The year 1943 introduced a new and promising era in the military fortunes of the United States and, therefore, of the entire coalition of associated powers. The German armies had failed to take Stalingrad, the key to the conquest of the Caucasus, and were facing heavy counterattacks from the Soviet forces, which had conclusively proved themselves equal to the task of defending the long Eastern front and the central homeland of the Soviet Union. In North Africa the United States and Great Britain had successfully launched their first major military operation and were making preparations to destroy the German forces there. In the Pacific the smaller, hard-fought campaigns in New Guinea and Guadalcanal were both nearing their final objectives. In the continental United States mobilization of the armed forces and the industrial strength to support them were far advanced. Military units of all kinds were being trained, equipped, and made ready for deployment in greater and greater numbers. Shortages of matériel, even the perennial shortage of shipping, though still chronic were becoming less acute.
Transition to the Later War Years
The tide of war was at last turning. Germany, Italy, and Japan were losing the initiative in military operations. The Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States, and all the powers associated with them in the war were determining strategy rather than reacting to strategic moves by the enemy. The military planning of American staffs in Washington became more complex but at the same time more rewarding in immediate results. The President and his senior military advisers entered into a series of British-American conferences with renewed confidence in victory. They could now stop making military moves to keep from losing the war and proceed in the course of the next two and one-half years to win it with greater economy in time and in human life.
The Army, sharing in the new strength and assurance of midwar, had to bring its organization and its procedures to a high level of efficiency. The scale of the military effort ahead was immense. General Marshall and his senior staff officers had to face the fact that it would place unprecedented strains on the Army, as on other government agencies participating in policy making in the national high command. Complex problems were bound to arise, demanding definite answers that would lead the nation toward its ultimate goal--the winning of the war. They could not be solved by the administrative device of assigning them to a single agency and granting it full authority to proceed with some, almost any, solution. The policies and programs recommended by various staffs and various agencies, for increasing the production of war matériel, for instance, or for strengthening the postwar international position of the United States, often conflicted with one another and did not always coincide with strictly
military objectives. The President and, indirectly, the Congress were responsible for maintaining some balance among the legitimate concerns of all the government agencies and all the staffs in them, thus achieving a corresponding balance among the military, economic, and foreign policy aims of the United States. Since every national interest was at stake in winning World War II, it was an intricate and difficult task to decide precisely how to win it and assign specific duties connected with winning it.
Final determination of the balance to be established among the separate elements in national policy usually was left to the President. Nevertheless, he could work only on the basis of trial balances evolved on the staff level in the separate agencies whose chiefs, including Cabinet officers and the JCS, reported to the White House. For the most part his option was either to choose one or consolidate several of the programs passed on to him.1 The more that individual programs showed a serious and responsible effort to frame recommendations in the light of the need for a balanced national policy, the easier was the President's task of final decision.
The War Department, and especially OPD, thus became more and more involved during the later war years in trying to evaluate from a military point of view all the elements of the national effort in a total war. Day after day the staff dealt with issues that were not conventionally considered part of the main military tasks of devising strategy and conducting operations. Yet military staff work could not proceed without making some tentative mutual adjustment of military and quasi-military issues, as raised by staffs both inside and outside the Army. By making a careful, responsible effort in this direction, OPD greatly strengthened General Marshall's hand in getting approval of basic Army recommendations that were being considered by the JCS and the President.
Because they were complex, because they cut across so many jurisdictional interests, and above all because there were so many of them, the new staff problems that arose in 1943, 1944, and 1945 presented a special challenge. What they required was not so much the discovery of definitive solutions as the invention of techniques for getting some kind of compromise solutions that would permit positive, coordinated action. Policy decisions on the issues involved would affect the permanent relationships between the armed services of the United States, not only between the Army and the Navy but also between the quasi-independent Army Air Forces and the older services. They would affect the permanent status of component parts of the War Department, particularly the staffs made up of logistics specialists, who worked with civilian agencies to get the military optimum in war production from the civilian economy, and staffs made up of more traditional "field" soldiers, whose effort was directed mainly toward conducting successful military operations when necessary and with the resources then at hand. They would even affect the long-range political relations among nations, both the nations that were friendly with the United States and the enemy nations, which in time would become defeated, occupied countries. At these points the problems of war were coming once more to be major policy issues which had to be threshed out in the arena of national political controversy, an arena in which the Army leaders had not found it
necessary to do much of their work since the trying years before Pearl Harbor.
In these circumstances, it was necessary for OPD to rely heavily upon committee work and informal liaison to get results which, while acceptable from a strictly military point of view, were not entirely unacceptable from any other point of view. The most notable achievement of the later war years was the development of techniques of cooperation among staffs rather than the assumption of responsibility by any single one. In this way, working with many other organizations and agencies, OPD helped to set the new pattern of military staff work in Washington in the later war years. Improvements were made in the machinery and process of joint strategic planning. Ways were found to preserve the delicate balance which had been created between air planning and the control of air operations by the Army Air Forces on the one hand, and OPD on the other. Both at the joint committee level and inside the Army a modus vivendi was established between strategists concerned with the determination of military objectives and logisticians concerned with the provision of men and matériel at the right place and the right time to carry out strategic plans. Similarly, OPD worked out methods for keeping in close touch with the combat soldiers and the military situations confronting them so that Washington staff work would reflect accurately the needs and capacities of the numerous, vastly expanded overseas theaters, as well as the more general strategic aims of the JCS committees and the President.
On the international plane, since decisions about military operations in the overseas theaters involved British, Soviet, and Chinese as well as American forces, a whole new code of procedures was elaborated for the great military staff conferences of midwar. These procedures were extremely valuable during the last year of hostilities, when the international conferences dealt less and less with military strategy and turned more and more toward the politico-military issues of the postwar world. In fact, OPD's staff work in the later conferences was a part of the increasing effort it was making on behalf of the Army to establish a mutually satisfactory relationship between military planning and foreign policy as interdependent elements in national policy.2
Staff officers in OPD, taking their cue from General Marshall, tried to resolve these new staff problems just as they resolved more familiar ones, by reference to the primary mission of the command post. Above all they tried to do whatever they could to help win the war quickly and with economy. Strictly military problems in strategy still had to be settled, and strictly operational decisions still had to be made. The command post went right on performing these conventional military tasks very much in the same way it had in 1942. Beyond that, the staff in OPD improvised as necessary to aid General Marshall in acquitting his responsibilities in the Army and in the national high command.
A military staff, like any other institution, can maintain its special identity and establish a record of consistency in its work only if it successfully adapts itself to changing situations of every kind. In time of war a military staff is doubly sensitive to changes in membership because its character and traditions exist primarily in the minds of its officers. If the same men do not carry on in the same jobs, the staff must insist on a comparable level of ability among new members and make appropriate experience a principal criterion for appointments to posts of responsibility when older officers depart. OPD probably was better able than any other Army staff to get and keep good officers. Even so, continuity was critically important for OPD. The Division had been built up to carry out a definite idea or principle in military staff work in support of the high command in Washington. Yet the idea itself was not too carefully articulated or very widely known in the Army even by the end of 1942. Many new situations were confronting the Division. The surest way to preserve the idea that made OPD what it was, whatever that might be in abstract terms, and to adapt the idea to meet the new problems of 1943 and later years, was to keep the same officers doing their work in the same general way they had set about it in 1942.
Staffing the Command Post (1943-45)
This solution to the personnel problem was not altogether practical, chiefly for two reasons. In the first place, the Army was gradually gaining new experience in combat and it had to be taken into account in planning and directing operations from Washington. OPD needed to absorb a great deal of this experience, and one of the simplest ways to do so was to take in individual officers with experience in the overseas theaters. In the second place, the Army at large had a strong incentive to get capable officers overseas where actual battles were being fought. OPD was not only the largest unit of the War Department General Staff, but its officers also possessed knowledge of many War Department ways that officers in the overseas theaters would find it advantageous to know. Its members of longest standing had been assigned to WPD before Pearl Harbor, when duty on that staff was a high point in the career of fairly senior officers who were promising prospects for command in the field. As a result of the priority given to overseas service, both in Army tradition and in War Department personnel policy, OPD was subjected to a steady drain of its most experienced officers.
