4-420 Memorandum for General McNair, June 23, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 23, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General McNair

June 23, 1944 Washington, D.C.


I have just had a very adverse report from Stilwell on the quality, training, and conduct of the replacements sent him for the GALAHAD Force.1 Please let me have a report on just where these men were trained and how they were gotten together.

Stilwell speaks of having to give men training in the handling of weapons actually on the battlefield in the jungle despite the fact that these men were supposed to be picked individuals. He had similarly adversely reported on the conduct of some of the Engineers that he put into the actual fighting but the case there is different as this was a special service for which they had not been specially prepared. However, he refers to officers running away and otherwise demonstrating lack of quality.2

G. C. M.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of Headquarters, Army Ground Forces (RG 337), Adjutant General Section, McNair Personal Files, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. On June 22 Stilwell reported that the Japanese were still defending Myitkyina. Sickness had reduced the GALAHAD (American long-range penetration groups) Force, and he had brought in two combat engineer battalions as reinforcements but the units proved to be “raw and unreliable. They ran away on several occasions, incidentally abandoning wounded,” reported Stilwell. He then flew in two thousand GALAHAD replacements that had recently arrived in India. “Unfortunately GALAHAD trickled away to nothing from sickness and exhaustion and we ended up with raw units still,” wrote Stilwell. “We have had to train the replacements right on the battle field. Many of them could not use their weapons. There were some fifty psychopathic cases among them. Some of the officers ran away. It has been a very anxious and disturbing period, but we are now over the worst of it and the sheep are mostly separated from the goats. The engineers have snapped into it and the GALAHAD battalions can be depended upon defensively.” Stilwell reported that “the Chinese units have all stood up to it in excellent style.” (Stilwell to Marshall, June 22, 1944, In Log, pp. 364-A-364-B, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Message Log].) For further discussion of GALAHAD at Myitkyina, see Romanus and Sunderland, Stilwell’s Command Problems, pp. 236-53.

2. On June 26 Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair, commanding general of Army Ground Forces, replied that he was at a loss to understand Stilwell’s report. The bulk of the replacements were furnished from the Ninety-seventh Division and all qualified as overseas replacements; he would furnish factual details once the information was gathered. On July 3 McNair submitted a complete breakdown of replacements, which Marshall sent to O.P.D. with the handwritten message: “Apparently we should have charged some officer with following through on these replacements considering how important their mission was to be. G.C.M.” On July 10 McNair reported the remarks of the convoy officer who accompanied the replacement shipment to India. (McNair Memorandums for the Chief of Staff, June 26, July 3, and July 10, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OPD, 370.5 CTO, Case 316].) McNair’s July 3 and July 10 messages provided the factual data for General Marshall’s reply to Stilwell on July 11; see Marshall to Stilwell, July 11, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-446 [4: 516-17]. For information on typhus in the GALAHAD Force, see Marshall Memorandum for the President, June 30, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-430 [4: 499-500].

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. 490-491.

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