On 8 July the War Department operations staff estimated that a decision "on any emergency operations in the European Theater in 1942" could not be long postponed and that it must come "not later than August 1."1 On the same day the British War Cabinet made a move toward a decision, a move that resulted almost automatically. from its action four weeks before (11 June), when it had declared, with reference to SLEDGEHAMMER:
The Elimination of the Alternatives
(a) We should not attempt any major landing on the Continent this year unless we intended to stay there;
(b) All plans and preparations for "SLEDGEHAMMER" should be pressed forward with the greatest vigor, on the understanding that the operation would not be launched, except in conditions which held out a good prospect of success;
(c) The Chiefs of Staff should have authority to ask for the necessary shipping to be taken up for "SLEDGEHAMMER" on the 1st July, without further reference to the War Cabinet.
The Prime Minister in June had further defined the conditions for launching SLEDGEHAMMER in a statement of two principles, "generally approved" by the War Cabinet:
No substantial landing in France in 1942 unless we are going to stay; and no substantial landing in France unless the Germans are demoralized by failure against Russia.2
In view of these declarations (the basis of the Prime Minister's eloquent appeal to the President), the British Chiefs of Staff found themselves, by 1 July, in the curious position of having authority to mount an operation that their government evidently did not intend to launch. To prepare themselves against this situation they had on 24 June asked the Minister of War Transport to submit by 1 July an estimate of the cost of withdrawing ships for use in SLEDGEHAMMER. On 30 June they received the report, which estimated that it would mean tying up some 250,000 tons of shipping and analyzed the consequences for the British shipping program.3 At the same time the British Chiefs received a report they had requested from Admiral Mountbatten, who pointed out that to mount SLEDGEHAMMER would tic up all landing craft in the British Isles and all his instructors trained in landing operations. It would thus not only rule out large-scale raids on the French coast but
also Suspend amphibious training for all forces not assigned to SLEDGEHAMMER. The result would be to slow down preparations for landings in 1943. The one justification for mounting the operation, in the judgment of Mountbatten, would be a fixed intention of actually carrying out SLEDGEHAMMER.4
Against the disadvantages of mounting an operation so very unlikely to be launched, the British Chiefs of Staff weighed the advantages:
In the first place, our preparations are bound to keep the Germans guessing. They may not force them to withdraw troops from their Eastern Front, but they are unlikely to weaken their Western Front, particularly in air forces. Secondly, the mounting of "SLEDGEHAMMER" will be a useful dress rehearsal for "ROUND-UP," especially for Commanders and Staffs.
But they concluded that beyond question the disadvantages outweighed the advantages, and declared: "If we were free agents, we could not recommend that the operation should be mounted." They ended by stating the limitations on British freedom of action--the cautious declaration on SLEDGEHAMMER given in flay to Molotov, and the compromise directive on future plans worked out in Washington in June. They pointed out that if the War Cabinet should decide not to mount SLEDGEHAMMER, the Soviet Government would soon discover that preparations were not going ahead, and that, whatever the decision, it would he necessary to reopen the question at once with the U.S. Government.5
The British Government soon acted on the recommendation of its Chiefs of Staff. On 8 July the Joint Staff Mission in Washington received notification of the decision taken not to mount SLEDGEHAMMER and of the hope expressed by the War Cabinet that the United States would agree to the invasion of north Africa.6
The stated British objections to SLEDGEHAMMER had a great deal of force. The heavy odds against successful landings in France in 1942 and the great cost of mounting a purely contingent operation were indeed fundamental objections, which could have been urged with telling effect against it when Marshall first proposed it. The risks and costs were obviously great. Had the British in April refused, therefore, to plan for a contingent operation, as part of the whole scheme General Marshall proposed, it would of course have been open to the War Department to join the Army Department and the Pacific commands in advising the President that the United States should not assume the risks involved in diverting available forces from the Pacific. The War Department operations staff had so recommended. In the words used by General Eisenhower to conclude his exposition of the manifold reasons for single-minded concentration of Army forces in the British Isles:
The Pacific Alternative
WPD further believes that, unless this plan is adopted as the eventual aim of all our efforts, we must turn our backs upon the Eastern
Atlantic and go, full out, as quickly as possible, against Japan!7
In July the alternative to go "full out, as quickly as possible" against Japan still remained. It would greatly lessen the dangers perpetuated and the tensions created by Army deployment policy in the Pacific. On 10 July Marshall proposed this alternative. When the JCS met that afternoon he read the dispatch from the British War Cabinet announcing the decision not to mount SLEDGEHAMMER. He did not touch on the reasons given by the British for the decision, but passed at once to the two questions raised by the decision: (a) should the United States agree to invade North Africa (b) did the British really want to invade the continent in 1943 Marshall repeated his objections to GYMNAST as an operation "expensive and ineffectual" and his conviction "that it was impossible to carry out SLEDGEHAMMER or ROUNDUP without full aggressive British support." He then proposed a momentous change in strategy, which would at once rule out the North African operation and settle the basis for future collaboration with the British: "If the British position must be accepted, he proposed that the U.S. should turn to the Pacific for decisive action against Japan." He went on to list the military and political advantages that (as MacArthur had already pointed out) would attend. this course of action:
He added that this would tend to concentrate rather than to scatter U.S. forces; that it would be highly popular throughout the U.S., particularly on the West Coast; that the Pacific War Council, the Chinese, and the personnel of the Pacific Fleet would all be in hearty accord: and that, second only to BOLERO. it would be the operation which would have the greatest effect towards relieving the pressure on Russia.8
Admiral King, of course, was ready to make common cause with Marshall. He repeated his own objection to GYMNAST" that is was impossible to fulfill naval commitments in other theaters and at the same time to provide the shipping and escorts, which would be essential should that operation be undertaken." Admiral Towers supplemented the case against GYMNAST by declaring that the transfer of aircraft carriers from the Pacific to the Atlantic for GYMNAST would result in a "most unfavorable" disposition of forces. King also expressed doubt of the British intentions, declaring
. . . that, in his opinion. the British had never been in wholehearted accord with operations on the continent as proposed by the U.S. He said that. in the European theater, we must fight the Germans effectively to win, and that any departure from full BOLERO plans would result in failure to accomplish this purpose.
Lt. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney in turn observed that. "in his opinion, the R.A.F. was not enthusiastic over BOLERO."9
Admiral King readily agreed to join Marshall in submitting to the President (with minor modifications) a memorandum that Marshall had already drawn up expounding his case. It first presented the argument against GYMNAST:
Our view is that the execution of GYMNAST, even if found practicable, means definitely no BOLERO-SLEDGEHAMMER in 1942 and that it will definitely curtail if not make impossible the execution of BOLERO-ROUNDUP in the Spring of 1943. We are strongly of the opinion that GYMNAST would be both indecisive
and a heavy drain on our resources, and that if we undertake it, we would nowhere be acting decisively against the enemy and would definitely jeopardize our naval position in the Pacific.
The memorandum passed to a recommendation that the President should urge the Prime Minister "that we go through with full BOLERO plans and that we attempt no other operation which would detract from this major effort." The memorandum stated the consequences of British unwillingness to go ahead with BOLERO:
Neither SLEDGEHAMMER nor ROUNDUP can be carried out without full and whole-hearted British support. They must of necessity furnish a large part of the forces. Giving up all possibility of SLEDGEHAMMER in 1942 not only voids our commitments to Russia, but either of the proposed diversions, namely Jupiter and GYMNAST, will definitely operate to delay and weaken readiness for ROUNDUP in 1943.
Finally, the memorandum offered an alternative course to be followed should the President fail to persuade the Prime Minister:
If the United States is to engage in any other operation than forceful, unswerving adherence to full BOLERO plans, we are definitely of the opinion that we should turn to the Pacific and strike decisively against Japan; in other words assume a defensive attitude against Germany, except for air operations: and use all available means in the Pacific. Such action would not only be definite and decisive against one of our principal enemies, but would bring concrete aid to the Russians in case Japan attacks them.10
At the same time General Marshall independently drew up a more informal summary of his reasoning, which concluded with a plain statement of his aim:
I believe that we should now put the proposition tip to the British on a very definite basis and leave the decision to them. It must be made at once. My object is again to force the British into acceptance of a concentrated effort against Germany, and if this proves impossible, to turn immediately to the Pacific with strong forces and drive for a decision against Japan.11
Marshall's reasoning was a consistent extension of the very reasoning that had led the War Department to propose the concentration of Army forces in the British Isles. The War Department's aim was to commit the bulk of U.S. Army forces to one main front at a time, and thereby to realize the advantages of long-range planning over a single main line of overseas communication. The War Department had adopted this approach on the assumption that in order to defeat either Germany or Japan it would probably be necessary to defeat very large German and Japanese forces on their home soil. For the War Department, the danger in opening an additional front was to be measured, not in terms of the combat units
initially committed, but in terms of the ultimate effect on the employment of manpower, and specifically on the Army troop basis. "Concentrating" Army forces in the Pacific was in every way an inferior line of play to concentrating them in the British Isles (for all the reasons that the staff had listed in February and March), but the military staffs assumed it must be done sooner or later, and it was hence a development more desirable than the opening of a main offensive front in the Mediterranean--a development that the War Department (and the Navy Department) hoped entirely to avoid.
Upon receiving the proposal, the President, who was then at Hyde Park, telephoned to ask General Marshall and Admiral King to prepare a full exposition of "your Pacific Ocean alternative" and send it to him that afternoon by plane. He wanted:
. . . a detailed comprehensive outline of the plans, including estimated time and overall totals of ships, planes, and ground forces. Also, any proposed withdrawal of existing or proposed use of ships, planes, and ground forces in the Atlantic.
