The Army and Economic Mobilization

By R. Elberton Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII Army Requirement Programs: Pearl Harbor to War's End

The President's Objectives and the War Munitions Program

The advent of Pearl Harbor converted the Victory Program from a planning document to a working basis for immediate expansion of Army procurement and subsequent requirements planning. Despite its heavy requirements, the Army's Victory Program had included only major items of equipment (critical items, motor vehicles, and the like). In response to a letter from Donald Nelson, requesting a statement of requirements by time periods, Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy pointed to the need for a restudy of the program in the light of recent events: ". . . it is now evident that the basic foundation on which the Victory Program was based should be re-analyzed prior to its commitment to a vast industrial effort".1 Ten days later Secretary Stimson informed the President of the Army's procurement progress in the two and a half weeks since Pearl Harbor:

The Victory Program is now on its way to becoming a reality. The Office of Production Management and Supply Priorities and Allocations Board estimate that the total munitions production potential of the country for the year 1942 is approximately 40 billion dol- lars. Of this 40 billion dollars, 27 billion dollars of munitions are already scheduled. . . . Of the margin available for new production in 1942, it is expected that approximately 6 billion dollars will be for ground army munitions, billion for aircraft and accessories, and the remainder for military construction, the Navy, Maritime Commission, and other purposes. . . . the War Department will continue with its re-analysis of the list of matériel originally submitted for the Victory Program to the end that its portion of that program will be on as firm a basis as it is possible to make it for an all-out industrial effort.2

Definite steps to obtain the desired revision followed shortly thereafter. On 29 December 1941 Brig. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, the new G-4, issued a directive to the supply arms and the Air Forces calling for a recomputation of the Army's total requirements for equipment and ammunition through 30 June 1944. The new figures were to be based on three estimates of Army troop strength: Force A (4,150,000 men) to be mobilized by the end of 1942; Force B (8,890,000 men) required by the end of 1943; and a total force of 10,380,000 men to be available by 30 June 1944. All items of initial equipment, plus six months' com

____________________
1
Memo, McCloy for Nelson, Ex Dir SPAB, 16 Dec 41, sub: The Victory Program, Frank, Doc. 17.
2
Memo, SW for President, 26 Dec 41, sub: Victory Program, Frank, Doc. 18.

-140-

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