Special Studies

The nine volumes comprising the special studies topics are grouped together here because they do not easily fit into any previously covered subseries. However, the reader will find in them a wealth of information on topics that would have profound effects on a postwar society, from the birth of the American military industrial complex (Buying Aircraft) to social issues (Women 's Army Corps and The Employment of Negro Troops) that have continued to play a controversial role in the history of the Republic. Though not envisioned at the time, many of the seeds of change brought on by the Second World War, and which would eventually affect both the future military and civilian societies at large, are covered in considerable detail in these volumes.

** Table of Contents **

CHRONOLOGY: 1941-1945. Compiled by Mary H. Williams. (1960, 1989; 660 pages, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 11-1.)

This massive compilation establishes the sequence of events in World War II from the time the first bombs fell on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 until the surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. A reference work to the United States Army in World War II, the volume details the tactical events of the war day by day, thus giving the reader a measure of the scope of global coalition warfare so that he can begin to grasp the relationship of the innumerable parts to the whole.

This volume emphasizes the ground actions of the U.S. Army in its various operations in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Far East, the Pacific, and the Western Hemisphere. Events are related at the appropriate level, including battalion and lesser units as well as regiment, division, corps, army, and army group. In addition, the combat actions of Army, Air, Navy, and Marine Corps units and of British, French, Soviet, and other Allied armed forces, as well as those of the enemy, are given in as much detail as space limitations allow. General events of historical import also appear in their proper places.

The value of this well-indexed book is twofold. In one volume the general reader and the student of military history have a ready reference to the whole war during that period in which the United States participated and can quickly check individual facts and dates. In addition, they are able to observe at a glance the progress of the combat operations on a global level for any given day or follow the progress of a single unit day by day to the conclusion of a specific campaign.

BUYING AIRCRAFT: MATERIEL PROCUREMENT FOR THE ARMY AIR FORCES. By Irving Brinton Holley, jr. (1964,1989; 643 pages, 23 tables, 9 charts, 36 illustrations, 3 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 11-2.)

In the last chapter of Buying Aircraft, I. B. Holley, jr., concludes that the process of procuring aircraft for the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II was as much a weapon of war as the fighters, bombers, and guns procured. The author's specialized study of aircraft procurement bridges the gap between the larger volumes on industrial mobilization and wartime production, such as The Army and Economic Mobilization and The Army and Industrial Manpower, and the various volumes in The Technical Services subseries that focus on the detailed research, development, and procurement of military materiel for the specific combat and service components of the War Department.

The long years of modest aircraft procurements for the Army Air Service and Air Corps between the wars adversely affected the growth of the American airframe, engine, and components manufacturing industry and discouraged the development of assembly line production methods. The Air Corps Act of 1926 further exaggerated problems by mandating a set of restrictive procedures that governed military aircraft procurement in the following years. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the first of his large aircraft production targets in November 1938 in response to the deteriorating situation in Europe, existing Air Corps studies of industrial mobilization were inadequate to handle such a large program. Nevertheless, the aircraft production orders that were now expected to flow encouraged aircraft manufacturers to begin much-needed plant expansions, and the outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939 accelerated that trend as foreign orders and Roosevelt's emerging foreign and national security policies stressed American preparedness. The quick defeat of Poland, the sudden collapse of France, and the ensuing isolation of Great Britain created a sense of national emergency and spurred congressional action that finally removed the procurement restrictions in 1940-41.

The leaders of the Air Corps struggled from 1939 until Pearl Harbor to resolve its key aircraft procurement problems, among them how to define actual requirements for air weapons and spares without an accepted air doctrine and reliable attrition figures for air combat. Moreover, the evolving U.S. economic mobilization and war production structure provided other variables that complicated Air Corps procurement planning and procedures. The final form of aircraft production planning emerged only in late 1942 under the War Production Board (WPB) and its various aircraft production sections and the Joint Aircraft Committee and its subordinate Air Service Unit at Wright Field, Ohio.

Central to the success of wartime aircraft production was the development of new plant capacity through expansion of existing facilities and the building of entirely new aircraft plants. After much discussion between the government and aircraft industry, most new capacity was completed during 1941-43 under the auspices of the Defense Plant Corporation which built government-owned production and assembly facilities for operation by the aircraft and also automobile manufacturers. The large automobile companies, which specialized in assembly line mass production, approached production problems much differently than the aircraft manufacturers who were accustomed to job shop production relying on highly skilled workers. Production of B-24s at Ford's newly built Willow Run, Michigan, facility tested the automobile industry's approach to aircraft production using special tooling, subassemblies, and semiskilled labor. Modification centers were established to make changes and improvements in production line aircraft so that serial production would not be disrupted.