Finally, he wanted to be advised of the probable effect of the change on the defense of the Soviet Union and the Middle East.12
The answer, signed by all three members of the JCS, began by acknowledging that there was no plan to cover the case, adding that though the staffs were at work, it would take them some time to draw one up. After alluding to the projected landings in the Solomons, the hope of extending the operation into New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, and the limitations that had affected these plans, the memorandum traced the lines of advance from the South and Southwest Pacific--either "northward along the TRUK-GUAM-SAIPAN line" or "northwestward through the Malay barrier and Borneo to the Philippines" or along both lines--and mentioned the possibility of operations from China and (in case of war between Japan and the USSR) from Siberia.
The memorandum then explained, in simple terms, the effect on the disposition of forces and shipping. The effect on naval strength in the Atlantic would be small, mainly to allow for "some strengthening of anti-submarine measures." The effect on Army deployment would be great. The only ground forces to be moved across the North Atlantic would be two divisions to the British Isles and 15,000 troops to Iceland, to fulfill commitments made at the ARCADIA Conference. The air forces set up for BOLERO would be cut back by two thirds, leaving only eighteen out of fifty-two groups due to be sent to the British Isles. There would be a correspondingly great reduction in service forces.
The shift to the Pacific would cut the rate of Army deployment. Even if all the shipping allocated to BOLERO--half of which was British shipping--were made available for use in the Pacific, the number of troops that could be transported (with equipment) each month would be cut from 100,000 to about 40,000. The greater distance, any withdrawal of British shipping, and the lack of developed Pacific bases would all limit the rate at which forces could be put into action in the Pacific. Accordingly, some air units would be held in the United States and Alaska in readiness for operations in Siberia. It was as yet too soon to plan long-range ground force deployment. The short-term plan was to
divert at once to the Pacific airborne and parachute units and the three trained amphibious divisions set up for BOLERO, and additional troops as necessary to garrison positions seized from the Japanese.
The memorandum concluded with a statement of the effect of the shift on the active fronts. On the Eastern Front it would be unfavorable, but might be counterbalanced by a favorable effect on the tar Eastern Front, in case of war between the USSR and Japan. The effect of the shift on the position in the Diddle East would he small, although the change was likely to have some indirect effect by drawing the attention of the Japanese away from India.13
Early in the morning of the next day (Monday, 13 July) General Marshall asked the War Department for an analysis of what GYMNAST might cost and what it might accomplish, and for the answer to several questions concerning the Pacific alternative:
What is there in the outline of the Pacific plan prepared on Sunday, July 12, that might be compromised in favor of providing more means to the United Kingdom?
What would be the effect of the Pacific plan on allocation of landing craft? What has already gone to England? What can or should be sent to the Pacific including Alaska?
What was the effect of the cut in the estimated production of landing craft for vehicles? 1s that cut definite and final or could the situation be improved?
Is the landing craft already sent to England sufficient for commando operations?
If the British give us tonnage, can we afford to send than more divisions If so, how many?
What changes in schedule of airplane deliveries would be effected by a change in the Pacific plan? Figure out on a time basis what the schedule of delivery of airplanes would be to England and to the Pacific area.14
Marshall wanted the answers before Thursday, 16 July.15 The planning staff of SOS went to work at once to prepare a statement of requirements and resources for a major deployment against Japan over the remaining nine months covered by the BOLERO plan (July 1942-March 1943).16 The statement, submitted by Somervell on 14 July, was calculated on the diversion from BOLERO to the war against Japan of all but thirteen air groups (out of fifty-three), all but two divisions (out of fourteen; and most of the service troops:
Siberia and Alaska 15 1 (Alaska) 19,500 Hawaii 5 1 3,600 Fijis 2 -- 1,400 New Caledonia 2 2 19,400 Australia 14 5 74,400 India 2 3 46,400 TOTALS 40 12 164,700
Somervell measured roughly how far it would be possible to carry out the shift to the Pacific with the statement that the backlog of units built up in the United States, for lack of ships to move and supply them,
would require an additional construction program for approximately 400,000 troops. Under the Pacific alternative, as under the BOLERO plan, the limiting factor was likely to be the amount of cargo shipping available. He estimated that the lack of cargo shipping during the period might cut back, by perhaps 100,000 men, deployment for which troop shipping would be available, although, as he remarked in closing, no forecast of available cargo shipping for so many months ahead could be very accurate.17
As it turned out, General Marshall had no occasion to go into the details of the Pacific plan with the President, nor to reargue the case against GYMNAST, of which the operations staff, as instructed, prepared a new version.18 On 14 July the President sent word to Marshall that he did not approve the Pacific alternative, that he would confer with him Wednesday morning (15 July) and probably with all the members of the JCS in the afternoon, and that he had "definitely" decided to send him with Admiral King and Mr. Hopkins to London "immediately" (if possible on Thursday, 16 July).19 At the meeting of the JCS on the afternoon of 14 July Marshall read the message. General Wedemeyer took notes on the discussion that followed:
. . it was indicated that unquestionably the President would require military operations in Africa. The relative merits of operations in Africa, in Northwest Africa, and in the Middle East were discussed. All agreed to the many arguments previously advanced among military men in the Army and Navy that operations in the Pacific would be the alternative if SLEDGEHAMMER or BOLERO were not accepted wholeheartedly by the British. However, there was an acceptance that apparently our political system would require major operations this year in Africa.20
The President objected to the very idea of delivering an ultimatum to the British. He made this perfectly clear to Stimson and Marshall upon his return to Washington on the 15th.21 He also held that it would be a mistake to try to defeat Japan first. He thought it would be impracticable until the U.S. Navy had been greatly strengthened.22 He also held it would be uneconomical to try to defeat Japan first, for much the same reason that the War Department held a Mediterranean offensive to be uneconomical--that it would not contribute to the defeat of Germany and would be unnecessary after the defeat of Germany. On 16 July he stated this view formally in his instructions to Hopkins, Marshall, and King on their mission to London:
9. I am opposed to an American all-out effort in the Pacific against Japan with the view to her defeat as quickly as possible. It is of the utmost importance that we appreciate that defeat of Japan does not defeat Germany and that American concentration against Japan this year or in 1943 increases the chance of complete German domination
of Europe and Africa. On the other hand, it is obvious that defeat of Germany, or the holding of Germany in 1942 or in 1943 means probable, eventual defeat of Germany in the European and African theatres and in the Near East. Defeat of Germany means the defeat of Japan, probably without firing a shot or losing a life.23
The President, on his return to Washington on 15 July, indicated that, as the JCS had inferred, he would require operations of some kind in Africa in case the British would not agree to carry out SLEDGEHAMMER. Of the various alternatives the JCS had discussed, he was apparently rather inclined to favor the reinforcement of the Middle Fast by several American divisions. On 15 July he gave General Marshall a preliminary statement of points to govern the negotiations in London. The first page of the President's outline read as follows:
The Eastern Front and the Alternatives
1. Proceed with SLEDGEHAMMER & stay in France if we can.
2. Get all U.S. Troops in action as quickly as possible.
3. Proceed in all other theater., as now planned.
4. Keep up aid to Russia but via Basra.
The second page read:
1. Abandon SLEDGEHAMMER 1942.
2. Slow up BOLERO 1943 for the coming three months.
3. Take all planes now headed from U.S. to England & reroute them to (a) Middle East & Egypt (majority) (b) S.W. Pacific (minority) .
4. Send 5 divisions to England slowly.
5. Send 5 divisions to Middle East fast.
6. Speed up BOLERO preparations by October--so that BOLERO ROUNDUP will be ready April 1943.
7. Keep up aid to Russia, but via Basra.24
Some of these points the War Department staff incorporated in a draft of instructions for the conference, which Maj. Gen. Thomas T. Handy and General Marshall in turn revised. The draft was addressed to Marshall and King (not Hopkins).25 The effect of the instructions proposed by the War Department, had the President adopted them, would have been simply to rule out any change in American commitments, or any action by American ground forces (aside from raids) across the Atlantic in 1942, except in case a collapse of Soviet resistance seemed imminent. The effect would also have been, in any event, to rule out operations against French North Africa. In short, the War Department proposed to stand pat.
The President was willing to give his representatives in London one more chance to persuade the British to undertake a cross Channel operation in 1942, but not to put off a decision on an alternative operation across the Atlantic in case the Prime Minister held his ground. The President appreciated the doubts of his military leaders that the Prime '.Minister might not be any more willing to undertake an American style cross-Channel operation in 1943 than
The President on the Alternatives
ALTERNATE SETS OF SUGGESTIONS, IN PRESIDENT'S HANDWRITING, given to General Marshall on 15 July 1942 to govern the negotiations at the London conference. This was a rough draft; the final instructions were given to the American delegates the following day.
in 1942, whatever his present professions.26 But he was not disposed to resolve these doubts by means of an ultimatum, which would indeed have been ill-adapted to the purpose of securing the "full," "wholehearted" collaboration of the proud leader of a great people.27 Besides, he agreed with the Prime Minister that a diversion to the Mediterranean would not rule out a cross Channel operation in 1943.28 Finally, his willingness to take a chance on future British intentions and on the consequences of a diversion from BOLERO was reinforced by his own determination to get "action" across the Atlantic, which he asked for in his instructions to Hopkins, Marshall, and King: "It is of the highest importance that U.S. ground troops be brought into action against the enemy in 1942."29
Even these instructions did not in so many words "require military operations in Africa." Instead, the President simply required that his emissaries in London should reach a decision. The inclusion of Mr. Hopkins as a member of the mission itself indicated that the mission had plenary powers, and the President inserted after the formal opening sentence a second paragraph, which explicitly stated the theme of decision:
2. The military and naval strategic changes have been so great since Mr. Churchill's visit to Washington that it becomes necessary to reach immediate agreement on joint operational plans between the British and ourselves along two lines:
(a) Definite plans for the balance of 1942.
(b) Tentative plans for the year 1943. . . .
The President then proceeded to eliminate the central idea of the draft instructions that decisions should be left contingent on the outcome of operations on the Eastern Front. The first step in making the change was to introduce at once (as paragraph 3) the statement of principles that had appeared in the draft instructions as a basis for investigating the courses of action open "in the event Russian collapse becomes probable":
3. (a) The common aim of the United Nations must be the defeat of the Axis Powers. There cannot be compromise on this point.
