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To Lieutenant General Joseph T. McNarney1
November 12(?), 1943 Radio [Chesapeake Bay, Maryland]
To Honey [McNarney] from Rumba [Marshall].
Statements contained in the message sent on 10 November to Eisenhower Number 2228 in Log cause me concern.2 The fact that the 240 mm howitzer still requires modifications and that standard prime movers for these howitzers will not be available until early 1944, but especially the statement that at this late date tests are just being expedited to determine what available prime movers may be employed. Why haven’t these tests been made before now? The message indicates that howitzers for two 240 mm battalions will be ready for overseas shipment by 15 December. The message implies the battalions are in existence, yet that it will be two months after suitable prime movers are secured before the two battalions can be ready. I can readily understand delays due to priorities but it seems to me that we should not have things like this happening after two years of war. Please have the entire matter investigated from all points of view Ordnance, Ground Forces, War Department G-3 et cetera.
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 5, Item 15, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Marshall may have sent this message from the USS Iowa, which was anchored in the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Potomac River. The Iowa and attendant ships (Task Group 27.5) put to sea shortly after midnight on November 13, after which time the ship exercised radio silence.
2. This November 10 message from the Operations Division concerning the availability of 8-inch and 240-mm howitzers, said in part: “240 MM howitzers require modifications and it is estimated that howitzers for two battalions can be modified and ready for shipment by December 15, 1943. Standard prime mover for 240 MM howitzer, heavy tractor M-6, will not be available until early in 1944, probably February. The medium tractor M-4 is not an adequate prime mover for the 240 MM howitzer. However, expedited tests are being conducted to determine if other available prime movers will be satisfactory. You will be informed as to the results of these tests. Two trained battalions of 240 MM howitzers can be ready for shipment two months after suitable prime movers have been secured.” (O.P.D. to Eisenhower, November 10, 1943, Out Log, p. 30, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Message Log].)
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. 186-187.