The SOS and ETOUSA in 1942
The first major task confronting the newly activated ETOUSA, beyond its internal organization, was to prepare for the reception of the American forces which were scheduled to arrive in the British Isles. The strategic decision which provided the basis for this build-up was taken in April 1942.
(1) BOLERO Is Born
At the ARCADIA Conference in Washington in December 1941-January 1942, American and British military leaders had taken steps to allocate shipping and deploy troop units, had determined on the principle of unity of command, and had created the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) as an overall combined coordinating agency. Despite the unexpected manner in which the United States had been drawn into the war, they also reaffirmed the earlier resolution to give priority to the defeat of Germany. Beyond this, however, no decisions were made on how or where the first offensives were to be carried out. In 1941 British planners had drawn up a plan, known as ROUNDUP, for a return to the Continent. But ROUNDUP was not conceived on the scale required for an all-out offensive against a strong and determined enemy. It was designed rather to exploit a deterioration of the enemy's strength, and to serve as the coup de grce to an enemy already near collapse. It reflected only too well the meager resources then available to the British. The conferences at ARCADIA gave more serious consideration to a plan for the invasion of northwest Africa, known as GYMNAST. This also became academic in view of the demands which the Pacific area was making on available troops and shipping. The ARCADIA deliberations therefore led to the conclusion that operations in 1942 would of necessity have to be of an emergency nature, and that there could be no largescale operations aimed at establishing a permanent bridgehead on the European Continent that year.
In the first hectic months after American entry into the war, when the United States was preoccupied with measures to check Japanese expansion toward Australia, U.S. planners had not agreed on a long-range strategy. But an early decision on ultimate objectives was urgently needed if the American concept of a final decisive offensive was ever to be carried out. The President urged immediate action on such a guide, and in March 1942 the Operations Division of the War Department worked out a plan for a full-scale invasion of Europe in 1943. General Marshall gave the proposal his wholehearted
support and, after certain revisions in language had been made, presented it to the President on 2 April. The Commander in Chief promptly approved the plan and also the idea of clearing it directly with the British Chiefs of Staff in London. General Marshall and Harry Hopkins accordingly flew to England immediately and, in discussions between 9 and 14 April, won the approval of the British Chiefs of Staff for the "Marshall Memorandum." The plan that it embodied had already been christened BOLERO.
It contemplated three main phases: a preparatory period, the cross-Channel movement and seizure of beachheads between Le Havre and Boulogne, and the consolidation and expansion of the beachheads and beginning of the general advance. The preparatory phase consisted of all measures that could be undertaken in 1942 and included establishment of a preliminary active front by air bombardment and coastal raids, preparation for the possible launching of an emergency operation in the fall in the event that either the Russian situation became desperate or the German position in Western Europe was critically weakened, and immediate initiation of procurement, matériel allocations, and troop and cargo movements to the United Kingdom. The principal and decisive offensive was to take place in the spring of 1943 with a combined U.S.-British force of approximately 5,800 combat aircraft and forty-eight divisions.
Logistic factors were the primary consideration governing the date on which such an operation could take place. It was proposed that at the beginning of the invasion approximately thirty U.S. divisions should be either in England or en route, and that U.S. strength in Britain should total one million men. To move such a force required a long period of intensive preparation. Supplies and shipping would have to be conserved, and all production, special construction, training, troop movements, and allocations coordinated to a single end. The shortage of shipping was recognized as one of the greatest limitations on the timing and strength of the attack, and it was therefore imperative that U.S. air and ground units begin moving to the United Kingdom immediately by every available ship. Because the element of time was of utmost importance, the Marshall Memorandum emphasized that the decision on the main effort had to be made immediately to insure that the necessary resources would be available.1
Such a decision was obtained with the acceptance of the BOLERO proposal by the British in mid-April. Despite the succession of defeats in the early months of 1942, approval of the Marshall Memorandum instilled a new optimism, particularly among American military leaders. There now was hope that what appeared to be a firm decision on the Alliesė major war effort would put an end to the dispersion of effort and resources. The decision of April provided a definite goal for which planners in both the United States and the United Kingdom could now prepare in detail.
To implement such planning for the BOLERO build-up a new agency was established. Within a week after agreement was reached in London, Brig. Gen. Thomas T Handy, Army member of the Joint Staff Planners of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the suggestion of General Eisenhower, proposed the establishment of a combined U.S.-British committee for detailed
BOLERO planning,2 and on 28 April the Combined Chiefs of Staff directed the formation of such an agency as a subcommittee of the Combined Staff Planners. This agency was known as the BOLERO Combined Committee and consisted of two officers from OPD, two Navy officers, and one representative from each of the three British services. The committee was to have no responsibility for preparing tactical plans. Its mission was to "outline, co-ordinate and supervise" all plans for preparations and operations in connection with the movement to, and reception and maintenance of American forces in, the United Kingdom. This would cover such matters as requirements, availability, and allocation of troops, equipment, shipping, port facilities, communications, naval escort, and the actual scheduling of troop movements.3 As observed by its chairman, Col. John E. Hull, at the first meeting of the BOLERO Combined Committee on 29 April 1942, the new agency's principal business would be to act as a shipping agency.4
A similar committee, known as the BOLERO Combined Committee (London), was established in England. The London committee's main concern was with the administrative preparation for the reception, accommodation, and maintenance of U.S. forces in the United Kingdom. Working jointly, the two agencies were to plan and supervise the entire movement of the million-man force which was scheduled to arrive in Britain within the next eleven months. To achieve the closest possible working arrangement, a system of direct communications was set up between the two committees with a special series of cables identified as Black (from Washington) and Pink (from London). The exchange of communications began on the last day of April, when the Washington committee requested information on British shipping capacities and urged that the utmost be done to get the movement of troops started promptly in order to take advantage of the summer weather.5 By the first week in May detailed planning for the movement and reception of the BOLERO force was under way in both capitals.
For several weeks after the April decision on strategy and the establishment of the Combined Committees considerable confusion arose over the exact scope and meaning of the term BOLERO. The proposal that General Marshall took with him to London had carried no code word; it was titled simply "Operations in Western Europe." The code name BOLERO had first become associated with the plan in the War Department OPD. In that division's first outlines of the plan BOLERO embodied not only the basic strategic concept of a full-scale cross-Channel attack in 1943 but also the preparatory phases, including the supply and troop build-up in the United Kingdom and any limited operations which might be carried out in 1942. Within a few weeks two additional code names had come into use for specific aspects of the over-all plan. General Marshall's memorandum had spoken of a "modified plan" which it might be necessary to carry out on an "emergency" basis. By this was meant a limited operation which might be launched against the
European Continent in the event the Red armies showed signs of collapse or the German position in France was materially weakened. For such an operation the scale of possible American participation would be particularly limited because of the shortage of shipping. It was estimated that not more than 700 combat planes and three and a half divisions would have arrived in England by mid-September, although considerably larger forces would be equipped and trained in the United States and ready to take part as shipping became available. This "emergency" or "modified plan" soon came to be known as SLEDGEHAMMER, a name which Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill had coined earlier in connection with similar plans made by the British. Similarly, the more purely tactical aspects of the BOLERO plan--the actual cross-Channel attack--were soon commonly referred to by the name which British planners had used in connection with their earlier plans for continental operations, ROUNDUP, even though those earlier plans bore little resemblance to the project now in preparation. There already existed in London a ROUNDUP committee engaged in the administrative planning for a cross-Channel operation.
The increased use of SLEDGEHAMMER and ROUNDUP in communications produced an inevitable confusion and doubt over the exact meaning of BOLERO. Late in May USAFBI pointed out to the War Department the wide divergency in views held in Washington and London,6 and OPD finally took steps to have the term BOLERO defined. Early in July a presidential directive was issued stipulating that BOLERO would cover specifically the "preparation for and movement of United States Forces into the European Theater, preparation for their reception therein and the production, assembly, transport, reception and storage of equipment and supplies necessary for support of the United States Force in operations against the European Continent."7 Thenceforth the use of the name BOLERO was confined to the plan for the great build-up of men and matériel in the United Kingdom.
The inauguration of the BOLERO buildup initially posed a fourfold problem: the establishment of a troop basis; a decision on the composition of the BOLERO force, including the priority in which units were desired in the United Kingdom; setting up a shipping schedule; and preparing reception and accommodation facilities in the United Kingdom. Designating the priority in which various units were desired and preparing their accommodations in the British Isles were problems that had to be solved in the theater. Establishing the troop basis or troop availability and setting up a shipping schedule were tasks for the War Department. the shipping schedule more specifically in the province of the BOLERO Combined Committee in Washington. But the four tasks were interrelated, and required the closest kind of collaboration between the theater headquarters, British authorities, the two Combined Committees, the OPD, and other War Department agencies.
One step had already been taken toward establishing a troop basis when the Marshall Memorandum set the goal of a build-up of a million men in the United Kingdom by 1 April 1943. In fact, this was the only figure that had any near-stability
in the rapidly shifting plans of the first months. The accompanying target of 30 U.S. divisions in England or en route by April 1943 represented hardly more than wishful thinking at this time. It proved entirely unrealistic when analyzed in the light of movement capabilities, and War Department planners within a matter of weeks reduced the figure first to 25 divisions, then to 20, and finally to 15.8
Meanwhile planners in both the United States and in the United Kingdom had begun work on a related problem--the composition of the BOLERO force, and the priority in which units were to be shipped. In determining what constituted a "balanced force" there was much opportunity for disagreement. Ground, air, and service branches inevitably competed for what each regarded as its rightful portion of the total troop basis. A survey of manpower resources in the spring of 1942 revealed a shocking situation with regard to the availability of service units. Only 11.8 percent of the 1942 Army troop basis had been allotted for service troops, a woefully inadequate allowance to provide support for combat troops in theaters of operations. Neglect of the service elements in favor of combat troops reflected an attitude which was common before the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, but which hardly squared with the proven logistic requirements of modern warfare. A study made in the War Department SOS in April showed that, of the total AEF force of nearly two million men in France at the end of World War I, 34 percent were service troops, exclusive of the service elements with the ground combat and air force units. On the basis of the 1917--18 experience the study estimated that the SOS component of the BOLERO force should be at least 35 percent, or about 350,000 men, and General Somervell requested OPD to take these figures into consideration in any troop planning for BOLERO.9
The earliest breakdown of the BOLERO force troop basis provided that approximately 26 percent of the troop basis be allotted to service forces. The Combined Committee in Washington tentatively suggested the following composition of the U.S. force early in May, and requested USAFBI's opinion on the proportions:10
Type Number Total 1,042,000 Air Forces 240,000 Services of Supply 277,000 Ground Forces 1525,000 1 (17 Divisions plus supporting units)
These figures already embodied a small reduction of an earlier ground force troop basis made to preclude a reduction in the service troop allocation.11 Approximately one fourth of the BOLERO force was thus allotted to service troops.
Later in May the War Department established the general priorities for the movement of American units. Air units were to be shipped first, followed by essential SOS units, then ground forces, and then additional service units needed to
prepare the ground for later shipments.12 By the end of the month General Chaney, who was still in command in the United Kingdom, submitted lists of priorities within the War Department's announced availabilities.13
There still remained the problem of finding and making available the numbers and types of troop units which the theater desired. This presented no insurmountable difficulty so far as combat units were concerned, since adequate provision had been made for their activation and training. But in the spring of 1942 few trained service troops were available for duty in overseas theaters, and service troops beyond all others were required first in the United Kingdom. It was imperative that they precede combat units in order to receive equipment and supplies, prepare depots and other accommodations, and provide essential services for the units which followed. Certain types of units were not available at all; others could be sent with only some of their complements trained, and those only partially.14 On the assumption that "a half-trained man is better than no man," General Lee willingly accepted partially trained units with the intention of giving them on-the-job training, so urgently were they needed in the United Kingdom.15 As an emergency measure, the War Department authorized an early shipment of 10,000 service troops.16
Scheduling the shipment of the BOLERO units proved the most exasperting problem of all. The shortage of shipping circumscribed the planners at every turn, strait-jacketing the entire build-up plan and forcing almost daily changes in scheduled movements. U.S. shipping resources were limited to begin with, and were unequal to the demands suddenly placed on them by planned troop deployments in both the Atlantic and Pacific. War Department planners estimated early in March 1942 that 300,000 American troops could be moved to the United Kingdom by October. This prospect was almost immediately obscured by decisions to deploy additional British forces to the Middle East and the Indian Ocean area and U.S. troops to the Southwest Pacific, and by the realization that enemy submarines were taking a mounting toll of Allied shipping. Late in March the earlier optimism melted away in the face of estimates that large troop movements could not begin until late in the summer, and that only 105,000 men, including a maximum of three and a half infantry divisions, might be moved to Britain by mid-September.
British authorities had offered some hope of alleviating the shortage in troop lift by transferring some of their largest liners to the service of the BOLERO buildup as soon as the peak deployment to the Middle East had passed. But the shortage of cargo shipping was even more desperate, and the fate of the build-up depended on the balancing of cargo and troop movements. There was particular urgency about initiating the build-up during the summer months, in part to take advantage of the longer days which permitted heavier
unloadings at British ports, and in part to avoid the telescoping of shipments into a few months early in 1943 in view of the unbearable congestion it would create in British ports. In mid-April, at the time of the Marshall visit to England, American authorities took some encouragement from a British offer to provide cargo shipping as well as troopships on the condition that American units cut down on their equipment allowances, particularly for assembled vehicles. But these commitments were unavoidably vague, for it was next to impossible to predict what shipping would be available for BOLERO in the summer of 1942, when the Allies were forced to put out fires in one place after another.17
The hard realities of the shipping situation made themselves felt again shortly after the London conference. On 9 May the War Department issued a "Tentative Movement Schedule" providing for the transfer of about 1,070,000 American troops to the United Kingdom by 1 April 1943.18 The title was immediately recognized as a misnomer, for the figure simply indicated the number of troops which would be available for movement and bore no relationship to actual shipping capabilities. On the very day this so-called movement schedule was issued, the BOLERO Combined Committee of Washington revealed the sobering facts regarding the limitations which shipping imposed, notifying the London committee that a build-up of not more than 832,000 could be achieved in the United Kingdom by 1 April 1943.19 There was even talk of lowering the goal to 750,000 and so allocating the various components as to create a balanced force in case a reduction proved necessary. The revised figure would have been 250,000 short of the million- man target and more than 300,000 short of the total number of troops available. For the moment it again appeared that a force of only 105,000 men could be moved to the United Kingdom by September. Even this number was to be reached only by postponing the evacuation of British troops from Iceland. The Combined Chiefs of Staff, in approving these shipments, noted that while longrange schedules could be projected it was impossible to forecast what the shipping situation might be in a few months.20
The warning that shipping capacity might fluctuate was soon justified. Within a week British officials were able to promise additional aid for the month of June by diverting troop lift from the Middle East-Indian Ocean program. They offered the use of both of the "monsters," the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, and part-time use of other ships, including the Aquitania, beginning in August.21 Accordingly in mid-May it was possible to schedule an additional 45,000 for shipment in June, July, and August, which would bring the strength in the United Kingdom to approximately 150,000 by 1 September 1942.22 Part of the accelerated movement
was to be accomplished by the overloading of troop carriers. The long-range shipping schedule now projected a build-up of 892,000 by 1 April 1943.
These schedules had no more permanency than those prepared earlier. A further revision was made early in June, slightly reducing the shipments for July and August. Later in June, the darkest month of the war, fresh disasters threatened to upset the entire build-up projected for that summer.
In the meantime the theater had attempted to reconcile its BOLERO troop allotment with limitations imposed by the shipping shortage. Early in June the War Department had submitted to ETOUSA a troop basis made up as follows:
Type Number Total 1,071,060 Air Forces 206,400 Services of Supply 279,145 Headquarters Units 3,932 Combat Divisions (20) 278,473 Ground Support Units 303,110
The deficit in shipping, however, obliged ETOUSA to determine whether, within the limitations, a force of adequate strength and balance could be built up in the United Kingdom. Senior commanders there had decided that a minimum of fifteen divisions out of the twenty provided for in the War Department troop basis must be present in the United Kingdom on the agreed target date. Theater planners therefore estimated that 75,000 places could be saved by dropping a maximum of five divisions. Another saving of 30,000 could be realized by deferring the arrival of certain ground support troops until after 1 April. Even these cuts left a deficit of 35,000 places, and the theater therefore found it necessary to direct its major commands to make a detailed study of their personnel requirements with a view toward further reducing troop requirements and deferring shipments. These steps were taken reluctantly, for the theater deplored deferring the arrival of units which it thought should be in the United Kingdom by the target date, and naturally would have felt "more comfortable" with assurances that the million-man build-up would be achieved.23
A few weeks later the theater headquarters made a new statement of its requirements for a balanced force. It called for a force of sixteen divisions and provided for reductions in all other components to the following numbers:
Air Forces to 195,000 Services of Supply 250,000 Divisions (16) 224,000 Ground Support Units 292,564
But the estimate included a new requirement for 137,000 replacements, which had the net effect of increasing the troop basis to approximately 1,100,000.24 The deficit in shipping consequently became greater than before. In attempting to achieve the target of the BOLERO plan the two nations thus faced an unsuperable task in the summer of 1942. By the end of July, however, a major alteration in strategy was destined to void most of these calculations.
While the War Department wrestled with the shipping problem, preparations
(2) BOLERO Planning in the United Kingdom, May-July 1942: the First Key Plans
for the reception and accommodation of the BOLERO force got under way in the United Kingdom. The principal burden of such preparation was assumed at first by British agencies, which had been prompt to initiate planning immediately after the strategic decisions made at Claridge's in April, a full month before the arrival of General Lee and the activation of the SOS. British and American planners had of course collaborated in preparing for the arrival of the MAGNET force in Northern Ireland, but the BOLERO plan now projected a build-up on a scale so much greater than originally contemplated that it was necessary to recast accommodation plans completely.
The million troops that the War Department planned to ship to the European theater were destined to go to an island which had already witnessed two and one-half years of intensive war activity. Now the United Kingdom was to be the scene of a still vaster and more feverish preparation as a base for offensive operations. The existence of such a friendly base, where great numbers of troops and enormous quantities of the munitions of war could be concentrated close to enemy shores, was a factor of prime importance in determining the nature of U.S. operations against the continental enemy. It was a factor perhaps too frequently taken for granted, for the United Kingdom, with its highly developed industry and excellent communications network, and already possessing many fixed military installations, including airfields and naval bases, was an ideal base compared with the underdeveloped and primitive areas from which American forces were obliged to operate in many other parts of the world.
