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To James H. Kindelberger
February 25, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Mr. Kindelberger:
Thank you for your detailed letter of February twelfth and the copy of the report of the North American Aviation Company. I have taken both home to read at my convenience, but a hurried glance has impressed me with the value of the report.1
I don’t know whether you recall a brief tour of your plant under your guidance that I made with Frank Andrews in the fall of 1939 . I was then the head of the War Plans Division but seized the opportunity of making a trip with Andrews on a general inspection of Air Corps activities throughout the United States. This gave me my first detailed opportunity to size up the over-all requirements in organization, training, and materiel for the Air Corps, and proved to be a most valuable preliminary step towards my later occupations.2 At an earlier date, 1928 I believe, I visited their Tactical School at Langley Field and in 1930 had both instructors and students from that School with me at Fort Benning, where incidentally I tried to convince them of the necessity for developing battlefield bombing; but the convincing argument was left to the Germans in the break-through at Sedan.3
You certainly have reason to be proud of the splendid record being made by your B-25 bombers. They were at it again yesterday in the Kasserine Pass.4
When next you come to Washington I hope you will give me an opportunity to see you.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. The president of North American Aviation, Incorporated, Kindelberger had written to call the chief of staff’s attention to certain pertinent portions of the special report he enclosed which described the company’s operations during the previous year, particularly their success in training and utilizing their work force. (Kindelberger to Marshall, February 12, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)
2. Concerning Marshall’s August 1938 trip with Frank M. Andrews, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-503-#1-507 [1: 616-19].
3. Marshall describes the formation of his ideas on the use of airpower ibid., #1-514 [1: 631-35]. On the afternoon of May 13, 1940, General Heinz Guderian’s Nineteenth Panzer Corps, supported by bombers, dive bombers, and artillery, broke through and into the rear of the Allied line at Sedan, the junction of the Maginot Line and the mobile Allied forces arrayed to the north and west. (L. F. Ellis, The War in France and Flanders, 1939-1940, a volume in the History of the Second World War [London: HMSO, 1953], pp. 44-46.)
4. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s forces had pushed the United States Second Corps through the Kasserine Pass on February 20. Stiffening Allied resistance, his own combat losses, bad weather, mud, and terrain ill-suited for tank warfare convinced Rommel that his offensive could not successfully proceed further, so he began withdrawing his forces back through the pass on February 22, completing this maneuver by late February 24. (Howe, Northwest Africa, pp. 453-74.)
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. 563-564.