AGF Study, NO. 6: The Procurement and Branch Distribution of Officers



Even before the resumption of control by the War Department, Army Ground Forces began a campaign -- which was to continue during most of 1944 -- to lift the ceiling on procurement of officers through the candidate schools. On 2 February 1944, Army Ground Forces submitted to the War Department its recommendations on officer procurement for the year.133 The principal officer requirements were for units in the 1944 Troop Basis, the War Department replacement pool of 18,500, which was to be maintained at that strength throughout the year, presumably in anticipation of 1945 requirements, and the War Department estimates of the number of officers who would be shipped overseas as replacements during 1944. The latter totalled 20,400, of whom 13,700 were in infantry. The sum of these requirements, balanced against officers on hand, those due to become available out of current OCS commitments, and those available for transfer between arms yielded a net requirement for 1944 of 804 infantry officers, all other arms balancing exactly. Under the assumptions used, all schools except infantry could be closed by 1 June 1944 and 335 candidates admitted to Infantry Officer Candidate School monthly during June - August.


Army Ground Forces did not believe that the assumptions used represented a realistic appraisal of the prospects. The War Department estimate of 1944 officer replacements, it believed, was approximately 4,000 too low. The distribution of the overseas requirement to the ground arms was thought incorrect: the War Department estimated that 67 percent of the requirement would be infantry; Army Ground Forces estimated 76 percent. The replacement pool of 18,500 was likewise distributed incorrectly, only 49 percent being allocated to infantry. A more serious weakness in the calculations was the failure to include replacement requirements for 1945 in procurement plans for 1944. Approximately one year, it was pointed out, was required to produce an officer replacement:

Selection of candidate

2 months

OCS course

4     "

Required service in ZI unit

3     "

In depot, leave, etc.

1     "

Movement overseas

1     "

In overseas depots

1     "


12 months

This time factor made it unwise on the one hand to close down officer candidate schools merely because there was no immediate demand for officers of certain arms and imperative on the other hand to begin production early in 1944 to meet the estimated requirements of 1945. Specifically, Army Ground Forces recommended the production by the end of 1944 of a reserve of officers equal to the number to be shipped during 1944. The effect of all these recommendations would have been to increase the officer procurement objective for 1944 to a net of 24,935 officers, all in infantry. Army Ground Forces proposed to the War Department that if its recommendations were found unacceptable the War Department should supply an officer procurement objective for 1945.

The reply of the War Department had the effect, as noted, of taking control over officer candidate policy out of the hands of Army Ground Forces altogether. The prevailing system for providing officer replacements was changed in another respect. Authorization for officer replacement pools, in effect since March 1943, was withdrawn. Only enough officers were to be retained in each arm to meet anticipated requirements through 31 March 1945; all others were to be transferred to arms in which immediate use for them could be foreseen.134 The War Department, while continuing in effect the low OCS quotas to which Army Ground Forces had objected in February, increased its previous estimate of officer requirements for 1944:135





Field Artillery


Tank Destroyer




Coast Artillery (AA and HD)




These estimates remained in effect for planning purposes until August 1944.

The provisions of the War Department reply, so sharply at variance with the AGF proposals of February, convinced the headquarters that a severe shortage of officers was in prospect. On 5 April, bringing together observations on officer procurement gleaned from the experience of the preceding year, Army Ground Forces urged a great increase in OCS enrollment. Its study indicated that quotas now directed by the War Department would result in a shortage of 7,000 infantry officers by November 1944 and – if the low quotas were continued during the last quarter of 1944 -- a shortage of 9,336 infantry officers by March 1945. To avoid these consequences, Army Ground Forces recommended Infantry Officer Candidate School quotas of 3,800 per month during the period May -- August.136


Nothing came of this recommendation immediately. Setting quotas for May, the last month for which its responsibility over OCS production extended, Army Ground Forces followed the spirit of the new War Department directive, cutting Field Artillery from 250 to 50 and setting Armored at 136 and Infantry at 800 -- a total of 986 for the month.137 June quotas, announced on 3 May in accordance with the War Department directive, eliminated armored and cut field artillery and infantry down to 50 and 510, respectively.138

Army Ground Forces took steps to increase the number of officers available for overseas assignment. Since September 1943 Army Ground Forces had required three months’ commissioned duty in a tactical unit as a prerequisite to overseas assignment. This was a more stringent requirement than that imposed by the War Department, which called for three months’ commissioned service of any kind. By May 1944 it was evident that the number of infantry lieutenants who would become available each month under the AGF service requirement would not satisfy overseas calls at the prevailing level of 2,000 a month. By relaxing the requirement to the standard required by the War Department it was possible during the lean months of June - August to supply infantry lieutenants in the necessary numbers.139

