4-573 Memorandum for General Somervell, November 11, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 11, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Somervell

November 11, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


I have just been discussing with Mr. Morgenthau the basis for his appeal for the new War Loan; something a little different from the statements in the past and of a nature that can be readily understood by the public.1

It seems to me that the best text would be an illustration of the fact that with the virtual completion of the deployment of the Army, air and ground, and particularly with the opening of the port of Antwerp, the consumption of munitions, gasoline and clothing and similar items as well, will be on a tremendously increased scale. As an illustration the comparison between the consumption of four divisions in the Tunisian battle with the present consumption in France and Italy would be very effective.

He will need telling paragraphs that make clear the great difference in our necessities between a division training here in the United States or in England and that same division actively occupied on the front.2

A further effective comparison would relate to the Pacific where the operations at Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan and in the Palau Islands, while difficult and vicious, were of short duration but from now on the action will be continuous in the Philippines and the consumption in munitions accordingly greater.

I mentioned the port of Antwerp. I think a very telling play can be made on this without involving ourselves in security control, and that is that from now on the consumption will be tremendously increased because of easier deliveries through the Port and because of the fact that we shall be free to deploy a maximum number of divisions which has not been the case in the past.

Mr. Morgenthau suggested that we could cite as a single example the consumption of ammunition required to take Aachen and then carry that comparison along the line that the entire front will be a series of Aachens from now on.3

Will you have someone work up data on this purely as such and then also some suggested paragraphs for Mr. Morgenthau.4

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. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., was preparing to open the Sixth War Loan Drive on November 20. The goal was to borrow $14,000,000,000.

2. The statistics gathered for Secretary Morgenthau stated that a division used seventy-five hundred tons of supplies per month while in training in the United States and forty thousand per month while in combat. In training, for example, the average man wore out a pair of shoes in six months and a pair of trousers in eight months; in combat the time was two and a half and three months respectively. (Wilhelm D. Styer Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, November 13, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

3. The U.S. Army fired three hundred thousand 105-mm howitzer shells in the Aachen sector in two weeks during October—one every four seconds. (Ibid.)

4. Marshall’s response to the Army Service Forces’ 1,550-word (plus three pages of statistics) draft was a handwritten note to Secretary of the General Staff McCarthy on the draft’s cover letter: “This has too lengthy a detailed statistical account. It does not clearly make the great point that now that the armies are finally deployed and almost every division engaged, for the first time the daily expenditures of munitions will be tremendous and will be increasingly so up to the moment of the armistice. Tell Mr. Morgenthau the statement is not what I intended, but contains data he can use. Tell him I will endeavor to give him to-morrow a short summary of the situation—a/so a statement of our present critical shortages—arty. amm, etc. G. C. M.” On November 14, Assistant Secretary of the General Staff Pasco composed a 640-word memorandum for Secretary Morgenthau. (Ibid.) Marshall also dictated a statement; see Marshall Memorandum for Colonel McCarthy, November 14, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-577 [4: 660-61].

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. 656-657.

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