Chapter IX
Supplying the Armies: Ammunition

(1) The October Crisis

In the entire eleven months of operations on the Continent no supply problem plagued U.S. forces more persistently or constricted their operations more seriously than the shortage of field artillery ammunition. Restrictions on expenditures were imposed shortly after the Normandy landings because of unloading difficulties at the beaches. Such restrictions continued with little relaxation until the end of hostilities because resupply from the United States was uncertain.1 In well over half of all types of artillery ammunition the theater was able to maintain stocks in excess of the authorized level of seventy-five days of supply at War Department rates. But in the major items accounting for the great bulk of all expenditures the aggregate stocks on hand in the theater were almost without exception below the authorized levels throughout the eleven months of operations.2

Ammunition supply prospects appeared favorable for a short time early in September, and the 12th Army Group, although increasingly skeptical of the Communications Zone's optimistic forecasts, made relatively liberal allocations to the armies in the hope of crashing through the West Wall on the momentum of the pursuit. By the middle of the month this policy had left deep holes in the theater's reserves, reducing reserve levels in the major types by an average of twenty days of supply from the preceding month.3 Exhaustion of some categories was expected within as little as two weeks. Inadequate discharge facilities continued to account for much of the delay in deliveries. But in the case of the heavier calibers the War Department simply was not releasing sufficient quantities. Now an Allied force of growing size stood at the German border and demanded huge quantities of field artillery ammunition to break through the steel and concrete of the West Wall.4

Increasing uncertainty over future


ammunition availability characterized the last two weeks of September as the armies attempted to widen the breaches in the German defenses. Army group continued to allocate ammunition for eight-day periods, and the armies fired at substantially higher rates than in the preceding month. But the allocations reflected the hand-to-mouth supply situation and fell far short of the rates agreed to in the month before the invasion or desired by the field commands. The allocation for the period 27 September-5 October, for example, permitted daily expenditures of only 3.8 rounds per gun for the 240-mm. howitzer and 3.1 rounds for the 8-inch gun.5 Apprehension over future deliveries led both First and Third Armies to impose a strict rationing of critical types. Subordinate units in turn exercised additional economies in an effort to build up forward stocks.6

At the periodic allocation meeting on 1 October the Communications Zone presented figures which indicated some improvement in supply, and the army group therefore granted somewhat larger expenditure rates for the next eight-day period, 5-13 October.7 Two days later the full seriousness of the ammunition situation was finally brought to light. The First Army ammunition officer showed that the allocation was completely unrealistic, for the ammunition which the army had been authorized to expend did not exist in army depots and could not be obtained from the Communications Zone. Both the army group and the armies had long doubted the reliability of the Communications Zone's availability forecasts. Their suspicions now appeared confirmed.8

A full investigation of the situation in the next few days revealed that the ammunition shortage had reached truly critical proportions. At the next regular allocation meeting on 9 October, attended as usual by the G-3, G-4, ordnance, and artillery officers of the 12th Army Group, and a representative of the Communications Zone, plus the ammunition officers at First, Third, and Ninth Armies, it was revealed that reserve stocks of certain critical items were near exhaustion despite the fact that expenditures had been lower than predicted. Widely varying availability figures for the allocation periods since early September convinced the conferees of the 'absolute unreliability' of such figures provided by the Communications Zone.9

There appeared to be two main causes for the alarming situation that had developed: inadequate discharge of ships, and a recent decision authorizing First Army to increase its reserves in noncritical items from three to five units of fire. The latter decision had served to


draw most of the remaining ammunition into the area of the First Army.10

COMZ officials had recognized the seriousness of the unloading situation earlier, and in the last days of September the G-4 and ordnance officials had worked out a plan calling for the unloading of eight Liberties at a time, six of them at Cherbourg and the remainder at the beaches.11 The Communications Zone had obviously counted on this program in presenting its availability figures on 1 October. But circumstances beyond its control intervened to upset its schedule and discredit its predictions. First, higher authority (presumably SHAEF) ordered berths at Cherbourg freed to give priority to troop debarkations. Then storms virtually stopped operations at the beaches, with the result that an average of only two ships had been worked at a time and barely a thousand tons of ammunition per day had been discharged in the first week of October. This precipitate drop in unloadings, combined with the generally poor discharge record for most of September, had had its inevitable effect on COMZ depot stocks, which were reduced practically to zero in all critical items through shipments to the armies.12

Drastic measures were obviously needed to forestall disaster. On 11 October, on the recommendation of the conferees, 12th Army Group forced the most stringent economy in ammunition expenditures yet imposed on U.S. forces by canceling the allocation already in effect for the period 5-13 October and reallocating the available ammunition to the armies with the warning that no additional amounts would be issued until 7 November.13

In some cases the amounts now authorized for the thirty-three day period were less than those originally authorized for the eight-day period; and since the allocation was retroactive to 5 October some of the ammunition had already been expended. In making the new allocation the army group included only unobligated balances in base depots, stocks in the continental pipeline, and stocks which were expected to be in field force depots. Because of the uncertainty of discharge it refrained from counting as assets all stocks afloat off the Normandy beaches and ports, quantities which the Communications Zone had ill-advisedly included as available for purposes of allocation.14 First Army actually had to give up some of the stocks it had built up under the previous authorization


to accumulate five units of fire in order to bring about a more equitable distribution.15

Meanwhile the Communications Zone agreed to step up unloading at once, setting a target of 6,000 tons per day. To meet this goal General Lee informed General Bradley that he was taking action to ensure the working of at least 12 ships at all times, and promised a continuous flow of the required ammunition by not later than 24 October. At this time there were 35 loaded ammunition ships in European waters. The Communications Zone actually gave immediate priority to the discharge of 16 ships--6 at Cherbourg and 10 at the beaches. But bad weather was expected to hold down unloading at the beaches to the equivalent of 2 ships, so that current priorities actually assures an effective discharge of only 8. General Stratton proposed to better this program in the near future by assigning additional berths at Cherbourg, adding berths at Morlaix, working additional ships at the beaches, and transferring ammunition to LST's in the United Kingdom for discharge at Le Havre. These measures entailed a temporary sacrifice in the discharge of other supplies. They also necessitated forwarding ammunition to the armies in bulk, and this would result in receipts of some items not requested. But it was expected that the net effect would be to expedite the delivery of needed items too.16 The selection of 7 November as the date until which the armies would have to get along on stocks already on the Continent was predicated on the successful achievement of the proposed schedule. Not until that time was it believed that the continental pipelines could be filled and a continuous flow of ammunition assured.17

Pending the acceleration of unloadings, the Communications Zone attempted to provide some relief by collecting scattered remnants of ammunition long since left behind by the armies in the base area. Approximately 4,000 tons of the types desired by the field commands, which had not been picked up on COMZ records, were recovered in this way in old dumps in the vicinity of St. Lô, Mortain, and Alençon. Additional quantities were collected and shipped forward from an ammunition supply point recently used by the VIII Corps in Brittany.18

In the south the 6th Army Group, which still depended on the North African theater for logistic support, faced similar difficulties as it approached the borders of Alsace. In mid-September the artillery officer of the Seventh Army reported that if, as expected, that command met stronger resistance in the near future it would be "in a hell of a fix for


ammunition."19 As in the north, lack of adequate transportation and discharge were the most immediate causes for the shortages, and in mid-October the unloading of certain critical types of ammunition was given the highest priority at Marseille. The 6th Army Group, like the 12th, imposed severe limitations on expenditures in order to conserve stocks for the November offensive.20 At the same time 6th Army Group attempted to obtain ammunition from ETOUSA for the recently transferred XV Corps on the ground that the ammunition requirements for that corps, until recently assigned to Third Army, must have been requisitioned from the War Department by the European theater. But the 12th Army Group insisted that it had agreed to the transfer of the XV Corps, including considerable artillery, only in the belief that the 6th Army Group was better able to support it. In view of ETOUSA's own desperate situation there was no prospect of its coming to the aid of the forces in the south.21

The October crisis had precipitated a long overdue reform in the system of control over ammunition issues and expenditures. The procedure in operation up to this time was essentially the one adopted by First Army in mid-June, when the first restrictions were imposed. Under this system First Army had prescribed, usually for four-day periods, the number of rounds of each type of ammunition that each corps could fire. Until the end of July First Army's control was all-embracing, for, as the highest U.S. command on the Continent, it enjoyed complete control over the entire supply machinery from the water's edge to the front line, determining priorities in discharge and the location and level of reserves. When the 12th Army Group became operational on 1 August it continued to allocate ammunition in essentially the same manner, although it increased the rationing period to eight days. Under the system an Ammunition Allocation Committee composed of representatives from the G-3, G-4, artillery, and ordnance sections of 12th Army Group (later augmented to include representatives from SHAEF and the Communications Zone), met periodically and, on the basis of availability forecasts presented by the Communications Zone, established expenditure rates which would provide ammunition for tactical missions and the build-up of the desired reserve. Army group then authorized the armies to draw whatever ammunition was required to build their reserves to the authorized level, but prohibited them from firing more than a specific number of rounds of each type during the allocation period.

