Chapter XVIII: 
Concentration for the Big Blow: January-May 1944
At the beginning of 1944 the main lines of strategy for the second front against Germany were fixed. To invade France from the west was the paramount task for the year ahead. OVERLORD was to be the greatest amphibious operation in history and the mightiest Allied undertaking of the war. Despite the almost unbroken series of Allied victories over the past year, Germany was far from defeated. The German war machine and civilian morale showed no signs of cracking. In Italy the stiff resistance put up by the German armed forces had combined with mud and weather to bring the Allied advance to a halt. In early November 1943 Hitler had begun to face the hard fact that Allied invasion of western Europe might come at any time. Hitherto, whenever a crisis arose, the German High Command had turned to the west for fresh forces. The heavy losses on the Soviet front, the campaign in Italy, and the threat to the Balkans lead drawn off the best German divisions. "I can no longer justify the further weakening of the West in favor of other theaters of war," Hitler had informed his commanders on1 November. Henceforth, he went on, forces and defenses in the West would be strengthened to throw back the expected invasion into the sea, or, at worst, to contain it in its beachhead.1
In the months that followed the Germans found it difficult to adhere closely to the November directive. Demands from the Eastern Front continued and first-class divisions were hard to come by. Nevertheless, by the spring the Germans managed to replace their withdrawals from the West in quantity if not in quality, and Field Marshal Rommel assumed command of the defenses of western Europe. From information gleaned by German agents in the British Embassy at Ankara, the Germans learned the meaning of the code word OVERLORD in the early days of 1944 and concluded that the major Allied assault in 1844 would be in western Europe and not in the Balkans. Although they still did not know where or when the invasion would take place, their anxiety over the Balkans lessened, and they strove to complete the Atlantic Wall and preparations to hold the Allies as close to the sea as possible.2
The Allies were faced with the grim

prospect that behind the reinforced defenses of the Atlantic Wall the Germans were preparing for a desperate last-ditch effort that might hurl the invasion forces back and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Until the "big blow" across the Channel succeeded or failed, further major combined decisions on military strategy would have to wait. In the meantime, within the general pattern many critical problems-essentially logistical, tactical, and administrative-had to be settled.
The hard struggle Marshall had waged in 1943 to retain freedom of action in order to concentrate U.S. forces for the cross-Channel attack now appeared ready to pay off. However, an important question remained. After two years of diverting forces and resources to far-flung fronts and lines of communications, could the staff fulfill the requirements of the highly operational phase of global and coalition warfare and still gather enough strength and means in time to meet General Eisenhower's needs?
Preparations for OVERLORD
General Eisenhower Takes Command
Following his departure from the Mediterranean and a hurried trip to the United States, General Eisenhower arrived in London on 14 January 1944 . While in the United States he had conferred briefly with War Department officials and the president on his new assignment.3 Soon after his notification in early December that he had been appointed Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force, he had begun to lay his plans and arrange his organization for OVERLORD.4 In London, he proceeded to plan for the invasion with the COSSAC staff, which he expanded into the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). His chief subordinates in the coalition command he was to forge included Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, his deputy; Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, commander of the First U.S. Army; General Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, commanding general of the 21 Army Group in charge of the assault phase; Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz, commander of U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe; Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Allied Naval Commander in Chief; Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Air Commander in Chief; and Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff.5 Eisenhower soon realized that much remained to be done in planning and preparing for OVERLORD. Three days after he arrived, he wrote to General Marshall:
It is obvious that strong and positive action is needed here in several directions. The location of various headquarters, the exact pattern of command, the tactics of the

assault, and the strength in units and equipment, are all questions that have not yet been definitely settled. The most important of all these questions is that of increasing the strength of the initial assault wave in OVERLORD.6
In the next few months General Eisenhower and his staff were busily engaged in settling these questions and completing the myriad preparations necessary to carry out "the decisive act" of the war.7  Once General Eisenhower had been put in charge and the general directives for invading Europe had been issued, the burden of American staff work shifted from Washington to his headquarters in London. Relying heavily on Eisenhower's judgment, and on the "pick and shovel" work of his staff, the CCS made their decisions on the logistical, tactical, and organizational questions as they arose. Preparations for OVERLORD in the early months of 1944 illustrated clearly the large role in strategic and operational planning for coalition warfare that the overseas commander and the large theater headquarters had come to play.
In Washington, General Marshall and his planning assistants closely followed the course of the final preparations and planning for OVERLORD. As always, the Army planning staff's particular preoccupation was with anything affecting deployment of the U.S. Army in the worldwide conflict. OVERLORD, the great effort toward which they had so long been pointing, was to be the climax of the wearying months of planning, organizing, training, equipping, and husbanding the citizen Army. With the decision made and the operation entrusted to General Eisenhower, the Washington staff turned its attention to many related problems, ranging from logistical preparations to politico-military terms on which the war might be concluded. Through staff studies, visits to the theater, and conferences with General Eisenhower and his staff representatives in Washington and London, the Washington planners sought to anticipate his needs and support his undertaking. From his vantage point in the Washington headquarters, the Chief of Staff gave counsel and offered suggestions to General Eisenhower-sometimes on his own initiative, sometimes by invitation. As usual, he left final decisions to the commander's judgment.
One interesting example where Marshall took the initiative was in the use of airborne troops. He was much attracted by the bold and relatively new idea of employing airborne troops strategically to execute a vertical envelopment en masse far behind the battle

SUPREME COMMANDER, ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, and his principal subordinates, London, r February zg.l. Seated from left: Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur W. Tedder, General Eisenhower, General Sir Bernard L. Montgomery. Standing from left: Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey, Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, and Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith. Missing from the group is Lt. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz.
SUPREME COMMANDER, ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, and his principal subordinates, London, 1 February 1944. Seated from left: Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur W. Tedder, General Eisenhower, General Sir Bernard L. Montgomery. Standing from left: Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey, Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, and Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith. Missing from the group is Lt. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz.
lines. In early February he therefore submitted to General Eisenhower a proposal advanced by AAF headquarters to airdrop several divisions close to Paris before or on D Day and thereby upset German defensive plans. To present the specific plan he sent a small special mission composed of Brig. Gen. Frederick W. Evans, Commanding General, Troop Carrier Command, and Col. Bruce W. Bidwell, Operations Division airborne consultant. To Eisenhower he wrote in advance:
The trouble with this plan is that we have never done anything like this before, and frankly, that reaction makes me tired. Therefore I should like you to give these young men an opportunity to present the matter to you personally before your Staff tears it to ribbons. Please believe that, as usual, I do not want to embarrass you with undue pressure. I merely wish to be certain that you have viewed this possibility on a definite planning basis.8
Nevertheless, General Eisenhower and

his staff, fearing the immobility of the force in the airhead before the beachhead was secured and concerned with the need for immediate and close support of the beachhead landings, felt that the plan was not feasible, at least until after the beachhead was established.9  With some regret General Marshall bowed to the overseas commander's decision. In concluding the episode he wrote, characteristically:
I am sorry you do not see your way clear initially to commit the airborne effort en masse. I hope, however, that the visit of these two officers stimulated thought in the matter and served a useful purpose.10  
From the beginning, General Marshall sought to strengthen the Supreme Commander's position vis--vis his superiors and his subordinates.11  A confirmed believer in giving the responsible commander wide latitude, he also believed in giving him capable assistants. He was particularly concerned that General Eisenhower be given outstanding corps and division commanders and offered him his pick.12 To place the best available personnel in the proper slots for OVERLORD, a heavy transatlantic correspondence flowed between the Washington Army headquarters and London in the early months of 1944 When General Marshall felt it necessary, he would prod tile theater staff even as he would their Washington counterparts. Above all, General Marshall and his advisers remained on the lookout for anything that might jeopardize the agreed strategic pattern. OVERLORD was the key to victory in the global war, and it must not fail.
Windup of BOLERO
When General Eisenhower arrived in London in January 1944, the American build-up for OVERLORD was Well under way. Only five months remained before the troops would board the ships for the fateful venture across the Channel. Fortunately, the groundwork in assembling, organizing, training, equipping, and accommodating the forces for the great amphibious undertaking lead been well laid by Washington and London. On the basis of the 1942-43 experience with BOLERO, the pattern of Army staff action and even the basic machinery for getting the troops to the United Kingdom were already well established.13  Gone was the confusion and uncertainty that had plagued the efforts of the planners to carry out the original BOLERO plan. Now the cross-