The continuing loss of personnel was impossible to stop, and OPD never attempted to restrict it more than enough to prevent it from crippling the remaining staff. It was clearly in the interests of OPD's work to have competent officers overseas. Moreover, with the loss of officers, however regrettable in the short run, the Division was acquiring replacements who more and more often had had World War II experience overseas. The policies set in practice in OPD concerning personnel, for the most part informal and sometimes not based on conscious administrative decisions at all, reflected an effort to maintain a close balance between loss of Washington experience and gain of overseas experience. In effect, this policy also established a rough balance between the needs of forces in the theaters and OPD's own need for continuity in planning and directing operations.
As a whole, Army leadership in Washington remained remarkably constant through this period of tremendous deployment of military manpower. Of basic importance to
OPD was the fact that General Marshall stayed on, relinquishing whatever aspirations he may have had for command in the field for the less conspicuous though equally arduous post of Chief of Staff.3 The principal change among his senior subordinates, one which directly affected OPD, was occasioned by the appointment of the Deputy Chief of Staff, General McNarney, as Commanding General, U.S. Army, North African Theater of Operations. General Handy, who had served as chief of OPD since June 1942, moved up to become Deputy Chief of Staff on 21 October 1944. General Handy was succeeded in turn by his Theater Group chief, General Hull, who became Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, on the same date.
General Handy's presence at the head of OPD until the fall of 1944 insured the consistency of the Division's staff work throughout the midwar period. During this same period a similar consistency in leadership was maintained within the smaller groups of the Division, Executive and Logistics. Colonel Gailey continued to head the executive office until December 1944, when he was succeeded by Col. Kenneth W. Treacy, who had been assistant executive since June 1944. The Logistics Group, which was to undergo major changes in duties during the midwar period, was led continuously until after V-E Day by Brig. Gen. Patrick H. Tansey, who left his post as Matériel Section chief to become group chief in December 1942.4
The Theater Group remained from December 1942 until October 1944 under the direction of General Hull. As a planner and the European Theater Section chief, he had participated in nearly every aspect of OPD's 1942 work on BOLERO and TORCH. He thus probably had had more intimate experience in integrating strategy with overseas operational requirements and the resources of the zone of interior than any other Army officer in World War II. This experience, plus his responsibility for acting as General Handy's deputy in the latter's absence from Washington, enabled General Hull to assume a special role in the Division in tying together the many military factors which had to be synchronized by OPD.5 The Theater Group under General Hull also enjoyed a considerable degree of stability in its internal leadership. Of the eight officers who were section chiefs in the Theater Group as of the beginning of 1943, six were still on duty at the beginning of 1944. There was a gradual replacement of section chiefs during the first nine months of 1944, but the new chiefs all had had some previous experience in their respective theater sections and most of them had been on duty since early 1942.
When General Hull moved into the chief's office in October 1944, he was succeeded as chief of the Theater Group by Maj. Gen. Howard A. Craig, the highest ranking officer brought into the Division during the war. General Craig was the Army Air Forces planning officer who, with Colonel Wedemeyer, had accompanied General Marshall to London in April 1942 to win British approval of the BOLERO plan.
LT. GEN. JOHN E. HULL, Chief of the Operations Division, 21 October 1944- 2 September 1945
Chart 4. Operations Division, War Department General Staff: 27 April 1945
After filling a succession of posts in the Allied Force Headquarters in the Mediterranean in 1942 and 1943, he had returned to Headquarters, Army Air Forces, from which he transferred to OPD on 23 October 1944. Shortly thereafter, General Craig lost the services of his Ground deputy, General Russell, as well as those of the latter's executive. Even though as chief of OPD General Hull could continue to keep closely in touch with the Theater Group, he thought it desirable, in expectation of the impending loss of General Russell, to bring into the group an officer thoroughly familiar with the Division.6 For this purpose he gained special permission to delay Colonel Gailey's scheduled transfer overseas. Colonel Gailey became Ground deputy in the Theater Group on 16 December 1944, and remained at that post until after V-E Day.
Leadership of the S&P Group had much less continuity during this period. In late 1943 there was one complete change of principal officers. General Wedemeyer left in October to become deputy chief of staff of the new Allied command in Southeast Asia, soon drawing after him Colonel Maddocks, former chief of the Army Section of the JUSSC.7 The loss of these two officers was offset by an administrative device adopted by General Wedemeyer early in 1943. At that time he reorganized the executive control system in the group, setting a pattern preserved throughout the war. Strictly administrative management was delegated to a single officer (the group executive), and two deputies were appointed, one a Ground officer and the other an Air officer. They, like the Theater Group deputies, were supposed to be able to substitute freely for the group chief in reaching decisions on any matter requiring action. Actually, the position of Ground deputy was a training post for the position of Army planner. The first Ground deputy chief under the new system was Col. Frank N. Roberts, who succeeded General Wedemeyer as group chief and Army planner upon the latter's departure in October 1943. Colonel Roberts was soon promoted to the rank of brigadier general, and served in his new position until November 1944, when he in turn was succeeded by his Ground deputy, Col. George A. Lincoln.
Two new, small, specialized groups whose work was subordinate or tangential to the main work of the Division carried on by the S&P and Theater Groups, were set up in OPD late in the war. The Current Group, established in February 1944, continued under General North to provide the information service for the Division which he had previously directed as head of Current Section (Logistics Group).8 An American Theater Section was also established in February 1944 by consolidation of the Latin American and North American Sections.9 It was superseded by the Pan-American Group in April 1945 under Brig. Gen. Kenner F. Hertford to handle hemisphere defense, which had previously been handled
in the Theater Group, and to carry on work of a politico-military character.
Even though its period of great expansion was over by the end of 1942 OPD still grew, slowly but steadily. This growth in itself required steady recruitment of officers from outside the Division as well as promotions and transfers within. The press of business in these years, as the tempo of operations in the theaters increased, brought a heavier and heavier work load on the action officers throughout the Division.10 Nevertheless, increases in strength were justified solely on the grounds of specific new duties undertaken by OPD rather than on the grounds of increased volume of staff business already assigned.11 As of 1 January 1943, with an allocation of 156 officers (excluding general officers), OPD was below ceiling strength with 148 officers, including six general officers, on duty. Not until June 1943 was it necessary to break the ceiling. Then, with 155 officers assigned, OPD began to get small increments at irregular intervals. By the end of 1944 the authorized strength reached 190, where it remained until July 1945, when the ceiling was lifted to 193, its highest point.12 Through the latter part of 1944 and all of 1945 until V-J Day the actual number or officers on duty was always around 200, reaching a peak of 205 on several occasions. As of 2 September 1945, officer strength in OPD totaled 198.13
Officer Personnel (1943-45)
There is no evidence in OPD records that the Division's officers ever believed that the strength of the Division was reaching a point at which the advantage of having more officers would be balanced by disadvantages resulting from an increase in the number of officers reporting to one officer, or from the addition of new levels of control. In fact the records contain almost nothing bearing on abstract questions of personnel management. Except for administrative detail, they are mostly filled with representations to the effect that the Division's officers were working to the very limit of their endurance and that their temporary absence was acutely felt, and frequent indications that the Division was finding it hard to secure acceptable officers. The individual officers in the Division appear to have been divided in mind between their feeling that
their sections needed more men and their realization that the men with whom they would be glad to work were scarce and badly needed wherever they were.
The steady growth of the Division, along with the steady loss of personnel, meant that OPD had to recruit officers constantly throughout the later war years. To achieve a net increase in strength of 50, it was necessary to bring 284 new members into the Division between 1 January 1943 and 2 September 1945. Division policy remained firm in requiring that most positions be held by able young professional officers in the field grades. While this policy could be justified by the great responsibility carried day in and day out by the action officer in OPD, it meant that the Division was trying to get the very officers whose experience, age, and grade made them sought after by every combat unit and overseas headquarters in the Army.
OPD used a high proportion of career officers, higher than that allotted to most units and commands of the wartime Army. Throughout the war it was always well over one half, and it rose slightly to about 70 percent of strength during 1945. A large proportion of the professional officers were graduates, with superior rating, of the command and General Staff School, but comparatively few had been far enough along in their military careers to complete their military education with attendance at the Army War College, which probably would have been more valuable training for S&P officers in particular. A good many of them had been instructors at branch schools, and several had taught at the Military Academy and at the Command and General Staff School. As in peacetime, most of the officers came from the ground combat branches, the Infantry, Cavalry, Field Artillery, and Coast Artillery, or from the Air Corps. Those from the service branches came principally from the Corps of Engineers.
