3-257 Memorandum to British Chiefs of Staff, July 24, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: July 24, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum to British Chiefs of Staff

July 24, 1942 [London, England]


It having been decided that SLEDGEHAMMER is not to be undertaken as a scheduled operation, we propose the following general plans for 1942-3:

a. That no avoidable reduction in preparations for ROUND-UP should be favorably considered so long as there remains any reasonable possibility of its successful execution before July 1943.

(1) That Allied air strength continue to be built up in U.K. to provide for a constantly increasing intensity of air attack on GERMANY.

(2) That, for purposes of deception and to be ready for any emergency or a favorable opportunity, all preparations for SLEDGEHAMMER continue to be pressed except as to concentration of landing craft or other details that seriously interfere with training for ROUND-UP, and that a task force commander be appointed with authority to organize the force, direct the training and maintain a contingent plan for execution. The troops and supporting units, so far as possible, to be immediately placed under his control.

b. That, if the British COS prepare to ship an armored division to the MIDDLE EAST, a U.S. reinforced armored division (about 19,000 men) be substituted therefore, moving in BRITISH shipping.

c. That, if the situation on the RUSSIAN front September 15th indicates such a collapse or weakening of RUSSIAN resistance as to make ROUND-UP appear impracticable of successful execution, the decision should be taken to launch a combined operation against the NORTH and NORTHWEST COAST of AFRICA at the earliest possible date before December 1942.

(1) That the combined plans for this operation should immediately be developed and that the latest date be determined after which the necessary shipping, naval forces and troops units can be assembled in time to permit the initial landing operations before the limiting date-1 December 1942.

(2) That it be understood that a commitment to this operation renders ROUND-UP, in all probability impracticable of successful execution in 1943 and therefore that we have definitely accepted a defensive, encircling line of action for the CONTINENTAL EUROPEAN THEATER, except as to air operation.

(3) That the U.S. commitment for this operation will require BRITISH assistance in aircraft carriers, covering forces and escort vessels.

d. That for the purpose of furthering offensive operations in the PACIFIC the following readjustment of present U.S. commitments to BOLERO will be made:

(1) Withdrawal of the following air forces:

3 groups heavy bombers

2 groups medium bombers

2 groups light bombers

2 groups fighter planes

2 groups observation planes

4 groups transport planes

(2) Probably shipping to move one infantry or marine division from U.S. WEST COAST to SOUTHWEST PACIFIC.

e. That it be understood that heavy and medium bomber units in the UNITED KINGDOM are available for transfer to AFRICAN THEATER as required.

f. That the security of the BRITISH ISLES is a first charge upon the military resources of both the U.K. and the U.S.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), Combined Chiefs of Staff 334, Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 278-279.

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Holding ID: 3-257

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