The Signal Corps: The Test (December 1941 to July 1943)

The Signal Corps: The Test (December 1941 to July 1943)

The Signal Corps: The Test (December 1941 to July 1943)

The Signal Corps: The Test (December 1941 to July 1943)

Excerpt

The scope of this, the second volume devoted to the history of the Signal Corps during World War II, covers the events of 1942 and the first six months of 1943. Like the first volume in the subseries, The Emergency, by Dr. Dulany Terrett, this book presents a broad, panoramic view of the progress and problems, the defeats and triumphs, of a technical service in wartime. Since the time span covers only eighteen months, it has been possible to examine certain operations in considerable detail. Such emphasis on particular matters should not be taken to mean that they are necessarily more important than others which are touched upon lightly or omitted altogether, but only that they are illustrative or typical of the three main streams of Signal Corps effort. Research and development, training, and supply each swelled so quickly to proportions so vast that they almost engulfed the Signal Corps in the first year of war. How the Corps met the test is the subject matter of this volume.

The treatment is in general chronological. The story opens with an account of the beginning, for the United States, of the war itself: those tense moments on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu when two young Signal Corps men at their radar picked up and tracked the Japanese bombers winging in to attack Pearl Harbor. Succeeding chapters carry the account forward on a broad front through the following months of severe shortages, worried production efforts, and feverish preparations for the first tests in combat with the enemy. They present the confusions and frustrations that attended the Army's call for signal specialists and items of signal equipment in incredible numbers. The story is told from the viewpoint of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer in Washington, where the important decisions were made that laid the groundwork for the eventually triumphant outcome. This viewpoint permits only side glances at Signal Corps activity in the theaters around the world until mid-1943, detailed theater accounts being reserved for the third and last volume in the Signal Corps' World War II subseries. Finally, this volume touches upon two problems not unlike those experienced by some other technical services: how the Signal Corps fared within the framework of the conglomerate Army Service Forces, and how a conflict between development and procurement, and between operations and both, reached a crisis. The book ends with this crisis brought into focus in a conflict which led to the retirement of the Chief Signal Officer, but which brought forth no solid solution.

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