Successful aircraft procurement depended heavily upon the contracting process and the subsequent administration of the contracts. During the war the Army Air Forces constantly revised its air materiel procurement organization and procedures. Procedures for negotiating and administering various types of contracts changed as experience was gained in thousands of large and small procurements. The author rightly devotes significant coverage to the mundane but critically important aspects of contract negotiation and administration and the hard lessons learned in aircraft procurement and production during the war.

    Key topics:
  1. The effect of Congressionally mandated prewar procurement limitations on the development of an efficient aircraft industry that could provide a ready wartime productive capacity (Chs. II-VII).
  2. The importance of prewar mobilization planning for effective industrial mobilization (Chs. II, V-XIII).
  3. The problems faced in developing realistic prewar requirements for military aircraft procurement and production (Chs. VII, X, XI).
  4. The evolution of Army Air Corps and Air Forces organization for aircraft procurement (Chs. IV-VII, XII, XIX).
  5. The role of the government in developing the aircraft plant capacity required to sustain the Allied war effort, such as the role of the Defense Plant Corporation, tax- amortization policies, and private capital expansion (Chs. VI-VII, XI-XIV).
  6. The role of the automobile industry in manufacturing aircraft during World War II (Chs. VII, XIV, XX).
  7. Development of procedures for contract negotiations, administration, and termination in aircraft procurements (Chs. XV-XVIII).
  8. Use of cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPFF), fixed-price, and price adjustment contracts for aircraft procurement (Chs. XV-XVII).
  9. Problems of allocation of limited aircraft, airframe, engine, and component production capacity between the Army Air Forces and U. S. Navy and within the War Department (Chs. XIX, XX).
  10. The roles of the National Defense Advisory Commission (NDAC), Office of Production Management (OPM), and War Production Board (WPB) in developing the policies and procedures for organizing, developing, and administering the nation's productive capacities in general and the aircraft industry in particular (Chs. IX-XIV, XIX, XX).
  11. The importance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in establishing the national aircraft production goals and programs during the prewar years (Chs. VII-XI).
  12. Statistics for wartime aircraft and engine production (Ch. XX).

CIVIL AFFAIRS: SOLDIERS BECOME GOVERNORS. By Harry L. Coles and Albert K. Weinberg. (1964, 1986; 932 pages, map, glossary, 2 indexes, CMH Pub 11-3.)

As a documentary history, this volume illustrates the evolution of civil affairs policy and practice in the Mediterranean and European Theaters of Operations during World War II. It deal s with U. S. Army and Anglo-American planning and operations in the sphere of relations with civilians in certain liberated and conquered countries in Europe during the war, prior to the invasion of Germany. Although the Army had not considered civil affairs preparation essential prior to World War II, during the war it created the Civil Affairs Division at the War Department level to coordinate all civil affairs planning and training. For the first time, extensive recruiting and training programs were organized, and G-5 (civil affairs and military government) staff sections were added at the theater army, corps, and division levels.

Not only did soldiers become the administrators of civilian life for the Army's immediate needs, they also became the executors, and sometimes the proposers, of national and international political policy. This broader role was the result of the inability of the Allies to agree on specific political aims until after active hostilities were over, if then. In this policy void, U. S. and British military authorities were often responsible for the gradual transition to a postwar national and international order with only general guidelines from higher authorities.

The materials presented in Part I, concerned with the preparatory and organizational stage, suggest that the President's decision to entrust the civil affairs responsibility to the Army was because civilian authorities were unready to undertake the mission. Documents in Part II show the difficulties of fitting civilian institutions into the context of battle and a military framework, thus indicating additional rationale for leaving military authorities in exclusive control. Part III reveals that, despite this experience, Allied authorities planning for the liberated countries of northwest Europe still proposed to delegate civil affairs to indigenous civilian authorities, insofar as was possible. Operations are dealt with in Part IV, which show that conditions during and immediately following hostilities made it necessary for the Allies to render these authorities substantial assistance in the area of civil affairs. The compilation of documents appear to make it clear that the issue of military-versus-civilian administration was far less important than the issue of military values versus civil-political values, and it was in the latter area that the most serious difficulties arose.

