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Editorial Note on Plans for Operations in France
June 13, 1944
On June 13 the Combined Chiefs of Staff discussed the availability of the Seventh Airborne Division for operations in northwestern France (and its nonavailability for Mediterranean operations) and possible objectives for the invasion of southern France. They approved a message for dispatch to General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, commanding Allied forces in the Mediterranean theater, and to General Eisenhower, commanding Allied forces in northwestern France, stating that “the overriding necessity is to apply to the enemy, at the earliest possible moment, all our forces in the manner best calculated to assist in the success of OVERLORD.” The chiefs agreed that “the destruction of the German armed forces in Italy south of the Pisa/Rimini line must be completed.” After that a major amphibious operation must be mounted from resources in the Mediterranean theater against either southern France, western France, or at the head of the Adriatic in order to support operations in northwestern France. Generals Wilson and Eisenhower were informed that a three-division assault, supported by one Airborne division, was envisioned for no later than July 25. (Minutes of the Combined Chiefs of Staff Meeting, June 13, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, CCS 334, CCS Minutes]; Combined Chiefs of Staff to Wilson and Eisenhower, Radio No. OZ-3116, June 14, 1944, NA/ RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 17, Item 20]. For further discussion, see Marshall to Eisenhower, June 22, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-417 [4: 486-87].)
Following the meeting, Marshall and Arnold visited U.S. Army Air Forces units during the afternoon of June 13. General Arnold recalled: “As I went through from group to group, I couldn’t find anything these boys wanted that they didn’t have. They seemed to have all the planes, all the crews, and all the parts they needed.” (Arnold, Global Mission, p. 508.)
Sometime during his busy schedule, General Marshall handwrote the following message (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-410 [4: 479-80]).
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 479.