The United Kingdom already supported a population of 48,000,000 in an area smaller than the state of Oregon. In the next two years it was to be further congested by the arrival of an American force of a million and a half, requiring such facilities as troop accommodations, airfields, depots, shops, training sites, ports, and rolling stock. Great Britain had already carried out a far more complete mobilization than was ever to be achieved in the United States. As early as 1941, 94 out of every 100 males in the United Kingdom between the ages of 14 and 64 had been mobilized into the services or industry, and of the total British working population of 32,000,000 approximately 22,000,000 were eventually drafted for service either in industry or the armed forces.25 The British had made enormous strides in the production of munitions of all types. In order to save shipping space they had cut down on imports and made great efforts to increase the domestic output of food. There was little scope for accomplishing such an increase in a country where nearly all the tillable land was already in cultivation. In fact, the reclamation of wasteland was more than offset by losses of farm land to military and other nonagricultural uses. Raising the output of human food could be accomplished only by increasing the actual physical yield of the land, therefore, and by increasing the proportion of crops suitable for direct human consumption, such as wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, and other vegetables.
Despite measures such as these the British had accepted a regimentation that involved rigid rationing of food and clothing, imposed restrictions on travel, and brought far-reaching changes in their working and living habits. For nearly three years they had lived and worked under complete blackout; family life had been broken up both by the withdrawal of men and women to the services and by evacuation and billeting. Production had been plagued by the necessity to disperse factories in order to frustrate enemy air attacks and by the need to train labor in new tasks. Nearly two million men gave their limited spare time after long hours of work for duty in the Home Guard, and most other adult males and many women performed part-time civil defense and fire guard duties after working hours. An almost complete ban on the erection of new houses and severe curtailment of repair and maintenance work on existing houses, bomb damage, the necessity for partial evacuation of certain areas, and the requisition of houses for the services all contributed to the deterioration of living conditions. Britain's merchant fleet, which totaled 17,500,000 gross tons at the start of the war, had lost more than 9,000,000 tons of shipping to enemy action, and its losses at the end of 1942 still exceeded gains by about 2,000,000 tons. A drastic cut in trade had been forced as a result. Imports of both food and raw materials were reduced by one half, and imports of finished goods were confined almost exclusively to munitions. Before the war British imports had averaged 55,000,000 tons per year (exclusive of gasoline and other tanker-borne products). By 1942 the figure had fallen to 23,000,000--less than in 1917.26
In an economy already so squeezed, little could be spared to meet the demands for both supplies and services which the reception and accommodation of the BOLERO force promised to make upon it. It is not surprising that British planners should visualize the impact which the build-up would have on Britain's wartime economy, and they were quick to foresee the need for an adequate liaison with the American forces in the United Kingdom, and for administrative machinery to cope with build-up problems. Planning in the United Kingdom began in earnest with creation of the London counterpart of the BOLERO Committee in Washington on 4 May 1942. The BOLERO Combined Committee (London) was established under the chairmanship of Sir Findlater Stewart, the British Home Defence Committee chairman. Its British membership included representatives of the Quartermaster General (from the War Office), the Fourth Sea Lord (from the Admiralty), the Air Member for Supply and Organization (from the Air Ministry), the C-in-C (Commander-in-Chief) Home Forces, the Chief of Combined Operations, the Ministry of War Transport, and the Ministry of Home Security.27
U.S. forces in the United Kingdom were asked to send representatives to the committee. Four members of General Chaney's staff--General Bolté, General McClelland, Colonel Barker, and Colonel Griner--attended the first meeting, held on 5 May at Norfolk House, St. James's Square. Because of the continued shortage of officers in Headquarters, USAFBI,
however, regular U.S. members were not immediately appointed, and American representation varied at each meeting.28 General Lee first attended a session of the BOLERO Combined Committee with a large portion of his staff on 26 May, two days after he arrived in the United Kingdom.29
The mission of the London Committee was "to prepare plans and make administrative preparation for the reception, accommodation and maintenance of United States Forces in the United Kingdom and for the development of the United Kingdom in accordance with the requirements of the ėROUNDUP' plan."30 The committee was to act under the general authority of a group known as the Principal Administrative Officers Committee, made up of the administrative heads of the three British services--the Quartermaster General, the Fourth Sea Lord, and the Air Member for Supply and Organization. To this group major matters of policy requiring decision and arbitration were to be referred. Each of the "administrative chiefs of staff," as they were first called, was represented on the Combined Committee. Sir Findlater Stewart commented at the first meeting that much detailed planning would be required. But it was not intended that the committee become immersed in details. It was to be concerned chiefly with major policy and planning. The implementation of its policies and plans was to be accomplished by the British Quartermaster General through the directives of the Deputy Quartermaster General (Liaison) and carried out by the various War Office directorates (Quartering, Movements, for example) and by the various departments of the Ministries of Labor, Supply, Works and Buildings, and so on. These would co-ordinate plans with the Combined Committee through the latter's subcommittees on supply, accommodation, transportation, labor, and medical service, which were shortly established to deal with the principal administrative problems with which the Committee was concerned. (Chart 2)
One of the key members of the Combined Committee was the Deputy Quartermaster General (Liaison), Maj. Gen. Richard M. Wootten. This officer was not only the representative of the British Quartermaster General on the London Committee and as such responsible for the implementation of the committee's decisions, but also the official agent of liaison with the American forces. British problems with respect to BOLERO were primarily problems of accommodations and supply, which in the British Army were the responsibility of the Quartermaster General (Lt. Gen. Sir Walter Venning). It was logical, therefore, that his office become the chief link between the War Office and the American Services of Supply. To achieve the necessary co-ordination with the Americans on administrative matters the War Office established a special branch under the Quartermaster General to deal exclusively with matters presented by the arrival of U.S. forces. This branch was known as Q (Liaison), and was headed by General Wootten. Q (Liaison) was further divided into two sections, one known as Q (Planning Liaison) to deal with the executive side of planning for reception and accommodation, and the other as Q (American Liaison) to deal with problems of the relationship
CHART 2--THE BOLERO ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Representation on the subcommittees varied. For example, the Accommodations Subcommittee had representatives from the War Office, the Admiralty, the Ministries of Air, Works and Buildings, and Health, and from ETOUSA. The Subcommittee on Supply had representatives War Transport, and Air, and U.S. representatives. The Transportation Subcommittee had representatives from the War Office, the Railway Executive committee, the Home Forces, the War Office Director of Movements, the Ministries of War Transport, Air, and Production, and ETOUSA.
between British and American armies in matters of discipline, morale, welfare, and public relations.
It was through the office of the Deputy Quartermaster General (Liaison) that all the BOLERO planning papers were issued in the next year and a half. General Wootten issued his first directive on 5 May 1942, the same day on which the BOLERO Combined Committee (London) held its first meeting. In it he emphasized strongly the inseparable relationship between BOLERO and ROUNDUP, and sounded the keynote of the committee's early deliberations by stressing the need for speed. The only purpose of the BOLERO build-up was to ready an American contingent of 1,000,000 men to take part in a cross-Channel invasion in April 1943. In view of the necessity to complete all preparations in less than a year, Wootten noted: "Every minute counts, therefore there must be a rapid equation of problems whilst immediate and direct action on decisions will be taken, whatever the risks, without of course disturbing the defense of this country as the Main Base." Planners were enjoined to "produce the greatest possible effort in their contribution to defeat ėTime,' so that the goal might be met within the allotted twelve months."31
It was intended, therefore, that the ROUNDUP plan would be the governing factor in the administrative development of the United Kingdom as a base of operations, although this objective actually proved difficult at first in the absence of a detailed operational plan. But the BOLERO Combined Committee planned to work in close consultation with the parallel ROUNDUP administrative planning staff, and the Deputy Quartermaster General immediately asked for an outline of requirements both in labor and materials for the development of BOLERO, even though he recognized that these could only be estimates at this time. He directed that basic planning data and information be submitted so that a plan for the location of installations and facilities could be issued within the next few weeks. In fact, General Wootten did not await the receipt of planning estimates. As preliminary steps he announced that the Southern Command would be cleared of British troops, and that a census of all possible troop accommodations, depot space, and possible expansion in southern England was already being made. Certain projects for base maintenance storage and for personnel accommodation were already being studied and carried out. Acutely aware of the limited time available, General Wootten foresaw the necessity of making a large allotment of British civil labor to these projects, and, lacking definite shipping schedules from the United States, he proposed to start preparations at once for an initial force of 250,000 which he assumed would arrive between August and December. These preparations included projects for troop quarters, the construction of four motor vehicle assembly plants, and the clearance of storage and repair facilities for this force. He then proposed to deal with accommodations and storage for a second increment of 250,000. General Wootten attacked the gigantic task with vigor and with full comprehension of the myriad problems and the measures which would have to be taken to receive a force of a million men. In the first planning paper he raised a multitude of questions which he knew must be answered, and made numerous suggestions
on the most economic use of existing accommodations, on methods of construction, and on the demands which might have to be made on the civil population.32
Within a few weeks the BOLERO Combined Committee appointed subcommittees on accommodations, transportation, and medical service, drawing on the War Office, the Admiralty, U.S. representatives, and the various Ministries of Health, War Transportation, and Works and Buildings for representation according to interest and specialty. The Combined Committee met six times in May and by the end of the month had gathered sufficient information and planning data to enable the Deputy Quartermaster General to outline for the first time in some detail the problem of receiving and accommodating the BOLERO force. This outline was known as the First Key Plan and was published on 31 May 1942. The First Key Plan was not intended as a definitive blueprint for the reception and accommodation of the American forces, the title itself indicating the probability of revisions and amendments. But it served as a basic outline plan for the build-up which was to get under way immediately. The Combined Committee and its subcommittees continued to meet and discuss various BOLERO problems in June and July, and additional planning papers and directives were issued by the Deputy Quartermaster General dealing with specific aspects of reception problems. On 25 July the more comprehensive Second Edition of the BOLERO Key Plan was published.
Although issued by the British Deputy Quartermaster General, the Key Plans were confined primarily to a consideration of U.S. requirements. Their object was stated as follows: "to prepare for the reception, accommodation and maintenance of the U.S. Forces in the United Kingdom," and "to develop [the United Kingdom] as a base from which ROUNDUP operations 1943 can be initiated and sustained."33
The July edition of the Key Plan reiterated that ROUNDUP should be the governing factor in developing Britain as a base. But in the absence of any indication as to how cross-Channel operations were to develop, and lacking a detailed operational plan, it was accepted that administrative plans could be geared to ROUNDUP only "on broad lines," and that more detailed planning must await a fuller definition of the type and scope of the operations envisaged. One major assumption was made at an early date, however, and had a profound influence on the work of the BOLERO Committee. This was the assumption early in May which determined the location of U.S. forces in the United Kingdom. The committee noted that the general idea of any plan for a cross-Channel operation appeared to indicate that U.S. troops would be employed on the right and British troops on the left, and that U.S. forces would therefore embark from the southwestern ports when the invasion was launched. Since American personnel and cargo were to enter the United Kingdom via the western ports--that is, the Clyde, Mersey, and Bristol Channel ports--it was logical that they be concentrated in southwestern England, along the lines of communications between the two groups of ports. Such an arrangement would also avoid much of the undesirable cross traffic between American and British forces at the time of embarkation for the
cross-Channel movement.34 Thus the main principle governing the distribution of U.S. forces in the United Kingdom was that they be located primarily with a view to their role in ROUNDUP. It was not by accident, therefore, that the great concentration of American ground forces was destined at an early date to take place in the Southern Command area of the United Kingdom, and the early BOLERO planning dealt almost exclusively with that area.
The principal concern of the London Committee and the Deputy Quartermaster General was to find housing, depot space, transportation, and hospitalization for the projected BOLERO force. The size of this force had originally been set at a round figure of one million men. In the process of breaking down this figure into a balanced force of specific types and numbers of units, ETOUSA had by mid-May arrived at a troop basis of 1,049,000, and this was the working figure used in the First Key Plan.35 This figure underwent continuing refinement in the following weeks. The Second Edition of the Key Plan reflected ETOUSA's upward revisions in June and used a troop basis of 1,147,000 men, with eighteen divisions.36
The BOLERO planners in the United Kingdom, like the Washington Committee, were well aware of the shipping shortage and based their program on the assumption that not more than approximately 845,000 of the projected 1,147,000 would arrive in the British Isles by 1 April 1943. But to establish a force of even that size presented an appalling movement problem, not only across the Atlantic, but from British ports to inland accommodations. The London Committee at one of its first meetings foresaw the cargo-shipping shortage as one of the greatest limitations on the movement of so large a force and considered some of the "heroic measures" which it thought were called for to reduce the problem to manageable dimensions. These included stringent economy measures, such as a further cutting of the U.K. import program, keeping down reserves and freight shipments to the lowest level, and scaling down vehicle allowances to the lowest possible figures. The problem of vehicle shipments was given particular attention because of the huge stowage space or requirements involved, and the committee advocated the shipment of as many unassembled partially assembled vehicles as possible and the construction of assembly plants in the the United Kingdom.37
The magnitude of the movement problem within the United Kingdom is best illustrated by the tonnage which it was estimated would have to be handled, and the number of trains required for port clearance. Monthly troop arrivals were expected to average almost 100,000 men. To move such numbers would require about 250 troop trains and 50 baggage trains per month. The build-up of equipment and supplies for these forces was expected to require 120 ships per month, carrying 450,000 tons, in addition to approximately 15,500 vehicles, mostly in single and twin unit packs. To clear this
CRATES OF PARTIALLY ASSEMBLED JEEPS being unloaded at an assembly shop.
tonnage inland from the ports alone would require 75,000 freight cars per month, the equivalent of 50 special freight trains per day.38
Reception in itself thus posed a formidable problem for the British both because of the limitations on the intake capacity of the ports and because of the added burden on the transportation system. Since the restriction on port discharge arose mainly from the shortage of dock labor, ETOUSA immediately took steps to arrange for the shipment of eight port battalions and three service battalions by the end of September, and for additional port units in succeeding months to augment the British labor force. The United Kingdom possessed an excellent rail network and the system was in good condition at the outbreak of the war. At that time it consisted of 51,000 miles of track, nearly 20,000 of which constituted route mileage, and it possessed nearly 20,000 locomotives, 43,000 passenger cars, and 1,275,000 freight "wagons."39 Control of the railways had been greatly simplified by the consolidation of 123 separate companies into four large systems in 1923. These had come under the control of the government in 1939 through the Emergency Powers Defence Act, a control which
BRITISH "GOODS VANS" unloading at a quartermaster depot.
extended to docks, wharves, and harbors. Although the British railways easily withstood the first impact of the war with its increased demands and enemy bombings, it was hard put to accept the added burden which the U.S. build-up now entailed. The Movement and Transportation Sub-Committee of the Combined Committee estimated that the additional traffic resulting from BOLERO would require 70 freight trains per day. By the summer of 1942 the railways were already running 5,000 special trains for troops and supplies every month over and above normal traffic,40 and their net ton-mileage eventually surpassed prewar performance by 40 percent.41 An example of the remarkable degree of control and co-ordination and of the density of traffic on the British railways in wartime is seen in the scale of activity at Clapham Junction, on the Southern Railway south of London, which saw the passage of more than 2,500 trains each day.42
The British roads had been suffering from a deficiency of rolling stock for some time. The shortage of locomotives, in particular, had necessitated frequent cancellations of freight movements in the previous
ENGLISH RAILWAY STATION SCENE with U.S. unit waiting to board train.
winter (658 trains in one week in March). For troop and cargo arrivals under the BOLERO program alone the Transportation Sub-committee foresaw a need for 400 additional freight engines, and 50 shunting engines to operate on sidings at U.S. depots. In June the subcommittee requested that the United States meet these requirements,43 and orders were subsequently placed for 400 freight engines (2--8--0 type) and 15 shunting engines for early delivery to the United Kingdom. Measures were also taken in Britain to improve the rail lines of communications by providing "war-flat" and "war-well" cars to facilitate the handling of American tanks and other awkward loads on the British railways.44 In general, British rolling stock was small by American standards, the average "wagon" having only about one-sixth the capacity of freight cars on the American roads.
Four major types of accommodations were to be found or prepared for the BOLERO forces: personnel quarters, depot and shop space, hospitals, and airfields. Personnel accommodations and depot space were not immediately serious problems. Plans were made for the gradual removal of British troops from the Southern
Command area, to be completed by mid-December, and the housing of U.S. forces thus entailed only a minimum of new construction at first. Arrangements were already initiated in July 1942 to prepare for approximately 770,000 of the total force of 845,000 which was expected to arrive by 1 April 1943. Except for forces in Northern Ireland and air force accommodations to be arranged by the Air Ministry in eastern England, the great bulk of the American forces were to occupy installations in the Southern Command area, with a few going into southern Wales. The policy was early established that American troops would not be billeted in British homes except in emergency. Combat units were to be organized into divisional areas of 25,000 each and corps areas of 15,000, and service of supply troops were to be accommodated in depots, ports, and other major installations along the lines of communications. By July, four corps areas and fifteen divisional areas were already mapped out, and in some cases the specific locations of higher headquarters were determined. In general, availability of both signal communications and accommodations governed the location of headquarters. With these considerations in mind General Wootten in the First Key Plan of May had made a tentative selection of sites for several corps headquarters, had concluded that the SOS headquarters should be established at Cheltenham, and had chosen Clifton College, Bristol, as the most suitable location for an army headquarters. Both the army and SOS locations were eventually utilized as recommended.
ETOUSA had estimated that approximately 15,000,000 square feet of covered storage would be required, including 1,228,760 square feet of workshop space. Approximately half of this requirement already existed, and a program was immediately outlined for the expansion of existing facilities and for new construction. But it was estimated that space would have to be turned over to the Americans at a minimum rate of one and two-thirds million feet per month, and very little new construction was expected to become available before January 1943. There was likely to be an interim period in November and December 1942 before new construction became available, when there would be a serious deficiency of covered storage accommodation. To overcome this threatened deficit the planners concluded that additional space would simply have to be found and requisitioned in the Southern Command.45 U.S. forces also needed facilities for the storage of 245,000 tons of ammunition. This requirement the British also expected to meet by turning over certain existing depots from which they would evacuate their ammunition, and by expansion and new construction. In the case of currently occupied depots the final clearance of ammunition was to be phased with the evacuation of British troops, and Americans were to replace British depot personnel in easy stages so that the British could initiate the Americans in the operation of the depots.