Meanwhile Army Ground Forces had been preparing a study, directed by the War Department in March, of officer procurement objectives and school capacities for the last quarter of the year.140 The study -- sent to the War Department on 1 June -- was based on the revised 1944 Troop Basis, War Department estimates of loss replacement requirements from 1 May 1944 through 30 June 1945, and current strength data. By 30 June 1945, the study indicated, there would be a net shortage of ground officers of l3,466, concentrated almost entirely in infantry. Current surpluses in other arms would have to be converted in order to hold the shortage to this figure. Army Ground Forces recommended two alternatives. If loss replacement requirements -- currently estimated by the War Department at 2,083 per month141 -- were to be met wholly from continental OCS production, it would be necessary to increase infantry quotas to 3,860 per month for the period 1 July to 30 October 1944. If, on the other hand, the disposition to curtail OCS operations indicated in the War Department’s March directive remained paramount, the War Department would have to increase the number of direct commissions overseas, thereby reducing lose replacement demands on the Zone of the Interior.

While these recommendations were in preparation the War Department sharply increased Infantry Officer Candidate School quotas for June. On 27 May Army Ground Forces was directed to enter 1,600 infantry candidates during June -- a 100 percent increase over the quota then being secured. In addition, the War Department directed Army Ground Forces to continue converting officers of other arms to infantry, at a rate of not less than 1,000 per month142 (see above).

The receipt, four days after this action, of AGF’s prediction of an imminent shortage of officers prompted the War Department to an even greater increase in infantry training capacity. The AGF letter of 1 June urged monthly quotas of 3,860 at Infantry OCS. Evidently reluctant to make so drastic a change in its earliest estimates, the War Department nonetheless ordered the Infantry OCS quotas for the period 1 July to 31 October increased to 3,200 a month.143 This doubled the monthly input ordered for June on 27 May and increased by 640 percent the quotas set in March for the period June – August. Three reasons were cited by G-1 of the War Department for this abrupt reversal of its earlier position on officer procurement. Combat appointments overseas had proved to be far below the number forecast in March. Replacement shipments had exceeded overall loss replacement estimates and could not be curtailed until the revised system of personnel accounting, recently inaugurated by the War Department, became effective. The establishment of the detachment of patients as a Troop Basis accounting device for handling hospitalized personnel had in effect authorized 12,000 additional officers.144


The War Department did not at this time make any change in capacity of the Field Artillery OCS; monthly input was to remain at 50 per month, as set in March. But other changes in the replacement system were forecast. Army Ground Forces was directed to submit a study on future officer procurement by 5 September, including recommendations on the Cavalry, Antiaircraft, Tank Destroyer, and Armored Officer Candidate Schools, reopening of which the War Department thought would be necessitated by future replacement requirements. Another change involved officer replacement pools. In March, as has been noted, the authorization for a pool of 18,500, in effect since early 1943, had been withdrawn, wholesale conversions being directed to match officer strength with requirements. The 10 June memorandum from the War Department directed Army Ground Forces to include a pool of 10,000 officers in future planning. This provision was elaborated on 7 July. Authorized replacement pool capacities were established as follows:145

1 October 1944

1 January 1945

1 April 1945





Field Artillery








Harbor Defense












Tank Destroyer








The immediate effect of reestablishment of replacement pools was greatly to increase the requirement for officers. Reflecting this increase, the AGF study of officer procurement prepared in September called for another augmentation of monthly input to the candidate schools (see below). The probable future requirements for officers of all arms which the pool capacities suggested had Army Ground Forces to direct, on 7 July, that standby capacities by maintained at fairly high levels in all officer candidate schools, even in those currently not operating.146

The number of ground officer candidate schools, limited in June to Infantry and Field Artillery, was also increased. The Armored Officer Candidate School, scheduled to be suspended on 23 September, was kept open. It had been intended to reopen it in November; an interim class was entered in September in order to keep the facilities in operation.147 Tank Destroyer and Mechanized Cavalry officer candidate training was also resumed. Anticipated requirements for officers of these two arms being too small to justify maintenance of separate schools, their officer candidate schools were combined with the Armored Officer Candidate School at Ft. Knox beginning in November, each class containing a proportion of candidates of the three branches148 (see below, and Study No. 30). The Antiaircraft Officer Candidate School did not reopen.



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