This system, though a model of simplicity, had several weaknesses and did not conform to doctrine laid down in field service regulations. For one thing, with a Communications Zone established on the Continent, the army group, unlike the First Army in the first two months,


lacked control over the physical distribution of ammunition and the disposition of reserves. While it prescribed maximum expenditure rates and supply levels, it had to depend on the Communications Zone for figures on ammunition availability. If those figures proved unreliable and shortages developed, the army which first learned of the threatened deficit might monopolize most of the stock of a particular item by requisitioning the quantities needed to achieve its authorized reserve, as had actually occurred in the case of First Army. Secondly, the system made no provision for informing the armies on supply beyond the next allocation period, with the result that all long-range planning was clouded with uncertainty. Finally, the system provided no incentive for conserving ammunition during quiet periods. It thus encouraged wasteful firing, for all ammunition unexpended at the end of an allocation period reverted to army group control. Those that did not shoot up their ration felt justified in falsifying their expenditure reports in order to carry over their savings into the next period as a rainy day reserve.22

Twelfth Army Group took the first step in overhauling the entire control procedure on 11 October, when it allocated the existing stocks of critical items on the Continent and established credits for the three armies in the various depots. Ten days later it announced the adoption of a credit system on a permanent basis, to become operative as soon as stocks had again been rebuilt in the forward depots, a step expected to be completed early in November. Under this system the army group proposed to continue making allocations from time to time as before on the basis of activity factors determined by the G-3. Using these allocations it intended to establish credits for each command in designated COMZ depots, copies of the credits being furnished each command and the regulating station serving it. The system's main feature, in contrast with past practice, was that credits would henceforth be written only against ammunition physically present in forward depots. In other words, allocations would be based on stocks actually available for issue and not on quantities on manifest or on expected deliveries. For the next few weeks the armies' tonnage allocations were to be used to rebuild ADSEC ammunition depots--mainly at Liège, Verdun, and Soissons--from which the armies were then to draw on their accounts. The new system gave the army group a more complete control of the distribution of available stocks and gave reasonable assurance to the armies that ammunition allocated to them would actually be available. The new procedure also provided an incentive to save, and thus encouraged prudent shooting, for all ammunition allocated to the armies remained to their credit whether expanded or not.23

The armies still regarded the system which the army group outlined on 21 October as defective in two respects: like the earlier rationing system, it did not provide the armies with information on future supply, so necessary for


planning purposes; and, because the army group still imposed maximum expenditure rates, it gave the armies little latitude in the use of their ammunition. Under the system just announced, rationing was to be retained as part of the credit system. This meant in effect that the armies would be given allocations of ammunition but told that they could only fire at certain rates.

The army group artillery section, headed by Brig. Gen. John H. Hinds, had repeatedly recommended that ammunition be allocated on a credit basis and without limitation on its use. General Hinds argued that rationing was contrary to the basic principle of giving a commander a mission and the means without dictating the details of method. The armies, he maintained, were closer in both time and space to the battle than the army group headquarters, whose only justification for continuing rationing was its knowledge of resupply prospects. He urged the elimination of expenditure limitations, therefore, and proposed instead that the armies be kept fully informed of the resupply situation, and that they be permitted to use their own judgment as to how to expend the ammunition made available to them.24

On 5 November the army group adopted this proposal and replaced the former limitation on expenditures with a periodic forecast of future supply. It now began issuing thirty-day forecasts to the armies, taking into account all ammunition on hand and becoming due. Each forecast was divided into three ten-day periods. The amounts shown for the first period constituted a firm commitment. This was divided between the three armies and credits for each were established in the forward depots. The amounts shown for the two succeeding periods constituted estimates of resupply issued for planning purposes alone.25

Ammunition could still be drawn only against established credits. Forecasts therefore had to be issued every ten days, consisting of an actual allocation in the form of credits, and revised estimates on future supply. In its first forecast, issued on 6 November, only a few days before the November offensive, the army group informed the armies that it did not plan to establish any reserves of its own and warned that they must now use their own discretion in determining the scale of firing and in establishing reserves to take care of fluctuations in the flow of supply and to meet emergencies.26

Neither the credit system nor its accompanying forecast procedure guaranteed an adequate supply of ammunition. But a true credit system had at last been worked out along the lines prescribed in field service regulations in which allocations were based on actual availability, in which the army group possessed adequate command control over the distribution of ammunition, and in which the


armies enjoyed the maximum freedom in employing the means placed at their disposal.27 The armies considered the new system a godsend.28 Whether it could be made to operate successfully and a return to rationing avoided depended, in part, on the prudence with which they exercised their newly won discretion.

The Communications Zone, in the meantime, had gone forward with its program of accelerating discharge and restocking forward depots. It initially estimated that its efforts would not be reflected at the guns until 7 November, although General Crawford thought this unduly pessimistic and believed the date could be advanced as much as two weeks. In any case General Bradley favored restricting expenditures until a flow of ammunition sufficient to support a sustained offensive was assured.29 Achieving the target of 6,000 tons per day depended largely on what the weather would permit, particularly at UTAH and OMAHA, and when additional berths at Morlaix and Le Havre could be brought in. The necessity of having the equivalent of twelve ships discharging at all times was predicated on an unloading rate of 500 tons per ship per day.

Unloadings improved immediately after SHAEF ordered the step-up on 11 October, but the discharge target was not achieved until the 23d, when 7,617 tons were offloaded. The peak performance was registered on 4 and 5 November, when discharges exceeded 10,000 tons. By that time the Communications Zone had reduced the backlog of ammunition ships in the theater, and unloadings again fell off. Discharge thereafter was to depend on the rate of arrivals from the United States. In the twenty-five-day period from 19 October to 12 November discharges averaged 6,614 tons.30

Much of the tonnage discharged in October was shipped directly to the forward areas. To reduce movement time from port to advance depot the Communications Zone decided to bulk-load trains for dispatch to the armies and the Advance Section, thus bypassing the base depots where classification and segregation were normally carried out. While this practice created a new problem in the forward areas--the segregation of ammunition by lot number--it speeded the build-up of stocks in both army and ADSEC depots.31 There was some fear at first that the emphasis on ammunition shipments might adversely affect the delivery of Class II and IV supplies. But transportation improved steadily in these weeks, and the supply of other items did not suffer.32 By the time of the November offensive ADSEC depots contained nearly 60,000 tons of ammunition compared with 3,500 tons a month before, and the armies held five units of fire in



most of the major items of field artillery ammunition.33

The crisis in ammunition supply left its mark on the fighting in October. The shortage of ammunition, more than any other factor, determined the character of tactical operations that month. General Bradley had immediately recognized that major offensive operations were out of the question until minimum reserves were reconstituted and a steady flow of ammunition was assured. Except for the action leading to the capture of Aachen by the First Army, therefore, and minor probing attacks, activity was relatively light along the entire front occupied by U.S. forces.

While the ammunition shortage restricted the operations of all three armies in the 12th Army Group, expenditure reports show that Third Army operated under the severest handicap. In one of the worst weeks of the ammunition famine--from 15 to 21 October--firing by the 105-mm. howitzer, the main artillery support weapon of the division, was held to 1.1 rounds per gun per day of action against a desired expenditure rate of 60, and a total of only 3,401 rounds was fired. First Army, by comparison, fired at the rate of 30 rounds per weapon per day and expended a total of 109,469 rounds. Third Army's 155-mm. howitzers fired at the rate of .4 rounds per day, expending a total of 553 rounds, while First Army's fired at the rate of 15 rounds per gun per day, expending a total of 24,341 rounds. Much of First Army's heavier firing was done in the attacks on Aachen, and Third Army's only major action in October--the attack on Metz--


TABLE 5--Artillery Ammunition Expenditures, 15-21 October 1944

Weapon First Army Third Army Ninth Army

per day
per gun
in action
per day
per gun
in action
per day
per gun
in action

105-mm. howitzer M2 109,469 30.0 3,401 1.1 15,946 18.1
4.5-inch gun 2,940 12.0 172 .7 401 2.4
155-mm. howitzer 24,341 15.0 553 .4 2,171 3.6
155-mm. gun self-propelled 2,001 8.0 315 3.8 (a) (a)
155-mm, gun M1 5,941 10.0 640 2.5 930 5.5
8-inch howitzer 3,819 15.0 391 1.1 284 1.7
8-inch gun 159 2.0 66 1.6 (a) (a)
240-mm. howitzer 627 3.7 35 .3 (a) (a)

a No data.
Source: Memo, Col T. B. Hedekin, 12 A Gp Arty Sec, for G-3 12 A Gp, 19 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition General.

had to be called off for lack of ammunition.

Comparative expenditure figures for the major artillery weapons in the three armies for that week are given in Table 5. In the period from 11 October to 7 November Third Army's expenditure in all calibers, which totaled 76,325 rounds, barely equaled its expenditures on a single day at the height of the Ardennes battle in December.34

The small ration necessarily forced drastic restrictions on the employment of field artillery. In the XX Corps (Third Army), for example, the artillery commander issued instructions enjoining the use of artillery for anything but counterattacks endangering the battle position, counterbattery against active enemy guns, and observed fire on only the most lucrative targets.35 Since 75-mm., 76-mm., 3-inch, and 90-mm. tank and antitank ammunition and 40-mm. antiaircraft ammunition were fairly plentiful, all armies turned to tank destroyers, tanks, and antiaircraft weapons for employment in their secondary role as artillery.36

Both First and Third Armies also made maximum use of captured enemy guns and ammunition, in some cases equipping American units with German weapons, like the 10.5-cm. howitzer, and firing captured ammunition, in others using enemy ammunition in American weapons, as was successfully done in the case of the 155-mm. howitzer and the 81-mm. mortar. In the last week of October 80 percent of all the ammunition fired by the XX Corps in Third Army consisted of captured ammunition. On 10 October XX Corps in the course of its attacks on Maizieres les Metz fired a time-on-target mission using German 88-mm. guns and 105-mm. howitzers, Russian


76.2-mm. guns, and French 155-mm. howitzers, in addition to American 155-mm. guns and tanks and tank destroyers.37

Despite these expedients the shortage was seriously felt all along the American front. Unit after unit reported its inability to take targets of opportunity under fire, and complained that the inability to use its artillery took the teeth out of its attacks. The artillery officer of the 35th Division (Third Army) reported that one of the division's regiments had been twice repulsed for lack of artillery support in attempts to take an objective.38 The commanding general of the VI Corps (Seventh Army), operating in the St. Die area in northern Alsace, reported that he could provide adequate artillery support in the attack to only one division at a time.39 Artillery support was particularly important during bad weather because of the absence of air support. Bad weather also resulted in more unobserved fire, which in turn involved greater expenditure.

