AGF Study, NO. 3: Ground Forces In The War Army A Statistical Table



Whole table

    1. From the planning of 1942 to the close of organized hostilities in Europe in 1945 an army of 89 divisions and supporting units was made available for combat.


Cols. 1, 2, 3

    2. The planned number of divisions continuously fell; the actual number was reduced by one in 1944.

Cols. 26, 30,
    33, 34

    3. Not as many divisions and nondivisional combat units were formed as were originally planned, partly because over-all strength of the Army became fixed at a lower figure than had been expected, partly because requirements for service troops and overhead functions proved to be larger than had been foreseen.

Col. 26:
    lines 14, 16,
    28, 32

    4. Downward revision of planned strength of combat ground forces occurred especially on two occasions, in October 1942 and in June 1943.

Cols. 3, 22, 26,
    lines 10, 16

    5. In October 1942, with the fixing of the Army ceiling at 7,500,000 enlisted men , the planned strength of combat ground forces, as projected by the War Department in the preceding August, was revised downward by about fourteen divisions and by about 300,000 enlisted men, while planned strength of Air Forces was raised by 200,000

Cols. 3, 22, 26,
    lines 16, 32

Col. 32

Col. 33

Cols. 30,27

    6. In June 1943, when the Army ceiling was lowered by 500,000 (from 7,533,000 to 7,004,000 enlisted men) the strength of combat ground forces planned for 1943 was revised downward by another twelve divisions (readjusted to ten) and by another 337,000 enlisted men. Allotment for Air Forces was revised downward by 50,000 at this time. Allotment for overhead , etc. , was revised downward by 250,000. Allotment for service units was raised by 109,000, of which only 2,000 was for service units of AGF types.

Col. 2:
    lines 41-45

    7. Attempts to restore in 1944 the cuts made in combat ground forces for 1943 did not succeed, in large measure because



the reduction in allotment for overhead, etc. , was not maintained, and because requirements for service units, of both AGF and ASP types, continued to mount.

Col. 2:

    8. In particular, the attempt of the War Department at the end of 1943 to add fifteen divisions to the Troop Basis, making a total of 105 divisions, was abandoned because of mounting requirements for service units and overhead, noted above, and because proposals to cut the allotment for Air Forces to 1,838,000 did not take effect. (The Air Forces were at this time developing the long-range bomber, B-29, program.)


    9. In net result, therefore, on the two occasions when reduction in total planned strength of the Army was necessary, in October 1942 and in June 1943, reduction was mainly accomplished by sacrifice in planned strength of combat ground forces.

Col. 26:
    32, 57

    10. Not only were the cuts in combat ground forces made in October 1942 and June 1943 not restored, but further cuts in allotment of manpower to combat ground forces were made after 1 July 1943. These cuts amounted to 433,000 by 31 March 1945. That is, the table of organization strength of ground combat units in existence on 31 March 1945 was 433,000 less than that allotted to ground combat units on 1 July 1943.

Col. 26:

    11. In sum, with the reductions of October 1942 and June 1943, and with subsequent downward revisions, combat ground forces in March 1945 had about 1,000,000 fewer enlisted men than the War Department had hoped, in August 1942, to attain by the end of 1943.

Col. 32:
    16, 57

    12. Air Forces by 31 March 1945 had 255,000 fewer enlisted men than were allotted in November 1942, but this reduction is in part deceptive, because the percentage of enlisted men eventually commissioned, and hence not shown in this table, was far higher in the Air Forces than in other elements of the Army. In March 1945 enlisted men com-



prised 93.7 percent of Ground Forces, but only 84.9 percent of Air Forces.

Col. 26:
    lines 19, 57

    13. In consequence of decrease in projected strength by 1,000,000, the strength of ground combat units already in existence at the end of 1942 was almost as large as the strength of such units in existence in March 1945. The figures were 1,917,000 and 2,041,000 respectively.


    14. In gross figures, mobilization of combat ground forces was therefore virtually complete by the end of 1942. Thereafter additions of manpower were to other elements of the Army, including service units of the Army Ground Forces; and development of combat ground forces was by internal readjustment within a relatively unchanging total.

