Allied Daily Sitreps to Combined Chiefs/UK Chiefs of Staff

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Tom from Cornwall
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Allied Daily Sitreps to Combined Chiefs/UK Chiefs of Staff

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 23 Nov 2022 20:08


Not sure which section to put this but thought this was most appropriate and hoping to spark a discussion.

I'm reading Eisenhower's Papers Vol II at the moment and came across references to the contrast between American and British reporting from theatres to the various Chiefs of Staff (Combined Chiefs of Staff and UK Chiefs of Staffs committees) and political leaders.

At the beginning of TORCH, Eisenhower produced several situation reports ("reviews") but apparently this practice didn't continue as the campaign proceeded. In the footnote on p.672, this is discussed as follows:
This cable, drafted shortly after midnight, was the second of Eisenhower’s detailed reviews of the situation which he began to send irregularly to the Combined Chiefs of Staff. (Review No. 1 is indicated in the previous document, n.1.) For an example of a later review, see no. 711. The British, who maintained a tighter control over their field commanders than did the Americans, received daily situation reports from all theaters during the war. The American did not submit daily situation reports. Eisenhower prepared a number of “reviews” during the initial stages of TORCH, but he never approved of the British practice and soon abandoned it (see also no.1167).
I flipped forward to no.1167 and found this:

Eisenhower Mss.,
August 5, 1943
To Harold Rupert Leofric Alexander
Cable #7917, Secret

Personal for General Alexander from Eisenhower: Thank you very much for your MA 355.1 I know that you send daily telegrams to CIGS. He personally requested and secured several months ago my authorization for resumption of this practice in this theater, which had been temporarily suspended due to difficulties before the problem of censorship and communiques had been satisfactorily solved. I assure you that so long as you are the single source of such daily telegrams, either to the CIGS or to the Prime Minister, I not only have no objection but am gratified that this is done because it relieves me of the burden of searching out every detail in which the CIGS and the Prime Minister might be interested. Moreover, I appreciate your offer to send me the same kind of daily message, for the reason that in this way I will have the same factual and speculative information as will be available in London. This is frequently important. I suggest that you mark all such telegrams personal for me, in order that they do not receive general circulation in the staff.
Does anyone know if AFHQ or SHAEF ever restarted the process of sending regular SitReps? Did the Pacific commanders provide greater information to Washington? Did SHAEF and 21st Army Group discuss how this would work before the invasion of Normandy?

According to the minutes, there was some concern shown by British Chiefs of Staff that planning for invasion of Italy in Aug/Sep 43 was conducted by AFHQ without timely communication of plans to London; has anyone seen a similar concern in any of the Joint Chiefs committee records?

I'm wondering if the British practice was driven by Churchill's close relationship with the UK Chiefs of Staff, the relatively late formation of US Joint Chiefs of Staff committee in early 1942 or just sheer distance from the battlefront.

I'd be interested in any alternative views on this UK/US difference.



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