Army Ground Forces Study No. 4
INITIAL PLANNING OF THE 1943 TROOP BASIS
Figures tabulated in the preceding Study No. 3 provide essential evidence for the remainder of the present study, which in turn provides a narrative explanation of the facts shown statistically in Study No. 3. The table in Study No. 3 offers a synopsis of mobilization from the drafting of the 1943 troop basis to the close of the war in Europe.
Planning began in the spring of 1942 for the augmentation of the Army to be made in 1943. The Operations Division of the War Department General Staff wished to add 67 divisions in 1943 and 47 in 1944, bringing the total of divisions to 140 at the close of 1943 and 187 at the close of 1944.43 The figures were admittedly very tentative. The Ground Forces in May 1942 pronounced such a program capable of accomplishment—before the rapid activations of the summer of 1942 raised the gross number of men per division to 50,000.44 G-3 of the War Department expressed his belief that only 37 divisions should be added in 1943, in view of limitations on shipping and construction and the undesirability of withdrawing men from industry and agriculture too long before they could be employed in military operations. The G-3 figure, involving a total of 100 divisions by the end of 1943, was accepted as the basis of further discussion.45
In July and August 1942 the War Department instructed the three mayor commands to make detailed proposals for the 1943 troop basis. The main outlines were prescribed, although no figure on the total size of the Army was yet given. A total of 2,000,000 enlisted men were allotted to the Air Forces. The capacity of officers candidate schools was raised to 73,000. The Army Ground Forces was to organize about 110 divisions by 31 December 1943, increase the antiaircraft artillery to 610,000, and augment the strength of other arms by certain specified percentages, which in all cases were less than the percentage increase of antiaircraft artillery. General Edwards, G-3, War Department General Staff, noting that Germany had some 300 divisions and the Japanese probably 90, observed unofficially that the diversion of American military manpower to non-combat functions should be checked, that the Army in 1943 should undergo “a complete revamping,” and that the gross number of men required per division should be reduced from 50,000 to 33,000 by 1944.47 In this way he hoped that, by the end of 1944, 141 divisions might be organized. As it turned out, by the end of 1944 there were only 90 divisions in the United States Army, whose aggregate strength (not counting the Air Forces) was then approximately 5,700,000 showing a ratio of over 60,000 per division.
The Army Ground Forces submitted its detailed proposals on 30 September 1942.48 (See Study No. 3) A total of 114 divisions was recommended. Because of the inclusion of airborne and light divisions, the net divisional strength remained within the figure prescribed by the War Department. Recommendations for nondivisional units exceeded
the allotments made by the War Department. The aim of the Army Ground Forces was to assure the mobilization of a balanced force, in which nondivisional troops such as medical units, engineer battalions, ordnance maintenance companies, tank battalions, and Military police should be in a proper proportion to each other and to the number of divisions. The “type” army and “type” corps, formerly used as a yardstick to secure proper proportions, had been abandoned. For each type of unit the Army Ground Forces adopted instead a ratio per division based on anticipated requirements of operations. The strength of nondivisional combat units (“combat support”) obtained by application of these ratios exceeded the War Department allotment by 122,092 men. It was mainly in heavy artillery, tanks, tank destroyers, mechanized cavalry and nondivisional infantry that the AGF estimate of requirements for combat support exceeded that of the War Department. Recommendations for nondivisional service units (“service support”) had been arrived at in conference between the Army Ground Forces and the Services of Supply. Exact demarcation had not yet been made between types of service units which AGF and SOS were to activate and train. Duplication and overlapping resulted. The recommendation for service support exceeded the War Department allotment by 385,752. The total excess was about 500,000.
These proposals were submitted with reservations. The Army Ground Forces recommended that if cuts were necessary they be made in armored and motorized rather than in infantry and airborne divisions, that reductions be made proportionately so as to maintain forces in balance, and that the whole question of service troops be reexamined. “Precise data,” wrote the Chief of Staff, AGF, “as to the total personnel engaged in the services in the entire United States Army are not available to this headquarters for analysis. However, from the general information at hand, it appears that over-all production of services to combat forces is grossly excessive; and some definite measures to control the dissipation of manpower to these non-combatant functions must be instituted at once.”49
The recommendations of the Army Air Forces, like those of the Army Ground Forces, exceeded the allotment made in August. In August the War Department had allotted 2,000,000 men. The Air Forces now asked for 2,330,000.
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Last updated 5 August 2005