Channel operation was a firm commitment and nothing was to be spared to ensure its success. As a result of previous measures taken and plans laid on both sides of the Atlantic, the Supreme Commander could feel reasonably assured that the required "cutting edge" in trained and equipped divisional strength would be available in time for the invasion.
The momentum of the build-up was greatly speeded in the early months of 1944. The period of January through May saw the consummation of the BOLERO movement begun by the War Department as far back as the spring of 1942. Following successive slowdowns and delays in favor of meeting the heavy requirements of the Mediterranean campaign and of the intensive build-up of air forces for the United Kingdom, the dispatch of U.S. combat divisions had been resumed in earnest in the fall of 1943. By January 1944, about half of the required U.S. combat divisions were already in the United Kingdom. The others were scheduled to arrive from the United States before D Day.14  Actually, the number of combat divisions grew from eleven on 1 January 1944 to twenty by 31 May 1944. In January the 4th Armored Division completed its overseas movement to the United Kingdom; in February, the 4th and 30th Infantry Divisions and the 5th and 6th Armored Divisions; in April, the 90th, 79th, and 83d Infantry Divisions; and in May the 35th Infantry Division.15  Keeping pace with the increase in divisions, the number of combat air groups in the European theater doubled in the first five months of 1944-from 511/4 to 102 groups. 16  In the same period the total strength of U.S. troops in the United Kingdom also doubled-rising by the end of May to over a million and one half men.17  From the fall of 1943 to D Day, the flow of U.S. combat divisions averaged about two a month. As in the past, many of the units were transported from the United States to the United Kingdom in the large, fast, converted passenger liners-Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. During this period an average of 150,000 men were transported each month. The fresh American units coming from the United States were well trained; those from the Mediterranean were battle tested.
At SEXTANT, on the basis of available ships and units, the CCS had accepted a troop ceiling in the United Kingdom for U.S. Army deployment of 1,476,300 by 31 May 1944, 18  The theater headquarters' requests for D Day requirements exceeded these figures. To meet them the War Department diverted 20,-

000 troops from other theaters and activated additional units totaling 30,000 troops. 19  
Equally impressive was the record of cargo shipments in the five months preceding D Day. More than six million measurement tons poured into British ports. The way was paved in December 1943 when the European theater gained top priority for all necessary items of equipment. England became a bulging storehouse.
The flow of troop and cargo shipments did not become a really serious problem until spring. Even then the question was not essentially one of the availability of ships, troops, or cargoes. Rather, a crisis arose over the growing strain put on the port and inland transportation facilities in the United Kingdom. The movement into the United Kingdom during May overlapped the beginning of out-loading of men and supplies for the cross-Channel operation. The limiting factor of port capacity-itself a product of labor shortages and availability of berths-fastened onto the entire build-up program. To meet the crisis, various adjustments and expedients were worked out by SHAEF and the British authorities. For its part, the War Department revised shipping schedules, ceilings, and priority lists. One direct effect of the crisis over port capacity was an agreement of the British authorities in late May to accept a temporary cut in the British import program.20  In spite of the serious strains and stresses on troop and cargo reception, the tremendous flow of supplies and troops to the United Kingdom was maintained in the final months preceding the invasion, though by 31 May there were still certain shortages in service troops, the shipment of some combat units had been deferred, and the problem of replacements had not yet been solved.21  But the SEXTANT schedule for D Day had been exceeded by 50,000, and over a million and one half American troops were in the United Kingdom poised for the attack. BOLERO was at last complete.
The 90-Division Gamble
The requirements in troops for OVERLORD accented certain Army-wide manpower pinches and made the planners take another serious look at the Army troop basis. During the SEXTANT Conference, the Joint Logistics Committee had estimated that there would be a serious shortage of service troops during 1944 for the war against Japan, and also a shortage of men for the B-29 program. The committee suggested that the Army troop basis be revised to anticipate these shortages and that the United States take a calculated risk and eliminate the fifteen infantry divisions that were to be set up in 1944. This would leave the Army with ninety divisions-forty-three for the war in Europe, seven for North Africa, twenty-two for the Pacific, and eighteen for the continental reserve. If necessary, service troops could be organized from

the eighteen reserve divisions.22
  A Strategy Section report in late December 1943 substantiated this estimate that ninety divisions would be enough to win the war, although it allocated fifty-eight divisions for Europe and North Africa, twenty-five for the Pacific, and kept only seven in reserve. The Strategy Section recognized the possibility that the Army might not be able to activate the additional fifteen divisions and remain within the 7,700,000-man ceiling adopted in November. The economy program had released some 212,000 men for reassignment during 1943, but Selective Service had fallen behind in its inductions, and the War Department was 200,000 men short of its 7,700,000 goal. On top of this, the rotation program approved in December would require 60,000 men during 1944, and the Air Forces had requested 130,000 men for its B-29 program. Even if Selective Service were to meet its quotas in 1944 and make up the 200,000-man deficit, there would be a cushion of only 22,000 men left over from the 212,000 recovered from the economy program. Besides, the Strategy Section concluded, there were no firm requirements for the fifteen additional infantry divisions .23
Activation of the fifteen divisions was deferred, but the continuing scarcity of service troops led Marshall to call a conference of theater G4's in Washington in late January to consider the problem. He wrote personally to several theater commanders requesting their aid in effecting any economies possible and recommended a number of expedients to relieve the deficiency in service troops.24
Estimates submitted by General Somervell in January anticipated a shortage of 40,000 service troops for ANVIL and 112,000 for Pacific operations, but no increase in the troop basis was made. The Army was trying desperately to stay within the 7,700,000 ceiling and to meet needs from within by rigid economy and adjustment.25  Discussing the whole Army personnel problem frankly with the JCS in early February, Marshall pointed out that the ground forces were short about 87,000-97,000 troops and were forced to take men from other divisions to fill up those going overseas. Economies had produced a saving of 100,000 men but the need for manpower for the B-29 program had eaten this up. Now there was a deficiency of 100,000 service troops for OVERLORD, ANVIL, and western Pacific operations, and a large number of tactical units was being used to help in the housekeeping of training establishments in the United States in order to release service forces for overseas duty. The need for service personnel often resulted in abbreviated training periods and less efficient troops. Marshall estimated that replacements and rotation fillers, added to induction shortages and ground force and service de-

ficiencies, made the present deficit between 350,000 and 400,000 men .26  
Marshall decided that the time had come for drastic action. The Army, he concluded, could not justify, in the face of such personnel shortages, the Army Specialized Training Program that had been set up to educate some of its more intelligent men in colleges. On 10 February, he cut back the program to 30,000 men, releasing 120,000 for distribution, mainly to ground and service forces. Later in the month he was able to secure Presidential pressure on the War Manpower Commission and the Selective Service to review occupational deferments and to provide the forces required by the armed services.27  By spring, most of the induction backlog had been made up.
Easing the manpower situation still left the question of whether there would be enough strategic reserve in the Army troop basis to insure the defeat of Germany once the troops were ashore in France. Of all the calculated risks taken by Marshall and his staff in preparing for invasion of the Continent, the greatest gamble was the decision to hold to the go-division troop basis. Even on the eve Of OVERLORD, there were some uneasy doubts about the gamble in high Washington military circles. On 10 May Secretary Stimson, long an advocate of a bold cross-Channel move, raised the issue with General Marshall. Stimson wrote
I have always felt that our contribution to the war should include so far as possible an overwhelming appearance of national strength when we actually get into the critical battle. By this I mean not merely strength on the battle front but in reserve. It has been our fate in the two world wars to come in as the final force after the other combatant nations had long been engaged. Our men have thus come to the field untested, even when well trained, to fight against veteran enemies. Such conditions make the appearance and possession of overwhelming strength on our part important both tactically and psychologically.28
Stimson feared this might not be the case on the Continent in 1944. Against the estimated fifty-six German divisions that were to defend France, the United States would have barely more than an equal number available for the offensive by the end of the summer. The average age of the men in the U.S. divisions was now rather high, and the Army would need a large number of replacements. Current Army calculations, both in the European theater and in the United States, seemed to Stimson "to shave the line of sufficiency rather narrowly instead of aiming at massive abundance." When all the OVERLORD divisions had left the United States, there would remain in the United States only fourteen uncommitted divisions. These would constitute practically the only reserve for operations in France. The British could offer no such reserve to assist the United States. As a result, the Germans would not get a picture of overwhelming strength opposing them. Furthermore, the estimated German reserve of eleven divisions was almost as large as the American reserve. The German Army

