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Evolution of the US Army Division 1939-1968

Evolution of the US Army Division 1939-1968

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Published by Paul D Carrier

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Published by: Paul D Carrier on Feb 04, 2011
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01/29/2013

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(Aggregate Strengths,
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34

CORGM365

division was developed through field tests, perhaps
the most elaborate of their kind ever conducted in
peacetime in the United States.

McNair himself did the main work of trans-
forming the new division from theory to actuality
as chief of staff of the test division. Out of the
tests came a report recommending a triangular
division of 10,275 men to replace the 22,000-man
square division. The War Department did not
approve quite so drastic a reduction even though
it approved the principal organizational patterns
that emerged from the tests; it adopted a division
of 14,981 men. During the interval when McNair
was chief of staff, GHQ, he lost direct connection
with infantry reorganization, and in his opinion fat
began to accumulate In the division anew. When he
became commander of AGF, he created a study
group to trim down the infantry division again, from
its then authorized strength of 15,500 men.
"The triangular division was initiated some five
years ago [ he said] with the primary purpose of
streamlining the organization and rendering it more
effective in combat. Since the reorganization there
has been a steady succession of changes, all in the
direction of returning to the cumbersome and im-
practicable organization of the old square division.
It is felt mandatory that every proposal which in-
creases overhead must be resisted if the division
is to be effective in combat. " (Ref 1, pp 461-462)

Basically, the three-part infantry division consisted of the maneuver
force made up of infantry, artillery, and tanks. But revolutionary
technological developments were in the offing; the appearance of the airplane,
the rapid-firing cannon, automatic small arms, and improved motor vehicles
and high-speed tanks were to change the structure and organization of the
infantry divisions of all armies. General Charles de Gaulle, General
Heinz Guderian, General J. F. C. Fuller, General William Mitchell,
Captain B. H. Liddell-Hart were among the military thinkers who, between
1920 and 1940, exerted tremendous influence upon military organization
and tactics at all levels. General Fuller theorized on mobility and mechanized
warfare; Guderian, on tank tactics; General deGaulle offered forecasts of the
army of the future, and Liddell-Hart conducted profound studies on mobility.
All, except the late General Mitchell, the great advocate of airpower, were
to see their theses proven in the crucible of war.

CORG-M-365

35

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