Army Ground Forces Study No. 4

Section XI


September and October of 1942 marked a turning point in the development of the war Army. Hitherto the tendency had been toward rapid expansion of all parts of the military establishment. Now a more exact consideration of choices was made necessary by various facts of strategy, logistics, manpower, and supply.

When the plan, to invade Western Europe early in 1943 was given up, the need of mobilizing a large ground army became less immediate. Air power was to be developed first. Shipping estimates in September 1942 indicated that at most 4,170,000 troops could be shipped overseas by the end of 1944 and that if the prevailing high rate of shipping losses continued the number might not greatly exceed 3,000,000. If an Air Force of 1,000,000 were placed overseas in either case (as was now proposed) the number of divisions overseas by the end of 1944 would be 88 by the most liberal estimate, and only 61 if shipping losses continued.    Allowing a year to train a division, it therefore seemed premature to mobilize many more than 88 divisions by the end of 1943. As it turned out, the number of troops overseas in 31 December 1944 was 4,933,682, well above the highest estimate of 1942; this number included an Air Force of over 1,000,000 but only 80 divisions, though the 9 divisions remaining in the United States on 31 December 1944 were being rushed to Europe to stem the German breakthrough in the Ardennes. In October 1942 the chairman of the War Production Board announced that that procurement program of the Army, the Navy, and the Maritime Commission for 1943, totaling $93,000,000,000, could not be met. He set the maximum at $75,000,000,000. The Joint Chiefs of Staff revised procurement plans downward to $80,000,000,000,51 a


reduction of 13.7 percent. Emphasis was kept on the aircraft program. The allotment of funds to aviation (military and naval) exceeded the combined allotments to aviation the rest of the Army and Navy. Distribution was as follows:



Percent Reduced


New Total (Billions)

Army Ground Program




Army Construction (less airfields)




Navy Program




Navy Construction (less airfields)




Aircraft Program (including airfields)




Merchant Shipbuilding




Lend Lease and U.S.S.R. Protocol








In the Army Ground program reductions were heaviest in the procurement of antiacraft and antitank guns, tanks, mortars, and heavy artillery.

In October 1942 the President authorized a total of 7,500,000 enlisted men (i.e., an Army of about 8,200,000) by the end of 1943.52 It became probable that this would remain the permanent ceiling on the strength of the Army. The Director of the Budget wished to defer the attainment of this ceiling to 30 June 1944 limiting the Army for 1943, to 6,500,000 enlisted men.53 War Department obtained confirmation of the authorization of 7,500,000 for 1943.54 It was desired to proceed with a rapid rate of mobilization, even though the need for combatant ground forces was less immediate than before. It was believed that, with maximum over-all strength reached by the end of 1943, more divisions might be organized in 1944, if desired, by transfer of personnel within the Army.55



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