STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR
COALITION WARFARE
1941-1942

by
Maurice Matloff
and
Edwin M. Snell
 

CMH Logo

CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY
UNITED STATES ARMY
WASHINGTON, D. C., 1990
   


Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 53-61477

First Printed 1980

For Sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office
Washington D. C. 20402


Foreword
 
This volume is a study of the evolution of American strategy before and during the first year of American participation in World War II. It is the story of planning by the War Department during that early and significant period in which the foundations of the strategy for the conduct of the war were established. The authors not only present the problems of the Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army and of his principal plans and operations officers, but also emphasize joint and combined problems-the reconciliation of the Army views on strategy with those of the Navy and the integration of American and British views and their adjustment to the military policies of other associated powers, notably the Soviet Union.
 
It may seem to the reader that controversy and differences of opinion are stressed and that agreement and co-operative endeavor are slighted. Since planners are occupied with unsettled problems, their work necessarily involves differences of opinion. It is only when all sides of an issue are forcefully presented and the various solutions thereof closely scrutinized that the final plan has any validity. The reader must bear in mind that the differences related herein are those among comrades in arms who in the end always made the adjustments required of the members of a team engaged in a common enterprise. The execution of strategic decisions-the end result of debates, negotiations, and compromises set forth in the book-is narrated in the combat volumes of this series.
 
Mr. Maurice Matloff and Mr. Edwin M. Snell collaborated in writing this volume. Mr. Snell was formerly an instructor in English at Harvard University and Mr. Matloff an instructor in History at Brooklyn College. Mr. Snell served in the Army and Mr. Matloff in the Army Air Forces during World War II. Both joined the Operations Division historical project of the War Department General Staff in 1946. Mr. Matloff is now the Chief, Strategic Plans Section, Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army.
 

Washington, D. C.
June 1952

ORLANDO WARD
Maj. Gen., U. S. A. 
Chief of Military History

 
 vii

Preface
 
This volume is a contribution to the study of national planning in the field of military strategy. National planning in this field extends from the simple statement of risks and choices to the full analysis of an immense undertaking. Strategic decisions are rarely made and military operations are rarely conducted precisely in the terms worked out by the planning staffs in the national capital. But the planning, which may at times seem superficial and futile even to the staffs, is the principal instrument by which political leadership arrives at an accommodation between the compulsions of politics and the realities of war, exercises control over military operations, and allocates the means necessary to support them.
 
This volume is the history of plans affecting the missions and dispositions of the U. S. Army during the early part of World War II, when it was quite uncertain how the military planning of the United States would be brought into keeping with the requirements of a world-wide war between two coalitions. The volume deals briefly with the joint war plans of the Army and Navy up to the fall of 1938, when the planners first explicitly took into account the possibility that the United States might be drawn into a war of this kind. From the fall of 1938, it follows the story of plans, as they directly concerned the Army, until the beginning of 1943. From that point in World War II, conveniently marked by the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, the role of the Army in strategic planning changed; it will be the subject of further treatment in this series.
 
The purpose of this volume is to increase and organize the information available for the study of national strategic planning. Much of what has been written about the United States in World War II contains information about strategy. Some of it has been exceedingly useful in writing this volume. But the information is generally given in passing, in accounts of great decisions or particular military operations. Anyone that writes on the subject of strategic planning itself is. venturing into territory generally familiar only to a few professional officers, and to them mainly through oral tradition and their own experience. Most of the choices the authors of this volume have had to make in research and writing they have therefore resolved, sometimes reluctantly, in favor of readers in need of organized information on the subject-specifically staff officers, civil officials, diplomatic historians, and political scientists.
 
The present volume is a product of co-operative effort. It is an outgrowth of a study of the history of the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff, undertaken in 1946 by a group of associated historians, organized
ix

by Dr. Ray S. Cline. The Operations Division represented the Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army in national and international planning for military operations in World War II, and the history of the plans and operations is interwoven with the history of that division. Dr. Cline undertook to write the history of the division itself, ,in a volume published in this series, with the title: Washington Command Post: The Operations Division. The study of the plans and their execution, continued and amplified by his former associates, became the basis of the present work.
 
The text of this volume was drafted in two main sections, one tracing the conflicts in plans for the employment of U. S. Army forces, from their appearance to their first resolution in 1942 (Snell), and the other dealing with the primary effects of the resolution of these conflicts on plans for carrying the war to the enemy (Matloff). In the process the authors drew on each other's ideas, basic research, and writing. Each of the author worked at length on the volume as a whole, one in the course of original planning and composition (Snell), and the other in the course of final preparation and revision (Matloff). The text as it stands represents a joint responsibility.
 