was better fed than in 1918, when German morale did not break. All of this led Stimson to fear that a stalemate might develop in November when climatic conditions on the Continent would reduce the power to maneuver. Even the advantageous factors of intensified air bombardment of Germany and the Soviet advance might not be enough to insure complete victory. The Russians, he observed, were still a long way from Germany. "Furthermore, the Russians are already reaching boundary lines where they conceivably might stop with their grand strategic objective of national defense satisfied by the eviction of the invader and the gaining back of all they had lost, plus the Baltic states." To forestall a stalemate, Stimson asked Marshall, should not new manpower legislation be sought from Congress before the elections in November? Should not new divisions be activated now by the War Department?
On 16 May, just three weeks before OVERLORD was launched, General Marshall replied. He agreed that everything possible must be done to prevent a stalemate from developing in the fall, but he disagreed with Stimson's analysis and conclusions. Marshall wrote Stimson, "We are about to invade the Continent and have staked our success on our air superiority, on Soviet numerical preponderance, and on the high quality of our ground combat units."29  Exploiting these advantages, Marshall hoped, would convince the Germans of the futility of fighting for a stalemate. He felt "the air arm should be our most effective weapon in bringing home to the German people and the German Army the futility of continued resistance." As a result of recent conversations between Harriman and Stalin, he also believed the Russians would not break off their current efforts until Germany was defeated. Emphasizing that the Army was relying on the qualitative rather than the quantitative superiority of its ground force units, he declared, "Our equipment, high standard of training, and freshness should give us a superiority which the enemy cannot meet and which we could not achieve by resorting to a matching of numerical strength." Marshall pointed also to the advantages of the replacement system designed to keep U.S. divisions in the line at full strength, the preponderance of artillery, and the employment of air superiority in close tactical support.
Even on a strictly numerical basis, Marshall thought that the U.S. divisions would eventually compare very favorably with the German forces. Shipping and other logistical factors would limit the build-up in Europe to about four divisions a month, but even at that rate, by April 1945 the fifty-nine divisions available to the United States could be utilized. Adding some twenty-one British divisions, and an additional ten to fifteen U.S. and French divisions that could be made available for employment in France if a defensive position were assured in Italy, the Western Powers would have some ninety-five divisions to employ against the estimated fifty-six German divisions. The most troublesome factor, he informed Stimson, would be the comparatively slow rate of American build-up-a direct product of purely logistical limitations. That factor, above all others, might result in slowing down Allied operations, since the Germans, if they felt free to transfer divisions from

other fronts, could deploy their forces more rapidly than the Americans could build up theirs.
If, however, all current plans failed and a stalemate did occur in November, then Marshall felt new major strategic decisions would be required. A few additional divisions would probably not be enough to break the impasse. If new divisions and supporting units were now created, furthermore, "emasculating drafts" on existing divisions would result and current plans for their deployment would be upset. Thus, he reasoned, no far-reaching changes should be made in the Army troop basis until the outcome of the initial stages of the invasion were clear. "Considering the matter from all angles and with the realization of the hazards involved," Marshall concluded, "I believe that at the present time no increase should be made in the over-all strength of the Army, except as may prove to be necessary to provide replacements." Beyond "prudent" advance staff planning for increasing the troop basis, which he had ordered the War Department General Staff to undertake, Marshall was willing to stand pat. Clearly, he looked upon the Allied divisions in the Mediterranean as part of the strategic reserve for the invasion of the Continent. As the debate over ANVIL would show, he was anxious to make what he regarded- the surplus U.S. and French divisions in Italy available to support the main effort in France, just as he had earlier been to extract the seven British and U.S. divisions from the Mediterranean for OVERLORD.30  
Behind the calmly reasoned and formal language of Marshall's reply to Stimson lay one of the boldest calculations of the war.31  How great a calculated risk was being taken was further emphasized by the concomitant willingness of General Marshall and his staff to allocate military manpower for the B-29 program against Japan, instead of investing in more divisions. Only the future would disclose whether the bold calculation would be vindicated by the still largely untested divisions of the U.S. Army, a product of his own faith and struggles.
OVERLORD Planning and Mediterranean Options
The problem of strengthening the initial assault was less easily resolved than that of assembling trained and equipped troops for OVERLORD. When General Eisenhower took up his duties in London, the formal plan for invasion was still the outline presented by COSSAC in July 1943. That plan had been developed on the basis of definite limits in the numbers of landing craft, ships, and other resources prescribed in CCS instructions. In line with the instructions, COSSAC had planned an assault by three divisions, with two additional divisions as an immediate follow-up. GOSSAC proposed to land the three divisions on the coast between Caen and Carentan, though a particularly vexing problem was the fact that good-sized harbors were lacking in this stretch of the coast. General Eisenhower, General Montgomery, and General Bedell Smith, soon after their arrival in London, took up the cudgels for a revised plan of assault-one that would provide for a

stronger attack on a broader front and thereby speed the capture of the port of Cherbourg and facilitate the breakout from the initial bridgehead. Consequently, they insisted on a first assault by five divisions instead of three.32
The size and scope of any landing on the Normandy beaches, however, were limited by that ever-precious commodity, landing craft. Where could extra landing craft be found? The United States was committed to amphibious actions in the Pacific, and the necessary additional landing craft could not easily be diverted in time from that theater. Southeast Asia was already being stripped of its landing craft. The most likely source, therefore, was the Mediterranean, but the approximately two-division lift available there was required for ANVIL, the projected complementary attack against southern France that was to coincide with OVERLORD. If the Mediterranean landing craft were allocated to the OVERLORD operation, ANVIL would have to be canceled. The search for landing craft was on again in Washington and London. This time the increased demands for OVERLORD came into competition with the needs for the Mediterranean operations. Directly involved were the date of OVERLORD and the fate of ANVIL.
Debate Over OVERLORD, ANVIL, and the Italian Campaign
The ensuing Anglo-American debate in the early months of 1944 developed first as between OVERLORD and ANVIL, and then as between ANVIL and the Italian campaign. To obtain the additional lift for the OVERLORD assault, Generals Montgomery and Bedell Smith early in January recommended the abandonment of ANVIL except as a threat. On 17 January General Eisenhower reported to General Marshall:
In order to assure themselves of what is deemed the necessary strength, most people here, including Montgomery, Smith and a number of others, have definitely recommended a serious reduction in ANVIL. This seems to me to be justified only as a last resort. I clearly appreciate-in fact much more than do these people-that the coming venture is the decisive act of the war from the viewpoint of the British-American effort. I know that this attack must succeed. However, I think the question to be weighed is that of increasing our insurance in obtaining the first-foothold on the beaches against the advantages that would accrue from a really successful ANVIL,33  
Two other considerations seemed important to Eisenhower. In the first place, the British and Americans at Tehran had definitely promised the Russians that ANVIL would take place. Secondly, the Americans had put a considerable investment into the French Army. If the southern France operation were not launched, a great number of U.S. and French forces would be locked in the Mediterranean and wasted. Eisenhower was determined, he informed Marshall, to explore every avenue for increasing the initial weight Of OVERLORD before he would recommend any substantial weakening of ANVIL. General Marshall and his advisers shared these views. To them OVERLORD and ANVIL were essential parts of the same undertaking, and they

