THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS: TROOPS AND EQUIPMENT. By Blanche D. Coll, Jean E. Keith, and Herbert H. Rosenthal. (1958,1974; 622 pages, 15 tables, 11 charts, 76 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 10-4.)
This volume is a history of the measures taken in the United States to cope with the variety of demands placed on the Corps of Engineers during World War II. In the period before Pearl Harbor the dominant theme was preparation to fight in the war of movement that air and armor had introduced on the battlefields of Europe. In the midst of rapid expansion, the corps adopted and procured such equipment as emergency bridges designed to sustain heavier loads, airplane landing mats to take the place of paved runways, powerful earth-moving machinery, and delicate mapping instruments to exploit the possibilities of aerial photography. Such equipment, while greatly increasing the engineer capabilities, also increased its dependence on skilled manpower and on a steady supply of industrial products.
Once the United States was in the war the corps faced global demands not only for more troops, but also for new types of units to reconstruct damaged ports, operate small craft in amphibious landings, distribute petroleum products, manufacture and distribute parts of complicated machinery, and many other incidental tasks. The unexpected lack of skills and aptitudes of a great number of the recruits, the need for hasty training, and the priorities of procurement assigned to weapons immediately required gravely handicapped the engineers. The second part of this work, devoted to 1942, gives an account of the basic decisions and measures adopted to meet the stresses and changes of incessant crises and explores the debate between the corps and the higher echelons of the War Department in the search for realistic compromises.
After 1942, training programs, lengthened and improved in the light of experience, began to produce a more versatile engineer-soldier. Thereafter, too, procurement could be based on more accurately estimated long-range requirements and freer access to materials. The last part of the volume is devoted to this period in which the corps reached its full strength and capacity and in which the orderly distribution of equipment and replacement parts became the primary goal of the corps' logistical activity in the United States.
The whole volume particularizes, and merges into, the comprehensive pictures of mobilization, training, procurement, and supply presented in the Army Ground
Forces volumes on the organization and training of ground combat troops: R. Elberton Smith's The Army and Economic Mobilization and Leighton and Coakley's volumes on Global Logistics and Strategy.
1. Recruiting and training programs and devices to obtain enough recruits with adequate skills and aptitudes (Chs. V, VII, X-XVIII).
2. Devices to economize manpower, including the development of general purpose units, in the face of a trend toward specialized types (Chs. I, VI, X, XV).
3. Employment of black troops (Chs. V, VI, X-XI, XIII-XIV).
4. Standardization of equipment (Chs. IX, XXII).
5. Competition between strictly military items and commercial components for industrial facilities (Chs. IV, VIII, IX, XXI).
6. Cooperation with other services and with Allies in the development of equipment (Chs. II, XX).
7. Procedures for allocating supplies among Allies (Chs. VIII, IX).
8. Engineer personnel and training in a period of quasi-mobilization (Ch. V).
9. Organization and functions of engineer troop units (Chs. I-II, VI, X).
10. Organization, functions, equipment, and training of amphibian brigades (Ch. XVI), port reconstruction and repair groups (Ch. XVII), and petroleum distribution companies (Ch. XVIII).
11. Development of engineer equipment (Chs. II, XX).
12. Map supply and strategic intelligence and the division of responsibility among the Corps of Engineers, the Army Air Forces, and nonmilitary agencies in the preparation and supply of maps (Chs. III, XIX).
13. Camouflage (Ch. III).
14. Procurement and distribution of supplies, including the computation of requirements and aid to Allies (Chs. IV, VIII, IX, XXI, XXII).
15. Methods of estimating quantities of supplies needed for construction operations, that is, Class IV requirements (Ch. XXI).
16. Maintenance and the supply of spare parts (Chs. IX, XXII).
17. Procurement and schooling of engineer of ricers (Chs. V, VII).
18. Replacement training (Chs. VII, XI).
19. Unit training (engineer) under Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces control (Chs. XII-XV).
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