United States Army in World War II
Rearming the French
REALIZATION OF FRENCH HOPES. General Giraud watches as the first convoy bearing war matériel
for his forces approaches North Africa.
This volume is "under development" and will be completed as time allows...
Every thoughtful American interested in the history of our present mutual assistance program should find this a profitable and illuminating book. In rearming the French, the War Department and the U.S. Army became agents of an Allied policy which not enabled this country to further a friendship for France that dated from the Revolution, but in addition served the military interests of both nations. It equipped Frenchmen with the means to fight and by so doing increased at minimum cost the forces available to the United Nations. The Army can take pride in the success with which it administered a policy involving both political and military matters. The policy of mutual aid has since been extended throughout the world with the Army again designated as the agency principally responsible for its administration. The present thorough and objective study of an early large-scale American experiment with mutual aid should therefore be highly instructive to all concerned.
JOHN H. STOKES
Maj. Gen., U.S.A.
Chief of Military History
30 August 1956
The original intent of the European Theater of Operations series was to portray the history of ground combat as carried on by U.S. forces in western and central Europe during World War II. Very early in the planning devoted to this series it became apparent that two subjects were of such grand import and interest as to require separate treatment. For this reason volumes were prepared and published on the history of the supreme command and the logistical support of the U.S. armies that fought in the European Theater of Operations. Research for these two volumes unraveled one continuing but tangled thread which did not quite fit into the fabric of the series as a whole. This was the problem posed by the French national forces serving under U.S. command and by the rearmament of these forces to permit their effective employment in the fight for the liberation of their homeland. The problems of command and decision involved in French rearmament and in the logistic support furnished to the French forces reached outside of the European Theater of Operations. It was decided, therefore, to devote a special study to the history of French rearmament. This decision was supported by the fact that the United States had once again embarked on the business of supplying weapons and other material assistance to potential Allies, and that such military assistance appeared to have become a continuing feature of U.S. policy.
An author was available who had exceptional qualifications for a task recognized form the first as complex and delicate. A scholar who had studied history at the Lycée of Limoges, France, and received his Ph.D. at Western Reserve University, Marcel Vigneras had served in the French Army in both World Wars, although in World War II seconded to duty as an American citizen with the Office of Strategic Services in 1943. He was a member of the faculty at Smith College before World War II. At the close of the war he joined the Historical Division, European Theater of Operations, then in France. At present Dr. Vigneras is continuing research on military problems as a member of the Operations Research Office, from which he was granted leave to complete the present volume.
HUGH M. COLE
Chief, European Section, 1947-1952
This volume tells how the French forces were rearmed from the time they re-entered World War II after their temporary eclipse from the battlefields of Europe. The text inescapably focuses attention on the part played by America in the undertaking if for no other reason than that the undertaking itself, while shared between the United States and the United Kingdom, was largely American.
The purpose of this volume is twofold. It is a historical account of a sizable and laborious enterprise that enabled a friendly military establishment in dire need of assistance to take its place among the forces aligned against the Axis. It is intended also to serve as a guide for the solution of problems likely to arise out of similar future enterprises. While this volume is not primarily concerned with operational matters, it contains sufficient operational material to establish the extent of the contribution made by the rearmed French forces toward the final victory of the United Nations. The reader is warned that only such French political developments that had a definite influence on the course of rearmament are discussed, and the discussion is limited to that sufficient to place the evolution of French rearmament in its proper perspective.
Rearming the French is the product of cooperative effort and it is a pleasure to acknowledge indebtedness to the many individuals, too numerous to be listed here, who offered advice and help. While I express my deep appreciation to them, I wish to emphasize that they are in no way responsible for the handling of the material used, or for errors of fact or presentation.
I am especially grateful to those French and U.S. officers who granted me interviews which enabled me to clarify a number of points. Some provided me with information from their private files. Others were kind enough to read part or all of the manuscript. Their names have been listed in the Bibliographical Note.
Several members of the Office of the Chief of Military History were particularly helpful in suggesting improvements. I should like to thank Dr. Gordon A Harrison for generous and skillful assistance in achieving better organization and clarity of text; Col. Leo J. Meyer for valuable comments on the substance of the preliminary draft; Dr. George F. Howe for guidance in interpreting controversial points; finally Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield for his critical review of the revised draft.
