Chapter III:
The Search for a Formula
The increasing demands for materiel and forces for North Africa, the agreements to execute HUSKY and to bring Turkey into the coalition, and British feelers to undertake operations in the eastern Mediterranean were interpreted by the Army planning staff as reinforcing the trend toward "encirclement," "periphery-pecking," and "scatterization" begun in July 1942 with the decision to undertake TORCH.1 More remote than ever appeared the possibility of concentrating strong forces in the United Kingdom to strike a decisive blow across the Channel. For reasons of state or personal predilections, the President might still prefer to postpone a final decision on the cross-Channel versus Mediterranean approaches. With evident pride in his flair for strategy, he could hardly repress a triumphant note in declaring to his Army Chief of Staff in early March:
Just between ourselves, if I had not considered the European and African fields of action in their broadest geographic sense, you and I know we would not be in North Africa today--in fact"we would not have landed either in Africa or in Europe! 2
The President's military advisers were not blind to the obvious advantages of securing a firm hold in the Mediterranean, but General Marshall and the Army planning staff, earnest believers in the principle of concentration and vitally concerned with the day-to-day problems of mobilizing and deploying troops to fight a global war, could not but wonder when and where dispersion would end. If political considerations had led the President to take an active hand in military strategy, possible political effects of the resultant military moves now began to force themselves upon the attention of the Chiefs of Staff. At the close of March General Marshall, in discussing with the President the importance of BOLERO, for the first time raised with the President the question of likely repercussions on the political equilibrium in Europe at the close of the war should the hoped-for concentrated Anglo-American drive against Germany from the west not keep pace with the Soviet advance against Germany from the east. General Marshall ventured to suggest:
. . . if we were involved at the last in Western France and the Russian Army was approaching German soil, there would be a

most unfortunate diplomatic situation immediately involved with the possibility of a chaotic condition quickly following.3
The new developments in the struggle against Germany demanded a rethinking by the military planners of ways and means of securing basic strategic objectives and resolving the strategic dilemmas that followed TORCH. The basic question for them was how to deal with current exigencies of the multi-front coalition war and still return to the principle of concentration for a major cross-Channel operation. What was to be the form of the over-all pattern in the war against Germany and what were to be the relationships between the parts? The staff planners began in the spring of 1943 to define the choices.
In searching for answers, the Army strategic planners began to advance beyond the exploratory probing of specific alternative operations in the largely "compartmented process of reasoning" that had characterized their strategic thinking before Casablanca.4 The need to put over-all U.S. military planning on a firmer basis led General Wedemeyer, the Army planner, to sound what was to be a keynote of Army strategic thinking in the later war years. At the close of April, pointing to the opportunism that had hitherto characterized British-American strategic planning, he stressed the need for "the adoption of a long-range concept for the defeat of the European Axis." 5 Only upon the firm establishment of such a concept, he maintained, could long-range logistical planning be initiated. In the same spirit, Col. Claude B. Ferenbaugh, head of the Operations Division's European Theater Section, emphasized the effects of the "lack of a definite and consistent long-range strategic concept of operations in the European Theater." Its absence, he declared, prevented the formulation of "a sound plan both as regards troop basis and the types of equipment necessary for operations in the European or adjacent areas." 6 However premature the BOLERO-ROUNDUP planning had proved to be in 1942, Army planners were convinced that such long-range planning was now all the more necessary. In this way, permutations and combinations might possibly be held within the limits necessary to prepare for a decisive cross Channel operation.
The precise formulation of the long-range concept and definition of the relationships between its parts proved to be a difficult and long-drawn-out process in 1943-44, subject to involved negotiation, debate, compromise, and agreement on British and American staff levels and, eventually, on the highest British-American and Soviet political levels. In the spring of 1943 the Army planners began to make some progress toward a clarification of their thinking on two fun-