could not blithely accept cancellation of the one, much as they wished to strengthen the other.
Through January the planning staffs on both sides of the Atlantic studied the implications and costs of expanding the OVERLORD assault and sought ways out of the dilemma. In addition to an increased number of landing craft, more transport aircraft and additional fighter plane squadrons would be needed. Adjustments in air requirements did not appear to be nearly so critical.34   On one expedient to secure extra landing craft British and American staffs could agree. If the target date for OVERLORD were postponed from 1 May to 31 May, an extra month's production would become available. The disadvantage of losing a month of good campaigning weather for ground forces in the west would be balanced by the improved prospect of favorable weather on the Soviet front and the additional time allowed for preparatory attacks of the Allied air forces over Europe. With Eisenhower and the British Chiefs of Staff willing, the JCS on 31 January agreed to the postponement.
The problem of ANVIL still remained and, in fact, became even more complicated. By the beginning of February, British opposition to ANVIL hardened. A new factor entered the debate. The British were now as much concerned over the additional needs for the war in Italy as they were over those for the OVERLORD assault. They were convinced that the badly stalled Italian campaign must be started up again in earnest. Once again the familiar specter of the draining powers of secondary operations rose to plague the Washington staff. They must watch the allocations-especially of scarce resources-carefully. But Churchill, who firmly believed that a vigorous campaign in Italy in the first half of 1944 could offer the greatest assistance to the cross-Channel operation, felt some flexibility was justified in order to utilize every scrap of fighting strength fully. He later wrote, "Here the American clear-cut, logical, large-scale mass-production style of thought was formidable."35  
Washington and London were both concerned by the stalemate in Italy. By the close of December 1943, the Allied campaign had bogged down just above the Volturno and Sangro Rivers in the face of rugged terrain, miserable weather, and resourceful German resistance. Following General Sir Henry M. Wilson's appointment as Allied Commander in Chief, Mediterranean, the CCS, at Marshall's behest, on 7 January 1944 passed the executive direction of the Mediterranean to the British.36  To serve as Wilson's deputy, General Devers, whom Eisenhower replaced as the commanding general of the European theater, was transferred from the United Kingdom. In addition, General

Devers succeeded Eisenhower as commander of the U.S. troops in the Mediterranean theater. Also, General Eaker was sent from the United Kingdom to relieve Air Chief Marshal Tedder as Allied Air Commander in the Mediterranean.37  Ensuing changes in command assignments between the ETO and NATO and reorganized boundaries and administrative adjustments between NATO and USAFIME (General Royce commanding), put into effect by the War Department in early 1944, were of a piece with the Army's efforts to emphasize and strengthen the supporting role of Mediterranean operations.38  
At the same time, the new Allied setup in the Mediterranean permitted Churchill to exercise a freer hand and play a more direct role in determining the conduct of tile Italian campaign. He was determined to break the stalemate. At a meeting with the Allied commanders at Carthage on 26 December 1943 he lead reached the decision to launch Operation SHINGLE (amphibious operation at Anzio).39  This decision he had confirmed in similar consultations at Marrakech on 7 and 8 January 1944.40  SHINGLE was designed as an end run around tile right flank of the German Winter and Gustav Lines. The hope was that the Germans facing the Allied Fifth Army at the Gustav Line would be forced to fall back and leave tile road to Rome open.
To carry out SHINGLE the President and the Joint Chiefs agreed-much to Churchill's delight-to a temporary delay in the departure of fifty-six LST's scheduled for OVERLORD, on the condition that OVERLORD not be delayed. To compensate for the probable effects on OVERLORD preparations, the President insisted, however, that the other twelve LST's for OVERLORD depart from the Mediterranean as scheduled, and that the fifteen "ex-Andamans" LST's arriving in the Mediterranean on 14 January proceed directly to the United King-

dom.41  General Marshall agreed to permit the 504th U.S. Parachute Regimental Combat Team, scheduled to depart for OVERLORD, to remain in the Mediterranean for Anzio.42  He also authorized a delay in the transfer of one medium bombardment group, two fighter groups, and two service groups until ten days after the SHINGLE D Day.43  On 22 January the U.S. VI Corps landed successfully at Anzio, but the Germans contained the Fifth Army at the Gustav Line and the beachhead at Anzio, thereby preventing the link-up and a subsequent drive on Rome. Churchill summed up the net result neatly: "I had hoped that we were hurling a wildcat on the shore, but all we got was a stranded whale. 44  By early February the British had concluded that the Germans intended to fight it out in central Italy; that some of the troops earmarked for ANVIL and a one-divisional lift for end runs should be set aside for General Alexander, who was in charge of the ground forces in Italy; and that the Allies must prosecute the Italian campaign vigorously.45
General Marshall and his planning assistants were not opposed to the prosecution of the Italian campaign, at least as far as Rome or slightly north thereof, but they dial believe that planning and preparations must be continued for ANVIL. If by April the Allies had still not established themselves north of Rome, then ANVIL would of necessity have to be abandoned since a considerable number of troops and at least a one-divisional lift would then be needed for continuing the fight in Italy. If, on the other hand, ANVIL were immediately called off, then there would be no chance of launching it in the spring even if conditions were favorable.46  
In the midst of the growing divergence of views between the War Department and the British, Eisenhower occupied a middle ground. His position was a difficult one. He agreed with the War Department's estimate of the significance of ANVIL, but he was charged with the success of OVERLORD and from his point of view the planning hazards began to make ANVIL appear less feasible. Throughout the debate, Eisenhower welcomed the Chief of Staff's personal views, stating at one point ". . . I feel that as long as you and I are in complete coordination as to purpose that you in Washington and I here can do a great deal to-

ward achieving the best overall results. 47  
The Chief of Staff, who considered the ANVIL issue an important one, did not hesitate to let his views be known. To find the Americans at this late date arguing strongly for a Mediterranean operation vis--vis the British could not help but strike him as a curious turnabout. On 7 February he wrote to General Eisenhower:
Judging from the discussions and differences of opinion at the present time the British and American Chiefs of Staff seem to have completely reversed themselves and we have become Mediterraneanites and they heavily pro-OVERLORD.48  
Marshall quickly went on to add: "OVERLORD of course is paramount and it must be launched on a reasonably secure basis of which you are the best judge." As always, the landing craft problem was making Anglo-American agreement on operations difficult. "Our difficulties in reaching a decision have been complicated by a battle of numbers, that is, a failure to reach a common ground as to what would be the actual facilities." British and American planners in Washington had just agreed that there was sufficient lift to stage a seven division OVERLORD (five divisions in the assault, two in the follow-up) and at the same time a two-division ANVIL on the basis of the 31 May target date. British planners in London, or Montgomery-Marshall said that he did not know which-apparently would not agree with these figures. Marshall asked Eisenhower whether he personally felt that, of the number of landing craft thought to be available, OVERLORD would take so many that only a one-division lift would be left for ANVIL. If Eisenhower considered this to be the case, ANVIL just would have to suffer.
Between operations in Italy north of Rome and the ANVIL operation, Marshall raised other points for Eisenhower's consideration. If ANVIL were abandoned, there would be eight or nine less divisions heavily engaged with the enemy. Could Eisenhower afford to lose this pressure, especially in view of a possible French uprising against the Germans in southern Frances Eisenhower should count up all the divisions that would be in the Mediterranean, consider the heavy requirements in Italy in view of the mountain masses north of Rome, and then weigh what bearing a considerable number of divisions engaged or advancing in southern France would have on OVERLORD. In concluding his statement of 7 February, Marshall sympathetically but pointedly advised Eisenhower: "I -will use my influence here to agree with your desires. I merely wish to be certain that localitis is not developing and that the pressures on you have not warped your judgment.49
On the staff level, the same cautionary note was sounded by General Handy speaking via transatlantic phone the same day (7 February) to Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith. Summarizing the gist of Marshall's misgivings over the growing coolness toward ANVIL in the theater, he added: "He {Marshall} wants to know how much of this business is Montgomery and how much is Eisenhower.50