In the entire period of operations on the Continent the month of October provided the clearest case of supply deficiency thwarting tactical operations. In one sense the ammunition shortage epitomized the dire effects of the pursuit, for its immediate causes were largely attributable to the inadequacy of transport and discharge capacity which had resulted from the dash across France.

(2) Contention With the War Department

Theater officials, while attempting to solve the immediate crisis by accelerating the unloading of ships, realized that the ammunition problem had another side. A more ominous shortage threatened, particularly in the heavier calibers and in mortar ammunition, because of inadequate shipments from the United States.

The theater had forewarned the War Department of rising requirements for ammunition as early as March 1944, when it raised its estimates of future needs substantially over the figures it had presented in January, and again in May, when the tactical commands had adopted new "agreed rates," which the theater thereafter used to substantiate its requests for future shipments. Just before D Day the War Department had given assurance that it would meet the theater's "initial requirements," although it predicted shortages in 60- and 81-mm. mortar, 105-mm. howitzer, 8-inch, 240-mm. howitzer, and 155-mm. gun ammunition at D plus 30 and continued shortages in certain categories at D plus 60. The Communications Zone in turn had informed the tactical commands that they could depend on receiving their requirements in virtually all types of ammunition through D plus 70.40

As early as July the theater had been forced to request additional shipments


of several types, and early in August the Supreme Commander made a personal appeal for additional releases of the two most critical types--155-mm. howitzer and 81-mm. mortar ammunition. The War Department was able to provide some relief in these categories, but by mid-September U.S. forces faced more serious shortages, mainly as the result of their tactical successes. Late in the month the theater, pointing out that U.S. forces had advanced much faster than expected and now faced the heavily fortified West Wall, reported an urgent need for ammunition in the heavier calibers--8-inch howitzer and gun and 240-mm. howitzer. All three types had already been rationed for several weeks and, according to the theater, if expended at the desired rates--that is, in concentrations required to break through the German defenses--would be exhausted in from fifteen to twenty-five days.41 The theater concluded that only the immediate shipment of ammunition already set up for future loadings would alleviate the current shortage. It asked that approximately 90,000 rounds be dispatched on two fast freighters without delay.42

Within twenty-four hours of the request the War Department announced that it would meet the demand for 8-inch howitzer ammunition in full and would come within a few hundred rounds of filling the need for 240-mm. howitzer ammunition, but that it would fall far short of the requirement for 8-inch gun ammunition, in which production was very low.43 With these releases the War Department left no doubt that it was according the highest operational priority to the European theater, for these shipments exhausted the stocks of these items in the zone of interior and entailed the diversion of all October and November commitments to other theaters and the suspension of training of newly formed heavy artillery units in the United States.44

The late September releases in the heavy calibers went far toward alleviating the shortage in the theater and, together with the speed-up in unloadings, put the theater in a much improved position for the November offensive.

Two weeks later--on 14 October--the theater submitted its requirements for November loading and thereby precipitated a new and more voluminous exchange with the War Department over the reasonableness of the requests. The theater, recalling an argument which had begun in August over ammunition requisitioning practices, and apparently anticipating difficulties, took pains to emphasize that its requirements had been carefully computed and that they should not


be judged on the basis of past expenditures, since firing had been restricted from almost the beginning because of the nonavailability of ammunition. It admitted that the shortages had resulted primarily from unloading and transportation difficulties within the theater. But it was confident that these problems would soon be overcome and predicted that expenditures would certainly increase.45

The War Department was not impressed with the theater's explanations and proceeded to deny a large portion of its requests on the ground of either unavailability or lack of justification for the demands. In the case of 155-mm. howitzer and gun ammunition the War Department stated that it was providing only 56 and 36 percent respectively of the theater's requests because they were in excess of both the authorized theater level based on the War Department day of supply and the War Department allocation of those two critically short items. For the same reasons it offered to ship only 26 and 51 percent respectively of the theater's requests for 81-mm. mortar and 105-mm. howitzer ammunition. In some cases the hard fact of nonavailability simply precluded shipments in the amounts desired. The War Department pointed out that the theater was already getting all the 8-inch gun and 240-mm. howitzer ammunition and almost all the 8-inch howitzer ammunition being produced, and that its request for 105-mm. howitzer ammunition--5,328,000 rounds--was two and one-half times the total October production. In other categories releases could not be increased substantially without serious detriment to other theaters. Finally, ignoring the theater's explanation of its unloading difficulties, it again pointed to the excessive number of vessels awaiting discharge in European waters.46

The theater promptly responded with a more detailed justification of its demands. Regarding the problem of idle ammunition ships, it noted that under the recently inaugurated speed-up program all vessels in European waters would be unloaded in twenty or thirty days. It explained, furthermore, that although quantities of certain items presently afloat--particularly 105-mm. howitzers, 155-mm. howitzer, 8-inch gun, and 240-mm. howitzer ammunition--were sufficient to meet current shortages, this was only because past expenditures had either been limited by rationing and inadequate transportation, or had been low because of the nature of operations during the pursuit. Ordnance officials presented figures to show that quantities afloat would not be sufficient to cover shortages had expenditures not been restricted, and that expenditures at the armies' desired rates, or even the authorized War Department day of supply rates, could not have been supported from War Department releases. In brief, shipments from the United States had fallen far short of the theater's requests.

The SHAEF G-4 estimated that all ammunition then afloat would be ashore by 3 November, but that there still would be shortages in all categories at that time. On that date, in other words,


the immediate cause of the deficit would shift from inadequate discharges to shortages in the theater. In a memorandum for record General Crawford noted that the theater had begun to warn the War Department of expected shortages in 81-mm. mortar and medium artillery ammunition as early as January 1944, and expressed the opinion that the War Department should by this time have taken action to increase production. Most exasperating of all from the point of view of the theater was the War Department's repeated reference to the fact that past expenditures had been below the day of supply rate, which ignored the theater's argument that past expenditures had been restricted and should not be used as a measure of future needs.47

The War Department's challenging questions were inspired in part by its knowledge of production shortages in the United States and in part by the suspicion that the theater's requests were not fully justified. The theater had repeatedly agitated for higher day of supply rates--the rates on which ammunition requisitions and the accounting of stocks in the theater were based. Both theater and War Department officials had recognized that operational experience on the Continent would probably dictate revisions for some items of ammunition. The theater, after consulting with the field forces, had recommended certain changes as early as 21 June despite its lack of conclusive experiential data at that time. The War Department granted some of the desired revisions in August, but it rejected others as unjustified either by expected combat activity or by expenditure reports from the Mediterranean area.48

In a sense all subsequent discussion of changes in the day of supply rates was academic, for dominating the War Department's attitude was the grim fact that current production in the United States simply could not meet the mounting demands from overseas theaters. In fact, the August revisions did not in reality go into effect. The War Department approved them with the warning that ammunition was not immediately available in sufficient amounts to permit shipments at the new rates, and cautioned the theater that the increases should in no way be considered as a basis for requests to achieve maximum authorized levels in the theater.49 Moreover, there had been no real test of the adequacy of current rates, for ammunition was never supplied at the established rates. Late in September, when the 12th Army Group asked the armies for recommended changes in the supply rates based on their combat experience thus far, First Army replied that it did not feel competent to propose changes, for there was no way of knowing whether the authorized rates would have been adequate in view of the fact that ammunition


had never been supplied at those rates.50

Fundamental to the arguments over the adequacy of ammunition supply, and tending to confirm War Department doubts as to the legitimacy of the theater's requests were the differences in interpretation of the ground rules governing the calculation of requirements to cover shipping and distribution time and, to a lesser extent, the accounting of stocks actually in the pipeline. The same problem had arisen in connection with major Class II and IV items in which the loss rates were unpredictable, such as tanks.51 The War Department had authorized ETOUSA to have between forty-five and seventy-five days of supply of ammunition on hand in the theater. Experience in the first two months, as the theater had pointed out as early as August, had shown that a minimum of fifteen days was required for discharge and shipment to a depot before ammunition could be considered available for issue. Interruptions in supply, losses from enemy action, and variations in expenditure further reduced the quantities available in the forward areas. Thus, although as many as seventy-five days of supply plus the number of days of supply representing the shipping time might be released to the port of embarkation, there was no assurance that the minimum of forty-five days of supply would actually be available for issue on the Continent. Ammunition in the zone of interior or on manifest, the theater argued, was not an asset until received. To achieve even the minimum level required for adequate support of the field forces necessitated that shipments be based on the seventy-five day authorized level plus anticipated expenditures through the date of arrival in the theater. Since requirements were placed three months in advance, therefore, they included not only quantities needed to achieve the authorized level, but expenditures expected from the time the requisition was placed until the time of delivery. This explained why requests exceeded the level based on the War Department day of supply rate.52

Furthermore, the theater had not counted basic loads of ammunition--the amounts which individuals and unit vehicles were allowed to carry--as part of the theater's assets. To include them, the theater argued, only distorted the true status of ammunition supply. Ammunition in the hands of troops, it maintained, was lost insofar as theater stockages were concerned, for it was a frozen asset which could not be moved from


one unit to another to meet changing tactical conditions. Moreover, basic loads represented substantial quantities when compared with the seventy-five-day level, ranging from five to ten days in the case of artillery ammunition and from ten days upward in the case of small arms ammunition. To count these as part of the total theater supply level would limit the actual reserves to a dangerous level. The theater protested strongly against policy.53