(b) We should concentrate our efforts and avoid dispersion.
(c) Absolute coordinated use of British and American forces is essential.
(d) All available U.S. and British forces should be brought into action as quickly as they can be profitably used.
(e) It is of the highest importance that U.S. ground troops be brought into action against the enemy in 1942.30
A second step was to rephrase the policy to be followed in supplying the USSR. In place of the bare reference to the continuation of shipments via the Persian Gulf and the suspension of the northern convoys, the President introduced a statement of good hopes and good intentions:
4. British and American materiel promises to Russia must be carried out in good faith. If the Persian route of delivery is used, preference must be given to combat material. This aid must continue as long as delivery is possible and Russia must be encouraged to continue resistance. Only complete collapse, which seems unthinkable, should alter this determination on our part.31
A third step was to restate the draft provision with reference to SLEDGEHAMMER, which the American representatives were still to urge, but not as a contingent operation; they were instead directed (in paragraph 5) : "You should strongly urge immediate all-out preparations for it, that it be pushed with utmost vigor, and that it be executed whether or not Russian collapse becomes imminent."32 A fourth change was in the provision for discussions in London in case the American representatives should conclude (and inform the President) that SLEDGEHAMMER was "impossible of execution with reasonable chances of serving its intended purposes." The President's own statement of his views was not that the two nations in that case should go ahead with plans for ROUNDUP so long as it looked as if the Red Army could contain large German forces, but instead:
7. If SLEDGEHAMMER IS finally and definitely out of the picture, I want you to consider the world situation as it exists at that time, and determine upon another place for U.S. Troops to fight in 1942.33
The passages that followed did not explicitly limit the choice of "another place" for an operation in 1942. Instead, the President simply passed to the point that a cross-Channel operation in 1943 would apparently depend on the outcome of operations on the Eastern Front, and thence to the declaration (in paragraph 8) The Middle East should be held as strongly as possible whether Russia collapses or not." After calling attention to the numerous consequences of the loss of the Middle East, he concluded:
(8) You will determine the best methods of holding the Middle East. These methods include definitely either or both of the following:
(a) Sending aid and ground forces to the Persian Gulf, to Syria and to Egypt.
(b) A new operation in Morocco and Algiers intended to drive in against the backdoor of Rommel's armies. The attitude of French Colonial troops is still in doubt.
The President then made his formal declaration of opposition to the Pacific alternative,
and closed with the following admonitions:
10. Please remember three cardinal principles--speed of decision on plans, unity of plans, attack combined with defense but nest defense alone. This affects the immediate objective of U.S. ground forces fighting against Germans in 1942.
11. I hope for total agreement within one week of your arrival.34
The President's representatives arrived in London on Saturday, 18 July. They first conferred with the Americans stationed there--Admiral Stark, Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, and General Spaatz. During the first three days of their meetings with the British in London (20-22 July) they tried to persuade the British Chiefs of Staff of the merits of a revised version of SLEDGEHAMMER that had been hurriedly worked up by General Eisenhower's staff--an operation to secure a foothold on the Cotentin (Cherbourg) peninsula. They urged in its favor the good effect at the very least of heartening the Soviet Government by giving concrete evidence of an intention to engage a part of the German Army at the first moment, and the advantage of having a starting point for operations in 1943. By accepting the objective of securing a "permanent" lodgment on the Continent, on which the British Government had insisted, they evaded the chief political objection of the Prime Minister only to run directly into the most forcible objections of his Chiefs of Staff. In short, they had at last to face the fact that the British Government, in requiring permanent landings, had set a condition that the British Chiefs of Staff believed to be impossible to satisfy. On 22 July, at a conference attended by the Prime Minister and his principal military leaders and advisers, the American representatives acknowledged defeat.35
They reported the impasse to the President, who owned that he was not altogether surprised and agreed that the matter might as well be dropped. He directed them to settle with the British on one of five alternatives, listing them in order of preference: (1) a British-American operation against French North Africa (either Algeria or Morocco or both); (2) an entirely American operation against French Morocco (GYMNAST); (3) combined operations against northern Norway (JUPITER); (4) the reinforcement of Egypt; (5) the reinforcement of Iran.36
In view of the persistence with which General Marshall had argued the case against GYMNAST, and the readiness with which he had modified his opposition to sending American forces to Egypt, it would have been consistent for him at this point to propose sending more American forces to the Middle East. The latest instructions he had from the President still listed it as an acceptable course of action. It was also the course that the War Department operations staff had recommended. In the series of briefs compiled on 15 July, the staff had compared the advantages and disadvantages of the two courses of action. The advantages of GYMNAST were that it would have a "shorter and more secure line of communication," would remove the threat of German operations in the South Atlantic, and would furnish bases for air operations in the Mediterranean. The disadvantages were that it involved opposed landings, without adequate port facilities, and would have little or no direct effect on any critical front of the war. The staff's conclusion was that the lesser of the two evils would be to reinforce the Middle East.37
ROUNDUP or TORCH: CCS 94
But General Marshall and Admiral King turned away from the Middle East alternative, toward GYMNAST. They were undoubtedly influenced by a desire to avoid the political and tactical embarrassments that would unavoidably result from employing American divisions in any capacity in the Middle East.38 On this point, the Prime Minister was apparently in agreement, for unlike his Chiefs of Staff and in spite of the President's evident interest, he had never shown any desire to obtain American ground forces for the Middle East. Presumably Marshall also took account of the circumstance that a North African operation was the one operation that would have the full support of both the President and the Prime Minister--a very important consideration when it came to requisitioning ships, planes, and naval escort to cam, out an operation--and of the fact that the Allied assault forces and the Allied commander would be American.
According to Mr. Hopkins, Marshall and King turned toward GYMNAST for two reasons: "first, because of the difficulty of mixing our troops with the British in Egypt, and secondly because if we go to Syria we may not do, any fighting there."39 Their own explanation, given to the President as soon as they came back to Washington, was that they chose the alternative of operations in French North and Northwest Africa as the best line of action open in the event the Allies were compelled, by a dangerous weakening of Soviet resistance, to abandon the build-up for a strong cross-Channel attack in 1943. In their own words:
Nothing developed [in the discussions through 22 July] which changed our considered opinion that Great Britain is the only area from which the combined strength of the United Nations can be brought to bear against our principal enemy--Germany. so that no avoidable reduction in our preparation for ROUNDUP should be considered as long as there remains any reasonable possibility of its successful execution. A Russian
collapse this Fall or a termination of the present campaign leaving Russia relatively impotent and incapable of offensive action would, however, make the objective of a continental operation in 1943 impossible of attainment. In this event the United Nations are forced to a defensive, encircling. line of action against Germany for the coming year unless a crackup in German morale, of which there is no present indication, should occur unexpectedly. Combined operations against the West and Northwest Coasts of Africa for the purpose indicated above is the logical line of action in this alternative.40
Thus, in effect, General Marshall and Admiral King reverted to the characteristic feature of Marshall's initial agreement with the British Chiefs of Staff on their June visit to Washington, a feature that the President had eliminated from the draft instructions of 15 July--the idea of waiting a while to see what happened on the Eastern Front before deciding to divert forces from BOLERO.
On 24 July Marshall and King proposed this approach to the British Chiefs of Staff. They proposed in the first place to go on planning a cross-Channel operation on a large scale (ROUNDUP) to be executed by 1 July 1943. They took note of the decision that SLEDGEHAMMER, the cross-Channel operation for 1942, was "not to be undertaken as a scheduled operation." To satisfy the objections to it which had been advanced by the British staff during the previous month, they proposed that preparations for it be continued only in so far as they did not "seriously interfere with training for ROUND-UP."
In the second place, Marshall and King proposed for 1942 "a combined operation against the NORTH and NORTHWEST COAST of AFRICA," but not as a simple alternative to cross-Channel operations for the year within the framework of the accepted strategy of BOLERO. They proposed instead:
That it be understood that a commitment to this operation renders ROUNDUP, in all probability impracticable of successful execution in 1943 and therefore that we have definitely accepted a defensive, encircling line of action for the CONTINENTAL EUROPEAN THEATER, except as to air operation.
They proposed that the decision whether to abandon ROUNDUP and to accept the strategic defensive be put off till 15 September, and be made then on the basis of the probable course of the war in Russia as it would affect the prospects for successful invasion of the Continent in the first half of 1943.41
The memorandum of the American Chiefs was discussed and adopted, with amendments, by the American and British Chiefs of Staff, meeting as the CCS. Admiral Pound tended to agree with General Marshall and Admiral King that GYMNAST, as the operation in North and Northwest Africa was still called, was inconsistent with ROUNDUP. General Sir Alan Brooke and Air Marshal Portal did not agree that the two operations were inconsistent.
In the memorandum as adopted, submitted to the Prime Minister, and published as CCS 94, the statement of implications was modified so as to allow for the British view that an operation in French North Africa meant no break in the continuity of combined strategy. In this version blockade was included with air operations as an exception to the defensive strategy
involved in undertaking operations in North and Northwest Africa, and the qualifying clause was added:
. . . that the organization, planning, and training, for eventual entry in the Continent should continue so that this operation can be staged should a marked deterioration in German military strength become apparent, and the resources of the United Nations, available after meeting other commitments, so permit.42
As corollaries of the defensive strategy, if accepted, the American Chiefs proposed releasing fifteen U.S. air groups committed to BOLERO and, probably, shipping for the movement of a division to the Southwest Pacific. The British Chiefs of Staff agreed. Finally, the American Chiefs proposed and the British agreed to fix a pair of limiting dates--the latest practicable dates for launching the operation and for beginning to assemble shipping, escort, and troops. They agreed that 1 December 1942 was the latest practicable date for launching the operation; the other date was to be determined after study. Neither the memorandum as proposed, nor as adopted, nor the recorded discussion by the CCS dealt with the critical question whether this undetermined date might be earlier than 15 September, the limiting date for the decision not to undertake ROUNDUP.