Apparently stung by the Chief of Staff's reference to "localitis," General Eisenhower responded quickly. Step by step he traced the evolution of his stand on OVERLORD and ANVIL. Even before his arrival in London in January, he said, he had become convinced of the need to strengthen the OVERLORD assault. Since his arrival he had been trying in every way to preserve ANVIL while at the same time trying to find the necessary strength for OVERLORD. He had resisted recommendations to abandon ANVIL. Only as a last resort would he do that. Between ANVIL and the continuation of the campaign in Italy he agreed with Marshall that ANVIL would be the more desirable of the supporting operations in the Mediterranean. But he also agreed that if the Allies could not soon achieve their aims in Italy, they would be committed to that campaign with nothing to spare for ANVIL. In any event, time was running out, and the Allies would soon have to make their decision. He assured Marshall that he had formed his own conclusions on these matters. To set Marshall's mind completely at rest, he declared:
In the various campaigns of this War, I have occasionally had to modify slightly my own conceptions of campaign in order to achieve a unity of purpose and effort. I think this is inescapable in Allied operations but I assure you that I have never yet failed to give you my own clear personal convictions about every project and plan in prospect. So far as I am aware, no one here has tried to urge me to present any particular view, nor do I believe that I am particularly affected by localitis. I merely recognize that OVERLORD, which has been supported earnestly for more than two years by the US Chiefs of Staff, represents for the United States and the United Kingdom a crisis in the European War. Real success should do much to hasten the end of this conflict but a reverse will have opposite repercussions from which we would recover with the utmost difficulty.51
Eisenhower's reply cleared the atmosphere considerably and reassured Marshall. If there were enough landing craft for a five-division lift and a two-division follow-up for OVERLORD, and also for a two-division lift for ANVIL, Eisenhower was in favor of ANVIL. But his response still left up in the air the question of the sufficiency of landing craft. At this time the "battle of numbers" between Washington and London planners entered a new stage. A mutual understanding appeared to have been reached as to the number of landing craft available for OVERLORD arid ANVIL. The issue had boiled down to a technical question of loading capacities for personnel and vehicles for OVERLORD. Involved was a difference of about 14,000 troops out of a total number of approximately 176,000 desired for assault and immediate follow-up for the cross-Channel attack. There was also a difference concerning 1,000 vehicles out of a total of about 20,000.52
London Landing Craft Conference. Now that Eisenhower was fully aware of the Washington staff's views, Marshall felt that the JCS should follow the wishes of the overseas commander. In order to settle the whole issue, Marshall

therefore proposed that the JCS delegate its authority to General Eisenhower and that a conference be held between him and the British Chiefs of Staff. To advise General Eisenhower, he further proposed that Maj. Gen. John E. Hull of the Operations Division and a naval officer familiar with all aspects of the landing craft problem be sent to London. General Marshall's proposals were promptly adopted by Washington and London.53
General Hull, Admiral Cooke, and two colonels from the War Department's planning staff, George A. Lincoln and Alexander D. Reid, hurriedly departed for London. Arriving in the United Kingdom on 12 February, they began on the following day a week-long series of conferences at SHAEF in Norfolk House. There, the officers brought by General Hull and Admiral Cooke became involved, as Colonel Lincoln wrote back to Washington, in detailed planning and analysis, though their original conception had been that they were "merely leg-men carrying information."54 Discussions and debates over such technical factors as capability lift and operational availability (serviceability) rates of the various types of landing craft occupied much of the attention of the American party.55 As might be expected, the Americans were interested in exploring every expedient offering support for the feasibility of ANVIL. As negotiations progressed, the Americans formed certain impressions about the British attitude toward OVERLORD-ANVIL. On 15 February General Hull wrote to General Handy that the British planners thought very strongly "that OVERLORD is not only the main show but . . . the only one which would pay us dividends." They saw, Hull believed, "no relationship between OVERLORD and ANVIL." As far as the British were concerned, "ANVIL might be an operation in the Marshalls."56 On the following day Colonel Lincoln confirmed this impression in a memorandum for General Roberts. "As we thought," he observed, "the local people, except the Supreme Commander, are not impressed with the value of ANVIL."57
While the planning and landing craft experts were calculating and recalculating availabilities and loading lift for

ANVIL and OVERLORD, General Eisenhower, as representative for the JCS, and the British Chiefs were trying to arrive at a final decision on ANVIL. General Hull put forward the War Department contention that planning for ANVIL should be continued until early spring at least and then, if necessary, the operation might be called off General Eisenhower took the same flexible stand-planning for ANVIL should be continued until it was obvious that the operation would have to be abandoned. To meet OVERLORD requirements for a strengthened assault and still retain sufficient craft for a two-division lift for ANVIL, General Eisenhower on 19 February recommended a shipping compromise whereby six U.S. AKA's would be reallocated from OVERLORD t0 ANVIL, and twenty British LST's and twenty-one British LCI (L)'s would be reallocated from ANVIL to OVERLORD. This would still leave a shortage of fifteen LST's for OVERLORD. Seven of these, he proposed, would be made up from U.S. production and the remainder by increasing the load of LST's and the utilization of LCT's.58
By this time the British Chiefs felt ANVIL should be immediately and completely canceled. To them the proposed shipping allocations would skimp both OVERLORD and ANVIL. Moreover, they contended, there was another and more important -threat to be considered. The Italian campaign was not developing as expected, and the slow progress and heavy demands of that struggle made the prospect of ANVIL more remote than ever. As they saw it, Hitler had decided to fight it out south of Rome. The opportunity thereby offered to bleed the German divisions would be in the best interests of the Allies. The requirements of the campaign in Italy should therefore be given priority above all others in the Mediterranean.59 On 21 February Montgomery wrote General Eisenhower, "I recommend very strongly that we now throe the whole weight of our opinion onto the scales against ANVIL. Let us have two really good major campaigns-one in Italy and one in OVERLORD."60
In Washington U.S. staff concern over the British attitude toward ANVIL led to a swift reaction. The JCS asked for a conference with the President to discuss the subject. At the special meeting held on the 2lst the President and JCS agreed that ANVIL should not be canceled. The President was particularly concerned about the Soviet reaction. He doubted that the Russians would favor cancellation and felt that the question should not even be taken up with the Russians at this time. He directed Eisenhower to call the attention of the British to the fact that, aside from military considerations, the Americans and the British were committed to the Russians and that no move should be made to abandon ANVIL without first taking the matter up with them."61 Eisenhower, fortified in his compromise stand by the support of the JCS and the President, refused to

go along with Montgomery's recommendation.62
On 24 February a compromise was agreed upon by Eisenhower and the British Chiefs of Staff whereby ANVIL was kept alive. The campaign in Italy was to have overriding priority over all other operations in the Mediterranean, current and prospective. Subject to that priority, the Allied commander in chief in the Mediterranean would prepare alternative plans to support OVERLORD. Of these, the first alternative would be ANVIL on approximately the date and scale originally planned (a two-division assault, to be launched simultaneously with OVERLORD. The reallocations of assault shipping and landing craft between OVERLORD arid ANVIL proposed by General Eisenhower on 19 February would be put into effect and the craft were to sail in April. However, the compromise would be reviewed on 20 March in the light of the situation in Italy. If at that time it was decided that ANVIL was impracticable, the lift over and above that for one division would be withdrawn from the Mediterranean for OVERLORD. The President, the Prime Minister, and the CCS accepted this arrangement.63
Cancellation of a Simultaneous ANVIL. The compromise of late February did not settle the problem. The debate went on. General Eisenhower became more and more uneasy over permitting planning for the OVERLORD assault to remain unsettled because of uncertainty about the available landing craft. In the Mediterranean Generals Wilson and Alexander, concerned over the situation at Anzio, wanted the proposed transfers of LST's from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom delayed-a suggestion that appealed to the British Chiefs of Staff as strongly as it was resisted by the U.S. Chiefs.64 In the War Department the search for more lift for OVERLORD and ANVIL continued.
Inevitably, the spotlight shifted to Pacific allocations. In mid-March, General Somervell raised the issue. Observing that the approved deployment of assault lift and landing craft for the spring of 1944 gave the lion's share to operations in the Pacific, commonly regarded as the secondary effort, he asked whether the main effort in Europe might not be reinforced at the expense of the Pacific. General Handy's swift reply was in the negative. General Eisenhower had been given everything in the way of lift that he had requested except a small percentage of LST's and LCI (L)'s. The critical type of assault shipping for both OVERLORD arid ANVIL was the LST. The Navy had stated that it had made every effort to get LST's to OVERLORD. It had sent none to the Pacific for several months and was taking so many of them from its training establishments that during a part of April none would be left to train new crews. Everything that could be gotten out of new production was going to Europe and craft could not be shifted from the

