USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

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Tom from Cornwall
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 16 May 2020 14:18

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
16 May 2020 13:07
Hello Tom

On page 418 was write
Hi,

That's perfect, thanks very much.

Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Jul 2020 01:37

Notes of interest to this thread... From the War Production Board minutes of October 27, 1942:
Mr. May presented evidence showing that the production capacity available or planned for some munitions, such as combat vehicles, small arms, small arms munitions, and artillery gun components, sub stantially exceeds the production rates required by objectives. Upon the most conservative estimate the excess capacity available before the end of 1943 amounts to almost 3 billion dollars of production. He urged that facilities for which there will be an over-capacity be diverted insofar as possible to pro duce items in which there are shortages.
https://play.google.com/books/reader?id ... =GBS.PA172

The U.S. accidentally accumulated sufficient capacity to expand Army production... Imagine the scope of production possible had it aimed at higher army production.

Regarding the "impossibility" of tradeoffs between air and land production frequently claimed on this board:
Because production in the nearby months will fall short of expectations, the acceleration will have to be even greater than that scheduled if the 8–K program of 107,000 planes in 1943 is to be achieved. Increased output is dependent on large facilities ex pansions, completion of which on time is by no means assured. The 8-K program will require before April 30, 1943, 72,000 new machine tools whose delivery will interfere seriously with programs other than aircraft. About 31,000 critical tools will have to be delivered by the end of January, but it is esti mated that not over 20,000 can be delivered by that date, so that airplane production will fall short of expectations. To correct this situation, Mr. May recommended that the machine tool requirements of the airplane program be scrutinized to assure that all tools requested are in fact needed; that as many tools as possible be obtained from non-war industries; and, that machine tool output be concen trated on critical tools.
WPB minutes of November 24, 1942.

The point is glaringly obvious, yet denied by many on AHF: the decision to expand aircraft manufacturing came at the cost of other capacity expansions (e.g. land weapons).

WPB Minutes of December 1, 1942:
General Clay reviewed the changes in the Army Supply Program for 1942 and 1943. On February 1, 1942, after taking into account the fullest Inter national Aid requirements and the President's ob jectives for aircraft, tanks, and supplementary com ponents, the Army Supply Program totalled 62 billion dollars. On April 6, after consideration of the limits of shipping and consultation with other United Nations, the Program was reduced to 45 billion dollars. On May 29, after adjusting for the probable availability of raw materials and reducing International Aid, it was further curtailed to 38 billion dollars. After a slight increase on September 1 to 40 billion dollars, the Program was again reduced on November 12 to 31 billion dollars after giving effect to the augmented needs of the aircraft program.
From December 8, 1942:
Admiral Robinson stated that the recent issuance of Amendment No. 3 to General Preference Order E-1-b allocated 75 percent of the production of machine tools to the aircraft program and is diverting tools ordered by the Navy for escort vessels.
December 22, 1942:
In view of the recent cutback in the program, the Army Ground Force program does not face an over-all shortage of facilities.
Also:
The major reductions in the 1943 objectives have been in the aircraft program and its related muni tions, which were cut back approximately 12 percent, and in the Army Ground Force program, which was reduced one-fourth. Adjustments in the Navy pro gram have not yet been completed, but on the basis of the best information available to date, the reduction is estimated at about 7 percent.
So the 1942 cuts fell disproportionately on Army Ground Forces, reducing it further from the low-priority status already envisioned in such pre-war documents as the Victory Program of 1941.

Note also the very small projected cut to Navy programs. As discussed upthread, Navy programs benefited from a massive increase in escort funding, which stemmed from the entirely-avoidable disaster in North American waters during early '42 (Operation Drumbeat).
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Oct 2020 02:05

Further empirical data supporting O'Brien's - and my - contention that the U.S. swerved even further away from deploying a large land army in late '42:

Image

The blue rectangle encloses a halt/reduction in ASF (army ground forces) production growth from 1Q '43, exactly coinciding with the late '42 swerve that O'Brien highlights. While ASF production growth halted, AAF production continued to grow by absolute margins greater than previous AAF growth.

And note that - contra O'Brien - I contend that the US was under-invested in its army even before the late-'42 swerve.

Combined with the near-simultaneous cut in landing craft production, we can confidently assert the correctness of the modern Russian view that the West was happy to have Russians shoulder the (blood) burden of beating Germany.

An earlier landing in Europe was easily possible given a different strategic outlook. It would have saved millions of lives and a year of European misery.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Oct 2020 22:46

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
16 May 2020 12:04
Apropos the origins of FDR's desire for the USA to produce huge numbers of aircraft, in David Reynolds book "From Munich to Pearl Harbour" (pp.44-45) he quotes FDR talking at a conference with 'the military and senior administration officials' on 14 November 1938:
the recrudescence of German power at Munich had completely reoriented our own international relations...the United States now faced the possibility of an attack on the Atlantic side in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. He said that this demanded our providing immediately a huge air force so that we do not need to have a huge army to follow that air force. He considered that sending a large army abroad was undesirable and politically out of the question.

EDIT to add: I think this article might contain a hint: Roosevelt and the Coming of the War: The Search for United States Policy 1937-42
Mark M. Lowenthal, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 16, No. 3, The Second World War: Part 2 (Jul., 1981), pp. 413-440.

Has anyone got access to that?

Regards

Tom
I just noticed this, Tom - thanks. Must have missed it a few months back...

I read the article added in your edit. Good read. Of FDR it begins:
President Roosevelt's policy, for
all of the linearity later imposed on it, was actually a series of fits
and starts whose interconnection the President himself denied at
the time.
...
In each period Roosevelt knew, at least vaguely and
usually within broad general outlines, what he wanted and what he
hoped to avoid. Unfortunately, he regularly failed to define this for
those subordinates responsible for executing this policy, leaving
them to arrive at their own conclusions upon which to base and
carry out their plans.
This immediately made me want to read the whole article. IMO too much of historical analysis tries to read a coherent mental map onto historical figures. This applies to Hitler, Churchill, Stalin, etc. Historians play the game "What was in X's heart all along" when anyone with insight into their own mind knows that what lies within can't be mapped neatly in a strategic diagram.

The quote, "[FDR] considered that sending a large army abroad was undesirable and politically out of the question" supports the contention that lies at the heart of my ATL: That US and W.Allied strategy in WW2 was powerfully dictated by political aversion to large armies.

I've said upthread that the Victory Program of 1941 was a bad strategy that never would have worked. Taking VP41's assumption that Germany had defeated the SU and absorbed its economic benefits by 1943, it is simply implausible that conventional bombing alone would have forced Germany's surrender or weakened it sufficiently to allow her defeat with a small army.

But VP41 wasn't a bad strategy because Wedemayer was stupid. Rather, Wedemayer was smart enough - politically and militarily - to know that raising a massive land army to defeat Germany was politically out of the question.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Richard Anderson » 10 Oct 2020 01:57

A rather important clarification for those reading posts.

ASF was not "army ground forces". ASF was Army Services Forces. Army Ground Forces was AGF. And, yes, just to head off the next cry of "it's just unimportant minutia", ASF was the War Department procurement agency for AGF unit and TBA equipment and munitions, as well as for ASF unit and TBA equipment, AND all Army Air Force (AAF) unit and TBA equipment and munitions, EXCEPT for airframes, aircraft engines, and propellers. In other words, all the bombs dropped, rockets and guns fired, as well as the guns, sighting equipment, radios, personnel equipment, the bomb trucks and trailers that hauled ordnance to the planes, the fueling trucks that fueled the planes, the shearling coats and pants worn at altitude, the oxygen masks, flak vests and helmets, and uniforms worn were procured via ASF funding, not by AAF funding.
Last edited by Richard Anderson on 10 Oct 2020 16:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Oct 2020 02:16

Thank you to the member who ignores me for his research assistance. I was indeed thinking that ASF was being used to mean AGF, basically. What's TBA?

The helpful research assistance makes my point even stronger:

As "ASF" covers non-aircraft procurement for both AGF and AAF, an even smaller portion of resources was going to AGF than I thought. AAF non-ordnance needs were definitely growing in 1943, so it's almost certain that AGF procurement declined throughout the period instead of just in 1Q '43.

Is there a document that distinguishes ASF spending on AGF from spending on AAF? One rough estimate might be to apportion AGF/AAF non-ordnance spending according to the relative manpower in those branches. It's difficult to see which would have spent more per man - AAF needed a ton of logistical support for its airfield infrastructure, AGF for its field supply lines and general troop maintenance.

Either way, it is even more clear that the W.Allies could have invaded Europe earlier, ending the war in '44 and saving millions of lives.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Georg_S » 10 Oct 2020 07:16

Once again, you two behave!! As I wrote just a few hours Ago. Im fed Up with you two throwing **** on each other . There is No use to tell the world who has One or another om ignorelist. Its just a way to provoce each other.

See this as a Final warning!

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Oct 2020 08:23

@Tom from Cornwall

Thanks again for the article, more from it:
the priority of Rainbow 4 also
indicated the pessimistic although not unrealistic views of the
military planners, namely that the US would have to stand alone in
the near future. Roosevelt evidently did not agree, presenting the
military with a strategic hypothesis of his own on 13 June 1940,
which presumed for the end of 1940 the survival of Britain and its
empire, France still fighting from its empire, and US naval and air
units co-operating with the Allies on the periphery of occupied countries
As I said upthread, FDR consistently had the better appraisal of the grand strategic situation than his military. Virtually alone he foresaw the possibility of the SU enduring and the urgency of helping it, same with Britain. (he was wrong about France and its colonies but that's minor)

BTW - Has anyone read Second Front Now: 1943 by Walter Dunn? Several reviews by military historians say that Dunn proves his case on the military feasibility of a '43 landing, though disagreeing with his political analysis. It also has a forward by General Wedemayer - the author of the 1941 Victory Program. Given VP41's diagnosis, Wedemayer demonstrates a lot of intellectual nimbleness if he came around to Dunn's view.

[of course Wedemayer was a very smart and nimble guy: "A British general took great exception to Wedemeyer's pronunciation of the word 'schedule', which as all Americans do, he pronounced 'skedule'. 'Where did you learn to speak like that?' he asked. Wedemeyer replied: 'I must have learned it at "school"!" :lol: ]

Dunn's analysis appears to take for granted OTL events up to mid-1943; my analysis does not. If the US was capable of Roundup in OTL '43, it certainly would have been capable in my ATL with its greater focus on AGF and landing craft, plus avoiding the Operation Drumbeat fiasco and its shipping implications.

Georg_S wrote:you two behave!!
Trying my best, Georg. All I said was thank you - thought that might help things go smoother. Trying to be nice. I no longer tell people if they are on my ignore list.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Aber » 10 Oct 2020 11:12

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Oct 2020 08:23
BTW - Has anyone read Second Front Now: 1943 by Walter Dunn? Several reviews by military historians say that Dunn proves his case on the military feasibility of a '43 landing, though disagreeing with his political analysis.
Read it.

It is Army focussed and shows how lip-service was paid to Europe First. It doesn't prove the case as there is very little on shipping logistics and IIRC it is light on actual readiness of US divisions still in training in 1943.

The main problems with arguing for a landing in NW France in 1943 are:
a) when you make the decision
b) what you sacrifice to make it possible

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Terry Duncan » 10 Oct 2020 13:46

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Oct 2020 08:23
Trying my best, Georg. All I said was thank you - thought that might help things go smoother. Trying to be nice. I no longer tell people if they are on my ignore list.
Just a tip, posting things that come across as sarcastic or attempts at having the last word to the site owner might not be in your best interests?

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Oct 2020 14:38

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Oct 2020 08:23
...

BTW - Has anyone read Second Front Now: 1943 by Walter Dunn? Several reviews by military historians say that Dunn proves his case on the military feasibility of a '43 landing, though disagreeing with his political analysis. It also has a forward by General Wedemayer - the author of the 1941 Victory Program. Given VP41's diagnosis, Wedemayer demonstrates a lot of intellectual nimbleness if he came around to Dunn's view.

Dunn's analysis appears to take for granted OTL events up to mid-1943; my analysis does not. If the US was capable of Roundup in OTL '43, it certainly would have been capable in my ATL with its greater focus on AGF and landing craft, plus avoiding the Operation Drumbeat fiasco and its shipping implications.
Yes. Dunn makes some substantial errors or distortions. Looks like he exaggerates the resources available for 1943. Whatever the merits of a 1943 invasion Dunn is not the final word for making a case. If one dials down the strategic objective for such a operation it may look more practical.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Oct 2020 21:12

Aber wrote: shows how lip-service was paid to Europe First
That's always been clear even from the Army's own publications:

Image

This understates Pacific shipping resources as the trip to South Pacific requires ~twice the shipping per man as did Bolero. Also doesn't include Marine units and the Navy's massively-resourced Pacific projects.
Aber wrote:The main problems with arguing for a landing in NW France in 1943 are:
a) when you make the decision
b) what you sacrifice to make it possible
As the article from Tom from Cornwall relates, a basic problem was FDR's inability to provide clear strategic guidance to the armed forces. I've discussed this far upthread regarding American defense against Operation Drumbeat as well.

Had FDR resolved firmly on a Europe-first policy and directed/supervised the service chiefs accordingly, we wouldn't have seen King ignoring the Atlantic and the massive deployments to the Pacific early in the war. These actions weren't so much a reflection of a "Europe Second" strategy as they were a lack of firm strategic direction with the service chiefs deploying resources as they saw fit in the absence of such direction.
Aber wrote:there is very little on shipping logistics and IIRC it is light on actual readiness of US divisions still in training in 1943.
Deployments to the Pacific took ~twice as much shipping per man deployed as did Bolero. So for each division not deployed westwards you can send two eastwards. And again, if you don't let the navy ignore half the Battle of Atlantic in early '42 you should have an extra 2mil tons of ships, which would remove any practical shipping constraints on Bolero buildup.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Aber » 11 Oct 2020 08:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Oct 2020 21:12
which would remove any practical shipping constraints on Bolero buildup.
But not UK port capacity constraints, or building infrastructure in the UK.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 11 Oct 2020 13:13

Aber wrote:
11 Oct 2020 08:36
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Oct 2020 21:12
which would remove any practical shipping constraints on Bolero buildup.
But not UK port capacity constraints, or building infrastructure in the UK.
Interesting. Anyone have sources on this? Throughput capacity in '43 vs. '44 for example?
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 11 Oct 2020 18:00

Aber wrote:
11 Oct 2020 08:36
But not UK port capacity constraints, or building infrastructure in the UK.
And of interest is Mountbatten's point made in March 1942 that the south coast ports of England had suffered considerable damage since the start of the war and work would be required to fit them for a role in a cross-channel attack in 1942 (CAB80/61):
CAB-8-61-4 - England south coast ports.JPG
Actually, I'm not sure that the south coast ports were actually in use at this point.

Regards

Tom
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