These interpretations of the rules were unacceptable to the War Department. It agreed with the theater that ammunition afloat between the port of embarkation and ETOUSA ports should not be counted against the theater's authorized level. For accounting purposes it considered ammunition as part of the theater's stocks only after the vessels had come under theater control. But it did not agree with the theater's insistence on maintaining a level of forty-five to seventy-five days physically on the Continent, and it rejected the argument that basic loads should not be included as part of total theater stocks. The War Department had intended that the authorized maximum level--seventy-five days in ETOUSA's case--should represent all stocks under the theater's control whether afloat or in depots. It appeared that for each thirty-day period the theater was requisitioning three months' requirements without taking into account the War Department's own system for keeping in the pipeline the amounts necessary to offset time for processing orders and shipping. By its own calculation the War Department contended that there already was enough ammunition en route or scheduled for loading to maintain the theater's level until 1 December.54

For the moment, at least, this argument was unresolved. In the meantime General Eisenhower, faced with the demands for the November offensive, personally cabled General Marshall on 20 and 22 October in an attempt to convince the War Department of the gravity of the theater's ammunition situation. In the view of the Supreme Commander, three facts stood out: Certain types of ammunition were unavailable because of insufficient production in the United States; the War Department in the past had not released the quantities requested; and now the War Department was also cutting down on the lift allocated to the European theater.55

Once more General Eisenhower emphasized that the theater could not be assured of an adequate supply as long as shipments were based on past expenditures in view of the necessity to ration heavy calibers since shortly after D Day. It appeared clear to him that every expedient must be applied to step up production. Referring to the speed-up in unloadings, he stated that that program could be supported for the time being with the ships then on hand and the twenty arriving in November, but not beyond the end of the month in view of the cut in sailings. General Eisenhower stressed that the uncertainty of ammunition supply was worrying commanders


at all levels, and that tactical plans for the immediate future hinged on the assurance of an adequate supply. He urged the immediate shipment of 75,000 tons of mortar and artillery ammunition, promising the highest unloading priority and a speedy turnaround of shipping.56

Once more the Supreme Commander's personal appeal brought results. The Army Chief of Staff promptly assured General Eisenhower that everyone in the War Department was cognizant of the theater's problem and realized the need for "generous supply and firm commitments." General Marshall saw no prospect of increasing the October and early November loadings in the critical calibers--that is, 105-mm. and larger and 81-mm. mortar ammunition. But he believed that substantially all of the theater's needs to the end of December could be met, and he promised that ETOUSA would get the maximum quantities becoming available, subject only to meeting the minimum operational requirements of other theaters.

Two aspects of the problem still concerned him. He pointed to the fact that the nineteen ships already in European waters plus those en route would give the theater 3,000,000 rounds of 105-mm. ammunition and 1,200,000 rounds of 81-mm. mortar ammunition, implying that the situation was not as desperate as suggested. In addition, the Chief of Staff deplored the divided responsibility for supply of the northern and southern forces in the theater. Requisitioning by the North African theater for the 6th Army Group made duplication possible, and, in the case of critical items, might result in unnecessary deficiencies elsewhere. He asked that requisitions submitted by General Devers to the North African theater for the southern armies be cleared and approved by the European theater before submission to the War Department. Better still, he suggested that a unified supply system with undivided responsibility would be welcome.57 Meanwhile he assured General Eisenhower that the top officials of the War Department from the Secretary of War down were personally working on the ammunition problem.58

(3) The November Offensive and the Bull Mission

In the meantime Generals Bradley and Devers launched the November offensive with the ammunition which the armies had so painstakingly accumulated and husbanded during October. Early in the month the 12th Army Group announced the activity factors which were to govern the distribution of all


ammunition on hand on 7 November and becoming available in the next three weeks. For active divisions in the First and Ninth Armies the G-3 assigned a factor of .60, for active divisions in Third Army a factor of .40, and for all inactive divisions a factor of .25. On this basis the number of active and inactive divisions in each army determined that 50.1 percent of the ammunition would go to First Army, 22.8 percent to the Ninth, and 27.1 to the Third. This allocation did not take into account the variation in the number of guns in each army, and the rates of fire therefore bore little relationship to the activity factor. But since it did take into consideration the number of divisions, it ensured that an active division on the First Army front would be supported by about the same number of rounds of ammunition as an active division in the Ninth Army's sector despite variations in the rates of fire for individual weapons.59

All five armies in the 12th and 6th Army Groups, including the U.S.-supported First French Army, made fairly heavy expenditures of artillery ammunition, particularly in the initial attacks. In the Third Army the XII and XX Corps, with Metz, and eventually the Saar as their objectives, did their most active firing since their commitment in August, For several days Third Army's 540 105-mm. howitzers fired at the rate of about forty-five rounds per gun per day. Ninth Army's expenditures for the same weapon exceeded seventy rounds for a few days at the beginning of its attacks toward the Roer River.60 Total expenditures of high explosive shells for the 105-mm. howitzer M2 in November came to 2,507,000 rounds, the highest expenditure of any month thus far.61

But ammunition was far from plentiful. In the north the knowledge that neighboring British units were better supplied at least partially explained the decision to place the American 84th Division under the control of the British XXX Corps, which was better able to give it adequate artillery support.62 First Army complained that only its VII Corps, driving toward the Roer, could fire "reasonable amounts." Third Army reported that its expenditure record merely reflected ammunition availability, not the rates at which the army desired to fire. In the Seventh Army, whose 648 105-mm. howitzers fired at the highest rate thus far--forty-nine rounds per weapon per day--the artillery officer exercised a rigid control over expenditures, restricting firing immediately after the initial break-through in the Sarrebourg and Belfort areas in fear of future shortages at the Siegfried Line and Rhine.63

Doubts over future supply were not unfounded. Even before the launching of the November attacks the theater had had additional warning that the ammunition crisis would continue. On 30 October, only a week after its response to General


Eisenhower's appeal, the War Department notified the theater that the recent demands from the European as well as other theaters had completely drained zone of interior stocks of certain items. In some cases releases had actually obligated total anticipated production through 10 November because of unforeseen shortfalls in October production.64

A week later the War Department spelled out its warning in greater detail, informing the theater that despite increasing production, it had grave doubts about meeting ETOUSA's demands in the next three to six months. Current shipments, it noted, were being scheduled directly from production lines to dockside, and did not equal the theater's anticipated rates of expenditure. Stocks already in the theater plus quantities en route thus represented total resources. The theater, the War Department cautioned, must plan its expenditures in the light of these facts, and with the full understanding that any expenditures in excess of the department's announced resupply rate must be supported from theater reserves and could not be replaced from the United States. The War Department saw little possibility of improvement within the next ninety days, for it estimated that any increase in production would be matched by the theater's rising troop strength.65

The War Department's response to the recent appeal had obviously been a stopgap measure which had required scraping the barrel of U.S. ammunition stocks. It had not altered long-range prospects. In view of the War Department's previous warnings the latest forecast therefore should hardly have occasioned surprise. But the argument in October over the reasonableness of ETOUSA's requests had obviously obscured, for the theater at least, the fact that ammunition simply was not available in the desired quantities. Theater officials were incredulous over the latest forecast, and in expressing their disappointment repeated their previous argument that past expenditures should not form the basis for computing the theater's needs, ignoring the hard fact of production shortfalls.66

A few days later the theater, seemingly unaware of the recent communications from the War Department, submitted its requirements for December loading on the basis of rates which it had recommended more than a month before. General Somervell made no attempt to conceal his annoyance with the theater's action which, he said, "had been taken without any regard whatsoever to the information which had been supplied you." He suspected that either the theater was refusing to face reality or that its left hand did not know what its right was doing, and he asked that it recompute its needs on the basis of minimum needs rather than optimum supply conditions.67

The theater in the meantime had passed the War Department's 6 November forecasts on to the army groups,


where they were received with understandable dismay.68 The resupply potential announced by the War Department had reduced the day of supply rate by an average of 50 percent in calibers of 155-mm. and larger, and in the case of 105-mm. howitzer ammunition to 18 rounds per gun as compared with the ETOUSA rate of 40 and the MTOUSA rate of 50.69

The 6th Army Group, because it received its support through the Mediterranean theater and enjoyed a slightly higher day of supply rate in most items than units in the north, estimated that the new rates would provide only about one third of its actual needs and would therefore inevitably affect the scale of operations. The reduction was all the more serious, it noted, because air support was habitually voided by adverse weather.70

General Bradley, translating the predicted resupply rates into tactical capabilities, estimated that the ammunition on hand and in sight for the next month would permit the 12th Army Group to continue its current offensive until about 15 December. Reserves would be practically exhausted by that date, and the resupply rate for the two critical calibers--105-mm. and 155-mm. howitzer ammunition--would then force his armies to revert to static operations. It would be insufficient even for such operations, he thought, if his forces faced an enemy capable of offensive action. Crossing the Rhine with such supply was out of the question unless enemy resistance collapsed.71 On 22 November General Eisenhower transmitted this estimate word for word to the Army Chief of Staff.72

The Supreme Commander, recognizing that the ammunition problem had now reached a crucial stage, had already decided to send two high-ranking officers to Washington to place before General Marshall the exact supply situation and indicate the effect of the shortages on projected operations. In preparation for that mission he instructed General Clay, who had only recently arrived in the theater and was then commanding Normandy Base Section, to make a thorough study of the theater's assets and estimated expenditures, and asked Maj. Gen. Harold R. Bull to analyze the tactical implications of the supply outlook.73 The two officers immediately proceeded to the 6th and 12th Army Group headquarters to lay before them information available


6 JUNE-2 OCTOBER 1944,

Weapon Rounds Fired by 12th A Gp Day of Supply Rate
(rounds per gun per day)

Total per day
per gun
in action
per day
per gun
in A Gp
12th A Gp
ETO Day of
Supply rate

105-mm. howitzer 3,012,568 27.0 21.9 60 40
4.5-in.gun 131,837 17.9 13.3 30 28
155-mm. howitzer 827,462 17.0 13.8 40 25
155-mm. gun SP 62,306 12.6 9.1 25 25
155-mm. gun M1 219,070 14.7 11.7 25 25
8-in. howitzer 8,067 7.9 5.9 25 20
8-in. gun 1,086 5.2 3.1 12 15
240-mm. howitzer 15,478 5.7 3.6 15 7

Source: Memo, Hinds for Moses, 19 Nov 44, Memos--Moses, SHAEF 12 A Gp G-4, Folder 86.

to the theater and to obtain data on supply in the combat zone.