The memorandum, as proposed and as adopted, specified that combined plans be worked up at once. The CCS directed the British Joint Planners to prepare an outline plan with all haste. It was agreed, as proposed by the American Chiefs, that U.S. heavy and medium bomber units in the United Kingdom would be available for the operation as needed, and that American forces committed to the operation would require British assistance. In the memorandum as proposed nothing more specific was said about British troops. In the discussion of the memorandum General Marshall stated that though assault troops should all be American, later military operations to the eastward, inside the Mediterranean, according to the American understanding, would be carried out mainly by British forces.43 A provision to this effect was incorporated by the CCS. Discussion also made it clear that all were agreed on the need to name at once a commander for the projected operation.44
Reconvening the following day (25 July), the CCS gave the code name TORCH to the operation and took up arrangements for command and for staff planning. They readily agreed on the appointment of an American TORCH commander, with headquarters in London, to be responsible to the CCS for all training and planning for TORCH and, until it should be decided to mount TORCH, for SLEDGEHAMMER-ROUNDUP as well. On his arrival, the nucleus of the commander's staff would be formed in London by a group of British and U.S. staff planners, but until the decision should actually be made to mount TORCH, he should not have operational command.45
The first report sent back by Hopkins, on 24 July, of the turn taken toward GYMNAST included a request that the President should cypress his own ideas by cable. The President at once replied in favor of landing in North Africa as soon as possible, "in order to forestall air concentrations by the Germans."46 On the same day General Marshall and Admiral King sent to the President a message transmitting the substance of their agreement with the British Chiefs of Staff (CCS 94).47
The Decision To Invade French North Africa
On 25 July, Hopkins again summoned the President's aid, this time asking the President to name a date for the invasion, not later than 30 October 1942. He explained:
Although I believe that the intention here is to mount the operation aggressively, unless the written language of the order is precise them may he difficulties when it comes to carrying out the orders by the secondary personnel.48
The President at once adopted this cavalier approach to the carefully qualified agreement embodied in CCS 94. He sent word that the target date for the landings should be not later than 30 October and asked Hopkins to tell the Prime Minister he was "delighted" the decision had been made and that orders were now "full speed ahead."49 The President called in Stimson, Admiral Leahy, General Arnold, and General McNarney and read them this message. As McNarney at once reported to Marshall, the President's decision "had been reached before we arrived and there was no discussion as to the relative merits of his decision and the plan recommended in your 625" (the message summarizing CCS 94) The President did say (as quoted by McNarney) that "he desired action and that he could see no reason why the withdrawal of a few troops in 1942 would prevent BOLERO in 1943."50
By simply ignoring CCS 94, the President created a curious situation, which the CCS recognized at their meeting on 30 July, their first meeting after the return of Marshall and King from London. Admiral Leahy, who for the first time sat as the senior American representative, opened the discussion of CCS 94 by suggesting that the date of launching TORCH should be advanced as far as possible.51 He gave it as his impression:
. . . that both the President and the Prim Minister now firmly believe that the decision to undertake TORCH has already been reached and that all preliminary arrangements are proceeding as rapidly as possible in order that the operation may be undertaken at the earliest possible date.
Sir John Dill said that he, too, understood that the decision had been made and would he carried out as quickly as possible.52 General Marshall did not consider the final decision
to have been made.53 He carefully brought the discussion back to the thesis he and Admiral King had posed--that a decision to mount TORCH would be a decision to abandon ROUNDUP. He was now trying simply to get the President and the Prime Minister to acknowledge that this was so, and not to evade or postpone a decision. He stated that the staff was now at work on a study "of all implications of TORCH with a view toward recommending that the operation be launched at the earliest possible moment." He conceded that a decision between TORCH and ROUNDUP should come "almost immediately because of the logistic considerations involved"--specifically the conversion of ships for combat loading, which, according to a "flash estimate" by the staff, would mean a lapse of over three months (ninety-six days) between a decision and the landings in Africa. Since a decision could not be postponed till mid-September, it would not take the form of a decision to abandon ROUNDUP and, as a corollary, to undertake TORCH. Instead it would take the form of a decision to undertake TORCH and, as a corollary, to abandon ROUNDUP.54
Admiral King adopted the same approach, saying that it was "his impression that the President and Prime Minister had not yet reached an agreement to abandon ROUNDUP in favor of TORCH." He, too, believed that the "whole case" should be presented to the President and the Prime Minister, including the problem--a corollary to TORCH as it had been to GYMNAST, as he and General Marshall both warned of maintaining the security of the British Isles against invasion.55
Admiral Leahy had little choice but to announce "he would now tell the President that a definite decision was vet to be made." He believed it would be "acceptable" to wait a week, as Marshall and King proposed, for the results of the staff study under way, so long as the result would be "a definite decision, with the date of landing set." The GCS agreed that they would then report to the President and Prime Minister "recommending any necessary change in the date for the decision to mount TORCH.56
The President promptly forestalled this last move to bring to his attention the "implications" of launching an invasion of North Africa. On the evening of 30 July he concluded the series of deliberations initiated by the Prime Minister over two months before with the following announcement:
The PRESIDENT stated very definitely that he, as Commander-in-Chief, had made the decision that TORCH would be undertaken at the earliest possible date. He considered that this operation was now our principal objective and the assembling of means to carry it out should take precedence over other operations as, for instance, BOLERO. He mentioned the desirability of sending a message immediately to the Prime Minister advising him that he (the President), as Commandeer-in-Chief, had made this decision and requesting his agreement since we are now, as far as the record in [sic] concerned, committed to the provisions of C.C.S. 94. which calls for
the final decision to be made by September 15th.57
The Time and The Place58
The President's decision for TORCH did away with the need for a report from the GCS "recommending any necessary change in the date for the decision to mount TORCH." But there remained the question, then under study: What was the "earliest possible date" for landing in North Africa' Was it in fact sound, from a military point of view, to plan on landings by 30 October at the latest, according to the suggestion sent back from London by Hopkins and adopted by the President' Being told that the CCS were going to report on this question, the President agreed to await their recommendation before communicating with the Prime Minister.59 On 2 August the War Department staff confirmed the "flash estimate" to which Marshall had referred in the CCS meeting of 30 July, and gave the Navy's estimate that 7 November was "the earliest reasonable date for landing of the force based on availability of combat loaders."60 On 4 August the British Chiefs of Staff set a provisional target date of 7 October.61 On the same day Marshall and King put the American estimate before the President, tacitly conceding that the American and British staffs were not in agreement nor likely to agree.62 They recommended that he should ask the Prime Minister to concur in an operation for 7 November.63 The President took the matter under advisement.64
The difference between the American and British estimates went beyond a simple difference in calculations of the time necessary to convert and assemble troopships for the assault. Nine of the transports being modified for combat loading would be ready by 15 September, the tenth by 1 October. One additional Navy combat loader would be available by 10 October. But the boat crews and the landing troops would still be unprepared. The War Department staff had allowed time not only to convert ships but also to complete amphibious training with rehearsals in which the boat crews and the assault troops would use the ships assigned
to them for the operation.65 General Marshall himself insisted on such rehearsals, this being a point the British were ready to sacrifice for the sake of speed.66 Still another factor was the time needed to train the 2d Armored Division and the tank battalions attached to the 3d and 9th Divisions. These units were not due to be equipped with the M4 tank, which they would use in battle, until 17 September. In calling attention to this point, the staff warned against the dangers of improvised expeditions and alluded to the "disasters" suffered "by the British in Norway, France, the Balkans, and in Crete."67
The disagreement over the target date for TORCH was symptomatic of disagreement over the scope of the operation, its objective, and the risks to be taken. The British planners envisaged initial landings on a wide front in the Mediterranean, eastward at least as far as Algiers, to be followed by forces strong enough to advance into Tunisia.68 They estimated that the TORCH ground forces would finally amount to between ten and twelve divisions. 'the operation would be timed and aimed to secure the coast of Algeria and Tunisia before the coming of winter on the Eastern Front should have eased German needs for troops in Russia. According to this plan, landings on the Atlantic coast would not come at the same time as the landings inside the Mediterranean, but about three weeks later. The British doubted that forces could land against opposition on the Atlantic coast, where there was usually a heavy surf. And they doubted that the forces landed on the Atlantic coast would be of much help to the "main" operation for some time, since they would be held back by limited port facilities and poor land communications with the Mediterranean coast.69
During the second half of July, in response to the negotiations in London, the American staff in Washington had changed over from the assumptions of GYMNAST (an all American force landing at Casablanca on the Atlantic coast of French Morocco) to the assumptions of SUPER-GYMNAST (which also involved British
troops and simultaneous landings inside the Mediterranean at Oran and Algiers).70 They realized that the strategic aim of the operation would be correspondingly more ambitious--"Eventual establishment of bases and additional forces for offensive operations against LIBYA and ITALY." But they still thought of Casablanca as the "principal port of debarkation during the early stages of the operation."71 By relying on Casablanca, the American staff hedged against the risk of heavy losses in ships and escort vessels that might be incurred in supplying the expedition entirely through Mediterranean ports and against the risk of a military debacle in case of rapidly developing strong opposition. As a corollary, both the speed and scale of operations in Algeria and eastward into Tunisia would initially be sharply restricted by the limited port facilities on the Atlantic and the slender overland communications. British staff members conceded that an operation planned on these terms might be sounder given a defensive purpose.72
The 9 August Plan
It fell to General Eisenhower to try to reconcile the divergent views of the operation. Just before he left London for Washington, General Marshall, on the afternoon of 26 July, had personally informed General Eisenhower that he was to be the Allied commander of the expedition to North Africa. General Marshall had added that it would take a little while before the appointment would be made official, but that, in the meantime, Eisenhower was to proceed promptly with the necessary planning.73 Eisenhower was formally designated Commander in Chief,
Allied Expeditionary Force, in early August 1942.74 Even before his status as the Allied commander of the North African expedition was clarified, Eisenhower and his staff went to work, in close collaboration with the British, on an outline plan. The War Department reminded him that landings on the Atlantic coast were in the American view essential and should come at the same time as the landings on the Mediterranean coast.75
Eisenhower's first outline plan, finished on 9 August, incorporated the principles of simultaneous landings and of a landing date early in November. The plan did take account of the British warning against landings on the Atlantic coast. It provided that should the condition of the surf prevent landing there, the Casablanca task force should land inside the Mediterranean instead.76
The British planners had already objected to the plan, since it did not satisfy their principal condition: "We must have occupied the key points of Tunisia within 26 days of passing Gibraltar and preferably within 14 days." For this purpose they were prepared to assign one corps (with a high proportion of armored units) and some fifteen squadrons of planes (four to five groups) to the operation against Tunisia. They therefore believed that the landings on the Atlantic coast should have a lower priority than the landings in the Mediterranean.77
General Eisenhower was disposed to agree with the British planners, as he explained to General Marshall in sending on their appreciation. He had cut out the landings eastward of Algiers, except for a landing by a regimental combat team at Bone (to seize the airfield), since those landings would be exposed to attack by planes based on Sicily and Sardinia. He had also concluded that the landings on the Atlantic coast must be postponed "a few days," for lack of air support. There were not enough aircraft
carriers to cover landings both "inside" and "outside" the Mediterranean, nor could the lack be made up by using Gibraltar as an advance base, since it would be a "dead give-away" to concentrate planes there before the invasion:
The airfield there literally lies on the Spanish border and there is no hope of concealing activity from spies and agents. Because of the limitations upon the Gibraltar airfield, planes cannot be passed through at a sufficient rate to meet minimum demands on both the north and west coasts, assuming reasonable success in seizing airdromes.78
The British Chiefs, to whom the August outline plan was presented informally, reiterated the British objections to the American version of the operation. They reasserted that the British purpose was the invasion of Tunisia. "Indeed it can be said," concluded the British Chiefs, "that the whole conception of `TORCH' may stand or fall on this question of early Allied occupation of Tunisia." In order to advance quickly into Tunisia, it was necessary to land as far east as Bone. In order to land so far east, it was necessary to postpone the landing at Casablanca as both unfeasible and irrelevant. The ultimate success of the whole operation would necessarily depend rather on the unpreparedness of the Germans than on the effectiveness of the expedition itself. It was only consistent to attack as soon as the expedition could be assembled, sacrificing training for speed.79
The 21 August Plan
The criticism by the British Chiefs of Staff' of the 9 August outline plan had two immediate results. On 12 August the President directed Marshall and King to have the project restudied, stating that it might become desirable or necessary to launch the operation on 7 October, as proposed by the British Chiefs, even with only one third the forces that could be used a month later.80 The second result of British criticism was that on 13 August General Eisenhower informed the War Department that the American members of his staff were now convinced of the soundness of the British reasoning. Therefore they were drawing up a new plan in which they were eliminating the landings at Casablanca and moving up the date.81 On 14 August he asked what General Marshall thought of this new version of TORCH.82 In reply, Marshall stated the Washington view to be that the operation as it was now proposed would have less than a fifty-fifty chance of success.83 Eisenhower replied that he concurred in the Washington estimate, in view of various logistical and political factors. It was also the estimate of his deputy, General Clark, and of General
Patton, who was then in London to confer on plans for the task force under his command that would sail direct from the United States. But they all believed that there was nevertheless a better than fair chance of success if Spain were to stay neutral and the French were not to put up effective resistance.84
Planning went ahead in London on the basis of the British concept of TORCH, and a second outline plan was worked out.85 The second outline plan was finished on 21 August and circulated on 25 August. The date of landings was moved to 15 October, this being itself admittedly tentative. The objective of the operation was in these plans defined as follows:
A Combined land, sea, and air Assault against the Mediterranean Coast of ALGERIA, with a view to the earliest possible occupation of TUNISIA, and the establishment in FRENCH MOROCCO of a striking force which can insure control of the STRAITS of GIBRALTAR, by moving rapidly, if necessary, into SPANISH MOROCCO.86
The assault forces, with supporting troops and air force ground elements, were to be brought in two convoys: one from the United States, to land forces at Oran; one from the United Kingdom, which would split in the Mediterranean, the main force landing at Algiers, and a small force at Bone. Combat-loaded troops for the three landings were to amount to about eight regimental combat teams: four at Oran, three at Algiers, and one at Bane. The plan called for an initial Western Force of 39,400, all elements included, and an estimated total Western Force of about 250,000, including two armored and five infantry divisions. As tentatively estimated, four divisions, two American and two British, with other troops in proportion, would make up the Eastern Force, from the United Kingdom.
General Eisenhower's comment on the 21 August plan was that in several ways it must be regarded as tentative: the date was probably too early; planning for the task force of General Patton, which was to land at Oran, was not far advanced; too little was known to be at all sure of the schedules for United States convoys and for building up the U.S. air force in the American sector. Besides, Eisenhower observed, more thorough study of available naval support was requiring the reduction of the forces contemplated to the point where they were no longer strong enough to deal with resistance that could be offered, and would at the same time do less to discourage resistance. Furthermore, the expedition would be badly exposed on the flank. It was, he declared, his personal opinion that simultaneous landings inside the Mediterranean and at Casablanca would make a great difference, supposing the two governments could find any way to cut their commitments elsewhere so as to provide the additional naval cover to make the landings possible.87
Objective of TORCH
During the week that preceded the issuance of this second outline plan, no one in Washington had had an exact idea what form the plan was taking.88 General Handy had therefore been sent to London when the second plan was nearly ready, and there represented the views of General Marshall and his staff in the discussions that followed.89 On 22 August he sent a full report to Washington. Handy, like Eisenhower, emphasized the weakness of the operation and the threat to its flank. He concluded that the 21 August outline plan was too risky, and that TORCH should either be given up or he replanned with modest, limited ends. He continued that with continental or Pacific operations out of the question, there were still three courses of action preferable to the plans as they stood. The best, if naval forces could somehow be found, would be to carry out TORCH, as Eisenhower had recommended, with simultaneous landings inside and outside the Mediterranean. The next best would be to send General Patton's task force to the Middle East. This course of action would formally satisfy the President's condition that American troops go into action against the Germans. Should neither of these courses of action be feasible, there was still a third: to limit the purpose of TORCH.
If the operation were replanned with limited ends, Handy observed, TORCH would still provide for landings inside and outside the Mediterranean, though not in enough force to give much chance of occupying the north coast of Africa and finally of opening the Mediterranean. Plans should still be based on the date of 7 November rather than of 15 October, mainly so that the United States could furnish more of the troops to be used, and those troops better trained. Even such an operation was to be preferred to that currently proposed in London and set forth in the second outline plan
such an operation did not run the risk of a "major debacle." Handy's final sentence summed up the view of the War Department staff : it was better to take a chance on the surf at Casablanca than on the closing of the Strait of Gibraltar. General Eisenhower and General Clark agreed with Handy, with the important reservation that they still thought it better to go ahead with the operation as currently planned if the French and Spanish could be expected to acquiesce. In London, as in Washington, the operation was regarded as very risky. Handy reported, as Eisenhower had the week before, that while the American officers were energetic, they were nonetheless pessimistic; they were giving the operation a less than even chance of succeeding.90
The American staff officers in Washington were not part of the combined staff charged with TORCH planning, and therefore were not inhibited by the existing directive issued to Eisenhower from taking a position of their own. The directive had provided for a decisive move against the German and Italian forces in North Africa. The opening sentence read:
The President and the Prime Minister have agreed that combined military operations be directed against Africa, as early as practicable, with a view to gaining, in conjunction with Allied Forces in the Middle East, complete control of North Africa from the Atlantic to the Red Sea.
The directive provided for the initial establishment
. . . of firm and mutually supported lodgments in the Oran-Algiers-Tunis area on the north coast, and in the Casablanca area on the northwest coast, in order that appropriate bases for continued and intensified air, ground and sea operations will be readily available.91
The operational plans being made in terms of available resources were no longer in keeping with the objectives thus defined. The British had already moved to eliminate the contemplated landings in the area of Casablanca, or, properly speaking, to postpone them and leave them contingent, in order to provide the necessary naval support for landings inside the Mediterranean, on the ground that the latter could not be abandoned without abandoning the objective itself. According to the War Department, the step they had taken was illogical.92 The circumstance that had led to taking it--that less was available than had been assumed at first--required that the objective itself be redefined. The chance of reaching the objective originally set was altered quite as much by eliminating one phase as by eliminating the other. The War Department staff therefore proposed limiting the objective to "the early and complete military domination of Northwest Africa from Rio de Oro, exclusive, to Oran, inclusive." Within these limits, the operation would initially establish "firm and mutually supporting lodgments in the Agidir [sic] Marrakech-Casablanca-Rabat-Fez area in French Morocco and in the Oran-Mostaganem-Mascara area in Algeria."93 On 25 August the JCS proposed such a directive, which became the starting point for a new series of discussions.94 As Handy pointed out, this was in effect the third course of action that he had proposed.95
The British Chiefs of Staff' now declared themselves willing to put off the operation till November so as to be able to land in three places, with additional naval escort, as Eisenhower had recommended on 23 August to the CCS and as Handy had recommended on 22 August to Marshall. Eisenhower reported that he had not encouraged them to expect that the additional naval escort could be obtained.96 Marshall replied that it could not be provided.97
The British staff's in London and Washington were as strongly opposed to the modified directive of the JCS is they had been to the first outline plan (of 9 August) and as the War Department had been to the second outline plan (of 21 August). The British position was that the limited operation, even though it at first risked less, ran in the end the same risks, without any prospect of gain. The JCS reiterated that it did not run the two risks that must not be run--prolonged attrition at a high rate to shipping and escort vessels, and a disaster involving American arms, which would have the most serious effects all over the world.98
At this point the President and the Prime Minister intervened and within a week agreed on a definite version of the operation. On 30 August, replying to a message from the Prime Minister, the President confirmed the demand for a landing on the Atlantic coast, and recognized that currently only one other initial landing seemed possible. The President proposed, however, that the two governments reconsider economies in use of naval escort so as to provide for a third landing. If it still could not be made, the President expected to be able to arrange for an unopposed landing at Algiers within a week after the other landings. The President was still hoping for an early date.99
The Prime Minister and his staff remained full of misgivings and very reluctant to abandon the landings at Algiers.100 In view of this response the President, on the recommendation of the JCS, proposed a reduction in the Oran force in order to
provide one regimental combat team as part of a force to land at Algiers.101 The Prime Minister and his staff finding this still inadequate, the JCS on 3 September recommended, and the President on 4 September proposed, a similar reduction in the force for Casablanca.102 On 5 September the Prime Minister agreed, and on the same day Allied Force Headquarters (AFHQ) in London issued a third outline plan incorporating these modifications.103 The fifth of September marked the end of the debating phase of TORCH planning.
Table of Contents
Previous Chapter (11) * Next Chapter (13)
1. Memo, OPD for G-2, 8 Jul 42, sub: Est of Russian Sit, OPD 381 Russia, 1.
2. Quoted in memo, Br CsofS for War Cabinet, 2 Jul 42, sub: Future Opns, WP (42) 278, (COS (42) 195 (O)), ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B, 19.
3. Memo, Minister of War Transport for Br CsofS, 30 Jun 42, sub: Opn SLEDGEHAMMER, COS (42) 192 (O), circulated as Annex I to memo cited n. 2.
4. Memo, Chief of Combined Opns [Mountbatten] for Br CsofS, 30 Jun 42, sub: Certain Implications of Mounting Opn SLEDGEHAMMER, COS (42) 194 (O), circulated as Annex II to memo cited n. 2.
5. Memo cited n. 2.
6. Msg, War Cabinet offs to Jt Stf Miss, Washington, 8 Jul 42, COS (W) 217, Item 9, Exec 5. The British themselves proposed to investigate further the prospect of operations in northern Norway (JUPITER).
7. Memo, Eisenhower for CofS, 25 Mar 42, sub: Critical Points in Development of Coordinated Viewpoint as to Maj Tasks of the War, OPD 381 BOLERO, 6.
8. Min, 24th mtg JCS, 10 Jul 42. For similar reasons advanced by MacArthur, see above, Ch. IX.
9. Min cited n. 8.
10. Memo, CofS, COMINCH, and CNO for President, 10 Jul 42, no sub, OPD 381 Gen, 73.
11. Memo, CofS for President, 10 Jul 42, sub: Latest Br Proposals Relative to BOLERO and GYMNAST. This memorandum was drafted in OPD. Various copies, with corrections by Marshall, are filed Item 4, Exec i, and Item 53, Exec 10. A copy in the latter file bears the note, dated 10 Jul 42: "Chief signed this C.K.G." The initials are those of Colonel Gailey, OPD Executive.
Secretary Stimson, it may be noted, "cordially endorsed" the proposal of a "showdown" with the British. Later, his attitude changed, and he became "not altogether pleased with his part" in the transaction. (Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 424-25.)
Two other statements of the Pacific alternative, incorporating arguments apparently intended to in‚iluenec British opinion, are contained in: (1) msg (originator OPD), Gen Marshall to Lt Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower, 13 Jul 42, CM-OUT 3546 (R) (there was no distribution of this msg in WD; for text, see memo, OPD for WDCMC, 13 Jul 42, sub: Opus for this Year, several copies filed in Army files, incl copies in OPD 381 ETO, 2 and under Tab 9, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B); and (2) OPD draft msg, President to Prime Minister, n.d., Item 9, Exec 5.
12. Memo, Deane for King [12 Jul 42], no sub, OPD 381 Gen, 73.
13. Memo, Marshall, King, and Arnold for President, 12 Jul 42, sub: Pacific Opns, OPD 381 Gen, 73.
14. Memo, J.R.D. [Deane] for CofS, 13 Jul 42, sub: Conf Held in Marshall's Off Monday, Jul 13, 1942, at 8:1.5 A. M., WDCSA BOLERO (SS). The officers were Generals Arnold, Somerwell, and McNarney, Maj. Gen. Thomas T. Handy (Chief, OPD), Brig. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer (the Army planner), Colonel Ritchie (Chief, Southwest Pacific Theater Section, OPD), and Colonel Deane (Secretary, General Staff).
15. See memo cited n. 14. Marshall may already have heard the report, which he passed on to Eisenhower later in the day, that he might he sent to London with Hopkins on Thursday or Friday. (See msg cited n. 11 (1).)
16. ASF Plng Diary, Plng Br, 13 Jul 42 entry. The Planing Branch, SOS, also asked the Services to recalculate the Service troop basis in the British Isles.
17. Memo, Somervell for CofS, 14 Jul 42, sub: Opns in Pacific, Tab 11, Item 1, Exec 5.
18. (1) OPD study, title: Effects of GYMNAST on our Bsc Strategy, the second of seven studies in vol, title: Data Prepared by OPD, 15 Jul 42. Handy's copy (No. 10) is filed Item 6, Exec 1. (2) OPD study, title: Comparison of Opn GYMNAST with Opn Involving Reinforcement of Middle East . . ., 15 Jul 42, Tab 4, Item 1, Exec 5.
19. Msg, President to Marshall, 14 Jul 42, WDCSA BOLERO (SS). The President asked if Marshall could arrange to leave on the night of 16 July.
20. Memo, A.C.W. [Wedemeyer] for Handy, 14 Jul 42, no sub, Tab 10, Item I, Exec 5.
The official minutes of the JCS meeting (the 25th) give an uninformative notation covering this item (Item 9) of the agenda, saying only that Marshall read a communication from the President and that the JCS then talked about "future United Nations strategy."
21. (1) Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 425. (2) Memo, Marshall for King, 15 Jul 42, no sub, WDCSA 381 War Plans (S).
22. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 602.
23. Memo, President for Hopkins, Marshall, and King, 16 Jul 42, sub: Instns for London Conf--July, 1942, WDCSA 381, 1 (SS).
24. Two sheets of pencil notes on White House stationery, no sig, n.d., Item 35, Exec 10.
25. The War Department draft of instructions is quoted in full in Appendix B for comparison with the instructions issued on 16 July, discussed below in the text, and printed in Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 603-05.
26. For the President's remarks on the point, see notes taken by Hopkins on the President's conversation, on the evening of 15 July, quoted in Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 602.
For British professions with reference to ROUNDUP, see: (1) msg, War Cabinet Offs to Jt Stf Miss, Washington, 8 Jul 42, COS (W) 217, Tab 6, and (2) msg, Prime Minister to Dill, 12 Jul 42, Tab 5, both in Item 1, Exec 5. The second message is an answer to a letter from Sir John Dill noting that the decision not to mount SLEDGEHAMMER was likely to lead the Americans to turn to the Pacific. (For this ltr, n.d., code JSM 293, sec WDCSA 381.) The Prime Minister in replying ignored the subject. After alluding to the case against SLEDGEHAMMER and recapitulating briefly the case for GYMNAST, he concluded: "However if the President decided against 'Gymnast' the matter is settled. It can only be done by troops under the American flag. The opportunity will have been definitely rejected. Both countries will remain motionless in 1942 and all will be concentrated on 'Round-up' in 1943."
27. Sherwood observes, in this connection, that the President had the more reason to deal gently at this moment with the Prime Minister, because of the tatter's political difficulties at home, growing out of the defeats in Libya. (Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 601-02.)
28. Ibid., p. 603. The President was prepared to accept a "substantial reduction in BOLERO for the next three months." The Prime Minister had stated his view in his message to Field Marshal Dill: "'Gymnast' does not interrupt the vast preparations and training for 'Round-up' now proceeding on this side. It only means that 6 United States divisions will be withdrawn intact from 'Round-up'. These might surely be replaced by new U.S. Divisions which would be ready before the transportation schedule is accomplished." (Msg cited n. 26 (2).)
29. Memo cited n. 23.
30. Ibid. Compare with the statement of principles (paragraph 4) in the draft instructions. (App B, below.)
31. Memo cited n. 23. Compare with the statement (paragraph 3) in the draft instructions. (App B, below.)
32. There were several other changes in the paragraph on SLEDGEHAMMER, perhaps the most important of which was omission of the concluding sentence of the draft paragraph: "SLEDGEHAMMER should be executed on the basis of our remaining in France, if that is in any way practicable." (1) App B, below. (2) Memo cited n. 23.
33. Memo cited n. 23. Compare with statement in draft instructions (paragraph 3). (App B, below.)
34. (1) Memo cited n. 23. (2) For the President's opposition to the Pacific alternative see paragraph 9, quoted above, pp. 272-73.
35. A detailed account of the plans and discussions appears in Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, Ch. I. An important account told from the point of view of the two leading participants is in Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 606-10. Important documents for the American case and British views are: (1) min, Combined Stf Conf . . ., 20 Jul 42, (2) paper, 21 Jul 42, title: Reasons Supporting U.S. CsofS Proposals Re Opn SLEDGEHAMMER, and (3) rev min, Combined Stf Conf Held at No. 10 Downing St, 22 Jul 42, all with CCS 83 in ABC 381 BOLERO (3-1642), 2; and (4) memo, Marshall and King for President, 28 Jul 42, no sub, WDCSA 319.1 (TS).
36. (1) Msg, Marshall to SW, 23 Jul 42, No. 576, WDCSA SLEDGEHAMMER (SS). (2) Drafts of rpt to President, 22 Jul 42, no sub, WDCSA 319.1 (TS). (3) Msg, President to Hopkins, Marshall, and King, 23 Jul 42, WDCSA 381, 1. The President added the latest intelligence with reference to North Africa. The American legation in Berne had just passed on a report that the French were planning to strengthen the coastal and air defenses of French Morocco; that an Allied force of perhaps 150,000 would be able to seize control of all airfields in French Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia; and that troops in French Morocco were likely to prove more co-operative than those stationed farther east.
37. (1) OPD study, 15 Jul 42, title: Comparison of Opn GYMNAST with Opn Involving Reinforcement of Middle East . . ., Tab 4, Item 1, Exec 5. (2) The operations chief, General Handy, later in the summer still recommended sending the equivalent of a corps to the Middle East in preference to undertaking TORCH in some of its forms. Msg, Handy to Marshall, 22 Aug 42, CM-IN 8444 (8/23/42). (3) See also p. 290, below.
38. For a brief allusion to these embarrassments, see above, pp. 198-99.
39. Msg, Hopkins to President, 24 Jul 42, quoted in Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 611.
40. Memo cited n. 35 (4).
41. Memo, U.S. CsofS for Br CsofS, 24 Jul 42, circulated as Annex to min, 32d mtg CCS (held in London on the same day), with CCS 94 in ABC 381 (7-2-42), 1.
42. Memo by CCS, 24 Jul 42, sub: Opns in 1942/ 43, circulated as CCS 94, ABC 381 (7-2-52), 1.
43. It was on this basis that OPD officers in Washington were at this time redrafting studies of the operation, which was therefore once more assuming the aspect of SUPER-GYMNAST. See section, "TORCH: The Time and The Place," pp. 284 ff., below.
44. Besides provisions mentioned above, CCS 94 provided that in case the British Chiefs of Staff should decide to move as armored division to the Middle East, it should be an American armored division from the United States, to be shipped in British bottoms. This provision was part of the memorandum as proposed by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff.
45. Min, 33d mtg CCS (London), 25 Jul 42.
46. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 611.
47. Msg, Marshall and King to President, 24 Jul 42, CM-IN 8566.
48. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 611.
49. Msg, President to Hopkins, Marshall, and King, 25 Jul 42, WDCSA 381, 1 (SS).
50. Msg, McNarney to Marshall, 25 Jul 42, CM-OUT 7303.
51. Admiral Leahy had been appointed Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the United Stags Army and Navy following his recall and resignation as Ambassador to France in July 1942. When General Marshall suggested the desirability of designating an officer to maintain liaison between the JCS and the President, Admiral King at first objected, but later readily acceded when Marshall proposed that Admiral Leahy, a former Chief of Naval Operations, he named to the post. (See Leahy, I Was There, pp. 95-98.)
52. Min, 34th mtg CCS, 30 Jul 42.
53. For a specific statement on the point, see pers ltr, Marshall to Eisenhower, 30 Jul 42, in G.C.M. file under Eisenhower, D.D.
54. Min cited n. 52.
For the "flash estimate" cf. msg, Br Jt Stf Miss for Br CsofS, 31 Jul 42, JSM 329 (ref COS (W) 233), Tab 73, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B. According to this message, the JPS had hurriedly guessed that a landing on the west coast of forth Africa could be made by 30 October.
55. Min cited n. 52.
57. Memo, Gen Smith for JCS, 1 Aug 42, sub: Notes of Conf Held at White House at 8:30 P.M., July 30, 1942, Tab 14, Item 1, Exec 5. Admiral Leahy, Generals Arnold and Smith, and the President's naval aide, Captain McCrea, were at this meeting. For other topics discussed at the meeting, see below, Ch. XIII.
58. The timing of the British offensive in the Libyan Desert (LIGHTFOOT) and the congressional elections of November 1942 apparently were not taken into account explicitly in the selection of the final target date for TORCH. For evidence on these points, see Appendix C, below.
59. Memo cited n. 57.
60. Memo, OPD for CofS, 2 Aug 42, sub: TORCH, Tab 45, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B. Based only on availability of troops, the calculated earliest date was 10 October. The staff also cited a tentative estimate of the British planners--30 October--based on a calculation of the same factors. (Taken from msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, 1 Aug 42, CM-IN 0472.)
61. Msg, Br CsofS to Jt Stf Miss, 4 Aug 42 (COS (W) 236), WDCSA TORCH, 1.
62. Memo, Marshall and King for President, 4 Aug 42, sub: TORCH, WDCSA TORCH, 1.
63. Memo, Marshall and King for President, 4 Aug 42, no sub, WDCSA TORCH, 1. This memorandum, like the one cited immediately above, was drafted by OPD and went to the President via the Navy Department.
64. (1) Memo, Leahy for Marshall, 5 Aug 42, no sub. This memorandum contains questions of the President on the above cited memorandum to him on TORCH. (2) Memo, Marshall for President,6 Aug 42, sub: TORCH. This memorandum gives the answers. Both memos in Tab 18, Item 1, Exec5. (3) Msg,Marshall to Eisenhower, 6 Aug 42, CM-OUT 1632.
65. (1) Memo, OPD for CofS, 6 Aug 42, sub: TORCH, Tab 21, Item 1, Exec 5. (This memo consists of comments on msg cited n. 61.) (2) Draft study, title: TORCH, n.d., Tab 21. (3) Study, Wedemeyer for JPS 10 Aug 42, no title, Tab 71. (4) Memo, OPD for CofS, 18 Aug 42, sub: Effect of Different Dates on Strength of Effort in Sp Opn, Tab 69. Last three in ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B.
66. (1) Note, Handy for Wedemeyer, on memo, Secy JPS for JPS, 11 Aug 42, sub: Projected Opns, transmitting study cited n. 65 (3). (2) Msg cited n. 61.
67. OPD draft memo [CofS for President], n.d., sub: Date of TORCH Landing Opns, Tab 70, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B. Cf, memo cited n. 65 (1). This contained the statement that the War Department was determined TORCH should not be like the battles of Norway and Bull Run.
68. The version of the British Chiefs was rather like that of the President, expounded in his cable of 24 July to Hopkins. The President envisaged an operation initially involving some 80,000 American troops, who would land and establish themselves in the vicinity of Algiers, seize the city, and then drive quickly eastward toward Tunis, while British forces, landing on the Atlantic coast of French Morocco, should move southward to seize Dakar. (See Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 611.) Apparently the President, like the British, considered the landings on the Atlantic coast to be almost entirely irrelevant to the success of the "main" operation inside the Mediterranean.
69. (1) Msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, 31 Jul 42, CM-IN 10945. (2) Msg, same to same, 1 Aug 42, CM-IN 0472. (3) Msg, same to same, 2 Aug 42, CM-IN 0796. (4) Msgs, Br CsofS to Jt Stf Miss, 4 Aug 42, COS (W) 236 and COS (W) 237, WDCSA TORCH, 1. (5) For the current British version of TORCH, see OPD study, 7 Aug 42, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-A.
70. The July studies were drafted by the War Department planners on the "working level," who then had gone over them with their associates in the Navy Department and the British Joint Staff Mission. The officers directly concerned were Brig. Gen. John E. Hull (concurrently the head of the European Theater Section in OPD and senior Army representative on the BOLERO Combined Committee and the JUSSC), Col. George A. Smith, Jr., and Maj. William H. Baume, Jr. (members of the Future Operations Section of the Strategy and Policy Group of OPD, in which the basic studies were prepared), Capt. F. P. Thomas (head of the Atlantic Section of the Navy's Plans Division) and Maj. E. H. Baume (British Joint Staff Mission).
71. (1) The July studies are in Item 6, Exec I, Tab F, and incl development file. (2) Cf. draft memo, OPD for CofS, 27 Jul 42, sub: Tr Mvmts to Africa, Item 56, Exec 10.
72. Msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, 1 Aug 42, CM-IN 0472.
73. Ltr, General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower to Gen Ward, OCMH, 15 Apr 51, OCMH Files. General Eisenhower, commenting on the draft manuscript of this volume, filled a gap in the reword of the events of 26 July. He recalled:
That afternoon, about 3 or 4 o'clock, I got a hurried call from General Marshall, who was staying at the Claridge Hotel. I walked into his room and, although he was in an adjoining bathroom cleaning up, we talked through the door, and he started telling me at once about the decisions reached. The gist of these decisions was that the Allies would conduct joint British-American effort against North Africa, and that I would be in command of the expedition. In this connection, he stated that the Chiefs of Staff had agreed that the assaulting troops should be as nearly exclusively American as possible, and, because of this, the British Chiefs of Staff had asked for an American Commander. Admiral King had suggested that I was already present on the ground and should be named, and that, to this, the British Chiefs of Staff quickly agreed. General Marshall added that my appointment was, of course, not yet official, but that written orders would come through at an early date. In the meantime, he said that I should get promptly started on the planning.
Eisenhower emphasized that ". . . certainly, on the afternoon in question, in London, he [General Marshall] left no possibility of doubt in my mind as to the finality of the [TORCH] decision and of my duty with respect to it."
It was characteristic of General Marshall that he did not complicate the task of Eisenhower as an overseas commander by mentioning the reservations he had on the score of the TORCH decision-which he would certainly have explained to Eisenhower as his plans and operations chief.
74. For the directive, approved by the CCS on 13 Aug 42, see Incl A, CCS 103/1, 27 Aug 42, title: Opn TORCH.
The definition of Eisenhower's authority as an Allied commander took some time. At the beginning of August by common consent he took charge of Allied planning for TORCH. (1) Pers ltr, Marshall to Eisenhower, 30 Jul 42, in G.C.M. file, under Eisenhower, D.D. (2) Msg, Br Jt Stf Miss for Br CsofS, 31 Jul 42, JSM 329, Ref COS (W) 233, Tab 73,.4BC: 381 (7-25-42), 4-B. (3) Msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, 2 Aug 42, CM-I 0796. (4) On 6 August the JCS recommended to the President that Eisenhower be formally designated the Allied commander for TORCH. See msg (originator OPD), Marshall to Eisenhower, 6 Aug 42, CM-OUT 1791. (5) The President and the Prime Minister both readily agreed. See msg (originator OPD), same to same, 8 Aug 42, CM-OUT 2583.
