ONLINE CATALOG SEARCH
Memorandum for General Handy
July 19, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I explained to General de St. Didier the priorities of (1) OVERLORD, (2) ANVIL, and (3) Alexander’s Army, which have to be considered in this matter; also the critical factor of transport planes.1 I explained that the airborne division going in with ANVIL would have to be on a supply basis with shipping before transport planes could be released from its support, and that this was indeterminate. Further, that General Eisenhower’s requirements were heavy and determining and that time again was involved here.
I stated that I favored some such operation; that I considered it would have great value both to the north and to the south, but the problem was merely how and when to finance it; that it might be that a smaller operation of this general nature could be worked in; that it might develop that Eisenhower could extend the D plus 10 period for General Wilson for return of transports, but that all of these factors could not be determined now and that the priorities went to OVERLORD and ANVIL and also Alexander’s Army as being the larger questions involved.
I stated that I was doing my best to promote the operation by communicating direct with General Eisenhower and with General Wilson through General Devers; that I could not deal with Wilson except through the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
What de St. Didier would like is some written statement that he can use in his reply to de Gaulle who is pressing him.2 What I didn’t ask him but it is pertinent to the issue, is whether or not, and if not, why not, Bethouart had seen Wilson in Italy.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Major General Auguste Brossin de Saint-Didier, chief of the French Military Mission in the United States, had met with Marshall on the morning of July 19 to discuss Operation CAIMAN. (See editorial note #4-441, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [4: 512].)
2. The Operations Division drafted and Marshall edited a memorandum for de SaintDidier that restated the views Marshall expressed in the document printed here. (Marshall Memorandum for General A. Brossin de Saint-Didier, July 20, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 10, Item 52e].) On July 31 General Marshall notified General Eisenhower that de Saint-Didier had again asked him to support the CAIMAN plan. “While your message and Devers’ indicate that the French plan is considered too ambitious and does not fit in with ANVIL and OVERLORD,” said Marshall, “a modification of it might well make a very important contribution to the possible explosive effect of a successful ANVIL landing and an immediate rapid advance. I am thinking of possibility of securing a Biscay Port by default.” (Marshall to Eisenhower, Radio No. WAR-73220, July 31, 1944, ibid.) Eisenhower replied that proposals for CAIMAN or modifications of the operation were “contingent on our furnishing air lift for a longer period than already allocated and possibly airborne troops from this theater. In the light of our planned requirements for the employment of airborne troops in northwest France and the expected maximum dividend from their use it is improbable that we will be able to furnish any assistance to DRAGOON [ANVIL renamed] in addition to that now committed.” (Papers of DDE, 4: 2054.) Operation CAIMAN was never executed.
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), pp. 527-528.