Pacific in time, even if it were so agreed.65
How heavily the strains and stresses of uncertainty were weighing on the SHAEF planning staff was reflected in a conversation between General Bedell Smith in London and Generals Handy and Hull in Washington on 17 March 1944:
Handy: Our thought is this-I am only giving yon mine and Ed Hull's --we better hang on to that [ANVIL] as long as we can. I am afraid you are the people who are going to regret more than anybody else cancelling it in the long run.
Smith: I thoroughly agree with you. But you can't imagine the difficulties here in planning. It is enough to drive you mad with this uncertainty and these changes. When you have to sit down and figure the balance of divisions, the loading table and everything of that sort and you don't know what kind of craft you are going to load them in or whether you are going to have as many as you think you are going to have, it is enough to drive a man insane.66
What made it worse, Smith went on to say, was that, "in order to keep ANVIL alive," SHAEF had gone fifteen to seventeen LST's short of its minimum requirements. As he put it, the SHAEF planning estimate was the "very lowest, skimpiest, measliest figure that we can possibly calculate to get by on in the assumption there would be a strong landing in the Mediterranean. Any time anybody will guarantee us there will be a strong landing in the Mediterranean we will stick by that measly figure, but time is getting short."67
Nobody in Washington or London could give that guarantee. Despite the vigorous and costly Allied attacks on the main front at Cassino in February and mid-March, the situation in Italy did not improve. The stalemate continued. There was still a gap between the bridgehead and the main battle line, and it became increasingly clear that the Allies could not soon start their drive on Rome. Between the demands of OVERLORD and the Italian campaign, ANVIL was being crushed.
When the time set for reviewing the Mediterranean situation came, General Wilson and the British Chiefs insisted that a simultaneous ANVIL be abandoned. It would be impossible, they argued, to withdraw troops from the battle line in Italy or landing craft from the Anzio beachhead in time. General Wilson could not promise a junction of the bridgehead and the main line before 15 May at the earliest. Generals Wilson and Eisenhower were now in agreement that the landing craft in the Mediterranean should be reduced to a one-division lift. On 21 March General Eisenhower also concluded that ANVIL as an operation to be carried out simultaneously with OVERLORD must be canceled. Their recommendations were adopted, and the landing craft in question were ordered to be reallocated to the United Kingdom from the Mediterranean.68

Planning for an expanded OVERLORD assault could go forward, but even so landing craft for the operation had been so closely figured that there would be few to spare.69
The move to strengthen the OVERLORD assault made a tight situation tighter. Direct repercussions resulted in planning for the Mediterranean, the by-now accepted secondary theater in the European war. Intensifying the competition for the precious lift between supporting undertakings for OVERLORD, it compelled the U.S. and British staffs to make choices between them. ANVIL had been pinched out-temporarily at least---by the demands of the now higher priority Italian campaign and the top-priority cross-Channel assault.
In other ways, cancellation of a simultaneous ANVIL offered a welcome relief to the two theaters. Aside from assault shipping, it removed the competition between the Mediterranean operations for cargo shipping, combat aircraft, and U.S. assault divisions. Ground troops on both of the Italian fronts were battle-weary, and units earmarked for ANVIL especially the 3d and 45th Divisions were needed at Anzio. To have opened a new front in the Mediterranean before the Italian land battle was decided, the Washington planners realized, would have been difficult, if not impossible. Postponement of ANVIL also permitted adjustments and transfers of combat fighter aircraft and earmarked personnel between the European and the Mediterranean theaters to go forward .70
Nevertheless, certain pinches-particularly in service troops and replacements -continued in the Mediterranean. The effect of an expanded OVERLORD simply highlighted world-wide shortages. The War Department had early warned General Devers, as it had General Eisenhower, of the need to conserve manpower. To meet, in part, the critical shortage in service personnel, it lead approved a plan to ship the 2d Cavalry Division and other combat units to the Mediterranean and reorganize them into service units. Arriving at Oran, North Africa, on 9 March 1944, the 2d Cavalry Division was inactivated on to May.71 To help solve his overhead and service problems as the Allies prepared to carry the attack northward, General Devers had already begun to close down Army supply and administrative installations in North Africa. As Devers expressed

 it, "we are trying in every way to roll up our tail as soon as possible." 72
By 31 May, despite the stringencies and uncertainties in Mediterranean plans, the War Department had sent the U.S. divisional strength from its carefully hoarded pool to the Mediterranean as planned. By that date eight U.S. divisions were in the Mediterranean theater -six, the 3d, 34th, 36th, 45th, and 88th Infantry Divisions and the 1st Armored Division, were in the theater by the end of 1943; the 85th Infantry Division completed its transfer by 9 January, and the gist arrived between 18 April and 10 May.
ANVIL Postponed Indefinitely. The decision in late March to forego a simultaneous ANVIL by no means ended the debate over ANVIL versus the Italian campaign. The U.S. and the British Chiefs remained in agreement that the Anzio bridgehead must be joined with the main battle line in Italy. Prolonging the stalemate threatened not only to jeopardize the safety of the forces on the beachhead but also to upset the timetable for OVERLORD. The deadlock must be broken. What the major course of action should be in the Mediterranean once the bridgehead was linked to the Fifth Army front remained a question. Fruitless discussion continued in late March. Old differences between the two staffs were reargued. They now boiled down to a matter of options. Once the deadlock was broken, the British wanted to continue the Italian campaign, the Americans to launch ANVIL. The British argued that when an all-out offensive was launched in Italy it should continue until June, and then a final decision could be made on ANVIL in the light of the situation on the Italian and Normandy fronts. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff insisted that once the two Italian fronts were joined, nothing should interfere with ANVIL. If the British would agree to making plans and preparations for a 10 July two-division ANVIL, the Americans were even willing at one point to divert to the Mediterranean landing craft due to leave for the Pacific in late May and June. But as Marshall put it to Eisenhower, "We will not make this diversion which means a serious delay in the Pacific with the possibility of losing our momentum unless some sizable operation of the nature of ANVIL is on the books." 73 Landing craft would be diverted to the Mediterranean only for ANVIL. In the opinion of the JCS, the proposed 10 July ANVIL should even take precedence over getting to Rome, an objective to which the British attached great importance.74
The offer to divert landing craft from the Pacific was turned down with regret. The British, who would have been quite happy to receive this windfall for increasing the general reserve in the Mediterranean, were not willing to accept it for a definitely scheduled ANVIL. To explain to the British staff the pointed American stand for a guaranteed quid pro quo, Dill reminded the British Chiefs of the strong pressures in the United States for greater action in the Pacific. The U.S. Chiefs had been, he indicated, "shocked and pained to find out . . . how gaily we proposed to accept

