Army Ground Forces Study No. 4

Section XVII


When the detailed drafting of a troop basis for 1944 took place in the later months of 1943 the role of Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, in troop basis planning was very much diminished. During 1943 the overseas theaters had rapidly grown, especially the North African Theater of Operations, the European Theater of Operations, and the


Southwest Pacific Area. The commanding generals of these theaters estimated the size and composition of forces necessary for their respective missions. The Operations Division of the War Department, coordinating the activities of the theaters, mediating the requests of the theaters to the War Department, and scheduling the shipment of troops to theater commanders, announced operational requirements as of successive future dates. G-3 of the War Department, in charge of drafting the troop basis, followed chiefly the expressed desires of the Operations Division. The Army Ground Forces was simply requested in the fall of 1943 to estimate what troops it would need in 1944 for training overhead in the Zone of Interior. These overhead troops, plus Ground Force units called for by OPD, plus replacements as determined by the War Department, constituted the Ground Force portion of the 1944 troop basis. The role of Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, was more than ever purely advisory.91

At the end of 1943 the War Department considered activating 15 new divisions in 1944 and reducing the allotment to the Army Air Forces to a figure in the neighborhood of 1,850,000 enlisted men. This would give a total of 105 divisions in place of the 120 or 125 which had been estimated early in 1943 (before total enlisted strength was cut from 7,500,000 to 7,000,000) as attainable in 1944. But the Air Forces at this time were developing their program for very long range bombers (B-29’s). It was deemed impossible to reduce the Air Force allotment or to find the personnel for the new program by economies or conversions within Air Force organizations. To provide manpower for the B-29 program and for certain lesser needs of the War Department, including continuation of the Army College program on a reduced basis and allowances for rotation of personnel between overseas stations and the United States, the idea of adding 15 divisions in 1944 was abandoned. The ground Army would remain at 90 divisions.92

In nondivisional units the first tentative proposals of the War Department for the 1944 Army contemplated no extensive changes from the plans for 1943, except that more combat engineers and more artillery of the lighter calibers were to be organized, certain seacoast artillery units inactivated, and an additional 125,000 enlisted man allotted to service units. It was believed at Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, that both overseas commanders and the Operations Division, in view of the nature of ground operations hitherto engaged in by American forces, underestimated the amount of heavy artillery required in a major offensive.93 For over a year the Army Ground Forces had urged more heavy and medium artillery. The War Department now modified its tentative proposals for 1944 by adding 30 battalions of heavy artillery and 19 of medium, deleting 35 nondivisional light artillery battalions. Further reductions in antiaircraft artillery were also incorporated, in consequence of recommendations of the Army Ground Forces.



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