During the first half of 1943 War Department policy continued to require the General Staff, like other Army agencies in the zone of interior, to assimilate officers retired, over-age for duty with troops, or on limited service. In August 1943 the Deputy Chief of Staff relaxed the requirement for the General Staff and thereby ended the only formal limitation placed during World War II on OPD's selection of officers. Restrictions as to age continued, limiting the officers under thirty-five years old to one third of those on duty and prohibiting the assignment of any under twenty-eight, without specific authorization. In March 1944, however, the General Staff divisions were authorized to carry in excess of their quota officers under thirty-five who had had a tour of combat duty. Thenceforth restrictions on age level were no serious bar for OPD in its recruiting.
In fact the average age of officers in OPD during the period 1943-45 dropped from that of 1942. The 421 officers who served in the Division during these later war years averaged a little over 36 years of age on reporting for duty or, if already on duty, at the beginning of the period, 1 January 1943. The earlier average (for the period 9 March-31 December 1942), calculated in the same way, had been a little under 39 years. The similar average for the composite OPD officer, that is, the average man among the 475 who were on duty at various times between 9 March 1942 and 2 September 1945, was a little less than 37 years old. All of these age levels were lower by several years than in WPD days.
Restrictions on grades for its officers, in contrast with restrictions on age levels, was
a problem from which OPD never became completely free, but eventually the Division was given considerable latitude in recruiting and promoting officers at the grades required in order to get and keep qualified personnel. By mid-1945 OPD was authorized 11 general officers, 69 colonels, 77 lieutenant colonels, 30 majors, and 6 captains. In other words, out of every ten officers in the Division, approximately four were colonels or general officers, four were lieutenant colonels, and only two were majors or company-grade officers.14
Promotion to general officer grades was based entirely on responsibility accompanying assignments. At no time during the war were there set allocations for the number of general officers assigned to the General Staff. Recommendations for promotions to general officer grades were made to G-1 or to the Chief of Staff personally and monitored by a general officer section of G-1, which submitted final lists to the Chief of Staff for his approval. The final selections, of course, were cleared through the Secretary of War, presented to the President, and confirmed by Congress before promotions became effective. The number of general officer positions in OPD rose from five in March 1942 to a peak of eleven, and stood at ten at the end of hostilities. The ratio was always roughly one general for every twenty officers.
OPD's principal problem in recruitment and promotion, of course, did not concern general officers, nor even section chiefs, but the "rank and file" action officers. Promotions throughout the Army during and after 1941 left fewer and fewer officers in the grade of major who were considered to be qualified for work in OPD.15 For this reason the percentage of majors in the Division was cut in half between 1943 and 1945, and the percentage of officers in the higher field grades increased correspondingly. The establishment of the grade of lieutenant colonel as the grade in which OPD normally could recruit or to which it could promote action officers also brought the grades of OPD Ground officers more nearly into line with those of OPD Air officers, who in July 1944 were appointed to the grades in the Army of the United States which they held in the Air Corps.16
OPD ordinarily did not recruit officers above the grade of lieutenant colonel and did not promote to those grades except for positions of greater responsibility than those of action officers. The grade of colonel normally went only with the position of section chief, most of the positions on joint and combined committees, and some other positions that involved representing the Chief of Staff in dealings with other Army officers and with Navy or British officers of corresponding or higher grade.
The pressure to release officers from duty in OPD for overseas assignments increased at the same time that most officers qualified for work in the Division were themselves overseas, in units due to move overseas, or in jobs from which their superiors were reluctant to release them. From the outbreak of hostilities, the Division released very few officers to Army organizations in the United States other than combat units. OPD began sending officers to combat units and to overseas commands in 1942, many of them to newly activated divisions, and continued to lose them throughout the war. In all, departures from OPD during 1942 totalled 62 officers, while between 1 January 1943 and 2 September 1945, 234 officers left the Division.
OPD began getting some officers back from overseas very early, but during the period of rapid expansion in 1942 it secured most of its officers from various agencies in the continental United States. Only at the end of 1943, a year in which OPD lost fifty-five officers, did the Division face a serious personnel crisis because of anticipated losses and difficulty in finding replacements. The turnover in the General Staff as a whole had become so great that the Deputy Chief of Staff directed, 1 January 1944, the curtailment of "turnover of military personnel in important staff positions . . . in order to increase the continuity of past experience and efficiency."17 It was easier to lay down this policy than to follow it, as officers themselves were eager to go overseas. Nevertheless the policy gave OPD firmer ground on which to stand in resisting demands for its most valuable officers. It was about this time that Colonel Gailey first articulated the Division's "two deep" policy, which called for keeping greater numbers of highly competent officers in the Theater Group than a roster of administrative posts seemed to warrant. He gave General Handy a note, saying:
The Air Corps has requested either Colonel Ritchie or Colonel Todd. The question has been hanging fire for a couple of months. I recommend that Colonel Ritchie be given the opportunity.
If Colonel Ritchie goes, this will directly affect a request for Colonel Reeder to command a regiment in the 10th Light Infantry Division. Colonel Baumann can run the section O.K., however, we should remain two deep in each theater. Therefore, we should keep Reeder as the top layer and Baumann as the second half.18
The general policy on releasing OPD officers was phrased clearly, though unofficially, in 1944:
This Division has endeavored to maintain a policy that would insure continuity of past experience and efficiency and at the same time fill requests from theaters for officers for important command and staff positions and important command positions in the continental United States. A close study is continually being made of the situation with the
end in view of not jeopardizing an officer's career by keeping him on this duty for too protracted a length of time.19
OPD usually held out for an officer-for-officer exchange when it released personnel for overseas duty. General Handy and General Hull were constantly bartering with the theaters. These negotiations, while often lengthy, were facilitated by the consideration given OPD's needs by officers formerly on duty with the Division. The most conspicuous of these in positions of responsibility in the theaters in the later war years were Generals Eisenhower, Wedemeyer, and McNarney.
An even greater personnel crisis occurred in the fall of 1944, just after General Hull had taken over the Division. The Army Ground Forces was encountering great difficulty in furnishing sufficient numbers of regimental and battalion commanders of combat age (under forty-five years) with experience enough to permit them to step into immediate command in battle.20 Consequently, the Deputy Chief of Staff approved a new policy on 16 August 1944, providing for the release upon request of all troop-age, Regular Army officers who were not serving with troop units in their basic arm or service. Moreover, Regular Army officers who had not served in an active overseas theater after 7 December 1941 would be released to the major commands automatically after completion of two years' service in staff assignments in the United States, and these officers normally would not be reassigned to staff or similar positions in the United States.21
The announcement of this automatic two-year policy was a blow to OPD. It meant disruption in organization at a time of continued heavy responsibilities. A review of the status of officer personnel disclosed that twenty-nine Regular Army officers would have to be released by the end of the year, when they would have completed a two-year tour.22 All of them held important positions in the Division. General Handy, in one of several similar letters offering the services of some of these officers to overseas theater commanders, presented OPD's problem:
I heartily agree in principle with this policy, but it is certainly going to raise hell with this Division unless we can secure suitable replacements.
It is highly desirable that replacements for these officers be Regulars who have proven themselves in active theaters. As a matter of fact, I see no satisfactory way of getting qualified replacements except by mutual swaps with theaters.23
By 1 January 1945, all but five of the twenty-nine officers scheduled to be relieved under the August 1944 policy had departed.
In all, between 16 August 1944 and 1 January 1945, fifty officers left OPD, only five fewer than left during the whole year 1943 and two fewer than left during 1944 prior to 16 August. Additions to the staff offset these losses and gradually increased Division strength. Sixty-three officers joined OPD between the announcement of the
two-year policy and the end of the year. During that period and especially in 1945, OPD received a great proportion of its new officers from overseas theaters. Altogether, between 1 January and 2 September 1945, seventy-eight officers were recruited. Nine of them were returning for a second tour of duty in the Division after duty overseas, and nearly all had theater experience to qualify them for their new posts. By postponing releases, by promoting or transferring within the Division, and by recruiting officers outside the Division, General Hull kept OPD at a strength commensurate with its duties.
The only major change in the composition of OPD during the later war years was in the experience of its officer personnel as a group. As time passed, more and more OPD officers had a chance to go on tours of temporary duty overseas. From the establishment of OPD in March 1942 until the end of General Handy's tour in 1944, at least a third of all the officers on duty in the Division at one time or another went on a tour of temporary duty in one of the active overseas theaters. A parallel increase of composite experience in OPD came from the acquisition of more and more officers from overseas command and staff assignments. By 1944 these officers began to constitute a significant proportion of the strength in the Division. In March 1944, thirty-nine officers in OPD had served overseas on permanent assignment as distinct from temporary duty. In May, two months later, the number had climbed to fifty-eight, approximately one third of the officers in the Division.24 The proportion went on increasing rapidly throughout the last year of hostilities, until practically all the officers in OPD had had some kind of experience overseas.