The provision of adequate hospitalization called for a larger program of new construction than did either personnel or depot accommodations. It proved one of the more troublesome of the BOLERO problems, and the construction program repeatedly fell behind schedule. Hospital requirements had to be calculated in two phases. In the pre-ROUNDUP or build-up phase provision had to be made for the
normal incidence of sickness and would have to keep pace with new arrivals. In the period of actual operations hospitalization was required for casualties as well as normal illness. The number of beds required in the build-up period was based on a scale of 3 percent of the total force, with an additional allowance for colored troops owing to their higher rate of illness, and an additional provision for the hospitalization of air force casualties. On this basis it was figured that the BOLERO force would need 40,240 beds. Requirements in the ROUNDUP period were estimated on a scale of 10 percent of the total force engaged plus the accepted rate for sickness of forces remaining in the United Kingdom. On this basis an additional 50,570 beds were needed, or a total of 90,810 beds for the BOLERO force after operations began. Before publication of the First Key Plan, negotiations with the British for the acquisition of hospitals was conducted on an informal basis by the theater chief surgeon. By May 1942 Colonel Hawley by personal arrangements had procured from the War Office and the Ministry of Health five hospitals with a capacity of some 2,200 beds.46 Arrangements were also made in May for the transfer to the Americans of certain British military hospitals, and in addition several hospitals constructed under the Emergency Medical Service program. The latter had been undertaken in preparation for the worst horrors of the Nazi air blitz. Thanks to the victory over the Luftwaffe not all the emergency hospitals were needed, and several were now offered to the U.S. forces.47
The hospital requirement, unlike that for personnel and depot accommodations, could be met only in small part by the transfer of existing facilities. In the buildup period much of the requirement for hospital beds had to be met by new construction. During May the group with which the chief surgeon had been meeting was formally constituted as the Medical Services Sub-Committee of the BOLERO Combined Committee, and by the end of the month the subcommittee had determined in general the methods by which U.S. hospital requirements would be met. Most of the new construction was to take the form of hospitals with capacities of 750 beds, and a few of 1,000 beds. As a rough guide it had been accepted that one 750-bed hospital should be sited in each divisional area of about 25,000 men. By the time the Second Edition of the Key Plan was issued in July, orders had already been given for the construction of two 1,000-bed Nissen hut hospitals and eleven 750-bed Nissen hospitals, and for the expansion and transfer of certain British military hospitals. Reconnaissance was under way for sites for nine more 750-bed hospitals, and British authorities hoped to obtain approval for a total of thirty-five of this type of installation by mid-August so that construction could begin in the summer months.
To ease the great strain on U.K. resources, the BOLERO planners hoped to meet the additional requirements of the
GENERAL HAWLEY, Chief Surgeon, ETOUSA. (Photograph taken in 1945.)
second phase or ROUNDUP period with a minimum of new construction. The Deputy Quartermaster General estimated that the 54,000-bed program, if provided by new construction, would cost about $40,000,000, which represented one fifth of the entire U.K. construction program in terms of labor and materials. A proposal was therefore made to use hutted camps, barracks, and requisitioned buildings to fill the need, any deficiency to be made up in the form of tented hospitals. Colonel Hawley objected strongly to this feature of the First Key Plan, insisting that neither hutted nor tented camps would be suitable. Faced with a desperate shortage of labor and materials, however, there was little choice but to adopt the basic idea behind the proposal. Before publication of the July plan, agreement was reached on the use of two types of military camps--the militia camp and the conversion camp--which were to be converted to hospitals after the departure of units for the cross-Channel operation. The militia camps were already in existence and, with the addition of operating rooms, clinics, and laboratories, could be rapidly converted when the troops moved out. Representatives of ETOUSA proceeded to reconnoiter all existing camps and barracks with a view to conversion after ROUNDUP was launched, and found a good number of them suitable for this purpose. It was broadly estimated that 25,000 beds could be provided in this way. The conversion camp was essentially the same type of installation--that is, an army barracks--but was not yet built, and could therefore be designed with the express intention of conversion after D Day by certain additions. Ten of the 1,250-man camps being built in southern England accordingly were laid out to make them readily convertible to hospitals of 750 beds each, which would provide an additional 7,500 beds. A total of some 32,500 beds was to be provided by conversions after D Day. To make up the remaining deficit of 18,000 beds the BOLERO planners had to project new construction. In July plans were under way to provide 10,000 of these beds by building ten 1,000-bed Nissen hospitals.48
Financing the above construction program was another of the earliest hurdles to be surmounted, and the London Committee pressed for quick approval of a block grant of £50,000,000 ($200,000,000), well aware that such an estimate could only be tentative at the time. It is of interest to
record, however, that the construction program eventually was carried out at almost precisely that cost.49
The requirements described above were the responsibility of the War Office and were outlined in the Key Plan. Independent of this program, and involving more than twice as great an expenditure of funds, was that undertaken by the Air Ministry to provide accommodations for the bulk of the U.S. air forces and the airfields they required. Air force plans underwent several revisions in the summer of 1942. Originally calling for only 23 airfields and personnel accommodations for 36,300, the program was momentarily expanded in May to 153 airfields in addition to workshop and depot facilities. In July the air force program achieved relative stability with stated requirements of 98 airfields, 4,000,000 square feet of storage space, 3 repair depots, 26 headquarters installations, and personnel accommodations for 240,000.50
By far the largest single task faced by the BOLERO planners was that of construction. Although the U.S. forces were to acquire many of the facilities they needed by taking over British installations, a substantial program of new construction could not be avoided. Because of the ever-worsening shortage of labor it was impossible for British civil agencies to carry the program to completion unaided. Foreseeing the difficulty the BOLERO planners specified that the military services of both Britain and the United States would assist the British works agencies. Construction was to be carried out by both British military labor or civil contract under the supervision of the Royal Engineer Works Services Staff, through the agency of the Ministry of Works and Planning, and by U.S. engineer troops in co-operation with the Royal Engineers.51
While the provision of accommodations was undoubtedly the foremost preoccupation and worry of the BOLERO planners, the first Key Plans of May and July 1942 were remarkably comprehensive in their anticipation of other problems attending the reception of American forces. The BOLERO planners foresaw that U.S. troops, coming into a strange land, would be "as ignorant of our institutions and way of life as the people among whom they will be living are of all things American," and recognized that one of their most urgent tasks was "to educate each side so that both host and guest may be conditioned to each other."52 They also foresaw that U.S. forces initially would be unavoidably dependent on the British for many services, and the Deputy Quartermaster General went to great lengths to insure that the arrival of American troops would be as free of discomfort as possible. Reception parties were to be formed to meet new arrivals and to minister to all their immediate needs, including such items as hot meals, canteen supplies, transportation, training in the use of British mess equipment, and all the normal barracks services. Key British personnel were to remain in existing
depots, wherever possible, for necessary operation, and British workshops were to be handed over as going concerns. British Navy Army Air Force Institute (NAAFI) workers were to continue to run existing canteens in accommodations occupied by U.S. troops until American post exchanges were in a position to take over. In short, arrangements were made to provide all requirements for daily maintenance, including rations, water, light, fuel, cooking facilities, hospitalization, and dental care, and, to include a more somber aspect, even cemetery space. The guiding principle was to give all possible aid to American units at the outset and to train them so that they would as soon as possible assume full responsibility for their own maintenance.53
The BOLERO planners envisaged a gradual relinquishment by the British of military responsibilities and activities in the Southern Command area. On the operational side it was specified that the existing chain of command and its parallel operational administrative organization would remain in being until the immediate threat of a German invasion had receded, and until American forces were in a position to assume operational responsibility. On the administrative side the British command was to pass through two phases: the planning and constructional phase, which included the reception of increasing numbers of U.S. troops and responsibility for all aspects of their daily maintenance; and a final phase in which operational command had passed to the Americans, and in which the British would retain responsibility for only residual functions toward American troops and the control and maintenance of the existing Home Guard organization and a small number of British troops.
The implementation of the Key Plans required the closest possible co-ordination between U.S. and British agencies. U.S. staffs had to confirm plans for the locations of division and corps areas, and specify breakdown of storage and workshop requirements; the British Southern Command, in collaboration with U.S. officials, had to allocate space in accordance with American needs, prepare projects for construction, and select sites for hospitals. British administrative staffs were therefore to be strengthened in the planning and constructional phase (the next several months), and the Key Plans provided for an enlarged machinery of liaison between the U.S. and British forces. In addition to the liaison between the Deputy Quartermaster General and ETOUSA, a liaison officer was to be appointed from the former's staff to visit SOS headquarters each day. U.S. Army liaison officers were to be attached to War Office branches as soon as more officers were available for such duty. In the meantime the War Office attached officers to Headquarters, SOS. At the next lower level a Q (Liaison) branch was established at Southern Command headquarters, eight U.S. officers were attached to the staff of Southern Command, and U.S. officers were also to be attached to the headquarters of the British districts (subdivisions of Southern Command.)54
To handle the tremendous administrative arrangements entailed by the buildup in the United Kingdom and to ensure that the preparations visualized in the Key Plan could be made effective, the London Combined Committee felt it
imperative that U.S. service units should arrive in correct proportions ahead of combat formations. U.S. units were needed not only to assist in the construction or expansion of installations and accommodations, but also to receive and build up maintenance and reserve supplies and equipment, to operate depots, and to provide local antiaircraft protection for the main depots and installations.55 The BOLERO planners also hoped that every effort would be made in the United States to dispatch units in accordance with the priority lists, but there were difficulties in the way. Bulk sailing figures were not likely to be known until shortly before convoys left the United States, and the breakdown of these bulk figures into individual units might not be available until sometime after the convoy had actually sailed. The lack of advance information on these sailings was regarded as a major difficulty in arranging quarters. By late June, however, the London Committee was satisfied that sufficient accommodations were being made available in bulk, and reception arrangements could be made at fairly short notice for the assignments of specific units to specific accommodations once the units were identified.56 U.S. forces in the United Kingdom at the end of June had a strength of 54,845. At the end of July the BOLERO build-up had not yet achieved any momentum. Shipments were still proceeding haltingly and U.S. forces in the United Kingdom at the end of the month numbered only 81,273.
As indicated earlier, the BOLERO plan was an inseparable part of the concept of a cross-Channel invasion. The Key Plans pointed toward such an operation in the spring of 1943, and assumed that the build-up of U.S. forces in the United Kingdom would be carried out with the greatest possible speed. Concurrent with the BOLERO preparations planning had also been initiated on both the operational and logistical aspects of ROUNDUP. The first meeting of the ROUNDUP administrative officers took place within a few days of the organization of the BOLERO Combined Committee, early in May. In the absence of a firm operational plan much of the logistical planning was at first highly hypothetical. Nevertheless, in mid-June the ROUNDUP administrative planners issued the first comprehensive appreciation of administrative problems in connection with major operations on the Continent, dealing with such matters as maintenance over beaches, the condition of continental ports, and inland transportation. The deliberations of the first two months were carried on with almost no representation from the U.S. Services of Supply, for the SOS was then in its earliest stages of organization. Both General Eisenhower and General Lee appreciated the need for coordination of ROUNDUP logistical planning with BOLERO, particularly with regard to procurement planning, and early in July took steps to have SOS officers placed on the ROUNDUP Administrative Planning Staff so that they could participate in the decisions which vitally affected their own planning. The work of the staff by this time had been divided among forty committees which had been formed to study the many administrative aspects of a cross-Channel operation.57 Significant preliminary steps had thus been taken by mid-July to prepare for a continental invasion.
At the height of the U.S. build-up in the United Kingdom, the American uniform was to be evident in every corner of the land, American ammunition and other supplies and equipment were to be stacked along every road, and American troops were to occupy more than 100,000 buildings, either newly built or requisitioned, and ranging from small Nissen huts and cottages to sprawling hangars, workshops, and assembly plants, in more than 1,100 cities and villages.
(3) The SOS Organizes, June-July 1942
There was little visible evidence in June 1942 to portend the future scale of American activity in the United Kingdom. At the time the European theater was activated there were fewer than 35,000 American troops in the British Isles, most of them ground force units assigned to the V Corps in Northern Ireland. In England the first stirrings of American activity centered around the small air force contingent and in the theater headquarters in London. There were at this time only about 2,000 air force troops in England, hardly more than an advance echelon of the VIII Bomber Command. This small force was in the process of taking over the first airfields in the Huntingdon area and preparing to utilize the first big depot and repair installation at Burtonwood. Londoners were of course already familiar with the sight of Americans in Grosvenor Square, and the U.S. headquarters was to grow rapidly after the formation of ETOUSA.
As the governing metropolis of the United Kingdom and the seat of the War Office, London naturally became a center of American activity. That this activity should center about Grosvenor Square arose primarily from the fact that the work of the Special Observers had brought them near the American Embassy and the military attaché with whom they worked closely. Situated in the heart of Mayfair, Grosvenor Square was one of the exclusive residential areas in London. Surrounding it were the multistoried town houses and luxury flats which had provided the setting for the dinners and balls of the London social season. In the center was a private park of hedges and tall trees, once enclosed by an iron fence which had since disappeared into the scrap heap of war. From behind the dense shrubbery there now arose each evening a barrage balloon which swayed gently back and forth in the black of the London night.
Most of the modern buildings in Grosvenor Square were untouched by the blitz, but many were vacant, their former occupants having moved to the country. Beginning with the lease of No. 18--20 to SPOBS in May 1941, more and more of the apartments were taken over by the Americans. Stripped of their furnishings they quickly lost their glitter and acquired the utilitarian appearance of an army installation. Grosvenor Square was soon to be transformed into a bit of America, and the good humor with which Londoners received the increasing evidence of American "occupation" was expressed in the parody of a popular song: "An Englishman Spoke in Grosvenor Square."
The first housekeeping units had arrived in London in March, a dispensary was opened, and the first enlisted billet was established at the old Hotel Splendide at 100 Piccadilly. Aside from this halting expansion of the new headquarters and
the beginnings of activity at a few airfields, there were as yet no operating services and no depots prepared to receive large shipments of either cargo or troop units. Until April 1942 there was not even a single army storage point in London. The scale of supply operations in the London area is illustrated by the fact that such supplies as were required in the headquarters were received and handled in a room on the fourth floor of No. 20 Grosvenor. That month a small warehouse was opened in the former showrooms of the Austin Motor Company on Oxford Street, and before long it was necessary to turn over all requisitions to a new depot in the East End. In the absence of U.S. shipments to fill immediate needs, meanwhile, there was a great scramble to obtain supplies and services in the British market, and considerable confusion was to result from the initial lack of reciprocal aid policy on such local procurement.
The gigantic task of organizing the Services of Supply was undertaken by General Lee upon his arrival in England late in May 1942. There were three major tasks to be carried out in fulfilling the mission of the SOS: organizing the reception of troops and cargo in the port areas, establishing a depot system for the storage and distribution of supplies, and initiating the construction program, particularly of airfields. Transforming the SOS into an operating organization, however, presented innumerable problems which first required solution.
Within twenty-four hours of his arrival in the United Kingdom, General Lee was busily engaged in a series of conferences, first with General Chaney, which led to a definition of the responsibilities and authority of the SOS (discussed in Chapter I), and then with members of the BOLERO Committee at Norfolk House, London, where he learned of the plans British officers had already made for the accommodation of the projected American force. During the next several weeks General Lee spent much of his time inspecting ports, depots, and other accommodations offered by the British. On the first of these reconnaissance trips he was accompanied by General Somervell, Brig. Gen. Charles P. Gross, the Chief of Transportation, War Department SOS, and Brig. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, Chief of Operations of the SOS in the War Department, who had followed Lee to England late in May. The special train of General Sir Bernard Paget, commander of British Home Forces, was put at the disposal of the party to tour port installations at Avonmouth, Barry, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Gourock. On the basis of the survey, General Somervell reported to General Marshall his opinion that administration and supply arrangements for the reception and accommodation of American troops could be worked out satisfactorily, although he recognized tremendous problems for the SOS, and foresaw particular difficulties in rail transportation and airfield construction. General Somervell at this time stressed the importance of the early completion of operational plans so that supply and administrative planning could get under way. This was to become a familiar and oft-repeated request from the Services of Supply.58 General Lee later took members of his own staff on a reconnaissance of possible port and depot areas in southern England. including Bristol, Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton, Warminster, Thatcham, and Salisbury, all of which later became
key installations in the SOS network of facilities.
Meanwhile General Lee also made progress in the organization of the SOS staff which was announced at the end of June. It included Brig. Gen. Thomas B. Larkin as chief of staff, Lt. Col. Ewart G. Plank as deputy chief of staff, Col. Murray M. Montgomery as G-1, Col. Gustav B. Guenther as G-2, Col. Walter G. Layman as G-3, Col. Paul T. Baker as G-4, Lt. Col. Orlando C. Mood as Chief, Requirements Branch, and Col. Douglas C. MacKeachie as Chief, Procurement Branch.
The services were at first divided into operating and administrative, the former including the normal supply services under the supervision of the G-4, the latter the more purely administrative services under the Chief of Administrative Services. The incumbents of the operating services were the following: Col. Everett S. Hughes, Chief Ordnance Officer; Brig. Gen. Robert M. Littlejohn, Chief Quartermaster; Brig. Gen. William S. Rumbough, Chief Signal Officer; Brig. Gen. Donald A. Davison, Chief Engineer; Col. Edward Montgomery, Chief of Chemical Warfare Service; Col. Paul R. Hawley, Chief Surgeon; Col. Charles O. Thrasher, Chief, General Depot Service; Col. Frank S. Ross, Chief, Transportation Service. Brig. Gen. Claude M. Thiele was named Chief of Administrative Services, which included the following officers: Col. Roscoe C. Batson, Inspector General; Lt. Col. William G. Stephenson, Headquarters Commandant; Col. Alexander M. Weyand, Provost Marshal; Col. Adam Richmond, Judge Advocate; Col. Victor V. Taylor, Adjutant General; Col. Nicholas H. Cobbs, Chief Finance Officer; Col. James L. Blakeney, Senior Chaplain; Lt. Col. George E. Ramey, Chief of Special Services; Col. Edmund M. Barnum, Chief of Army Exchange Service. In addition, Col. Ray A. Dunn was named Air Force Liaison Officer, and Col. Clarence E. Brand was designated President of the Claims Commission, both on the SOS staff.
