AGF Study, NO. 7: Provision of Enlisted Replacements



With the reorganization of 9 March 1942 the Army Ground Forces carried over from its predecessor, GHQ, the responsibility for training tactical units, and took over from the chiefs of the combatant arms, whose offices were suspended, responsibility for


the training of individuals in the replacement centers and schools of the several arms. School and replacement training in the service branches passed under the Services of Supply, later redesignated the Army Service Forces. Many units of the services, both non-divisional and within divisions, were activated and trained by the Army Ground Forces. But training of replacements for these units was not controlled by the Army Ground Forces.

The responsibility of the Army Ground Forces for replacement training was largely delegated to a Replacement and School Command, provided for in the reorganization of March 1942 as a headquarters directly subordinate to Headquarters Army Ground Forces. Maj. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges, Chief of Infantry when that office was suspended, became the first commanding general of the Replacement and School Command. Personnel from the offices of the four eliminated chiefs—Infantry, Cavalry, Field Artillery, Coast Artillery—was distributed between the headquarters of the Army Ground Forces, the headquarters of the Replacement and School Command at Birmingham, Alabama, and the headquarters of the Antiaircraft Command at Richmond, Virginia. The Replacement and School Command controlled the replacement centers and schools of the four basic arms.

The office of Chief of the Armored Force underwent no internal change in the reorganization of 9 March 1942. Formerly the Chief of the Armored Force had been under GHQ for tactical training, directly under the War Department for those functions in which he resembled the chief of a legally authorized arm. In both kinds of functions the Armored Force was now subordinated to the Army Ground Forces. The Armored Force replacement center and school remained under the immediate command of the Chief of the Armored Force at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The reorganization created an Antiaircraft Command directly subordinate to the Army Ground Forces. The new command was formed of elements of the Coast Artillery, in which antiaircraft developments had been concentrated. Training of seacoast defense personnel in the Coast Artillery Corps was placed under the Replacement and School Command. By 1942 Antiaircraft personnel had become the largest component in the Coast Artillery Corps, and its training, involving a service school, officer candidate school, numerous replacement centers, and unit training centers in addition, was placed under the commanding general of the Antiaircraft Command at Richmond, Virginia.

Late in 1942 a replacement training center and an officer candidate school were added to the Tank Destroyer Center. For reasons explained in Study No. 9, these elements of the Tank Destroyer establishment were made subordinate to the Replacement and School Command, operating through the commanding general of the Tank Destroyer Center.

The Army Ground Forces therefore conducted individual training in effect in seven "arms," although by law the armored, antiaircraft and tank destroyer organizations could not be recognized as such. To supervise these seven arms, AGF headquarters acted through three subordinate agencies, the Replacement and School Command, the Antiaircraft Command, and the Armored Force. The Replacement and School Command controlled individual training in five arms, in the four "basic arms" directly, in the Tank Destroyer installations indirectly through the commander of the Tank Destroyer Center. When the Armored Force was reorganized, emerging as the Armored Center in February 1944, its replacement center (and school) passed to the control of the Replacement and School Command. Thereafter that command conducted all replacement training except antiaircraft, which remained separate under the Antiaircraft Command.

What the Army Ground Forces took over in March 1942, with respect to replacements, was essentially what the chiefs of the arms had exercised — i.e., authority over the conduct of training. The War Department announced, on 18 March 1942, that policies and procedures concerning replacements remained unchanged by the reorganization of 9 March.5 The War Department retained authority over the number of replacements to be


trained, i.e., over the capacity of replacement training centers. This was essentially a troop basis matter, involving higher policies of allocation of manpower within the Army. It was the fundamental question in any replacement program,since the success of such a program, the keeping of units at T/O strength, depended on the ratio between number of replacements available and authorized strength of units. Procedures of assignment to and from replacement centers remained unchanged until March 1943. The Adjutant General continued in 1942 to keep replacement training centers filled to capacities prescribed by the War Department, by assignment of inductees from reception centers; and to assign graduates of the centers to units and other installations, according to priorities set by the War Department. Units having the necessary priority requisitioned directly on The Adjutant General, except that armored units requisitioned on the Chief of the Armored Force, who, like the commanding general of the Army Air Forces, in consequence of an independence won in 1941, controlled the disposition of RTC graduates in his arm.

Absorbed in 1942 in the activation and training of units, especially in the program for infantry divisions, and carrying over the interests and traditions of GHQ, which had concentrated on tactical training, the headquarters of the Army Ground Forces did not at first give much of its attention to the matter of replacements. Supervision of the centers was willingly delegated to the Replacement and School Command and other commands concerned. Officers from AGF headquarters rarely inspected the centers or visited the Replacement and School Command in 1942.6 Replacement training proceeded under the impetus given it in 1941 under the chiefs of the arms.

The Army Ground Forces sought no authority over administrative aspects of the replacement system. Shortly after the reorganization the War Department directed the Army Ground Forces to submit monthly estimates of requirements for personnel.7 General McNair believed this to overlap functions already performed adequately by War Department agencies. "The Army Ground Forces," it was stated to the War Department on 28 March 1942, "is primarily a training organization and its requirements for personnel are limited solely to those for units to be activated. The actual replacement requirement is limited to that necessary to replace deceased personnel, an almost negligible requirement."8 Because of turnover within units mentioned above, the statement in this second sentence proved not to be a correct forecast. But on the ground that the War Department already knew what units were to be activated, and that consolidated estimates by the Army Ground Forces would therefore be a duplication of effort, the War Department rescinded its directive that the Army Ground Forces should submit estimates.9

In the supply of overseas replacements the view taken by the Army Ground Forces in 1942 was that it was the business of the Ground Forces to produce them (i.e., train them), but that their movement to theaters of operations was a function of the Services of Supply.10 Establishment of overseas replacement depots in the United States, for the assembling, temporary storage and final checking of replacements, pending requisitions from overseas or availability of shipping, had long been foreseen as necessary by the War Department. The Army Ground Forces insisted in 1942 that such depots be operated by the Services of Supply. Though the Services of Supply was directed by the War Department in April 1942 to create two such depots,11 one on each coast, none was actually set up until January 1943.



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Last updated 17 October 2005