War era, these services were probably flooded with volunteers and were turning people away. You probably needed to have a specialized degree to even be considered as a volunteer.
#33
Old 12-31-2012, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
As it happens, I was just reading a book on John Paul Jones. The Continental Navy and its successor, the U.S. Navy, never had press gangs, which were a hated British practice and seen as repugnant to the American concept of liberty. Remember that it was the Royal Navy's practice of pressing on the high seas that was one of the causes of the War of 1812.
As I understood (from books and movies vaguely recalled, like "Billy Budd") the problem was the British were the dominant player on the seas with the biggest guns, and in the middle of a war with Napoleon. They would arrogantly pull over a ship and search for "deserters". If you thought the voter-ID debate was interesting, imagine trying to sort out the identity of illiterates with no personal and official identification and no "national databases" to reference. The British assumed anyone suspicious were lying deserters. If you had your parents' English accent, "prove you are not from Warwickshire - Can't? Must eb a deserter. Off to the British ship with him..."

Not to be confused with press gangs in port, even foreign or colonial ports.
#34
Old 12-31-2012, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by psychonaut View Post
Besides the five uniformed service branches already listed here, there are also the United States Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps. Did anyone get drafted into those? Or alternatively was it possible to escape the draft by volunteering for them?
1C classification
#35
Old 12-31-2012, 01:55 PM
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Spain's draftees could go into any of the three branches of service (Army, Navy or Air), including into some groups which were considered "special forces" (such as the Legion) but not others (Airborne were all-volunteer, at least c. 1980). Of course, since the draft lasted about 180 years and included several civil wars and a foreign one, the actual setup changed a lot.

Last edited by Nava; 12-31-2012 at 01:56 PM.
#36
Old 12-31-2012, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I'd speculate that during the Vietnam War era, these services were probably flooded with volunteers and were turning people away. You probably needed to have a specialized degree to even be considered as a volunteer.
Same deal with the National Guard. There were waiting lists, and family connections helped alot. Ironic given that during the Iraq & Afghan War Guardsmen (& Guardswomen) were deployed overseas so often people complained about a "backdoor draft".
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#37
Old 12-31-2012, 03:05 PM
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In post-war Germany, conscripts were drafted into all branches of the Military, at times even into the Federal Border Guard (which today is called Federal Police).

However, IIRC, they wouldn't make you serve in the Navy against your will.
#38
Old 12-31-2012, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
As I understood (from books and movies vaguely recalled, like "Billy Budd") the problem was the British were the dominant player on the seas with the biggest guns, and in the middle of a war with Napoleon. They would arrogantly pull over a ship and search for "deserters". If you thought the voter-ID debate was interesting, imagine trying to sort out the identity of illiterates with no personal and official identification and no "national databases" to reference. The British assumed anyone suspicious were lying deserters. If you had your parents' English accent, "prove you are not from Warwickshire - Can't? Must eb a deserter. Off to the British ship with him..."
To be fair, we (the United States) really were pushing the law past any reasonable point. A sailor could simply go to any American consul in Europe and pay for citizenship papers on the declaration that he intented to settle in the United States at some point in the future. Most of them obviously had no intention on doing this and were just seeking the supposed protection from impressment they would theoretically get as a citizen of a neutral country.
#39
Old 12-31-2012, 07:18 PM
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The peacetime draft operated in England from 1945 to 1963 when the last man left. Most draftees went to the Army, with the RAF taking most of the balance. The Navy took very few, no more than about 10% (until 1948 you could also be drafted to work in the coal mines). The period of service was initially twelve months but the Czechoslovak crisis saw it extended to eighteen and the Korean War to 2 years. In the late Fifties it came down to eighteen months again. By then the system was producing more recruits than the Services needed and people were being rejected for quite trivial medical reasons.

Last edited by Mk VII; 12-31-2012 at 07:18 PM.
#40
Old 01-01-2013, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
I must be misreading you, but even though I know you're French I cannot imagine any armed forces filling elite ranks with draftees. Is this 'elite' as in Special Forces or 'elite' in some sense I'm unfamiliar with?
There isn't anymore a military service in France (draftees became useless after the fall of the Warsaw pact), but indeed I was thinking of the situation here when it still existed.

By "elite", I didn't mean special forces but units with special training and generally considered as being significantly superior to the run of the mill infantry. To give examples of what I had in mind, a friend served as a marine infantry paratrooper, another on a boomer, one of my brothers as a lieutenant in alpine infantry, an acquaintance in a desert environment recon team in a warzone.

As pointed out by Alessan, those were volunteers, went through a selection process and accepted a longer time of service (except the sub guy who stayed only for the regular one year)

If you intend to rely in part on reservists to fight a possible war (like France during the cold war, Israel, Korea, whatever...) you can't just train grunts during military service. You need to train NCOs, snipers, tank gunners, paratroopers, chemical warfare specialists, artillery observers, communication technicians, etc...too. So, in case of actual draft, draftees will be found in almost all branches and positions in the armed forces.
#41
Old 01-01-2013, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Huh? I would think that would lead to lopsided recruiting, with the some areas who are perceived as more interesting getting high percentages of recruits and other seeing shortages. You would never fill artillery for instance. .
I'm not sure why. One of my brothers choose to serve in the artillery, precisely. Anyway, the general concept is that most people ended up where the army needed them (even though they could express preferences). Anybody can be trained for artillery, so, it's not going to be an issue. Only some positions require preexisting skills, or particular physical or mental aptitudes. And I suspect that there were generally more volunteers than needed for those. The boomer guy I mentioned above absolutely wanted to do that, and why someone would want to spend his military service submerged for months in a row is totally beyond me Nevertheless, there are volunteers even for that.


And finally, the army has its way to cajole people into volunteering for something they weren't originally interested in. I'm a conscientious objector, but I had been preselected for reserve officer training. Along with another guy who had no issue with serving but was unwilling to serve some months more, we went through three (mandatory) interviews beginning with a sergeant and ending with a major to convince us otherwise despite our utter lack of interest (we declined). A guy who wanted to serve in the navy but had some skill or another of interest went through a similar process to convince him to sign up instead for a specific training in the signal corps (he did). The desert recon guy I mentioned previously had already served in the Algerian army, shouldn't have been called to begin with due to an agreement between both countries, had no interest in a second round of mandatory service, but they somehow convinced him not only to stay but also to volunteer for a war zone (Libya/Chad war)
#42
Old 01-02-2013, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
I'm not sure why. One of my brothers choose to serve in the artillery, precisely:
Artillery does not have the appeal of infantry or armour.It is also a highly technical arm and while not exactly nuke school, does require a recruit to learn and master some rather complicated mathematical concepts and skills.
#43
Old 01-02-2013, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Artillery does not have the appeal of infantry or armour.It is also a highly technical arm and while not exactly nuke school, does require a recruit to learn and master some rather complicated mathematical concepts and skills.
The guy who's aiming the gun, sure. The guy who drives the truck that tows the howitzer or loads it or whatever, not so much.
#44
Old 01-02-2013, 10:13 AM
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Or the guy loading the ammo. A good friend of mine was an artilleryman, and started out by loading 175mm shells. That's normally a 2-man job, but since he was 18 years old and freakishly strong, more often than not he loaded them by himself. Needless to say, he now has serious back problems, 20 years later.
#45
Old 01-02-2013, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
The guy who's aiming the gun, sure. The guy who drives the truck that tows the howitzer or loads it or whatever, not so much.
IIRC, all members of gun crews are given the same training and they alternate roles.
#46
Old 01-02-2013, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
IIRC, all members of gun crews are given the same training and they alternate roles.
I'm sure there's some degree of cross-training, but I doubt they alternate roles. Tank drivers and loaders don't swap roles; why would artillery crews?
#47
Old 01-02-2013, 12:45 PM
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At least in Spain, Artillery includes the guys in charge of transporting and storing ammo; it was my brother's assignment and he still gets pretty white remembering how carelessly some of his superiors and mates handled things - and how they drove. He was the person with the oldest license, so he got to teach everybody who didn't have one. They never handled any actual artillery pieces. Of course once you choose a branch you can't say "no, no, I want to be a storage dude", but I always think of it as an example of one of those army jobs that don't come to mind when you think of the army, yet without which the army wouldn't be able to do those that come to mind.

Last edited by Nava; 01-02-2013 at 12:47 PM.
#48
Old 01-02-2013, 01:09 PM
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To echo SanDiegoTim, my mother had a childhood friend who enlisted with the Navy to try and avoid the draft during Viet Nam, only to be assigned as a corpsman and serve in the field with the Marines. He lost both his legs to a landmine.

Last edited by H3Knuckles; 01-02-2013 at 01:09 PM.
#49
Old 01-02-2013, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Mk VII View Post
... By then the system was producing more recruits than the Services needed and people were being rejected for quite trivial medical reasons.
The same thing was happening when Germany abolished conscription a few years ago. Even with more men doing the "alternative" service for conscientious objectors than serving in the military the Bundeswehr was still getting more men than needed. It was the military that was in favour of going to an all-volunteer model and the social service organizations (that depended on the conscientious objectors) that were against.
#50
Old 01-02-2013, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Artillery does not have the appeal of infantry or armour.It is also a highly technical arm and while not exactly nuke school, does require a recruit to learn and master some rather complicated mathematical concepts and skills.
In my brother's case, he too served as a reserve officer and artillery spotter (*), hence had a longer service than normal. I wouldn't even know if he ever fired an artillery piece. I guess that if they needed people with peculiar skills, they tried to convince such people to sign up for a longer service with appropriate training; like the guy I mentioned who wanted to join the navy but signed up for some specialized job in the signal corps instead. And as pointed out by several posters, some "jobs" (I would suspect the majority) don't require skills that can't be taught in one year.


(*) He told me once that his job was to drive around in a lightly armored vehicle with plenty of antennas on it. And that one of his main objectives was to spot light armored vehicles with plenty of antennas on them so that they could be destroyed ASAP. He said that somehow, this made him a bit uneasy

Last edited by clairobscur; 01-02-2013 at 06:24 PM.
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