This organization within the SOS reflected very closely the organization of the SOS in the War Department, the memorandum outlining the organization of the administrative services following virtually word for word a similar memorandum issued by the SOS in the zone of interior. Within two months, however, several changes were announced and no further mention was made of the division into operating and administrative services. The general division of function continued, with the supply or operating services coming under the supervision of the G-4, and the administrative services passing to the province of the G-1, who later came to be known as the Chief of Administration. In general, the operating services included those whose chiefs were also members of the theater special staff and thus served in a dual capacity, maintaining senior representatives at Headquarters, ETOUSA. The administrative services were those in which counterparts were named at Headquarters, ETOUSA, and in which the division of authority became very troublesome. Even those staff sections which General Eisenhower had decreed should be placed under ETOUSA--that of the provost marshal for example--were split when the SOS moved to Cheltenham. ETOUSA and SOS each established its own adjutant general, inspector general, provost marshal, and other special staff officers. The inevitable result was an overlapping of function and a conflict over jurisdiction.
CHART 3--ORGANIZATION OF THE SERVICES OF SUPPLY, ETOUSA, 19 AUGUST 1942
(Chart 3) In varying degrees this tendency also carried over into the supply services, where the senior representatives at theater headquarters were inclined to develop separate sections and encroach on the functions of the SOS.
Following the organizational pattern of the War Department SOS, the newly founded SOS also included a General Depot Service as one of the operating agencies. Colonel Thrasher was named as its first chief, and the service was announced as an ETOUSA special staff section operating under the SOS. Shortly thereafter, however, again in line with similar War Department action, the functions of the General Depot Service were turned over to the chief quartermaster. The operation of the depots was eventually shared by the chiefs of services and the base sections which were soon to be formed. The Army Exchange Service, likewise established as a special staff section of ETOUSA and operated by the SOS, also ceased to be a special staff section and was placed under the chief quartermaster.
From the very beginning it was established policy in ETOUSA that the United States would purchase as many of its supplies as possible in the United Kingdom in order to save shipping space. Local procurement was therefore destined to be an important function, and to handle such matters a General Purchasing Board and a Board of Contracts and Adjustments were created in June, both of them headed by a General Purchasing Agent. Colonel MacKeachie, former vice-president of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company and Director of Purchases for the War Production Board, had been brought to the United Kingdom by General Lee to fill this position.
Among the other agencies created during the summer of 1942 were a Claims Service, the Area Petroleum Board, and an agency to operate training centers and officer candidate schools. ETOUSA had stipulated that the SOS would be responsible for the "adjudication and settlement of all claims and administration of the United States Claims Commission" for the theater. Here still another facet of the ever-present problem on the division of authority was to be revealed. The fact that the U.S. Congress had provided that claims be settled by a commission appointed by the Secretary of War complicated matters. Such a claims commission had been appointed directly by the War Department and was already working in close co-operation with British authorities. The SOS meanwhile had organized a Claims Service to investigate claims and report on them to the Claims Commission, which alone had the authority to settle them. General Lee hoped to resolve this division by consolidating the two agencies and bringing them under the SOS. Instead a circular was published strictly delineating their respective jurisdictions and authority, placing the operation of the investigating agencies under the Claims Service of the SOS, and the actual settlement of claims under the Claims Commission.
Another field in which special or unusual arrangements were necessary was the handling of petroleum products, or POL.59 While the procurement, storage, and issue of fuel and oil was a quartermaster responsibility, there was need for an over-all agency to co-ordinate the needs of the Army, Navy, and Air Forces in the
theater. Such an agency, known as the Area Petroleum Board, was created in September as the theater counterpart of the Army-Navy Petroleum Board, recently established in Washington. General Lee served as head of the joint board as Area Petroleum Officer, and was made responsible for the co-ordination of all U.S. fuel requirements with the British. The routine functions of the Area Petroleum Office were actually carried out by an assistant, who organized what eventually came to be known as the Area Petroleum Service. The Area Petroleum Office did not requisition directly on the Army-Navy Petroleum Board in Washington, but rather on British authorities. All petroleum products, regardless of origin, were held in a common pool in British storage facilities, all gasoline coming from U.S. sources being counted as lend-lease aid. Withdrawals from this pool for U.S. forces were then recorded as reverse lend-lease.60
The SOS was also given the responsibility for the operation of training centers and officer candidate schools. Accordingly it established a center for officer candidate and specialists schools at Shrivenham, southwest of Oxford, in August. Col. Walter G. Layman became the first commandant of the center, and the schools began to operate in September. Later in the year the Supply Specialists School and the Officer Candidate School were combined to form the American School Center. While administered by the SOS, the American School Center was open to students from all commands under a quota system.
The above indicates in general outline the staff organization of the SOS and the scope of its responsibilities. As indicated earlier, the SOS had hardly been given the complete control of supply and administration intended by War Department directive, and the division of function and splitting of staffs resulted in an unsatisfactory arrangement, which became increasingly evident as the SOS became an operating organization in the following months.61
Another problem with which General Lee concerned himself in the first weeks after his arrival in England was that of finding a suitable location for the newly forming SOS headquarters. Office space had been acquired initially in a former apartment building at No. 1 Great Cumberland Place in London, but it was clear that this space would be inadequate to house the entire headquarters, and it was desirable that the SOS should be more centrally located, preferably in southern England where the bulk of the American troops and installations were to be located. General Lee therefore immediately instructed General Thiele, his Chief of Administrative Services, to conduct a reconnaissance for such a headquarters location. Before the end of May General Thiele had surveyed possible accommodations in the London area and the War Office installations at Cheltenham, about ninety miles northwest of London. The latter was already under consideration by the Deputy Quartermaster General and was suggested in the First Key Plan as a suitable location.
Cheltenham was a fairly modern city of about 50,000. It had grown up around the Pittville mineral springs, rivaled Bath as a spa and holiday resort, and was a popular place of retirement for civil servants and army officers. Cheltenham's adaptability for use as a military headquarters resulted
HEADQUARTERS, SOS, NEAR CHELTENHAM. Benhall Farm, above, and Oakley Farm, below.
from the existence of two groups of buildings, one at Benhall Farm on the Gloucester Road southwest, and the other at Oakley Farm to the northeast. These temporary one-story blocks of offices had been erected by the British War Office and were intended as an evacuation point in the event that invasion or bombing made it impossible to remain in London. The members of the War Office administrative staff that occupied the buildings at this time were willing to return to London where the entire establishment could be in one place. The Cheltenham plant provided about 500,000 square feet of office space and had one obvious advantage over other sites in that it required no conversion. It had an adequate rail and road network, and signal communications facilities which could be expanded. However, it was ninety miles from London, the center of British and American planning groups, and nearer the western than the southern coast of England, and it had other disadvantages which were to be revealed later.
General Lee and his chief of staff inspected the Cheltenham facilities in the first week of June, and after conferences with War Office officials decided to establish the SOS headquarters there. Later in the month a commandant was named for the new headquarters, and plans were rushed to accomplish the move as quickly as possible. Officer and enlisted personnel for the headquarters command had been organized in the United States and upon arrival in England went directly to Cheltenham on 12 July. The shipment of supplies and equipment from London began on the 18th, and two days later a special train carried most of the London personnel to their new home. While the move was intended to be secret, rumors had it on the day before that Lord Haw Haw, a renegade Englishman whose regular broadcasts in the service of Nazism provided an amusing diversion to the British, had already promised a visit by the German Air Force, and when the special train actually left Paddington Station it was plastered with signs reading "U.S. FORCES TO CHELTENHAM." General Lee and the key members of his staff remained in London a few days for conferences and made the transfer to the new headquarters on 25 July. Some of the SOS staff remained in London and were housed in the annex of Selfridge's department store, on Duke Street just off Oxford.
The establishment of the SOS in its new location was not accomplished without discomfort or dissatisfaction, for some of the disadvantages of the area quickly became apparent. As a vacation spot Cheltenham had many hotels, some of which retained their civilian staffs and served as officers' quarters. But barracks for enlisted men were almost nonexistent, and the men had to be quartered in tented camps around the town and at the near-by Prestbury Park Race Course. Those who drew the grandstand, stables, and other buildings of the race track as billets were the more fortunate, and as one man (undoubtedly a Kentuckian) noted philosophically to his stable mate, if the commodious box stall they occupied was good enough for a £10,000 thoroughbred, a $10,000 GI shouldn't complain. The tent camps were eventually replaced by hutments, but it took considerable time and work to make the area livable and to eliminate the early confusions. The War Office had made few improvements, and the autumn rains created seas of mud. For many weeks the War Office continued to operate the messes, and only British rations
were available. When an enemy plane dropped several bombs near the railway station one morning, someone tartly commented that the Germans weren't aiming at the aircraft factory at nearby Gloucester, but at the confusion factory at Benhall Farm.62
The establishment of the SOS entailed a great deal more than the selection of a staff and headquarters facilities. The real raison d'Ķtre of the SOS was that it become an operating concern, carrying out the various functions of procuring, transporting, storing, issuing, and so on. Its functional organization was represented by the chiefs of services, who, in addition to serving in an advisory capacity as members of the theater commander's special staff, supervised the operations of their respective services in the SOS. The chief quartermaster, for example, provided technical supervision over the operation of depots. The direct control of such operations and the command of troop units involved, however, was decentralized and, with certain exceptions (notably the Transportation Corps operation of the railways), was exercised through the base section commanders.
In addition to the functional organization, the SOS also developed a territorial organization through which service activities were actually carried out. This organization in the United Kingdom paralleled closely that of the United States, where supply and administration were also organized into area commands known as corps areas (later as service commands). In General Lee's concept, the base sections were to be small replicas of the SOS, containing representatives of all the staff sections and services in an organization which would serve as the instrumentality through which SOS policies and plans would be carried out in given geographical areas. General Lee met some opposition from the theater staff in insisting on this organizational scheme, but he was convinced that it was both feasible and necessary and succeeded in carrying it out in the summer of 1942.
One base section already existed, and consequently received first consideration for incorporation into the new system. Northern Ireland Base Command had been created to serve as an administrative command for V Corps, or USANIF, and the service troops of the base command were in fact part of V Corps. As the highest ground force headquarters in the theater, and in view of its mission in the defense of Northern Ireland, USANIF had been accorded a relatively high degree of self sufficiency and independence, General Hartle therefore opposed transferring the base command to the control of the SOS. But he was overruled, and Northern Ireland Base Command was incorporated into the SOS.
The announcement of the regional organization of the SOS in the United Kingdom was made on 20 July. It provided for four base sections: the Northern Ireland Base Section under Brig. Gen. Leroy P. Collins, with headquarters at Belfast; the Western Base Section under General Davison, with headquarters at Chester, in Cheshire; the Eastern Base Section under Col. Cecil R. Moore, with headquarters at Watford, Hertfordshire; and the Southern Base Section under Colonel Thrasher, with headquarters at Wilton, near Salisbury. The boundaries of the sections corresponded roughly to those of the British administrative and defense commands.
Map No. 2: Regional Organization of SOS in the United Kingdom
Northern Ireland Base Section included all of Northern Ireland; Western Base Section included the Scottish and Western Commands of the British Home Forces; Eastern Base Section covered the British Eastern and Northern Commands; and Southern Base Section covered the British Southern and Southeastern Commands, and temporarily also included the Bristol Channel ports. Except for the later inclusion of the London Base Command, the general order of 20 July completed the basic regional organization of the SOS. (Map 2)
At this time the base sections were mere skeleton organizations and relied heavily on the British for many services in the early months. As they acquired troops and gradually began to flesh out and assume heavier responsibilities, they tended to develop along different lines in accordance with the varying types of activity in each. Because it had been activated earlier than the others and troops had been present for the past six months, the Northern Ireland Base was naturally further advanced. In 1942 it was primarily concerned with processing troops moving to England for participation in the North African invasion. Western Base Section included the mountainous districts of western England and Wales. With the great ports of western England in its bounds, it acted as an intermediary, receiving the hundreds of thousands of troops that were to pour into the rest of the United Kingdom. Later it was destined to handle vast tonnages of cargo and operate some of the great depots. Eastern Base Section, because of its relative flatness and its proximity to Germany, was the obvious location for the airfields and became primarily an air force base. The Southern Base Section area, largely rolling terrain, but with rugged sections in Devon and Cornwall, contained in its untilled areas the best training ground, including British tank and artillery ranges. Its shore line provided excellent training sites for amphibious assault exercises. Southern Base Section eventually became the great concentration and marshaling area for the ground forces and was the springboard for the cross-Channel operation.
At the very start the base sections, laid out as they were to include one or two of the British home commands, were organized to work closely with the British, with liaison firmly established at that level. The British had built up a large static military establishment which was prepared to furnish many services to the American Army. It was basic policy from the beginning, therefore, to avoid duplicating services which could be obtained from the British, and the base sections were the logical link with facilities in the British commands.
The base sections were organized on the concept of "centralized control and decentralized operation." With certain exceptions the base section commanders were intended to have full authority over all supply and administrative activities in their particular domains. Commanders of the various combat organizations (the Eighth Air Force, and later the armies) accordingly tended to look to the base section commanders rather than to SOS headquarters for the solution of their normal logistical problems.
The exercise of such theoretically full powers on a regional basis inevitably produced a conflict with the functional operations of the chiefs of services, who attempted to control their services at all echelons of command and in the entire theater. By regulation, the chiefs of services
had authority to supervise and control technical matters, but the dividing line between "technical supervision" and actual control was difficult to draw. The chief surgeon, for example, in attempting to control all general hospitals regardless of their location, came into unavoidable conflict with the area commanders whose command authority was theoretically all-embracing. Similarly, a depot commander, caught between the instructions of the chief quartermaster and the base section commander, could not help but feel that he was serving two masters.
In the first month after creation of the base sections, the SOS attempted to define more precisely the authority and functions of the section commanders. In general, they were charged with the command of all SOS personnel, units, and installations located in their sections, and made responsible for their training, administration, discipline, sanitation, and "necessary arrangements for supply, and . . . all operations of the SOS in the base sections which were not specifically excepted by the Commanding General." The sections were to be divided into districts, and actual operations were thus further decentralized. The relationship between base section commanders and the commanders of tactical units in their areas was to be similar to that of a corps area commander in the United States to tactical commanders in the corps areas. Certain activities were to be exempted from the control of the base section commanders and reserved for the chiefs of services. These included the internal management and technical operation of the transportation service, port operations, general supply and repair depots and shops, new construction, general hospitals, and general laboratories.
The system soon revealed its defects. Dissatisfaction on the part of the base section commanders with the extent of exempted activities and with the control exercised by the service chiefs over service troops brought the entire problem up for review in a few months. The problem of reconciling functional control with regional or territorial control was as old as administration itself, and it was to plague the ETO throughout its history.63
While both ETOUSA and the SOS were partially occupied with their internal organization in June and July, plans and preparations for the BOLERO build-up proceeded apace. On the operational side, meanwhile, Allied staffs were actively engaged in planning for both ROUNDUP and the emergency operation known as SLEDGEHAMMER. If there was any skepticism as to the feasibility of ROUNDUP, or any lack of conviction that a full-scale cross-Channel invasion was the best means of carrying out Allied strategy in Europe, it was not reflected in logistical plans, for the administrative planners went ahead with high hopes and expectations of building a base in the United Kingdom and preparing for the reception of the American forces. So anxious were the Combined Chiefs to push the build-up that they considered reducing shipments to the USSR of those supplies which were not essential to the fighting in 1942 in order to free shipping and accelerate the BOLERO movements. This measure was actually proposed to Mr. Molotov, the Russian Foreign Minister, during his visit to Washington early in June, with the suggestion
(4) TORCH Intervenes
that it would speed preparations for the second front which the Russians so ardently desired.64
Troop movements to the United Kingdom proceeded approximately as planned in June, and by the end of the month the U.S. strength in Britain stood at 54,845.65 Within another four weeks, however, the strategic decisions of April were reversed. In July the British and American chiefs decided on the North African operation, thus placing the entire BOLERO-ROUNDUP concept in jeopardy.
The factors which contributed most to this reversal in strategy were the growing conviction on the part of President Roosevelt that there must be some kind of offensive action in the European area in 1942, and the growing misgivings, particularly on the part of British officials, about the feasibility of SLEDGEHAMMER. On 18 June Prime Minister Churchill came to Washington with the British Chiefs of Staff, attacked both the SLEDGEHAMMER and ROUNDUP concepts, and asked instead for the reconsideration of a plan known as GYMNAST, providing for an invasion of North Africa. The Prime Minister's arguments were strengthened by the disasters which were at this very time befalling British arms in North Africa On 13 June ("Black Saturday") Generaloberst Erwin Rommel had sent British forces reeling eastward after a tremendous tank battle, and on 20 June the Prime Minister, while in the United States, learned of the fall of Tobruk. Despite the persuasive arguments which the Prime Minister thus had for diverting the BOLERO forces to ease the pressure in the Near East, the BOLERO-ROUNDUP idea was temporarily reaffirmed, although the American planners made the concession of permitting the diversion of certain tank reinforcements and air units to the Near East.
The compromise was short-lived. It did not withstand the new setbacks suffered by the Allies in the next few weeks. A temporary lift to the morale of the United Nations had been provided by U.S. naval victories in the battles of the Coral Sea (7-8 May) and Midway (6 June), and by the first 1,000-plane raid on Cologne by the RAF (30 May). But these heartening events were soon overshadowed by reverses on almost every other front. In mid-June had come the disasters in North Africa. Early in July the Germans finally captured Sevastopol and then unleashed a drive which carried across the Don toward Stalingrad and threatened to overrun the Caucasus. In the North Atlantic, meanwhile, Allied shipping suffered its heaviest losses of the war from submarine attacks (nearly 400,000 tons in one week). For the Allies June and July were truly the darkest months of the war.
By mid-July Prime Minister Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff had definitely concluded that SLEDGEHAMMER could not be carried out successfully and would in fact ruin prospects for ROUNDUP in 1943. Again they recommended consideration of GYMNAST. General Marshall, on the other hand, was equally convinced of the desperate urgency of a cross-Channel operation in 1942 to relieve the terrible pressure on the Red armies. The time was at hand for a showdown, and on 16 July General Marshall, Admiral Ernest J. King,
and Harry Hopkins left for London as representatives of President Roosevelt to settle the question of strategy. In meetings held between 20 and 25 July (sometimes referred to as the Second Claridge Conference) all thought of a cross-Channel operation in 1942 was abandoned at the insistence of the British, and the decision was made to implement the alternative GYMNAST plan--now rechristened TORCH--for an invasion of North Africa. General Marshall, with the Russian situation constantly in mind, hoped to defer a final decision until September, but President Roosevelt accepted TORCH as a definite commitment and instructed that preparations be started at once.