The present volume owes a great deal to Dr. Cline, and to Lt. Col. Darrie H. Richards, who worked on the project as associate historian for more than two years. Both contributed in many ways to the general stock of ideas and information that the authors had in mind in undertaking this volume and left the authors several fully documented studies in manuscript. This volume draws on Dr. Cline's studies of staff work on strategy in the early months of the war, and the authors have made extensive use of a narrative by Colonel Richards that follows the history of strategy in the Pacific into midwar.
 
In writing and rewriting the text, the authors had the help of Mrs. Evelyn Cooper, who assembled and analyzed much of the statistical information used, and of Mrs. Helen McShane Bailey, who drafted or reviewed for- the author countless passages and references. Nearly every page in the volume bears some mark of Mrs. Bailey's wide knowledge and exact understanding of the records kept by the War Department.
 
Various people helped to smooth the way for the preparation of the volume. Miss Alice M. Miller initiated the authors and their colleagues, as she had for years been initiating staff officers, in the mysteries of interservice and international planning. For making it possible to use great numbers of important documents at their convenience, the authors wish to thank Mr. Joseph Russell, Mrs. Mary Margaret Gansz Greathouse, Mr. Robert Greathouse, and Mrs. Clayde Hillyer Christian, and Mr. Israel Wice and his assistants. Miss Grace Waibel made a preliminary survey of records for one part of the volume. Credit for maintaining a correct text of the manuscript through repeated revisions is due to a series of secretaries, Mr. William Oswald, Mr. Martin Chudy, Miss Marcelle Raczkowski, Mrs. Virginia Bosse. and Mrs. Ella May Ablahat.
x

The authors are greatly obliged to several other members of the Office of the Chief of Military History to Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, Chief Historian of the Office and the first and most attentive critic of this volume, who suggested a great mane improvements; to Cols. John M. Kemper, Allison R. Hartman, and Edward M. Harris, who early interested themselves in this work; to Cols. Thomas J. Sands and George G. O'Connor. who were helpful in the final stages of the work; to Dr. Stetson Conn, Acting Chief Historian in the summer of 1949 during Dr. Greenfield's absence, and Dr. Louis Morton (Acting Deputy Chief Historian), who encouraged this work; and to Drs. Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, for their special knowledge. Dr. Conn gave many valuable suggestions in the final revision of the manuscript.
 
We are also obliged to Miss Mary Ann Bacon, who gave the volume a thoughtful and watchful final editing. The pictures were selected by Capt. Kenneth E. Hunter; the outline maps were prepared by Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff. Copy editing was done by Mr. Ronald Sher, indexing by Mrs. Bailey, and the painstaking job of final typing for the printer by Mrs. Ablahat and Miss Norma F:. Faust.
 
The authors are also obliged to those others that read all or parts of the text in manuscript-to Capt. Tracy B. Kittredge, USNR, and Lt. Grace Persons Haves, USN, of the Historical Section of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: to Dr. Wesley F. Craven of Princeton University, co-editor of the series, THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II; to Professors William I.. Langer and Samuel Eliot Morison of Harvard University; to Brig. Gen. Frank N. Roberts, Cols. William W. Bessell, Jr., and George A. Lincoln, and Lt. Col. William H. Balmier; and to other officers that figured, some of them conspicuously, in the events recounted in the pages that follow.
 

Washington, D. C.
14 December 1951

MAURICE MATLOFF
EDWIN M. SNELL

xi

Contents
Chapter     Page
I. THE WAR PLANS  1
The Study of War with Japan  1
Alternatives in a World War  4
Allied Operations in the Pacific  8
 
II. GERMAN VICTORIES AND AMERICAN PLANS MAY 1940 JANUARY 1941     11
Planning for the Worst  12
The Planners Overruled  13
British Strategy, and American Planning  21
 
III. BRITISH-AMERICAN PLANS: JANUARY-NOVEMBER 1941  32
The Terms of Reference  32
The Washington Conversations  34
Rainbow: 5  43
The First Difficulties over Troop Movements  48
Introduction to Grand Strategy  51
 
IV. THE SHOWDOWN WITH JAPAN: AUGUST -DECEMBER 1941  63
The Singapore Conversations  65
Reinforcement of the Philippines  67
Aid to China versus Reinforcement of the Philippines  73
Military Collaboration with the British in the Far East   75
Reaction to Pearl Harbor  78
Decision to Establish a Base in Australia  87
 
V. THE FIRST FULL DRESS DEBATE OVER STRATEGIC DEPLOYMENT: DECEMBER 1941 JANUARY 1942  97
Grand Strategy  99
The Northwest Africa Project  102
'The Planners Estimates of the Forces Required  105
The Report of the Shipping Experts  107
The Relief of British Troops in Iceland and Ireland  108
The Northwest Africa Project Considered as a Military Operation  111
Reinforcement of the Southwest Pacific  114
 
VI. ARMY DEPLOYMENT AND THE WAR AGAINST JAPAN: DECEMBER 1941-MARCH 1942  120
Allied Strategy Against Japan  120
The ABDA Command  123
Loss of Malaya, Fall of Singapore, and Ground Force Dispositions  126
The Decision to Send the 41st Division to Australia  128
The Isolation of Java and Air Force Dispositions  131
Air Commitments in Asia  138
The Siberia Project  142
 
