AGF Study No. 8: Reorganization of Ground Troops for Combat
SECOND PERIOD: THE AGE OF ECONOMY
OCTOBER 1942 - OCTOBER 1943
THE INFANTRY DIVISION
Readjustments in the infantry division in 1942 and 1943 constituted a shrinking process, not a reorganization. The conception of the division arrived at in the reform of the 1930's remained basically unaltered viz., that the division should be a compact offensive force, carrying a minimum of defensive weapons, streamlined for open warfare, and backed up by units of other types in corps and army. The infantry division was the fundamental permanent combined-arms team, intended to have the right amount of organic artillery and auxiliary elements to enable its infantry riflemen to move forward against average resistance. General McNair hoped to emphasize and clarify this conception by paring away the growth which tended to obscure it. His views were formulated in a set of tables of organization submitted to the War Department in February and March 1943. The purport of these tables is described in the following paragraphs, after which the action taken on them is explained. (See Annex I.)
It should be kept in mind that at this time, in the winter of 1942-43, although the number of divisions to be mobilized in 1943 had been curtailed, it was still expected that divisions would be mobilized in 1944.54 The AGF tables outlined a division of 13,412 officers and men, over 2,000 less than the 1942 tables currently in effect. For a total of 100 infantry divisions, which still seemed a reasonable prospect, the saving of 2,000 men in each would save 200,000 men. On a 100-division basis, the saving of every 150 men in divisional tables would more than provide the manpower for a new division.
Last updated 15 March 2006