The composition of OPD also changed with respect to length of experience in the Division itself. The rapid initial expansion of the Division was so great that two thirds of the officers on duty in March 1942 had less than four months' experience in the Division. By the end of the year, however, over 75 percent of the officers had served between four months and a year in the Division. By the end of 1943 over 60 percent of the officers had served in the Division over a year, and another 30 percent had served from four months to a year. During 1944 there was little expansion but greatly increased turnover, especially as an effect of the two-year policy in the fall of the year. The number of officers with more than a year's experience decreased correspondingly, and the number with less than four months' service or with four to twelve months' service increased. In 1945, until V-E Day, fewer officers joined and left the Division than in 1944, and the level of experience rose. In the brief period between V-E Day and V-J Day, this tendency was reversed. In 1945 a number of officers had served in OPD for an exceptionally long time by wartime standards. The service of these officers, together with the retention of such men as General Hull and General Gailey in dominant positions, contributed an indispensable element of continuity to the Division's work through their personal knowledge of the techniques, accomplishments, and mistakes of the wartime high command in Washington.
The decentralization of work to the separate sections, and, within the sections, to individual action officers, required a corresponding decentralization of administrative and clerical work. The civilians, warrant officers, and enlisted men and women who made up the Division secretariat were scattered about, working under the personal direction of officers, with relatively little supervision by senior clerks. Officers were absorbed in their current actions with rapidly approaching suspense dates, and their work schedules were full and unpredictable. Consequently they had little time for supervising and checking and almost none to spend waiting for memoranda to be typed and assembled or records to be compiled. They needed to be able to take for granted that papers would be drawn up quickly and correctly, circulated promptly to the proper people, and filed where they could be found at once. Individual members of the secretariat, like the officers for whom they worked, had to be willing and able to meet deadlines by working at top speed and serving long hours.
The ceilings set for the General Staff included figures covering the secretariat as well as commissioned officers, but Washington-wide shortages often resulted in the Division's having fewer clerks than it was authorized. By no means did every candidate for a job meet the requirements. The clerical and administrative staff was constantly handling highly classified papers, and as a result many of its members were acquainted with a great deal of highly classified information. OPD had to rely on their loyalty, after a thorough initial investigation, and trust their discretion as well as their willingness to share the strain that fell on everyone dealing with vital military matters. Moreover, it was essential to enlist their active cooperation in helping to enforce the elaborate and troublesome security regulations which were designed primarily to minimize the danger of unintentionally revealing valuable information to the enemy.
The difficulties the Division encountered in getting and keeping men and women who measured up to this work were much the same as in the case of officers. WPD had come into the war with a small secretariat, entirely made up of civilians, a few with long experience in the War Department. The enlisted detachment added to the Division secretariat in 1942 filled a need that could not well be met by civilians. In the first place, it was far more convenient to use enlisted personnel on the many jobs in the Division which might on short notice involve overtime work. Although throughout the war many of the civilians in the Division voluntarily stayed to work long extra hours, until early 1943 there was no authority to compensate them for this extra time, and until that time they could not be required to stay.25 In the second place, the Division in wartime had many jobs that regularly involved night work. For these jobs, too, enlisted men and women were best suited, since their entire schedules were subject to arrangement at the convenience of the Army.
Even more important, qualified enlisted men were easier to obtain than qualified civilians. The War Department, using its own administrative machinery for locating specialists, could tap the large, steadily
growing Army. OPD was in a position to get promotions for enlisted personnel more rapidly than they could expect in the Army at large, whereas civilians could not expect particularly good appointments or rapid promotions.26 Consequently, OPD came to rely mainly on military personnel to fill nearly all the new positions as the Division continued to expand. OPD's allotment of enlisted men reached its peak in April 1943, when General McNarney set a ceiling on the authorized enlisted strength of all Washington agencies and authorized OPD to employ 163 enlisted men.27 Normally the number on duty was less than the ceiling but well over one hundred. The size of the civilian staff remained approximately at its early level, that is, slightly over one hundred employees, nearly equal to the enlisted detachment.28
In time OPD ran into difficulties in getting and keeping enlisted men. War Department policy demanded that able-bodied young enlisted men, like commissioned officers, should be replaced by men whose age or physical defect disqualified them for service overseas.29 The War Department, like every other installation in the zone of interior, found it harder and harder to maintain high standards for its enlisted detachment. Toward the close of 1943 OPD was authorized to overcome its difficulties in staffing its secretariat by using enlisted women (Wacs) as well as enlisted men and civilians.30 By recruiting increasing numbers of enlisted women, the Division added to the strength of its clerical staff and in general maintained its exacting standards of competence. By V-J Day enlisted women made up nearly one-third of the strength of the total Division secretariat, nearly equaling each of the other two components.31 Early in 1942 the ratio between clerical staff and officers had been one to one. After the assignment of the first enlisted men in March 1942, the clerical and administrative staff, civilians, warrant officers, enlisted men, and enlisted women, outnumbered the officers by about seven to four.32
The rationale and the processes of strategic planning and control of overseas
Army Planning and Control of Operations (1943-45)
operations, the main interests of the OPD staff, had become fairly well defined by 1943 and remained unchanged in the later war years. Although Army planners did more and more of their work as part of the joint committee system, or with the intention of influencing its work, the pattern of strategic planning as it developed inside OPD did not change materially.33 The S&P Group kept the initiative in Army planning, and its chief continued to be the main link between the working echelons of the Army staff system and the joint and combined committee system. The duties involved in this task were redefined officially at the end of the midwar period, in October 1944, in words that showed how little change had taken place in the planning function. Substantially these same duties were charged to S&P throughout the period of hostilities.
The formal description of Strategy Section responsibilities was as follows:
Estimates the current war situation and initiates or reviews and coordinates strategic and operational plans. Specifically:
- Furnishes formal and informal strategic guidance to other agencies of the War Department General Staff and to agencies of the three major commands.
- In collaboration with G-2, maintains current estimate of the situation in theaters of operations to determine military objectives and possible lines of action.
- Initiates or reviews strategic plans and reviews operational plans for the Chief, Strategy and Policy Group and advises him on strategy matters.
- Reviews and coordinates plans of theater commanders and of General Staff divisions as they relate to strategy.
- Reviews, coordinates, and processes for the Chief of Staff all papers involving strategic plans submitted to the Joint or Combined Chiefs of Staff for decision.
- Reviews and advises on demobilization and post-war plans.
- The War Department General Staff member of the Joint Post-War Committee is assigned from this section.34
The Policy Section's duties read almost exactly as they had in 1942, though it was more clearly indicated that reviewing strategic plans under consideration by the JCS and the CCS was a duty of the Strategy Section, not of the Policy Section:
- Prepares staff studies on Joint and Combined policy matters.
- Initiates appropriate War Department implementing action on all decisions of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff and their subordinate agencies and follows-up to insure that action is taken.
- Reviews all War Department papers to be referred to the Joint or Combined Chiefs of Staff by the Chief of Staff.
- Reviews, coordinates, and processes for the Chief of Staff all papers on subjects, other than strategic plans, submitted to the Joint or Combined Chiefs of Staff for decision.
- Provides the formal channel of communication between War Department agencies and Joint or Combined agencies through the appropriate Secretariat.
- Reviews and coordinates with other sections of Operations Division and with other War Department agencies, studies under consideration by the Joint or Combined Chiefs of Staff or their subordinate agencies.35
The services rendered by these sections, plus the work of the S&P officers sitting on the joint strategic planning committees, made it possible for OPD to integrate Army strategic planning at all levels. If a future operation was coming up for consideration by the United States and Great Britain,
normal procedure was for OPD officers in the Strategy Section to prepare a study on it for the chief of S&P. He might introduce it to the Joint Staff Planners committee, of which he was [the] Army member, or might suggest that a working subcommittee of the planners draft a plan for the same operation.36 In the latter case OPD's Strategy Section would review the draft joint plan for the Army planner in his capacity as chief of S&P at the same time he was considering it in his capacity as a member of the JPS. If nonstrategic factors, such as psychological warfare, were important in the plan, the Policy Section might also review the plan and advise the chief of S&P on it.
