The TORCH Period
The Army strategists in OPD had experienced the keenest satisfaction that can come to staff officers when they saw the BOLERO plan, which they regarded as their brain child, come to be the central feature in the strategy of the United States and Great Britain. In the second half of 1942 they had the trying experience of seeing this project for an early invasion of France pushed into the background by the decision to undertake an operation similar to the once-discarded project for the occupation of North Africa. The early enthusiasm for opening a second front in Europe in 1942, in which OPD had briefly joined, may have helped bring about the midyear deviation from the BOLERO line. In any event the President, like the Prime Minister, felt a compelling urgency to mount a major offensive before 1943. This urgency was less strictly military than psychological, affecting the American and British will to struggle, sacrifice, and win, as well as the international policies of neutral and allied states. In these matters, the importance of which Army planners did not belittle, the responsibility and the judgment of the President were final. His insistence upon action in 1942 and the strong case made by the Prime Minister for the North African venture led in June and July to a thorough reconsideration of strategy in that light. The unfeasibility of executing SLEDGEHAMMER (the project for a 1942 invasion) as a regular operation with calculable risks rather than as an emergency move, finally brought a decision by the British and American heads of government to attack northwest Africa in the autumn of 1942. General Eisenhower, already in the United Kingdom, was designated as Commander in Chief of the Allied (British-American) Expeditionary Force, the bulk of which sailed for North Africa from bases in the United Kingdom, and the rest of which left directly from the United States for the assault on Casablanca. The decision thus taken not only confused and darkened the prospects of invading France in 1943, but also once more plunged the long-range deployment schedules of the Army into chaos. While striving to restore order in strategic planning OPD had to turn its main efforts in the second half of 1942 to detailed preparations for the North African invasion, known as TORCH.1
At the same time that TORCH was changing the tenor of military plans in the European area, OPD officers were observing uneasily the progress of the campaign on Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. The assault on Guadalcanal was predominantly a naval operation under U. S. Navy command, but it came to involve sizable Army air and ground forces. It was a tactical offensive originally conceived as staying well within the policy of a generally defensive strategy in the Pacific, on which the JCS had definitely decided as a prerequisite for the plan to concentrate strength in Europe, but it absorbed military resources of every kind considerably in excess of those originally allotted to it. These matters, and a host of related plans and policies, were debated thoroughly by Army spokesmen in the interservice and international staff committees as well as before the President. General Marshall himself, and consequently his strategists in OPD, had to accept command decisions that had a logic they could see but were contrary to the best military judgment they could bring to bear on the strategic problems at hand. Nevertheless, they went ahead to do their utmost in helping to carry out the very strategic decisions against which they had advised.2
The officer guiding OPD through the TORCH period was Brig. Gen. Thomas T Handy, who succeeded General Eisenhower as Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, on 24 June 1942. Two weeks later he was promoted to the rank of major general, which had been established for the post in March. He had vigor, stamina, and resolution, all demanded by General Marshall and all essential in any officer who assumed responsibility for co-ordinating the military operations of the U. S. Army with one another and with strategic plans. Through all the postponements and shifts that affected the planning of the invasion of France during the next two years, General Handy held this position in OPD, giving an element of continuity at a crucial point both in Army planning and control of Army operations. His personal experience encompassed the abstract if thorough Army planning of early WPD days, the achievements of 1941 and early 1942 when plans were being adjusted to meet the real circumstances of World War II, and the formative period dominated by BOLERO planning. General Handy, in the strenuous months following, there-
fore, was able to bring General Marshall's plans and operations staff to an exceptionally high level of performance.3
General Handy did not make a formal appointment of a deputy to replace General Crawford, who left OPD on 22 June 1942. The primary function of a deputy, acting for the chief in his absence, was usually performed during General Handy's tenure by his Theater Group chief. Until 9 December, that officer was General Streett, who had served with General Handy several years in WPD in the late 1930's and who had worked in close association with him at a higher level of responsibility when both officers were group chiefs under General Eisenhower. On General Streett's departure General Hull, previously chief of the European Theater Section, became Theater Group chief. The other key post in OPD, that of Army planner in the JCS-CCS system and chief of S&P Group, General Handy assigned to Colonel Wedemeyer, who had been one of the Army members of the Joint U. S. Strategic Committee in February and March, member of the Combined Subjects Section from March to May, and deputy group chief in May and June. He was officially appointed on 27 June to succeed General Handy both as chief of S&P and as Army planner, receiving a promotion to the rank of brigadier general on 7 July 1942.In the smaller Logistics Group, whose functions were only gradually taking shape in the second half of 1942, Colonel Davis carried on as senior logistics specialist, becoming acting group chief on 25 June and permanent group chief on 1 August. He remained in that position until 4 December 1942. Colonel Gailey, Executive Group chief in charge of messages, records, and administration, and Colonel Davis afforded General Handy two additional officers to whom he could delegate the growing miscellany of logistics and administrative staff problems that did not properly fall within the sphere of the S&P or Theater Groups. The firm status which General Handy and his staff in OPD had achieved by the middle of the TORCH period was reflected in a practical administrative way by its assignment of quarters in the tremendous new Pentagon Building erected across the Potomac southwest from Washington. OPD completed transferring its office from the old Munitions Building on Constitution Avenue on 15 November 1942, occupying what proved to be permanent quarters immediately adjacent to the Office of the Secretary of War and the Office of the Chief of Staff on the third floor of the Pentagon.4
Redefinition of Levels of PlanningThe distinction between planners and operations control officers became much
MAJ. GEN. THOMAS T. HANDY, Chief of the Operations Division, 24 June 1942-21 October 1944; Deputy Chief of Staff, 21 October 1944-1 September 1947.
sharper than was originally intended when, in July, the Future Operations Section of the S&P Group was dropped from the Division. The rationale of this section had been that it provided a "connecting link between the S&P Group and the Theater Group"—between "broad phases of planning on many and varied projects" and immediate planning. The Future Operations Section was concerned with broad planning, but only on "projects, the implementation of which is intended in the near future." The principal concern of this section from the beginning had been the BOLERO movement to the United Kingdom. After initial approval of the BOLERO plan, this work became a task for theater implementation. In many ways the job was still planning, but it was planning of a more detailed kind than the formulation of strategy. Moreover, the build-up in the United Kingdom soon became entangled with the job of theater control of the North African task force. Accordingly, General Hull assumed the staff direction of BOLERO and of TORCH in his capacity as chief of the European Theater Section. The remaining functions of the Future Operations Section and three of its officers reverted to the Strategy Section.5
This transfer of the BOLERO and TORCH planners to the Theater Group was almost precisely the administrative process visualized when OPD was organized in March. The officers who had drawn the plan in S&P took it with them to the Theater Group to put it into effect. From mid-1942 throughout the war, however, this simple system of the orderly movement of a plan, with its authors, from the level of grand strategy to the level of detailed operational planning did not prove to fit the actual facts of strategic planning. The BOLERO plan was not to be executed for a long time. Meanwhile the TORCH operation, which had been planned only in the most general outlines and not too clearly at that, was hastily launched.