For assistance in exploring the tons of files held by the War Department, I am indebted to Mr. Royce Thompson, of the European Section, OCMH,
Mrs. Blanche Moore and Mr. Albert Whitt, of the Departmental Records Branch, AGO, Mrs. Mary Greathouse, of the Historical Section, G-3, Mr. Israel Wice and members of his Reference Branch staff in OCMH.
The task of extracting pertinent data was greatly facilitated by the diligent help of Miss Katharine C. Jenkins. I am indebted to her for assembling and analyzing the material now appearing in the section on French assistance to the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, and in the chapter on the Joint Rearmament Committee.
Miss Ruth Stout edited the entire manuscript and her suggestions greatly contributed to improving the narrative. The excellent map is the work of Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff, Deputy Chief Historian for Cartography. Miss Margaret E. Tackley selected and prepared the illustrative material. The copy editors were Mrs. Marion P. Grimes and Mr. Arthur C. Henne.
Rearming the French was prepared at the suggestion and under the general direction of Dr. Hugh M. Cole, Chief of the European Theater Section. It was my good fortune to have his wise and learned counsel through the period of research and writing.
30 August 1956
Chapter Page Foreword vii Introductory Note viii Preface ix Prologue 1 French Assistance to the A.E.F. in World War I 1 The American Decision To Rearm the French in World War II 6 PART ONE
The North African Forces
I. Early Attempts to Formulate a Rearmament Program 21 Procedures 21 Initial Groping Toward a Policy 23 Setting Up the Joint Rearmament Committee 25 General Giraud Sends a Military Mission to Washington 26 Emergency Provision of Equipment 27 General Giraud Eyes the Larger Program 29 The Deadlock Over a Firm Plan 30 II. The ANFA Agreement 33 Franco-Anglo-American Conversations 33 President Roosevelt and General Giraud Negotiate an Agreement 36 Clarification of the Agreement 38 III. Phase I of the Program (January-July 1943) 45 Phase I Is Launched 45 The CCS Agree on a Rearmament Formula 48 Implementing Phase I 59 IV. Early Organizational Problems 62 AFHQ Spells Out Rearmament Policies 62 Allied Assistance in Handling Matériel 64 The French Organize an Expeditionary Corps 69 V. Phase II of the Program (July-August 1943) 74 Negotiations 74 Political Complications 78 Implementing Phase II 82 Fusion of the Giraud and de Gaulle Forces 86 Results of Phases I and II 89 VI. Phase III of the Program (Mid-August-November 1943) 91 The 15 August Plan 91 French Political Situation Threatens Program 97 Implementing Phase III 99 VII. The Program Marks Time (November 1943-February 1944): I 104 "La Bataille des Services" 104 The 1st DMI Incident 116 Cutback of the Program--The 23 January Plan 121 VIII. The Program Marks Time (November 1943-February 1944): II 130 The French Reorganize Their Supply System 130 Supply and Maintenance of the Expeditionary Forces 138 Supply Situation--End of January 1944 146 IX. Phase IV of the Program (February-October 1944) I: Background and Objectives 148 Rearmament Operations Resume 148 Control Over the French Forces 149 Reorganization of the French High Command 151 Franco-American Relations 153 The 23 January Plan Becomes the Basis of Phase IV 155 Secondary Programs 158 X. Phase IV of the Program (February-October 1944) II: Implementation 163 Equipping the Units on the ANVIL Troop List 163 Service Troops and the Lack of Technicians 165 Shortages of Equipment 169 SCAMA's Role During Phase IV 174 Repossession of U.S. Equipment 176 Disposal of British Equipment 177 XI. The North African Forces in Action 178 Italy and Other Battlegrounds in the Mediterranean 178 France 182 Logistical Support of the French ANVIL Forces 186 The North African Rearmament Program Ends 189 XII. Rearming the French Air Force 195 XIII. Rehabilitating the French Navy 214 XIV. Liaison, Language, and Training Problems 227 Liaison and the Language Barrier 227 Training 230 XV. Controversy Over Substitute Weapons 241 Artillery 242 Tanks 244 Small Infantry Weapons 246 XVI. Other Material Problems 254 Food 254 Clothing 258 Special Supplies 260 Miscellaneous Equipment 264 Accounting 266 XVII. Agencies Handling Rearmament 271 The Joint Rearmament Committee 271 The Joint Air Commission 285 SCAMA and Stock Control Section 288 French Training Section 293 PART TWO