If the Joint Staff Planners forwarded the plan in the joint system, the Army planner, as chief of S&P, advised the chief of OPD and the Chief of Staff when the matter appeared before the JCS, and possibly again if the JCS referred it to the CCS. If the JPS presented its views to the Combined Staff Planners, or if the combined committee undertook to prepare a study, the Army planner would be called upon to consider the matter as a member of the CPS and advise General Marshall when he considered it as a member of the CCS. The complex interrelationship of these dual and triple responsibilities made it extremely important that all these jobs be assigned to one officer, and that officer was the Army planner. It was his clear responsibility to General Marshall (through the chief of OPD) that induced an element of consistency into all these planning roles.
The continuity thus established by S&P in strategic planning ensured an adequate consideration of Army views in joint deliberations. General Wedemeyer in particular stressed the value of a comprehensive strategic studies program. In 1943, when the major strategic debates of World War II were being held, the Strategy Section built up a voluminous file of informal reports on every strategic aspect of military operations under consideration.37 General Wedemeyer used these studies, sometimes formally, more often informally, as a basis of strategic discussions with General Handy and General Marshall. As time went on S&P had to deal more and more with complicated policy issues tangential to strategy and with operational problems arising in the theaters but requiring consideration from a general strategic point of view as well as normal study by the Theater Group.
Work on issues of policy as distinct from strategy was quite different from the rest of the work done in S&P. There was no standing joint committee on the working level to handle it until the spring of 1944, when the JCS established a committee to handle one increasingly important class of policy issues, postwar problems.38 Even then there remained many miscellaneous problems of policy that could not conveniently be assigned to any joint committee on the working level. One result was that several members of S&P, mostly members of the Policy Section, were assigned to ad hoc joint committees to study such matters so frequently that they probably spent as much of their time on committee work as many of their colleagues assigned to standing joint
committees. Another result was that the Army planner, or even the Chief of Staff, was still apt to introduce for joint consideration, usually by the JPS, a paper on policy drawn up in S&P, whereas the basic papers on strategy in the late war period generally originated in the joint staff, usually in the Joint War Plans Committee.
Under the pressure of work on short-range problems and policy, long-range strategic planning suffered some neglect, and to a great extent OPD lived throughout the latter part of the war on an accumulation of such planning from the early midwar period.39 There was a chronic shortage of the kind of personnel S&P needed, and the current operational planning had to have first priority on most of the time of most of the S&P officers. Moreover, the comparative difficulty of getting authoritative guidance on the political aspects of the most pressing military problems of 1944 and 1945 made the value of new strategic studies somewhat dubious. In any case, the accumulation of early strategic plans, some of which dated from the days of WPD, was sufficient to see the Army's strategists through the critical years. Only during the very last months of the war were they feverishly improvising plans, debating quasi-military policies such as surrender terms, and giving strategic guidance on pressing operational problems all at the same time.40
It was on the strength of its strategic planning, in whatever way it was being conducted, that OPD assumed the dominant position that was widely recognized in the later war years. By 1944 the strategic guidance which the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, and his officers were able to give the Army as a whole had become so indispensable to the efficient operation of other War Department agencies that a War Department circular was issued to provide specifically that OPD and no other agency should give "official guidance or interpretations on future strategic or operational plans" to the War Department as a whole.41 In carrying out this responsibility, the Division chief formally
assigned to S&P the task of providing strategic guidance to other agencies, accomplishing the "necessary coordination with other Groups and Sections of the Operations Division." For the special job of furnishing "logistical planning guidance," the Logistics Group assumed the responsibility, along with the responsibility of accomplishing the "necessary coordination with the Theater Group and/or the Theater Section involved."42
The general principles underlying the organization of the Theater Group remained unchanged throughout World War II. The object was simply to give the Chief of Staff a small general staff for each theater of operations and let it take such action as was necessary in Washington to carry out strategic decisions approved by the Chief of Staff. This theory of Theater Group functions presupposed occasional rearrangements of area assignments among the various theater sections to make them correspond with operational developments in the field. These rearrangements were made from time to time. New sections were created as military operations became more widespread, and old sections were consolidated as the several theater efforts converged against Germany and Japan late in the war. At the close of hostilities there were only three area sections, European, Pacific, and Asiatic, in the Theater Group.43
The first formal, detailed description of the Theater Group's duties appeared in October 1944. The scope of these duties required a great degree of authority, effective if not necessarily formal, not only over theaters of operations but also over operating agencies in the zone of interior and over the other General Staff divisions insofar as their work affected operations. The 1944 staff circular described the general duties of the Theater Group substantially as they were performed throughout World War II:
Serves as the operating command post for the Chief of Staff for all military operations beyond the continental limits of the United States and for defense commands. Receives from each theater of operations, defense command, and base command, requirements, requests, and recommendations pertaining to allocation of troops, supplies, equipment, and operational plans; investigates and determines the justification for such requests, and recommends priorities for personnel, matériel, and units. Prepares and publishes WD Troop Deployment and the Six Months Forecast of Unit Requirements and maintains individual troop basis for each theater of operations, defense and base command. Exercises control over documents governing overseas movements and redeployment of all U. S. Army Forces and directs and controls such movements. Maintains liaison for the Operational Division with the State Department, Navy Department, and other government agencies.44
Listing the various theater sections, the circular then set forth the broad sweep of duties exercised by all of them in their respective areas of responsibility:
Handles or monitors War Department action relating to the . . . Theater; keeps currently informed of plans, operations, supply status, and problems of the theater, and represents its interests in the War Department. Specifically:
- Keeps the theater commander currently informed on War Department decisions, orders, regulations, policies, and actions, including information on status of units to be moved and unit movements.
- Reviews requests, recommendations, and reports of the theater commander, pertaining to operations, personnel, organization, training, supply, and other matters; determines their justification and modifies them when necessary to meet over-all War Department requirements; transmits such recommendations to War Department and other agencies for necessary action; and monitors action taken.
- Provides information and guidance to other groups of OPD and other War Department agencies on plans, operations, status, and other matters pertaining to the . . . Theater.
- Reviews and coordinates proposed War Department actions, plans, and programs affecting the . . . Theater, including--
- troop basis and changes.
- activation, inactivation, constitution, disbandment, TO and E's, TA's and TD's, and organization and reorganization of units.
- disposition by transfer or inactivation of units declared excess.
- overhead allotment for theater.
- fillers and replacements.
- rotation and leave policies and adjustments.
- personnel and equipment priorities, allocations, and levels of supply.
- unit requirements and availability of units and replacements.
- unit movement orders and troop movements; shipping and water priorities.
- availability of equipment and supplies for special units and operations.
- air transportation, air tonnage allocations, and air priorities.
- recommendations on the selection and promotion of general officers and assignment of other officers for special duties.
- training of units, correction of training deficiencies, and special training.
- civil affairs matters.
- Anticipates operational and logistical requirements in the . . . Theater to the extent required to permit ready solutions to problems arising from changes in the tactical situation.
- Reviews operations reports and intelligence reports for the . . . Theater; prepares periodic operations summaries and special intelligence studies; prepares situation maps and studies for current and future operations, and maintains statistical and historical records of operations, and current intelligence information as required.
- Provides members on boards and committees of the War Department and of Joint or Combined agencies, in connection with operations in the . . . Theater.
- Maintains direct contact on matters concerning the . . . Theater with other General Staff divisions, the major commands, the Navy Department, and other agencies.
- Makes arrangements on special matters involving the . . . Theater such as visits of Very Important Persons, Red Cross services, settlement of foreign claims, etc.
- Furnishes officers as observers for special operations and as exchange officers in the theater.45
To perform these duties, most of the theater sections had to organize along conventional general staff lines, with G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 units, plus special officers for air matters.46 This type of organization and the wide range of duties in the Theater Group indicated how far OPD had gone toward becoming a field-type general staff for the Chief of Staff.