The decision to launch the North African operation was accepted with the full acknowledgment by the top U.S. planners that it would in all probability make the execution of ROUNDUP impossible in 1943. Planning for an eventual cross-Channel operation was to continue, but the TORCH operation immediately absorbed almost the entire effort and attention of the Allies in the European area, and ROUNDUP was all but forgotten for several months to come. The shift in strategy by no means entailed an immediate negation of the BOLERO build-up plans, for movement to the United Kingdom in fact had to be accelerated in the next few months. But it did alter the purpose of this build-up, for the decision to undertake the TORCH operation transferred the emphasis within ETOUSA from the construction of a base for operations against the Continent in 1943 to the organization of a specific force for the TORCH mission in 1942. For several months to come the long-range build-up of ETOUSA was therefore to be subordinated to the interests of the TORCH operation.66
Preparations for the North African operation got under way without delay. Chiefly because of the estrangement in Anglo-French relations, a product of earlier events in the war, TORCH was to be fundamentally an American expedition, and it was decided early that the commander should also be an American. Before General Marshall departed for the United States, General Eisenhower was chosen as Allied commander in chief, although this choice was not officially confirmed until mid-August. U.S. planners soon joined British planners to form a combined group at Norfolk House, providing the nucleus for what was shortly named the Allied Force Headquarters (AFHQ). General Eisenhower (now a lieutenant general) chose Maj. Gen. Mark W. Clark, who had arrived in England in July as commander of the II Corps, as his deputy commander and placed him in charge of all TORCH planning.
As finally worked out, the TORCH operational plan provided for landings in three areas on the North African coast. A Western Task Force, composed entirely of American ground, naval, and air forces and coming directly from the United States, was to land in the vicinity of Casablanca on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. A Center Task Force, also American, but sailing from the United Kingdom with British naval support, was to land at Oran. An Eastern Assault Force, predominantly British but containing some American troops and escorted by the Royal Navy, was to land at Algiers. The TORCH logistical plan provided that each task
force should be supplied initially by the base from which it was launched. The Western Task Force was to be supplied directly from the United States, the Center Task Force by the SOS in the United Kingdom, and the Eastern Assault Force by the British. Gradually, however, the entire support of the American force in North Africa was to come directly from the United States. The SOS in the United Kingdom would be relieved of all responsibility, and the North African operation would be completely separated from ETOUSA supply channels.
AFHQ exercised over-all planning and control over both supply and operational matters in connection with TORCH. For logistical planning the headquarters named Maj. Gen. Humfrey M. Gale (British) as Chief Administrative Officer and Colonel Hughes as his deputy. It would seem logical for AFHQ to have worked in close collaboration with both the SOS and ETOUSA in planning the North African operation, but it did not work out that way. Rather, AFHQ borrowed officers from both ETOUSA and SOS for planning purposes and frequently left the staffs of those headquarters out of the TORCH picture. Although the SOS staff was in general divorced from planning, the principle was followed that each national force would be responsible for its own supply and administration. The SOS was therefore responsible for implementing a supply program planned by another organization. This situation it regarded as a distinct handicap.67
Operation TORCH came at a critical time for supply agencies in both the United States and the United Kingdom. While it was by no means the largest operation undertaken by U.S. forces in World War II, TORCH involved for the first time the organization and equipping of task forces several thousand miles apart; it required for the first time the closest combined planning and implementation by British and American staffs; it came at the very beginning of the development of the SOS in the United Kingdom, when it still lacked adequate personnel and its supply procedures and techniques were new or untried. Moreover, the operation had to be prepared in great haste, for the time between conception and execution (three months) precluded long-range planning. As a result, TORCH was not a model of planning and preparation and necessitated many improvisations both in equipment and supply methods.
The largest single task which the SOS faced and which caused the greatest anxiety as D Day for the operation drew nearer was the equipping of the American force for the TORCH mission. For this task it found itself ill prepared and variously handicapped. Time was already short, and to make matters worse there was a long delay in the final decision on the tactical plan, and therefore in the establishment of a definitive troop basis. The British at first calculated that a total force of ten to twelve divisions was needed, half of which should be British, half American. General Marshall and General Eisenhower, however, felt that the strategic concept of TORCH was such that, once launched, it would have to be followed through with all the resources required, and the Chief of Staff warned that enemy reaction might be such as to require the diversion to the TORCH area of the bulk of the forces intended for BOLERO. General Marshall informed the theater commander that a total of seven U.S. divisions
was committed to the operation, with three more available should they be needed. Early in September General Eisenhower estimated that approximately 102,000 American troops would be taken from the United Kingdom for the North African operation,68 and the withdrawals eventually exceeded 150,000. The core of this force was to consist of the 1st Armored and the 1st and 34th Infantry Divisions, already in the United Kingdom.
The trials which attended the equipping of this force can be attributed to difficulties in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The SOS in the United Kingdom suddenly faced a formidable task, and because of its undeveloped facilities could not possibly expect to cope with the increasing tonnages and numbers of men and at the same time handle the marshaling and outmovement of the TORCH forces. It was therefore forced to rely heavily on the assistance of the British not only in mounting the TORCH force but in port discharge and storage operations. This was one reason why many supply details were handled through AFHQ rather than the SOS, since it was in the former that the machinery for combined operations was coming into existence. The Americans were particularly handicapped in the field of transportation, and responsibility for movement of all troops and supplies leaving the United Kingdom had to be assumed by the British Ministry of War Transport. For purposes of liaison and co-ordination the SOS established a section of the Traffic Division of the Transportation Corps, headed by Col. Donald S. McConnaughy, at the British War Office, where priorities and movement orders were arranged.
In receiving and storing supplies the Americans were likewise dependent on British aid, owing in part to the lack of personnel and in part to the fact that they were strange to British facilities and ways. The great bulk of American cargo entered Britain via the Clyde, Mersey, and Bristol Channel ports, on the west coast of the United Kingdom. Ports on the southern coast, such as Southampton and Plymouth, had sustained especially heavy damage from German air attacks, as had Belfast in Northern Ireland. Consequently the western ports had to accommodate the greater part of Britain's wartime trade, her lend-lease traffic, and now the steadily expanding stream of personnel, equipment, and supplies for the American forces in the ETO. All of the British ports were greatly handicapped by lack of adequate labor and by the urgency to clear the quays as rapidly as possible because of the threat of night bombing raids. As a result convoys were often split, and supplies were shipped inland without adequate records or segregation.
The depots were even less prepared to handle the newly arriving shipments of military stores. Since there was no time to construct new facilities, the first general depots were normally set up in warehouses or military depots turned over by the British. Base depots were activated at Liverpool, Bristol, and London in former commercial warehouses. In addition, British depots at Barry, Thatcham, Portsmouth, and Ashchurch began to receive American supplies and were gradually taken over completely by U.S. troops. Most of the early movement of supplies into the United Kingdom and the outmovements for TORCH were handled through these
depots. Many of them were not suited to the handling of awkward and heavy military loads, and lacked the necessary cranes and access roads for trucks.69
In all of them adequate military personnel were lacking. Depot G-25, at Ashchurch, which eventually grew into a great general depot for American supplies and equipment, acquired a strength of about 3,000 U.S. service troops in the summer of 1942. As in the case of the ports, operation of the depots required extensive use of British labor, which was untrained and unfamiliar with American methods and nomenclature.
The summer months saw increasing tonnages of American supplies arriving in the theater. A total of 570,000 long tons flowed through the U.K. ports in the months of August, September, and October.70 But it became evident early in the preparations for TORCH that there would be serious difficulties in equipping and readying the U.S. forces earmarked for the North African operation. The SOS in the United Kingdom was simply unable to cope with the sudden influx of supplies in view of the condition in which they were arriving and the handicaps under which the SOS was working. More and more supplies were temporarily lost because they could not be identified or located. In some cases the arrival of unit equipment lagged seriously. In mid-August it was revealed that the bulk of the equipment of the 1st Infantry Division, including its artillery, was still in the United States, and doubts were expressed that the division could be employed as planned.71 Not one hospital unit earmarked for the North African operation arrived in the United Kingdom with its complete equipment before the middle of October, and equipment therefore had to be drawn from hospitals established for troops in the United Kingdom.72
Some of the difficulties attending the equipping of the TORCH force were the result of the hurried clearance of the ports, the lack of trained personnel, the undeveloped facilities, and the general immaturity of the SOS organization in the United Kingdom. A number of them had their source farther back in the supply line, in the zone of interior. Much of the trouble stemmed from the fact that the entire overseas supply procedure had been overhauled only recently by the War Department and was not yet working smoothly. The SOS in the United States was hardly more experienced in the new procedure than the SOS in ETOUSA, for the supply techniques which later became routine standing operating procedures were still relatively untested.
By the time the United States entered the war in December 1941 the ports of embarkation and the zone of interior depots were well established. Under the system then in operation the War Department exercised a close centralized control over the shipment of supplies, and the ports of embarkation served simply as funnels through which supplies flowed to the overseas commands. With the outbreak of war in December it was realized that a decentralization of control was necessary, and in January 1942 the entire overseas supply procedure was revised. The main feature of this change was the key position accorded the ports of embarkation. Except for the control of certain critical items, both automatic supply and the editing
and filling of requisitions now became the responsibility of the port of embarkation commander, and the great bulk of supplies now flowed overseas without the necessity for War Department action. The new overseas supply plan had the objective of freeing the War Department of the normal business of overseas supply and of building up adequate reserve levels in the theater as quickly as production and shipping permitted. The War Department established the over-all policy on these levels, which were expressed in a minimum and maximum number of days for each class of supply, the maximum level normally being ninety days for most classes. On the basis of troop strengths in the overseas theaters and the reserve levels prescribed by the War Department, the port commander now recommended the minimum port reserves and zone of interior depot credits. Beyond this, the routine supply procedure--editing requisitions, calling up supplies from the depots, preparing loading plans, and estimating shipping needs--was controlled by the port commander.
At the other end of the supply chain the main responsibility of the overseas commander was to forward timely information of his requirements. Except for critical items, including ammunition, for which allocations and priorities were established by the War Department, this information was to go directly to the port commander. In the case of automatic supply items (Classes I and III, or rations and fuel) this would include the troop strength, the actual levels of these supplies in the theater, and certain other data on available storage, information which formed the basis for automatic shipments. In the case of Class II and IV supplies (mainly equipment) the theater's needs were made known in the form of requisitions, including certain data regarding the justification for the requests. In addition, periodic status reports were submitted as a basis for the supply of several types of critical items.
The port of embarkation commander had a reciprocal obligation to keep the overseas commander informed of shipments (normally by advance air-mailing of manifests) to enable him to make detailed plans for the receipt of supplies. In this respect, as in several others, the new supply procedure fell short of its aims, particularly in the early months. Overseas commanders complained, for example, that advance information reaching them was both insufficient and late. The Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service in ETOUSA noted that he had received a manifest for 120 tons of chemical equipment without any indication of the contents. In July Colonel Hughes, then the chief ordnance officer, visited the United States on supply matters, and reported in an SOS staff conference in London that he had found complete confusion among War Department personnel over requisitions from ETOUSA.73
Port officials in the United States meanwhile complained that overseas commanders were failing to report their levels of supply, omitted priorities for classes of supply, were remiss in properly justifying their requisitions, and in some cases even failed to submit requisitions.74 Misconceptions and misunderstandings were very common at first, and many months passed before theater commanders and zone of
interior supply officials fully comprehended the scope of their new responsibilities or the specific procedures involved in the new supply system. Until the system was set up and functioning there was a good deal of lost motion in the supply machine. One of the fundamental concepts of the new procedure--decentralization -- was long in taking root. Requisitions and special requests continued to be submitted to the chiefs of services or other War Department agencies in Washington, and in July General Lutes found it necessary to remind the ETO to send requisitions through the New York Port of Embarkation and to stop duplications in Washington.
While much of the difficulty in establishing the new supply procedure was due to lack of comprehension or misconception on the part of supply officials, many of the troubles of the summer of 1942 stemmed from the lack of adequately trained personnel to assume the new responsibility thrust upon the ports. This was not only true in the offices of the New York Port of Embarkation, the port responsible for shipments to the ETO, where trained personnel were required to exercise judgment in determining whether or not requisitions should be honored, but also in the depots, where the task of packing and marking supplies became one of the most irksome and trying of all problems to plague the preparations for TORCH.
Early in the summer ETOUSA supply officials began to complain of the condition in which supplies were being received in the United Kingdom, and in July and August the theater received a veritable avalanche of equipment, much of it improperly marked and crated, some of it with no marking at all. The resultant confusion in the British ports, where segregation was impossible, and in the depots, manned for the most part by inexperienced troops, is easily imagined. Colonel Ross, chief of transportation in the ETO, described a trip to Liverpool, where he observed the unloading of a ship and personally noted the condition of cargo being discharged. He reported that 30 percent of the tonnage that came off the ship had no marking whatever and was therefore unidentifiable. Of the remainder, about 25 percent of the boxes indicated no addressee, and carried only a general designation that they contained ordnance or medical supplies. "It meant, in effect," he noted, "that after several ships were unloaded we were unable to send over half the freight to the particular depot to which the using services ordered it. The result was that all services were forced to go into a huddle and to examine practically half of the freight they received before they could distribute that freight to the people that needed it." Boxes frequently marked with only a lead pencil or paper label at the depot of origin were loaded into freight cars, and bills of lading were made out indicating simply that a car contained thirty-seven tons of quartermaster supplies. These supplies would carry the same general designation on the manifest when transferred to a ship in the New York port.75
Citing specific examples of the effects of such practices, Colonel Ross noted that he had seen two new engines mounted on a platform, but with no other crating, both of them badly damaged. The contents of uncrated paper cartons often took a loss of 75 percent from handling and exposure to
rain. Thousands of unmarked barracks bags, some of them intended for Iceland, were thrown in with other cargo, and required four or five days to retrieve. Late in July Colonel Ross made a vehement protest against these practices, strongly indicting the depots in the United States as the source of the difficulties which the SOS in the United Kingdom was now having in trying to segregate, identify, and salvage these supplies. In a letter to Brig. Gen. Robert H. Wylie, Chief of Operations, Office of the Chief of Transportation, in the War Department, Colonel Ross wrote:
You can readily see that this environment necessitates a revision of ideas from your embarkation end. If we seem impatient at times because this baggage and equipment is not marked and sailing cables do not arrive, please remember that the few days that are being saved in New York in priming a ship are more than lost here in unscrambling the mess. . . . You must remember that all of the warehouses and some of the piers here are completely destroyed, that we must load from shipside to train and thence to depot destinations. There isn't any use in New York, or any other port, raising the human cry that they cannot spend the time on this. Either the method must be found to spend time on it, or our efforts here will collapse.76
There were additional reasons for the difficulties which the SOS in the United Kingdom experienced in the summer of 1942. One of them was the procedure in shipping organizational equipment overseas. Under the current practice of "force marking," each unit preparing for overseas movement was given a "task force" code number which was used to identify both the unit and its equipment. A unit's equipment was loaded on cargo ships, while the personnel traveled on transports, and the force number was intended to permit a rapid "marrying up" of the unit with its equipment upon arrival in the theater. In the trying months preceding TORCH this system did not work well. Soldiers normally made the Atlantic voyage in swift liners which carried no cargo, and their equipment frequently arrived as much as 80 to 120 days later. Even when troops and equipment departed at the same time, the units had to give up their equipment at least a month before sailing so that it could be crated, shipped to the port, and loaded, thus curtailing the unit's training.77 Marrying up an organization with its equipment in the United Kingdom was a major task, and in the early days the depots often did not have master lists of the force-marked code numbers. In the case of TORCH units, which were spending only a short time in the United Kingdom before debarking for North Africa, frantic efforts had to be made to find organizational equipment when the unit's own equipment was not received or could not be found. New requisitions had to be placed on theater depots, with the result that normal stocks were depleted and the theater's supply level was reduced.78
The confusion in the U.K. depots was not helped by the inauguration in midsummer of a new shipping procedure which supplemented the force marking system. In the spring of 1942 a proposal had been made to ship equipment and supplies as fast as available shipping resources allowed, regardless of the rate of troop movements. The process of building up supplies and equipment in this manner in excess of the normal organizational and
maintenance needs of troops in the theater, and storing them for later issue, was known as preshipment. The new system promised undeniable advantages. It would permit the fullest possible use of all cargo shipping; it would take advantage of the long summer days when unloading time could be increased; and it would prevent interruptions in the training of units, since they would retain their old equipment until embarkation and would be issued new equipment upon arrival in the theater.79 In the absence of definite plans for operations in 1942 the new shipping scheme had real merit. The decision to launch the TORCH operation, however, prevented the full implementation of the preshipment idea in 1942. The shortage of shipping and the desperate efforts to equip specific units for the North African operation limited advance shipment to such bulk supplies as construction materials, rations, and crated vehicles. The receipt of even this tonnage only placed an additional burden on the creaking supply organization in the United Kingdom.
Early in September the entire supply problem reached a climax and threatened to jeopardize the TORCH operation. Many units reported critical shortages and consequently were not ready for the North African operation. Colonel Hughes, the deputy chief administrative officer of AFHQ estimated that the SOS could meet the food and ammunition requirements of 112,000 men in the North African theater for forty days, and provide twenty days of supply in many other categories. Because of unbalanced stocks, however, serious deficiencies had appeared in some categories, notably in spare parts for weapons and motor vehicles.80 By mid-September Colonel Hughes had become more pessimistic. On the 14th he reported to General Clark that there was no assurance of an adequate ammunition supply, and he gave his opinion that the job could not be done within the time limits established.81
Some of the supply deficiencies reported by Colonel Hughes were absolute shortages in that insufficient quantities had been received from the United States. But the most vexing problem arose from the temporary loss of items in the United Kingdom. They had been received but could not be found. In the spring and early summer, when haste in unloading ships and speeding their turn-round were the pressing considerations, and when poor marking made identification and segregation impossible, large quantities of supplies had been thrown into warehouses and open storage without proper inventorying. Now there was a sudden demand for thousands of items and there were no adequate records indicating their location.
Since inventorying these stocks would require several months, there appeared to be only one alternative--to reorder the needed items from the United States. On 7 September the theater commander cabled the War Department, describing the situation and explaining that in many cases SOS troops did not know what was on hand. In an attempt to prepare the War Department for what was to come and thus soften the blow, he asked that it bear with him if the chiefs of the services in Washington received requests for items
which they had already shipped. "Time is now so critically important," he added, "that we cannot always be accurate with respect to these details."82 This communication was followed on the very next day by a lengthy cable requisitioning huge quantities of supplies which were urgently needed for the equipping and support of the TORCH force.
