3-341 Memorandum for General McNair, September 28, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 28, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General McNair1

September 28, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]


I have been involved recently in detailed statistics and recommendations concerning cargo shipping and crude rubber. Both of these matters involve the question of truck transportation.

I have not had time personally to go into the transportation factors, but I have felt for a year or more that our figures as to divisional transportation were extravagant, that they represented what a division commander asked for rather than meeting the problem on the basis of over-all requirements. I might say right here that if we gave each theater commander what he asks for we would have only one theater and all the rest would have to be evacuated for lack of means. Of course we have too many theaters as a matter of fact, but the illustration will serve.

I am certain that this matter has been taken to you through G-3 and probably the SOS, but I wish you would give it your personal attention.

I have thought that the Divisions going to England were very much over-motorized considering the probable nature of their mission until the time arrived for an advance to the Rhine. Even then the mass of transportation would be so formidable that we might become involved in the abandonment of the operation because of lack of ocean transportation to get the vehicles into the theater. The space taken by motor vehicles on cargo ships is a very important factor. The rubber consumed is another very important factor.

Please let me have your comments.2

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. Marshall sent a copy of this memorandum to the Operations Division and to G-3 with the following handwritten note attached: “I think this is very important. I am convinced that, in general, we are over motorized to a critical degree. G.C.M.” (NA/RG 165 [OCS, 451 (9-10-42)].)

2. The editors have not found a written response from McNair, but on October 20 the assistant chief of staff for Organization and Training (G-3) sent Marshall a memorandum summarizing the action to date. “Our unit Tables of Organization were apparently designed with little thought to the fact that every soldier and piece of equipment must be moved by ship to a combat zone.” But G-3 was reluctant to institute another mass revision of these tables in order to reduce transportation allowances, as many units had not yet had time to implement the most recent revisions. The problem of enforcing vehicle-reduction directives already issued had not yet been solved. (Edwards Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, October 20, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 451 (10-8-42)].)

Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), p. 370.

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