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4-310 Memorandum for Justice Byrnes, March 23, 1944

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

Subject: World War II


Memorandum for Justice Byrnes

March 23, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]

Subject: Manpower.1

In early 1943 the Army had an authorized ceiling of 8,248,000

Which was to be reached by 31 December 1943 and which was considered

Essential to meet planned operations.

In June 1943 the War Department accepted the hazard of a reduction in

planned combat strength of 12 divisions plus corps Army and service troops

totaling…………………………………………………………………………………….. 548,000

thus giving a new ceiling of………………………………………………………………7,700,000

This new ceiling which was to be reached by 31 December 1943 did not

provide for reserves against unexpected demands or plans. These we hoped

could be met by drastic economies.

The following additional requirements developed since 1 July 1943,

have had to be met:

a. Increase in long range bomber program to exploit the demonstrated

possibilities of the new long rang bomber (B-29)…………………………37,000

b. Increase in air supporting services to step up the bomber offensive

from England and to support the long range B-29 bomber program……..107,000

c. Increase in artillery support for Ground Force combat divisions to

provide additional fire power by increasing the amount of medium and

heavy field artillery……………………………………………………………..24,000

d. Increase in supporting service troops to support accelerated

Ground Force operations in China-Burma-India and in the Mediterranean Area………………………………………………………93,000

e. Increase in service troops to support expanded planned operations in the European Theater of Operations, in North Africa and China-Burma-India…………………………………………………………………………….238,000

f. Increase in replacements required (and in additional training time

found needed to prepare them) based on our combat experience to date and on higher estimates of anticipated losses. (Battlefield casualties due to sickness have been larger than anticipated)…………79,000

g. Establishment of a rotational pool to permit return of men with more than two year’s overseas service…………………………………72,000

h. Increase in overhead requirements of overseas theaters………55,000

i. Increase in long term hospital cases (over 60 days)……………… 10,000

Total new demands715,000

These increased demands were met by the following adjustments and

economies:

a. Reduction in the Army Air Force replacement and student

training program. (The Air Force attrition and loss rate has not been as high as expected, but in this item we are gambling on the length of the war………108,000

b. Reduction in the Army Air Force training establishment in the

United States…………………………………………………………130,000

c. Reduction in the Army Ground Force School and Training system39,000

d. Reduction in the Army Service Force overhead. (This includes

reducing station complement and housekeeping troops whose work is to be performed as additional duties by Ground Force troops in training……112,000

e. Reduction in the Army Specialized Training Program (College

Program)……………………………………………………………………….120,000

f. Savings effected through downward revision of tables of organization. (Many combat and service units will be required to do the same work with fewer men.)…………………………………………………102,000

g. Reduction in defence garrisons. (This includes the coast defense commands of the east and west coasts and the garrisons in the Caribbean, Alaska and Iceland.)………………………………………79,000

h. Miscellaneous minor economies…………………………………… 25,000

Total715,000

To meet these new demands of 715,000 strained the War Department to the limit of its resources. However, on top of this the Army has had to cope with the failure of Selective Service to deliver inductees in accordance with quotas as requested. The following table compares quotas called for by the Army with actual deliveries by Selective Service:

*Call **Inducted Deficit

July, 1943235,000194,00041,000

August175,000131,00044,000

September175,000122,00053,000

October160,000113,00047,000

November175,000118,00057,000

December165,000111,00054,000

January, 1944160,000118,00042,000

February160,000 # 26,000 134,000

* Continental United States only.

** Excludes about 15,000 Puerto Ricans inducted under special calls.

# This reflects transition from policy of granting a 3-week furlough after induction to the policy of preinduction examination.

By virtue of the lag in induction the strength of the Army on 31 December 1943 was 7,482,000, a deficiency of 218,000 under the planned figure. This shortage will not be made up until around 1 April 1944 and because of this the Army has lost three months of vital training time for units which are needed for operations in the immediate future. This delay is particularly serious because we have a timetable of operations which we must adhere to and, if possible, advance the dates.

Added to our problems is the fact that the Army is growing older at an alarming rate. During the first half of 1943 the average age of men supplied by Selective Service was 22.8 years but during the second half of 1943 this average age had jumped to 25.2 years. At the end of 1943 the average age of the Army was 25 years compared to the average enlisted age of 23.6 years for the Navy and 22.1 years for the Marine Corps. Of the approximately 626,000 eighteen-year-olds in the armed services the Army has 228,000; the Navy, 347,000; and the Marine Corps, 51,000. In addition, the Navy and the Marine Corps are exploiting the 17-year-old group, of which the Navy now has approximately 101,000; and the Marine Corps, 8,000. This, of course, will reduce the next 18-year-old class. All of the armed forces recognize how important it is to have hardened young men in their combat forces.

This narrative should not be interpreted as an Army complaint concerning intolerable burdens. Instead, it should be considered as a record of the adjustments that we have made. In mid-1943 the Army reduced its needs by 550,000 and in so doing felt that it had made its maximum possible contribution to the manpower problem. Since that time additional demands totaling 715,000 troops have arisen and have been met by further economies not previously thought possible and by making every possible adjustment which the favorable strategic situation has permitted. A great part of these personnel economies has been made possible by the detailed surveys of the War Department Manpower Board (created in February 1943) which is now in North Africa to determine what streamlining can be effected in the administrative establishments in that theater. Selective Service’s delay has imposed a three months’ time lag in the training of 200,000 men at a period when every week in sailings is of vital importance.

The Army will continue to make every possible manpower economy. As the war moves on, activities which are no longer necessary will be ruthlessly cut. The Army, I believe, has the right to expect similar action from the rest of the nation.

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. See Marshall Memorandum for the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, March 21, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-306 [4: 359]. The first page of Marshall’s handwritten draft for the beginning of this memorandum for James F. Byrnes, director of the Office of War Mobilization, is in the Marshall papers. Marshall also edited the typewritten draft.

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. 362-365.

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