their legacy while disregarding the terms of the will." How magnanimous an offer the Americans felt they were making could be understood "in view of the fact that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff are continually being abused for neglecting their theater. " 75
Back of the continued American pressure to keep ANVIL alive lay the familiar staff desire to end the war against Germany quickly, decisively, and with the fewest political embroilments. As General Roberts summed it up:
If we cancel ANVIL completely, the following will be true:
a. We get into political difficulties with the French.
b. OVERLORD will lose at least ten fighting divisions.
c. Our service forces continue to support the western Mediterranean.
d. Our divisions and the French divisions will be committed to a costly, unremunerative, inching advance in Italy. The people of both the United States and France may or may not take this indefinitely.
e. Once committed to Italy, we have our forces pointed towards Southeastern Europe and will have the greatest difficulty in preventing their use for occupation forces in Austria, Hungary and southern Germany.76
As always, the fear of finding a sizable number of Allied combat divisions contained in the Mediterranean, instead of supporting the major offensive aimed at the heart of Germany, was haunting the Army Staff. To General Roberts, the "least worst" course was to transfer some craft back to the United Kingdom and pull off an ANVIL as soon as possible.
The issue was dragging on and a decision had to be reached. The British could not agree that preparations for an ANVIL should have priority over continuation of the battle in Italy once the bridgehead had been linked up with the main battle line.77 In early April Churchill joined actively in the debate, urging that the choice be deferred. The option between Italy and ANVIL would not exist, he stated, unless the landing craft scheduled for the Pacific were diverted to the Mediterranean.78 Marshall countered that if any option were to exist, preparations for ANVIL would have to be started at once. Without a guarantee of a definite ANVIL, the United States would not feel justified in sacrificing the momentum that had been attained in the Pacific and was so important to shortening the war against Japan.79 To Marshall, Churchill further explained:
It is of course very painful for us to forego the invaluable addition to our landing craft in the Mediterranean which you so kindly offered under certain conditions and had no doubt great trouble to obtain. What I cannot bear is to agree beforehand to starve a battle or have to break it off just at the moment when success, after long efforts and heavy losses, may be in view.
He went on to say:
Dill tells me you had expected me to support ANVIL more vigorously in view of

my enthusiasm for it when it was first proposed by you at Tehran. Please do me the Justice to remember that the situation is vastly changed. In November we hoped to take Rome in January and there were many signs that the enemy was ready to move Northwards up the Italian peninsula. Instead of this, in spite of our great amphibious expedition . . . the enemy has brought down to the battle South of Rome the 8 mobile divisions we should have hoped a full scale ANVIL would have contained .. . . . The whole of this difficult question only arises out of the absurd shortage of LST's. How it is that the plans of two great Empires like Britain and the United States should be so much hamstrung and limited by a hundred, or two of these particular vessels will never be understood by history.80
As a way out of the impasse, the British Chiefs proposed a compromise directive for General Wilson; the U.S. Chiefs on 18 April agreed to go along with it in order to forward operations in the Mediterranean without further delay.81 Neither the target date for ANVIL nor additional landing craft for the Mediterranean were mentioned. Allied resources and strength in the Mediterranean were to be deployed in an all-out offensive in Italy that was to have first priority. Within these terms, plans and preparations for ANVIL or to exploit further the campaign in Italy might go forward. OVERLORD would have to make its own way. ANVIL was deferred indefinitely.
On 12 May a full-scale ground offensive (Operation DIADEM was launched by the Allied command in Italy. The bridgehead and the main battle line were soon linked up and the deadlock in Italy was broken. On 4 June, two days before OVERLORD was launched, the Allies finally captured Rome.
Decline of the Turkey and Aegean Projects
The decision in favor of the Italian campaign did not mean that the U.S. staff had lost out completely and irrevocably to the British over Mediterranean policy. However chagrined the Americans were by the deferment of ANVIL, the same pressures of time and conflicting demands generated by OVERLORD also operated against Churchill's lingering hopes for Turkey and the Aegean. At the end of December 1941 he had observed to the British Chiefs of Staff: "I recognize that if the Turks will not play, we may have to sacrifice the Aegean policy, especially if it is marked up so high and so slow."82 The price that would interest the Turks in playing remained high. British negotiations with Turkish leaders bore no fruit, and by the end of January 1944 the forces and resources earmarked to support Turkey's entry into the war were interfering with the build-up for the approved operations against Germany. General Wilson urged delay in Turkey's entry, and the American staff, concerned lest the United States would have to commit forces and resources to the eastern Mediterranean, recommended suspension of plans to use Turkey as a base of operations. The British abandoned their negotiations and agreed to cancel

arrangements to operate from Turkey and to release the forces and the equipment.83 Churchill reluctantly became resigned to Turkish neutrality.
At the same time, any hope that he might have had for a more active Allied Balkan policy could not have been encouraged by the American coolness toward his suggestion for a joint expedition into Yugoslavia. At the meeting on 21 February with the JCS, the President informed them that he had refused to consider Churchill's proposal for an expedition composed of British troops under an American commanding general. The President would not even consider a "token" U.S. force for such a project. In agreeing with the President's stand, General Marshall stated emphatically "that would be very bad indeed and would probably be bound to result in a new war.84
Undoubtedly these blows to Churchill's Mediterranean policy made him look more eagerly than ever toward a concentrated attack in Italy and the capture of Rome. This was one way-perhaps the only remaining way-of keeping alive his hopes for a more active course in the Mediterranean. Whether the new turn in that policy would result, as Army planners feared, in eventually pointing U.S. forces toward southeastern Europe, and in the permanent abandonment of ANVIL, only the future would disclose.
Despite his previous misgivings about OVERLORD, and whatever last card the Prime Minister might yet choose to play in the Mediterranean, encouraging reports of the Prime Minister's attitude toward the cross-Channel undertaking filtered back to Washington. In March he wrote to General Marshall: "I am hardening very much on this operation as the time approaches in the sense of wishing to strike if humanly possible even if the limiting conditions we laid down at Moscow are not exactly fulfilled." 85 War Department officials visiting the Prime Minister in London sent back to Washington equally heartening news. In April John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, recorded that the Prime Minister told General McNarney and himself that he had opposed the operation during the past two years but now was for it.
I asked him how he really felt about it now and he said that if he had been responsible for the planning, he would have done it on a broader front and he would have liked to have had Turkey on our side and the Danube under threat as well as Norway cleaned up before we undertook this, but he was satisfied and all would find him completely committed with all his energy and all his spirit to the battle.86
A similar report was forwarded by General Wedemeyer:
Both Eden and the P.M. [Prime Minister] reflect confidence relative to OVERLORD. The P.M. did state that if he had been able to persuade the Chiefs of Staff, the Allies

would have gone through Turkey and the Balkans from the south and into Norway on the north, thus surrounding the enemy and further dispersing his forces. He added, however, that the die is cast and that we must carry OVERLORD through vigorously to a successful conclusion.87
OVERLORD and the Unconditional Surrender Formula
Meanwhile, the desire to ensure the success of OVERLORD led the U.S. and British staffs to explore other than military ways of weakening the Germans' resistance and hastening their surrender. By the beginning of 1944 Allied planners had virtually given up the hope, embodied in the RANKIN plans, that Germany might surrender before OVERLORD D Day. They were hopeful, however, that a proper approach to the Germans, in conjunction with OVERLORD, might bring the war to a quick end.88 Inevitably, they considered the practicability of the unconditional surrender formula -the announced war aim of the Allies-as a propaganda weapon.
During the year that had passed since President Roosevelt had announced the unconditional surrender formula at Casablanca, the intention of the Western Allies to fight on until the Axis Powers surrendered unconditionally had been reiterated at each succeeding conference. The Army planners had accepted without question the presidential dictum as a basic concept in their strategic planning. To the military, unconditional surrender provided a clear-cut objective-the decisive defeat, of the enemy-completely divorced from the problems of negotiated settlements or military stalemates. As long as political objectives and military considerations seemed compatible, unconditional surrender appeared a tenable concept.
The President's position had been fairly consistent since his Casablanca pronouncement. During the discussions between the United States and Great Britain on the Italian surrender, he had informed Churchill, "My thought is that we should come as close as possible to unconditional surrender followed by good treatment of the Italian people."89 This strong adherence to the principle while admitting some flexibility in its application was typical of his approach to the problem. It is true that on the part of the military there had been some apprehension that the logic of applying the formula vigorously to Italy might mean, in effect, that General Eisenhower, the military commander, would have to take over the government of Italy. But there seems to be little doubt that during the Italian surrender negotiations the Army planners had been content to follow the President's lead without dissent.
The surrender of Italy in September 1943 had given the formula its first trial as a practicable basis for ending a war, but because of the peculiar conditions prevailing in Italy the results had been inconclusive. The Germans were still in control of the greater part of the country and of many of the Italian armed forces, and it had been impossible for the new Italian Government to enforce obedience to its orders to surrender. With the Italian declaration of war against Germany in October and the