damental aspects of this problem-the role of airpower and the possible limits to the Mediterranean advance.
Role of Airpower
To define more precisely the role of airpower as a strategic weapon in the war against the European Axis became all the more important to General Marshall and his planning staff in the months following Casablanca when ground operations across the Channel appeared less and less probable for 1943. Along with the Air Forces leaders, they sought to clarify their views on the Combined Bomber Offensive, one object of which, as approved at Casablanca, was to create conditions on the Continent favorable for a cross-Channel landing.
In the early months of 1943 the Army planners continued to argue against the more extreme "victory through air power" school of thought as they had at the close of 1942. In their opinion, the broad strategy of defeating Germany first could be effected only by directing the heaviest possible air attack against Germany in the shortest possible time, thus paving the way for a mighty ground attack to complete the task. U.S. ground forces would have to be mobilized and trained to deliver their maximum impact in Europe as soon as possible, "since there is no reasonable assurance that victory can be achieved by air power alone." 7
General Handy expressed his views on the matter in March 1943. He agreed with the Air Forces argument that the only possibility for decisive results against the European Axis in the foreseeable future was by sustained mass bombing attacks, but only if mass bombings were followed by a co-ordinated land and air offensive. In his opinion the lessons of the war to date had indicated that air superiority and, above all, co-ordination between land and air forces, were the "keynote to decisive victories." Neither the German victories, the British victory at El Alamein, nor the current advance of the Russians had been accomplished by sustained mass bombing attacks. On the other hand, Germany's intensive air offensive against Great Britain in 1940, without a follow-up by ground forces, had not brought the Germans a victory. Thus far, he observed, the shortage of shipping had precluded the concentration of Allied land power in any decisive area. Ground forces had been dispersed throughout the world to hold essential sea and air bases until such time as shipping would permit a concentration of land power at the "decisive point." He called for the maximum application of airpower against the industry and resources of Germany, as provided in the Casablanca agreement on the Combined Bomber Offensive. In short, General Handy argued for the application of the principle of concentration of forces to the new strategic weapon, air bombardment. In accord with the current trend of thinking among the Army planners and in the AAF, he recognized the value of a bombing offensive from North Africa as well as one from the United Kingdom. At the same time, also in agreement with the chief of the AAF, he was opposed to dispatching heavy bomb-

ers to the USSR since that would result in too great a dispersion of the Allied air effort and a weakening of the Combined Bomber Offensive. 8  
On 30 April General Marshall took up the proposals General Faker of the Eighth Air Force had presented to the JCS the previous day to carry out the Combined Bomber Offensive from the United Kingdom. According to Eaker's plan, the bomber offensive would be divided into four phases aimed at the progressive destruction of the German economic system and military strength and paving the way for the eventual invasion of the Continent. Each phase would be marked by an increase in the size of the U.S. bombing force. The fourth and last phase preceding the land invasion would be reached early in 1944.9 General Marshall informed General Henry H. Arnold, Chief of the AAF, that he had no doubt "as to the over-all importance of heavy bomber operations out of the United Kingdom, the more so as the likelihood of cross-Channel ground operations appears less probable in 1943" 10. But he saw possible complications in allocating aircraft to carry out the Eaker plan for an all-out bombing effort. Thus far the U.S. military leaders had been unable to concentrate forces in the United Kingdom. If as a result of post-HUSKY operations a vacuum were created in the Mediterranean, timely concentration of ground forces in the United Kingdom for an invasion attempt would be precluded, and the war would probably be prolonged indefinitely. In this connection, the current estimate by General Wedemeyer that a major cross-Channel operation would not be possible until late 1944 had to be considered. There was also the need for increasing air strength in the Pacific-Far East area. Under these circumstances the Chief of Staff called for further study of the Eaker proposals, particularly of the allocation of bombing strength to the United Kingdom for the fourth phase.
General Arnold concurred with General Wedemeyer's estimate on a cross-Channel operation. He took the position that the final determination of the allotment for the fourth phase of Faker's plan need not be made immediately by the JCS. But he did call upon the JCS to stand firm against any further diversion from the bombing effort against German industrial targets from the United Kingdom. In his view there was no more important task currently facing the JCS than to give complete support to Generals Andrews and Faker in the United Kingdom.11 The Joint Staff Planners in early May agreed with the estimates contained in the Eaker plan- that 1,746 heavy bombers would be necessary by the close of 1943 to carry out the third phase, and that by 31 March 1944, the end of the fourth phase, 2,702 heavy bombers would be required. It was their conclusion that the AAF could complete the proposed program and still meet all current and planned commitments to other theaters. On 4 May the JCS decided to go ahead with Faker's plan.12   