Cols. 26, 34:
    lines 19, 44

Cols. 26, 34:
    lines 44, 57

Col. 26:
    lines 19, 57

    15. During 1943 approximately 2,000, 000 men were added to the mobilized strength of the Army. Of these, only 365,000 were added to combat ground forces. During 1944 and the first quarter of 1945 there was no addition to the mobilized strength of the Army. But the strength allotted to combat ground forces was reduced by 241,000 in 1944 and the first quarter of 1945. Hence, while 2,000,000 were added to the Army after 1942, only 124,000 were permanently added to combat ground forces.


    16. The 2,000,000 men more exactly 1,966,000) added to the authorized en listed strength of the Army after 1942 were distributed as follows on 31 March 1945:


Mobilized on
31 Dec 42

Mobilized on
31 Mar 45

Added after

AGF combat units




AGF service units




ASF service units






Mobilized on
31 DEC 42

Mobilized on
31 Mar 45

Added after

Total service units


(1,558,000) (797,000)

Army Air Forces


1,945,000 645,000

Overhead, replacements, nonavailables

1,021,000 1,422,000 401,000

Total Army


6,966,000 1,966,000

Col. 30:
    13, 30,

    17. The Army Ground Forces repeatedly advised against further drain of manpower to noncombat functions and urged increases of allotment to combat forces, but without success. As planned on 24 November 1942, combat units were 52.7 percent of the total Army (less Air Forces). Hopes of the War Department, in the months following 24 November 1942, to raise the proportion of combat units by reduction of overhead and service elements did not materialize. (See Study No. 4.)


    18. The fact that combat ground forces, in gross numbers, were virtually mobilized as early as the end of 1942, although combat ground forces were the last elements of the Army to be employed in operations on a large scale, may be interpreted as a fault in the timing of mobilization, traceable to major changes in strategic plans in 1942.

Cols. 4, 22:

Cols. 3, 22:

Cols. 1, 22:

    19. Development of combat ground forces after 1942 was obtained as stated above, by readjustment within a relatively unchanging total. One form of readjustment was economy in tables of organization of individual units. (See Study No. 9.) By this means additional units were formed without corresponding additional use of manpower. For example, while 1,056,000 enlisted men produced only 73½ divisions on 31 December 1942, almost exactly the same number, 1,060,000, produced 84 divisions on 30 June 1943. The 89 divisions active on 31 March 1945 required only 70,000 more men than the 73½ divisions active on 31 December 1942. Sixteen divisions were added after 1942 with a quantity of manpower which would have yielded less than five divisions in 1942. This was because of reduction in divisional tables of organization in 1943. The same was true, though not



demonstrable by the present table, in non-divisional units.

Cols. 18, 20, 21

Cols. 20, 25:
    Lines 16, 57

    20. A second form of readjustment, within a relatively unchanging total for combat ground forces, was curtailment in the mobilization program of certain types of units. Curtailment took the form both of deletion of units whose activation was planned for the future and of inactivation of units already mobilized. The process was continuous through 1943 and 1944. It especially affected antiaircraft, tank destroyer, and nondivisional infantry units (also coast artillery, not shown in the present table). It went farthest in antiaircraft artillery, which on 24 November 1942 was planned to reach a total of 781 battalions with 602,000 enlisted men, but which by 31 March 1945 had only 331 battalions with 246,000 enlisted men.


    21. Because of economies in tables of organization and because of deletions and inactivations, the addition of only 124,000 men to ground combat forces after 1942 produced the following increment of combat units:


31 Dec 42

31 Mar 45

after 1942

Infantry (including
    Motorized and
    Mountain) Divisions




Armored Divisions




Airborne Divisions




Heavy Artillery




Medium Artillery




Light Artillery






31 DEC 42

31 Mar 45

after 1942

Tank Battalions




Engineer Battalions




Col. 6:
    lines 5, 15,
    20, 42

Col. 9:
    lines 5, 15,

Col. 10:
    lines 5, 15,
    18, 20

Col. 9:
    line 40

Col. 11
    line 35

Col. 7:
    lines 12-56

Cols. 2, 8:
    line 51

Col. 6

    22. In apportionment of strength among different types of divisions, the Army Ground Forces consistently advised a higher proportion of infantry divisions and a lower proportion of armored and motorized divisions than was originally favored by officers of the War Department General Staff. Recommendations of the Army Ground Forces to delete motorized divisions were gradually accepted. Recommendations of the Army Ground Forces to reduce the number of armored divisions in proportion to infantry divisions were accepted only in part. Recommendations of the Army Ground Forces to inactivate armored divisions already mobilized and and to convert airborne divisions to light infantry were not accepted. Plans for light divisions fluctuated widely and were then abandoned. Inactivation of a cavalry division in 1944 left the number of mobilized divisions at 89.

    23. Because of reduction in planned numbers of armored and motorized divisions the number of infantry divisions ultimately mobilized (66) was larger than the number of infantry divisions projected in 1942, despite the falling off in total number of divisions.

Cols. 6, 9, 11:
    line 43

    24. The desirability of more infantry divisions was recognized by the War Department at the end of 1943, when, in considering an increase in total number of divisions from 90 to 105, it was proposed to add 14 infantry divisions but no armored or airborne divisions. The 14 infantry divisions were not added.

Cols. 13, 14:
    lines 12, 15,
    25, 26, 34,
    42, 48

    25. The Army Ground Forces, at intervals from September 1942 to March 1944, urged considerable increases of heavy and medium artillery, not accepted in part in 1943, and accepted in 1944 (after operations at Cassino, Italy) to a degree



surpassing, in heavy artillery,the highest proposals made by the Army Ground Forces at earlier dates.

Col. 17:
    lines 12, 15, 21,
    26, 37

Cols. 9, 17:
    line 21

Col. 9:
    line 32

    26. The Army Ground Forces urged more nondivisional tank battalions than were provided for in War Department planning. The AGF recommendation of January 1943 to obtain nondivisional tank battalions by deletion of planned armored divisions was not accepted. The number of planned armored divisions was reduced in consequence of general reduction of the Army in June 1943, not as a means of providing more nondivisional tank battalions. The number of nondivisional tank battalions was raised in the later months of 1943 by internal reorganization of the armored divisions (not shown in the present table; see Study No. 9).

Col. 18:

    line 12

Col. 18:
    line 26

Col. 18:
    lines 36-41

Col. 18:
    lines 31, 57

    27. The Army Ground Forces at first recommended tank destroyer battalions in very large numbers. It was in this item that early views of the Army Ground Forces were at widest variance with later developments. As early as 14 April 1943 (after action in North Africa) the Army Ground Forces revised its proposals for tank destroyer battalions drastically downward, confining the number to battalions already active. Inactivation was called for by the War Department troop basis of 4 October 1943, to a degree believed excessive by the Army Ground Forces, and subsequently modified. But 38 tank destroyer battalions were inactivated between 30 June 1943 and 31 March 1945, most of them in 1944.

Col: 20:
    lines 10, 12

Cols. 20, 25:
    lines 15, 26,
    30, 42

    28. In antiaircraft artillery the Army Ground Forces recommendation of 811 battalions on 30 September 1942 followed allotments prescribed by the War Department. Thereafter the Army Ground Forces repeatedly advised reduction of the antiaircraft artillery program, believing that provision for Air Forces was sufficient to win general superiority in the air and that meanwhile strength allotted to




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    line 28


Cols. 22, 23, 25:
    line 32


Col. 25:
    lines 44, 55

ground forces should be put into units of higher combat value. The War Department hesitated to curtail the antiaircraft program. Antiaircraft artillery was in demand not only for support of combat ground forces but for defense of fixed military and civilian installations, rear area troops, and air bases. The War Department Committee on Revision of the Military Program, in June 1943, having to reduce the planned strength of the Army by 500,000, reduced the allotment for divisions by 355,000 and for nondivisional combat units other than antiaircraft by 92,000, but for antiaircraft units only 22,000. In these proposals the planned strength of antiaircraft artillery was almost as large as the planned strength of all other nondivisional combat units and over half as large as the planned strength of divisions of all types. With some modification, these proposals were incorporated in the approved troop basis of 1 July 1943. Not until the troop basis of 4 October 1943 was the planned strength of antiaircraft artillery substantially cut. It declined rapidly in 1944. Not until 1944 did inactivation exceed activation.
Mobilized strength of antiaircraft artillery rose throughout 1943, reaching 431,000 on 31 December 1943, only to fall to 257,000 by 31 December 1944.

