Chapter V: 
Strategy and Supply: Final Phases
As soon as the QUADRANT Conference was concluded, General Somervell and a number of his staff officers departed on an extended trip to the Pacific theater, returning to the United States by way of India and the Mediterranean. He was eager for an on-the-spot survey of conditions in the Pacific, and for another look at how things were progressing in some of the theaters that he had visited earlier in the year. Both General Marshall and Admiral King sent letters to Army and Navy commanders in the Pacific informing them of General Somervell's trip and requesting full assistance to the party in its effort to obtain information on supply problems.
Somervell took with him General Clay, ASF director of materiel, General Gross, Chief of Transportation, General C. F. Robinson, director of the Control Division, and two of General Lutes' principal assistants. At the last minute Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Echols, the director of materiel for the Army Air Forces, and two of his assistants were included in the party. Careful preparations were made for the trip. Each technical service was asked to submit questions about matters on which it would like to be informed. On the basis of their responses and known problems, a detailed questionnaire was prepared before the group left the United States, and each member of the party was assigned certain questions to which he was to secure answers. 1
The group, left Washington on 7 September 1943, on a trip that was to cover 42,188 miles in 231 hours of flying time.2 As on General Somervell's earlier trip in 1943, a list of immediate supply needs uncovered during the course of the inspection was radioed to the United States for prompt action. In informal letters to General Marshall, written from various points throughout the journey, Somervell commented in a general way on some of the more serious conditions that he had come across. In letters to the ASF chief of staff, General Styer, he added more detailed information.
The first stop was Hawaii, where he met Under Secretary of War Patterson, who, with General Lutes, was on his way back to Washington after a visit to the Pacific theaters .3 Here Somervell was primarily

interested in learning about the progress of joint Army-Navy supply planning for offensive operations. At the moment, the Central Pacific theater was moving from defensive into offensive operations. The attack on the Gilbert Islands was projected for November. The change in mission meant new supply demands for which the ASF must be fully prepared. This joint Army-Navy supply planning staff had finally been approved and an Army officer placed in charge-Maj. Gen. Edmond H. Leavey, who had been recommended for Admiral Nimitz' staff by Somervell. General Leavey's task was to plan joint Army-Navy supply operations in the Central Pacific. There was a good deal of disagreement about how this should be done. The eventual solution worked out was that there should be a formal agreement in advance of each operation, specifying just what supply and service activities would be provided individually by the Army and the Navy for the use of both. Somervell spent a good deal of time conferring with the Army commander, General Richardson, on joint supply as well as other problems.
From Hawaii General Somervell and his party traveled to the South Pacific theater, then commanded by Admiral Halsey. At this time the campaign in the Solomons was moving toward an end. In July landings had been made at New Georgia. Munda airfield had been captured on 5 August. The immediate problem for the theater was one of consolidating positions and preparing for advances toward the North in conjunction with the Central Pacific theater.
From Port Moresby, New Guinea, on 27 September, Somervell wrote General Marshall in detail about his observations. He mentioned that he had talked with all of the division commanders in the South Pacific. He expressed his belief that the Army people had done an impressive job in spite of being low on the supply priority list. His only criticism was a feeling that they had not been sufficiently aggressive in making demands upon the resources of the War Department. General Somervell expressed concern that nonessential construction was being undertaken at many rear bases. He felt that forward bases should be selected in advance and that construction in all rear areas should be limited to essential requirements. He also urged that service units be moved in closely upon the heels of the combat troops and that rear areas be cleaned out as soon as they no longer were needed to support immediate and projected combat areas. Indeed, the problem of "mopping up the rear" became a continuing concern of General Somervell's from this time on. Many supplies were being unnecessarily stock-piled and wasted in rear areas, and service troops were needlessly spending much energy on the care of supplies for which there no longer was a need in the area. This situation had arisen because those responsible for logistical planning in the Pacific areas believed the local buildup of supply was necessary for the conduct of military operations. Somervell and his staff persuaded them that such operations could more efficiently be supported by direct shipment from west coast ports in the United States.
Much of Somervell's letter to General Marshall dealt with the problem of rotation of troops and the incidence of malaria. Better sanitation discipline had improved the situation, but General Somervell nonetheless urged the War Department to review the problem of rotation and to formulate some policy on it before

the spring of 1944. The remainder of the letter dealt with lack of enough service troops in the South Pacific. Combat troops were being extensively used to unload supplies and to perform other service duties. General Somervell stated that division commanders were properly concerned about the need for additional medical, engineer, quartermaster, and transportation units. He recommended that the theater commander be given authority to form provisional service units or to break up and reassign existing service units. "It should be realized, in connection with the need for service troops in this area, that the Army is really fighting two battles: one against the enemy and the other against the jungle." The islands of the South Pacific lacked roads, water supply, and docks. The Japanese had made no particular effort to remedy these shortcomings, while the Americans were molding the jungle to their own type of operation, an undertaking which was a major factor in American success.4
From the Solomons and the Central Pacific theater, General Somervell and his party moved to the Southwest Pacific. The fighting here was on New Guinea, with Allied troops based on Australia. Just before his arrival, Lae had been captured and the attack upon Finschhafen launched by the U.S. Army, while Australian troops had succeeded in an overland advance upon Salamaua. Preparations were going forward for a series of "leap frog" operations along the New Guinea coast in preparation for the attack on the Philippines nearly a year later. Here, too, commanders, with an insufficient number of service troops for the job, were struggling both to build bases for future operations and to move supplies forward for current needs.
In Australia Somervell had a long talk with General MacArthur. The general wished to have a more definite idea regarding what supply resources he could expect in the next year to support his advance toward the Philippines. Somervell did his best to provide at least some satisfaction on this score.
From Australia, General Somervell and his party flew across the Indian Ocean to Ceylon and then to New Delhi to confer with Admiral Mountbatten, who had been appointed Supreme Commander of the South-East Asia theater at the Quebec Conference. Lord Mountbatten requested that General Wheeler, who had been supply commander under General Stilwell, should now be made his deputy. This was done and General Somervell had to recommend a new American supply commander.5
In India Somervell had two definite tasks to accomplish; both were major reasons for his overseas trip at this time. The first was to impress upon the supply organization in India the importance of the Quebec decisions to increase the flow of supplies into Burma and India. The second was to press personally his offer to the Indian Government of American troops to operate the Assam railroad, an offer which the Indian Government seemed hesitant to accept. Lord Mountbatten's intervention helped to persuade the government to turn the railroad over to American operation. Somervell also endeavored to encourage all commanders along the Assam line of communications to new efforts, from the unloading zone in Calcutta to

the advanced depots in Assam. Both the pipeline construction and the operation of the barge line on the Brahmaputra  also needed additional pushing. At the same time, Somervell acquired further firsthand acquaintance with some of the problems of Army operations in India: problems which he identified as difficult terrain, limited transportation facilities, an Indian bureaucracy which feared change and blocked efficiency, a clash of strong personalities, and a record of vacillation which he suspected was unequaled in any other theater of operations.
In New Delhi General Somervell also encountered an unexpected problem, one scarcely within the scope of his responsibility.6 T. V Soong, then Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, informed Somervell that Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek would have nothing more to do with General Stilwell and would demand his relief when Somervell arrived in Chungking. The news upset Somervell very much. Lord Mountbatten was likewise greatly disturbed by this information. Having just assumed command in Southeast Asia, Mountbatten was reluctant to have so drastic a change. On the other hand, he feared that if he became a partisan of Stilwell, he would bring down the wrath of the Generalissimo upon himself and jeopardize the position of his command. Also, if the Generalissimo's attitude remained one of unalloyed hostility to General Stilwell, he expressed himself as believing it would be better to have a change immediately rather than in the middle of projected military operations. General Somervell immediately sent a radio message, through British channels (the only ones available), informing General Marshall about the situation.
General Somervell arrived in Chungking on the afternoon of 15 October. He immediately arranged to see Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek the following morning. Officially, General Somervell was no more than an American Army officer visiting the Chinese wartime capital to inquire into supply matters for approved Burma operations. He had come with no letters of introduction from either the President of the United States or the Chief of Staff. Yet General Somervell was regarded as something more than a mere military messenger or investigator. And he himself never doubted that, confronted with top command bickering, he should do all he possibly could while on the scene to adjust the difficulties. General Somervell was not the kind of person to plead either non jurisdiction or embarrassment.
On the morning of 16 October, Somervell paid a courtesy call on the Generalissimo during which he was informed that Stilwell was no longer persona grata to him. General Somervell could do no more than express astonishment and concern and ask to confer with the Generalissimo at greater length later. Upon his return to his quarters, Somervell got in touch with General Stilwell and informed him about what had taken place. He told Stilwell that he planned to request Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to reconsider his demand the following day and asked for arguments with which to arm himself. In addition, General Somervell found unexpected support from within the Chinese military

itself. Both the War Minister and the officer who had been present at Somervell's conference with the Generalissimo expressed their disagreement with Chiang Kai-shek's action and promised that they would attempt to talk with him.
The next day Somervell officially requested Chiang Kai-shek to reconsider his demand for General Stilwell's relief. He pointed out the unfortunate effect which such action would have on American public opinion. He emphasized America's determination to continue to help the Chinese, but at the same time, implied that Chinese-American differences might result in a reconsideration of American policy. He stressed the importance of forthcoming operations intended to open a new land route to China and hinted that General Stilwell's departure might delay the re-establishment of land communication. He added that there was no senior officer in the American Army with the personal background, the command of the Chinese language, and the other qualifications which General Stilwell possessed for his present assignment. Somervell left with at least the promise that the Generalissimo would reconsider the matter. At noon this same day and far into the afternoon, the Generalissimo conferred with Lord Mountbatten, who had arrived to discuss his new. command.
In the meantime, Madame Chiang Kai-shek sent for General Stilwell and arranged for the Generalissimo to see him. That evening the Chinese War Minister, General Ho Ying-chin, gave a party for Lord Mountbatten. In the middle of the evening General Ho departed for a conference with Chiang Kai-shek. When he returned, he told Somervell that the Generalissimo would reverse his position at another interview which he would grant
the following day. Somervell then sought out General Stilwell and, told him what he had just learned. Stilwell himself had just returned from seeing Chiang Kai-shek. He reported that the Generalissimo had asked him if he had any complaint to make about Chinese pledges and performances. To this General Stilwell had replied in the negative, going on to say that he himself had probably made a great many mistakes and that, if he had, they were not intentional but were the result of the fact that he did not fully understand Chinese psychology. This had apparently mollified the Chinese leader.
The next day, Chiang Kai-shek informed Somervell that General Stilwell had fully satisfied him about his objections. These objections appeared to Somervell to consist primarily of alleged petty slights to the Chinese and charges of arrogance. From his conversation, Somervell understood the Generalissimo to desire certain conditions which Stilwell should observe, but these were left for future adjustment. For the time being the controversy about General Stilwell's position was settled.7
Part of the hostility to Stilwell seemed to arise from inside the Chinese official family. Indeed it was General Somervell's distinct impression that T V Soong himself had done much to stir up difficulty and had probably urged Chiang Kai-shek to demand Stilwell's relief. On the other hand, Stilwell was frequently less than diplomatic in his expression of opinion about Chinese officials. But Somervell felt that General Stilwell had by no means exhausted his usefulness in China. More

than this, Somervell received a radio message from General Styer, while in Chungking, which suggested that if Stilwell were relieved, he, Somervell, would be appointed to take his place. He was ordered not to leave the area until he heard from General Marshall.8 Though Somervell had twice asked General Marshall for an overseas command, he had no desire to relieve Stilwell. The mere prospect of such a change gave him an added incentive to arrange an amicable settlement which would keep Stilwell in his position. The result of his efforts was that the climax to irreconcilable conflict between Chiang Kai-shek and General Stilwell was postponed until a year later, when Stilwell was finally recalled.
While Somervell's mediation of the Stilwell-Chiang Kai-shek controversy had little to do with supply problems directly, this episode was to have far-reaching repercussions for the Army Service Forces. Somervell had displayed again his characteristic initiative and drive in handling a difficult situation. The controversy had been settled much to General Marshall's satisfaction. At the very time when certain newspapers were attacking Somervell because of his plans for internal reorganization of the ASF, he himself succeeded in handling a delicate mission with finesse and without the benefit of instructions from above. There is reason to believe that the episode made a very favorable impression upon General Marshall, just as it had on Secretary Stimson, and that from this time on Somervell's position in Marshall's estimation was secure.9 This meant too that the Army Service Forces was to endure throughout World War II, no matter what hostile criticism might gather around it.
A minor problem which confronted General Somervell in Chungking was disagreement about the boundaries of the Southeast Asia Command. Lord Mountbatten wished to include Thailand and Indochina in the area of his military operations. Chiang Kai-shek was opposed, saying in part that if such action was taken it would be interpreted throughout Asia as a reassertion of British imperialism. In joint discussions, Chiang Kai-shek, Lord Mountbatten, and Somervell found a satisfactory solution. For the time being, no change would be made in the boundaries of the China theater of which the Generalissimo was supreme commander. When Lord Mountbatten was ready for active operations in the area, the boundary lines would be adjusted.10
While in China, Somervell received a radio message from General Marshall stating that President Roosevelt was disturbed by the inefficiency of the airlift operation over the Hump. Evidently, part of the trouble lay in the morale of the personnel.11 Somervell explored the situation as carefully as he could under the pressure of time and discussed it with Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer and General Wheeler. He reported to Marshall that the causes of inefficiency were weather. conditions, lack of runways, the distrust

felt by the men for the untried C-46 planes, lack of spare parts, poor organization, inexperienced personnel, and bad management. As a result of a shakeup in officer personnel, accompanied by recommendations for demotions, and through the introduction of various measures to improve conditions and morale, a marked increase in tonnages carried was soon to take place.12
From India, Somervell flew on to the Persian Gulf Service Command. There had been unfavorable reports about this command-drunkenness among the troops, poor discipline as compared with the Russians, an unhealthy attitude of men toward their officers, and other discouraging information. Somervell on personal inspection found conditions more satisfactory than these reports indicated. American operation of the Iranian railroad to Tehran was proceeding well and road travel had been greatly improved. New port facilities were largely installed and the command was pushing supplies in steadily increasing volume up the Persian Corridor for delivery to the Russians. Somervell was particularly pleased with the high tonnages moved and with the excellent relations with the Russians. Very shortly after his return to the United States, he passed on to Marshall a scribbled note from the American Ambassador to the USSR, W. Averell Harriman, commending the "great job in getting on a frank and friendly basis with Russians in Iran." 13
The Cairo and Tehran Conferences
In November 1943 the Combined Chiefs of Staff met in Cairo for their fifth conference since Pearl Harbor. A conference so soon after the August meeting in Quebec was unexpected and produced some suspicions among Americans that the cross-Channel invasion was once more to be questioned by the British. "The 1ogistic problem was whether we could retain OVERLORD In all its integrity and, at the same time, keep the Mediterranean ablaze." 14 But the build-up in England was now well under way, and the discussions at Cairo once more affirmed OVERLORD.
The conference was interrupted by a trip to Tehran where President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Marshal Stalin came together for the first time. At Tehran, General Marshall asked for a plan for an attack on the south of France. Somervell had such a combined strategic and logistics plan with him, one prepared by his own supply planners, along with plans for other hypothetical operations. Generals Marshall and Handy used Somervell's plan in the discussions with both the British and the Russians.
The strategy decided upon was to launch OVERLORD in May 1944, in conjunction with a supporting operation in the south of France on the largest scale permitted by the landing craft available at that time. Projected operations in Southeast Asia were accordingly reduced

in scope. Marshal Stalin's insistence on a second front, coupled with the hope that Russia would go to war against Japan once Germany was defeated, were decisive factors in the formulation of this plan.15 From Tehran, the Combined Chiefs of Staff returned to Cairo to resume their own meeting.
As far as Somervell was concerned, the high spot of the Cairo-Tehran Conferences was the decision to launch an invasion of southern France timed to coincide with OVERLORD. Somervell had pressed for such a commitment because he was convinced of its strategic soundness and because he was very anxious to make the best available use of the supplies which had been accumulated in the Mediterranean. At Tehran Somervell learned directly from Marshal Stalin that he was generally satisfied with the work of the Persian Gulf Service Command in delivering supplies to the Russians. This was of course welcome news. When possible, during the Cairo Conference of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, Somervell reminded the strategic planners of the supply needs of MacArthur's theater.
Before returning to Cairo, Somervell dispatched General Lutes to North Africa and India. Some complaints had been voiced about supply support of the American Fifth Army in Italy. Lutes found that the major shortages in Italy resulted from faulty manifesting of cargoes shipped out of Oran. Thus the difficulty was not ASF performance in the United States but supply work in the theater. It was vital for the ASF to know this. In India Lutes followed up the arrangements made by Somervell for increasing the supply capacity of the Assam line of communications. He recommended that one supply officer be replaced, a move which was promptly carried out. He also found that the absence of an adequate priority system over the Hump was creating supply conflict between air and ground units in China. By the time he left this situation had been corrected.
Preparations for OVERLORD
Throughout the first half of 1944, General Somervell's main worry was the preparations for OVERLORD. There must be no repetition of the unfortunate experience in England in the summer of 1942 when supplies could not be used for the North African invasion because they could not be unearthed in British warehouses. The United States had long been advocating the cross-Channel invasion. It would be the largest Allied military operation of World War II and the first time in the war that the full might of American manpower and mat6riel would be thrown against the enemy. None of the preparations for North Africa, Sicily, Italy, or the Pacific was an adequate guide to the present undertaking.
Early in April therefore, General Lutes was sent to England to review the logistical preparations for the Normandy invasion. General Lee, the SOS commander in the theater, quite naturally was not happy about this apparent overseeing of his operations.16 While Lutes found the theater supply situation satisfactory in general, he also noted that it contained grave weaknesses which boded ill for the future. He advised General Lee to strengthen his staff organization, to establish a definite program of advance plan-

ning, to improve the methods for computing supply needs, to institute better stock control, to expedite the delivery of critical supply items, and to develop better relations with General Eisenhower's headquarters. Lutes explained to Somervell that he had not taken up all these matters with General Eisenhower because Lee was Somervell's nominee; in Lutes' eyes loyalty to Somervell demanded that he refrain from "exciting Eisenhower on any deficiencies." 17
Moreover, General Lutes believed that in spite of weaknesses, it was too late to make serious staff changes. He contented himself with plugging loopholes. When he was ready to leave he informed General Eisenhower that the assault forces were sufficiently equipped, that plans for maintenance up to forty-one days after landing were satisfactory, that new plans would probably insure supplies up to ninety days, and that while Lee's staff was "not the tops," it was "learning" and there was time to remedy weaknesses.18
In April 1944 Somervell invited the key supply officers of the European theater to bring a statement of their last-minute needs to the United States in person on 1 May. A series of conferences was held in Somervell's office, in which technical service chiefs met with their ETO counterparts and discussed both the existing supply situation and the manner of meeting the inevitable problems that would arise. By 15 May the European supply officers had returned to the United Kingdom, and the ASF was sending the last-minute cargoes overseas. By the first of June, General Somervell felt that he had done practically everything within his power to insure against a . supply failure in the Army's greatest military operation in American history.19
Italy and France
At the end of the first week in August 1944, General Somervell accompanied Under Secretary Patterson on a trip of more than 14,000 miles to North Africa, Italy, and the French areas under Allied control.
One of the early stops was at the port of Naples which was found to be bristling with activity, and congested. Here they met and talked to Marshal Tito, leader of the Yugoslav resistance movement. The Germans in that area were pictured as being on a "front window" basis-everything in front and almost nothing behind. After inspecting various installations in the vicinity of Naples, the group went on to Rome, observing battlefields along the way.
The Under Secretary had taken more than a casual interest in the preparations for the invasion of southern France, now scheduled for 15 August. Following a brief visit to the fighting front in Italy, which had moved north of Rome to the valley of the Arno River, the Under Secretary and the commanding general of the ASF crossed to Corsica to watch the launching of the invasion of southern France. Prime Minister Churchill, who was also on hand for the event, invited the two Americans to accompany him to watch the actual landings. Then, a day or two later,

Mr. Patterson and General Somervell sailed for the French coast in an American destroyer and landed on the beachhead. Somervell took great pride in the way in which the supply operation was being handled by Generals Larkin and Wilson and in the strategic success which the entire campaign was achieving. Though the date of the operation had been postponed because of a shortage of landing craft, the campaign when launched was highly successful. Indeed throughout the whole winter of 1944-45, the supply system up the Rhone Valley helped reduce the supply pressures in western and northern France and the Low Countries. Once again, supply planning had had a direct effect upon military operations.
The Under Secretary's party then flew to England for a short stay. On 21 and 22 August they visited the U.S. forces in France which had broken through enemy resistance at St. Lo and were racing for the German border, putting General Eisenhower's supply organization to a supreme test. While Somervell was gratified to see that the rear areas were not seriously clogged, he saw great potential danger in relying long on the beaches to handle all the supplies required to maintain the offensive. Only by getting ports into full operation before the arrival of the autumnal storms could a steady and sufficient flow of supplies be assured.20
On 27 August Somervell was once more back in the United States, greatly concerned about two situations. The rapidity with which the Germans were driven out of France had brought a great wave of optimism in the United States and a conviction that the war in Europe would be over within a month. Having just seen Allied forces stalled in northern Italy, and suspecting that the Siegfried Line would prove a greater barrier than popularly believed, General Somervell was worried about the prevailing optimism. He feared that it might have the effect of slowing down the output of munitions in the United States. 21 In the second place, Somervell was gravely concerned about supply in the European theater. General Patton had been halted in front of Metz and Verdun by enemy resistance and by overextended supply lines. There was still no port with adequate facilities for unloading supplies from England and the United States. The Germans held the Breton ports and there was little prospect of using Bordeaux. Drastic action of some sort was needed. The original plans for the invasion of France had called for the prompt capture of the French western ports, especially Cherbourg, and, if possible, Brest, in order to provide unloading capacity for continued support of military operations. Thereafter, additional troops and supplies were to be shipped to them directly from the United States to strengthen the invasion operation. Estimates of the equipment needed for reconstruction of the ports were submitted to the Army Service Forces in the summer of 1943, and the supplies were in England before the actual assault upon the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944. But execution of these plans was hampered by the delay of the Allied forces in breaking out of the Normandy peninsula, the slowness in restoring the port of Cherbourg, and the failure of our forces to capture any other Atlantic port on the coast of France.
The progress of the antisubmarine cam-

paign in the Atlantic by the end of 1943 had led the ASF to recommend a reduction in the supplies stored temporarily in England for the use of the invasion forces in France. Thus, in the period between 6 June and 30 September 1944, one million long tons of supplies and equipment were discharged in France directly from the United States, while another 1.7 million long tons were transshipped from the United Kingdom. But in September when the Allied forces pushed all the way to the German border, more than half of all supplies sent to France were still being discharged over the Normandy beaches. Ships were crowded in the English Channel awaiting discharge.22 Shipping schedules were being disrupted by these delays, and military operations were being stymied by the slowness with which supplies reached the front lines.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff met again in September 1944 at Quebec. With the end of the war against the Nazis seemingly so close at hand, the most important single issue confronting President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill was the occupation policy for Germany. Somervell's interest still centered on shipping capacities, and on the arrangements for shifting Allied military weight to the Pacific. Great Britain, with the postwar world in mind, was deeply concerned about supply and lend-lease, and Churchill was willing to make many concessions on other matters in order to bolster Britain's future economic position. General Somervell, who had always been opposed to the idea of letting England calculate future political and economic advantages as part of its war plans, favored a policy by which all lend-lease materials left after the defeat of Germany and not used against Japan would be returned to the United States. His point of view did not prevail .23
Disagreement between the British and Americans about inventories of petroleum supplies in Europe was evident at Quebec, but this difference was finally settled after some negotiations in November. In essence, the problem was one of the amount of petroleum reserves to be maintained in the United Kingdom. The British wanted to hold on to these reserves and to supply operational needs in France from other sources, largely American. On the other hand, there were few facilities on the Continent in which to store petroleum reserves. In the end, a single inventory level was agreed upon for both England and the Continent. As storage facilities were provided in France, the share of the reserves carried there would go up. Even so, the inventory level was high enough to permit maintenance of sizable petroleum supplies in the United Kingdom.24
Supply Crisis in the European Theater
Shortly after the second Quebec Conference, General Somervell again sent General Lutes to the European Theater of Operations to see what could be done to improve the situation there. By this time it was apparent that there would be no quick victory against the Germans in western Europe. Enemy withdrawal to the German border had shortened their supply lines and greatly extended our

own. The stiff defense of Aachen, which was reduced only after a heavy siege, revealed the quality of opposition which the Germans could still offer. To cope with the situation, General Eisenhower now wanted more ammunition and more big guns.25
As General Lutes analyzed the supply crisis in October and November, he came to the conclusion that the greatest single difficulty arose from the absence of an adequate system of supporting depots. From the time of the invasion until early August, the beaches and ports in Normandy served both as base depots and as depots issuing directly to units in the field. When the break-through came, the supply organization had no choice but to haul supplies all the way from the Normandy dumps to the combat troops. There was neither time nor personnel for moving supplies to intermediate or advance depots where they could be sorted and then issued to the combat commands only a short distance away. 26 The famous Red Ball Express and other devices simply hauled the most urgently needed supplies, especially food, gasoline, and ammunition, all the way from Normandy to the French border for immediate pickup by supply units of the combat commands. Sometimes, when certain specific replacement supplies were needed, combat supply troops went all the way back to Normandy to find what they wanted. With the front lines stabilized in September, General Lutes joined with the staff of the Communications Zone in arranging a program for building up advance depots close to the combat zone. This meant that the combat commands would look to the advance depots for all their supply needs, while the advance depots would in turn be assured of a constant flow from Normandy.27
The inadequate depot situation on land was matched by a serious breakdown in ship discharge. The ASF earlier had consented to selective discharge, which resulted in ships becoming "floating warehouses." This consent had been reluctantly given to the theater and with the understanding that it was to be a temporary expedient. But more and more throughout August and September, ships remained tied up in Channel waters still fully or partially loaded, upsetting the whole world-wide shipping program.
Another problem was direct shipment. While the ASF was willing to ship supplies directly to France from the United States to support the large numbers of additional troops which were sent to the Continent after 15 August, it was not prepared to meet all Allied supply needs solely from the United States. General Somervell was convinced, for instance, that much of the ammunition which Eisenhower's headquarters was now requisitioning was actually on hand in England.28 ETO supply officers were so harassed in trying to get mat6riel from the Normandy peninsula to the German border that they had practically forgotten about the supplies which remained in England.
In October General Somervell decided to send General Clay to Europe to look into these vexing matters.29 In a memorandum to General Clay upon the eve of

his departure, Somervell specified two subjects for his primary consideration. One was the ammunition situation, particularly the possibility of unearthing an unused ammunition supply in England. The second was the delay in discharging ships. In the first fifteen days of October, the European theater had indicated that it would be able to unload seventy-five ships, whereas actually it had discharged but fifteen .30 General Clay gave special attention to the reconstruction of the port of Cherbourg in order to increase discharge capacity and speed the turnaround of vessels. Somervell then sent his chief of transportation, General Gross, to France in November to check on shipping problems.31 A big step toward the solution of the transportation logjam proved to be the acquisition of the port of Antwerp, which fortunately had fallen almost intact into Allied hands in September. The Germans had withdrawn so precipitately that they had had no opportunity to destroy the extensive facilities of one of the largest ports in northwestern Europe. The enemy still controlled the estuary of the Scheidt, however, so no Allied shipping could gain access to the port. Not until November, after General Eisenhower had brought the urgency of the situation directly to Field Marshal Montgomery's attention, did the 21st Army Group succeed in clearing the way to the port. But the opening of Antwerp alone was not enough. Twenty-seven piers were of little use unless ships were discharged promptly and the supplies quickly moved from portside to distribution depots beyond the port area. At the end of November both General Lutes and General Gross were pressing for prompt release of ships from Antwerp piers. Some of the officers on General Lee's Communications Zone staff believed supplies should be held in Antwerp until the Rhine was crossed before the setting-up of sorting and distribution depots. Lutes insisted upon immediate action.
In the middle of December General Somervell himself once more went to France, this time upon the direct personal insistence of Under Secretary Patterson, who was concerned about the capacity of the supply organization to meet the needs of the winter offensive.32
General Somervell arrived just about the time the Germans launched their big counteroffensive in the Ardennes. The immediate problem of Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, was to halt it. With the passing of the initial crisis, attention once more was directed to reorganizing the supply needs of the theater. After careful consideration Somervell embodied his recommendations in a memorandum for General Lee which was personally approved by Eisenhower. One proposal was to consolidate the supply organization in northern France and southern France. Up to this time, the southern line of communication, based upon Marseilles, had continued its separate operation in support of the 6th Army Group under Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers. Between the two ports of Antwerp and Marseilles, Somervell felt that the combined supply needs of General Eisenhower could be adequately met. The Communications Zone of the European theater now took over the southern France supply organization, with Maj. Gen. Thomas B. Larkin, the commanding general of the latter becoming chief of staff under Gen-

eral Lee. Somervell also recommended several steps to strengthen the staff of the Communications Zone of the ETO. For example, he urged the creation of a Control Division in the Communications Zone headquarters, and sent General Robinson from Washington to organize the unit.
The confusion that had developed in the supply system in the theater had led several field commanders to look upon the system as at best mediocre. This led to a movement for the reorganization of the Communications Zone command and staff which General Lutes seemed to favor. General Eisenhower, although aware of the existing conditions, hesitated to relieve a lieutenant general unless it became necessary to avoid a complete breakdown. There was no such clear-cut breakdown the best way to put it, according to General Lutes after he talked with Eisenhower, was "that the machine does not move smoothly, but it does run." 33
Malta and Yalta
In January 1945 General Somervell went to Marseilles to join General Marshall. They spent a few days at Cap d'Antibes reviewing the situation in the European theater. Somervell reported on his own activities and gave assurances that the supply should now be adequate to meet the needs of the planned operations.34
From southern France, General Somervell accompanied the Chief of Staff to Malta for a meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff: The main supply problems that came under consideration dealt with steps necessary for the successful conclusion of the campaign in the Pacific.35 General Somervell was called upon to present the Combined Chiefs with timetables and estimates of the volume of supplies available for the war against Japan. Also an agreement was reached with the British whereby the Americans would have Bremen as a port to supply our occupation forces in Germany.36
From Malta, Somervell accompanied the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the President, and the Prime Minister to Yalta for the second conference with the Russians. Once again, political problems were of primary importance, but also discussed as incidental matters were problems of supply and of cargo shipping.37 
The War in the Pacific
In the meantime, events were proceeding rapidly in the Pacific. By the summer of 1944 the Central Pacific forces under Admiral Nimitz had reached Saipan and Guam. In the Southwest Pacific, General MacArthur had reached the northwest tip of New Guinea and was poised for an attack upon the island of Morotai in September.
One of the most interesting episodes in ASF supply planning occurred about this time. Among the different Pacific studies started by the ASF in 1942, there was one

which looked forward to the eventual recapture of the Philippines. These studies were based on an assumption that the island of Mindanao would be occupied first and used as a base of operations for an assault on Luzon. 38 It was on this strategic concept that ASF procurement and distribution plans and operations for the Pacific had been undertaken. All previous planning had to be reconsidered when, at the SEXTANT Conference in November 1943, the Combined Chiefs of Staff suggested dropping plans for an attack on Luzon alone in favor of an operation against Luzon, Formosa, and the China coast. This they believed would open the way for an earlier attack on the Japanese home islands.39 It soon became apparent however that a simultaneous operation of this sort presented great difficulties and unjustified risks, and so no final decision was made on strategy to be followed in defeating Japan.
In May 1944 the Joint Strategic Survey Committee of the JCS considered a proposal for an operation against Formosa alone. The ASF representative on the joint Logistics Committee (JLC), Maj. Gen. Walter A. Wood, Jr., supported instead the plan for a Philippine campaign as more feasible than a direct attack on Formosa. Although Formosa was farther to the north than the Island of Luzon and somewhat closer to Japan itself, it was a great distance from any of the existing or planned supply bases in the Pacific. In addition, Formosa as a base would place U.S. forces in constant danger of both aerial and naval attack, particularly if the Philippines remained in Japanese hands. Formosan ports were small and might easily be blocked. Luzon, on the other hand, not only was a much larger island which might more easily be defended, but it had larger airfield capacity, a better road network, and the great harbor of Manila Bay. Moreover, the friendly Philippine population could be counted upon to do much of the work in developing airfields and supply facilities for the later assault upon the home islands of Japan itself.40
Meanwhile the Joint Chiefs of Staff asked MacArthur to plan for an invasion of Luzon with a target date of 15 February 1945, while Admiral Nimitz was to prepare a plan for the attack on Formosa with the same target date. Neither plan was definitely approved at the time.41 The ASF representative on the JLC continued to press his argument that the supply aspects of a Formosa operation made it definitely inferior to the Philippines as an objective. While a decision was pending, the ASF pushed its own supply preparations for an operation based on the seizure of the Philippines.
A decision was eventually forced by circumstances. The sequence of dramatic events has been told by General Marshall in his final report. The JCS on 13 September 1944, were meeting with the British at the OCTAGON Conference in Quebec when they received a copy of a communication from Admiral Halsey to Admiral Nimitz. As a result of his naval operations in and around the Philippines, Admiral Halsey recommended that projected operations against Mindanao and other islands to the south should be canceled, and that American forces occupy Leyte in the central

Philippines as rapidly as possible. On this same day, Admiral Nimitz informed the JCS that he could place certain forces, then loading in Hawaii, at General MacArthur's disposal. MacArthur's views were requested by the JCS. Two days later he advised them that he would be able to land on Leyte on 20 October. This message from General MacArthur arrived at Quebec when the four members of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff were being entertained at a formal dinner. Within ninety minutes of the time that the message was received, orders were issued to Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur to abandon the previously approved intermediary landings, and to carry out the Leyte operation on 20 October. MacArthur's acknowledgement of his new instructions reached General Marshall while tie was returning to his quarters from the dinner. 42
After the successful occupation of Leyte, the JCS, in October 1944, ordered the seizure of Luzon, an operation which began in January 1945. The continued support of General MacArthur's operations by the new overwhelming naval power in the Pacific made his land achievements possible. In the meantime, the Navy, with the Tenth Army under its command, began the Okinawa campaign on 1 April 1945.
After his return from Yalta, General Somervell was preoccupied with a twofold problem: the demobilization of part of the Army after the defeat of Germany, and the transfer of another part of the Army and its supplies from Europe to the Pacific. Even though Luzon was not entirely in American hands until April 1945, plans had already been made to use the island as the principal base for the attack on the Japanese home islands. Added to Somervell's concern over the immediate ASF performance of redeployment and demobilization were his apprehensions regarding the quality of the supply job to be done in the Philippines.
Tentative supply plans for the operations against Japan were proposed as early as December 1944. These plans in turn were used by General MacArthur's command as a guide in its own planning. The target date for the first operation, an attack on the southernmost island of Kyushu, depended upon the redeployment of troops from Europe and the assembly of the necessary shipping. The main island of Honshu was to be attacked four months later.43
In April 1945, Somervell sent General Styer to the Philippines to observe the preparations that were being made in building up the great base for future military operations.44 General Styer, shortly after his arrival, sent word back that MacArthur wished him to become the supply commander for future operations. Somervell was happy to release General Styer, believing that he would bring to the task an intimate knowledge of the difficulties which had been encountered in Europe as well as a complete understanding of ASF thinking about supply organization and operation. Here seemed to be the solution to the problem of maintaining close working relationships between an overseas supply command and the ASF in the United States.
General Styer returned to the United

States in May and made arrangements to take back with him many of the key officers of the ASE But when he got back to the Pacific, the command which awaited him was not the one he had originally accepted. Instead of becoming supply commander for all of the Army in the Pacific, he was appointed Commanding General, Army Forces, Western Pacific, with headquarters in Manila. Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr., commanding at Hawaii since 1943, had become the commander of Army Forces, Middle Pacific in mid1944. Both were subordinate to General MacArthur as Commander in Chief. Styer's responsibilities included supply installations in the Philippine Islands. But all combat troops in the area were also under .his command until their departure for the scene of the actual invasion. The basic planning and control of supply operations as a whole remained in MacArthur's own headquarters. Thus General Somervell's hopes for a unified supply command of high efficiency throughout the entire Pacific area were not realized.45
When the war ended in Europe in May, transportation within the United States became, the redeployment bottleneck which the ASF had anticipated. At first General Somervell and General Gross; the Chief of Transportation, had opposed the idea of- returning to the United States troop units destined for use in the Pacific. Their opposition was based upon the logistical factors in the situation. It would take more ships to move men across the Atlantic to the United States and then from the west coast across the Pacific, than to move them directly from Europe to Pacific bases by way of either the Suez or the Panama Canals. Moreover, railroad transportation within the United States was scarcely adequate to handle the load.
Transcontinental rail facilities were limited, as was the capacity of west coast ports. But ASF objections were overruled by the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War on the grounds of soldier morale. They decided that the men who had served in Europe were entitled to a brief visit in the United States before being shipped to the Pacific.46
In compliance with this decision, Somervell pressed the Office of Defense Transportation (ODT) for more and more restrictions on civilian travel by rail. Many Pullman cars previously had been made available to the Army, but were now, for the first time during the war, removed from all civilian passenger runs of less than four hundred miles. Other restrictions on civilian traffic were under consideration but never had to be introduced.47 
In July 1945 General Somervell returned to Europe to attend the Potsdam Conference. The problems under discussion involved only a few matters of direct concern to him. He was deeply worried about the disposition of the vast stores of military supplies in Europe, but a large part of these was scheduled for shipment

directly to the Pacific area or to the United States for repair before subsequent military use.48
While the Potsdam Conference was in session, word came that the atomic bomb had been successfully tested in New Mexico. The development of this new weapon had been one of the tasks of the ASE Somervell shared the general satisfaction brought about by the knowledge that this great effort had not been in vain. It seemed likely that the war in the Pacific might be over earlier than expected.
After the Potsdam Conference, General Somervell began an extensive tour of the facilities being used for sending American soldiers back home. He was especially concerned that the unfortunate experience at the end of World War I should not be repeated. At that time American soldiers had been moved rapidly into the vicinity of Brest only to camp under tents in the mud for weeks, and even months, awaiting transportation home. This time troops were to be moved into the port area only as ships were available to return them to the United States. Great recreational and educational programs were already under way to keep soldiers occupied.49 The American troops, scattered all over France, the Low Countries, and western Germany, were gradually being concentrated in a few locations. The vast amount of supplies to be inventoried, cared for, and either shipped to the United States or moved into Germany for the occupation forces, gave American soldiers a good deal to do. It looked as if redeployment and demobilization would proceed on an orderly basis.
General Somervell returned to the United States the first week in August. The first atomic bomb was dropped upon Hiroshima on 5 August and the second was dropped upon Nagasaki three days later. On the morning of 14 August the Japanese decided to surrender. The war was over. But the job of the ASF was far from finished. There were contracts to cancel, surplus property to be identified and disposed of, troops to be brought home and discharged, and the transition from a wartime to a peacetime military command to be arranged. Many of the problems accompanying demobilization had been anticipated and detailed plans had been prepared. The job now was to carry them out.
Other Overseas Operations
The Persian Gulf Command was altogether a supply operation. Until September 1942, American responsibilities in the area were in the field of construction and assembly of motor vehicles and aircraft. By directive of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in that month, the mission was extended to the field of transport. Soon thereafter; American troops began to arrive in Iran to take over the operation of port facilities and the state railway, and to establish an auxiliary motor transport system. New docks and warehouses and new plane and truck assembly plants had to be constructed. Rail transport was augmented by improving the highways and organizing a motor transport service. 
Eventually, nearly 30,000 supply troops of various kinds were located in the command. During the period of active Anglo-American transport operations (1942-45) more than 5.1 million long tons of cargo 

moved through the Persian Corridor en route to Russia.50
Except for the activities of the Air Forces, including the later operations of the Twentieth Bomber Command from Chinese bases, Army duties in China, Burma, and India also were largely of a supply nature. In order to keep China actively engaged in the war, it was essential to keep up a steady flow of military supply to her armies. The only available avenue of communication after .the summer of 1942 was by air over the Himalaya Mountains from Assam in northeast India. But airlift could scarcely deliver heavy construction equipment, machinery, tanks, and artillery in sizable quantities for Chinese troops. Therefore the opening of an overland line of communications was indispensable to success. The primary task assigned to the China-Burma-India theater in 1942 and 1943 was to increase the airlift over the Hump and to begin the construction of a new land route into China, the so-called Ledo Road. This could be completed only with the successful elimination of the Japanese from North Burma. But military operations largely depended upon the rate of construction of the road. In the autumn of 1943, when the airlift operation was being expanded, the American Army organized a combat team, popularly known as Merrill's Marauders, to assist Chinese, British and Indian forces opening the way for the construction of the road. Air operations in support of ground attack also played a major role. Eventually, the combined Ledo and Burma Roads, renamed the Stilwell Road, were reopened in January 1945. A pipeline to Kunming, China, was completed by July.
Necessarily the ASF maintained close contact at all times with the military activity in India, Burma, and China. Although it was never possible to undertake large-scale efforts here when the main military force was employed against Germany, almost no part of the world presented more challenging supply difficulties than Southeast Asia.
Immediately after the American naval victory of Midway in 1942, Japanese troops landed and occupied three westerly islands at the end of the Aleutian chain of Alaska. The elimination of these Japanese forces was entrusted to the Western Defense Command in the United States supported by the Alaskan Department. Only a few military supplies of a special kind could be provided by the ASF for this undertaking. American forces landed at Attu Island on 11 May 1943, and annihilated the Japanese by 31 May. When forces landed on Kiska on 15 August, they found that the Japanese had evacuated the island. For the ASF, this campaign demonstrated two lessons: the importance of protective clothing and materials in harsh climates, and the importance of service troops in bringing an amphibious campaign to a successful conclusion.
The variety of matters which directly or indirectly affected supply factors in World War II are evident from this cursory review of military events. Yet at the time, because of the pressure of circumstances, the importance of these factors was sometimes overlooked. The Army Service Forces constantly reminded operational planners of the vital interrelationship between strategy and supply. And it was this interrelationship which defined the role of the Army Service Forces in the strategic planning of World War II.

On 9 March 1945 General Somervell told a group of some three hundred key officers of the ASF that this war, more than any other, had demonstrated the importance of supply. "The difference in supply superiority and in mobility between the Germans and the Americans is the contribution that we in the Army Service Forces are making to this war." 51

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