As the volume of business increased, more elaborate precautions were necessary
to protect the security of information flowing through the Division. Colonel Gailey, Colonel Treacy, and their representatives in the message center and record room made every effort to restrict access to Division files to those officers who required them in their work, and ordinarily each officer saw only the material related to his own field of staff interest. Representatives of other agencies and staffs had to prove to the executive office their need for operational information on the merits of each particular case.47 To some extent the strict control of security matters was facilitated by the invention of new classifications in the midwar period. The papers on the big operation of 1942, TORCH, had been classified "Secret," the highest classification of the time, but were segregated from the rest of the files. Although this arrangement was administratively awkward, it pointed the way to a new procedure for isolating papers whose secrecy was vital from the many fairly routine documents that crept into the Secret files. As of January 1943, in accordance with a new War Department security procedure, OPD established a "Secret Security" classification under which papers were kept physically separated from the regular records although subdivided and numbered according to the system already in use. This practice was supposed to be applied only to those papers whose revelation to the enemy would jeopardize the safety of military forces, particularly those scheduled to take part in a major operation. This method of controlling the distribution of papers of highest secrecy remained in effect until March 1944, when it was superseded by the adoption of a similar classification, "Top Secret," by both the American and the British armed forces. Thereafter messages as well as correspondence were filed according to their designation as either "Secret" or "Top Secret."48 Special measures were taken to limit the use of Top Secret material to key officers, as had been true previously in the case of Secret Security material. In OPD all current papers of this classification were covered by a red cardboard clearly indicating the care with which they should be handled, as well as the special importance that normally could be expected of the subject matter in them.
Even so, new devices were constantly being developed to govern the dissemination of highly classified material. Thus in mid-1942 a procedure was established whereby special messages from overseas began with the words, "For General Marshall's eyes alone." As these messages increased in numbers, they in effect constituted a special security classification, called "Eyes Only," which were meant for a limited distribution but were not actually restricted to the personal use of the Chief of Staff.49 Similarly, messages dealing with plans for future military operations were marked, in accordance with British security
measures, "BIGOT" and were restricted in circulation to those officers working on the plans. This usage corresponded roughly with the Secret Security or Top Secret classification but in effect set up a special subcategory. It was widely employed at the time of the invasion of Sicily in mid-1943, when all BIGOT correspondence originating in the War Department had to be coordinated with the North African Theater Section.50 The working file of correspondence on Sicily (HUSKY) was kept in the OPD executive office rather than in the regular files.
The great bulk of correspondence with overseas commands was carried on by radio or cable. The old-fashioned staff memorandum was largely supplanted by a proposed draft of a message, with a cover sheet or memorandum for record indicating why it was necessary and how it met its problem, which probably had been presented by another message from overseas. In mid-1944 the message center in OPD, working at approximately its wartime peak, was handling more than 500 messages a day, and OPD took official action on about 100 messages every day. Practically all (about 98 percent in mid-1944) Top Secret or Limited Distribution messages received or dispatched by the War Department came to or went from OPD.51
During 1943 and later, the change in military staff work in Washington became more and more evident in OPD. In 1942 the Division often had been compelled to take virtually unilateral, frequently unprecedented staff action to get the results the Chief of Staff wanted. As the war went on, the Army and the interservice committee structure under the JCS worked more and more systematically. OPD increasingly played its part in the joint system as a starting mechanism or, in the Army, as a governing mechanism rather than as the main source of motive power. By the end of 1943 the whole military staff system was so well established and in such good running order that the critical problem was to monitor a thousand proposed military actions through the complicated Army and JCS organization without losing control of the thread of strategic and operational logic that tied them all together.
New Patterns of Staff Work in OPD
To a great extent this central thread was the BOLERO strategic concept, which remained a basic part of Allied military policy in 1943 and 1944. The ROUNDUP operation, intended to be an assault on northwest France in April 1943, was never launched, but it was succeeded in strategic planning by the OVERLORD operation, which was finally executed in Normandy in June 1944.52 In the interim the success of TORCH and of the coordinate British offensive in Libya had prepared the way for the invasion of Sicily and finally of Italy--in short, the large-scale offensive that the British had
sought and General Marshall and his staff had hoped to forestall. OPD, particularly through its Theater Group, continued to concern itself in detail with the Army role in these operations exploiting the Allied position in the Mediterranean. At the same time, principally through its planners in the joint and combined committee system, OPD struggled to prevent these or any other military projects from interfering with OVERLORD.
In the Pacific the two lines of approach converging on the Philippines, which brought General MacArthur's forces through the New Guinea-New Britain-Solomon Islands region and Admiral Nimitz' forces from the Gilberts and the Marshalls to the Marianas, led to the last battles of the war with Japan, in the Philippines and on Okinawa. General Stilwell's long-planned campaign to reconquer North Burma opened the road to China in 1944, and made the defense of China during the next year a major task of the U.S. Army. Thus in the later war years, military operations in which the Army was involved were vast in size and world-wide in extent. Upon the first proposal for any commitment of Army forces, the attention of OPD officers was immediately engaged.
Much of the confusion in which task forces had been dispatched to garrison the principal bases of the Pacific early in 1942 and to join in the assault on North Africa in the autumn of 1942 disappeared later. Three factors largely accounted for the change. In the first place, most of the operations themselves were mounted from overseas rather than from the United States. After the North African operation the only large combat-loaded task force sailing directly from the zone of interior was the 45th Division, part of the Sicilian invasion force. In the second place, the organization of the Army in the zone of interior had become more skilled in the mechanical business of readying troops and matériel and transporting them, either combat-loaded or in routine shipments, to the overseas theaters. Thus OPD's control over preparing the Western Task Force for TORCH had to be much more immediate and direct than its control over the preparation of the 45th Division, which was largely left to the Army Ground Forces.53 In the third place, the tremendous growth of overseas theater headquarters staffs by midwar made it possible to determine requirements and carry on most of the detailed operational planning close to the scene of combat overseas. OPD consequently acted as monitor much more often than agent of the execution of the Chief of Staff's decisions as to Army operations.
Under these circumstances, Theater Group work became at the same time more fragmented and more systematic. It involved countless minor actions, usually inspired by a message from an overseas commander, designed to remedy specific difficulties encountered in carrying out a fairly well-established operational plan. Ordinarily these actions amounted to nothing more than securing agreement by an operating agency in the zone of interior to do whatever OPD considered necessary to meet the theater's requirements and dispatching a message to inform the overseas commander of what he could count on from the War Department. The "pick and shovel boys" worked their way through a pile of messages every day, stepping in to exercise OPD's authority only when coordination between the
theater and the zone of interior was required. The three major commands, Ground, Air, and Service Forces, did most of the work. The Theater Group, with some assistance from the Logistics Group, observed, monitored, supervised, and "followed up" throughout the rest of the war.
The exact character of the Logistics Group's assistance to the Theater Group is often difficult to trace in the written record, although there is no doubt that it was great. Most overseas messages went directly to the Theater Group for action. Many of these raised questions of supply and equipment. The action officer customarily consulted the appropriate specialist in the Logistics Group so that the solution reached would take into account the general logistic situation as well as area-oriented factors known best to the section officers of the Theater Group. If a Logistics Group officer could not answer a supply or equipment problem, he knew how to get the answer quickly. Informal conferences in the Logistics Group, with outside technical experts called in as needed, settled many important theater issues. Even when the determining factors were logistic, the Theater Group rather than the Logistics Group normally took the action. The very efficiency of this system tended to cloak in obscurity the Logistics Group's part in it.
The Chief of Staff continued to hold OPD responsible for the theaters getting what they needed. In the spring of 1943, for example, he took OPD severely to task for a delay in getting bazookas to the 16th Infantry in North Africa and for not seeing to it that the regiment had men trained to use the new weapons. He called General Handy's attention to the matter not only to find out what happened but also to show what he expected of OPD's theater sections. General Handy in turn observed to General Hull:
I believe that all of our theater groups [i.e., theater sections] should go actively into the question of equipment in their theaters, particularly new items. They should know exactly what is there; what is projected; and should make a special effort to see that Theater Commanders are informed of the availability of new items of equipment. The Chief of Staff mentioned, while Sutherland [General MacArthur's chief of staff] was here, about amphibious vehicles of various kinds for the Southwest Pacific.
I suggest that you go into this with the Theater Chiefs pretty thoroughly and not let us be caught on it again. The impetus, and it should be a strong one, should come from here and each Theater Chief should realize that it is his personal business to see that this is done.54
A sign of OPD's success in adjusting to the requirements of its task in the later war years was the extent to which its staff work less and less often resulted in laying down bold new lines of action. Instead of writing a BOLERO plan, as in 1942, OPD backed up General Marshall in CCS deliberations that finally resulted in a firm decision to invade France. Whereas in 1942 OPD had set up a new European Theater Section and virtually invented the BOLERO Combined Committee in order to get troops to the United Kingdom, in mid-1943, when the invasion decision was fairly firm, OPD simply arranged for the reconstitution of the BOLERO Combined Committee for assisting the experienced European Theater in the "handling of its business" connected with deploying forces for the operation.55
The patterns of strategic thought and of staff action were already laid down.