Naturally it came as quite a shock to the War Department to learn that much of the Class II and IV supplies already shipped to the United Kingdom could not be located and would have to be replaced. In a letter to General Lee on 12 September General Lutes noted that the War Department had already made strenuous efforts to build up stocks in the United Kingdom for the ROUNDUP operation scheduled for next spring. After the TORCH decision it was faced with the additional problem of equipping the Western Task Force and then maintaining the North African forces from the United States. Now it was being asked to duplicate much of the U.K. build-up.
We wish to assist you in every way possible [Lutes wrote], please be assured of that. However, we have sunk a large quantity of supplies in the UK, and these supplies, together with those furnished for Lend-Lease purposes, and those lost by submarine sinkings, are putting the staff on this side in an embarrassing situation. At the moment, we are having the ammunition implications analyzed. We hope to be able to fill your requirements for the task force leaving UK, but it would be most helpful if this ammunition could be located in UK. I realize that at this great distance, it is difficult for us to fully understand your problems, but it would appear that a small group of American officers in each of the British ports could protect the American interests on the supplies and equipment we have shipped to the UK.83
The letter went on to point out that many of the requests made by the ETO were not clear. Units for which equipment was requested were not identified, and maintenance for field artillery units was requisitioned without indicating whether they were howitzer or gun units. Such lack of exactness, reflecting improper editing and co-ordination in the theater, only made the task of the supply agencies in the War Department and in the ports more difficult and time consuming.84
Additional requests continued to flow to the War Department in the following weeks. Late in September there still were misunderstandings about the length of time during which the Center Task Force and Eastern Assault Force could be maintained from the United Kingdom. In mid-October, in reply to a late request for maintenance supplies, the War Department tartly noted, "It appears that we have shipped all items at least twice and most items three times."85
Some organizations destined to join the North African forces had little more than 50 percent of their initial basic allowances of signal equipment only a month before the target date. On the other hand, organizations frequently did not know the status of their own equipment, and some arrived for embarkation with overages. The 1st Armored Division, for example, arrived in Glasgow with vehicles considerably in excess of allowances, and was forced to leave them scattered over the Scottish port when it embarked for North Africa.86
GENERAL LITTLEJOHN, Chief Quartermaster, ETOUSA.
Early in September, when the supply situation was most chaotic, General Eisenhower re-emphasized to General Lee his basic mission of operating the SOS so as to insure the adequate support of the American expeditionary force then being prepared in the United Kingdom. He instructed the SOS commander to spare no effort or expense to accomplish the task of sorting and cataloguing supplies that had already been received. and he urged Lee to utilize to the utmost the proffered assistance of British organizations and to exploit every possible means of avoiding unnecessary shipments from the United States. Eisenhower asked Lee to devote full personal attention to this task, authorizing him to delegate responsibility for the normal outine functions of the SOS to a subordinate.87 General Lee accordingly appointed General Littlejohn, the chief quartermaster, as deputy commander of the SOS.88
Strenuous efforts on the part of both the SOS in the United States and the SOS in the ETO overcame the most critical deficiencies in the United Kingdom in the following weeks. Needed items were sought in a variety of ways: local procurement (emergency production was even started in local factories); requests on the British War Office (considerable quantities of ammunition were obtained in this way from British stocks); emergency requisition on the United States; transfer from alerted organizations with low priority or from nonalerted units; and a search of stocks afloat and of the depots, where men worked day and night, receiving, storing, and issuing supplies.89
Efforts were also made to alleviate some of the effects of the poor marking practices, and to remedy the fault itself. Late in September General Marshall suggested that a detachment of three or four men familiar with the cargo and loading plan be placed on each ship to follow through on the discharge and keep track of priority freight so that it would be properly dispatched. This procedure became common practice in the ensuing months.90 Upon arrival in the United Kingdom more and
more cargo was moved immediately to inland sorting sheds which had been built by the British for use in case the ports were blitzed. In 1942 they served an emergency purpose in receiving cargo which could not be segregated, and in effect became warehouses, since there was little opportunity to redistribute cargo to its original destination. They were used to a more limited extent as sorting sheds in 1943.91 Meanwhile an effort was made in the United States to get at the root of the cargo shipping problem. The War Department instructed the Chief of Transportation in Washington to set up an inspection service, and on the first day of action at the New York Port it turned back to the depots 14,700 pieces of freight which could not be identified.92
Within a month these efforts had begun to show results, and the panic subsided. Early in October General Larkin, the G-4 of the Center Task Force, reported that the loading schedule would be met and that at least nothing had developed to make the SOS situation any worse. At the same time General Hughes93 made a tour of the depots and returned more optimistic.94
A month later, on 8 November, the operation whose preparation was characterized by so many doubts and uncertainties and frantic measures was launched and eventually carried to a successful conclusion. The five months between the activation of the theater and the launching of TORCH were a period of hard experience for the SOS. In implementing planning in which it had taken no part the SOS had worked under a severe handicap. General Lee later stated that one of the principal lessons learned from TORCH was that supply planning and operations must be closely co-ordinated with tactical planning and operations. This lesson was not forgotten in the preparation for the cross-Channel attack in 1944.
Besides providing a school of experience for the infant SOS, TORCH left its mark on the United Kingdom in other ways. The North African operation in effect crippled the great BOLERO design, for it caused not only a sudden drain of U.S. air, ground, and service forces, supplies, and key personnel from the United Kingdom but left the European theater the low man on the War Department's priority list. As a result the entire development of the U.S. establishment in the United Kingdom was retarded, and its losses were not recouped for many months to come.
(5) BOLERO's Status at the End of 1942
After the token shipments of the first months of 1942 the BOLERO movements of the summer slowly but steadily had built U.S. strength in the United Kingdom to a peak of 228,000 men in October. Late that month the embarkations for North Africa began, the bulk of the outmovements taking place by the end of February 1943, at which time 151,000 troops had been withdrawn. Small additional shipments in the succeeding months brought the total diversions to 153,000. Meanwhile small numbers of troops continued to flow to the United Kingdom from the United States, but the net result of the transfers to North Africa was a reduction of the American strength in the United Kingdom to 104,510
TABLE 1--TROOP BUILD-UP IN THE UNITED KINGDOM: JANUARY 1942--FEBRUARY 1943
Year and month Arrivalsa End of month strength Monthly Cumulative
from Jan 42
1942 January 4,058 4,058 c c c c c 0 February 0 4,058 c c c c c 0 March 7,904 11,962 c c c c c 0 April 0 11,962 c c c c c 0 May 24,682 36,644 c c c c c 0 June 19,446 56,090 54,845 38,699 12,517 1,968 1,661 0 July 26,159 82,249 81,273 39,386 17,654 21,902 2,331 0 August 73,869 156,118 152,007 72,100 37,729 39,280 2,898 0 September 28,809 184,927 188,497 79,757 57,752 39,527 9,618 1,843 October 39,838 224,765 d223,794 90,483 66,317 40,974 18,509 7,511 November 7,752 232,517 170,227 5,656 32,227 31,698 17,640 83,006 December 9,322 241,839 134,808 17,480 40,117 32,466 6,313 38,432 1943 January 13,351 255,190 122,097 19,431 47,325 36,061 5,672 13,608 February 1,406 256,596 104,510 19,173 47,494 32,336 5,507 0a. By ship. Excludes movements by air.
b. Air, ground, and SOS personnel assigned to Allief Force at thte time and earmarked for movement to North Africa.
c. Data not available.
d. The peak strength of about 228,000 reached in the U.K. during October is not indicated here because embarkation for TORCH began before the end of the month.
Source: Troops arrivals data obtained from ETO TC Monthly Progress Rpt, 30 Jun 44, ETO Adm 451 TC Rpts. Troop strength data for June 1942 through February 1943 obtained from Progress Rpt, Progress Div, SOS, 4 Oct 43, ETO Adm 345 Troops. These ETO strength data were preliminary, unaudited figures for command purposes and, while differing slightly from teh audited WD AG strengths, have been used throughout this volume because of the subdivision into air, ground, and service troops. This breakdown is unavailable in WD AG reports.
at the end of February 1943.95 (Table 1)
The drain of personnel was particularly noticeable in the air and ground forces. A new air force, the Twelfth, had been activated to support the TORCH operation, and was eventually constituted largely of units transferred from the Eighth Air Force, which organized and prepared the new organization for its North African mission. The Eighth Air Force initially lost about 27,000 of its men to the Twelfth and continued to serve as a replacement pool for the North African air force for several months. In addition, it was estimated that the Eighth lost nearly 1,100 of its aircraft and 75 percent of its stock of supplies to the new command.96 So weakened was the Eighth by its contributions to TORCH that its bombing operations against the Continent virtually ceased for a time and were severely curtailed for several months because the newly activated Twelfth was accorded
GENERAL MOORE, Chief Engineer, ETOUSA. (Photograph taken in 1945.)
higher priority on equipment and personnel.
The ground forces suffered even heavier losses to the TORCH operation, reaching their lowest ebb in the history of the theater with a strength of less than 20,000. The V Corps, now transferred from Northern Ireland to England, continued to serve as the highest administrative headquarters for ground forces in the United Kingdom. But for several months the 29th Division, which had arrived in October and had assisted in the administrative preparations of the North African force, remained the only major ground force unit in the United Kingdom. Not until May 1943 did the ETO begin to rebuild its depleted forces.
The North African operation also took its toll of key officers in the United Kingdom, some of the ablest members of the ETOUSA and SOS headquarters being selected to serve in the expeditionary force. In addition to Brig. Gen. Walter B. Smith, who became General Eisenhower's chief of staff in AFHQ, Headquarters, ETOUSA, immediately lost its G-1, Col. Ben M. Sawbridge, its adjutant general, Col. Thomas J. Davis, and the antiaircraft officer, Col. Aaron Bradshaw, upon the organization of the new headquarters. Other officers in key positions were transferred to North Africa during the fall and winter months. The loss of these men, combined with the constant shifting of assignments in the United Kingdom, inevitably weakened the ETOUSA staff for a time.
While the SOS retained more stability, it also lost several of its top officers. General Larkin, who had become one of Lee's most capable assistants, first as chief of staff and then as chief engineer, became the G-4 of the Center Task Force and eventually headed the entire SOS organization in North Africa. He was replaced by the Eastern Base Section commander, Colonel Moore, who remained the theater's chief engineer for the remainder of the war. General Davison, who had come to England with General Chaney in 1941, became the chief engineer of AFHQ. Colonel Ross, the chief of transportation, went to North Africa in January 1943 but was absent only temporarily, returning to the United Kingdom in March. General Hughes, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, remained in the United Kingdom as deputy chief of staff of ETOUSA through the winter months and was not definitely lost to the theater until the spring of 1943. Among the other losses which the SOS sustained were its G-4, chemical warfare officer, and judge advocate. The Eighth Air Force also lost several of its key officers, including General Spaatz
DECK-LOADED GENERAL GRANT MEDIUM TANKS, part of a cargo shipped from the United Kingdom to Africa.
himself. All in all, the assignments to AFHQ represented a considerable drain on the talents of ETOUSA, although some of these officers were to return in 1944 to apply the experience they won in the Mediterranean area to the preparation of the cross-Channel operation.97
TORCH also cut deeply into the stockpile of supplies and equipment which the ETO had built up since the first of the year. In acquiring first priority on all shipping resources, it created a famine which lasted well into 1943. In the period from October 1942 through April 1943 more than 400,000 long tons of American supplies were dispatched from the United Kingdom to North Africa. These shipments affected the services in varying degree. The Signal Corps, for example, estimated that 20 percent of the total signal tonnages received in the United Kingdom since the first of the year was shipped to North Africa. In many cases maintenance and reserve levels in the United Kingdom were seriously depleted. The dependence of the TORCH forces on U.K. stocks was intended to be temporary, of course, and the large shipments came to an end in May 1943, but the drain had been heavier than anticipated.98
TABLE 3--CARGO FLOW TO THE UNITED KINGDOM: JANUARY 1942--MAY 1943
Year and month Measurement tons Long tons Monthly Cumulative
from Jan 42
from Jan 42
1942 January 411 4111 108 108 February 23,065 23,476 9,222 9,330 March 34,922 58,398 11,707 21,037 April 15,859 74,257 5,078 26,115 May 102,158 176.415 46,353 72,468 June 102,677 279,092 33,720 106,188 July 193,835 472,927 75,791 181,979 August 441,256 914,183 186,281 368,260 September 597,288 1,511,471 239,747 608,007 October 362,363 1,873,834 143,830 751,837 November 165,503 2,039,337 54,228 806,065 December 140,659 2,179,996 36,927 842,992 1943 January 117,913 2,297,909 38,562 881,554 February 75,566 2,373,475 20,373 901,927 March 65,767 2,439,242 24,719 926,646 April 111,245 2,550,487 60,784 987,430 May 87,056 2,637,543 36,593 1,024,023Source: ETO TC Monthly Progress Rpts, Hq SOS, Statistics Br, OCofT, ETO Adm 450-51.
The support of the TORCH force was attended by its share of confusions and misunderstandings over supply procedure. General Somervell had rejected a proposal that requisitions for the Western and Center Task Forces be channeled through AFHQ and ETOUSA to the War Department. He ordered that they be sent directly from the task forces to the New York Port, with AFHQ exercising over-all control as to amounts and character of the supplies. But as long as the TORCH forces were partially dependent on the SOS in the United Kingdom there was some duplication of effort and AFHQ and ETOUSA submitted requisitions for supplies for the same units. Part of the confusion resulted from the inadequate exchange of information between the two headquarters; part of it undoubtedly reflected the general immaturity of the whole supply system and the lack of experience of all concerned in conducting a largescale operation.99 Here TORCH again taught a lesson which was taken to heart in the later OVERLORD planning.
Meanwhile the flow of supplies from the United States to the United Kingdom was sharply reduced upon the launching of TORCH, averaging less than 35,000 long tons in the seven lean months that
followed.100 (Table 2) Likewise the flow of troops from the United States almost ceased in February, March, and April 1943, averaging fewer than 1,600 in those months. The mere trickle to which supply and troop movements to the United Kingdom were reduced belatedly reflected the relatively unimportant position to which the U.K. build-up had been relegated by the new active theater of operations. Shortly after the Claridge Conference of July the War Department decreed that supplies and equipment would be shipped and stocked no longer in accordance with the old BOLERO-ROUNDUP plan but only in quantities sufficient to meet maintenance requirements for troops that were to remain in Britain.101 It notified the theater that all outstanding requisitions based on the BOLERO build-up were subject to cancellation.102 The War Department was serving notice, in other words, that the BOLERO build-up would not proceed as originally planned. A few weeks later it asked ETOUSA to submit recommendations for a reduced troop basis built around a ground force of 150,000 men,103 and shortly thereafter gave further indication of its plans for the size of the U.K. force by instructing that requisitions for the ETO tentatively be based on a total force of 300,000.104 Late in September Headquarters, ETO, determined that a balanced force with five divisions would require a total of 427,000 men, made up as follows:105
Type Number Total 427,000 Ground Forces 150,000 Air Forces 172,000 Services of Supply 105,000
The War Department accepted these figures in October, and they became the basis for U.S. build-up plans in the United Kingdom for the next several months. Word from Washington soon made it clear that no equipment or supplies in excess of the maintenance needs of this force would be shipped to the United Kingdom. There would be no stockpiling for some hypothetical future operation. Finally, the War Department went a step further and reduced the authorized levels of supply for most items in the United Kingdom from 90 days to 60 or 75.106
Despite these signs, the hope that plans and preparations for the cross-Channel operation would continue unabated died hard in the United Kingdom. There was definitely no intention of abandoning ROUNDUP, and there was little disposition at first on the part of ETO planners to accept a slowing of ROUNDUP'S counterpart--the BOLERO build-up and its companion plan for the preparation of the U.K. base. Preoccupied as he was with the coming North African operation, General Eisenhower expressed to General Marshall the belief that "we should plan deliberately" for the cross-Channel operation, and urged that the War Department "make superhuman efforts to build up U.S. strength in the United Kingdom after the TORCH requirements have been
satisfied."107 General Lee, fully appreciating the need for long-range supply planning, also urged that, although all effort at the moment was focused on the North African mission, planning for ROUNDUP should be resumed and its logistic needs estimated as far in advance as possible.108
The theater commander and the SOS commander initially also shared the view that the preparation for accommodating U.S. troops and supplies should continue. Early in October General Eisenhower decreed that all storage and hospital facilities previously planned be constructed "without interruption or modification."109 General Lee agreed that there should be no alteration or retardation in the BOLERO construction program, on the assumption that the build-up of the first contingent would merely be the first step toward completion of the full BOLERO program as outlined in the Second Edition of the Key Plan; which, he noted, "remains the measure of the total commitment." This policy was transmitted to both General Wootten of the Combined Committee and the chiefs of services.110
The determination to continue U.K. preparations for an eventual cross-Channel operation found strong expression in the November revision of the BOLERO Key Plan. The Third Edition was published by the British Deputy Quartermaster General on 11 November. It reflected the unavoidable impact of TORCH on the rate of the U.S. build-up by using the troop basis figure of 427,000 as a short-term planning figure or build-up target. Beyond this, however, the Third Edition reflected a firm conviction on the part of British and U.S. planners in the United Kingdom that the original BOLERO program would be fully implemented. The object of the plan remained, as before, the development of the United Kingdom as a base from which U.S. forces could develop and sustain offensive operations, and the preparation for the reception, accommodation, and maintenance of U.S. forces in the United Kingdom. For its long-range troop basis the Third Edition used the original figure of 1,049,000.
The only essential difference between the newly revised plan and the Second Edition of July was the assumption that the million-man force would now be built up by stages, the target of the first stage being the build-up of a balanced force of 427,000 men. General Wootten hoped that the build-up of this first contingent could be achieved by May 1943, assuming that the full BOLERO rate of sailings (100,000 men per month) would be resumed in January. In this first phase the highest priority for shipping was expected to go to the air forces and to the SOS. The plan assumed that further arrivals of U.S. troops were likely to continue without pause toward the completion of the entire original BOLERO program by the end of 1943.111
Thus, while acknowledging the limitation which TORCH immediately imposed on the build-up, the BOLERO planners accepted it only as a temporary postponement or delay. The Deputy Quartermaster
General confidently noted that the development of the United Kingdom as a base for offensive operations was therefore to continue along the lines originally envisaged. His plan underscored the following statement: "No retardation will therefore be made in the rate of provision of administrative installations etc., required in connection with offensive operations. The necessary planning and construction will continue with the maximum degree of priority."