Allied recognition of Italy as a cobelligerent, the situation had become even more confused. Although no immediate change in the surrender terms had been made, application of some of the fairly rigorous "Long Terms" of surrender that the Italians had signed on 29 September had been held in abeyance while Italy demonstrated her good faith in fighting on the side of the Allies.90 Thus, Italy could not be considered as a fair test case for unconditional surrender.
By the end of January 1944, with all eyes on OVERLORD, there were indications that some of the British planners harbored doubts as to the wisdom of clinging to the formula. The British Joint Intelligence Committee asked their American counterparts several pertinent questions. Pointing out that the German propaganda machine was using the unconditional surrender theme to stiffen German resistance at home and in the armed forces, they asked the American military to estimate the value of unconditional surrender in the light of past and present experience. They also asked for American opinion as to the desirability of amplifying the concept in order to weaken German armed resistance and to avoid complicating surrender negotiations with Germany.91
The U.S. Joint Intelligence Committee, in their study of the problem, concluded that although unconditional surrender added a "background of determination" to the Allied coalition and eventually might have a material effect in breaking down German resistance, the German propaganda agencies were placing great stress on the policy as an indication of Allied intent to exterminate the German nation, enslave its people, and inflict all sorts of inhuman treatment upon the populace. In the absence of statements by the Allied leaders contradicting this propaganda, the German publicists were having considerable success in increasing the will to resist. The committee felt that any steps taken to counter this propaganda would help speed the German collapse.92
Assistant Secretary of War McCloy was sharply critical of any softening of the unconditional surrender concept. Pointing out that the Germans' chief fear was the Soviet Army and what it might do once it reached Germany, he went on:
It is this ogre (the Soviet Army), rather than any phrase coined at a conference, which keeps them going. I would not, by setting up an easy way out, disabuse them of the thought that they cannot carry out their own devastations every generation without getting some of it themselves.93
The Joint Strategic Survey Committee, on the other hand, was inclined to agree with the joint Intelligence Committee. On 16 March the senior military advisers informed the JCS that it was in the military interest to have the unconditional surrender formula restated. Both Great Britain and the USSR should be consulted, and if there should be agreement on a change in policy, a joint announcement should be made before OVERLORD was launched. Conceivably, any modification or clari-

 fication of terms might weaken German resistance to the Normandy assault.94
The Army planners showed mixed feelings about any alteration in the unconditional surrender concept. General Russell of the Operations Division's Theater Group favored modification: "The harshness of the phrase aids propagandists in stiffening and prolonging resistance which in turn is costly to the Allied nations in lives and resources. It is not sentiment with me-just good business."95 A more cautious approach was taken by General Hull who felt that, while it might have been a mistake not to have elaborated on the concept when it was first stated, there was a danger that any softening at this stage of the war might be interpreted as a sign of weaknesses.96
To General Roberts it seemed clear that both Great Britain and the USSR had already begun to modify their attitudes toward Germany. Churchill's address to Commons on 22 February had softened the implications of unconditional surrender, and The Times of London had lately been opposing the dismemberment of Germany. The Russians also had been making overtures and discussing the future of Germany. In view of these unilateral changes in propaganda tactics, Roberts did not believe that a combined statement had to be sought. With respect to his own reaction to unconditional surrender, Roberts felt:
That dogmatic adherence to unconditional surrender overlooks practical considerations which may deny the U.S. as important a voice in European developments as our position warrants has been indicated recently by Ambassador Winant in his current reports to the State Department. From this and other various evidence, it would appear that the time is ripe for such propaganda as would assist us in achieving total victory in Europe at the earliest date. Such pronouncements as are made, however, should stress the necessity for the Germans to rid themselves of the substance as well as form of Nazism.
He then went on to comment on the proposed JCS memorandum for the President that recommended modification of the formula. He found the draft inadequate .since there was not sufficient emphasis on the military factors involved. A "psychological blockbuster" of this type should be keyed to OVERLORD and to the need to reduce German resistance to the cross-Channel attack.97
During the last week in March, the JCS decided to ask the President to retreat from his hitherto adamant stand. Basing their recommendations upon the JSSC proposals of 16 March, they urged that a restatement be made at an early date so that it might "establish a favorable condition precedent to OVERLORD." The JCS draft statement for the President's approval was aimed at the German "people" as differentiated from their "gangster overlords" and reassured the "people" that there was no intention of destroying the German people and nation but rather the German capacity for military aggression.98

Although the President in his Christmas Eve speech of 1943 said, "The United Nations have no intention to enslave the German people" and the United Nations wished the Germans to have "a normal chance to develop, in peace, as useful and respectable members of the European family," he flatly refused to grant the JCS request for further clarification.
The trouble is that the reasoning of the memorandum presupposes a reconstitution of a German state which would give active cooperation apparently at once to peace in Europe.
A somewhat long study and personal experience in and out of Germany leads me to believe that German Philosophy cannot be changed by decree, law or military order. The change in German Philosophy must be evolutionary and may take two generations.
To assume otherwise is to assume, of necessity, a period of quiet followed by a third world war.
I think that the simplest way of approaching this whole matter is to stick to what I have already said, (a) that the United Nations are determined to administer a total defeat to Germany as a whole (b) that the Allies have no intention of destroying the German people. Please note that I am not willing at this time to say that we do not intend to destroy the German nation. As long as the word "Reich" exists in Germany as expressing a nationhood, it will forever be associated with the present form of nationhood. If we admit that, we must seek to eliminate the very word "Reich" and what it stands for today 99
The State Department, which also had been trying to secure some modification of the unconditional surrender concept, especially in respect to the satellite nations, met with a similar rebuff. On 5 April the President informed Secretary Hull:
"I understand the problem thoroughly, but I want at all costs to prevent it from being said that the unconditional surrender principle has been abandoned. There is real danger if we start making exceptions to the general principle before a specific case arises."
"I understand perfectly well that from time to time there will have to be exceptions not to the surrender principle but to the application of it in specific cases. This is a very different thing from changing the principle." 100
In the meantime, SHAEF planners had also begun to question the practicability of a rigid unconditional surrender line. Lack of clarification of the principle had been handicapping the planning of their propaganda appeals to the German people. During Under Secretary Edward R. Stettinius' visit to London in mid-April, both Generals Eisenhower and Bedell Smith were earnest in their efforts to impress upon him the need for some further explanation of the concept in order to weaken the German will to resist. But the President evinced no enthusiasm for this suggestion and continued to hold firm to the theory of the original concept, in spite of his consent, under pressure from Great Britain and the USSR, to a modification in practice of surrender terms to Bulgaria and Rumania in May 1944.101 Although this was not to be the last effort to secure clarification or modification of the unconditional surrender concept, the firm position taken by the President tended to discourage the military-in Washing-

 ton and in the theaters-from pursuing the subject with any determination.
The President's emphatic reassertion of unconditional surrender undoubtedly disappointed those members of the British and U.S. staffs who had become convinced that clarification of the formula would reduce German resistance to OVERLORD. Staff efforts along more conventional military lines in Washington and London to pave the way for OVERLORD were more fruitful. In the early months of 1944, General Marshall and his advisers could feel comforted that they had made the necessary adjustments in planning, resources, and personnel to mount OVERLOAD on "a reasonably secure basis" and to satisfy the immediate demands of the British in the Mediterranean. Both campaigns could go forward. The additional landing craft for a five division OVERLORD assault had been acquired at the expense of a postponement of ANVIL. American hopes for a simultaneous southern France operation were disappointed even as British expectations for further advances in Italy were raised. The debate of the early months of 1944 had, however, led to no conclusive decision on Mediterranean strategy. The final settlement would have to come after OVERLORD D Day.


Previous Chapter     Next Chapter

Return to the Table of Contents

Search CMH Online
Return to CMH Online
Last updated 1 June 2004