US men under arms in 1945? Demobilization question.

Discussions on all aspects of the United States of America during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Carl Schwamberger.
User avatar
Posts: 8618
Joined: 21 Sep 2005 21:46
Location: Michigan

US men under arms in 1945? Demobilization question.

Post by LWD » 03 Sep 2009 13:07

This is the fip side of a request for similar info on the Soviet Union on that board. Does any one have monthly figures for men under arms for the US in 45? I've recently learned that the US did start or at least considered some demobilizatoin after the end of the war in Europe. Anyone got figures as to how extensive this was?

User avatar
der alte Landser
Posts: 103
Joined: 11 Aug 2009 16:19
Location: Eugene, Oregon

Re: US men under arms in 1945? Demobilization question.

Post by der alte Landser » 04 Sep 2009 01:17

At it's peak in March 1945, the US Army had over 8,000,000 soldiers on active duty. Here's a break-down from History Shots:

The best I could come up with regarding postwar strength is the excerpt below. Hope this helps.


"The Army and Navy had worked separately during the war to determine what their postwar strengths should be and had produced plans for an orderly demobilization. The Navy developed a program for 600,000 men, 370 combat and 5,000 other ships, and 8,000 aircraft. The Army Air Forces was equally specific, setting its sights on becoming a separate service with 400,000 members, 70 air wings, and a complete organization of supporting units. The Army initially established as an over-all postwar goal a Regular and Reserve structure capable of mobilizing four million men within a year of any future outbreak of war; later it set the strength of the active ground and air forces at one and a half million. Demobilization plans called for the release of troops on an individual basis, each man receiving point credit for length of service, combat participation and awards, time spent overseas, and parenthood. The shipping available to bring overseas troops home and the capacity to process discharges were considered in setting the number of points determining eligibility for release, with the whole scheme aimed at producing a systematic transition to a peacetime military structure.

Pressure for faster demobilization from an articulate public, the Congress, and the troops themselves upset the plans for an orderly demobilization. The Army, which felt the greatest pressure, responded by easing the eligibility requirement and releasing half its eight million troops by the end of 1945. Early in 1946, when the Army cut down the return of troops from abroad in order to meet its overseas responsibilities, a crescendo of protest greeted the move, including troop demonstrations in the Philippines, China, England, France, Germany, Hawaii, and even California. The public cry diminished only after the Army more than halved its remaining strength during the first six months of 1946.

President Truman, determined to balance the national budget, meanwhile developed and through fiscal year 1950 employed a "remainder method" of calculating military budgets, subtracting all other expenditures from revenues before recommending a military appropriation. The dollar ceiling applied for fiscal year 1947 dictated a new maximum Army strength of just over one million. To reach it, the Army issued no more draft calls and released all postwar draftees along with the remaining troops eligible for demobilization. By June 30, 1947, the Army was a volunteer body of 684,000 ground troops and 306,000 airmen. (The Navy was meanwhile reduced to a strength of 484,000, the Marine Corps to 92,000.) It was still a large peacetime Army, but shortages of capable maintenance troops resulted in a widespread deterioration of equipment, and remaining Army units, understrength and infused with briefly trained replacements, were only shadows of the efficient organizations they had been at the end of the war."

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10035
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: US men under arms in 1945? Demobilization question.

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Sep 2009 04:44

The US Army Green Books have a chapter on this. Short on statistics it instead describes the chaos as men not to be demobilized were shuffled from one formation to another as regiments and divisions were disbanded. This was aggravated by the reformation of units in the ETO for service vs Japan, which were then subjected to 'churning' as they were shifted from preparping for combat in the Paciifc & into demobilization. Units not disbanding spent their time at tasks like keeping public order as governments rebuilt the police and service. That meant little time for training. Lack of training and the constant shifting of personnel meant any potiential combat performance depended on a cadre of veteran NCOs and officers who had worked together for just a few weeks or maybe months.

Equipment suffered as men who knew they would be leaving a unit shortly and who were harrased with extra administrative tasks neglected maintinance.

It was not until 1948 that personnel movement stabilized, disbanding of units slowed to a managable level. and some effective training started. This was desperately needed by most units as the bulk of the ranks were new draftees and the NCO/Officer cadre had done everything but practice their combat tasks.

Return to “USA 1919-1945”