VII. ARMY DEPLOYMENT IN THE PACIFIC AND GRAND STRATEGY: JANUARY-MARCH 1942  147
Army Deployment in the Atlantic: January-February 1942  147
Deployment Hawaii-Australia: January March 1942  148
The Question of Additional Commitments  154
The Eisenhower Studies  156
Joint Study of Priorities for Deployment  159
JCS Decision on Deployment Policy  161
Strategic Deployment in the Pacific  162
Strategic Responsibility and Command in the Pacific  164
 
VIII. THE PRINCIPLE OF CONCENTRATION IN THE BRITISH ISLES  174
The Cancellation of Super-Gymnast  175
The Washington Studies  177
The Bolero Plan  190
 
IX. PRIOR CLAIMS VERSUS BOLERO: APRIL 1942  198
The Defense of the Middle East  198
Anglo-American Collaboration and the Support of China  202
The Soviet Lend-Lease Program  205
The Immediate Reinforcement of the Pacific  210
 
X. DECISIONS IN FAVOR OF A "SECOND FRONT": MAY 1942  217
The Pacific Theater versus Bolero  217
The President's Review of Strategy  221
Deadline in the Pacific  222
The Role of the United States in the Middle East  226
The Question of Support for General Stilwell  227
The Second Soviet Protocol and the Second Front  229
 
XI. FUTURE PLANS AND CURRENT OPERATIONS: JUNE 1942  233
The Revival of Gymnast  234
American Commitments to the Middle East  244
Consequences of the Battle of Midway  256
 
XII. THE ELIMINATION OF THE ALTERNATIVES: JULY-AUGUST 1942  266
The Pacific Alternative  267
The Eastern Front and the Alternatives  273
The President on the Alternatives  273
Roundup or Torch: CCS 94  279
The Decision To Invade French North Africa  282
The Time and The Place  284
 
XIII. THE INTERPRETATION OF CCS 94: AUGUST 1942  294
The "Final" Decision on Torch  294
CCS 94 and the Arcadia Statement of Grand Strategy  295
The Middle East  297
The Pacific  298
 
XIV. COUNTING THE COSTS OF TORCH: AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1942  307
The Order of Priorities for Shipping  308
Allotment and Preparation of Ground Troops  313
Provision of Air Units  318
Effects on Plans for a Cross-Channel Operation  322
 
XV. BRITISH AND AMERICAN PLANS AND SOVIET EXPECTATIONS  328
The Caucasus Project  329
The Persian Gulf Service Command  336
Air Collaboration in Alaska and Siberia  339
Soviet Plane Requirements  346
Conclusion  348
 
XVI. STRATEGIC INVENTORY: DECEMBER 1942  350
Growth of the U S Army  350
Expansion of the Army Overseas  353
Distribution of Aircraft and Shipping 360
 
XVII. AFTER TORCH  363
The War Against Germany  363
The War Against Japan  367
British-American World Strategy for 1943  376
The Future of Planning  382
 
Appendix
A Outline Plan for the Invasion of Western Europe-Marshall Memorandum     383
B War Department Draft of Instructions for London Conference  384
C Timing of TORCH  386
D Monthly Distribution of Total Army Strength in Continental United States and Overseas, from November 1941 Through December 1942  387
E Geographic Distribution of Army Strength in Overseas Theaters-Early- December 1942  389
F Shipment of Divisions-1942  392
G Dead-Weight Tonnage of Vessels under Army Control in Pacific and Atlantic Areas from November 1941 through December 1942  396
 
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE AND GUIDE TO FOOTNOTES  397
 
GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS  400
 
GLOSSARY OF CODE NAMES  405
 
 
Illustrations
Aboard the H M S Prince of Wales during the Atlantic Conference  54
Members of the War Department General Staff and the War Plans Division, November 1941  77
Draft Memorandum for the President  89
The Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War  110
Chief of War Plans Division and His Deputies, January 1942  116
War Plans Division, March 1942  167
General Marshall and War Department Chiefs  184
Memorandum from the President, 6 May 1942  220
Churchill at Parachute Troop Demonstration, June 1942  241
Alternate Sets of Suggestions, in the President's Handwriting  274
The Combined and the U S Joint Chiefs of Staff, October 1942  340
Maj. Gen T T Handy and Other Planners of the Operations Division  381
All pictures in this volume are from Department of Defense files
 
Charts
No     Inside back cover
1     U S Army Overseas Deployment, 17 October 1941
2     Areas of Strategic Responsibility and U S Army Overseas Deployment 2 April 1942
3     U S Army Overseas Deployment and Theater Boundaries, 31 December 1942

Page created 10 January 2002

 
Return to CMH Online
-->