AGF Study No. 8: Reorganization of Ground Troops for Combat  



The preceding discussion of divisions, though fundamental, refers to only a minority of troops of the Army Ground Forces. Less than half the tactical troops of the Army Ground Forces were organic in divisions. More than half were in non-divisional units. The ratio on 31 March 1945 was approximately 15 to 12 -- 1,468,941 officers and men in non-divisional units compared to 1,194,398 in divisions. In addition there were 1,204,976 officers and men in ASF-type units, which were all non-divisional. None of these figures includes replacements in training or personnel designated as overhead in the troop basis. In general ASF units were designed to operate in communication zones, AGF units in combat zones. It clarifies the picture to keep in mind that units of both types aggregated about 4,000,000, of which roughly 30% was in divisions, 40% in non-divisional units of AGF type intended for the combat zone, and 30% in non-divisional units of ASF type intended for the communications zone. Each of the 89 divisions, with an average T/O strength of about 13,400, was backed by some 30,000 in non-divisional units, of which 13,500 were designed for rear area employment, and 16,500 for close support in the combat zone. Of the 16,500, about 11,300 were combat troops and about 5,200 service troops of AGF types, such as depot and maintenance companies of the several supply branches. In sum, since all ASF units were of service type, each division had behind it 11,300 non-divisional combat troops and 18,700 non-divisional service troops.169 (See Annex VIII)

The present discussion deals only with non-divisional units of AGF types, aggregating close to 1,500,000 or 16,500 per division (as of 31 March 1945), and including units of all arms and services except the Air Corps and the Transportation Corps. The large number of these troops was a consequence of systematic application of the principles of streamlining and pooling, by which divisions were held to strictly defined minima and all else centralized under higher headquarters. Ways in which non-divisional forces were increased have become apparent in the discussion of divisions. Examples are the policy of gathering a maximum of supply and maintenance services in the combat zone under army control, the withholding of antiaircraft and tank destroyers from organic assignment to divisions, the transfer of tank battalions from armored divisions to a non-divisional basis, the removal of the treadway bridge company and the supply battalion from the armored division, the abolition of the organically motorized division


and pooling of truck transport in non-divisional quartermaster companies. Ways not yet made clear were even more numerous. All field artillery heavier than the 155-mm howitzer was pooled at levels above the division, as were considerable amounts of the medium and lighter pieces. Most mechanized cavalry and all chemical troops were similarly pooled. The pool of engineers was very large, providing a strength of over 2,300 per division, almost four times the strength of the engineer battalion organic in the division. There were three times as many signal troops in non-divisional units of the Army Ground Forces as in divisions, ten times as many quartermaster troops, twelve times as many ordnance troops. Among the services, only the Medical Department had more personnel in divisions than in supporting medical units. It is repeated that ASF-type units are not here considered.

The organization of this great mass of forces was a major problem. Organization was completely revamped in the year running roughly from October 1942 to October 1943. The process followed the same lines as with the divisions. The Reduction Board meticulously reviewed and trimmed all T/O and E's of non-divisional units. At the same time the means of combining T/O units into larger wholes was restudied. Economy and flexibility were as always the ends aimed at. The problem was essentially a problem in the organization of armies and corps. Except for certain forces used to garrison small detached bases, and except for certain antiaircraft and coast artillery used to defend airfields and fixed installations, all non-divisional troops of the Army Ground Forces were intended for assignment to armies or corps.



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