The reaction was a familiar one. Presenting detailed statistics and charts, the 6th Army Group showed how miserly it had had to be in its expenditures for weeks in order to build up the three units of fire necessary for the November offensive, and how, after firing these stocks in the initial attacks, it had again had to tailor its operation to the small trickle of supply. Continued resupply at the same rates, it maintained, would permit nothing better than an active defense.74

General Moses had gathered together the 12th Army Group expenditures record in the main types of artillery ammunition for the entire period from 6 June to 22 October to show that in no case had expenditures been possible at the theater day of supply rate and in most cases had been only one third to one half of the desired expenditure rates. (Table 6) General Bradley still hoped to be provided with sufficient ammunition to permit firing at the "desired rates" during the current offensive, or until mid-December. But the desired rates, on which the 12th Army Group had based requirements in the past, were obviously unattainable for long-range supply and actually had little relationship to the average expenditures over a long period. Considering the number of inactive divisions and the periods of regrouping and light fighting, General Bradley estimated that a long-term maintenance rate, if maintained for several months, would permit the accumulation of ammunition in sufficient quantities to cover the heavy requirements during periods of offensive operations. He immediately queried the armies on this proposal and then recommended the following long-range maintenance rates in


place of the old desired expenditure rates for the four most critical items:

105-mm. howitzer 40  rounds/gun/day
155-mm. howitzer 40  
155-mm. gun 23.5  
8-in. howitzer 25  

In every case the rates recommended by the 12th Army Group commander still exceeded the resupply potential announced by the War Department. Moreover, the army group also wanted fourteen days' reserves established in ADSEC depots. Considering the need for a theater reserve and working margins in the Communications Zone, General Moses concluded that the outlook was "pretty sad." The history of ammunition supply thus far indicated to him that the theater had been permitted to embark on Operation OVERLORD without any certainty of receiving sufficient ammunition to carry on operations against continued stiff resistance. He suspected, furthermore, that the War Department, despite the theater's repeated protestations, had fallen into the habit of editing the theater's requisitions on the basis of past expenditures. These, he maintained, had no bearing whatever on the problem of future supply, and he strongly opposed having General Clay use such data in his discussion with the War Department or having him attempt any estimate as to what the armies could or could not do with the ammunition made available at the new rates. In Moses' opinion Generals Clay and Bull should do no more than present the theater's stated requirements and assert that failure to meet them would seriously hamper or halt offensive operations.75

Generals Bull and Clay flew to Washington at the end of November, and within a few days General Bull reported generally satisfactory results for the mission. The theater's immediate crisis was to be resolved by three expedients: some ammunition found by the ASF which could be rapidly reconditioned was to be shipped promptly; by various shortcuts and special handling the delivery time for all ammunition was to be reduced; and an all-out effort was to be made to assemble all components on hand and thus increase the total production output for December and January. These measures promised to improve the supply potential in all calibers, and particularly in 105-mm. howitzer ammunition, in which the increase was expected to sustain the desired maintenance rate through April 1945. In addition, the War Department was to make an effort to bring new capacity then under construction into production at an earlier date than then scheduled. General Bull reported excellent co-operation from the staffs of General Somervell and the Chief of Ordnance, and returned to the theater satisfied that the War Department was making every effort within its power to meet ETOUSA's needs.76

The War Department's steps to boost the production of field artillery ammunition actually antedated the theater's most recent appeal by several months. In the


fall of 1943 the War Department had ordered a cutback in production under the pressure of criticism from a Congressional committee because of excess accumulations of stocks, particularly in the North African theater. The excess in North Africa had resulted from the automatic shipment of ammunition on the basis of empirical day of supply data which failed to reflect the relatively inactive status of weapons over long periods of time. Early in 1944 the demands for ammunition rose precipitately as the result of the increased tempo of fighting on all fronts, and particularly as the result of unexpectedly high expenditures in Italy and ETOUSA's upward revisions of its requirements for the coming invasion. These developments led the Planning Division of the ASF, after a thorough survey of the ammunition situation, to predict a critical shortage in mortar and medium and heavy artillery ammunition by November.

On this forecast the War Department in April began allocating ammunition on the basis of the number of active weapons in each theater. Within another month, after additional studies and recommendations from the various ASF divisions, the War Department General Staff assigned the highest priority to the construction of additional production facilities for ammunition, and also for guns. The War Production Board immediately issued the required directives to make basic materials and machine tools available. Tooling up for ammunition production was a complicated precision job, however, the manufacture of the 155-mm. shell alone requiring about forty separate operations. Even experienced manufacturers ran into trouble on such jobs, as the lag in production of 8-inch ammunition had shown. Meanwhile the War Department pressed for the maximum output with existing facilities, making the necessary manpower deferments and even furloughing men from the service to work in munitions plants.77

These measures were only beginning to be reflected in production increases when the theater made its urgent appeals in November, and the actions which the War Department could take to effect an immediate acceleration in the flow of ammunition were limited to the expedients mentioned above. Earlier in November, in an attempt to provide additional incentives to production in existing facilities, and to publicize the urgency of the ammunition situation, the Secretary of War had suggested that the theater send back artillery crews as special emissaries for a tour of production centers. Late that month, during the Bull mission, the theater responded by flying one mortar crew and two artillery gun crews, comprising twenty-seven enlisted men, to the United States.78

(4) Ammunition Supply in December and January

The emergency measures taken as a result of the Bull mission were to have


no effect on ammunition availability in Europe for several weeks. Meanwhile the armies met the enemy's December onslaught with stocks already on hand and did some of the heaviest firing to date. Credits went out the window in the face of emergency needs of hard-pressed units, and allocations to the subordinate corps and divisions were suspended. Instead, Third Army, for example, adopted the practice of issuing informal status reports of critical items which corps commanders then used as a guide to expenditures. For the most part firing was unrestricted. In the First Army, expenditures of 105-mm. howitzer ammunition rose to 69 rounds per gun per day as compared with 13 rounds in the period of the pursuit and a previous high of 44 in November. For the 155-mm. howitzer expenditures were at the rate of 44 rounds as against 8 and 29 respectively in the earlier periods.

In the most of the major categories the firing in December was the heaviest of any month thus far. The result was to increase the gap between authorized and actual levels in the theater to the widest it was to reach during the war. In the case of the high explosive shell for the 105-mm. howitzer M2, the December expenditures, totaling 2,579,400 rounds, reduced theater stocks to 2,524,000 rounds against an authorized level of 8,900,000. In terms of days of supply at War Department rates this stockage represented only twenty-one days as against the authorized seventy-five.79

In the 6th Army Group expenditures did not soar until early in January, when the enemy launched his counteroffensive in the Hardt Mountains area. Firing continued heavy with the launching of the operation to clear the Colmar Pocket. The sustained firing during the month placed a heavy drain on army group reserves. At the end of the operation on 8 February 6th Army Group concluded that it would have to conserve ammunition in the heavier calibers for a full thirty days before undertaking additional offensive operations. Allocations were accordingly cut to one half of the SHAEF day of supply rate for the next month. Unallocated ammunition was used to rebuild the army group reserve.80

The heavy firing in December and January was thus supported only by drawing heavily on reserves. The flow of ammunition was anything but plentiful, and the theater continued to resort to various expedients to supplement normal supply and augment the armies' fire power. Late in November the First Army, using personnel from the 32d Field Artillery Brigade, formed two provisional battalions in order to make use of forty-eight German 105-mm. gun-howitzers and 20,000 rounds of captured


ammunition turned over to it by the Communications Zone. The captured guns and ammunition were used to good effect in harassing and interdictory missions during the Ardennes fighting. First Army's 155-mm. gun battalions also made use of approximately 7,500 rounds of captured 15.5-cm. ammunition.81 Meanwhile the Communications Zone arranged with 21 Army Group for the loan of one hundred 25-pounders along with sixty days' supply of ammunition to the 12th Army Group, which divided them between the three armies.82

While the additional shipments arranged for by General Bull helped shore up the theater's ammunition position, they were insufficient to permit firing at the 12th Army Group's desired long-range maintenance rates. In December the theater informed the field commands that the supply potential for 105-mm. howitzer ammunition would be 26 rounds per gun per day as compared with the desired 45, for the 155-mm. howitzer 19.5 as against the desired 33, for the 155-mm. gun 13 instead of 25, and for the 8-inch howitzer 5.5 rather than 25.83 In practice the theater actually bettered this forecast somewhat in the three months beginning with January, the maintenance rates for the four critical calibers averaging 29.6, 23.4, 13.3, and 5.5 respectively.84

But the supply potential continued to fall short of desired maintenance rates, and the entire ammunition situation remained tight. Early in January General Somervell, after a personal survey of the situation in the theater, appeared fully convinced of the theater's needs and asserted in no uncertain terms that the resources of the United States must be applied to whatever extent was necessary to the urgent production of as much ammunition of critical calibers as could be produced in the shortest possible time. "There are not enough ĎA's' in all the alphabets in the United States," he cabled Washington, "to point up the necessity for this too strongly."85 The critical need for ammunition in the European theater had a direct influence on the War Department's decision, made only a few days later, to cancel plans for the mass production of pilotless aircraft (the JB-2), intended for use against industrial targets in Germany, because of the inroads such a program would have made on labor and materials then committed to the manufacture of field artillery ammunition.86

The adoption of the long-range maintenance rate as a means of forecasting


future supply was accompanied by further changes in the control of ammunition distribution within the theater. After discussions earlier in the month, SHAEF on 20 December announced that it was assuming control of all ammunition resources in the theater, and proposed to exercise its control by establishing a maintenance day of supply rate and a reserve for each weapon. The reserve, it was proposed, would be held by the theater and would be made available to SHAEF to meet unforeseen contingencies or to reinforce the operations of a specified army group. The maintenance day of supply was in reality the available day of supply potential for each weapon and was calculated by considering as available all stocks then in the Communications Zone and SOLOC and the anticipated future supply from the zone of interior. SHAEF at first attempted to establish its control retroactively to 1 December. This placed the 6th Army Group in the position of having already overdrawn its allocations for the month, and much of its ammunition had already been fired. General Devers protested that the control had been imposed too abruptly and had caused dislocations, and asked for special allocations. SHAEF therefore postponed inauguration of its control to January. The SHAEF reserve was actually established by the middle of that month.