Under these circumstances the European Theater Section found itself doing a lot of work on TORCH that resembled traditional Army planning on the highest level of strategy, while S&P continued to participate in joint and combined debates on some aspects both of BOLERO, which theoretically should have descended to the operational planning level once and for all, and of TORCH, an operation already being mounted. Just as in 1941, when the effort had been made to distinguish WPD's sphere of authority in such matters from GHQ's sphere, in the later months of 1942 and afterwards it proved to be impossible to draw a hard and fast distinction between general strategic planning and more detailed operational planning. The processes were so intermingled that they would not stay on different levels, even when both processes were carried on in one staff agency.
The result in administrative practice inside OPD was a new stratification of planning. It was achieved without much attempt at abstract definition by making a practical distinction between staff consideration of Army problems in the joint and combined committee system, usually involving world-wide strategy and policy, and
Army problems, usually concerned with overseas operations, that could be handled between the theater commander and the Chief of Staff without reference to the interservice or international planning system. While strategy and theater operations might get mixed up on either side of the line drawn between these two levels of planning, it was at least clear which group in OPD would handle which problems. Thus, careful co-ordination between the groups in the Division was facilitated, and each group was free to develop in its officers, assigned for an indefinite period of time rather than until some specific strategic plan had been completed, as great a specialization in staff techniques as seemed profitable, in joint and combined planning on the one hand and in planning in conjunction with the theater commands on the other.
In effect in 1942 a new level of continuous, systematic planning had been established and superimposed on all previous levels of Army planning. It was the interservice and international level, where binding decisions had to be made in very general terms about a great many problems before the Army could proceed to plan at all. The kind of planning represented in the Army strategic plan of the 1930's had become simply a broad type of theater planning, whether strategic or operational by conventional definition. As such it could be handled most efficiently by the Theater Group, assisted increasingly by the Logistics Group. Later in the war the initiative in this kind of operational planning was taken over almost entirely by the growing overseas theater staffs. Throughout the war OPD's Theater Group officers studied the detailed calculations as to the units the overseas theaters needed for projected operations, monitored the movement overseas of forces in the numbers approved, and supervised the countless related arrangements that were essential to their use in the right place at the right time. In 1942 there were no large overseas staffs to carry on this kind of planning, and OPD's "pick and shovel" officers carried a heavy load, especially in making preparations for TORCH, working always, of course, under the direction of their group chief, the chief of OPD, and the Chief of Staff.
This process was the heart of planning for Army operations as such. In the prewar frame of reference, many of these decisions would have been considered high-level strategy. But by the end of 1942 it was obvious that they were being made below the highest level of staff work, and were hardly a matter of independent Army determination at all. For the most part they were settled within the pattern of interservice and international strategic agreements reached by the JCS and the CCS. In view of this fact, OPD tended to concentrate all kinds of planning that affected Army operations in the theaters in the hands of one group of expert staff officers, and reserve for another group, S&P, the kind of staff problem, whatever it might be, that in fact had to be settled in the joint and combined committee system.
The propriety of this pragmatic redefinition of planning levels toward the end of 1942 became clearer when it developed later that the Western Task Force of TORCH was the last major Army combat expedition launched from the United States under the direct supervision of OPD. In midwar there was comparatively little overlapping of staff work on grand strategy and strictly operational planning of the kind that had gone into the older Army strategic planning. The latter was being done almost altogether in the theaters of operations and merely monitored by OPD, chiefly
by the Theater Group, on behalf of the Chief of Staff. Only insofar as impending decisions affecting the overseas theaters hinged on world-wide strategy being worked out in the JCS-CCS system were they of primary interest to S&P.
The redefinition of levels of planning along these lines served to stabilize OPD's internal organization and assignment of duties. There was no further evolution of the kind whereby Future Operations, S&P, had merged completely with the European Section, Theater Group. During the TORCH period and afterwards, S&P officers were mainly concerned with joint and combined planning, and theater section officers took care of every other problem referred to the Chief of Staff's command post. This system had the administrative virtues of stability and simplicity. It greatly facilitated the development of needed new techniques in joint planning in 1943, as well as the maintenance of close contacts with the huge overseas forces of the later war years.
Staff Work in the Joint Committee System
As a result of the shift in the focus of its work in the TORCH period, S&P began to develop its techniques for planning in the joint committee system. The Strategy Section provided the Army planner (the S&P chief) with a special staff for strategic study and advice. But the Army planner and the Chief of Staff, in their joint and combined capacities, had to face many policy problems being considered on the interservice and international level that were not strictly strategic and often were not strategic at all. These issues ranged from psychological warfare policy to systems of Army-Navy and Allied command. To make studies and recommendations on such miscellaneous matters was the function of the Combined Subjects Section. WPD had always dealt with Army-Navy problems for the War Department and from time to time had centralized this function in one of its planning sections. By mid-1942, however, the S&P Group had established a more systematic handling of joint and combined papers than had ever existed before. Whereas the Strategy Section reviewed studies on strategy, including joint and combined papers, and contributed ideas on strategy to these studies, the Combined Subjects Section had a more generalized responsibility of reviewing and making recommendations on any kind of paper which came under joint and combined consideration. Its officers prepared studies only on nonstrategic subjects, but the section co-ordinated all JCS-CCS paper work. It kept for reference and research the only comprehensive War Department file of joint and combined staff papers. While no clear line could be drawn between subjects properly classified as strategy and those that were not, close liaison between the sections made it possible for the group chief and his assistants to co-ordinate their work effectively.
The Combined Subjects Section in the latter part of 1942 not only had the task of studying and recommending appropriate action on matters under consideration or that ought to be considered in the JCS system, but also of initiating appropriate War Department action to carry into effect decisions reached by the JCS or the CCS. Ordinarily this implementation function, as it came to be called, was discharged by distributing JCS and CCS papers or directives based on JCS or CCS actions. A great deal of this work amounted merely to sending JCS directives to the Strategy Section or to the theater sections inside OPD, but on
joint and combined matters outside the sphere of strategy and operational policy, the Combined Subjects Section dealt directly with other Army agencies and kept rather close watch over their compliance with instructions.
The importance of the Combined Subjects Section's implementation of JCS decisions increased immeasurably with the accretion of prestige and power to the JCS-CCS system. OPD had considered the Army bound by joint and combined decisions from the very beginning, despite the dubious legal status of the new organization, and this firm attitude as well as the efficient work of OPD officers in the system unquestionably contributed to the authority which joint and combined decisions had in the War Department. In this matter, of course, OPD was reflecting General Marshall's own strong conviction of the necessity of unified command on every level. The clearest exposition of this point of view had been presented in a memorandum drafted in April 1942 by General Eisenhower and Lt. Col. Kenneth N. Walker, General Streett's executive in the Theater Group. The Army Air Forces was encountering difficulties in meeting the JCS aircraft commitments for Hawaii. The memorandum stated that it was necessary to consider joint decisions as binding until reversed or amended by later joint action. It also made clear that OPD expected to play a central role in correlating all Army activities connected with joint and combined policies and decisions. General Eisenhower wrote:
It is the view of the Operations Division that any approved action by the Joint Chiefs of Staff must be taken as an authoritative directive unless and until modified by the same or higher authority. Any other view would imply a right to disregard decisions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which are either specifically or by understanding approved by the Commander-in-Chief, and so create confusion and lack of coordination.
It is recognized that in certain instances commitments made for future operations cannot be completely executed, due to later developments. In such cases it appears that the logical course is to present the facts to this Division, which is charged not only with responsibility for initiating action for the War Department, involving operations, but for presenting to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, through channels, applicable data and recommendations in such matters.6
The Combined Subjects Section was the administrative embodiment of this policy. In the first six months of General Handy's tenure the contribution to unity of military effort which OPD was able to make through the work of the section became more and more apparent. Until September 1942, OPD performed the task of carrying out JCS directives primarily on the precedent of WPD's responsibility for similar initiation of action on Joint Board decisions. Finally, on 10 September, a formal assignment of this responsibility was made to OPD. Some such solution was necessary, since the JCS had no executive staff large enough both to issue directives and see that they were put into effect. Executive responsibility had to be taken independently by the Army—including the Army Air Forces—and the Navy. OPD was the only Army agency with the information necessary to do the job. To make this de facto situation de jure, the Chief of Staff assigned OPD the "duty, for the War Department, of implementing and following up directives and decisions of the Joint U. S. Chiefs of Staff and the Combined Chiefs of Staff,"
reporting actions taken to the JCS secretariat, which had been "charged with the responsibility of following up directives issued to the Army and the Navy."7
On the following day this duty was formally delegated by the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, to the Combined Subjects Section. This section was charged with reviewing all joint and combined papers and initiating War Department action either by transferring them to another section of OPD authorized to issue the appropriate instructions or by preparing a supplementary directive to be issued formally by OPD to the Army agency which could appropriately take the necessary action.8 This procedure was described in a directive distributed on 16 January 1943 throughout the War Department and to the JCS secretariat:
All joint and combined decisions requiring implementation by the War Department are sent to the Operations Division, WDGS. The Combined Subjects Section, OPD, either implements these decisions or forwards them with additional background, to the proper War Department agency for the necessary action. This Section also is charged with following up directives and decisions emanating from the Secretariat, Joint U. S. Chiefs of Staff, and also from the Secretary, Joint U. S. Communications Board. Periodic reports of War Department action are made to the several secretaries through the Office Chief of Staff.
Matters affecting both the Army and the Navy on which a decision is required by either the Joint U. S. Chiefs of Staff, or by the Joint U. S. Communications Board, will be prepared in the form of a brief memorandum for the Chief of Staff, through the Combined Subjects Section, OPD, which acts as a coordinating agency for the Chief of Staff in these matters.9
The second half of 1942, in comparison with the first half, was a period of uncertainty and diminished drive in joint planning. The change was largely a reflection of the confusion that had resulted from the collision of the BOLERO plan, never canceled, with the operational requirements of TORCH. This was especially apparent in joint planning below the level of the Army planner, who had plenty of joint decisions to consider, that is, at the level of the Joint U. S. Strategic Committee, which was supposed to help him study them in detail. Whereas in February and March the JUSSC had drafted the basic studies on Pacific deployment versus the BOLERO concentration in Europe, comparatively few of the major JCS decisions between June and December were based on studies prepared by the JUSSC. This change came about primarily because the major decisions concerning TORCH were worked out on the level of the CCS or heads of government, and Army-Navy debates over Pacific operations centered less in differences of strategic opinion than in disputes about command responsibilities as between General MacArthur's Southwest Pacific area and Admiral Nimitz's Pacific Ocean area, and the allocation of critical resources to operations in each area. Many of these matters could be settled only through personal
discussion and negotiation between the Chief of Staff and Admiral King, the Chief of Naval Operations. Under these circumstances the JUSSC, if it was to serve effectively, had to reorient its activities and during this period it was moving slowly toward a clarification of its own staff functions in the joint planning system.
In furthering this process Colonel Maddocks, senior Army member of the committee, took the initiative.10 In July he recommended to General Wedemeyer that the JUSSC might well be constituted as a high-level advisory committee reporting directly to the JCS on the "coordination of the nation's strategic planning and the determination of the strategic direction of its war effort," a role which its name seemed to imply it was designed to fill. On the other hand it might be clearly designated as a working committee of the JPS and assigned the sole mission of "analyzing the effects of possible enemy courses of action and those of our own troops on our agreed concepts of strategy, and of preparing directives for the Joint Staff Planners to assist them in directing strategical planning in the planning groups of the War and Navy Departments." In any case, Colonel Maddocks inferred, the JUSSC should not be asked to work on the various kinds of administrative and operational problems which the JCS and the JPS had to deal with along with strictly strategic problems.11
In practice the JUSSC had tried to conform to all these possible conceptions of its functions. Its February and March studies connected with the early development of the BOLERO plan related directly to the top-level determination of strategy. Work on such problems as "Defense of the Island Bases" in the Pacific was the kind of joint planning under agreed strategy which Colonel Maddocks associated with a working committee of the JPS. Finally, JUSSC studies on the use of amphibious forces related more to the operational responsibilities of the JPS than to strategy proper.12 With this assortment of precedents for the kind of staff activity it should be carrying on and in the absence of a ruling on one of the functions which Colonel Maddocks defined, the JUSSC in the second half of 1942 alternated between attempts to stay on the highest plane of strategy and efforts to assist the JPS decide what to do next about its operational responsibilities.13 Usually the Joint Staff Planners, beset with a host of comparatively short-range issues that were semistrategic and semioperational, delegated its staff work to ad hoc subcommittees. JUSSC members were frequently selected as individuals to sit on these subcommittees, but other qualified Army and Navy officers were also appointed. The JUSSC as formally constituted was left with little to do in its own right, and its members were occupied with special studies for the JPS.
Although it was not to take effect until 1943, a clarification of JUSSC functions ultimately resulted from the JCS consideration of Colonel Maddocks' memorandum. In October, upon General Handy's recommendation, General Marshall referred to the JCS a formal proposal drafted on the basis of Colonel Maddocks' July paper. This proposal suggested reconstituting the JUSSC on the level of the joint Staff Planners and giving it the mission of making "recommendations to insure that our basic strategical policy conforms to the developing situation, and upon the approval of such recommendations, to prepare the necessary strategical plans." In effect this proposal would clearly assign to the reconstituted JUSSC the two distinct functions of assisting in the determination of strategic policy and drafting strategic plans to carry it out, both of which Colonel Maddocks had described in his memorandum. At the same time it would free the JUSSC from non-strategic problems and put it on a level where it could give strategic advice directly to the JCS.14
Discussion of this problem by the JCS ended in a decision to split the two functions between a new "Joint Orientation Committee composed of three senior officers" and the old JUSSC. The new committee undertook to keep the JCS "advised on the soundness of our basic strategic policy in the light of the developing situation, and on the strategy which should be adopted with respect to future operations." By implication the JUSSC, left as a group to which the Joint Staff Planners could "refer matters requiring detailed research," could best devote itself to the other function which the Chief of Staff had suggested for it, that is, drafting Army-Navy strategic plans in accordance with approved strategy. The JCS agreed, however, merely to proceed with the establishment of the new committee and to let the change in JUSSC functions "be accomplished gradually by process of evolution."15 The evolution lasted several months, until April 1943.
Meanwhile the high-level strategic group of three senior officers, named the joint Strategic Survey Committee (JSSC), was set up on 7 November 1942. Composed of Lt. Gen. Stanley D. Embick, Maj. Gen. Muir S. Fairchild as Air Forces representative, and Vice Admiral Russell Willson, it continued throughout the war to make recommendations to the JCS on "global and theater strategy, rather than area strategy and campaign plans."16 Or, as Admiral King had phrased it in discussing the new organization, the JSSC was an "independent group of so-called 'elder statesmen' to advise the Chiefs of Staff on national policy and world strategy." 17
Shortly after the constitution of the JSSC, Colonel Maddocks prepared an informal paper which explained his conception of war planning as it then existed and which pointed the way to the role the old JUSSC as to assume in 1943. He wrote:
1. The following are considered to be the essential steps in military planning:
a. Strategic concept.
b. Strategic direction.
c. Future operation planning.
d. Operation planning.
2. The strategic concept is the basis for all military planning. The strategic concept must not only be developed but it must also be kept up to date in the light of developing and
predictable situations. This is a function of the Joint Strategic Survey
3. Military planning must be coordinated and integrated with the strategic concept so that it will fit into the pattern of the whole. This is known as strategic direction. Without strategic direction, future operation planning will be haphazard and at random. . . .
5b. The study, coordinated with the strategic concept, of the strategic possibilities of projected and current operations provides a firm basis for the strategic direction of our military planning. The strategic possibilities which will result from projected operations and from the completion, partial completion, or failure of each operation now going on or ordered must be considered and a directive for future operation planning based on such possibilities must be issued. It is only in such a manner that our future operation planning will be realistic.
5c. One of the functions of the Joint Strategic Survey Committee is to provide strategic direction for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Joint Strategic Committee might perform this function for the Joint Staff Planners, if the Joint Strategic Committee is to be retained and to do strategic planning. . . .
6. Future operation plans can and should be developed in accordance with current and predictable situations. These plans when approved and ordered into effect become operations plans. At the present time, the Strategy Section of the War Department and the Future Planning Section of the Navy Department, without reference to each other, develop future operation plans. The Joint Staff Planners should issue directives for future operations plans.
7. Operation plans are the last step in planning and are completed by the Commander from approved future operations plans.18
It was to the special, technical task described in Paragraph 6 of Colonel Maddocks' memorandum—drafting joint strategic plans for future operations, particularly for the series of interrelated Pacific island campaigns—that the reorganized JUSSC turned during the following months.19
Theater Group Organization
The Theater Group went ahead in the second half of 1942 with the detailed work of controlling Army operations in the overseas theaters, a task as wide in its ramifications as Army activities. The section structure did not change, General Streett preserving the seven area units and, the Troop Movements staff he had set up in April. In supervising and co-ordinating their work, the group chief devised a new system of executive control which gave him the assistance he needed and made it possible for the Theater Group to act with dispatch on varied Army issues which the sections were trying to solve. Shortly after Col. Charles W. Stewart became the group executive officer in July, a second executive officer, Lt. Col. Walter C. Sweeney, Jr., was brought into the group to co-ordinate its work on air matters. The precedent of having two executives, one representing the ground force interest and the other the air force interest, was followed thenceforth throughout the war. It was complemented after December 1942 by a system of Air and Ground deputies. Brig. Gen. John E. Upston, previously chief of the Africa. Middle East Section, became the first Air deputy. Brig. Gen. Carl A. Russell, formerly the only group deputy, continued to occupy the post of Ground deputy.
While the organization of the Theater Group into sections remained static during this period, the assignment of officers in and among the sections was kept flexible in order
to make strength correspond as closely as possible with the fluctuating requirements of overseas operations. Through the assignment and reassignment of personnel, the group was able to strike a balance between area specialization in the sections and group sensitivity to ever-changing overseas conditions.
A large proportion of Theater Group strength—nearly a third of the whole group—remained in the Western Hemisphere sections throughout this period. This proportion reflected the volume of Army activities associated with the initial defensive deployment in the United States and its defensive outposts. The growth of the Pacific sections in mid-1942 corresponded with the steady expansion of defensive garrisons throughout the Pacific and the inauguration of limited tactical defensives in New Guinea and on Guadalcanal, the latter of which developed into a fairly large-scale campaign by the end of the year. The smaller Asiatic Section struggled with complex problems. The geography of its area required particularly careful staff planning, and the line between military operations and national policy was very fine. The Asiatic Section found that the simplest military decisions were involved with American policy toward China, with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's personal, political, and military interests, and with British policies as reflected both in India and in the Combined Chiefs of Staff system in Washington.
The most active element in the Theater Group during the first six months of General Handy's tenure as Division chief was contained in the two sections responsible for operations in the European and African areas. The expansion of U. S. Army activities in the Middle East, particularly in connection with the mounting of the British offensive in Egypt to support TORCH, led to a considerable enlargement of the Africa-Middle East Section. Even more notable was the development of the European Section upon its definite disassociation from the Strategy & Policy Group in July. Since TORCH was mounted from the United Kingdom and from the United States under General Eisenhower's command, the European Section carried the full load of detailed planning and staff supervision of activities connected with the operation. At the same time it proceeded with such minor phases of the BOLERO build-up in the United Kingdom as could be carried out simultaneously with TORCH.
Expansion of Logistics Group ActivitiesDuring the latter half of 1942, while members of the S&P and Theater Groups were adapting their activities to conform with actual experience in planning and mounting military operations, the officers of the Logistics Group were finding that wartime problems required them steadily to expand the area of their special staff activity inside OPD. They continued to act within OPD whenever necessary as specialists on munitions production and distribution, supply, and the organization, training, and availability of troops. Such problems came to the Logistics Group for action rather than to the Theater Group only when they transcended in scope the confines of individual theater planning. In the period of mounting TORCH, the overflow of technical problems requiring scrutiny by OPD's logisticians multiplied rapidly. The ad hoc character of these duties made it difficult for the group to describe and for others to grasp the rationale of its work. Nevertheless, there was always plenty of work for the dozen or so Logistics Group specialists to do
merely in furnishing essential information on troops and material to the Theater and S&P Groups.
Under Colonel Davis' leadership the Logistics Group as a whole struggled to keep up with the miscellany of staff tasks which fell to it. In mid-September 1942 Colonel Davis informed General Handy that his logisticians were greatly overburdened:
I would consider myself remiss if I did not inform you of the seriousness of the situation. For example, the ammunition status is so vital that no strategical decision can be made without accurate knowledge of the amount of ammunition we may or may not have. Logistics Group apparently is the only agency that can provide this information. . .. . The strategical "blitzes" of the Theatre Group and the logistic "blitzes" of the M. A. B. [Munitions Assignment Board] are becoming more frequent and each one hits the Logistics Group.20
During the second half of 1942 some of the activities of the Logistics Group were beginning to stand out as independent, valuable contributions to the accomplishment of OPD's staff mission, the planning and control of operations. In the first place, the Troop Section continued to prepare the Victory Program Troop Basis and the Overseas Troop Basis. Responsibility for compiling this data, basic to production and supply scheduling, brought to the officers concerned, through contacts with other War Department agencies, information and habits of thought conducive to integrated, long-range balancing of zone of interior resources with theater requirements. As authorities on the facts and figures of Army-wide production, supply, and deployment needs, Logistics Group representatives were influential in determining Theater Group decisions depending on these factors, particularly when more than one theater was involved. As troops began to move overseas in considerable numbers in the second half of 1942, this function of the Logistics Group became more and more prominent and more and more distinct from the area-oriented efforts of the theater sections.
Colonel Davis' reference to the logistic "blitzes" of the Munitions Assignments Board indicated another plane on which the Logistics Group was carving out a small but increasingly important niche for itself. This plane was the one on which joint and combined decisions were taken concerning the distribution of munitions to the United Nations and to the theaters of war. The allocation of production capacity and armaments was the controlling factor in every major strategic decision, particularly during the wartime period of greatest scarcity of equipment, 1942. The translation of strategic policy into the mathematics of equipment and supply was an intricate and specialized task. For the most part it was being done in the relative obscurity of joint and combined deliberations, particularly by the Munitions Assignments Board and its subordinate committees.
The Munitions Assignments Board in Washington was subordinate to the CCS but enjoyed a special status that had been bestowed intentionally by the appointment of a trusted Presidential adviser, Harry Hopkins, as chairman. Co-ordinating its work with that of a similar board in London, the Munitions Assignments Board allocated the total stocks of finished war materials among the United Nations in accordance with strategic and operational decisions in force at the time the munitions were actually
available for distribution.21 The American representatives of the board were de facto the highest authority for similar allocation of the total American allotment among the three services, and a great deal of careful calculation of Army, Navy, and Army Air requirements entered into the formulation of the position taken by the American members of the munitions board.22 Insofar as ground and air equipment was concerned, the mechanisms for providing this necessary calculation of Army and Army Air Forces interests were the War Department Munitions Assignments Committee (Ground) and the War Department Munitions Assignments Committee (Air).23 The influence of OPD came to bear only in the ground committee, where General Crawford had represented WPD and OPD from February until his departure in June.
When it became necessary to find a replacement for General Crawford, who was the ranking equipment expert in OPD, Col. Patrick H. Tansey, chief of the Matériel Section of the Logistics Group, was chosen. 24 During the remainder of 1942 Colonel Tansey waged an aggressive campaign in support of distributing munitions among the United Nations and, on some items, among the three American services in accordance with the strategic and operational plans which other OPD officers were helping to develop. A continuing issue in 1942 was the delicate balancing of the combat needs of British and other Allied forces with the training requirements essential to American units if they were to be ready for employment as visualized in strategic plans. Even within the U. S. Army, critically scarce items of equipment had to be parceled out to units according to a priority determined by future plans. In these and similar areas of the munitions field where logistics blended into strategy, the OPD spokesman was able to bring special knowledge to bear. Within the Army, Logistics Group decisions on the assignment of ground force equipment, particularly ammunition, went out under the full authority of the signature of the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD. The usefulness of OPD's logistic staff work in joint and combined logistic planning was little recognized during the 1942 period, but Colonel Tansey and the other Logistics Group officers were gaining experience for the much larger contributions in this field that were still to be made.
Personnel and Personnel Problems
Despite the pressure of work in the TORCH period, the mid-1942 allotment to OPD of just over 150 officers below general officer rank met the needs of the Division. This ceiling in strength was confirmed in August by the official War Department authorization of officers for duty in Washington and vicinity—with sixteen Army Specialist Corps officer positions being substituted for Regular Army majors and captains.25 By the time OPD moved to the Pentagon Building in November, the Division had actually present on duty 155 officers (including general officers), 1 warrant officer (head of the record room), 136 enlisted men, and 107 civilians. The growth of the Division leveled off at about this point and remained there for some time. At the end of the year officer strength was only 148, including general officers.
During this period the procurement of qualified personnel continued to be a major problem for the executive office, though decreasingly so as the allotment was completed. Every effort was made by G-1, and the Services of Supply to procure for OPD the kind of officers it requested.26 Nevertheless the Division continued to lose valuable officers to field commands and continued to find them hard to replace. Although some were denied the chance to transfer, the Division usually released those of its officers who were selected for tactical assignments and particularly those of sufficient seniority to become eligible for promotion to the rank of brigadier general by accepting field duty.
The trend to the field was hard to stop because senior staff officers in responsible positions, both in Washington and in the theater headquarters, usually had to wait for promotion longer than associates of comparable experience who were on troop duty. General Marshall recognized the embarrassment this caused in large headquarters, including his own staff, but stated that he found great difficulty in getting such promotions for general officers through the White House.27 OPD was comparatively fortunate in having its group chiefs classified as general officers and having a rather high allotment (20 percent of strength) of colonels. Nevertheless many of the older officers left the Division, thereby securing promotions. The younger ones were less restricted in chances for promotion by being on staff duty, and on the other hand found a great deal of compensation in the authority OPD delegated to them despite their rank. The executive office tried to keep the promotions in the lower field grades in balance with seniority in the Army as well as duty in the Division.28
An experiment in personnel procurement occurred in the second half of 1942 with the establishment of the Army Specialist Corps. This attempt to secure men with special training or knowledge for duty in uniform with the Army though on a Civil Service status was short-lived. In accordance with instructions from the Secretary of War, OPD set out toward the end of August to recruit fifteen specialists of the rank of major. To meet the corresponding reduction in the allotment of other officers to the Division in September OPD released three National Guard and four Reserve officers
actually on duty. Nine Army Specialist Corps members joined the Division in October, one going to the Logistics Group, two to S&P, and the rest to the Theater Group. On 4 November the whole system was abolished. Thenceforth all appointments were made to commissions in the Army of the United States (AUS), and OPD recommended five of its nine Specialists for AUS commissions.29 Three of these five were released at their own request. Two were commissioned and remained on duty in OPD through most of the war, Maj. Carleton Hunneman serving in the Logistics Group and Maj. H. D. M. Sherrerd in the European Section.
At the end of the year OPD was in the midst of a more difficult personnel problem. At that time the Secretary of War and the Deputy Chief of Staff were waging a campaign to reduce the number of combat-fit officers on duty in Washington. Instructions were issued for all agencies to manage their releases and replacements so that at least one third of their officers would be over the age for troop duty or would be physically qualified only for limited service, not more than one third would be under thirty-five years of age, and none would be under twenty-eight years of age.30 This order represented a complete reversal of the personnel policy inaugurated by General Eisenhower, with the approval of the Chief of Staff, whereby comparatively young officers had been recruited. Colonel Gailey reported that as a result of this policy OPD had "built up and trained a corps of young, able officers" and was particularly vulnerable to the new policy. According to Colonel Gailey's calculations in December 1942, only 17 officers in the Division were over-age for troop duty, whereas the required one third of allotted strength would amount to 52 in that category. This meant an "influx of 35 over-age officers, 31 of whom would go into the operating theaters and sections." 31
In view of the fact that the over-age officers whom G-1 recommended as qualified for service in OPD were nearly all colonels, their placement in the Division also posed a serious problem. Colonel Gailey observed: "They will be senior in age and grade to our present theater chiefs and very probably most of them will be older and hold a permanent grade higher than the group chiefs and their deputies. This is an unhealthy situation and might very well be detrimental to the morale of not only the over-age officer but the younger officer who is being dispossessed of his section." Finally, Colonel Gailey informed General Handy that the addition of a considerable number of older officers was a dubious project from the point of view of staff efficiency: "This is a fast moving organization—hitting on high at all times. Its members must be able to preserve an open-sound-agile mind in a healthy body to perform their assigned duties under the terrific strain of long hours . . . and pressure that
must need be continually present to successfully cope with war time conditions."32
Despite such misgivings, Colonel Gailey set about to comply with instructions. The morale problem was somewhat relieved by permission from G-1 to carry the over-age colonels as "surplus in grade," thereby avoiding the absolute block their presence otherwise would place on promotions of junior officers in the Division.33 Twenty-four officers left OPD between mid-December and the effective end date for compliance with the order from the Deputy Chief of Staff, 31 January 1943. Of these, 7 were under twenty-eight, and nearly all were under thirty-five. During approximately the same period (9 December 1942-1 February 1943) 19 officers entered on duty in OPD, and most of these were either in the over-age or limited service category. Although Colonel Gailey had counted some of these officers as on duty in his December calculations, the net result was close enough to the required quota to escape official censure.
OPD's Role in Torch
After the President, in July 1942, had reached the decision to undertake the TORCH operation, as the Prime Minister and the British Chiefs of Staff had been urging, OPD was responsible for seeing that it was carried out successfully. The BOLERO movement of U. S. Army units, equipment, and supplies to the United Kingdom and the military resources of the continental United States had to be diverted to effect an immediate concentration of strength for the invasion of North Africa. While trying to keep alive the BOLERO plan as a strategic concept and an ultimate operational project, OPD turned its primary attention to the operation at hand.
TORCH represented the first major American operation against Germany, the first major British-American combined offensive, and the most ambitious Allied amphibious undertaking of the war thus far. The Army had to develop new procedures and practices, for instance, to facilitate and coordinate the complicated politico-military negotiations in which American representatives engaged with a view to securing a quick cessation of French resistance, thereby insuring the success of the landings and subsequent military operations in North Africa. Less novel but unprecedentedly complicated were the preparations required to build up a complete American task force in the zone of interior, three thousand miles away from the other two task forces and General Eisenhower's Allied Force Headquarters in the United Kingdom, and to arrange for its convergence on North Africa simultaneously with the forces from the United Kingdom. Concurrently, OPD, as the Chief of Staff's command post with world-wide operational responsibilities, sought to weave together the activities of other theaters and areas in support of the major undertaking, TORCH; In performing the latter function, OPD aimed not only at furnishing maximum support for the TORCH operation but also at laying the groundwork for the subsequent exploitation of the success of TORCH in the European-African area, whether from Mediterranean bases or from the United Kingdom.
Planning for TORCH went on both in London and Washington. In mid-August General Handy took a trip to the United Kingdom to secure from General Eisenhower and his planning staff firsthand
knowledge of the factors on the scene at Allied Force Headquarters which had to be reckoned with in decisions about preparations for TORCH.34 OPD officers played a leading part in organizing and preparing General Patton's Western Task Force (Casablanca), the only completely American task force in operation, acting as coordinating agency between General Patton's headquarters, temporarily established inside OPD, and Allied Force Headquarters. They also served as intermediaries between the overseas command and the zone of interior, weighing the needs of the Western Task Force and of the American forces in the operation as a whole in the light of the resources available and the requirements of the overseas commander.
An officer from OPD's European Theater Section spent his full time in duties as liaison officer with General Patton's Western Task Force headquarters.35 Another from the same section worked at the New York Port of Embarkation, mainly supervising the loading of operational equipment in the big D plus 40 convoy carrying supplies for both the Western Task Force and the Center Task Force (Oran), the latter of which was sailing from bases in the United Kingdom. This officer was formally designated as authorized agent of the Center Task Force commander, whose operational requirements had to be balanced with those of General Patton's force.36
In the process of harmonizing and maintaining a balance between activities in the rear echelon in the United States and the requirements of American forces in TORCH, OPD constantly referred to the views of the commander in chief of the operation and sought to free him from every concern except the major strategic responsibilities of his command. With this philosophy, OPD found the area of its activities rapidly expanding. These activities quickly came to cover, for instance, political and diplomatic considerations completely outside the scope of conventional military planning. OPD leaders had recognized very early that success in TORCH was greatly dependent upon reactions of the governments, armed forces, and people in Spain, Vichy France, and French North Africa. OPD not only served as the vital link in the communications chain connecting General Eisenhower's headquarters in London with consular officials of the United States in North Africa, but also were active in co-ordinating arrangements for the clandestine negotiations between General Eisenhower's representatives (led by Brig. Gen. Mark W. Clark) and French supporters of Gen. Henri Giraud in Algeria shortly before the initial landings.37
Following the initial landings (8 November 1942), the Chief of Staff, relying on OPD to monitor correspondence and suggest appropriate action, continued to support General Eisenhower in his efforts to
secure political equilibrium in North Africa so that he might be left undisturbed to pursue his major objective, the successful conclusion of the campaign in North Africa. In line with his consistent policy of giving overseas commanders great discretionary authority during the course of operations, General Marshall urged and secured Presidential approval for leaving General Eisenhower a free hand to deal with the Admiral of the Fleet J. L. F. Darlan and General Giraud immediately after the landings as the military situation required. 38 To the end of the year, OPD maintained close liaison with the State Department on the diplomatic problems related to TORCH, and kept General Eisenhower informed of the views of the President on politico-military negotiations and arrangements in progress.
OPD's efforts in support of the North African invasion reached into the theater of operations. Two Theater Group officers went to North Africa to secure firsthand observations and reports on TORCH. One of these, Maj. Alfred D. Starbird of the European Theater Section, was attached to the 1st Infantry Division as a War Department observer for the North African landings from 20 October until 23 November 1942.39 The second was Lt. Col. Morris J. Lee, also from the European Theater Section, who, at the end of 1942, was serving as OPD observer with Allied Force Headquarters in North Africa, gathering information on priority of the units to be prepared in the zone of interior for subsequent shipment to North Africa.40 Throughout the campaign, by these devices as well as constant close monitoring of messages from overseas, OPD tried to keep abreast of the changing situation in North Africa and to keep other Army staffs and agencies in the zone of interior alive to the needs of the overseas commanders.
As soon as it was feasible, General Handy sought to add to OPD the leaven of experience that could be gained only in the field, particularly from participation in a large operation like TORCH. In November, as one direct approach to this end, he requested the assignment to OPD of Col. Claude B. Ferenbaugh, who had served both in the United Kingdom and North Africa and who was then on duty with Maj. Gen. Floyd R. Fredendall's II Corps. He reported for duty in mid-December as chief of the European Theater Section, which was still OPD's control center for TORCH.41 General Hull, who had had intimate contact in OPD with the initial build-up for BOLERO in the United Kingdom and handled much of the detailed staff work on TORCH, moved up to the position of chief of
the Theater Group, replacing General Streett, who returned to duty with the Army Air Forces.
In addition to co-ordinating arrangements of command and administration, movement of troops, equipment, and supplies, the conduct of politico-military negotiations, and all the other problems which arose in connection with TORCH, OPD served as a staff repository of the fund of experience accumulated in executing the TORCH operation. Accomplishments in supporting General Eisenhower's forces were the more remarkable because they not only reflected the overriding importance of the TORCH operation but also stemmed from a staff responsibility that required OPD simultaneously to render precisely the same kinds of service on a smaller scale to Army commanders in less spectacular spots everywhere from Panama to Alaska and China. The North African invasion provided a proving ground not only for American equipment, principles of command, military administration, troop training, supply, and tactics but also for the staff techniques of OPD and the rest of the War Department as well. To the close of the year OPD was acquainting Army agencies with evaluations, made both in the zone of interior and overseas, of various aspects of the American experience in TORCH.42 Out of this experience gradually came principles, policies, and procedures to be followed in supporting all the overseas commands. These ideas and practices represented the results of the Army's first great effort to gear preparations in the rear echelon in the United States to meet the specific needs of large-scale amphibious operations in a coalition war.
Case History in Confusion
There were no approved solutions for the problems the War Department faced in supporting overseas operations in 1942. The zone of interior commands insisted that they needed to be told long in advance exactly what they must provide, and when, and that schedules, once set up, must be frozen. The commanders in charge of the overseas operations undertaken in 1942 could not go even half way to meet such demands, however reasonable. They had to wait for the deliberations, which sometimes seemed interminable, of higher authorities who were trying to stretch their means to cover as many commitments as possible and who found it hard to agree finally on any major project. OPD, as the intermediary between the zone of interior staffs and the task force staffs, encountered this situation in its efforts to support every operation undertaken in 1942, notably those in the South and Southwest Pacific and in North Africa.
Operation TORCH was a classic example. Even the main outlines of the operation were not fixed until early in September, many weeks after the date that would have been acceptable to the zone of interior commands as the latest date for receiving final frozen schedules for the assembly and shipment of troops, equipment, and supplies. Although preparations had started in August in anticipation of a final decision on TORCH, a great deal of the process of adjusting operational requirements to the capacities of the zone of interior remained to be telescoped into a few weeks. The lack of
time, especially as it hampered the work of the Services of Supply, was as acutely restrictive as the lack of shipping.
In the ensuing confusion, the function of OPD was to see to it that the zone of interior, at whatever expense to the orderliness, efficiency, and economy of its own operations, did everything possible to assemble the troops and equipment requested by the operations staff of General Eisenhower and General Patton. OPD continually advised them and their staffs on the readiness or unreadiness and availability or unavailability of units, insisted on their establishing priorities for filling various requests, and set deadlines for making or changing decisions. At the same time OPD tried to avoid making decisions for the overseas commands and set all deadlines as late as it dared. Fully realizing that postponements and changes entailed disorders that might seriously increase the risks being taken, OPD still held firmly to the theory that it was for General Eisenhower and General Patton and their staffs, not for the zone of interior commands, nor even for General Marshall and OPD, to calculate the risks to be run by the forces under their command.
In order to make sure that General Eisenhower and General Patton got what they wanted, insofar as it was humanly possible to give it to them, and in order to keep them constantly informed of what they could expect and what they had to decide, OPD followed preparations hour by hour and day by day, in great detail. The pressure of time forbade OPD to take anything for granted except, in a general way, the capacity of the zone of interior commands to adjust themselves somehow or other to the extraordinary demands being made on them. With every message sent and received, with every directive issued, amended, or voided, with every telephone conversation and every hurried conference went the checking and rechecking of endless details, in the manner of field headquarters.
One of the many series of such transactions in which OPD became involved was one which dealt with a signal service unit which was shipped to the United Kingdom and then to North Africa to establish and maintain signal communications between the Center Task Force and Allied Force Headquarters and, if necessary, to relay signal communications between the Eastern Task Force (Algiers) and Allied Force Headquarters.43
On 11 August the Services of Supply listed among the signal units required by TORCH, with a high priority, the 829th Signal Service Company, and on 20 August the Signal Corps recommended its immediate activation, under the highest priority, with a strength of 13 officers and 238 enlisted men.
Meanwhile, on 15 August, General Eisenhower had requested at least a signal battalion, specially equipped, for the Oran force. OPD responded with the chief signal officer's list of signal units for TORCH headquarters and a skeleton services of supply organization, gave the exact composition of the signal company recommended therein for activation to perform the mission at Oran, and told in detail what would be done to meet his requests for auxiliary equipment. At the same time OPD went ahead to authorize the activation of the company.
On 24 August General Eisenhower, with evident reluctance, fell in with the War Department plan. He emphasized that the mission was vital to the operation. He noted that men available in Great Britain were not highly enough trained, and insisted that the best trained personnel to be found in the United States be assigned to the company. He stated that the company as set up could carry out the mission only on the condition that all the radio personnel and most of the equipment should arrive at Oran with the assault convoy.
On 26 August Services of Supply headquarters set in motion the machinery for activating the 829th Signal Service Company, with an authorized strength of twenty men more than originally recommended. The orders authorized drawing upon specified units for an experienced cable operation section, pigeon platoon, and such radio operators and radio repairmen as the Signal Corps could not find elsewhere.
On 29 August when the machinery of activation had just begun working, the Signal Corps recommended, on the basis of "additional information just received" concerning its mission, further increasing the strength of the 829th Signal Service Company by 10 officers and 171 enlisted men. The added personnel were to operate the special equipment which General Eisenhower had requested on 15 August and which had not yet been provided for in setting up the 829th Signal Service Company. On 1 September OPD authorized the recommended increase, and the necessary orders to carry the increase into effect were issued on 7 September.
During the first week of September, Allied Force Headquarters recalculated its needs and listed for OPD still more signal equipment that would be needed at Oran. The Signal Corps thereupon recommended that the 829th Signal Service Company be made into a battalion, with a total authorized strength of 40 officers and 626 enlisted men. This was a strength nearly three times that of the company projected in mid-August. Within three days, the recommendation was forwarded to OPD, it was approved, and the necessary orders were issued.
The orders for the last increase, like those for the previous increases, specified certain sources from which experienced personnel might be drawn. A specially noteworthy provision was the addition of experienced radio operators to be obtained from the Army Air Forces, to take care of the important Gibraltar-Oran air traffic. The carrying out of arrangements to effect their transfer also fell upon OPD. OPD approached Headquarters, Army Air Forces, which thereupon requested OPD to issue a directive instructing the First Air Force (Eastern Defense Command) and the Fourth Air Force (Western Defense Command) to assign specified numbers of high speed, fixed-radio operators to the 829th Signal Service Battalion, and to have them arrive by 13 September at Fort Dix, New Jersey. OPD issued such a directive to the Army Air Forces, authorizing travel by air for the men coming from the Western Defense Command.
Allied Force Headquarters continued to follow very closely the steps being taken in Washington to provide a unit equal to the Oran mission, until it was certain that the men and equipment had been found and would arrive in time, as they finally did. To describe such administrative tangles as the hasty organization and dispatch of the 829th Signal Service Battalion, the enlisted men and the junior officers of the Army,
who seemed always to be feeling the effects without ever getting a glimmering of the cause for the confusion, coined the word "SNAFU," a term roughly equivalent to "Situation normal, all fouled up." As might have been anticipated from the circumstances of the 829th's departure, the confusion did not die at the water's. edge. In December a report from theater headquarters in North Africa indicated that the 829th Signal Service Battalion had not performed altogether satisfactorily. General Somervell replied by recapitulating the measures taken in September to provide experienced technicians for the battalion:
In the time permitted between September 5th and September 28th, the date of sailing of the elements to the United Kingdom, every effort was made to provide the best available personnel. Radio repairmen were graduates of the Press Wireless School. Diesel mechanics and code clerks were taken from the 827th and 830th Service Companies and had been trained previously in the War Department Message Center. The 40 K. W. Radio Station team is one of the most highly trained units available in the United States Army on this type of equipment, having been thoroughly trained with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and the Press Wireless and composed of men having previous commercial experience.
General Somervell observed in conclusion: "Obviously there was little or no time. available for team training. The same difficulty had arisen with this unit as with other service units because of the difficulty in obtaining authorization for such units in adequate time to give them the necessary training." It was hard to blame anybody in particular for the SNAFU.
The case of the 829th Signal Service Battalion was only one of countless cases of acting on short notice to support over seas operations, a procedure which, everyone agreed, was dangerously inefficient. The zone of interior commands, in particular the Services of Supply, could point to such cases to demonstrate the advantages of acting on their advanced recommendations to organize special types of units against such contingencies, which they constantly tried to anticipate. OPD officers in advising on strategy emphasized, partly on the same grounds, the need to decide on operations far in advance and to adhere to the decisions once they were made. Their strong conviction on this point reflected, of course, General Marshall's own insistence on the importance of training and logistics.
Nevertheless, lacking a basis for long-range planning, OPD theater section officers were reluctant to authorize special types of units except as they had definite grounds for anticipating that such units would be used. Theater commanders similarly tended to postpone requests for special units until they had provided as well as they could expect for their needs for standard units and in particular for combat units. Then they began to see more and more special problems that could be solved only by having additional special units, service units in particular. OPD operations officers were then faced with the decision whether to direct a hurried activation, reorganization, or expansion which OPD had earlier refused to authorize, when proposed by a zone of interior command. Such cases could not be decided to anyone's satisfaction.
From the point of view of General Marshall, the important thing was that the representations of both the theater staffs and the zone of interior commands were taken into account in OPD and cases decided, for better or worse, in the light of
policies which the Chief of Staff had approved. What was equally important, he could depend upon the fact that the decision taken, whatever it was, would be announced to all concerned and followed up. During the rest of the war the chief of OPD tried through his planning officers to prevent such situations from arising, and made sure through his operations officers that some positive action, however far from ideal, was taken at once to meet such situations when they arose.
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Last updated 19 October 2004