United States Army in World War II
The Army Service Forces

The Organization and Role of the Army Service Forces

John D. Millett


This volume is "under development" and will be completed as time allows...

. . . For Those Who Served


  Forward ix
  Introduction 1
  The Choice of General Somervell To Command the ASF 2
  Characteristics of the Choice 6
The Creation of the Army Service Forces
I. The War Department and Army Organization at the Beginning of World War II 11
    Changes in the National Defense Act 13
    The Pershing Reorganization 16
    Developments Between 1921-1941 18
II. The Reorganization of the War Department 23
    Reorganization of the OUSW 26
    Reorganization of G-4 28
    The Reorganization of 9 March 1942 36
    Some Problems of the Reorganization 39
The Role of the ASF in the War Department
III. The Procurement and Supply Activities of the ASF 45
    Lend-Lease 49
    The Relations Between Strategy and Supply 53
IV. Strategy and Supply: Early Phases 57
    BOLERO 59
    North Africa 60
    Operations in Europe, 1943 62
    The Post-Casablanca Trip 63
    The TRIDENT Conference 67
    The Build-up for OVERLORD 68
    The Early Campaigns in the Pacific 69
    The QUADRANT Conference 70
V. Strategy and Supply: Final Phases 73
    The Cairo and Tehran Conferences 79
    Preparations for OVERLORD 80
    Italy and France 81
    Supply Crisis in the European Theater 83
    Malta and Yalta 86
    The War in the Pacific 86
    Potsdam 89
    Other Overseas Operations 90
VI. Services for the Army 93
    Medical Service 93
    Communications and Photographic Activities 96
    Construction 98
    Personnel 99
    ASF Relations with G-1 104
    Police Activities, Internal Security, and Custody of Military Prisoners 105
    Legal Activities 106
    Fiscal Activities 106
    Postal Service and Publications 108
    The Management of Posts, Camps, and Stations 108
    Training 109
VII. The ASF and the OPD 111
VIII. The Army Air Forces and the ASF 124
    Procurement and Supply Relationships 125
    The Conflict Over Post and Base Management 129
    The Controversy Over Allotment of Funds 134
IX. The Somervell Proposals for War Department Reorganization 138
X. The Transfer of ASF Activities to the War Department Staff 148
    Public Relations 148
    Budgeting 150
    The Civil Affairs Division 153
    Research and Development 154
    National Guard and Executive for Reserve and Reserve Officers' Training Corps Affairs 155
    Postwar Planning 155
    Counterintelligence 155
XI. Further Reconsideration of the Role of the ASF 157
    The AGS and the ASF 158
    Somervell Raises a Basic Issue 163
    The Effort To Resolve the Issue 165
    The War Department Decision 168
    The Relations of the ASF and the AAF to the Technical Services 168
XII. Somervell's Relationship With Patterson and Marshall 173
    The Under Secretary 173
    The Chief of Staff 177
The Role of the ASF in Industrial Mobilization
XIII. The ASF and the WPB: Early Attempts To Define Responsibilities 185
    The Industrial Mobilization Plan 186
    Industrial Preparations for War 187
    The Creation of the WPB 189
    The Army-WPB Agreement 190
    Trouble Starts 193
    The Agreement on Field Offices 198
XIV. The ASF and the WPB: The Control of Raw Materials 201
    Revision of the Priorities System 203
    Allocating Raw Materials 207
XV. The ASF and the WPB: The Control of Production 213
    Production Scheduling 220
    Reconversion 226
    Smaller War Plants 233
XVI. The ASF and Other Civilian Agencies Controlling Procurement Resources 236
    Research and Development 236
    Special Handling of Food, Petroleum, Rubber 239
    WMC and Labor Relations 243
    Price Control 246
    Housing and Community Facilities 250
    The Office of War Mobilization 251
XVII. The ASF and Civilian Agencies Concerned With Military Supply and Defense 254
    Ocean Transportation 254
    Rail Transportation 262
    Lend-Lease 266
    Civilian Defense 267
XVIII. Procurement Collaboration With the Navy 269
    Desirable Organization for Army-Navy Collaboration 277
XIX. The Procurement Role of the ASF 281
    Military Procurement 282
    Did the Army Want Control of the Civilian Economy? 288
Internal Organization of the ASF
XX. The Technical Services 297
    Creation of the Transportation Corps 298
    General Depots 300
    Adjustments in Responsibilities of Technical Services 302
    Internal Organization 304
    FIeld Installations of Technical Services 305
    Technical Service Duties of Army-Wide Scope 308
XXI. The Service Commands 312
    The Service Command Reorganization 314
    Pressure for Decentralization 317
    The Mission of the Service Commands 319
    The Supervision of Class IV Installations 326
    The Handling of Labor Supply Problems in the Field 329
    Organization Within Service Commands 332
XXII. The Evolution of ASF Headquarters 338
    The Merging of the OUSW and G-4 338
    The Administrative Services 347
    General Organization of the Staff 351
    The Technical Services as Staff Divisions 354
    Interstaff Relations 357
    A Functional Staff 359
XXIII. The Management of the ASF 364
    Urgency 366
    Chief Lieutenants 369
    Sense of Organization 371
    The Quest for Unity 373
    Management Improvement 376
    Personnel Management 378
    Budget Administration 383
    Public Relations 384
    Legislative Relations 386
XXIV. The Proposed ASF Reorganization of 1943 397
    The ASF Organization Situation in 1943 397
    The Preparation of an Alternative Organization for the ASF 400
    Consideration of the 1943 Plan 405
    The Public Controversy 408
    The Plan Dropped 411
    Lessons of the Episode 414
  Epilogue 417
    Somervell's Departure 419
    The Dissolution of the ASF 421
Appendix     Page
A. Key Personnel of the ASF, 9 March 1942-31 December 1945 428
B. Documents on the Relations With the AAF: Position of ASF in the War Department 433
C. Documents on the Relations With the AAF: Relation of Supply and Service Agencies to Combat Forces 437
D. ASF Relations With WPB 442
E. Nelson-Somervell Correspondence in 1942 446
F. Stimson Letter to Senator Reynolds on Organization of an Office of War Mobilization and Civilian Verses Military Responsibility for Procurement 452
G. Stimson-Knox Agreement on Organization and Functions of the Production Executive Committee of the WPB 457
H. Statement by Under Secretary Robert P. Patterson on Responsibility for Military Procurement Before the Senate Special Committee Investigating the National Defense Program, 77th Congress, 2d Session, 16 December 1942 458
I. The Duties of the Army Service Forces 461
  Bibliographical Note 469
  INDEX 475

1. Comparison of Medical Service, World War I and World War II 96
2. Technical Service Field Installations 306
3. Proposed Service Command Realignment 403

1. Organization of Service Command Headquarters, 8 December 1943 334
2. Organization of the Services of Supply, 20 February 1942 340
3. Organization of the Services of Supply, 16 February 1943 341
4. Organization of The Army Service Forces, 10 November 1943 342
5. Organization of the Army Service Forces, 20 July 1943 353
6. Organization of the Army Service Forces, 15 August 1944 355
7. Postwar Logistic Organization Within the War Department, Proposed to Patch Board, September 1944 423

  General Brehon B. Somervell Frontispiece
  Lt. Gen. Wilhelm D. Styer 4
  Lt. Gen. LeRoy Lutes 6
  The Chiefs of the Technical Services 310
  Typical ASF Installations in a Camp 320
  Commanding Generals of the Service Commands and the MDW 322
  Weekly Staff Conference 375
  Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson 420

The illustrations are from the files of the Department of Defense.

Transcribed and formatted by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation