Chapter XXI
 
The Promise of Military Victory D Day to September 1944
 
 
The successful landings of Allied troops in Normandy on 6 June 1944 brought an end to a tense period of waiting for General Marshall and his staff. OVERLORD represented far more than the biggest combined amphibious operation of the war. It symbolized the consummation of the strategic pattern, upon which the Allies had finally agreed at Tehran, to strike directly at the heart of Germany. Some of the primary strategic ideas of the Army staff had at last been translated from the debating councils and planning stages into action. For the Americans, the success of OVERLORD signalized the triumph of the principles of mass and concentration, and of the notion of a decisive war. The invasion of northwest Europe had at last become a reality, the big drive across the Channel an accomplished fact.
 
Once the lodgment was established on the Continent, the OVERLORD phase was over, and the war against Germany settled into an essentially logistical and tactical struggle. It was left to General Eisenhower and the efficient coalition staff he had molded in SHAEF to fight the battles and make the decisions on the spot in order to bring about the defeat of the German armies in the field. Before the summer was over, the Allied armies, breaking out of their beachheads and overrunning France, appeared well on their way to accomplishing that goal. Meanwhile the Russians, who had started their own big drive on the Eastern Front, advanced into eastern and central Europe. The giant Allied nutcracker was beginning to crush the German forces.
With the troops ashore, the work of the Army planners in Washington with respect to European planning was all but done. The military pay-off appeared close at hand, and the defeat of both foes merely a question of time. It remained only to tie up the loose ends in global strategy-reach a final settlement on Mediterranean strategy and fashion plans for defeating Japan. With some confidence, therefore, the planners prepared to move their last pieces into position on the strategic chessboard.
 
ANVIL-The Last Rounds
 
With the capture of Rome on 4 June and the landings in Normandy two days later, the Allied offensive scene in Europe changed overnight. The long months of frustration in Italy and the equally long months of waiting in the United Kingdom had come to an end,
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and the time for decision on the future course of the Mediterranean war had arrived. As the Allied armies pushed forward into northern Italy, the debate reopened between the British proponents of the continuation of the Italian campaign and the American champions of the ANVIL operation. Would the prize be the occupation of all Italy, the capture of Istria and Trieste, and an advance through the Ljubljana Gap with all the attendant political and strategic consequences for the Balkans, or the direct strengthening of OVERLORD and the occupation of southern France? Broadly stated, was the final unfolding of the European war to be a matter of political or of military strategy for the West? Each side was confident that its concept would help OVERLORD and either pin down or draw off German units that might oppose Eisenhower's forces. Now the moment for choice had come. The Allies must either continue the Mediterranean drive and commit themselves to a strong and active offense in the south or throw their weight into the assault on Germany from the west and be content with a holding role in Italy.
 
The London Conference
 
Shortly after OVERLORD was launched, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff flew to England for an informal conference with the British. Their main reason was to be on hand should either of two contingencies arise: the Allied forces might obtain only an insecure footing in the beachhead area, and the CCS might be forced to decide whether to withdraw or to continue the operation; a German counterattack might be mounted seven or eight days after D Day and might require CCS action.1 Since the visit would be a precautionary measure for the most part, the JCS informed the British that they were not going to bring a large planning staff and accordingly would not be prepared for a full-dress conference. Meetings would be held on an informal basis and the discussion would he general, unless a crisis in OVERLORD arose.2 In addition to Marshall, Arnold, and King, the American party consisted of their plans officers, Handy, Kuter, and Cooke, plus half a dozen others, chiefly aides.3
 
On 10, 11, 13, 14, and 15 June the CCS met for discussions. On 12 June they visited the Normandy beachhead. The expected German counterattack failed to materialize because Hitler and some of his staff continued to believe that the Allied forces still in the United Kingdom were destined to make a second landing, probably along the Channel coast. Strong German forces were held in the Channel area while the Allies were strengthening their hold in Normandy.4 Since the Allied position seemed to be fairly secure, the CCS were able to consider Mediterranean, Pacific, and Far Eastern affairs as well as OVERLORD'S progress. General agreement was expressed that an amphibious operation from the Mediterranean should be carried out during the midsummer period, but in view of the fluid situation in both France and Italy, the conferees felt that options should be held
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VISITORS AT NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, 12 June 1944. Holding the rail in the DUKW are General Marshall, General Eisenhower, and Admiral King.
VISITORS AT NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, 12 June 1944. Holding the rail in the DUKW are General Marshall, General Eisenhower, and Admiral King.
 
open on where and when the operation should take place.
 
In the course of the discussion, Marshall pointed out that fifteen additional combat loaders were to be made available from the United States for the operation. He expressed interest in the possibilities of a landing at Sete on the Gulf of Lions. Such an operation might be exploited through the Carcassone Gap and might succeed in opening up a port on the Bay of Biscay, which would allow more troops to be brought in to aid OVERLORD. His special concern was to funnel the American divisions accumulating in the United States into the main front as soon as possible. Although the Allies could afford to take more time for their decision now that all seemed to be going well, he thought that the target date for any Mediterranean operation should be 25 July, which would accelerate the tempo somewhat.5
 
Significantly, little weight was attached to carrying out operations in the Manseille-Toulon-Riviera area similar to those the joint planners had envisaged for ANVIL. If the operation were to be against southern France, Brooke, King, and Adm. Andrew B. Cunningham seemed to agree with Marshall that it
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might well be a landing at Sete. Portal and King felt that if the Russians should launch an offensive toward the Balkans, the Anglo-American drive might be launched against the Istrian Peninsula. A third alternative, provided Eisenhower managed to reach the Loire River, might be a direct descent by sea on the Bay of Biscay. With the three possibilities in mind, as well as the original ANVIL project, the CCS decided to instruct Wilson and Eisenhower that Wilson would be responsible for planning for ANVIL, the Sete operation, and the Istrian venture, while Eisenhower would plan for the Bay of Biscay. The operation selected would be carried out on the basis of a three-division lift. Wilson and Eisenhower could discuss inter se the release of landing craft for this undertaking and troop carriers for a supporting paratroop operation. Final decision on the four options would be made according to the progress of OVERLORD and the Soviet offensive, but a target date of 25 July was to be sought.6
Thus, once again, an ANVIL-type operation was put back on the active books, provided the Pisa-Rimini line in Italy was attained by late July. Where the operation would be set in motion would depend on circumstances, but the general consensus among the CCS at that time indicated that the Sete area was favored.
 
Final Debate and Decision
 
In the meantime, in Washington, the JWPC proceeded to examine the four choices and came out strongly for the retention of ANVIL. In their view, ANVIL. would open ports more quickly, help OVERLORD more directly by drawing off or-pinning down German troops, and make the most effective use of French troops.7
 
Army planners were inclined to agree with this estimate, especially if OVERLORD were going forward according to plan. If OVERLORD should bog down, an operation via Sete, Toulouse, and Bordeaux or the direct seizure of St. Nazaire and Nantes and a later move against Bordeaux might be in order. OPD's Strategy Section doubted that Wilson had enough forces to carry out his favored plan-operations against Istria followed by an advance through northern Italy toward Ljubljana Gap. In addition, the winter weather and the poor line of communications would make it difficult to support such an operation, the French would very likely protest the use of their troops in the Balkans, and the relief of pressure on OVERLORD would be slight. The Strategy Section did not ignore the political implications of invading the Balkans, for the possibility of becoming involved in civil wars in Greece and Yugoslavia was taken into account. As Colonel Billo, chief of the section, warned, "Had we adopted a strategy to defeat Germany politically and economically then the suggested operation might be considered. Remember, too, the Austrians held off the Italians for 4 years in World War I.8
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While the Army planners were mulling over the Mediterranean possibilities, Marshall had flown from England to Italy to confer with Wilson and his commanders. Marshall evidently had some success in convincing Wilson of the urgent need of the Allies for a major port through which some forty to fifty divisions waiting in the United States could be sent to OVERLORD, since on 19 June the Mediterranean commander came out in favor of ANVIL with a 15 August target date provided the CCS agreed with Marshall that the need for a port was paramount. Otherwise, Wilson would prefer to push on in Italy toward Ljubljana Gap and southern Hungary.9
 
Neither Marshall nor Eisenhower wanted an Adriatic diversion, and both urged that ANVIL be carried out at the earliest possible date. As Marshall cautioned Eisenhower on 22 June: "There should be no delay in getting a firm decision on ANVIL if we are to provide the necessary additional resources in time to make it possible to launch the operation at an earlier date than August 15th"10 Eisenhower urged the need for big ports and was apparently convinced that the capture of Marseille would furnish a more direct route northward for Allied forces to join in the battle for the Ruhr. He was willing to provide the additional resources only for ANVIL and firmly believed that the Allies could support but one major theater in the European war -the OVERLORD battle area.11 The President and the JCS lined up solidly behind him. Since the SHAEF staff frowned on a Bay of Biscay operation and viewed the Site movement as impracticable because of the timing, the Americans swung back to the original ANVIL, this time for good.
 
In the meantime, circumstances had altered somewhat, and the British had decided to support operations into north Italy and the Ljubljana Gap as the most useful employment for Wilson's forces.12 With Wilson and Alexander arguing for the continuation of the current offensive, Churchill and the British Chiefs launched an effort to save the Italian campaign. The Prime Minister directed his attack toward the President and Eisenhower, while the British Chiefs sought to sway their American opposites. The British did not accept the need for another major port since they thought that various small ports in Normandy could be developed to handle more traffic, nor did they see ANVIL as the operation most helpful to OVERLORD. While they were willing to release to OVERLORD at a later date some of the divisions earmarked for ANVIL they be-
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lieved that the pressure against the Germans in. Italy should be maintained. Eisenhower should retain his landing craft to exploit the use of any small ports he might capture, and in the meantime Wilson and Alexander would pose a threat to southern France while they advanced into northern Italy.13
 
In the face of these onslaughts spearheaded by the Prime Minister, the American lines held firm. In late June the U.S. Joint Chiefs informed the British Chiefs that the JCS could not see Italy as a decisive theater and that the delay now taking place in reaching agreement on ANVIL was not in keeping with the early termination of the war. The President, moreover, felt that Eisenhower's wishes in the matter should be respected; besides, he told Churchill, Wilson had enough forces to carry on the drive in Italy.14
 
Churchill made an intense appeal in behalf of the Italian theater in an attempt to persuade the President. That he was thinking in terms of the political end results of a major victory in Italy especially for the Balkans-was evident. He stressed the strong support of Wilson, Alexander, and Field Marshal Smuts for the project of an attack eastward across the Adriatic and the capture of Trieste. He argued that, to hasten the end of the European war, "Political considerations, such as the revolt of populations against the enemy or the submission and coming over of his satellites, are a valid and important factor."15 Political strategy must henceforth be merged with military strategy against Germany. At the same time, the British Chiefs pointed out to the Americans that the CCS, not Eisenhower, had the responsibility for deciding European strategy. Furthermore, the British Chiefs continued, there would not be enough air resources for both Italy and ANVIL.16
 
The President would not yield. He immediately replied to Churchill unequivocally: "The exploitation of 'OVERLORD,' our victorious advances in Italy, an early assault on Southern France, combined with the Soviet drives to the west-all as envisaged at Teheran-will most surely serve to realize our object-the unconditional surrender of Germany." Roosevelt reminded Churchill that Stalin had favored ANVIL and that they would have to inform the Soviet leader of any change in plans. The President clearly set forth his position on political objectives: "I agree that the political considerations you mention are important factors, but military operations based thereon must be definitely secondary to the primary operations of striking at the heart of Germany." To conduct an operation against Istria, he went on, would be to disregard two important considerations-the agreed grand strategy for an early defeat of Germany, and the time factor involved in a campaign to
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debouch from the Ljubljana Gap into Slovenia and Hungary. It was doubtful whether, on purely logistical grounds, more than six divisions could, "within a decisive period," be put into the fighting beyond the Ljubljana Gap. "I cannot agree," he declared, "to the employment of United States troops against Istria and into the Balkans, nor can I see the French agreeing to such use of French troops." If ANVIL were not launched, the whole question of French troops would have to be reopened. The President concluded:
 
At Teheran we agreed upon a definite plan of attack. That plan has gone well so far. Nothing has occurred to require any change. Now that we are fully involved in our major blow history will never forgive us if we lost precious time and lives in indecision and debate. My dear friend, I beg you to let us go ahead with our plan.
Finally, for purely political considerations over here, I should never survive even a slight setback in "OVERLORD" if it were known that fairly large forces had been diverted to the Balkans.17
Years later a still-annoyed Churchill was to write, "It was his [the President's] objections to a descent on the Istrian peninsula and a thrust against Vienna through the Ljubljana Gap that revealed both the rigidity of the American military plans and his own suspicion of what he called a campaign 'in the Balkans.'" Churchill vigorously denied that anyone involved in these discussions had "ever thought of moving armies into the Balkans." On the other hand,
  Istria and Trieste were, in the Prime Minister's opinion, strategic and political positions that "might exercise profound and widespread reactions, especially after the Russian advances."18
 
Whatever might have been the ultimate political or military effects of Churchill's Balkan policy-and this is still a moot point-he was not to win out. The President, in complete agreement with his staff on this score, held firm. On 2 July he asked the Prime Minister to authorize a directive to be sent to General Wilson setting the wheels in motion for an early ANVIL. He declared, "I am compelled by the logic of not dispersing our main efforts to a new theatre to agree with my Chiefs of Staff .... I always think of my early geometry- 'a straight line is the shortest distance between two points.' "19 General Marshall and his staff could ask for nothing more.
 
After the President's personal plea, the Prime Minister consented to the issuance of the directive to Wilson rather than permit an impasse to arise. ANVIL would be launched with a target date of 15 August on a three-division assault basis; the amount of airborne lift would be decided later. The build-up would be to ten divisions; all other resources would be devoted to the Italian campaign. Wilson and Eisenhower were between themselves to arrange for the transfer of additional resources.20
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In spite of this setback to the British, there were indications that they still did not consider the matter closed. As Churchill warned Hopkins in mid-July, "We have submitted under protest." The Anglo-American split over the Mediterranean, added to the mounting political pressures confronting the Allied coalition in Europe, evidently disturbed the Prime Minister, for he went on to say, "although we look like winning the war a most formidable set of problems is approaching us from every side, and personally I do not feel that anything but duty would make me encounter them."21
 
The Army did not view the military prospect with great concern, for its intelligence estimates indicated that the Germans were not so strong in southern France as they appeared and that they would not attempt to fight to the end. Furthermore, G-2 did not believe that the Germans could withdraw troops from Italy for the support of operations in France.22
 
During July the Army's preparations for ANVIL went forward. Roberts informed Devers that the Navy would provide twenty-eight LST's. He warned, however, that in view of the world-wide shortage of service forces, such troops would have to be withdrawn from Italy. Combat loaders and landing craft were transferred from SHAEF to the Mediterranean, and by 20 July Eisenhower had sent 416 tow planes and 225 glider pilots to the Mediterranean for the ANVIL airlift.23
 
In mid-July Marshall agreed that Devers should form an army group and command ANVIL under Wilson until sufficient progress had been made into France by the Anvil, troops to permit Eisenhower to take over the force. Under Devers would be the Seventh Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch, and the French forces. No decision had yet been made on further transfers of U.S. divisions or of the Fifth Army itself to France. In Marshall's opinion, however,
 
The main thing is that we push ANVIL to the utmost as the main effort in the Mediterranean. The large forces we will still have in Italy should enable us to maintain strong and unrelenting pressure on the enemy. While satisfying OVERLORD, we will do our utmost to support Wilson in the two battles he has to fight in Southern France and Italy.
But, he concluded,
 
There should be no waiting for a perfection of arrangements or for the optimum in supplies and equipment. I believe we are approaching the point where carefully planned bold and rapid action in the application of our forces may reap successes which will shorten the war.24
 
In early August, shortly after the Allies broke through at St. Lo, the British made their final effort to cancel ANVIL-which had been renamed DRAGOON on 1 August. With the possibility of using the ports in Brittany to reinforce OVERLORD, Churchill and the British Chiefs tried again to persuade the President and the U.S. military leaders either to land the ANVIL forces through Breton ports or to allow them to remain
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in Italy for an advance through the Ljubljana Gap. When the Americans pointed out that the condition of ports in Brittany was unknown and that they might be heavily defended or destroyed before capture, the British concentrated strongly on the advantages of the campaign in Italy and eastward. Eisenhower was subjected to intense pressure from Churchill to alter his stand on DRAGOON. He stoutly resisted. To Hopkins, the Prime Minister also sent a last-minute appeal in early August to intercede and influence Marshall.25
 
Washington Army planners received these latest British maneuvers with something less than enthusiasm. Since preparations for DRAGOON were so far advanced, they considered any change to a Brittany landing impracticable. Southern France operations were based on a quick turnaround of shipping and a shift would result in a delay in the release of shipping to other areas. The feeling continued to prevail that weather conditions and poor communications would make operations in the Balkans very difficult.26
 
Any worries that the Army planners may have had proved groundless, for Eisenhower clung firmly to DRAGOON as OVERLORD'S best concomitant. With the JCS, Hopkins, and the President in turn standing behind his decision, the British finally conceded defeat on 8 August and sought to salvage what they could of the Italian campaign.27
 
On 15 August the Seventh Army under Patch landed in southern France between Cannes and Hyres after intense sea and air bombardment of the coast. The Allied forces consisted of three U.S. divisions, the 3d, 6th, and 45th; seven French divisions; and one mixed British and U.S. airborne division. Before the Allied landings, the German High Command had considered pulling back the eleven German divisions in southern France to a defensive line closer to the German border, but nothing had been done about it. When the German staff learned that the landings were in force, they ordered their units south of the Loire to withdraw toward Germany.28 Thus, the Allied forces moved quickly inland against scattered resistance. By 11 September they had linked up with Eisenhower's troops in northern France.
 
After more than two years of discussion, frequently spirited, the great debate over the Mediterranean and the cross-Channel attack was finally laid to rest. Despite valiant efforts of the British to win another reprieve for the Mediterranean, the American insistence on supplying extra punch to OVERLORD had carried the day and sounded the knell for any ambitious Mediterranean plans.
 
The debate in the summer of 1944 over the southern France operation represented, in one sense, the last gasp of the peripheral strategy espoused by
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Churchill and his staff from the beginning of the European struggle. But by the summer of 1944 the war was entering a new era, and Churchill was already looking at the European continent with one eye on the retreating Germans and the other on the advancing Russians. Here was peripheral strategy with a new twist, designed, in effect, to contain the Soviet position in eastern Europe.
 
Although the forces remaining in Italy were quite strong enough to continue pressure against the Germans, they proved not overwhelming enough to strike the blow that would have finished the Italian campaign and permitted a penetration of the Balkans and Austria. A still disappointed Churchill has written in retrospect:
 
The Army which we had landed on the Riviera at such painful cost to our operations in Italy arrived too late to help Eisenhower's first main struggle in the north, while Alexander's offensive failed by the barest of margins to achieve the success it deserved and we so badly needed. Italy was not to be wholly free for another eight months; the right-handed drive to Vienna was denied to us; and, except in Greece, our military power to influence the liberation of Southeastern Europe was gone.29
 
Until the very last weeks of the European war, the front lines in the Mediterranean were to remain relatively static and the theater was to become, like the CBI, its counterpart in the Far East, a holding theater. The decline of the Mediterranean, along with that of the CBI theater, confirmed the triumph of the concept of a concentrated, decisive war against Germany.
 
CBI-The Asiatic Holding Theater
 
Although the decision to launch ANVIL was the most important one the Allies had to make during the summer of 1944, there were indications that the war against Japan would soon become the main topic for military discussions. Even while the Normandy invasion was under way, the CCS, at the London meetings in June, considered the future of SEAC and the CBI, and the British again expressed their intention of taking a prominent part in the showdown with Japan.
 
The slow progress of SEAC's forces in turning the tide in north Burma and the continuing advance of the Japanese in east China were the dark spots in an otherwise bright strategic picture. The British reported at the London conference that Mountbatten would seek to clear the Kohima-Imphal road, take Myitkyina, and build up a defensive area south of Mogaung-Myitkyina. The main purpose would be to assure the maximum flow of supplies to China. The Americans, on the other hand, announced that the U.S. combat air strength in China had reached its peak.30 . This leveling off of the China commitment was not surprising in view of the decline in importance of the CBI in U.S. strategic planning.
 
Since the Japanese had driven into Honan Province from the north and from Hankow in the south to open a rail route between north and central
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China during the spring of 1944, Chennault's need for additional tonnage to slow this advance had mounted. The Army had diverted Twentieth Air Force tonnage and had impressed heavy bombers into the transport service. As the Japanese pushed relentlessly on, Arnold suggested that Chennault should either receive at least 8,000 tons a month for the Fourteenth Air Farce or the United States should pull everything out of China and utilize the means elsewhere, since Chennault could not do all the things expected of him on less tonnage. The Army planners were sympathetic but turned down the proposal-it was politically impossible to desert China, and Chennault could not be allocated 8,000 tons.31
 
The rapid deterioration of the tactical situation led to further pleas from Chennault and Chiang during early June for the use of B-29 stocks in China and for the employment of the very long range bombers for tactical missions against Japanese centers in east China. Although the Joint Chiefs were willing to grant approval for specific supply diversions from time to time as necessity demanded, they were consistently opposed to the use of strategic bombers on tactical missions.32
 
With defeat and retreat in prospect for the Chinese, Marshall asked Stilwell on 1 July if he thought he (Stilwell) could do anything more to improve the China situation. The pressure on the War Department, Marshall stated, was to increase the Hump tonnage for Chennault and equip and supply Chinese ground troops. "The latter presents the problem of an immense, effort in transportation with a poorly directed and possibly completely wasteful procedure. "33
 
Stilwell's affirmative response was conditioned upon the President's obtaining the consent of Chiang to Stilwell's command of the Chinese forces. Without this authority, Stilwell felt, little could be done. Marshall Secured JCS and Presidential approval of a proposal to promote Stilwell to a full general and to urge Chiang to accept him as over-all commander.34 All seemed to be settled when Chiang agreed to the President's suggestion in principle, but weeks dragged by without any further developments. Later requests to Chiang failed to elicit any action, and in August the President decided to send Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley as his personal representative to Chungking.35
 
While Chiang delayed, the Japanese moved south into the Tung-Ting Lake district and on to Changsha. In July they had supplemented their southern drive by launching another attack north from Canton. It was obvious the Japanese would eventually threaten and perhaps neutralize the U.S. airfields in east
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China. If they could accomplish this, any support the Fourteenth Air Force could provide the Pacific advance would be meager indeed. The Assam line of communications was carrying over 200,000 tons a month by July and was expected to reach 300,000 by the end of the year. Hump tonnage itself climbed to over 18,000 tons in June, and by the end of the summer would amount to almost 30,000 tons a month.36 The increase in Hump tonnage did not serve to relieve the adverse situation in eastern China as much as had been expected since the problem of internal distribution within China still remained critical and large stores therefore gathered at the forward termini of the Hump run, far from the front areas. Although Chennault was given first priority on Hump tonnage, his air forces were not able to halt the Japanese advance, and by the time of the second Quebec (OCTAGON) conference in mid-September the Japanese were closing in on Kweilin.37
 
In the meantime, Hurley arrived in Chungking in early September and after satisfactory preliminary conferences with Chiang secured his approval of Stilwell as over-all commander. Negotiations to bring about Stilwell's actual assumption of command, however, dragged on for another month and culminated in a final falling out between Stilwell and the Generalissimo. Stilwell was recalled in October.38
 
While matters were going from bad to worse in the China area, in Burma the Allied attack began to pick up momentum. The Japanese fell back slowly from the Imphal region during July, and Stilwell's forces succeeded in destroying the last enemy resistance at Myitkyina in early August. In spite of these favorable developments, objectives in Burma continued to remain hazy and indefinite. The CCS directive issued to Mountbatten on 3 June had instructed him to concentrate on building up the air route to China, meanwhile pressing "advantages against the enemy."39 Although such vague terminology did not serve to promote a decisive course, SEAC headquarters produced several plans during the summer, two of which were presented to the CCS for consideration. The first, Plan Y (later CAPITAL), envisaged the capture of Mandalay by the familiar three-pronged assault, with British troops operating from the west and the Ledo and Yunnan Chinese approaching from the north and east, respectively. A second plan called Z (later DRACULA) projected an airborne and seaborne assault on Rangoon.40 Mountbatten left for London in early August to present the two plans to his chiefs.
 
It was readily apparent in Washington that, of the two, the United States should support the Mandalay plan since it would extend the protection of the air
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route farther south and keep the forces currently occupied in north Burma usefully employed. Although U.S. intelligence sources did not believe that any operations in Burma would succeed in influencing enemy dispositions in the Pacific, the joint planners favored the Mandalay plan as being more in phase with U.S. Pacific timing.41 The availability of forces and resources to mount the Rangoon operation---favored by the British as the best means to end the Burma commitment-would depend upon the outcome of the European war, still a highly uncertain factor insofar as timing was concerned. In mid-August the JCS turned down a British request that SEAC's operations in north Burma be delayed until the forces to take Rangoon became available.42 Instead, the JCS urged that the Mandalay plan be accepted, with the Rangoon operation to be mounted in 1945 if all went well.43 The matter was still undecided when the second Quebec conference convened in September.
 
Although SEAC strategy had not been settled, there was considerable discussion among the War Department planners during the summer of 1944 on the role of the United States in future operations in the CBI. Marshall had informed Sultan in August that no U.S. divisions were scheduled for the CBI in 1945, and in the following month the Chief of Staff turned down Churchill's request for U.S. divisions to bolster the Burma offensive, saying that all divisions were allocated to the European or Pacific theaters.44 The consistent Army disinclination to involve large bodies of U.S. ground forces in Burma and China was not new, but now there was a growth of sentiment within the War Department favoring the gradual withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Burma. General Roberts, commenting on a suggestion to transfer the Tenth Air Force to SWPA, put the problem succinctly:
 
Our CBI investment is admittedly very costly, but it is the only way we can keep China in the war. The insurance may come high, but I think we have to keep it up, at least until we have a port of entry on the China coast. I do not think it is a matter of "appeasing the British" so much as it is keeping up their newly acquired offensive spirit.45
 
Shortly after this, the Operations Division's Strategy Section recommended that since the main objective of the U.S. forces was to assist China, U.S. and Chinese forces should be withdrawn from Burma after Lashio was reached, so that the British could reconquer their own colonial empire and the United States would not receive the stigma of helping them resubjugate the native populace.46 This mounting political consciousness was typical of Army stra-
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tegic planning during the summer of 1944 when the problems of peace began to weigh more heavily upon the military staff. The United States was committed to aid China, but even this was now a limited commitment merely to keep China in the war. The U.S. acceptance of the CBI as a holding theater where the enemy could be kept occupied while the decisive engagements were being fought in the Pacific was at last complete.
 
Target-Philippines
 
At the London conference of June the CCS not only discussed CBI affairs but also considered various courses of action that might be followed to defeat the Japanese. Just before the JCS left for London they had decided to have all plans for operations subsequent to the Marianas re-examined to determine whether the tempo in the Pacific could be accelerated. This search for increased speed in the Pacific led to some interesting conversations with the British Chiefs of Staff at the London conference. The GCS discussed proposals to bypass the Philippines and Palaus in order to surprise the Japanese at Formosa and the alternative possibility of bypassing Formosa and going directly to Kyushu. They were in general agreement that it was important to do the unexpected when fighting the Japanese, but found it impossible at this point to decide just what form the "unexpected" should take.47 The Americans decided to query their Pacific commanders. Until the opinions of MacArthur and Nimitz were obtained, little could be done.48
 
During June there were a number of signs that changes in the strategic situation might permit the tempo of tile Pacific campaign to be stepped up. The reduction of Japanese air effectiveness, the continuing prospect of a favorable and decisive fleet engagement that would allow U.S. forces greater freedom of action, the indication that the enemy was increasing the strength of his Philippines-northern NEI defenses, and the recent drive by the Japanese in China that might preclude or decrease the air support of Pacific operations, tended to confirm the growing impression of the Washington Army staff that a reassessment of objectives might be in order.49
 
And yet the Allied desire to do the unexpected and to maintain an attitude of flexibility in the matter of Pacific strategy had to be reconciled with strong influences that had tended to shape Pacific strategy along definite, consistent lines. Most important of these during the summer of 1944 was General MacArthur himself. His response to the JCS query sent to him during the time of the London conference on quickening the pace was swift and negative. He could not advance his current target dates because of logistical considerations. He also regarded as utterly unsound the suggestion of bypassing the Philippines and advancing toward either Formosa or the Japanese mainland. Not only were the Philippines necessary in a strategic sense, the United States had also a moral obli-
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gation to liberate the Filipinos.50 MacArthur's insistence upon the military and moral aspects of the Philippines question was an element that the military leaders could not disregard.
 
The Washington joint planners were inclined to agree with MacArthur that it would not be feasible to accelerate the Pacific campaign, but they did not readily see the military necessity for capturing Mindanao. The Palaus, on the other hand, they deemed essential for any further advance, whether into the Philippines or to points north. With Japanese strength increasing in the Philippines, they felt that bypassing the Philippines should be considered.51
 
By late June POA forces were struggling bitterly for Saipan in the Marianas, and SWPA troops were leapfrogging up the northern coast of New Guinea and engaged in the difficult fight for Biak Island. The war in the Pacific was, as King has since described it, in a "crossing-the-ocean" phase, during which most of the fighting consisted of amphibious assaults to seize small islands or limited beachheads. Even in New Guinea no attempts were made to penetrate the hinterland.52 The United States had the advantages of mobility, superior air and naval strength, and the element of surprise. The unwillingness of Army planners and General Marshall himself to get involved in costly land campaigns on the road to Japan-either on the mainland of Asia or on intermediate island land masses such as the Philippines and Formosa-caused them to weigh carefully every alternative to such a course. It was not surprising, therefore, that the Chief of Staff upheld the investigation of his planners into the question of bypassing the Philippines, and Formosa, too, if a direct assault upon Kyushu proved feasible. As he pointed out in his reply of 24 June to MacArthur's plea for the Philippines, he did not believe the investigation unsound. He went on to caution the SWPA commander that personal and political considerations should not be allowed to override the main objective- the early conclusion of the war against Japan. The capture of Formosa and Kyushu would also serve to liberate the Philippines. Marshall made it clear that he himself, as well as the Navy, still favored the full employment of the Pacific Fleet.53
The joint planners proceeded to lay out two courses that would be open to the United States until the Mindanao operations scheduled for November 1944 were definitely undertaken. The first lay through the Philippines, Formosa, and Ryukyus to Kyushu and Honshu and the other via the Bonins to either Kyushu or Hokkaido and thence to Honshu. The first involved the capture or control of large land masses, but was a steady and sure route. The second was a quicker course but more dangerous, since it depended upon the ability of the Navy and its carrier planes to control the air and sea. Both would be dependent not only upon the defeat of Germany, which would release additional resources, but also upon the neutralization of the Japanese Fleet, which would permit bolder action at less risk. To
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retain flexibility and freedom of choice as long as possible, the joint planners recommended that a decision between the two routes be made after the Palaus operation but before the Mindanao offensive. If Germany and the Japanese Fleet were still undefeated, then the course via the Philippines and Formosa should be followed. If both were beaten, the second route via the Bonins should be taken. Were only the fleet out of the way, Mindanao could be bypassed. By April 1945 there would be 29 divisions (including six Marine divisions) assigned to the conflict with Japan, plus 48 groups of Army planes, 154 squadrons of Navy land-based aircraft, and 5,259 carrier-based planes. If the U.S. forces could advance without land-based air support, the planners estimated, the war in the Pacific could be accelerated. In their view, entry of the Soviet Union into the war would have little effect upon the pace of the Pacific advance since, presumably, it would occur at a time when the United States had approached quite close to the final objective-the Japanese mainland.54
 
While the Washington staff planners were outlining bold, opportunistic courses of action, the Pacific theater commanders tended to become more cautious. Early in July Nimitz favored clinging to the strategy already agreed upon and indicated that there might even be some difficulty in meeting the target dates already set up. In his opinion, MacArthur's basic concept of advancing land-based air forces, ground troops, and naval forces at the same time was sound.55 A few days later MacArthur submitted his newest revision of the RENO plan to retake the Philippines. This version, known as RENO V, outlined an advance via the Vogelkop Peninsula and Morotai to southern Mindanao on 25 October and to Leyte on 15 November. The main effort against Luzon would be at Lingayen Gulf and would take place about 1 April 1945- It would require six divisions, including one airborne and one armored.56 No consideration was given in the plan to bypassing Luzon and taking Formosa instead. General Kenney criticized RENO V for the weaknesses of its air planning. He held that the plan provided for too little assistance from Navy carrier planes, not enough heavy bomber and intermediate air bases, and too few supporting bases. The joint planners approved neither of postponing the target date for Luzon from 15 February to 1 April nor of accepting the Luzon operation without any provision for a direct advance from Mindanao to Formosa. They estimated that naval requirements of RENO V would absorb almost all of the Pacific Fleet units and would not only preclude any operations against Formosa but would also delay operations against the Japanese homeland for a full year.57
 
At a theater staff conference held in early July at Pearl Harbor to consider speeding up operations, representatives of POA and SWPA agreed that the scheduled operations should be retained. Nimitz supported the MacArthur concept of moving land, sea, and air forces forward en masse and agreed that the
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southern Philippines would have to be taken, but he could not share MacArthur's belief in the necessity for taking Luzon before Formosa. A setback to the Japanese Fleet might well permit the Americans to bypass Luzon. In view of the accord reached at the theater conference on retaining scheduled operations, General Dandy-in Washington informed Marshall in mid-July that since MacArthur had the means to go on short of Luzon, no decision between Luzon and Formosa need be made now. He advised Marshall to await further developments.58
 
General Roberts, on the other hand, maintained that General MacArthur had given no indication of preparing an alternate plan that would show where RENO V could be cut off and the objectives already attained used to support Formosa operations. He asserted that MacArthur had made provision only for a continuous advance into Luzon after Mindanao was captured and had thus far not complied with the JCS directive of March 1944 to consider plans to support operations against Formosa. Although Luzon then appeared to be the more likely objective, Roberts felt that the JCS should approve only the first stages of RENO V-Morotai, Mindanao, and Leyte-and instruct MacArthur to prepare an alternate plan for the support of Formosa. Furthermore, he held that MacArthur's latest proposal to include the Talaud Islands in order to provide more air cover for the invasion of the Philippines-thus postponing Mindanao to 15 November and Leyte to 20 December-was unacceptable.59
 
The much publicized Pearl Harbor conference of 27-28 July between the President, MacArthur, and Nimitz did little to clarify the strategy picture. MacArthur presented his brief for the Philippines and Nimitz spoke in favor of Formosa, although he agreed that a need for Luzon might develop. The President evidently acted as an intermediary in the meetings and lessened the areas of conflict. Oddly enough, neither MacArthur nor Nimitz requested additional forces, although potential service troop shortages for the Formosa operation were already becoming apparent. Despite the lack of decisions stemming from the conference, Leahy, who was also present, has recorded that it helped the President familiarize himself with Pacific problems and brought agreement between Nimitz and MacArthur on fundamental strategy.60
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PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT DURING PEARL HARBOR CONFERENCE. General MacArthur and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz on deck of the USS Baltimore with the President, July 1944.
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT DURING PEARL HARBOR CONFERENCE. General MacArthur and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz on deck of the USS Baltimore with the President, July 1944.
 
At a later conference held on 7 August at SWPA headquarters, attended by Generals Hull, Giles, and Styer and Colonel Ritchie of the War Department, MacArthur asserted that he could conduct the Luzon campaign in a total of six weeks at the maximum and probably in less than thirty days. As for Formosa, he doubted the ability of SWPA air to neutralize Japanese bases in Luzon before an operation against Formosa could be mounted and held, moreover, that logistics and service troop shortages made the operation against Formosa impracticable. Since an assault on Formosa would presumably be a "massive undertaking," he thought that Formosa should be bypassed and that the advance should proceed from Luzon to the Bonins and Ryukyus and then to Kyushu.61
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Pressure from the Navy for a directive to MacArthur and Nimitz to carry out the central and southern Philippines and Formosa operations had been mounting during the early summer. The Navy sought to pin the Army down on the Formosa operation so that Nimitz could go ahead with his planning on a firm basis. The Army position on Formosa was set forth by Handy:
 
We will hold off as long as we can of course but I think pretty soon we are going to have to put out some kind of directive. [We should] put out a directive covering immediate operations, and not stick out your [the War Department's] neck on things that are not going to happen for 7 to 9 months anyhow.62
 
The Army had taken a leaf from the British book, for the British had often used the same argument in European operations, especially in the Mediterranean. The Army task would be to press for acceptance of the central and southern Philippines operations and to defer a decision on Formosa and Luzon until later.
 
Several factors destined to influence the situation became more apparent as the summer wore on. Army troop shortages for the Palaus campaign had been pointed out by Nimitz back in June, when he warned that unless the deficiencies were remedied, the target date of 15 September might be delayed.63 In early July the War Department was forced to turn down MacArthur's request for an armored division for the Philippines since all armored divisions were scheduled for Europe, but it suggested that he might use four separate armored battalions already in the Pacific, for which a headquarters would be supplied. Colonel Ritchie of the Operations Division, in commenting upon this request, asserted that resources had to be considered very carefully until Germany was defeated and that the service troop problem also might be a determining element in a decision on Formosa and Luzon.64 During July the last U.S. Army division to be sent to the Pacific during the war, the 96th Infantry, arrived in Hawaii. This made twenty-one Army divisions available for future action-the peak of Army divisional deployment to the Pacific.
 
When in late July Nimitz forwarded his estimates for the Formosa operation, the service troop question was brought sharply into focus. There was a shortage of over 200,000 men, mainly service units, which would have to be met, plus additional air groups and shipping. 65 The War Department subjected the estimated shortage to close scrutiny since it was so large. G-4 suggested that French civilians in France be used in service capacities, in order to permit service units allocated to Europe to be diverted to the Pacific.66 Since SWPA would need all of its service troops to support the Philippines operations and probably would also require any units that could be released from SOPAC as it rolled up rear areas, the POA shortages would
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either have to be made up in POA itself, which had no surplus, or by new allocations from the United States.67 The difficulties encountered in providing the service groups became a major obstacle in the Navy's attempt to secure approval of the Formosa operation.
 
Another factor influencing interservice discussion was the prospect that seizure of the southwestern tip of Formosa plus Amoy, as Nimitz now planned, might not be sufficient. If the Japanese were reinforced and could mount a counterattack, it might be necessary to conquer the whole island. Such an operation could very well prove to be, as MacArthur had termed it, a "massive undertaking." Although King and Nimitz remained noncommittal on this aspect, the Army questioned the practicability of mounting the operation under such circumstances. 68 A lengthy campaign on Formosa, involving a passive populace and strong enemy defenses, would be costly in time and casualties. This picture contrasted sharply with the one drawn by MacArthur of a quick victory on Luzon backed by an active and sympathetic people.
 
During August the Army and the Navy planners sought to marshal their forces-the former in behalf of the Philippines and the latter for Formosa. Theater headquarters were instructed to make their personnel requirements for operations as low as possible and to try to advance the time of operations as much as possible.69 Meanwhile, the Army planners in Washington continued to investigate the relative advantages of the two objectives. The Army granted the better strategic location of Formosa, but pointed out that tactically the Philippines would be easier to take and troops could be employed more economically. Although B-29's from Formosa could at first deliver a greater weight of bomb tonnage against Japan, more airfields could eventually be built on Luzon.70
 
A new set of target dates submitted by MacArthur on 27 August scheduled Morotai on 15 September, the Talauds on 15 October, Sarangani on 15 November, Bonifacio-Mindanao on 7 December, Leyte on 20 December, Aparri on 1 January, southern Mindanao on 15 February, and Lingayen Gulf on 20 February.71 Thus rescheduling again placed the Luzon operation in February rather than April and gave Marshall another talking point in its behalf.
 
Basically, however, the main point in the Luzon-Formosa debate in the summer of 1944 was the provision of means. Admiral Sherman's best estimate of the service troop shortage for Formosa was over 100,000, and this estimate assumed
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sizable help from the South Pacific. As matters stood on 1 September, Marshall felt that any decision taken then would favor Luzon, but he did not wish to take that step until other elements-such as the defeat of Germany-that might enter into the making of a decision were considered. It must be remembered that the fall of Germany was still projected for the autumn of 1944 the resources released thereafter would easily take care of the shortages. Marshall and the Army received firm support from Admiral Leahy for the issuance of a directive that would cover operations only through Leyte.72
 
The Army position was given additional backing from another quarter. Early in September the joint planners recommended that the decision on Luzon-Formosa be made later. Leyte would be invaded on 20 December, and preparations would be made to launch the Luzon assault on 20 February or Formosa on 1 March, with the choice to be determined in the light of future events.73 King was not yet willing to give up a commitment to a Formosa operation. He proposed a directive limiting MacArthur to the central Philippines and giving Formosa the next priority. The Army protested that this proposal did not answer the question of how and when the United States would take Luzon or whence the means to take Formosa would come. The shortage of service troops and the possible requirement of additional Army divisions indicated further demands on the Army if the decision were made to take Formosa. Besides, there was a growing feeling in Army planning circles that after Luzon was captured Formosa should be bypassed and a direct descent upon Japan should be planned. Marshall posed a series of questions that he felt must be answered before a decision could be made. But Leahy, desiring to bring matters to a heady laid the cards on the table. Since the United States at the time had the means only for Luzon and since Luzon would be the least expensive operation to undertake insofar as casualties were concerned, it seemed apparent to Leahy that the United States should intensify the air bombardment and sea blockade of Japan and reoccupy the Philippines.74
 
The matter was given to the JSSC for urgent consideration. The committee supported the Navy stand that Formosa should be taken before Luzon, since it had to be taken anyway and a commitment was necessary if the 1 March target date were to be met. Marshall commented that the JSSC had in effect accepted and "made a decision" for Formosa without considering all aspects of the problem. He could not go along with the notion that postponing a decision would lengthen the war six months, as the committee suggested, but thought that by the end of October the situation would be a great deal clearer. Since the
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Army would not agree to make a package directive for Leyte and Formosa, the Navy reluctantly agreed on 8 September to the issuance of a directive for Leyte alone with a target date of 20 December. Nimitz would support this operation and plan for Formosa-Amoy on 1 March or Luzon on 20 February as the case might be. MacArthur, after carrying out Leyte, would plan for the reduction of enemy air on Luzon in support of an attack on Formosa and the occupation of the northern Philippines. The two commanders in chief were to co-ordinate with each other and with the CBI and Twentieth Air Force for air support.75
The acceptance of Leyte as an objective left the course of. Pacific operations after the seizure of the central Philippines pretty much unsettled. Whether the U.S. forces would move against Luzon or Formosa would depend largely upon developments in the war against Germany and Japanese reactions to projected carrier air strikes against the Philippines during September. In the meantime, planning for both campaigns would continue.
 
Strangulation or Invasion?
 
The long discussion over Formosa versus Luzon tended to obscure the importance of another subject that would increase in interest as the war neared its final stages-the proposition that Japan would surrender only as a result of invasion. There were several schools of thought on the subject. A blockade and bombardment group, of which Admiral Leahy was a member, felt that Japan could be strangled militarily and economically by air and sea attack and the government would therefore capitulate without invasion. Another group, strongest in the Army, was quite certain that, in the light of current experience with Japanese resistance, invasion and bitter struggle would be necessary to subdue the enemy. And, finally, there were those who straddled the fence.
 
In December 1943, at SEXTANT, this cautious, middle-of-the-road school had won the day, for the decision of the CCS had been "to obtain objectives from which . . . to invade Japan proper if this should prove necessary." 76 But in the early summer of 1944 the joint planners had reviewed the over-all objective and come to the conclusion that invasion of the industrial heart of Japan would be required to defeat Japan. Acceptance of their recommendation, as was to be expected, was neither immediate nor wholehearted. Admiral Leahy, who was never convinced that invasion would be necessary, believed that the Navy, with some Army Air assistance, had already defeated Japan. The JWPC felt that the matter should be considered very carefully and that a conference should be held in the United States among MacArthur, Nimitz, Stilwell, and Washington service planners to iron out differences in opinion on strategy.77
 
Despite this opposition, the JCS on 11 July decided to accept the invasion ob-
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jective, since defeat by blockade and bombardment would probably involve an unacceptable delay. In presenting the matter to the British later in the day, Marshall gave the Army point of view:
 
As a result of recent operations in the Pacific, it was now clear to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff that, in order to finish the war with the Japanese quickly, it will be necessary to invade the industrial heart of Japan. The means for this action were not available when the over-all concept had been originally discussed. It was now, however, within our power to do this and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff feel that our intention to undertake it should be appropriately indicated.78
 
On 29 July the British agreed to the necessity for invasion provided priority for defeating the Germans was not altered and operations would not be carried out without CCS approval. The conditions were accepted by the JCS in early August.79
 
Inscribing the invasion concept on the record was the beginning rather than the end of the matter. The JSSC accepted the invasion principle as necessary, but believed that operations to make it easier should be thoroughly studied and full use should be made of Allied ships and planes to avoid costly land campaigns. On 1 September the Chief of Staff requested General Embick, a member the TSSC, to make a study of the number of casualties that would be likely to occur in perimeter attacks on enemy bases as opposed to a surprise assault on the enemy homeland. In the face of Saipan losses, Marshall estimated that it would cost the United States 90,000 casualties to take Formosa, and that the high cost for that operation should be considered before rejecting the operation against Kyushu, where only one Japanese division was stationed, taking into account the fact that sustained fleet attacks would precede an assault on Kyushu.80 Although there was no accurate method of gaging the cost in lives, Embick favored the seizure of intermediate objectives and a reduction of Japanese capabilities before a direct assault on the home islands was attempted. He and other members of the JSSC supported a Formosa operation before undertaking Luzon as being less expensive in casualties provided both were to be seized. Once Formosa was captured, the Japanese would find it difficult to reinforce Luzon, while the capture of the latter would have little effect upon Japanese capabilities to strengthen Formosa.81
 
The other members of the JCS quite naturally shared General Marshall's concern over the question of the relative costs of a direct invasion as opposed to a war of attrition. Although all desired to take the course of action least expensive in casualties, there was little agreement as to which course would be the cheapest. Leahy felt that the President might ultimately have to decide whether to take a shorter course toward Japanese defeat at a possibly greater cost in lives or a longer course at a smaller cost. King, on the other hand, questioned the
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validity of assuming that a longer war would mean less casualties in the final analysis. While Marshall was impressed by Leahy's proposal that the President might have to make the final decision, he felt that in the meantime further studies should be made of the time and loss factors.82
 
Although sea blockade and air bombardment had inflicted very heavy losses upon the Japanese air and naval forces, intelligence estimates of early September indicated that the Japanese land armies appeared to be not only still intact but in fact stronger than they had been at the time of Pearl Harbor.83 If the fanatic and dogged last-ditch resistance hitherto shown in SWPA and the Central Pacific areas by Japanese troops were a portent of future opposition, actual invasion of their homeland would seem to be the only way to induce final surrender. There was no knowledge of the atom bomb in September 1944 in military planning circles except at the very top level. To have relied on the efficiency of naval and air operations to produce defeat might have been acceptable were there no pressure of time, but with the Army acutely aware of the American public's distaste for long wars of attrition, it appeared to the military planners that the European OVERLORD might eventually have to be paralleled by a Pacific OVERLORD.
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Endnotes

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