Army Ground Forces Study No. 4

Section IX.


At the close of 1942 the Army could look back on a year of unprecedented expansion. Almost four million men had been added during the year, actual strength (including officers) having risen from 1,657,157 to 5,400,888. Thirty-seven new divisions had been called into being. Seventy-three were in existence. The pressure of growth had repeatedly broken through the plans of the troop basis. Growth had been uneven and inadequately controlled, in part because of inherent difficulties in planning during a period of chaotic expansion, in part because of fluctuations in strategic objectives at the highest level, in part because component parts of the Army were too powerful and autonomous for complete coordination by the War Department General Staff.

Distribution of strength within the Army shifted greatly in 1942, more so than in any subsequent year of the war. (See Table III, with chart.) At the beginning of 1942 the Infantry, Cavalry, Field Artillery, and Coast Artillery (which together included tank, tank destroyer, and antiaircraft personnel) constituted 52 percent of the Army,


the service branches 26 percent, the Air Corps 16 percent. By the end of 1942 the figures were respectively 36, 37, and 24 percent. At the beginning of 1942 there were two soldiers in the ground arms for one in the service branches—at the end of 1942 only one. During 1942 the ground arms more than doubled, but the service branches and the Air Corps multiplied more than fourfold. The Air Corps, it will be recalled, constituted only a part, though by far the largest part of the Army Air Forces, in which elements of the service branches were also included.

In the long run, the total authorized strength of ground combat units increased very little after 1942—by only 6.5 percent. (See Table V.) Many units were added (see Table VI), but other units were dissolved. The number of officers and men in the combat arms other than coast artillery increased materially after 1942, (see Table III, with chart), but most of these went to fill shortages in units, or into the rising population of replacement centers, hospitals, etc., rather than increase the total strength of combat units.



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Last updated 5 August 2005