Thus, before the British and American leaders and their staffs assembled once more in conference, General Marshall and his staff had advanced considerably in their thinking about the Combined Bomber Offensive outlined at Casablanca. That conference had inseparably linked the offensive to an as yet undefined major cross-Channel operation. The Air Forces was now ready with a concrete bombing program leading up to such an operation in 1944. The JCS had approved the program. The Army planners were prepared to back it up. So far as U.S. staff thinking was concerned, the place of airpower, at least, in the shifting strategic pattern of war against Germany, was becoming clear.
Limiting the Mediterranean Advance
The problem of limiting the Mediterranean advance was more difficult. One proposal, which particularly appealed to the Washington staff in the first half of 1943, had been suggested at Casablanca -the possibility of advancing the date for launching HUSKY. Back of the War Department interest in this proposal lay the hope of putting a quicker end to the Allied drive in the Mediterranean. Generals Marshall and Wedemeyer both urged, in the early spring, a bolder strategic move against Sicily than that envisaged at Casablanca.13 They called for a Sicilian operation to be launched before the Axis forces were expelled from Africa. Such a move might hasten the destruction of the Axis troops in Tunisia as well as speed the occupation of Sicily. The proposal for a modified HUSKY was studied at Marshall's urging in the War Department and in the joint staff. 14 At the same time, the Chief of Staff tried to impress the British Chiefs of Staff and General Eisenhower with its advantages.15
Practical difficulties in the way of launching HUSKY before to July 1943, then the tentative date for which the operation was scheduled, were anticipated by the British, General Eisenhower's and even General Marshall's own

planning staffs. 16 Various objections were raised-the necessities of training, the shortage of landing craft, logistical limitations in the theater, risks in moving combat-loaded divisions through the Sardinia-Sicily-Tunisia triangle, the reduction in the number of total assault forces below the minimum number set by the commander (seven infantry divisions), and lack of adequate naval cover. On 30 April, General Marshall informed General Eisenhower that he recognized such obstacles and acknowledged that the situation in the theater and the timing might not be propitious. Nevertheless, he cautioned against the conservatism he felt General Eisenhower's planners, as well as his own, were showing. The element of surprise and shortening of time afforded the enemy to strengthen the defenses of Sicily might justify the command decision to accept the calculated risks in a modified HUSKY. The conclusions of General Eisenhower's planners, Marshall warned, did not reveal "any degree of boldness and daring which have won great victories for , Nelson and Grant and Lee."17
In the end, nothing came of the Chief of Staff's proposal. The strong objections raised in various quarters as well as the windup in Tunisia precluded the acceptance of the bold turning and accelerating move. On 12 May the JCS approved General Eisenhower's suggested plan for HUSKY, including his recommendations that Pantelleria be captured-to provide fighter cover-just before mounting HUSKY, and that an ad hoc HUSKY be rejected as impracticable. 18 On the following day-the same date that Axis resistance came to an end in Tunisia-the CCS accepted the plan evolved by General Eisenhower's staff. 19
Since proposed short cuts for advancing the date of HUSKY were fruitless, limits to the Mediterranean advance had to be defined in connection with post-HUSKY operations. In the early months of 1943 the Washington Army staff, busy as it was with the windup in North Africa and with preparations for HUSKY, gave serious study to the problem of operations in the Mediterranean after Sicily, a problem that would almost certainly be raised at the next conference with the British. The advantages and disadvantages of alternative operations were considered. Southern France, Sardinia and Corsica, the Iberian Peninsula, Crete and the Dodecanese Islands, the Balkans, and Italy were all mentioned as possible objectives. The Army planners were by no means in complete agreement among themselves on the feasibility or advisability of stopping the Mediterranean advance entirely after the Sicilian campaign.20 Besides, past experience had made it all too clear that pressure

from the British, coupled with political considerations might require further Mediterranean action. The staff was intent on finding ways and means of holding any such advance within the bounds of its major objectives.
In the process, certain lines of reasoning, which were to characterize the staff's strategic thinking in 1943 and well into 1944, became apparent. Just as General Wedemeyer at Casablanca had advocated restricting any Mediterranean operation after TORCH as far as possible to the forces already in the theater, so the Army planners now urged similar limitations on any post-HUSKY Mediterranean operation that might be undertaken. They stressed the western Mediterranean as the most favorable area for subsequent Mediterranean operations - considering in general, an operation against southern Italy as the most advantageous. Such an operation, they suggested, offered the advantages of diverting German forces from the Soviet front, completing the collapse of Italy, and obtaining air bases from which to attack vital targets in the Balkans.21 At the same time, the Army planners also presented the advantages of reducing Mediterranean commitments after HUSKY to a minimum and transferring the excess forces from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom.22 If a sizable number of veteran divisions were transferred before the end of 1943, a major cross-Channel operation might be undertaken, they argued, in the spring of 1944.
Complicating a more precise definition of the Army planners' position on the Mediterranean at this point were highly significant unknowns- the outcome of the Combined Bomber Offensive and of the Russo-German conflict.23 In any case they were agreed that only by an eventual concentration of forces in the United Kingdom for cross-Channel operations could the "unremunerative scatterization" and "periphery-pecking" trend initiated with the decision for TORCH in July 1942 be stopped. 24
Similar views on post-HUSKY Mediterranean operations began to take hold on the joint staff level shortly before the Americans met again with the British in conference. In early May 1943 the newly created working body of joint planners, the joint War Plans Committee (JWPC), recommended that serious consideration be given by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff to the movement of seasoned troops from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom in the last quarter of 1943. If any Mediterranean operations were initiated after HUSKY, they should be limited to forces already in the area and centered in the western or central Mediterranean rather than in the eastern Mediterranean. These views were approved by the