The British Southern Command, anticipating the Third Edition by several weeks with its own interim plan pertaining to the Southern Base Section area, had also given expression to the assumption, emphasizing that the "Bolero 2nd Key Plan is not dead." It bravely asserted that, although the flow of cargo and troops would be reduced for a time, work would proceed on all new construction projects in the Southern Command under the Second Edition of the Key Plan, whether already begun or not.112 When the Third Edition of the Key Plan appeared early in November it called for an expansion program of substantially the same magnitude as had the July plan--15,000,000 square feet of covered storage, 90,000 beds, and so on.
By that time, however, the theater commander himself began to question the advisability of carrying forward the program at the old rate or of using U.S. materials and military labor to complete the construction projects in view of the much smaller interim troop basis.113 General Marshall and General Somervell confirmed his doubts. The heavy demands for both supplies and shipping for the North African operation prompted them to direct that neither construction nor the shipment of supplies to the United Kingdom was to exceed the needs of the 427,000-man force. They noted that any construction beyond those needs must be met from British labor and without lend-lease materials.114 General Eisenhower had already tentatively notified the British War Office that the continuation of the hospital and depot construction program would have to be accepted "by unilateral action" on its part,115 and the War Office was now definitely informed that any projects in excess of the revised needs would have to be carried out by British labor and materials.116
The decision to curtail expansion of U.S. facilities in the United Kingdom reflected an uncertainty about future action which, curiously enough, was more evident in Washington than in London. British officials had consistently pressed for the earliest possible resumption of fullscale BOLERO troop shipments, the stocking of supplies, and an undiminished construction program. Throughout this period they maintained that no alterations in the BOLERO project were admissible without a new directive from the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and that the buildup had simply been retarded.117 For some time, therefore, a "Gilbertian" situation existed as a result of the divergent opinions
held regarding the planning figures. Recent communications from the War Department hinted that the original BOLERO-ROUNDUP concept had already been modified (presumably by the deep commitment in the Mediterranean area), and the theater commander had therefore suggested that a review of the entire strategic situation was necessary in order to determine whether the present program should be modified, abandoned completely, or pushed forward aggressively.118 It was because of this uncertainty that the theater commander had tentatively curtailed the U.S. participation in the U.K. preparations. American doubts about ROUNDUP were undoubtedly inspired by the suspicion that the British concept of a cross-Channel operation differed from that held by U.S. planners, and there was little disposition on the part of General Marshall to permit a full-scale build-up in the United Kingdom until the Combined Chiefs agreed on an operation the execution of which was not predicated on a crack in German morale. The resumption of the full BOLERO program therefore depended on a firm decision and meeting of minds on combined future strategy.119
By the late summer of 1942 work had started on a building program (including that of the Air Ministry) which the London Combined Committee valued at approximately $685,000,000, and which by the end of October was estimated to be approximately 18 percent completed.120 After the launching of TORCH, in accordance with instructions from theater headquarters,121 a resurvey was made of all U.S. requirements, including troop accommodations, hospitals, depot space, and air force installations. The smaller troop basis made it apparent that a large number of installations then under construction or planned either would not be required at all or would be improperly located. The reorientation of the ground force program was considerably more urgent than that of the air force since air operations were to continue. Ground force strength would be the last to be rebuilt.
Little difficulty had been encountered in providing troop accommodations. Some new quarters were constructed, but for the most part they were obtained either by the transfer of accommodations as they stood or by the expansion, conversion, or adaptation of existing facilities.122 The survey of personnel accommodations in October revealed that there would be little difficulty in housing the reduced force, and a policy of deferring construction of most housing facilities was adopted.123
In the matter of covered storage accommodations, there likewise was little difficulty in meeting the early requirements. By the end of August the short-term target of 5,000,000 square feet had already been exceeded.124 Early in November the Construction and Quartering Division of the chief engineer's office in a directive to the base sections confirmed the intent of the Third Edition of the BOLERO plan that depot construction would not be halted.
The division announced that work was to be expedited on some of the depot sites and would continue on the remaining projects which had already been planned and approved. Early in December, however, the chief engineer gave the base section commanders a modified program, bringing the construction schedule into line with the immediate needs of the 427,000-man force.125
The medical program met much the same fate so far as American participation in construction was concerned. By the end of August almost the entire program as outlined in the July edition of the BOLERO plan was fixed, and construction had begun on two 1,000-bed hospitals and ten of the thirty-five 750-bed station hospitals. Ten 1,250-man conversion camps, later to be turned into 750-bed hospitals, were being built in the Southern Command. In addition, eleven militia camps had been turned over by the British and their conversion ordered, the expansion of five Emergency Medical Service hospitals had begun, and four British military hospitals were already occupied. Plans were ready for additional station hospitals and for another type of convertible installation known as the dual-purpose camp, designed primarily to serve as a general hospital after D Day, but so planned that the ward buildings could be used as barracks until that time.126
In November, however, the chief surgeon was compelled to revise the program, and the total requirements were reduced by more than half, from approximately 90,000 beds to 37,900.127 The reduced program involved the loss of all the militia camps except 2, all of the convertible camps in Southern Command, and about 25 other planned hospitals--a reduction from approximately 130 hospitals to 45. This drastic cut was not desired by the chief surgeon and was definitely against the wishes of the British, who argued that there would not be time to carry out a large construction program after the build-up was resumed, and that medical services would therefore fall far short of demands. Construction already lagged behind schedule in the fall of 1942, and the chief surgeon became seriously concerned over the critical shortage of beds, particularly when it was learned that the United Kingdom would have to receive some of the casualties from North Africa. At the end of the year there were only 4 general hospitals, 4 station hospitals, and 1 evacuation hospital in operation in the United Kingdom, with a capacity of about 5,000 beds. No other accommodation problem caused as much concern at the end of 1942, and General Hawley repeatedly brought the problem to the attention of General Lee and the BOLERO Sub-Committee on Medical Services. Fortunately, British officials decided to continue the building program without U.S. aid, and the close friendship and understanding between the U.S. and British staffs, backed
by a gentleman's agreement, made some progress possible.128
Air force construction plans underwent frequent changes in the first year, owing mainly to fluctuations in the planned build-up of air forces in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, substantial progress was made in both airfield and air depot construction in the early months. By the late summer of 1942 a relatively firm agreement had been reached with the British providing for the transfer or construction of a total of 98 airfields--23 fighter and 75 bomber. To meet this requirement 61 existing fields were allotted for transfer from the RAF, many of them requiring alterations or expansion. By the end of August contracts had been let for 38 extensions, and work was then under way on about half of these, the bomber installations having first priority. Sites for new fields were being reconnoitered and selected.129 While the Eighth Air Force was to have priority over both the SOS and ground forces in rebuilding its strength in the United Kingdom, there was little prospect that it would regain even its former size very quickly, and the air force construction program, like the others, was therefore scaled down to fit the new troop basis. In the fall of 1942 the number of authorized bomber airfields was cut from 75 to 62, and the construction program consequently underwent a revision, with 49 fields scheduled for immediate construction.130 British firms carried out the greater part of the construction program in the United Kingdom. Whatever construction, including air force needs, was undertaken by U.S. military labor was the responsibility of the SOS. In the case of air force requirements, planning was carried out by the Eighth Air Force, subject to the approval of the SOS which actually executed the work. The SOS controlled all engineer units, including aviation engineer battalions. The Eighth Air Force regarded this arrangement as cumbersome and tending to delay construction, and in the summer of 1942 it had an opportunity to protest. During the preparations for TORCH the British ports were hard pressed to cope with the increasing tonnages arriving in the United Kingdom, and General Lee diverted 4,500 engineer troops to alleviate the port labor shortage. Included in this transfer were certain aviation engineer units, which supposedly were taken off air force construction projects. The Eighth Air Force took the occasion to protest the whole arrangement for services to the air forces. It wanted control of the aviation engineers, which it proposed to integrate into the organic structure of the combat air elements, and based its demand largely on the argument that air units must have their own service elements as an organic part of their team in order to achieve mobility in combat operations. This goal was impossible, it argued, if the air forces were dependent on the SOS and if its service units, such as aviation engineers, could be arbitrarily diverted to other duty.131
Actually, the lag in air force construction was only remotely related to the diversion of aviation engineers. General Lee,
while noting the reluctance with which he had temporarily transferred the aviation engineers to port duty in the emergency, pointed out that these engineers had not even begun work on air force construction projects because their equipment had not arrived.132 Late in November the aviation engineers were returned to the air force projects, but the control of these troops remained with the SOS.133
The curtailment of the U.K. construction program reflects very well the low position which the BOLERO concept had reached at the end of 1942. Withdrawals of U.S. troops from the United Kingdom were not substantially completed until February 1943, when American strength in Britain was reduced to less than 105,000, but the full impact of the North African operation was evident by the end of 1942, when prospects for the BOLERO-ROUNDUP design reached their nadir. Planning for a cross-Channel invasion continued on both the operational and administrative side, but commanded little enthusiasm or urgency in the atmosphere of uncertainty that prevailed.134 The Combined Committee virtually suspended its activities for almost three months after the launching of TORCH early in November. In no other period was the status of the BOLERO build-up and the Key Plan more uncertain or vague, and in no other period were U.S. forces in the United Kingdom so restricted in their activities.
For the most part this limitation was imposed by the lack of service forces. Early in October General Lee warned the theater commander that the service troops remaining in the United Kingdom--about 32,000--would be inadequate to operate essential installations. Furthermore, they were not balanced as to types. It was at this time--in the midst of the TORCH preparations--that the SOS commander announced his intention to use both SOS and aviation engineers for temporary relief of the labor shortage. He took this step reluctantly, realizing that vitally important construction projects would have to be stopped. The British War Office had already provided 2,600 civilians and 5,000 soldiers to meet the current emergency.135 General Lee had foreseen these needs, and in mid-September had submitted a revised SOS troop basis to theater headquarters, urging the highest possible priority for the shipment of engineer construction troops. He now repeated this request, asking for an immediate shipment of 10,000 service troops in the priority requested and urging that units not be withheld for lack of complete training. They could complete their training in the United Kingdom, he pointed out, while performing their assigned service tasks.136 Two months later the War Department announced a small shipment of service troops, some of them coming directly from reception centers and with barely a month's training.137
At the same time the War Department indicated that it was not satisfied that ETOUSA was carrying out its supply mission and criticized the theater for continuing to call on the British without employing its own forces to full advantage. Throughout 1942 the United Kingdom remained an indispensable source of both supplies and services for U.S. forces. General Lee reported in October, for example, that, because of the continued shortage of service troops of proper types, the British Army was feeding approximately 50,000 American troops.138 The War Department reminded the theater that there was an extreme shortage of service troops throughout the world. The 1942 troop basis gave preference to the activation of combat units, and little progress had been made in correcting the imbalance. Furthermore, the War Department felt that on a percentage basis the ETO had its authorized quota of service troops, and it was therefore difficult to sell the War Department the idea that the ETO required immediate remedial action. A few depot companies were being dispatched, but beyond these most service units were earmarked for theaters with a higher priority than ETOUSA.139 In a letter to all theaters in December the War Department issued a threefold admonition which was to be repeated many times: the number of service units must be kept to a minimum; the theaters were to adopt every expedient to increase the ratio of combat to service elements; the logistical organization of all forces must be critically examined with a view toward eliminating duplication of services, over-lapping of fuctions, and top-heavy administrative overhead.140
In accordance with this directive General Lee ordered the base section commanders to review their entire personnel situation with the aim of effecting economies. He even suggested closing certain active installations or utilizing them for dead storage only, if necessary.141 Less than two weeks later two of the base section commanders replied that no savings could be made, and that, if anything, there was need for an expansion rather than a reduction in the number of installations. The Southern Base Section commander, Colonel Thrasher, concluded that without adequate troops there was no choice but to close certain depots.142 It was obviously difficult to accept the loss of priority which the United Kingdom had momentarily enjoyed. But until the implications of the North African campaign became manifest, U.S. forces in Britain were forced to retrench. The uncertainties attending the future of BOLERO were not to be dispelled for several months.
Early in 1943 the stage was set for relieving U.S. forces in the United Kingdom from all responsibility for the TORCH operation, and in February a complete break was made between the commands of the two areas. General Eisenhower's appointment as Allied Commander in Chief in August 1942 had placed him in a dual role, for he continued to be the commanding general of ETOUSA. Since TORCH was to take place outside the limits of the European theater the question
Map No. 3: ETO Boundary Changes
arose as to whether he should continue in his dual role once the operation was launched. In August it was determined that the boundaries of the theater simply would be extended southward temporarily to include the new area of operations. For the first few months of his absence General Eisenhower proposed that General Lee be appointed his executive deputy to handle affairs in the United Kingdom, reserving for himself the right to intervene where necessary. He suggested that the North African area be detached from ETOUSA and a new theater created as soon as the TORCH force was firmly established. Estimating that the separation could be effected about two months after the landings, he recommended that General Lee then be given command of the ETO. This arrangement was agreeable to General Marshall, and on 18 August the boundaries of the European theater were extended southward to include northwest Africa. (Map 3) The proposed delegation of powers was eventually carried out after TORCH was launched, but on General
Lee's suggestion the appointment as deputy went to General Hartle, the senior commander in the United Kingdom.143 In general, the deputy commander was authorized to act on all matters in the theater except those pertaining to TORCH and those which according to regulations required the theater commander's personal attention.
The organization of AFHQ soon left its mark on the U.S. theater headquarters. Just as BOLERO was subordinated to the interests of the TORCH operation, so also was Headquarters, ETO, overshadowed by AFHQ. Both General Eisenhower and his chief of staff, General Smith, were residents at AFHQ in Algiers, and since TORCH became the major preoccupation most of the important business was transacted at the Allied headquarters. ETOUSA, however, was not completely subordinated to AFHQ, and General Smith made it a point to maintain the theater headquarters as a separate organization, keeping in mind its long-range mission in the United Kingdom. It therefore continued by design to handle all routine matters for U.S. forces in the United Kingdom, while AFHQ handled TORCH matters. The relationship between he two remained somewhat vague, however, and neither ETOUSA nor SOS was brought very closely into the TORCH picture except through those officers who held dual positions on the AFHQ and theater staffs.
With the departure of General Eisenhower to Gibraltar, his first command post, a rear echelon of AFHQ under General Smith continued to handle TORCH matters for a time. By Christmas 1942, however, the rear echelon had also departed and the rear echelon functions of AFHQ fell to ETOUSA, which was considerably handicapped for the reasons mentioned above. Within another month, more or less as planned, ETOUSA began to drop out of the picture as the North African forces drew more and more of their support directly from the United States. The time had therefore come for a complete divorce of the North African area from the United Kingdom. Effective on 3 February 1943 the boundaries of the ETO were redrawn to exclude the North African area, and also the Iberian and Italian peninsulas, which were incorporated into the new North African Theater of Operations (NATO) under General Eisenhower. On 4 February the ETO received a new commanding general in the person of Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, who had commanded U.S. forces in the Middle East.144
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)
1. Plan, Operations in Western Europe, n.d., ETO Adm BOLERO Misc.
2. JPS Min (extract), 13th Mtg, 22 Apr 42, OPD ABC 381 BOLERO 3-16-42, Sec 1.
3. CPS Dir, Preparation of War Plan BOLERO, CPS 26/2/D, 28 Apr 42, OPD ABC 381 BOLERO 3-16-42, Sec 1.
4. BCC(W) Min, 1st Mtg, 29 Apr 42, ETO Adm BOLERO Misc.
5. Cbl Black 1, BCC(W) to BCC(L), 30 Apr 42, ETO Adm 391 BOLERO 1943.
6. Memo, Bolté for Eisenhower, 29 May 42, USFET AG 381 54--40 BOLERO
7. Memo, OPD for CofS, sub: Code Designators for Opns in ETO, 7 Jul 42, with draft presidential dir, WD AG, ETO.
8. Memo, Secy WDGS for CG SOS et al., sub: Troop Basis, 19 May 42, WDAG OPD 320.2 BOLERO. The various copies of the BOLERO plan reveal later downward revisions. ETO Adm BOLERO Misc.
9. Memo, Col Roy C. L. Graham, Deputy Dir of Opns SOS, for Somervell, sub: Proportion of Svc Troops to Ground Forces, 27 Apr 42, and Memo, Somervell for Eisenhower, 29 Apr 42, WDAG C/S 370.5 4-27-42; Remarks, Col Carter B. Magruder, Plng Div ASF, ASF Conf, 2 Jun 42, ASF Plng Div 106 BOLERO.
10. Cbl Black 2, BCC(W) to BCC(L), n.d. (early May 42), ETO 381 BOLERO 1943.
11. BCC(W) Min, 3rd Mtg, 6 May 42, Annex 1, OPD ABC 381 BOLERO, Sec 1.
12. Ltr, Hull to Bolté, 19 May 42, ETO AG 381 re-40 May-Dec 42.
13. Cbl 839, Marshall to USFOR London, 24 May 42, and Cbl 1761, USFOR to AGWAR, 29 May 42, ETO 381 BOLERO 1943.
14. Remarks by Cot Magruder, ASF Conf, 2 Jun 42.
15. The remark was made by General Larkin, Lee's chief of staff, in one of the organizational conferences held in the War Department before the departure for England. Lee Diary, 18 May 42.
16. Memo, Col Griner, G-4 USAFBI, for CofS, sub: Breakdown of 10,000 SOS Troops, 22 May 42, ETO Preinvasion 321 BOLERO.
17. See Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, The Logistics of Global Warfare, in preparation for this series, draft chapter "BOLERO: First Phase," for a full discussion of BOLERO planning at the War Department level. [Published in two volumes: Global Logistics and Strategy: 1940-1943 and Global Logistics and Strategy: 1943-1945.]
18. Tentative Movement Schedule, 9 May 42, OPD ABC 38 1 BOLERO, Sec 1.
19. Cbl Black 4, BCC(W) to BCC(L), 9 May 42, ETO 381 BOLERO 1943.
20. CCS Min (extract), 19th Mtg, 12 May 42, OPD ABC 381 BOLERO.
21. Leighton and Coakley, Logistics of Global Warfare, Ch. XII; JCS Min (notes and extract), 15th Mtg, 18 May 42, sub: BOLERO--Rpt of CPS, OPD ABC 381 BOLERO 3--16--42, Sec 1.
