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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
May 15, 1943 Radio No. 2321 Washington, D.C.
From Marshall to Eisenhower for his EYES ONLY. BIGOT.
Have just read fortune message stating that force 545 has been redesignated “12th Army”. Please give me your views as to whether Patton’s Force should be designated as an army, possibly on a provisional basis without changes in its composition or tables of organization. What I have in mind is the question of National Prestige. Throughout the Tunisian Campaign, American Forces fought as an Army Corps, while the British fought as 2 armies. It is well recognized, of course, that a Corps is normally a smaller organization and the logical conclusion on the part of the world in general will be that, if the British employ an army and the US employs a corps, our contribution to HUSKY is much less than theirs.2 I took up with Dill the proposition not to call British Force a 12th Army. He thinks army designation unavoidable considering Montgomery and size of Typical British Corps.3
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 3, Item 8, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. This message was originally drafted by the Operations Division; General Marshall added the last two sentences. (Copy with Marshall’s handwritten addition in NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 3, Item 8].)
2. The British force, known as Force 545, was redesignated the Twelfth Army during the planning phase; it was the Eighth Army during the invasion. Brigadier General John E. Hull, acting assistant chief of staff of the Operations Division, had written to Marshall of his concern that if Montgomery’s force was designated an army and Patton’s force was designated a corps, then world opinion would naturally but incorrectly conclude that the British contribution to HUSKY was much more than that of the United States. (Fortune via AFHQ Algiers to Middle East for Force 545, et al., May 10, 1943, and Hull Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, May 13, 1943, NA/ RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 3, Item 1c].)
3. Eisenhower replied in favor of designating Patton’s force as an army. (Papers of DDE, 2: 1141.) For the composition of Patton’s Seventh Army and Montgomery’s Eighth Army, see Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1943-1944, p. 149; Albert N. Garland and Howard McGaw Smyth, Sicily and the Surrender of Italy, a volume in the United States Army in World War II (Washington: GPO, 1965), p. 57.
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. 694-695.