The new system established a maintenance day of supply for each weapon in the theater, thereafter known as the SHAEF Maintenance Rate. In effect, the inauguration of the system recaptured all ammunition in Army supply points and redistributed all ammunition on a weapons basis. While the newly established maintenance rates were not as high as desired, they were actually somewhat better than the resupply predictions of the War Department because of the spreading out of existing stocks in the theater. Furthermore, the system provided a guaranteed rate of resupply to the army groups and thus provided a sound basis for expenditure planning.87

Meanwhile the 12th Army Group had decided to establish a reserve of its own. It will be recalled that under the credit system adopted in November it had been agreed that the armies should create their own reserves on the basis of the thirty-day forecasts issued every ten days, and that no ammunition should be held back by the army group. Early in December General Moses proposed that the army group assume responsibility for "assessing the hazards" of ammunition supply behind the armies and thus leave the army commanders freer to consider purely operational problems. Under Moses' proposal the army group, after reviewing the expected rates of supply announced by the War Department, would establish a minimum reserve of its own of seven days in ADSEC depots, and credit the armies with all other available ammunition up to the total of the expected supply rate in accordance with operational activity factors. When available, additional ammunition would be credited to the armies to enable them to establish a seven-day reserve of their own. Under this procedure the armies


would be told that they could expect to learn about ten days in advance the amounts to be credited to them; the practice of advising them of credit expectancy for a thirty-day period was to stop. Moses believed that this system would afford greater safety and flexibility to the army group commander in the use of critical items in planned operations, and would also relieve the armies of worry about supply in the rear of the forward depots. It would also eliminate the troubles arising from predictions of future supply which often could not be fulfilled.88

General Bradley approved the system outlined by his G-4. On 16 December the army group submitted to theater headquarters its desired long-range maintenance rates, which henceforth took the place of the old desired expenditure rate in calculating requirements.89

The army group reserve was not actually established until mid-January.90 At that time the ammunition control system worked roughly as follows: On the basis of resupply forecasts furnished by the War Department and weapons lists provided by the Communications Zone, SHAEF computed the current maintenance rates. The quantities actually to be made available to each army were determined by the number of each type of weapon with the armies and by the activity factors established by the army group. The Communications Zone wrote credits on ADSEC depots for each army, and the armies then made withdrawals as needed against these credits.91

In January the supply of ammunition for the 4.2-inch chemical mortar was placed on an allocation and credit basis similar to that set up for artillery ammunition. Ammunition for this weapon had never been plentiful, but the shortage was seriously aggravated during the winter when large quantities in both the theater and the zone of interior were found to be defective and had to be impounded. The defect was found to be in the fuze, causing barrel explosions. Pending the receipt of reconditioned stocks from the United States, impounded shells in the theater were released only when absolutely necessary, and for a time the weapon was fired only by use of the lanyard.92

One of the most troublesome problems which plagued ammunition supply through the entire period of operations was the problem of the segregation of ammunition by lot number. Under a system of mass production in many plants there is no guarantee that all ammunition of a single type will have the same ballistic characteristics. Ammunition must therefore be segregated or grouped according to performance characteristics, particularly with regard to range. It is desirable of course, to keep the number of lots delivered to a single battalion as small as possible and, conversely, the number of rounds per lot as large as possible.

Lot segregation was not a new problem,


and attempts had been made to cope with it before the invasion. Tests carried out in the United Kingdom had shown that variations between lots and even within lots were too great for safety in the close support of infantry, and some nonstandard lots were therefore rejected. Some 800,000 rounds of 105-mm. howitzer ammunition, the type used in greatest quantity for close support, were classified before the invasion. But this quantity was quite inadequate, and units eventually had to be provided classified, unclassified, and even previously rejected ammunition.93 On the Continent the extended discharge over beaches, the continued receipt of many small mixed lots from the United States, the lack of transportation needed for the rehandling of ammunition once it was on the ground, and the October speed-up in unloading, accompanied by the forwarding of ammunition in bulk, all militated against the maintenance of lot integrity.

The 1st Army Group had originally set as a goal the delivery of ammunition in lots of at least 500 rounds to individual battalions. But this was rarely if ever achieved. In October Third Army found that one supply point with 7,445 rounds of 105-mm. howitzer ammunition contained 308 lot numbers; a tabulation of receipts in a single depot in a period of three days revealed that 545 separate lots had been received. In another three-day period late in September one field artillery battalion reported drawing 131 lots of ammunition averaging only eighteen rounds each.

Just before the November offensive First Army undertook to segregate and record by lot number all ammunition under its control, a task which involved an expenditure of 25,000 man-hours of labor. It attempted to segregate ammunition as far as possible into multiples of 150 rounds. But the stock of 105-mm. howitzer ammunition alone contained more than 1,200 lot numbers. Ordnance officials finally concluded that the medium battalions would simply have to accept a proportion of unsegregated ammunition with each issue of segregated shells.94

This highly unsatisfactory situation naturally brought complaints from the field. Artillery commanders reported that it was impossible to determine the behavior of ammunition by registration. The resulting inaccuracy of firing consequently necessitated the adoption of a safety factor certain to prevent short rounds from falling on friendly troops. But such measures also voided the benefits of close supporting fires.

In one respect the problem of ammunition handling resembled the problem of handling bulk rations. Care had to be exercised at every stage along the lines of communications to maintain the integrity of original loads or blocks of supply. As in the case of balanced rations, the Communications Zone had first tried to eliminate a major cause of trouble at the loading end where ammunition was often stowed without reference to lots. This fault was largely eliminated by the fall of 1944, and ships arriving in the theater carried sizable quantities of individual lots, which were block stowed. In November, with the


improvement of port discharge and transportation, some improvement was also evident in the handling of this ammunition within the theater. By the end of that month ammunition was arriving at three major ports--Cherbourg, Morlaix, and Le Havre. Ammunition detachments were stationed at each of these ports to prevent the breaking up of lots during unloading, and further attempts were then made to ensure the shipment of solid blocks--an entire shipload where feasible--to a single depot. At the forward depots the Advance Section in turn attempted to reconsign rail cars containing solid loads of one lot forward to the armies. The Advance Section reported savings of between forty and sixty trucks per day at each of two depots in December by following this practice.95 This campaign gradually brought improvement. But complete lot integrity was never achieved, and the problem plagued ammunition supply operations until V-E Day.

Lot segregation was but one aspect of an essentially complicated supply problem. Estimating ammunition requirements suffered from the handicap of most military logistics in that requirements fluctuated with the course of tactical operations, which were largely unpredictable. Neither the field commands nor the Communications Zone foresaw the developments of August and September 1944, which had the effect first of reducing expenditures and then of creating a precipitate rise in requirements for the attack on the West Wall defenses.

But the problem actually went deeper. Unlike the problem of estimating the need for POL and most equipment, in the case of Class V there was much disagreement as to what constituted an adequate day of supply or average rate of fire. Field commanders could always justify a much higher expenditure rate than the War Department, faced with multiple production problems, was either willing or able to support. In brief, there rarely, if ever, is enough ammunition to satisfy what field commanders consider their legitimate needs.

Unfortunately the problem was needlessly aggravated by the lack of mutually understood ground rules regarding accountability of stocks in the pipeline and in the theater. In any event, the persistent uncertainty over supply prospects had its inevitable effect on operational planning, hobbling all action in October, and casting a shadow over most planning for several months.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (VIII) * Next Chapter (X)


1. See Logistical Support I, 445-48 and 525-43 for early difficulties.

2. History of Planning Division ASF, App. 18-A, Ammunition Supply for the European and Mediterranean Theaters, 15 Aug 45, OCMH. This study contains tabulations of on-hand stocks, monthly expenditures, and authorized and actual day-of-supply levels for the major types of artillery ammunition.

3. History of Planning Division ASF, pp. 132-70.

4. Ltr, 12 A Gp to CG COMZ, 16 Sep 44, sub: Items of Ammo in Critical Short Supply, EUCOM 471 Allocation of Ammunition, II; 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 15 Sep 44.

5. Memo, Hinds for G-3, G-4, and Ord Sec 12 A Gp, 24 Sep 44, sub: Ammo Allocs 27 Sep-5 Oct 44, 12 A Gp 471/1 Ammunition Allocations.

6. Ltr, Hodges to Bradley, 28 Sep 44, sub: Increased Alloc, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition; TUSA AAR, XI, Ord, 12; Rpt, Ammo, Western Europe, 1-30 Sep 44, Ammo Off FUSA to Ord Off FUSA, 25 Oct 44, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery, entry 31, Box 43.