    Key topics:
  1. Arguments over civilian or military control of civil affairs (Ch. I).
  2. Civilian civil affairs activities in French North Africa and gradual military involvement (Ch. II).
  3. Creation of a military organization to undertake civil affairs activities (Chs. III-VI).
  4. Military government/civil affairs operations in Italy (Chs. VII-XXI).
  5. Planning for civil affairs operations in Europe (Chs. XXII-XXIV).
  6. Military government/civil affairs operations in western Europe (Chs. XXV-XXXII).

THE EMPLOYMENT OF NEGRO TROOPS. By Ulysses Lee. (1966, 1986, 1990; 740 pages, 12 tables, 5 maps, 38 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 11 4.)

By the time Japan surrendered in 1945, some 700,000 black Americans, almost 10 percent of the total force, were serving in segregated Army units throughout the world. Yet, as this volume makes clear, segregation presented insurmountable impediments to the efficient training and employment of this significant segment of U.S. strength and its debilitating effect on the morale of black troops constantly threatened their usefulness. A war that began with black Americans demanding that their right to fight included complete integration of black servicemen into the armed forces, a prime aim of the nascent American civil rights movement.

The Employment of Negro Troops examines in detail the Army's prewar planning for the use of black soldiers that was based on its perceptions of segregated troops in World War I. But its plans for the carefully restricted use of a limited number of black soldiers were radically transformed by the great influx of black draftees produced by the nondiscrimination clause of the Selective Service Act of 1940 and by pressures brought to bear on an administration generally disposed to accommodate the growing power of the black voter. Much of this pressure was focused on the War Department through the efforts of the Special Aide to the Secretary of War on Negro Affairs, Judge William H. Hastie. Appropriately in a volume whose subject transcends the usual considerations of military manpower, Hastie's demands are thoroughly evaluated and contrasted with those of his successors.

The volume also analyzes in detail the recruitment of blacks, many unskilled and undereducated, and the challenge of transforming them into soldiers for an Army that for the most part resisted their presence, questioned their competence, and clearly intended to use almost all of them as unskilled laborers and service troops. It also examines the Army's continuing problem in developing suitable leaders for segregated units. Commanders were most often assigned because of their supposed understanding of blacks (southerners) or because they had failed to make the grade elsewhere. Black officers, on the other hand, were given only limited command responsibility. Prejudice and racial stereotyping tended to destroy their morale and kept many from achieving their leadership potential. By mid-war, poor leadership, under-utilization, and low morale had combined with the severe discrimination suffered by black soldiers both in the military and civilian community to spark widespread racial violence, what the author calls the "Harvest of Disorder."

The task of bringing the Army more closely into line with its announced policy of separate-but-equal treatment fell to Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, operating through the Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies. Working closely with Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall, McCloy and his committee succeeded in winning assignments for black units in the overseas theaters. Eventually two black infantry divisions as well as a number of separate tank, tank destroyer, and artillery battalions and combat support units saw action. At the same time the highly publicized "Tuskegee Airmen," and other black air units were trained and deployed in the war against the Germans. The majority of black soldiers, however, continued to be employed in service units around the world, performing important duties but ones that tended to reinforce old stereotypes about blacks as soldiers.

The integration of black infantry platoons in the divisions along the European battlefront was important as a sign of future change and merits special attention in this volume. Smashing a favorite segregationist argument, the performance of these units was free of any racial problems. Their competence, along with that of thousands of other black soldiers, portended the racial transformation of the Army into a fully integrated force just six years later.

    Key topics:
  1. Army racial policies, 1920-45 (Chs. I, II).
  2. Organization and training of black troops (Chs. V, IX).
  3. Racial violence in the Army (Chs. IV, VIII, XII, XV).
  4. Black women in the Army (Ch. XIV).
  5. The deployment and operations of black air units (Ch. XVI).
  6. Physical fitness of minority soldiers (Ch. X).
  7. Effect of morale on military performance (Ch. XI).
  8. Selective Service and military manpower policy (Ch. XIV).

MILITARY RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA: 1939-1945. By Stanley W. Dziuban. (1959, 1974, 1990; 432 pages, 7 tables, 1 chart, 1 map, 14 illustrations, 5 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 11-5.)

This volume records the military cooperation between the United States and Canada during World War II. Diplomatic discussions and negotiations figure prominently in this record, not only as the prelude and basis for joint military plans and efforts, but also in resolving a wide variety of problems incident to those joint efforts that had a political impact.

Originating when the low ebb of British fortunes in the Battle of Britain confronted both the United States and Canada with what seemed an imminent threat to an unprepared continent, cooperation was at first directed to preparation for a coordinated defensive deployment of forces and materiel. Once the safety of the United Kingdom was assured, collaboration largely took the form of measures to facilitate the use by the United States of the geographical, industrial, and military potential of Canada as part of the North American base supporting Allied efforts on the battlefronts of Europe and the Pacific.

Pushing his study into the postwar period, the author also describes the "roll-up" of the extensive United States deployments, facilities, and supply stockades in Canada. He then describes the revitalization of the wartime military cooperation with the outbreaks of the Cold War by 1947.

    Key topics:
  1. Conduct of bipartite international military cooperation by means of a politico-military board of two coordinate sections (Ch. II).
  2. Command structure requirements, in a framework of bilateral cooperation, to assure adequate military responsibility and authority (Chs. IV, V, VII, VIII).
  3. Factors bearing on the defense of North America in a conventional war (Ch. IV).
  4. Development of strategic plans and deployments for joint defense of northern North America (Chs. IV, V).
  5. Difficulties attending the development of military bases in arctic North America (Chs. VI, VII, VIII).
  6. Problems--political, legal, economic, and psychological--incident to large-scale deployments on friendly foreign soil remote from the combat zone (Chs. VII, VIII, XI).
  7. Psychological problems of a big nation-small nation partnership in joint defense (Chs. III, VIII, XI).
  8. Organization, equipment, training, and employment of an integrated bi-national force (the First Special Service Force) (Ch. IX).
  9. Problems presented to a host government by the great complexity of U. S. Army and Navy organizational structure in Canada (Ch. V).
  10. Funding, constructing, and operating base facilities for joint defense (Chs. VIII, XI, XII).
  11. Friendly foreign forces and questions of civil and criminal jurisdiction (Ch. XI).
  12. Control of air traffic and of military bases by friendly foreign forces (Ch. XI).
  13. Disposition of logistical facilities constructed by friendly forces on foreign territory (Ch. XII).
  14. Coordination of war production and economic mobilization (Ch. III).
  15. The Destroyer-Base Agreement of 1940:
    1. Its relation to the initiation of U.S.-Canadian military collaboration (Ch. I).
    2. The impact of the agreement and U.S.-Canadian military collaboration on the relationship of Newfoundland to the Dominion of Canada (Chs. I, V, VII).

REARMING THE FRENCH. By Marcel Vigneras. (1957, 1986, 1989; 444 pages, 5 tables, 6 charts, 1 map, 45 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 11-6.)

This volume tells how the French ground, naval, and air forces available for use against the Axis from mid- 1941 to the end of World War II were rearmed, trained, and committed to combat. The narrative focuses on the part played by the United States, especially by the War Department and the U.S. Army, since the commitment, while shared with the British, was largely American, and the rearmed units generally fought as part of larger American commands.

The undertaking was only one of many such American assistance efforts and not the greatest in terms of the volume of equipment involved. More American resources, for example, went to the USSR, the United Kingdom, and China (see Global Logistics and Strategy for these). But in the case of the French the forces receiving aid were emerging outside their national home base and therefore lacked the logistical support normally provided by a zone of interior. In this and in other respects the French effort was thus a unique experience.

The volume's "Prologue" provides a brief review, with pertinent statistics, of the assistance similarly extended by France to an unprepared America in 1917-18. But the dramatic personae of the World War II story are the American President, the British Prime Minister, and their civilian advisers; the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff, the War Department General Staff, the Army Service Forces, and the agencies charged with direct responsibility for rearming and training the French; and finally the officials of the French High Command and French governmental authorities.

The controversy over the timing and extent of rearmament, in which the American, British, and French authorities were involved long before the Allied landings in North Africa and for months afterward, is one of the major themes of the book. The author deals with the establishment and implementation of the successive rearmament programs concurrently with the evolution of the decisions that made them possible. The programs aimed at rehabilitation of the forces raised in North Africa (Prologue, Chs. I-III, V-VII, IX) and in metropolitan France (Chs. XVIII-XXI), and included the air force (Chs. XII, XXII), the navy (Chs. XIII, XXII), and Sovereignty and Territorial forces (Chs. VII, IX). The part played by the United States in the Anglo-American effort to support the Resistance forces is also described (Ch. XVIII).

Rearming the French also describes in detail the organization, role, and activities of the various agencies involved in French rearmament and training: the Joint Rearmament Committee (Ch. XVII), the Joint Air Commission (Ch. XVII), the Rearmament Division of SHAEF (Ch. XXIII), and the French Training Section (Chs. XVII, XXIII). Also discussed are two major problems that were a source of continuing concern for the Allied high command: the difficulties encountered by the French in establishing a sound supply system of their own and the resultant persistent shortage of French service troops (Chs. VII-X, XX). Another was the training of the rearmed units (Chs. XIV, XXIII).

    Key topics:
  1. French political developments effecting the course of rearmament operations, in particular the tug of war between Giraud and de Gaulle (Chs. V, VI, IX) and the Stuttgart and north Italy incidents (Ch. XXI).
  2. The part played by rearmed French units in combat operations (Ch. XI).
  3. The abortive French attempt to organize and equip forces for the liberation of Indochina (Ch. XXIV).
  4. The effect of Franco-American political relations (Ch. IX).
  5. The language barrier (Ch. XIV).
  6. Differences in national customs, food habits, and clothing sizes (Ch. XVI).
  7. Requirements for liaison, armament, and training personnel (Ch. XIV).
  8. Procedures for assignment and delivery of equipment (Chs. I, XX). (For a treatment at greater length, see both volumes of Global Logistics and Strategy.)
  9. Surplus stocks and equipment shortages (Chs. VIII, X).
  10. Control over rearmed units (Ch. IX).
  11. Special supplies and miscellaneous equipment (Ch. XVI).

THREE BATTLES: ARNAVILLE, ALTUZZO, AND SCHMIDT. By Charles B. MacDonald and Sidney T. Mathews. (1952, 1989, 1991; 443 pages, 44 maps, 44 illustrations, order of battle, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 11-7.)

The three engagements presented in this book are described in detail to illustrate the nature of battle in Europe during World War II at the small-unit level. They supplement the campaign histories of the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations where the amount of small-unit material that can be included in a history is limited by the large size of the forces that have to be followed. In these three studies a microscope is applied, so to speak, to actions which either have been or will be related, minus the detail of these presentations, in the campaign histories of those theaters.

The three battles here described were selected not for their importance but for two other reasons. One was the availability of information, including contemporary interviews, which would permit the author to maintain the small-unit level through an entire operation or to a natural conclusion. The other was a desire for actions in which the role of arms and services other than infantry could be presented in a variety of tactical situations. Each study therefore provides an opportunity to examine the interplay of small parts on an actual battlefield.

The first of the three, "River Crossing at Arnaville," is an account of two attempts to establish bridgeheads across the Moselle River near Metz, France, in September 1944: one a failure, the other a success. Two infantry regiments of the 5th Division and a combat command of the 7th Armored Division were the major units engaged. "Break-Through at Monte Altuzzo" describes a successful but arduous attempt by elements of a regiment of the 85th Infantry Division to penetrate the Giogo Pass in the Appenines, also in September 1944. "Objective: Schmidt" is primarily the story of the 112th Infantry of the 28th Division in an unsuccessful operation against the village of Schmidt within the Huertgen Forest in Germany in 1944.

The narrative in each case goes down from regiments, battalions, and companies to platoons, squads, and individuals. The story of higher headquarters and of high -level communications and decisions is related only as necessary for an understanding of the operations of these lower units. Attention is focused on the problems and achievements of soldiers and officers of small units on the battlefield.

The tactical framework of the three studies is varied: a river crossing, mountain warfare, and forest and village fighting. Accounts are included of most of the normal offensive and defensive assignments to be expected of infantry units under these tactical conditions. Detail is sufficient in text and maps for study of all three actions as case histories with little or no recourse to additional material.

In addition to the overall accounts, fairly complete instructional examples may be obtained on a number of subjects, including the following:

  1. Inadequate intelligence (Arnaville, Ch. I; Altuzzo, Chs. I, II; Schmidt, Ch. III).
  2. Poor command coordination (Arnaville, Ch. I; Altuzzo, Ch. II).
  3. Smoking operations to conceal bridge-building activity (Arnaville, Ch. III).
  4. Employment of artillery against fixed defensive works (Arnaville, Ch. I).
  5. Engineers in role of infantry (Schmidt, Chs. IV-VII).
  6. Engineer bridging operations (Arnaville, Ch. III).
  7. Communications failures (Altuzzo, Ch. II).
  8. Erroneous messages and situation reports (Altuzzo, Chs. I-III; Schmidt, Chs.
  9. Organization of a deliberate defensive position (German) (Altuzzo, Ch. I).
  10. Supply problems (Arnaville, Ch. I; Altuzzo and Schmidt, passim).
  11. Methods of counterattack (German) (Arnaville, Ch. I; Altuzzo, Chs. II, V; Schmidt, Chs. III-VI).
  12. Inadequate security (Schmidt, Chs. II-VI).
  13. Tanks and tank destroyers in close support (Arnaville, Chs. III, IV; Schmidt, Chs. III-VI).
  14. Panic (Arnaville, Ch. II; Altuzzo, Chs. II, III; Schmidt, Chs. III, V, VI).

Other general subject areas found throughout the work include: morale, misdirected artillery fire, attempts by tactical air to isolate a local battlefield, close support artillery, reluctance of the individual to fire, combat fatigue, loss of direction, patrolling, medical evacuation, propaganda leaflets, personnel replacements, equipment shortages, tank-infantry coordination, tanks in an antitank role, and employment of armor under adverse conditions of weather and terrain.

THE WOMEN'S ARMY CORPS. By Mattie E. Treadwell. (1954, 1985, 1991; 841 pages, 13 tables, 2 charts, 97 illustrations, 5 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 11-8.)

This comprehensive and detailed record of the wartime Women's Army Corps (WAC) is the first full-dress official history prepared about a corps of women in the military service of any nation. Although the work is pitched at the policy and planning level, rather then at the hundreds of individual units that made up the WAC, the author has managed to include many samplings of the ordinary female soldier's routine duties and reactions enough to give the reader a real sense of what life was like for a woman in the Army and what it was like for the Army to have women in it.

The spotlight is often focused on WAC headquarters and on its wartime head, Col. Oveta Culp Hobby. Her efforts to make the WAC a going and useful concern were sometimes handicapped by the confusion that existed in the field and on occasion even in Washington about the extent of her authority and responsibilities as Director, WAC. Nevertheless, the chronological account of the establishment and conduct of the Women's Army Corps is considerably amplified by a topical discussion of various aspects of the Army's problems in employing woman-power.

The WAC at its peak strength of 100,000 constituted an enviably large group for study. Because of its around-the-clock control of personnel, the Army had access to information not easily obtainable by business or industry. Its discoveries in general appear valid and reliable, not only for militarized groups, but for most nonmilitary institutions or businesses which train or employ women. The observations on health, fatigue, accident rates, and psychological patterns, as well as the discoveries in the fields of training, housing, clothing, feeding, and disciplining groups of women, offer valuable insights, including heretofore unpublished statistics, in the social history of the Army.

Part One, "The Organization and Growth of a Women's Corps," covers the origin (Ch. I) and establishment (Ch. II) of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, the struggles of the first year (Chs. III-XI), the conversion and integration into the Army (Chs. XII, XIV), attempts to revive recruiting (Ch. XIII), and the removal of the Director's Office to the G-1 (personnel) Division (Ch. XV). Part Two, "World-Wide Employment," begins with the account of the employment of women in the Army's three major commands: the Army Air Forces (Ch. XVI), the Army Ground Forces (Ch. XVII), and the Army Service Forces (Ch. XVIII). The next chapter (Ch. XIX) describes their employment in the Medical Department's Auxiliary Service Force (ASF). The succeeding three chapters describe the WACs in overseas theaters: the Mediterranean theater, including North Africa (Ch. XX); the European theater (Ch. XXI); the Southwest Pacific Area (Ch. XXII); and other overseas theaters (Ch. XXIII). The Office of the Director, WAC, is discussed in the last chapter (XXIV).

Part Three, "War Department Policy Concerning the Women's Army Corps," deals with legal, social, and moral problems (Ch. XXV); housing, food, and clothing (Ch. XXVI); the employment of personnel: enlisted women (Ch. XXVII), officers (Ch. XXVIII), overseas shipment (Ch. XXIX), and minority groups (Ch. XXX); health and medical care (Ch. XXXI); training (Ch. XXXII); the leadership of women (Ch. XXXIII); and recruiting and publicity (Ch. XXXIV).

Part Four, "Last Days of the Wartime WAC," describes the WACs in the closing months of the war (Ch. XXXV) and in the throes of demobilization (Ch. XXXVI). The title of the final chapter is self-explanatory: "Evaluation and Recommendations."