22. Cbl 742, AGWAR to USFOR London, 18 May 42, ETO BOLERO Incoming Msgs, BOLERO Movements; Memo, Hull, 21 May 42, sub: Troop Movement Schedules for BOLERO and NABOB, OPD ABC 381 BOLERO 3-16-42, Sec 1.
23. Memo, Hq ETO for BCC(L), 26 Jun 42, ETO BCC Bk 1; Staff Memo. Col Barker for CofS ETO, 15 Jun 42, sub: Troop Basis, ETO Adm 346 Troop Basis.
24. BCC(L) Progress Rpt 10, 20 Jul 42, ETO BCC Bk 2.
25. Of the total male population of 16,000,000 between the ages of 14 and 64, 15,000,000 were mobilized into the services and industry, and of the total female population of 16,000,000 between the ages of 14 and 59, about 7,000,000 were eventually mobilized. W. K. Hancock, ed., Statistical Digest of the War (History of the Second World War, Civil Series), prepared in the Central Statistical Office (London, 1951), p. 8; British Information Service, 50 Facts about Britian's War Effort (London, 1944), p. 7.
26. Statistical Digest of the War, pp. 173-74, 175, 180; Statistics Relating to the War Effort of the United Kingdom, presented by the Prime Minister to Parliament, November, 1944 (London, 1944), pp. 1, 16-17, 19-21, 31.
27. BCC(L) Min, 1st Mtg, 5 May 42, ETO Preinvasion 322.
29. BCC(L) Min, 6th Mtg, 26 May 42, ETO Preinvasion 322.
30. Note by Secy, War Cabinet, BCC(L), 4 May 42, ETO Preinvasion 322.
31. DQMG(L) Paper 1, Administrative Planning etc., for BOLERO and ROUNDUP 1943, ETO Adm BOLERO Misc.
33. DQMG(L) Paper 8, Key Plan for the Reception, Accommodation, and Maintenance of the U.S. Forces (Second Edition), 25 Jul 42, ETO, DQMG(L) Papers.
34. Note by Secy, BCC(L), sub: Plng Factors Which Influence Work of BOLERO Com, 8 May 42, ETO Preinvasion 322
35. DQMG(L) Paper 2, 15 May 42, ETO Adm BOLERO Misc.
36. DQMG(L) Paper 4 (First Key Plan), 31 May 42, and Second Edition of Key Plan, 25 Jul 42, ETO DQMG(L) Papers.
37. Thousands of vehicles eventually were shipped in single and twin unit packs (SUP and TUP). A TUP, for example, consisted of several crates containing the partially assembled components of two vehicles. Note on Cargo Shipping Involved in Projected American Move, BCC(L), n.d. (early May), ETO Preinvasion 322.
38. Second Edition, Key Plan, 25 Jul 42.
39. Statistical Digest of the War, p. 188.
40. Facts about British Railways in Wartime (London, 1944), p. 20.
41. Statistics Relating to the War Effort of the United Kingdom, p. 30.
42. British Railways in Wartime, p. 62.
43. Note on Locomotive Position, Movement and Transportation Sub-Committee, BCC(L), 6 Jun 42, ETO Preinvasion 322.
44. Second Edition, Key Plan, 25 Jul 42.
45. Second Edition, Key Plan.
46. Two of these plants--the Churchill Hospital at Oxford, and the American Red Cross Harvard University Field Hospital Unit at Salisbury--had for some time been operated by volunteer American units which had come to England before the United States entered the war. Administrative and Logistical History of the Medical Service Com Z ETO, prep by Hist Sec, Office, Chief Surgeon, ETO, 1945, MS (hereafter cited as ETO Medical Service History), Ch. II, pp. 22--24, ETO Adm 581. See also the history of the Medical Department now in preparation for this series.
47. Maj. Gen. Paul R. Hawley, The European Theater of Operations, May 44, MS, p. 8, ETO Adm 519.
48. Ibid., pp. 9-10; ETO Medical Service History, Ch. II, pp. 29--30, 33-34; Second Edition. Kev Plan.
49. The Bolero Project, extract monograph prep by Q (Ops) Hist, War Office, mimeo, OCMH; Maj. Gen. A. G. B. Buchanan, "Bolero," The Royal Engineers Journal, LIX (September, 1945), 188.
50. Construction in the United Kingdom, prep by Hist Sec ETOUSA, Oct 44, MS, p. 23, ETO Adm 506; Air Force Construction (United Kingdom), Hist Rpt 6, Corps of Engrs ETO, prep by Ln Sec, Int Div, OCofE ETO, Aug 45, MS, p. 7, ETO Adm.
51. For greater detail on the construction program see the history of the Corps of Engineers now in preparation for this series.
52. Note by Chm, BCC(L), sub: Problems Affecting Civil Administration, 13 May 42, ETO Preinvasion 322.
53. DQMG(L) Paper 5, Movement of U.S. Units from Ports of Disembarkation, 1 Jun 42, ETO Adm 50 BOLERO. DQMG(L) Papers; Second Edition, Key Plan.
54. DQMG(L) Paper 6, 2 Jun 42, ETO DQMG(L) Papers; Second Edition, Key Plan.
55. DQMG(L) Paper 2, 15 May 42, ETO Adm 50 BOLERO.
56. Rpt by Secy, BCC(L), on Reception Arrangements, 20 Jun 42, with annexes, ETO Preinvasion 322.
57. Progress Rpt 2, RAP Stf, 26 Jun 42; RAP Survey of Administrative Problems in Connection with Major Operations on the Continent, 17 Jun 42; and GHQ Home Forces Paper, sub: Assumptions for RAP, 25 Jul 42. All in SOS ETO RAP 1942--43. Ltr, Eisenhower to Lee, 10 Jun 42, sub: RAP Plng, and 1st Ind, Lee to CG ETO, 22 Jul 42, SOS ETO AG 381 Plan.
58. Tendons of an Army, prep by Hist Sec ETO, MS, pp. 12-13, ETO Adm 531.
59. The Americans readily adopted the shorter British term POL, an abbreviation for petrol (gasoline), oil, and lubricants.
60. Interv with Col Elmer E. Barnes (Chief Petroleum Officer. ETO, in 1944), 20 Feb 50, OCMH.
61. Organization and Command, I, 79--105.
62. Tendons of an Army, pp. 3--4, 13-15; Robert Healey, personal memoir, MS (hereafter cited as Healey Memoir), pp. 22--23, ETO Adm 510.
63. Organization and Command, I, 108-19.
64. Molotov agreed to report the suggestion to Marshal Stalin. In one sense the proposal was academic, however, since a reduction in shipments via the northern route was forced shortly thereafter by the inability to provide adequate convoy escorts. Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins (New York, 1948), pp. 569-70, 574-75; Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate (Boston, 1950), pp. 266-75.
65. Progress Rpt, 4 Oct 43, Progress Div SOS, ETO Adm 345.
66. For a fuller discussion of Allied strategy in 1942 see Gordon A. Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack (Washington, 1951), and Maurice Matloff and Edwin M.Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-42 (Washington, 1953), both in the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II.
67. Organization and Command, I, 143-47, 158.
68. Torch and the European Theater of Operations, Pt. IV of Administrative and Logistical History of the ETO, Hist Div USFET, 1946, MS (hereafter cited as TORCH and the ETO), pp. 43-45.
69. Healey Memoir, p. 31.
70. TC Monthly Progress Rpts, OCofT, SOS ETOUSA, ETO Adm 450-52.
71. Harry C. Butcher, My Three Years with Eisenhower (New York, 1945), p. 53.
72. ETO Medical Service History, Ch. IV, p. 10.
73. Stf Conf, Hq SOS, 31 Jul 42, USFET 337 Confs 1942-44.
74. Development of Overseas Supply and Procedure, prep by Capt Richard M. Leighton, Hist Br, Control Div, ASF, 1944, MS, Chs. I, II, and History of Planning Division ASF, prep by Plng Div, Office, Dir, Plans and Opns, ASF, 1946, MS, II, 189-91, OCMH.
75. Invasion: The History of the Transportation Corps in the ETO, prep by Hist Sec, OCofT, ETO, 1944, Vol. III (April-June 1944), Ch. I, pp. 13-14, ETO Adm 582D.
76. Ltr, Ross to Wylie, 28 Jul 42, ETO Adm 341A Transportation--General.
77. Troop and Supply Buildup in the United Kingdom prior to D Day, Pt. III of The Administrative and Logistical History of the ETO, Hist Div USFET, 1946, MS, pp. 154-55, OCMH.
78. Healey Memoir, p. 30.
79. Memo, Brig Gen Raymond G. Moses, WD G-4, for Gen Lutes, 30 Apr 42, sub: Force BOLERO, WD G-4 BOLERO; Memo, Col Carter B. McGruder, Opns Div SOS, for Lutes, 17 Jun 42, sub: Cargo for BOLERO, Jun-Aug, ASF Plng Div A47-147 BOLERO Requirements (Strategic).
80. Butcher, My Three Years with Eisenhower, p. 88.
81. Ltr, Hughes to Clark, 14 Sep 42, sub: Estimate of Supply and Adm Aspects of Proposed Opn, USFET AG 400 Supplies and Equipment, V.
82. Cbl 187 1, Eisenhower to OPD, 7 Sep 42, as cited in TORCH and the ETO, p. 72.
83. Ltr, Lutes to Lee, 12 Sep 42, copy in Preparations for TORCH, prep in Hist Sec WD, MS, App. C, OCMH.
84. For the War Department story see Leighton and Coakley, Logistics of Global Warfare.
85. Quoted in Preparations for TORCH, p. 37.
86. TORCH and the ETO, p. 75.
87. Aide-Mémoire, Eisenhower for Lee, 10 Sep 42, SOS AG 320. 2 SOS Jun 42-Jul 43.
88. Littlejohn was relieved of his position as deputy commander and appointed chief of staff of the SOS on 19 October. But as such he continued to exercise his responsibilities with regard to routine SOS functions, and also continued as chief quartermaster, two jobs that gave him a heavy burden. Early in November, Col. William G. Weaver took over the duties as chief of staff and shortly thereafter Lee referred to the colonel as his field deputy commander. Organization and Command, I, 160.
89. TORCH and the ETO, p. 75.
90. Memo, Marshall for Somervell, 23 Sep 42, ASF, Chief of Staff--GS (2).
91. Memo, Col N. A. Ryan, OCofT, for CG SOS, 20 Feb 43, sub: Sorting Sheds, EUCOM 320 Responsibilities of TC 1942; Note by Lt Col George W. Beeler, SOS, at mtg on inland sorting sheds, 8 May 43, USFET 337 Confs 1942-44.
92. TC History, Vol. III, Ch. I, p. 14, cited above, n. 75.
93. Promoted to brigadier general on 6 September.
94. Butcher, My Three Years with Eisenhower, p. 133.
95. Progress Rpt, 4 Oct 43, Progress Div SOS, ETO Adm 345.
96. Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War II: II, Europe--TORCH to POINTBLANK, August 1942 to December 1943 (Chicago, 1949), pp. 599-600; 619; TORCH and the ETO, p. 119.
97. Organization and Command, I, 154-56, 160-61.
98. TORCH and the ETO, pp. 102-09.
99. Ibid., pp. 75-76; Organization and Command, I, 163.
100. TC Monthly Progress Rpts, Statistics Br, OCofT, SOS ETO.
101. Memo, Lutes for Technical Svc Chiefs, 26 Sep 42, sub: Shipments to American Forces in U.K., ASF Plng Div, BOLERO Requirements, Strategic, A47-147.
102. Cbl, Marshall to USFOR, 22 Aug 42, USFET 334 Mission for Economic Affairs Progress Rpt 1944.
103. Cbl R-248, AGWAR to ETO, 12 Sep 42, USFET AG 381, 54-40 for BOLERO.
104. Memo, G-4 SOS for CG SOS, 17 Sep 42, sub: Status of Supply Techniques and Its Effect on This Theater, USFET 400 Supply I.
105. Ltr, Hq ETO to CG SOS, 23 Sep 42, sub: SOS Over-all Plan, SOS AG 320. 2 SOS Jun 42-Jul 43.
106. Ltr, Somervell to Lee, 17 Nov 42, ASF European Theater 1942--43.
107. Ltrs. Eisenhower to Marshall, 7 and 12 Oct 42, OPD 381 ETO, I, 1-13, and II, 14-60.
108. Ltr, Lee to Somervell, 30 Oct 42, ASF European Theater 1942-43.
109. Ltr, Hq ETO to CG SOS, 2 Oct 42, sub: Modifying Plan for BOLERO, as cited in ETO Medical Service History, Ch. II, p. 46, ETO Adm 581.
110. Ltr, Lee to Wootten, 19 Oct 42, and Memo, Hq ETO for Chiefs of Svcs, 3 Nov 42, sub: Construction Program, as quoted in ETO Medical Service History, Ch. II, p. 47.
111. Key Plan for the Reception, Accommodation, and Maintenance of the U.S. Forces (Third Edition), DQMG(L) Paper 11, 11 Nov 42, ETO DQMG(L) Papers.
112. Bolero 3rd (Interim) Key Plan, Oct 42, ETO DQMG(L) Papers.
113. Cbl 4759, Eisenhower to Somervell, 11 Nov 42, CofS Papers on TORCH, 8 Nov-9 Dec 42, Smith Papers, Dept of Army Library.
114. Cbl R-3 150, Marshall to Eisenhower, 14 Nov 42, CofS Papers on TORCH, Smith Papers; Ltr, Somervell to Lee, 17 Nov 42, ETO 381 ROUNDUP Jul-Nov 42.
115. Ltr, Hq ETO to Under-Secy of State for War, WO, 10 Nov 42, sub: BOLERO Third Key Plan, ETO AG 381 5440 May-Dec 42.
116. Ltr, Hartle to COS Com, 19 Nov 42, sub: Revised Program for SOS Construction and Opn, Smith Papers.
117. The Bolero Project, extract monograph prep by Q(Ops) Hist, WO, mimeo, OCMH.
118. Ltr, Hq ETO to Under-Secy of State for War, WO, 10 Nov 42, sub: BOLERO Third Key Plan, ETO AG 381 5440 May-Dec 42.
119. Min, 322d Mtg, COS Com, 20 Nov 42, Smith Papers.
120. Memo, Sir Findlater Stewart to Lord Pres of Council, 23 Nov 42, ETO BCC Bk 2.
121. Ltr, Hq ETO to CG SOS, 19 Nov 42, sub: Revised Program for SOS Construction and Opn, Smith Papers.
122. Quartering (United Kingdom), Hist Rpt 8, Corps of Engrs ETO, prep by Ln Sec, Int Div, OCofE ETO, Aug 45, MS, pp. 12-13, ETO Adm.
123. Field and Service Force Construction (United Kingdom), Hist Rpt 7, Corps of Engrs ETO, Aug 45, MS, pp. 75, 148-49, ETO Adm.
124. Min, 13th Mtg, BOLERO Accommodations Sub-Committee, 25 Aug 42, ETO BCC Bk 2.
125. Engr Hist Rpt 7, pp. 135-36, cited above, n. 123; Memo, CofS ETO for CG ETO, Dec 42, sub: Revised Program for SOS Construction and Operation, with Ind, 21 Dec 42, USFET 600.1 Construction of Buildings.
126. ETO Medical Service History, Ch. VII, pp. 10-14.
127. By this time the theater surgeon had altered somewhat the basis on which bed requirements were calculated, raising those for sick and nonbattle casualties from 3 to 4 percent. This increase was justified, General Hawley stated, because the assumptions on which original estimates had been made had not materialized. Chiefly, troop accommodation standards were lower than expected, resulting in overcrowding and therefore more sickness, a convalescent hospital had not been provided as planned, and the lack of hospital ships had prevented following evacuation policies. Ibid., Ch. 11, pp. 44-45.
128. Ibid., Ch. VII, pp. 15-19; Min, 12th Mtg, Med Svcs Sub-committee BCC(L), 25 Nov 42, ETO BCC(L) Bk 2; The Bolero Project, extract monograph prep by Q(Ops) Hist, WO, mimeo, OCMH.
129. Min, 13th Mtg, BOLERO Accommodations Sub-Committee, 25 Aug 42, ETO BCC(L) Bk 2; Air Force Construction (United Kingdom), Hist Rpt 6, Corps of Engrs ETO, Aug 45, MS, p. 7.
130. Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces, II, 602.
131. Memo, Maj Gen Walter H. Frank, VIII AFSC, for CG Eighth AF, 30 Sep 42, sub: Aviation Engr Battalions, with Inds, USFET 600.1 Construction General 1942.
132. Ibid., 2d Ind, CG SOS for CG Eighth AF, 10 Oct 42.
133. Memo, Cofs for G-4 SOS, 16 Nov 42, USFET 600.1 Construction General.
134. In order that administrative planning could be carried on, an operational plan calling for the principal landings in the Rouen-Dieppe area was used as a basis for preliminary planning by the supply services. It was highly tentative and served mainly as a planning exercise in the absence of a firm operational plan. Gen Griner, G-4 ETO, Directive for ROUNDUP Administrative Planning, 7 Oct 42, EUCOM 334 Misc RAP Papers 1942.
135. Ltr. Lee to CG ETO, 6 Oct 42, sub: SOS Troop and Labor Situation, SOS AG 320.2 SOS Jun 42-Jul 43.
136. Ibid.; Ltr, Lee to CG ETO, 17 Sep 42, sub: Troop Basis and Priorities for SOS Troops, SOS AG 320.2.
137. Cbl R--33 15, Marshall to Eisenhower, 19 Nov 42. SOS AG 320 2.
138. Ltr, Lee to CG ETO, 6 Oct 42.
139. Ltr, Littlejohn to Lee, 4 Dec 42, sub: SOS Troops, SOS AG 320.2 SOS Jun 42-Jul 43.
140. Ltr. Secy War to Theater Comd. 10 Dec 42. sub: Economy of Forces, SOS 320.2 Economy of Forces, Dec 42-Jan 43.
141. TWX, Lee to CGs Base Sets, 2 Jan 43, SOS 320.2 Economy of Forces.
142. Ltrs, Base Sec Comdrs to CG SOS, 31 Dec 42 and 14 Jan 43, and Ltr, Lee to CG ETO, 10 Feb 43, sub: Economy of Forces, SOS 320.2 Economy of Forces.
143. Interv with Gen Lee, 8 Aug 51, ETO Adm 517 Intervs.
144. Organization and Command, I, 148--54, 156-67, 170-74.