The organization of Eisenhower's staff also took time. See account in George F. Howe, Operations in Northwest Africa, 1941-1943, a volume in preparation for the series UNITED STATES ARMY I WORLD WAR II, Ch. I.
75. Msg (originator OPD), Marshall to Eisenhower, 3 Aug 42, CM-OUT 0728. The message had been shown to Admiral Cooke, and Admiral King concurred in it. A first draft (by Wedemeyer to Handy) allowed for an interval of up to a week between the Mediterranean landings and the landings on the Atlantic coast. (1) Copy filed in Tab 72, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B. (2) See also memo, ACofS (Handy) for WDCMC, 3 Aug 42, sub: TORCH Opn, Tab 18, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B.
76. Draft Outline Plan (Partial) Opn TORCH, Hq ETOUSA, 9 Aug 42, copy in ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-A. The plan was "prepared jointly by a British-American group of planners."
For reports while the study was in progress, see in particular: (1) msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, 4 Aug 42, CM-IN 1344: (2) msg, same to same, 8 Aug 42, CM-IN 2770: and (3) Howe, Operations in Northwest Africa, Ch. II.
77. Brief of Appreciation of Opn TORCH, Br Jt Plng Stf, copy forwarded with pers ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 9 Aug 42, Tab 25a, Item 1, Exec 5.
78. Pers ltr cited n. 77. Eisenhower at first wrote that the landings on the Atlantic coast should come "five to ten days later . . .," then changed it to "a few days."
79. (1) Memo, Br CsofS, 11 Aug 42, transmitted by pees ltr, Ismay to Eisenhower, 11 Aug 42. (2) See also Br CsofS min in COS (42), 85th mtg (O), and part of COS (42), 233d mtg, min 4, 11 Aug 42. Both in WDCSA TORCH, 1.
80. Memo, President for Marshall and King, 12 Aug 42, (referring to their memos of 5 and 7 Aug) Tab 14, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B.
The only evidence in the record of action by the War Department on the President's directive is a draft of a memorandum to the President, evidently in response to the above memorandum, confirming 7 November as the earliest possible date. There is no evidence to show whether this or some other memorandum was submitted to the President. (See Tab 70, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B.)
81. Msg, Eisenhower to Handy, attn CofS, 13 Aug 42, CM-IN 4765.
82. Msg, Eisenhower to OPD, 14 Aug 42, CM-IN 5101.
83. Msg, Marshall to Eisenhower, 14 Aug 42, CM-OUT 4272.
84. Msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, 15 Aug 42, CM-IN 5608.
For Patton's selection as the commander of the task force to be embarked directly from the United States, and for his trip to London, see: (1) tel conv, Gen Hull with Gen Patton, 1045, 30 Jul 42, Book 6, Exec 8, and (2) msg (originator OPD), Marshall to Eisenhower, 31 Jul 42, CM-OUT 9255.
85. For the story of planning in August in London on TORCH, see Howe, Operations in Northwest Africa, Ch. II.
86. Outline Plan Opn TORCH, Hq ETOUSA, Norfolk Gp, 21 Aug 42. Original copy issued in London is Tab 35, Item 1, Exec 5, also circulated as Incl B to CCS 103, 25 Aug 42.
87. (1) Ltr, Eisenhower to Ismay (for CCS), 22 Aug 42, submitting the outline plan and calling attention to his comments as commander in chief of the operation, to be submitted for consideration with it, Incl A to CCS 103, 25 Aug 42. (2) Ltr, Eisenhower to CCS, 23 Aug 42, Incl C to CCS 103.
88. Memo, CofS for President, 20 Aug 42, sub: TORCH Opn, WDCSA TORCH, 1. Attached to this memorandum were four charts, graphically presenting the strength of initial forces as conceived on 30 July, 9 August, and thereafter. (The last was derived froth memo, OPD far CofS, 18 Aug 42, sub: Effect of Different Dates on Strength of Effort in Sp Opn, Tab 69, ABC 381 (7-25- 42), 4-B.)
According to the third chart, the plans in progress in London were being made on the basis of a reduction from forces assumed on 9 August, as follows: one aircraft carrier, six auxiliary aircraft carriers, five combat-loaded regimental combat teams, and undetermined numbers of natal vessels other than carriers.
89. See (1) memo, CofS for President cited n. 88;and (2) msg, Handy to Marshall, 22 Aug 42, CM-IN 8444 (8/23/42).
On 2 August, Eisenhower had suggested that someone from OPD come over whit General Patton, naming General Handy, Wedmeyer, and Hull. (Msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, 2Aug 24, CM-IN 0796)
90. Msg cited n. 89 (2).
91. Directive for CinC, Allied Expeditionary Force, as approved at 36th mtg CCS, 13 Aug 42, Tab 26a, Item 1, Exec 5.
92. The difference between London and Washington over objectives was accompanied by different estimates of enemy intentions. In commenting on the draft manuscript of this volume, Colonel Baumer, who as a member of OPD had been directly involved in TORCH planning, concluded that this difference was decisive. (Ltr, Col Baumer to Gen Ward, 17 Apr 51, OCMH Files.) But it is doubtful whether the War Department was greatly influenced by G-2. In this, as in other cases--compare for example, the decision whether to support the British after the first battle of El Alamein, discussed above in Ch. XI, pp. 251 ff.--General Marshall and the planners appear to have asked themselves simply whether the chance should be taken, and to have made up their minds without being much influenced by intelligence estimates.
93. OPD study, n.d., sub: Ultimate Objective of TORCH Opns, Tab 28, Item 1, Exec 5.
94. See (1) memo, Smith for Secy, Br Jt Stf Miss, 25 Aug 42, sub: Directive for Opn TORCH, Tab 76, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-B (this forwards the text of the new directive proposed by the JCS requesting that it be transmitted to the British Chiefs of Staff, in London, for approval); (2) msg, Marshall to Eisenhower, 25 Aug 42, CM-OUT 7500; and (3) msg, same to same, 25 Aug 42, CM-OUT 7858.
The original directive of 13 August, the proposed directive, and the reply of the British Chiefs of Staff were circulated as CCS 103/1, 27 Aug 42.
95. Msg, Handy to Marshall, 25 Aug 42, CM-IN 9478.
96. Msg, Eisenhower to Marshall and OPD, 24 Aug 42, CM-IN 9341. Eisenhower noted that the British Chiefs were relying on the President's statement that TORCH and the convoys for the USSR should take precedence over all other operations.
97. Msg cited n. 94 (3). The Navy, facing the Japanese attack in the Solomons, had no ships to spare. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff at the same time failed to consider favorably Handy's recommendation to send Patton's task force to the Middle East.
98. (1) msg, Br CsofS to CCS, 27 Aug 42, Incl C to CCS 103/1. (2) Msg, Eisenhower to SGS, 27 Aug 42, CM-IN 10397. (3) Msg cited n. 95. (4) Min, 38th mtg CCS, 28 Aug 42.
There were doubtless individual British staff members with different opinions. (For one instance, see memo, Marshall to Hopkins, 29 Aug 42, Tab 34, Item 1, Exec 5.)
It is to be noted that American opinion was less than unanimous. Eisenhower's own position was that the proposed directive would put American troop. in action with the least risk, but did not provide, as the second outline plan did for a "worth while strategic purpose." (Msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, 25 Aug 42, CM-IN 9626.1 Admiral Cooke took a position rather like that of the British. Hr envisaged definite political commitments to guarantee Spanish neutrality. See memo, Cooke for King, 29 Aug 42, sub: TORCH Opn and atchd memo, Cooke for King, 29 Aug 42, no sub, Tab 43, Item 1, Exec 5.)
99. (1) Memo, Leahy for Marshall and King, 31 Aug 42, transmitting text of msg sent by President to Prime Minister, 30 Aug, WDCSA TORCH, 1. (2) For Marshall's draft of reply to Prime Minister, see pees hr, Marshall to Hopkins, 29 Aug 42, Tabs 33, 34, Item 1, Exec 5.
Substantively, the President's message differed in two respects from the text of Marshall: in setting a definite limiting date of 30 October for the landings, with the hope expressed that they might be as early as 14 October: and in proposing the re-examination of the problem of finding naval support for the landing at Algiers.
100. (1) Msg, Eisenhower to Chief OPD, 31 Aug 42, CM-IN 12132. (2) Msg, Prime Minister to President (142), 1 Sep 42, Tab 38, Item 1, Exec 5.
101. Msg, Marshall to Eisenhower, 2 Sep 42, CM-OUT 0679 (R).
102. See msg, Prime Minister to President, 3 Sep 42 (replying to 182), quoted in msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, 3 Sep 42, CM-IN 1095.
(1) See msg, Marshall to Eisenhower, 3 Sep 42, CM-OUT 1354 (9/4/42) (R), for the American proposal as drafted. (2) See msg, President to Prime Minister, 4 Sep 42 (183), WDCSA TORCH, I, or the message as sent, different only in phrasing. The definite fixing of the size of the Algiers force remained in the text as sent only as a result of the last minute intervention of the Chief of Staff, who wanted the message sent as soon as possible, so that Eisenhower or Clark would not have to come to Washington, as the British were then suggesting, to go over the whole matter. (Memo CofS for Leahy, 4 Sep 42, Tab 42, Item 1, Exec 5.)
103. (1) Msg, Prime Minister to President, 5 Sep 42 (144, replying to 183), Tab 46, Item 1, Exec 5. (2) AFHQ (G-3) Outline Plan C (Provisional) for Opn TORCH, 5 Sep 42, ABC 381 (7-25-42), 4-A.