The Metropolitan Forces
XVIII. Initial Assistance 299 Supply of the Resistance Forces 299 Employment of French Liberated Manpower 306 XIX. Arming Liberated Manpower 319 Interim Organization and Equipping of Labor and Internal Security Units 319 The Liberated Manpower and Metropolitan Programs 328 XX. The Liberated Manpower and Metropolitan Programs in Operation 339 Implementing the Liberated Manpower Program 339 Implementing the Metropolitan Program 344 Revising the Metropolitan Program 348 Carrying Out the Revised Program 354 XXI. The Rearmament Operations End 361 Suspension of the Metropolitan Program 361 Political Developments Doom Rearmament 367 XXII. Re-Equipping the French Air Force and French Navy 373 The Air Force 373 The Navy 377 XXIII. Rearmament Division, SHAEF Mission to France 381 Membership, Organization, and Operation 381 Training Under Inspection Group 388 XXIV. French Plans for a Far East Expeditionary Corps 391 Conclusion 400 Bibliographical Note 405 List of Abbreviations 411 Glossary of Code Names 414 Index 417 TABLES 1. Equipment Fornished American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, by Type and Supplying COuntry: 6 April 1917-11 November 1918 4 2. Equipment by Type, Available to the North African Forces: 1 October 1942 18 3. American- and British-Equipped Squadrons of the FAF:December 1943 206 4. Quantities of Equipment Packaged by OSS in the United Kingdom and Airdropped into France: January-October 1944 307 5. Major Items of Equipment Furnished by the United States to the French Forces 402 CHARTS 1. Organization of the French High Command in North Africa: 1 April 1943 66 2. Positon of JRC and Related Agencies Within the Allied Command Structure: 1 April 1944 277 3. Internal Organization of the Jint Rearmament Committee: 1 April 1944 278 4. SCAMA: Internal Organization and Coordination With Other Agencies 289 5. Position of Rearmament Division in SHAEF: 1 January 1945 383 6. The Rearmament Division, SHAEF Mission to France: March 1945 384 MAP Operations and Participating French Forces ILLUSTRATIONS Realization of French Hopes Frontispiece Victory Parade, Paris, 1918 7 Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower 26 General George C. Marshall 27 Meeting at Casablanca, 24 January 1943 37 U.S. Vehicles for North African Forces 46 General Eisenhower Delivering an Address 58 Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark Presenting Newly Arrived U.S. Equipment 59 Inspecting U.S. Equipment 64 Vehicle Assembly Line 67 Reviewing American Troops 68 Col. Ernest A. Suttles 69 General Alphonse Juin 93 Goumiers of the 9th Colonial Infantry Division 102 Goumiers of the 4th Group of Tabors 112 Spahis in North Africa 114 Conference in Algiers 120 Siena, Italy 179 9th Colonial Infantry Division 180 Troops Entering Portoferraio, Elba 181 French 2d Armored Division 184 Maj. Gen. Jacques Leclerc 184 Street Fighting in Marseille 185 Reviewing French Troops in Liberation Ceremony, Marseille 185 Victory Parade Through the Streets of Paris 192 P-40 Warhawks for the Lafayette Escadrille 197 Unloading P-38 Fighter Planes 199 French Submarine, Casablanca Harbor 215 Battleship Richelieu Passing Under Manhattan Bridge 216 Battleship Jean Bart at Casablanca 219 Firing a 105-mm. Howitzer 232 U.S. Instructor Demonstrating the Use of Signal Equipment 233 Maj. Gen. Alexander M. Patch 240 Tank Destroyer for the French 242 French Tank Crew With U.S. Light Tank M5 244 2d Moroccan Infantry Division Men Unloading American Rations 256 French WACs Assembling on the Beach 261 Members of the Joint Rearmament Committee 273 Brig. Gen. Harold F. Loomis 276 French Forces of the Interior 305 Insignia of 1st French Army and Its Major Components 352 Battleship Strasbourg 378 Rearmament Division, SHAEF Mission to France 382
The illustrations are from the files of the Department of Defense, except for those from the following sources:
Service Cinématographique des Armées, Frontispiece.
National Archives, page 7.
Acme Photograph, page 216.