Hello All :
As for the United States entering into the War in 1939-1940 to help save France, while the condition of
the U.S. Army was not good, it was also not as terrible as might be expected.
If you go to :
https://history.army.mil/documents/wwii ... 20Measures
You can quickly see that the U.S. Army could call on some 125,000 regulars, nearly 200,000 National Guard Troops,
and there were also about 100,000 U.S. Army Reserve that could be activated. This gives you, assuming a 50%
activation of the Guard and Reserves, about 275,000 pairs of boots that could be put on the ground in France.
If you go to :
You can see the various organizations of the U.S. Army Divisions. Now, the USA was starting to go from the
'Square' division of some 20,000+ men to the smaller, more nimble ' Triangular' divisions, which numbered
Assuming the Army does the smart thing, ( Not necessarily a given, considering that almost every serving
senior U.S. Army Officer has spent the last 20 years polishing his butt cheeks on a swivel chair ) this means
you could put together something on the order of 20 Triangular Infantry Divisions, or six Corp of three Divisions
each and two Divisions left over. You could round up the National Guard Units, go through them in terms
of a quick and dirty Org Study, and put them together into triangular Guard Divisions, much like the AEF did in
WW1 with the Rainbow Division. A lot of these guys are overaged and out of shape, but compared to the
French and British Army Regular Soldiers, they are almost like SS Stormtroopers.....
If you gathered up all of the WW1 Vintage Mk VIII Heavy Tanks, all of the Renault FT17 / M1917 Light Tanks,
and all of the M1 and M2 Combat Cars and Light Tanks, you could probably get a total of about 250 tanks
of all sorts, to make an extremely ad hoc and extemporized Tank Division. The Tanks would need a paint
overhaul and a lot of engine and tranny maintenance, but nothing that couldn't be done on a rush basis
in the U.S., providing you lit a fire under a few officers and some contractors.
If you gatherered up every available 2 1/2 ton truck and half track, and put a bunch of 75mm M2s ( the
1897s with the rubber tired carriages ) behind them on tow hitches, you could probably mechanize the two
leftover Infantry Divisions from the above 20 divisions, and make them Mechanized Infantry to accompany the Armored Tank Division.
This gives you six Infantry Corps of three straight leg Infantry Divisions each, plus a Mechanized Corp of
a Tank Division and two Mech Infantry Divisions. Now, these men would be wearing Pie Pan helmets, Puttees,
and carrying 1903 Springfield Rifles, along with BARs, M1917 Machine Guns, and their artillery would be horse
drawn 75mm M1897s, but a quarter of a million soldiers is still worth something.
As has been proposed by Mr. TheMarcksPlan, they could be used in quiet sectors, or alternatively, they
could be held as a vast ' Armee de Reserve ', and, as the German attack developed, they could be put into
the line in front of it, stiffening French resistance and slowing the German Blitzkrieg just long enough for
the Allies to get their lines set up and turn the war into a repeat of 1914-1918.
If you halt Hitler in 1940, the wheels come off the Axis little red wagon in a BIGGLY way !
As for USAAC, if the U.S. goes into high gear in September, 1939, the Curtiss factory ramps up production
of the Hawk 75 / P36 massively. This means on the order of 150 new fighters per month from the beginning
of 1940. Add to this the Northrop A17 attack planes, that you also step up production of, and the Douglas
B-18 Medium Bomber ( A waste of space, but better than nothing ) and you have a very good suite of radial
engined aircraft capable of defensive CAP over the U.S. forces, and equally able to perform some offensive
strikes against the oncoming German Schwerpunkt.
Finally, there is the B-17..... Yes, you could put together a strike group of about 40 B-17As and B-17Bs, and,
starting in March and April, start doing high altitude night missions from France into Germany. Each B-17
would carry a ton of bombs, equally mixed between 250 lb high explosives and incendiaries, and begin
targeting German Cities in a terror campaign to discredit Hitler. Consider: Forty B-17s, dropping 320
bombs per night, from 25,000 feet over Berlin, FOR A WEEK ! Goering would never recover !
The NEW AEF would have to be transported over the Atlantic, and the best way is to commandeer every
available U.S. Flagged, French Flagged, and British Flagged Ocean Liner, and convert them into high speed
Troopships in the way that the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary were during WW2. Aircraft could be either
flown to Europe in the case of the B-17s, or shipped over in parts ( B-18s ), or flight decked across, in the
case of the P-36s and A-17s. You could keep the Enterprise and Yorktown in the Paciic, while using the
Lexington, Saratoga, Ranger, Bearn, Eagle, and Hermes as aircraft ferries.
I'll bet you could even put together a Marine Corps Division, and send them over, too.
Everything considered, you might not be able to prevent or defeat an invasion, but you could stop it
dead in it's tracks, and that would give the U.S. Industry time to ramp up and step on Germany by
the end of 1942.
" So beware, Over There,
Send the Word to Beware Over There
Cos the Yanks are comin',
The Yanks are comin',
and We're gonna Strap Hitler
in the CHAIR over there ! "
Paul R. Ward