Col. 21:

    lines 15, 18,
    26, 42, 54

Col. 21:
    line 32
    29. The Army Ground Forces favored increases of nondivisional infantry units, to prevent dissipation of divisions by detachment of regiments, to provide unit replacement for relief of divisional infantry in combat, and to furnish pools of armored infantry battalions and parachute infantry regiments. Recommendations of the Army Ground Forces were accepted in principle by the War Department in the troop basis of 1 July 1943, which called for 195 nondivisional infantry battalions (expressed in battalions in the table, though actually organic for the most part in nondivisional regiments). Other demands for manpower made


  this figure impossible to maintain. Both the number of battalions planned and the number already mobilized declined after July 1943. Deletion of infantry units, as of tank destroyer and antiaircraft, released men for use as overseas replacements (chiefly infantry) and as fillers for new units of other types.

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    line 30


    30. Increases of requirements for nondivisional service units beyond earlier provisions is reflected in the following percentages computed from the table.
Service units expressed as a
percentage of ground combat units.
24 Nov 42
1 Jul 43
31 Mar 45
AGF service units
    (combat zone
ASF units
    zone services)
Total service units

Services, as here defined, do not include engineer, signal, and chemical troops of combat types. Recommendations of the Army Ground Forces against diversion of manpower to service functions were aimed at communications zone services, not at combat zone services, for which provision was believed by the Army Ground Forces to be insufficient in 1943.

      31.In 1945 the strength of communications zone (ASF) service units was about equal to the strength of divisions of all types.

As noted in paragraph 31 above, the actual strength of the Army in March 1945 was about what was planned before reduction of the Army ceiling by 500,000 in June 1943. Before 1 July 1943 an Army of 8,200,000 (7,500,000 enlisted) was projected. On 31 March 1945 an Army of 8,157,386 existed. Reduction in the number and


strength of ground combat units effected in June 1943 to conform to the lowered ceiling remained in effect, even though the ceiling was later so far exceeded as to be restored in practice to its earlier and higher figure.

Two-thirds of the Army was overseas or en route overseas on 1 April 1945. Percentage of major elements was reported by the War Department as follows:


and en route

Zone of

Ground Forces






Service Forces



Air Forces



Total Army









Ground Forces comprised slightly less than half of all troops overseas and en route overseas --- approximately 2,500,000 out of 5,400,000. (All strengths actual and aggregate.) They comprised slightly less than a quarter of all troops in the Zone of Interior --- 630,000 out of 2,750,000. Of the 630,000 approximately 400,000 consisted of individuals in the replacement stream, and approximately 100,000 were in tactical units capable of overseas movement. The remaining 130,000 constituted the overhead personnel of schools, replacement training centers, and other Zone of Interior commands. This 130,000 represented one-tenth of all Zone of Interior personnel in the Army, since of the 2,750,000 officers and men in the Zone of Interior on 1 April 1945 approximately 1,300,000 were in specifically Zone of Interior assignments.1

It may be concluded that the mission prescribed for the Army Ground Forces by the War Department in March 1942, “to provide ground force units --- for combat operations,”2 was accomplished by March 1945, with some 80 percent of Ground Forces overseas, another 16 percent available or becoming available for overseas duty, and 4 percent (made up with negligible exceptions of men returned from, or disqualified for, overseas service) operating the training establishment in the United States. Only a small miscellany of tactical units (aggregating 100,000) remained at home. This constituted less than 4 percent of AGF tactical forces. Over 96 percent of tactically organized Ground Forces (shown in column


28 of the table) was overseas or en route thereto.



1. (1) App "A", WD Gen Coun Min (S), 23 Apr 45 and App "B", 30 Apr 45. (2) "Status of Troop Basis Units as of 31 March 1945", Grd Stat Sec, Rpt No 6, 19 APR 45.

2. Cir 59, WD, 1942.


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