7. 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 1 Oct 44.

8. Ibid., 3 Oct 44; Ltr, Lt Col J. P. Daley, Arty Sec 12 A Gp, 10 Sep 44, sub: Rpt of Visit to Eagle Tac, 9 Sep 44, 12 A Gp 319.1 Reports; Rpt, FUSA Ammo Off to FUSA Ord Off, 25 Oct 44, sub: Ammo Supply Rpt, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammo Supply for Field Artillery.

9. Ammunition Supply of Field Artillery, Gen Bd Rpt 55, p. 25, citing an inclosure to conference recommendations of 9 October.

10. Memo, Hinds for G-3 12 A Gp, 10 Oct 44, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery.

11. Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 11 Oct 44, sub: Ammo Allocs to Central Group of Armies for Period 13 Oct-7 Nov, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition.

12. 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 9 Oct 44; Ltr, Capt W. E. Gunther, SHAEF G-4 Div, to Chief Current Opns Br G-4, 9 Oct 44, sub: Rpt on Ammo Mtg; Memo, Hinds for G-3 12 A Gp, 10 Oct 44, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery; Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 9 Oct 44, and unsigned tabulation of statistics on ammunition ships working, discharging, etc., in SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition.

13. TWX's, 12 A Gp to Armies, 11 Oct 44, SHAEF G-3 O&E 471 Ammunition; Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 25. The available ammunition was divided between the armies on the basis of activity factors which gave 55 percent to First Army, 35 percent to Third Army, and 10 percent to Ninth Army. Ltr, Gunther to Chief Current Opns Br G-4, 9 Oct 44, sub: Rpt on Ammo Mtg, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery.

14. Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 11 Oct 44, sub: Ammo Allo to Central Group of Armies for Period 13 Oct-7 Nov, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition; TUSA AAR, II, Ord, 14.

15. Memo, Hinds for G-3 12 A Gp, 10 Oct 44, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery.

16. 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 9 Oct 44, TWX E-53841, Lee to Bradley, 12 Oct 44, and Memo, Stratton for Crawford, 12 Oct 44, sub: Discharge of Ammo Ships, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition; Ltr, Col H. A. Nisley, 12 A Gp Ord, to G-4 12 A Gp, 30 Oct 44, sub: Estimate of Ord Class V Situation, ADSEC 381 Supply Plan; Col Rapport in COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl, 11 Oct 44, ETO Adm G-4 145C.

17. Ltr, Gunther to Clark, 9 Oct 44, sub: Rpt on Ammo Mtg, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition.

18. Ltr, Nisley to G-4, 30 Oct 44, sub: Estimate of Ord Class V Situation, ADSEC 381 Supply Plan; Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 9 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition.

19. Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 23, citing Ltr to Arty Off 12 A Gp, 17 Sep 44.

20. Memo, Lt Col G. E. Nichols, Arty S-4 SUSA, 22 Nov 44, in Sixth Army Group History (mimeo); History of Delta Base Section, III, App., p. 14; 6th A Gp G-3 Sec Final Rpt World War II, pp. 92-93.

21. Ltrs, Hinds to Maj Gen John A. Crane of AFHQ, 13 Oct 44, Wilson to Hinds, 19 Oct 44, and Hinds to Crane, 30 Oct 44, all in 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition General; Cbl F-43310, McNarney to Eisenhower, 24 Oct 44, and Cbl S-63913, SHAEF to AFHQ, 25 Oct 44, SHAEF Cbl Logs, Smith Papers.

22. Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 54-56; Mechanics of Supply in Fast Moving Situations, Gen Bd Rpt 27, p. 77.

23. 12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, XII, 141-442; Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 57-58; Gen Bd Rpt 27, pp. 77, 83.

24. Memo, Hinds for G-3, G-4, and Ord Sec 12 A Gp, 4 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Estimates, and Ltr, Hinds to Brig Gen C. E. Hart, FUSA Arty Off, 8 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 471/1 Ammunition Allocations; 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 4 Nov 44; Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 58-59.

25. Credits and forecasts were based mainly on activity factors prescribed by the G-3 and by the distribution of weapons.

26. Ltr, 12 A Gp to FUSA, 6 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Supply of FUSA, FUSA 471 Ammunition 1Ar-15, Drawer 2; Ltr, 12 A Gp to NUSA, 6 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Supply of NUSA, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition, V; 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 5 Nov 44.

27. See FM 100-10, Field Service Regulations, Administration, 15 November 1943, pars. 75-77.

28. Ltr, Col Edward T. Williams, TUSA Arty Off, to Hinds, 11 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 471/1 Ammunition Allocations; Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 63, citing a statement by the FUSA ammunition officer.

29. 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 19 Oct 44.

30. Memo, Clark for G-4 SHAEF, 15 Nov 44, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery; 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 11 and 18 Nov 44.

31. Ltr Nisley to G-4 12 A Gp, 30 Oct 44, sub: Estimate of Ord Class V Situation, ADSEC 381 Supply Plan.

32. Memo, Hass for G-4 12 A Gp, 14 Nov 44, sub: Supply of Class II and IV, 12 A Gp Supplies, Misc, 126.

33. ADSEC Operations History, App. E; Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 29.

34. TUSA AAR, II, Arty, 32.

35. Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 28.

36. Ibid.; Ltr, Kean to Corps Comdrs FUSA, 15 Oct 44, sub: Fld Arty Firing, FUSA 471 1Ar-20; TUSA AAR, II, Ord, 14; Ltr, Lt Col John Ray, FUSA Ammo Off, to FUSA Ord Off, 12 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Supply Rpt, Western Europe, 1-31 Oct 44, Gen Bd file 471/1 Arty Sec, Entry 39, Box 43.

37. Ammunition Supply and Operations, European Campaign, Gen Bd Rpt 100, p. 23 and App. 7; TUSA AAR, II, Arty, 11; Gen Bd Rpt 58, p. 28.

38. See observer reports submitted to Maj Gen Everett S. Hughes by Lt Gen Ben Lear on the adequacy of supply arrangements in the ETO. ETO 400 Supplies, Services, and Equipment.

39. Rpt, Col Louis T. Heath, G-3 Arty Sec 6 A Gp, to G-3, 23 Nov 44, Sixth Army Group History.

40. See Logistical Support I, 537-38, and Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 9-10.

41. The Twelfth Army Group had asked for a supply adequate to permit firing 8-inch howitzer, 8-inch gun, and 240-mm. howitzer ammunition at the rate of 25, 15, and 15 rounds per gun per day, respectively, as against the current ration of 13, 10, and 11 rounds.

42. Cbl EX-49415, COMZ to AGWAR, 23 Sep 44, 12 A Gp Ammunition, Allocations and Credits, I.

43. The War Department announced shipments of 56,250 rounds of 8-inch howitzer ammunition against the request for 55,511, 21,490 rounds of 240-mm. howitzer ammunition against the request for 22,130 (a shortage of 640 rounds), but only 3,848 rounds of 8-inch gun ammunition against the requirement of 11,023. Total production of the last in September came to only 5,000 rounds.

44. Cbl, Marshall to Eisenhower, 24 Sep 44, Memo, Marshall for Byrnes, 25 Sep 44, and Memo for Record, 24 Sep 44, sub: Request for Heavy Arty Ammo (ETO), all in OPD 471 ETO Sec. I, Cases 1-16; Cbl WX-41189, AGWAR to Larkin, 4 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammunition Position.

45. Cbl EX-54310, COMZ to AGWAR, 14 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammunition Position.

46. Cbl WX-48152, AGWAR to SHAEF, 18 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition.

47. Cbl S-63033, SHAEF to AGWAR, 19 Oct 44, Ltr, Crawford to Handy, 20 Oct 44, sub: Rpt on Ammo in Short Supply, and Memo for Record, Crawford, 19 Oct 44, all in SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition; Report on Ammunition in Short Supply, prep in Office Chief Ord Off COMZ, 17 Oct 44, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery.

48. Ltr, AGWAR to CG ETO, 25 Aug 44, sub: Estimated Ammo Requirements, EUCOM 471/1 Ammunition Policy. The new rates were officially communicated to the theater on 1 September 1944. Ltr, Secy of War to CG ETO, 1 Sep 44, sub: Day of Supply for Ammo, ADSEC 471 Ammunition.

49. Ltr, AGWAR to CG ETO, 25 Aug 44.

50. Ltr, 12 A Gp to Armies, 23 Sep 44, sub: Day of Supply for Ammo, with replies, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition Day of Supply.

51. See Logistical Support I, 522-23, and see above, Ch. VIII, Sec. 3.

52. Ltr, ETO to ASF, 31 Aug 44, sub: Ammo Rqmts for October Loading, EUCOM 471 Allocations of Ammunition, II; Cbl WARX-26353, WD to ETO, 6 Sep 44, Cbls, SS&P Plng Div 201.02, A46-371; Cbl S-63033, SHAEF to AGWAR, 19 Oct 44. A later analysis of ammunition shipments covering the period July 1944-January 1945 showed that an average of 54 days elapsed between the submission of a requisition on the zone of interior and the arrival of the first rounds in theater waters, and that an additional 24 days elapsed before the ammunition actually became available for issue: 14 to discharge, 7 to move to an intermediate or advance section, and 3 to inventory and transmit records to the army group. An average of 78 days therefore elapsed before the first round was issued as the result of a theater request. Memo, Lt. Col. J. B. Goodell, Deputy Chief, Ammo Supply Div 12 A Gp Ord, for ExO, 29 Jan 45, sub: Levels of Supply in ETOUSA, 12 A Gp 319.1 Reports.

53. Cbl EX-60321, Lee to AGWAR, 4 Nov 44, SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammunition Position; Cbl E-52905, Lee to AGWAR, 7 Oct 44, EUCOM 471/1 Ammunition Policy.