Under those circumstances, OPD could best serve the Chief of Staff by examining proposed actions thoroughly from the point of view of both strategy and theater operations. On major issues, formal internal staff coordination and continuous informal consultation between the S&P and Theater Groups were matters of routine. The effect of this coordinated procedure in formulating policies was strengthened by the fact that OPD had the authority and the administrative machinery to insure that policies, once determined, were carried out in the Army.
The strength of OPD, as it worked in this way throughout the 1943-45 period of the war, was the strength of a single agency organized and staffed to bring into alignment all the military factors involved in any problem the Army faced. A policy reached or a recommendation made in OPD was bound to carry unusual weight in the deliberations of the many staffs and agencies which individual officers or sections from OPD were advising as well as of the dozens of committees on which OPD members were sitting. Thus in the full tide of World War II, the influence of OPD was less conspicuous on the surface but more permeating in the body of military affairs.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (10) * Next Chapter (12)
1. The President had no systematic staff work (in the Army sense of the term) done at his own level of authority except for the limited assistance offered by the Bureau of the Budget. See Chs. VI and XVI.
2. The problems of staff organization and procedure that came up and the solutions that were adopted during the later war years are discussed at some length in the following chapters insofar as they affected the internal workings or the external relations of OPD. For a treatment of these problems and their solutions from the point of view of the General Staff as a whole, see Nelson, National Security and The General Staff. He cites or quotes a great many documents, not readily available elsewhere, which mark important administrative changes.
3. Originally most Army officers assumed and at one point, in the autumn of 1943, it seemed certain that General. Marshall would become the Allied commander of the invasion of France, possibly of the whole European-Mediterranean area. The President finally decided to keep him in Washington rather than to bring General Eisenhower back to a new and exceedingly difficult job. See: (1) Stimson, On Active Service in Peace and War, pp. 437-42; (2) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 802-03; and (3) Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 196-209.
4. See App. A.
5. Memo, Brig Gen G.A. Lincoln for author, 3 Dec 47, sub: Hist of OPD, OPD Hist Unit Comments file.
6. Pers ltr, Lt Gen Hull to Lt Gen Smith, 4 Dec 44, Paper 34, Item 9, Exec 2.
7. Colonel Maddocks had been named special assistant to the chief of S&P during several months in mid-1943 when he was primarily engaged in committee work on several basic War Department policies of interest to OPD.
8. For the main enterprises of Current Section and Current Group under General North, see Ch. VIII. For new duties in 1944 and 1945, see OPD Hist Unit Study Q.
9. Memo, Lt Col James Stack, Asst Exec OPD for Gps & Secs, OPD, 31 Mar 45, sub: Establishment of Pan-American Gp, OPD, OPD 321.19 OPD, 86. For the significance of the organization of American Section and Pan-American Group see Ch. XVI.
10. The volume of business handled by the Theater Group corresponded fairly closely with the development and degree of activity of the overseas commands. Theater Group officers in 1944, OPD calculated, spent an average of 62 hours a week on the job, while S&P officers reported an average of 66, that is, eleven hours a day, six days a week. Memo, Exec OPD for Maj Gen Handy, 21 May 44, sub: Offs on Dy in Washington, OPD 210.3, 279. The Logistics Group simply informed its officers in 1943: "Working Hours--This group will function seven days a week. Officers will be available for duty twenty four hours a day." Memo, Exec Logistics Gp for All Sec Chiefs, Logistics Gp, 28 Apr 43, sub: SOP No. 1, OPD 321.19 OPD, 5. Cf. memo, Chief Logistics Gp for Exec OPD, 14 May 43, sub: 24 Hr Dy, OPD 321.19 OPD, 7.
11. Detailed illustrations or evidence in support of generalizations about personnel and personnel policy are not included in this chapter. For such material, extensively documented, see OPD Hist Unit Study X.
12. Pers Authorization 5, Chief Pers & Adm, OCS for OPD, 25 Aug 45, OPD 210.3, 152/27.
13. OPD consistently had a larger staff than the other General Staff Divisions combined. For instance, in March 1944 OPD had an authorized strength of 179 commissioned officers while the combined G's (G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4) had 100. See memo, Maj James Stack for Col Gailey, 20 Mar 44, sub: Allocation of Commissioned Grs to OPD, Paper 418, Book 16, Exec 9. As of January 1945 OPD had 190 officers authorized, while the four G's were allotted 159. See Summary Sheet, Chief Pers, & Adm, OCS for Col H. I. Hodes, 6 Jan 45, sub: Off Strength--Atzd & Actual, WDGS & WDSS, WDCSA 320.21, 66.
14. Statements about officer authorizations are based on information in the following table prepared from documents issued on the dates listed:
Percentages of Field Grades Allocated to OPD
in Total Authorized Commissioned Officer Strength
Percent Percent Percent (1) 1 Apr 42 24.3 37.3 30.8 107 (2) 17 Aug 42 22.8 35.8 32.7 162 (3) 21 Apr 43 24.0 35.1 37.0 162 (4) 20 Sep 43 28.3 42.7 26.5 173 (5) 15 Mar 44 28.4 43.0 26.2 179 (6) 21 Sep 44 38.2 40.3 18.3 191 (7) 5 Apr 45 38.9 39.4 18.9 190 (8) 25 Aug 45 41.4 39.8 15.5 193a General officer grades were not usually included in allocations of officers prior to 1944. After the beginning of 1944, allotments of officers above the grade of lieutenant colonel were issued in a bulk allotment of colonels, and assignment of general officers correspondingly decreased the allocation of colonels.
b Total strength includes a few captains and lieutenants. Consequently, percentages in the field grades do not total 100 percent.
15. For a statement to this effect, see memo, OPD for G-1, 21 Apr 43, sub: Readjustment in Almt of Offs, OPD 210.3, 152;3.
16. After a promotion study made by G-1 in the summer of 1944, promotions in the AUS (Air Corps) under Public Law 455 were discontinued for all but exceptional cases, and officers holding rank in AUS (Air Corps) higher than Army of the United States were given equivalent AUS rank. To prevent a complete block in promotions for other than Army Air Forces officers, allocations were provided to the divisions to adjust these grades. This policy change gave OPD 17 colonel's positions in lieu of 8 lieutenant colonels, 8 majors, and 1 captain.
17. Memo, Lt Gen McNarney, DCofS for G-1, G-3, G-4, OPD, and three major commands, 1 Jan 44, sub: Changes in Supply Procedure & Supply Levels, WDCSA 400 (1 Jan 44), 1.
18. Memo, Col Gailey for Brig Gen Handy, 27 Dec 43, sub: Pers Matters, OPD 210.3, 224.
19. Draft memo, OPD for G-1, 10 Aug 44, sub: RA Fld Offs of Grd Arms Not Under AGF Jurisdiction, OPD 210.3, 315.
20. For a statement of officer shortages in field grades experienced by the Army Ground Forces, see Palmer et al, The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops, p. 133.
21. Memo, G-1 for CofS, 14 Aug 44, sub: Release of Offs to AGF, OPD 210.3, 315.
22. (1) Memo, Col Gailey, Exec OPD for Brig Gens C.A. Russell, P.H. Tansey, F.N. Roberts, and Thomas North, 16 Aug 44, no sub, Paper 12, Item 9, Exec 2. (2) List, Roster of Offs, OPD, on Dy Two Yrs to 31 Dec 44, Paper 3, Item 9, Exec 2.
23. Pers ltr, Maj Gen Handy to Lt Gen Devers, 30 Aug 44, Paper 22, Item 9, Exec 2.
24. For statistics and names of officers, see: (1) List, OPD Offs Who Have Been Permanently Assigned to O'Seas Ts (14 Mar 44), Paper 401, Book 16, Exec 9; (2) memo, unsigned, for Col Gailey, 15 May 44, no sub, Paper 707, Book 18, Exec 9; (3) draft memo, OPD for G-1, 10 Aug 44, sub: RA Fld Offs of Grd Arms Not Under AGF Jurisdiction, OPD 210.3, 315.
25. Civ Pers Br OCS, Civ Pers Instruction 5 A, 25 May 43, Compensatory Time Off in Lieu of O'time Pay for Civ Employees, OPD 230, 48.