JCS on 8 May 1943, a few days before the TRIDENT Conference in Washington began.25
The dilemma confronting the Army in the spring of 1943 in adjusting its own strategic faith to the changing requirements of coalition warfare was strikingly illustrated in an exchange of views between General Marshall and General Eisenhower. General Eisenhower, who had been one of the original architects of BOLERO-ROUNDUP planning, believed that it would be impossible to conduct a full BOLERO for a large-scale ROUNDUP while continuing Mediterranean operations:
I personally have never wavered in my belief that the ROUNDUP conception is a correct one, but the time and assets required for building up a successful operation in that direction are such that we could not possibly undertake it while attempting, simultaneously, to keep the forces now in or coming into this theater [North Africa] operating usefully.26
In Eisenhower's opinion, original estimates for the strength of the cross-Channel assault had been too low. The coastal defenses of western Europe were too strong to be penetrated except with overwhelming resources and strength, and large reserves would have to be assembled to exploit the breakthrough. On the other hand, a number of Mediterranean possibilities after HUSKY might be feasible. General Eisenhower asked for the Chief of Staff's thoughts on the strategic course of action subsequent to HUSKY for the Allied forces under his control in the Mediterranean.
General Marshall's response (on 27 April) was that, pending a decision on the highest levels, the U.S. military staff would have to prepare for several possible lines of action. He therefore urged General Eisenhower to make plans for various alternative post-HUSKY Mediterranean operations-including Sardinia and/or Corsica, and the heel of the Italian boot. The question of an "all-out" invasion of Italy would have to be most carefully considered. In Marshall's opinion, that venture would inevitably have serious repercussions on the Allied shipping situation and in all likelihood would create the much feared suction effect in the Mediterranean. Another possibility was the eastward shift of British-American effort toward Crete and the Dodecanese with the object of bringing Turkey into the war. At the same time General Eisenhower would also have to be prepared to transfer a large part of his forces to the United Kingdom. While urging the need for advance planning for further Mediterranean undertakings, Marshall declared emphatically that such operations "are not in keeping with my ideas of what our strategy should be. The decisive effort must be made against the continent from the United Kingdom sooner or later." 27
Thus, in the early months of 1943 the

U.S. staff witnessed with considerable misgivings the increasing drain of Allied resources and strength toward the Mediterranean. The difficulties of halting the apparently ineluctable trend appeared great but, if European strategy were to be fixed in terms of a major cross-Channel operation, the necessity for limiting it became all the more apparent. Already, as a result of shipping limitations, the Army planners were compelled to conclude that for 1943 even the relatively modest build-up for modified cross-Channel operations envisaged at Casablanca would not be possible. 28
Some progress was made in the months immediately following Casablanca in clarifying U.S. staff thinking on the role of airpower and on a general approach toward restricting Mediterranean operations. Still lacking was an over-all long-range concept for defeating Germany that would incorporate the principle of concentration in the United Kingdom for a major cross-Channel attack. The possibility of merging cross-Channel, Combined Bomber Offensive, and Mediterranean operations into a new strategic pattern was being studied on the Army and joint staff planning levels.29 But only the barest outline of a possible synthesis among the three strands was yet visible to the U.S. staff. 30  
Time and costs of waging the global war remained uppermost in the U.S. staff's thinking. In the interim period of early 1943, with Allied strategy against Germany still in flux, a fear of a prolonged conflict and a resultant stalemate in the European war began to haunt the U.S. staff. At the same time, strong added pressure for developing an acceptable formula for keeping the Mediterranean issue under control and for defeating Germany decisively and quickly on the Continent was also building up because of the equally significant and continuing demands for American resources and strength for the Pacific. The Army planning staff warned the-JCS to take a firm stand against the continued pouring of U.S. resources into the Mediterranean after HUSKY, lest the time and cost of defeating Japan become almost prohibitive.31


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