Army Ground Forces Study No. 4
THE FIRST TROOP BASIS OF 1942
The plan in effect at the time of the establishment of the Army Ground Forces was the troop basis issued by the War Department in January 1942, about five weeks after the entrance of the United States into the War. The Army at the time of Pearl Harbor, after fifteen months of peacetime mobilization, consisted of about 1,600,000 men. (See Table III.) Some 36 divisions had been organized. The Air Corps had a personnel of only 270,000. Certain types of service units had not been developed in the proportions needed in war. The troop basis of January 1942 provided that by the end of that year the Army should reach a strength of 3,600,000 enlisted men to include 73 divisions and an Air Force of 998,000. So far as ground forces were concerned, emphasis was placed on the mobilization of new divisions. Divisions required a year to train. Nondivisional units, whether of combat or service types, could for the most part be trained in six months. It was therefore believed that the nondivision program could proceed more slowly.11
It was also decided in January 1942 that replacement training centers should not be expanded proportionately with the expansion of the Army. In 1941 basic training had been concentrated in replacement centers, and tactical units drew their fuller personnel from graduates of the centers. General McNair believed that tactical units could be trained more rapidly and effectively under this system. But the War Department preferred not to authorize new housing for replacement centers, and to use incoming manpower to create units as rapidly as possible.12 Units were therefore to draw filler personnel from untrained recruits at reception centers. This policy had serious effects on the mobilization of units making them function in effect as basic training centers and as replacement pools in addition to their training as tactical units.
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Last updated 5 August 2005