26. The prospects of wartime appointees to clerical positions in the War Department and other "old line agencies" of the federal government were very limited since there was a tendency in these agencies to keep civil service grade ratings close to the familiar, prewar standards, whereas the shortage of good clerical personnel and recognition of the increasing cost of living in wartime Washington caused the newer war agencies to inflate job classifications in terms of permanent civil service grades to a level considerably higher than the prewar average.
27. (1) Memo, Lt Gen McNarney, DCofS for ACofS OPD, 40 Apr 43, sub: Enl Men on Dy in WD, 0PD 220.3 Hq Det, GHQ, 26. (2) Remarks of DCofS in min of Gen Council meetings, 29 Mar 43, DCofS rcds. Nineteen of these men were on duty in the Office of Chief of Staff but were supervised by OPD.
28. (1) Pers charts, 1944-45, Paper 2, Item 2B, OPD Hist Unit file. (2) Cf. Civ Pers directory, 10 Jul 43, OPD 230, 54.
29. The replacement of combat qualified enlisted men in OPD was not actually completed until July 1944. See memo, Maj James Stack, Asst Exec OPD for Maj H.H. Kidwell, 2 Jul 44, no sub, OPD 321.19 OPD, 52.
30. (1) Handwritten memo, Maj James Stack for Exec OPD, 30 Jul 43, sub: WAC Det OPD, WDGS, OPD 220.3 WAC Det OPD, 1. (2) Memo, Col W. T. Sexton for Lt Gen McNarney, 2 Aug 43, no sub, WDCSA 291.9 (31 Jul 43).
31. As of 31 August 1945, OPD's secretariat was made up of 109 enlisted women, 105 civilian employees, 123 enlisted men, and 17 warrant officers, a total of 354. See pers chart, 30 Aug 45, Paper 2, Item 2B, OPD Hist Unit file.
32. These statements about the secretariat are approximate since no systematic reporting of strength for enlisted men, enlisted women, and civilians was made before June 1944.
33. For developments in joint strategic planning, see Ch. XIII.
34. WDGS Cir 5-5, 4 Oct 44.
35. Ibid. In May 1945 the S&P executive office became responsible for implementation, and in August the responsibilities for policy matters within S&P were divided between two sections, the Policy Section and a new politico-military section, the Strategic Policy Section. See Ch. XVI.
36. This subcommittee might be ad hoc but usually was the Joint War Plans Committee, which replaced the old Joint Strategic Committee in April 1943. See Ch. XIII.
37. ABC 381 Strategy Sec Papers (7 Jan 43). Besides the Strategy Section studies, S&P assembled "books" for ready reference during the international military conferences convened by the President and the Prime Minister. See Ch. XII.
38. For joint study of postwar problems, see Ch. XVI.
39. Memo, Brig Gen G.A. Lincoln for author, 3 Dec 47, sub: Hist of OPD, OPD Hist Unit Comments file. General Lincoln's careful generalizations on S&P have been extremely helpful in describing the work of this group, of which he was chief during the later part of the war. In every case they have been substantiated by research in the appropriate records.
40. See Ch. XVI.
41. WD Cir 134, 8 Apr 44, sub: WDGS OPD, Responsibility for Strategic and Operational Plans. The circular read:
- In accordance with AR 10-15, the Operations Division, War Department General Staff, is charged, in general, with those duties of the War Department General Staff which relate to formulation of plans and strategic direction of the military forces in the theater(s) of war. It is specifically charged with the strategic employment of the Army of the United States.
- In extension of these regulations, the Operations Division, War Department General Staff, will be the custodian of future strategic and operational plans involving the Army of the United States. It will be the responsibility of the Operations Division to develop and keep current these plans, when appropriate, in conjunction with the proper joint and combined agencies, and also to furnish the necessary guidance to all other agencies of the War Department, including other divisions of the General and Special Staff and the Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces, to enable them to conduct their future planning on the same common basis.
- No agency of the War Department other than the Operations Division, War Department General Staff, is authorized to give official guidance or interpretations on future strategic or operational plans.
- In order that a steady flow of essential operational planning information may be maintained between the Operations Division, War Department General Staff, and other major agencies of the War Department, these other agencies will maintain liaison with the Operations Division. Requests for information involving strategic guidance or interpretation, however, will be forwarded through channels. Such requests will be forwarded to the Operations Division by the heads of the staff divisions and of Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces only, who will be responsible for transmitting this guidance to their subordinate agencies.
42. Memo, Maj Gen Handy for Gp Chiefs, 21 Apr 44, sub: WD Cir 134, Sec VII, dated 8 Apr 44, Paper 13, Item 2B, OPD Hist Unit file. This memorandum established the basic policy that "data relating to approved operational plans may be furnished orally and informally to designated liaison officers of other agencies in the War Department, whereas requests involving the opinion of the Operations Division on other than approved operations must be reduced to writing."
43. (1) See Chart No. 4, p. 193. (2) For sectional reorganization within Theater Group, 1943-45, see OPD Hist Unit Study R.
44. (1) WDGS Cir 5-5, 4 Oct 44. (2) For liaison activities, see Ch. XVI.
46. OPD Theater Gp roster, 16 Mar 44, Paper 16, Item 2B, OPD Hist Unit file.
47. Security consciousness in OPD was so well established by the end of the war that the author and associate historians, though explicitly authorized by the Chief of Staff and the OPD chief to see all War Department files, had many administrative battles with the executive office and the record room before officers in charge became convinced that the chief of OPD had really meant that anyone, particularly a civilian, should see everything in Division files. While the historians found most of the staff members extremely co-operative, the policy of tight security was very strong.
48. (1) WD Cir 37, 20 Feb 43. (2) WD Cir 91, 29 Feb 44. The effective date for the new classifications was 15 March 1944. (3) The message center had established a separate file, later incorporated in the Top Secret OPD Message File, as early as May 1942 (19 April 1942 for CM-IN and 12 May 1942 for CM-OUT).
49. For establishment of "Eyes Only" procedure, see book msg, Gen Marshall for comdrs, 24 Jul 42, CM-OUT 7028-7068.
50. (1) Memo Joint Security Contl for WD ACsofS, et al., 12 Mar 43, sub: Security Contl on "BIGOT" Correspondence From and to CG, North African T of Opns, Case 32, Item 1A, Exec 3. (2) BIGOT msg (originator OPD), Gen Marshall for Gen Eisenhower 8 Mar 43, CM-OUT 2786, Item 12, Exec 3. (3) BIGOT msg, Gen Eisenhower for AGWAR, 10 Mar 43, CM-IN 5209.
51. (1) Memo, Lt Col L.E. Smith, Chief OPD Msg Cen for Exec OPD, 16 Jun 44, no sub, OPD 210.3, 302. Colonel Smith was requesting an increase in personnel. (2) Cf. OPD Msg file. (3) Cf. Sp Rpt on Msg Cen, 48, Item 14, OPD Hist Unit file. For OPD action cases as a whole, including messages as well as other correspondence, see table compiled by the P&O record room, Paper 4, Item 2B, OPD Hist Unit file.
52. The assault phase of the 1944 operation was finally called NEPTUNE, but the general plan remained under the name OVERLORD.
53. Palmer, et al, The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops, p. 580. The study here cited was written by Maj. B.I. Wiley.
54. (1) Informal memo, Maj Gen Handy for Brig Gen Hull, 7 Apr 43, Paper 52, Book 8, Exec 8. (2) Cf. memo, Maj Gen Handy, no addressee, 7 Apr 43, sub: Instructions From Gen Marshall Prior to Departure, Paper 51, Book 8, Exec 8.
55. Memo, Brig Gen Hull for Col Roberts, 3 Jun 43 no sub Paper 21, Book 10, Exec 9. General Hull remarked of the BOLERO Combined Committee: "It is somewhat different from a planning committee in that it spends all of its time on implementing things, finding out how to get more shipping and whether or not a British ACV [Auxiliary Aircraft Carrier] could be made available to transport some aircraft, and countless things of this nature." He further noted:
The European Theater Section itself will implement many of the agreed decisions. The British shipping member will implement many of them. A U.S. Navy member will also implement many of them. In some cases, and this is the exception to the rule in my opinion, the Combined Subjects Section will implement them; but if all of its business is transmitted through the Combined Subjects Section, it unnecessarily loads that section down with work which can be informally handled by the Chief of the European Theater Section. We must get away from the idea that this Committee is a high-level, formal-type committee.