Army Ground Forces Study No. 4

Chapter XII


The net result of these considerations was the War Department decided to mobilize by the end of 1943 a ground army of 100 divisions. Fourteen divisions with supporting units were cut from the recommendations of the Army Ground Forces. This represented a reduction in planned strength of ground troops of about 450,000 below the War Department allotments of August. The recommendations of the Army Air Forces were met in part, the August allotment being raised from 2,000,000 to 2,200,000 which was 130,000 less than the Air Forces requested.56

In deleting fourteen divisions from the proposed 1943 troop basis the War Department hoped to obtain a manpower reserve, shown to be desirable by experience with mobilization in 1942. In 1942 it had proved impossible to foresee all requirements. Units had been activated which were not in the troop basis and for which therefore no personnel was earmarked in advance; the diversion of manpower to these unanticipated units had produced shortages throughout the Army. It was desired to have, among the men due for induction in 1943, 500,000 who were not required in advance for planned and scheduled units. Hence the number of planned and scheduled units had to be kept down; the most convenient units to delete, given the state of strategic plans, shipping, and the production of equipment, were divisions and other ground combat units. As it turned out, the reserve of some 500,000 obtained by dropping these units was not available for unforeseen requirements in 1943, for before the end of 1942 130,000 were set aside for the Army Air Forces, 150,000 for the Women's Army Corps, and 150,000 for the Army Specialized Training Program. In numbers involved, i.e., in the room provided for them under the fixed ceiling of Army strength, any one of these was the equivalent of ten divisions.


The approved troop basis of 1943, calling for a 100-division Army with an enlisted strength of 7,533,000, was issued to the major commands of 24 November 1942.58 Enlisted strength proposed for ground combat units was 2,811,000. Breakdown of this strength was regarded at Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, as unbalanced. Antiaircraft strength remained over 600,000, not having been reduced in proportion to reductions in other arms or in anticipation of the growth of American air power. More armored divisions were retained than were believed appropriate by the Army Ground Forces in relation to infantry. The Army Ground Forces desired more tank destroyers, more nondivisional tank battalions (for employment with infantry divisions), more heavy artillery, and more separate infantry regiments, whose use in certain tasks might prevent such dismemberment of infantry divisions as had occurred in 1942.59

It was hoped at Army Ground Forces that additional units of these types might be formed by transfers of personnel made surplus through certain economies which the War Department had ordered.



Go to:

Previous Section

Next Section

Return to Table of Contents

Search CMH Online
Last updated 5 August 2005