54. Cbl W-49721, AGWAR to SHAEF, 20 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition.

55. See above, Ch. IV, Sec. 4.

56. Cbls S-63259 and E-56546, Eisenhower to Marshall, 20 and 22 Oct 44, OPD Cbl Files.

57. Special shipments had only recently been made to southern France for overland delivery to troops in the north, and additional shipments were made to that area for troops transferred from the 12th to the 6th Army Group. The War Department believed these to be duplicate requisitions. Responsibility for the supply of the 6th Army Group was actually assumed by the Communications Zone on 20 November, and requisitions from the two army groups were henceforth to be consolidated and submitted by the Communications Zone. Memo for Record, unsigned, 17 Oct 44, sub: Status of Arty Ammo, OPD 471 ETO Sec. II, Cases 17-30; Ltr, COMZ to SAC, 25 Nov 44, sub: 6th A Gp Ammo Supply, SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammunition Position.

58. Cbl W-50677, Marshall to Eisenhower, 22 Oct 44, Eyes Only Cbls, Smith Papers; Cbl W-51013, Marshall to Eisenhower, 23 Oct 44, and Ltr, Lutes to Crawford, 25 Oct 44 in SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition.

59. Memo, Hinds for G-3, 9 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 471/1 Ammunition Allocations; 12 A Gp Ord Sec Jnl, 10 Nov 44.

60. Memo, Hedekin, Arty Sec 12 A Gp, for SHAEF G-4 Ln Off, 21 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition General.

61. History of Planning Division ASF, App. 18-A, p. 152.

62. Conquer: The Story of Ninth Army, 1944-45, p. 83.

63. Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 29, 32-38; TUSA AAR, II, Ord, 16; Memo, Col C. W. Stewart, Deputy Chief Current Opns Br G-4 SHAEF, for G-4, 25 Jan 45, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition.

64. Cbl WARX-54796, WD to ETO, 30 Oct 44, Cbls SS&P Planning Div 201.02, A46-371.

65. Cbl WX-58388, Somervell to Eisenhower, 6 Nov 44, SHAEF G-3 O&E 471 Ammunition.

66. Cbl E-62083, ETO to WD, 10 Nov 44, Cbls, SS&P Planning Div 201.02, A46-371.

67. Cbl E-63957, ETO to WD, 15 Nov 44, and Cbl WARX-64914, WD to ETO, 18 Nov 44, Cbls, SS&P Planning Div 201.02, A46-371; Ltr, Somervell to Lee, 18 Nov 44, Hq ASF European Theater--1st Half 1944.

68. Cbl S-66466, SHAEF to 12 and 6 A Gp, 12 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition.

69. Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 31-32.

70. Sixth Army Group History, November, p. 45.

71. Memo, Bradley for Eisenhower, 21 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition. A COMZ analysis estimated that the War Department's announced resupply potential would permit the following expenditures of 105-mm. howitzer ammunition through April 1945: 26.8 rounds per weapon per day if no reserves were maintained, 25 rounds with a five-day reserve, and 23.3 rounds with a ten-day reserve. This assumed an average of 2,341 weapons of this caliber for the period. The 12th Army Group's desired rate for the 105-mm. howitzer was 52.2 rounds. For the 155-mm. gun the corresponding figures were 19.1 rounds without a reserve, 18.3 rounds with a five-day reserve, and 17.5 rounds with a ten-day reserve. The total number of weapons of this caliber was assumed to average 345. The desired rate for the 155-mm. gun was 23.25. Ltr, Lord to Crawford, 17 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Availabilities through 1 May 1945, EUCOM 471 Ammunition Availabilities III, Special Files.

72. Cbl S-67807, Eisenhower to Marshall, 22 Nov 44, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition.

73. TWX EX-65520, ETO to 6 and 12 A Gps, 20 Nov 44, 6 A Gp 471--1 November 44.

74. Memo, 6 A Gp for Bull and Clay, 23 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Consumption Rqmt Analysis, EUCOM, SHAEF Plans and Operations, 23 Nov 44-26 Jan 45; 6 A Gp G-3 Sec Final Rpt, p. 95.

75. Memo for Record, Moses, 21 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Rates, Memo, Moses for Bull, 21 Nov 44, Memo, Moses for Bradley, 22 Nov 44, and Memo for Record, Moses, 26 Nov 44, sub: Visit of Bull and Clay, all in Memos--Moses, SHAEF 12 A Gp G-4 Folder 86; Ltr, Moses to Bull, 26 Nov 44, OPD 471 ETO Sec. I, Cases 1-16.

76. General Clay did not return to the theater. Cbl W-71199, Bull to Smith, 1 Dec 44, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition; Memo, Bull for Eisenhower, 3 Dec 44, sub: Critical Ammo Items, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery.

77. History of Planning Division ASF, App. 18-A, Ammunition Supply for the European and Mediterranean Theaters, prep by ASF, 15 Aug 45, pp. 25, 32, 242-45; Cbl 302158Z, AGWAR to SHAEF, 30 Nov 44, EUCOM 471 Ammunition, General, III; Rpt, Hiland G. Batcheller, Critical Programs: A Report to the WPB, 14 Nov 44, Hq ASF, President-White House-Exec Office 1944, Somervell file.

78. Cbl WX-58187, AGWAR to SHAEF, 6 Nov 44, and Cbl EX-62078, COMZ to AGWAR, 24 Nov 44, both in SHAEF AG 471-5 Summary of Ammunition Position.

79. In weight of rounds expended, the high explosive shell for the basic field artillery piece--the 105-mm. howitzer M2--topped all other ammunition items. Expenditures of this shell eventually accounted for 34.5 percent of the total tonnage of artillery ammunition expended by U.S. forces during the war in Europe (498,200 tons of a total of 1,446,400). Shells for the 105-mm. howitzer M1 accounted for another 14.7 percent (213,300 tons) of the total tonnage. History of Planning Division ASF, App. 18-A, p. 93.

80. TUSA AAR, II, Ord, 8; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. III, p. 26; Ammunition Supply Report Western Europe, 1-31 December, prep by Ammo Off, Ord Sec FUSA, 24 Jan 45, Gen Bd file 471/1 Ammunition Supply for Field Artillery; 6 A Gp G-3 Sec Final Rpt; TWX BX-23700, Devers to SHAEF G-3, 30 Jan 45, SHAEF SGS 472 Artillery and Ammunition, II.

81. FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. III, p. 28.

82. The loan was renewed for another sixty days at the end of February. Cbl EX-85176, COMZ to 21 A Gp, 11 Jan 45, Cbl SD-1159, 21 A Gp to COMZ, 4 Mar 45, Memo, Arty Sec 12 A Gp for G-4, 4 Jan 45, and Memo, Arty Sec to Ord and G-4, 26 Feb 45, all in 12 A Gp 472 Cannons and Field Pieces.

83. Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 35-36; Ltr, Gen Leven C. Allen to CG ETO, 16 Dec 44, sub: Long-Range Maintenance Rate of Supply of Mortar and Arty Ammo, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition, V.

84. For the 8-inch howitzer the figure 5.5 is deceptively low, for the rate is based on a large number of weapons which were never active. Expenditures by the 12th Army Group in this caliber actually averaged 13 rounds per active gun per day. Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 37-38.

85. Memo, Marshall for Byrnes, 13 Jan 45, and attchd Cbl, Somervell to Styer, 11 Jan 45, CofS 400, Sec. I, Cases 2-35.

86. Memo for Record, Lt Col C. E. Hutchin, 24 Dec 44, Cbl 82397, Marshall to ETO, 24 Dec 44, and Cbl 25880, Marshall to Eisenhower, 23 Jan 45, all in OPD 471.6 TS Sec. II, Cases 33-37.

87. Memo, Twitchell for Bull, 7 Dec 44, sub: Availability of Ammo, Memo, Bull for Crawford, 7 Dec 44, Memo, Twitchell for Bull, 20 Dec 44, sub: Conf on Availability of Ammo, and TWX S-75735, SHAEF to A Gps, 19 Jan 45, all in SHAEF G-3 O&E 471 Ammunition; 6 A Gp G-3 Sec Final Rpt, pp. 97-99.

88. Memo, Moses for Bradley, 11 Dec 44, sub: Notes on Ammo Supply, Memos--Moses, SHAEF 12 A Gp G-4 Folder 86.

89. Memo for Record, Moses, 13 Dec 44, sub: Ammo Supply, Memos--Moses, SHAEF A Gp G-4 Folder 86.

90. Diary of 12th A Gp G-4, 12 Jan 45.

91. Gen Bd Rpt 100, p. 27.

92. Memo, for G-4, 23 Jan 45, SHAEF G-4 471 Ammunition 1945; 12 A Gp G-4 AARs for Jan and Feb 45.

93. Gen Bd Rpt 58, pp. 11-12, 76.

94. Ibid., p. 76; Gen Bd Rpt 100, p. 22; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. III, p. 27.

95. Ltr, Brig Gen R. M. Howell, 9th Arty Comdr, to CG 9th Div, 24 Oct 44, sub: Variation in Lot Numbers of Arty Ammo, with Inds, Incl COMZ reply, 26 Dec 44, EUCOM 471 Ammunition General, III; Ltr, COMZ to CGs COMZ Secs, 15 Nov 44, sub: Ammo Shipping Practices, and Ltr, ADSEC to CG COMZ, 19 Dec 44, sub: Ammo Arrival Condition Rpt, both in ADSEC 471 Ammunition; Ltr, Hodges to Bradley, 10 Dec 44, sub: Segregation of Fld Arty Ammo by Lot Number, with 1st Ind, 12 A Gp to COMZ, 20 Dec 44, 12 A Gp 471 Ammunition.

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation