Under Occupation: The Shortest Distance Between Palestine and Ferguson — CounterPunch


The superficially coincidental images coming from both Gaza and Ferguson this month have created some surprising and sudden currents of solidarity.

Many have looked on with amazement, for example, as Gazans offer tips via twitter to those who have been involved in the uprising and faced the absurd and excessively militarized response to it by Ferguson police.

And participants in “peaceful” vigils and more militant confrontations in Ferguson have invoked Gaza by now a dozens times.

Few have looked at images coming out of Ferguson and not been tempted to draw the same allusions between the 2/3 Black suburb policed by a nearly all-white police force, and Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

It would be difficult not to draw that comparison at the moment given the spectacle of the massive armory gifted to the FPD by the federal government in the name of stopping “terror”–which has so often been given a Palestinian face in the US–and the revelation that the former police chief of Ferguson studied “counter-terror” measures in Israel in 2011. [AHA!]

Ironically, it seems Black Americans are now the target of anti-terror funding and training, which was ostensibly meant to target those from the Muslim and Arab world.

While there is nothing happening within the US anything like the now-cyclical Israeli slaughter of thousands of Gazans,

the reality is that life for Black Americans in places like Ferguson does not vary in much from blockaded Gaza, and West Bank Bantustans in off-attack times .

The similarities are not just coincidental in terms of the timing of the events–they are in fact, concurrent and historical.

Ferguson is a majority Black, segregated community, run almost entirely by white people. Almost all of its political representatives, and all but 3 of it’s 53 person police force, are white.

Such areas, populated by the disenfranchised, are growing throughout the US, as the white and associated enfranchised classes move back to the cities and to ex-urbs or new white suburbs, leaving geographically isolated and service-poor communities behind. The result has been, as is on display in Ferguson, an easy to lock-down community full of people the mainstream has forgotten–policed by an authority trained from birth to distrust and marginalize Black people with the full backing of the Federal government.

Unbelievably, the FAA declared a no-fly zone over Ferguson and FPD mounted roadblocks at its city limits as it began its peace-keeping operation of its own citizens–chillingly reminiscent of the media-blockade conducted during Cast Lead and during other Israeli operations.

While the struggle in Palestine is often painted in ideological, ethnic and religious terms, it too is becoming not so different than those in the US, wedded as much to economic concerns as white supremacist structures. As Haaretz recently reported, the larger settlements of the West Bank—which have grown astronomically since the signing of the Oslo Agreement with the Palestinian Authority—are now in the midst of a housing bubble that is outstripping prices in Tel Aviv and its suburbs.

Young urban professionals, with no interest in ideology or perhaps even in Zionism, flock to these well-financed and subsidized cities, where the attendant express highways spirit them quickly back and forth from Tel Aviv.

Israel’s military industrial complex gives them security from the tenants of the land they’ve stolen.

As these suburbs, grow, perhaps, and as the twisted “peace process” between the compliant Palestinian Authority and Israel evolves, we may in decades to come see a Palestine—or what is left of it—n

ot unlike the US’s black underclass cities and towns. Perhaps it may yet become a broken and discontiguous economic-ethnic series of hamlets—segregated underemployed communities of service workers kept under lock and key by a less visible series of cages and walls, no less violent than military occupation.

Given the current state of negotiations, with Israel shaping a Palestinian Authority take-over of the rubble of Gaza, perhaps one tiny wall separating these two territories will be lifted, and Gaza allowed to enjoy the slightly less onerous open-air prison system of the West Bank.

Perhaps then people will also wonder what the Palestinian’s problem is.

Why they can’t keep out of trouble with the authorities. Why their men line the halls of the entity’s prisons. Why they cannot simply learn to stop being racists and love their oppressor. Why they are rioting. This is, in fact, the reality that Israel is striving for in the West Bank, institutional apartheid that becomes so well-camouflaged and accepted over time that it begins to look like the US’s honed version of it

—an “unfortunate” remnant of the past that is always explainable, always the victim’s fault, and is always in the midst of being fixed, with, not surprisingly, little success. Between the decimation of Gaza and the continued madcap pace of colonization in the West Bank and Jerusalem, they are closer than ever to this goal.

Which brings us to a final, and perhaps most alarming, similarity between Ferguson and Palestine. Both places nominally have a president who superficially represents them, from a similar ethnic and economic background, the product of a historic and unprecedented process. It was an event that overturned years of conventional wisdom that claimed the disenfranchised would never know representative state leaders.

The last dispiriting likeness is the betrayal of that hope–that leader who works for the very structure oppressing the people he seems to most represent, who is revealed to be only the latest trick for a white supremacist system of violence and dispossession that can superficially change, but will not budge.

The leader that arms the enemy, kills for them, lies for them, and prevents racial and economic justice for his own ostensible people. For the people of Palestine, it is Abbas. For the people of Ferguson, Sanford, Oakland and other cities, this is Obama–whose bloodless and offensive commentary on the murder of Mike Brown shocked a nation of angry people perhaps as much as the FPD response did.

They couldn’t seem any more different superficially, of course, but more and more, we see they have the same white supremacist, capitalist boss.

obama obnoxious

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “What is the name of our current Caesar?”  And how is that “Hope” and “Change You Can Believe In” and “Yes We Can” and “Forward” doin’ fer ya lately?

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “What is the name of our current Caesar?” And how is that “Hope” and “Change You Can Believe In” and “Yes We Can” and “Forward” doin’ fer ya lately?

Jaime Omar Yassin is a writer in Oakland, California.

Why Oil Prices That “Should” Be Going Higher Are Going Lower — WolfStreet

wolf street logo
[I have been wondering all summer why the gasoline ories are so low -- now even into the $3teens in some places in Dallas when it is SUMMER and GASOLINE PRICES should be ASTRONOMICAL -- $4.00 and higher.

So here is why: The Goldman-Sachs of the world have pulled out of oil trades and Dan Dicker explains the effects.

But the Goldman-Sachs of the world pulling out of oil trades makes me suspicious -- as does ANYTHING done by Goldman-Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, the whole evil, wicked lot of Wall Street banks and corporations. What do THEY know?]

by Oilprice.com • August 16, 2014

By Dan Dicker, Inside Investor, via Oil & Energy Insider, a premium publication that gives subscribers an information advantage when investing, trading, or doing business in the energy sectors.

The world has changed. Even two years ago, with a war going on by proxy between Russia and Ukraine, we’d have seen a $10 rally in the price of crude, not prices below $97, like we’re seeing today. Add to that the Iraq crisis in the North, the continuing Syrian conflict, the destabilization in the oil-producing countries of Libya and Egypt and you’d have been shocked – at least in 2011 – to see prices go decisively under $100 a barrel and act badly there. What’s going on here?

One long-term trend in the oil market and one very short-term trend have made the difference between a price that ‘should’ be higher, but is in fact going lower. We need to really understand those changes to track where oil prices will go next and where those underlying oil stocks are headed.

Let’s take the long-term trend first. For the years from 2003 until just about a year ago, the oil markets were dominated by trade that was mediated by the big investment banks, particularly Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Those banks, besides having their own proprietary capital in the forwards and futures markets, also developed an army of participants on both sides of the trade, both commercial players looking for risk management of oil and speculative players, in the form of passive investment and new commodity based hedge funds.

But the banks, and particularly these largest three, have abandoned the oil market, selling their proprietary interests or outright closing them down – which had an on the nature of the trade – and abandoning the sales of futures components on a commercial and retail level. This has taken an enormous amount of speculative steam out of the oil trade, leaving most of the volume to private physical traders, algorithms, and dedicated hedge managers.

In effect, many of the new speculative interests that would flood the markets with every geopolitical change are now gone. You won’t find a massive inflow of new money when the latest dust-up in the Middle East occurs, as it did for the Iranian threats in the Gulf of Hormuz or the Libyan Civil war even a few short years ago. The banks were mostly responsible for herding these kinds of new money interests. And now they’re mostly gone.

The short-term trend? Everyone is currently long. Virtually every dedicated hedge fund and physical player – the remaining big money traders – are expecting the geopolitical risks to global oil translate to higher prices, and rightly so. But their positions are one-way and practically unshakable. You can see that in the latest Commitment of Traders report from the CFTC, where speculative shorts in crude oil have fallen to a historic low of 3%.

Despite the real risks to global supply and the very likely prospect of a true crude shortage in the near-future, you still cannot get prices to go higher when everyone has the trade on the exact same way. In the end, as with all financial markets and no matter what the fundamentals say – if you don’t have more buyers than sellers, or in this case, if all the buying is already done with little more on the way – there’s only one way for the market to go, and that’s down.

What can change this? Well, we can’t expect a new agent of retail and commercial sales, like the banks to emerge, that’s for sure. What will have to happen is either a shake-out of the longs already in the market – a possibility should crude cross the long-term trend line at around $94 – or the influx of new buyers. Those new buyers will need to be inspired by a new trade, involving the dollar perhaps, or another, even worse geopolitical event, or a true physical shortage of supply.

But until one of those things begins to happen, expect this slow swoon of oil prices to continue – despite all the fundamentals that strongly point to the contrary. By Dan Dicker, Inside Investor, via Oil & Energy Insider

And here’s another reason for the drop in the price of oil: demand in the OECD countries shrank in Q2. But the real surprise is slow demand growth in China, where the economy is cooling

Don Quijones: Nato-Member Turkey Threatens Western-Owned Banks, Shifts East, Cozies up to Russia — NakedCapitalism

naked capitalism logo

Posted on August 16, 2014 by Yves Smith

EXCERPT: “the Turkish side proposed strengthening trade and economic relations between the two nations [Russia} through a bilateral currency agreement that would effectively bypass the US dollar middleman."

By Don Quijones, a freelance writer and translator based in Barcelona, Spain, and editor at Wolf Street, where this article was originally published

Since the U.S. and EU began imposing and then widening and tightening sanctions against Russia, some U.S. allies have been getting second thoughts. The latest nation to begin severing ties with the U.S.-dominated Western alliance is arguably the most important yet.

That nation is Turkey, the largest and one of the fastest-growing economies in the Middle East – and most importantly, a long-standing NATO ally. For years Turkey has been slowly drifting away from the West, as its economy and geopolitical influence have grown. It hasn’t helped that its accession to the European Union has been repeatedly blocked by countries such as France and Austria, and is now directly opposed by Angela Merkel.

With recent events in Ukraine and the Middle East sending geopolitical shock waves around the world, Turkey’s Eastward shift appears to be accelerating. In a harbinger of things to come, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief economic adviser, Yigit Bulut, announced that Turkey needs to “strengthen control of its banks and limit foreign ownership.”

Changing the Rules

“The most important thing is to change the structure and weighting of the Turkish banking sector,” Bulut wrote in his column in Star newspaper. The industry “seems to have been abandoned to the control and mercy of both foreigners and ‘foreigners within,’” he said, adding new bank licenses might be granted in pursuit of those goals.

For the moment, Bulut’s comments are just that: comments. But should the recently re-elected Erdogan government – albeit with Erdogan as president rather than prime minister – actually follow through on Bulut’s threats (hardly out of the question given Bulut’s close ties to the president), it could have serious repercussions for a number of large Western banks.

Since suffering one of its worst ever financial crises in 2001, Turkey has attracted a huge influx of foreign banks on the lookout for cheap acquisitions. They include the [way crooked] British giant HSBC, which acquired mid-sized Demirbank in 2001; the Dutch too-big-to-fail institution ING, which swallowed Oyak Bank whole in 2007; and Italy’s Unicredit, whose joint venture with Koc Holding, a Turkish conglomerate, took over Yapi Kredi, Turkey’s fifth-biggest bank, in 2006.

However, the Western bank that is arguably most exposed to a dramatic change in Turkey’s bank ownership rules is Spanish behemoth BBVA, which in 2011 acquired 25% of Turkey’s biggest listed lender, Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS (GARAN), from the Turkish group Dogus and General Electric. What’s more, BBVA has – or at least had – plans to take majority control of Garanti in 2016.

Old Enemies, New Friends

Turkey is also home to a number of non-Western banks including the world’s largest bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which recently bought Tekstil Bankasi AS Sberbank. Russia’s biggest bank Sverbank also has a strong market position after acquiring Denizbank, Turkey’s tenth-biggest, from twice-collapsed Belgian lender Dexia last year.

However, the Turkish government – or at least Bulut – seems somewhat less concerned about those particular banks’ activities. As a matter of fact, Bulut argued that Turkey should develop a “cross-border banking alliance” with neighbors such as Iran, Syria, Georgia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq and… Russia.

It’s yet another sign of the growing rapprochement between Turkey and Russia – a rapprochement that has seen bilateral trade flourish between the two historic imperial rivals. Russia is currently the second (after the EU) among foreign trade partners of Turkey, and Turkey the eighth largest trade partner of Russia. In 2013 alone the volume of trade between the countries amounted to $32.7 billion.

It’s a trend that seems set to continue. Indeed, according to Russian sources, when the Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexei Ulyukayev met with Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekchi “on the margins” of the recent G20 meeting of trade ministers in Sydney,

the Turkish side proposed strengthening trade and economic relations between the two nations through a bilateral currency agreement that would effectively bypass the US dollar middleman.

US Foreign Policy: The Great Uniter

All of which goes to show just how effective U.S. foreign policy can be at bringing other nations together – albeit in mutual opposition to the U.S.

In the case of Turkey, one of the main motivations behind distancing itself from the West and cozying up to BRICs nations like Russia are government fears over the prospect of multibillion-dollar SEC fines against its state-owned banks for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran and “financing terrorism.” [NOTE NO SEC SANCTIONS ON US BANKS LIKE GOLDMAN SACHS AT ALL NONE AT ALL!]

“The glue of the sanctions is starting to dry,” mused Sergio Trigo Paz, head of emerging market fixed income at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. That was in May. Now the glue had dried.

Think you know what happened in December, 1941? No you don’t…. — thom prentice

[Just Discovered Today. One more "hero" down the drain...]

…Franklin Delano Roosevelt had spent two years planning to enter the war on behalf of England and his Imperial War I aka World War I buddy Winston Churchill [Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty in IWI/WWI and FDR was Secretary of the Navy at the same time under Wilson.]

As FDR pushed for barely legal programs like Lend-Lease, he was simultaneously planning for all-out war, waiting for the right pretext.

As for the question “Did Roosevelt Know…about the imminent attack on Pearl Harbor?”…the answer is this: HOW COULD HE POSSIBLY NOT HAVE KNOWN?.

There is no record that Roosevelt was briefed four times in four months about the imminent Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as there is indeed, SWORN EVIDENCE that BUSH/CHENEY/RUMSFELD were briefed four times in four months by the CIA in writing and and in person about the likelihood of an imminent attack by Osama bin Laden. {August, July, June and May, 2001.


fdr in charge

On December 4 1941, a source in the US Army leaked “The Victory Plan” to anti-war Montana Senator Burton K. Wheeler who leaked it to the press.

burton k wheeler USS Montana

FROM WIKIPAEDIA: “After the start of World War II in Europe, Wheeler opposed aid to Britain or the other Allies, already fighting in the war. On October 17, 1941, Wheeler said: “I can’t conceive of Japan being crazy enough to want to go to war with us.” One month later, he added: “If we go to war with Japan, the only reason will be to help England.” The United States Army secret Victory Plan was leaked on 4 December 1941 to Wheeler, who passed this information on to three newspapers.”[2][5]


The Victory Plan

Writing The Victory Program

Chapter II

Major Albert C. Wedemeyer, a junior officer, totally unknown to the general public and little known to the upper echelon of the military establishment was selected by General George C. Marshall in the summer of 1941 for one of the most critical assignments of the Second World War. The assignment was to prepare a top secret document, later designated as the Victory Program. The purpose of the assignment was threefold: (i) make recommendations on how to rapidly mobilize American industry for war; (ii) make recommendations on how to build up our armed forces to the level necessary to fight our potential enemies, Germany and Japan; and (iii) to outline specific strategic and tactical guidelines for the defeat of these powers. It was a monumental task, and the completed document proved to be of critical importance. Why General Marshall chose Wedemeyer for this assignment, the importance of the contents of the final product, the Victory Program, and the consequences of his selection for both him and the country is a story worth telling.

In order to understand the importance of the Victory Program for America it is necessary to briefly review the world situation which necessitated Wedemeyer’s assignment. By January 1941 The United States had determined to cooperate with Great Britain, already at war with Germany, and develop a joint strategic approach to defeating Germany, in the event we were drawn into the war. Planning for a possible war was not something new. Planning for conflict, with potential enemies had been a function of the War Plans Division prior to World War I, and secret contingency plans were continually being updated to reflect new information and changes in conditions. The first serious effort to bring these plans into conformance with the conditions prevailing in 1941, took place in Washington with a meeting between representatives of Great Britain and the United States which ran from January 29 to March 29. America was not at war at this time and elaborate steps were taken to keep the meetings highly secret and to avoid any suggestion of official commitment by the United States. Admiral Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, and General Marshall appeared only briefly at the opening session, leaving the work to low and mid level planners, in an effort to avoid public notice, and insulate them from the charge, later leveled at them despite these precautions, that they had worked with the President to bring the United States into the war through the back door. Although the American representatives had made no pledge to enter the war alongside the British, as Robert Sherwood concluded, the conversations and conclusions reached “provided the highest degree of strategic preparedness that the United States…has ever had before entry into war.” [1]

Consultations between high military planners and representatives between Great Britain and the United States continued throughout 1941, both in the United States and in England. During this same period President Roosevelt continued to aid the British cause, providing escort conveys for at least as far as Iceland, gathering information on German submarine activity and providing it to the British, and continuing the Lend Lease[2] assistance.

This was the situation when Wedemeyer undertook his assignment in the summer of 1941.[3] Although he certainly was not starting a planning exercise from scratch, having the benefit of the work of his predecessors, the time frame into which he was placed to produce a document quickly made the experience unique. During that long hot summer Wedemeyer, a young 41year old major in the United States Army, along with his small staff, labored hard in cramped un air conditioned quarters in the Munitions Building Washington, D.C. where the War Plans Division had it’s offices to produce the most important document of the Second World War, the Victory Program. The Victory Program when completed outlined plans for the rapid mobilization of American industry, and the military forces for war, provided accurate estimates of what war material and equipment would be necessary to wage war, and most importantly laid out specific strategic guidelines for the defeat of our potential enemies.

The drafting of the Victory Program and sponsorship by General Marshall launched Wedemeyer’s career, and this respect he was unusual. For most officers, a staff job, either for a general grade officer or an administrative post is not the fast tract for advancement and recognition. As Forrest C. Pogue observes:

Few officers in the large aggregation of faithful and anonymous ‘Staffs’ that make the War and Navy Departments function are more faceless than those who ‘plan.’ Some of them—Marshall and Eisenhower are examples—find their way to high command, but during their period as planners they usually are overtired work-horses writing and rewriting hundreds of papers, produced often at a moment’s notice and at late hours, in which their contribution is often unrecognized. Their identifying initials, scrawled on thousands of pages of legal-sized documents, reveal little more than the amazing energy of the inscribers.[4]

It is important to remember that although a good deal of the world was already engaged in a bitter conflagration in January 1941, America was not yet involved and the overwhelming opinion of most Americans, represented by a strong isolationist faction, was that we should stay out of the war.[5] That was the reason for such secrecy. America seemed unconcerned by what was happening in Europe: the German armies held the Continent from the Atlantic coast of France to the Ukraine, the doors of Leningrad, and the shores of the Black Sea. Only Spain, Sweden, Portugal, and Switzerland remained fully outside the Axis camp, and Spain was extremely friendly to the Axis. Germany held Crete, menaced Cyprus and Malta, threatened the Middle East and Egypt, and appeared on the verge of knocking Russia out of the war. Despite these threats, the American public seemed unconcerned with European problems, and were relying on President Roosevelt’s promise to keep America out of the war. It was essential, therefore, that any project calling for a build up of arms, ammunition, and armed forces be hidden from the public.

It was President Roosevelt’s intention to assist that England in every way possible short of declaring war. The “Lend Lease Act” was only the most visible indication of Roosevelt’s intentions to aid England. The problem with Lend Lease, apart from the fact that it clearly was pushing us closer to war, was it’s haphazard system of allocation of equipment to our own and to foreign forces engaged in war with Germany. Long before Pearl Harbor, American industry was rushing to fill the urgent orders of the French, British, Chinese, and after June 1941, the Russians. So long as there was no direction to…[GO TO SITE, SCROLL DOWN TO BOTTOM FOR MORE....]

[1] Sherwood. Roosevelt and Hopkins. New York: Harper & Brothers 1948 p. 273.

[2] Lend-Lease was the major United States aid program between 1941-1945 which enabled the United States of America to supply England, Russia, China and other countries with vast amounts of war material. The supplies were given with no requirement of repayment. The program commenced in March of 1941 and ended soon after V-J day, on September 2, 1945.

[3] Wedemeyer Reports! p. 65.

[4] Forest C. Pogue. George C. Marshall: Ordeal and Hope. New York: The Viking Press 1965. p. 122.

[5] Ibid. p. 140.


Chapter IV
Detailed Planning

“Our army should be developed and designed for offensive operations.”

WPD Staff estimate, 1941

Following his gross allocation of military manpower, Wedemeyer assumed a total of approximately eight and one-half million men for the Army. General staff decisions on organization and force structure would determine the effectiveness of the Army in combat. Wedemeyer, however, could not wait for the general staff’s final decisions on the matter-decisions the staff probably would not make for some months. Unless he knew the future divisional organization of the Army, his work could not progress. Logically, types and quantity of matériel and equipment depended directly on the types and numbers of divisions the Army planned to create. Wedemeyer, therefore, next began to estimate what the organization of the ground army would have to be.
At Issue: How Many divisions?

By the summer of 1941, General George Marshall was certain that Lend Lease, backed up by U.S. air and naval operations would not be sufficient to defeat Germany. “Large ground forces,” he informed the president, “evidently will be required.”1 Although large ground forces could be created out of the manpower Wedemeyer had set aside for the Army, the primary question that remained was how to project the structure and organization of those ground forces. recalling the maxim that military operations must be planned with enemy capabilities in mind, he computed the


number of Axis divisions American troops were likely to face in battle.2

Using the fighting potential of the German divisions as a unit of measure, Wedemeyer figured that the Axis could muster a grand total of 350 divisions in the summer of 1941. by 1 July 1943, he foresaw a possible increase in that number to around 500 divisions.2

Attrition and the manpower demands of heavy industry would absorb a proportion of the increased number of men that reached military age in Germany, but he nevertheless expected a real increase in Axis combat strength. Wedemeyer’s study in Berlin and consequent current knowledge of the German army encouraged him confidently to predict that Germany could raise and maintain no more than 300 division, even allowing for extensive use of conscripted and imported labor, prison labor, and women in the industrial work force. On the other hand, he expected the German trend toward mechanization would continue, and that as many as 45 of those divisions would be mechanized and another 45 would be armored divisions of significantly greater combat potential than the standard infantry division. The U.S. Army, he concluded, should expect to confront 11 or 12 million Axis soldiers in the European theater, amounting to around 400 to 500 “fully equipped and splendidly trained” divisions.

To attain the overall numerical superiority of 2 to 1 normally considered necessary before undertaking offensive operations, the Allied powers would therefore have to field 700 to 900 divisions, or a force, together with appropriate supporting and service troops, of approximately 25 million men. Wedemeyer believed that it was dangerous to depend upon a maximum effort from all of the present Allied belligerents in order to raise the requisite forces. In the interests of forestalling disaster, he had to assume that the war would proceed along the lines of the worst possible case. Thus he hypothesized that, as of 1 July 1943 (the earliest date America could enter the ground war), the only effective ally in the European Theater of Operations would be Great Britain, which would have reinforced its armed forces by drawing on the Dominions and India for manpower. Russia would be effectively out of the war, although


far eastern Siberia would continue to resist. France would continue passive collaboration with Germany. On the positive side, he expected Japan to be decisively engaged in China and Axis military strength to be materially weakened through the economic blockade, British air and sea operations, and losses absorbed in the Russian campaign.

While Germany would be weakened until it could organize and exploit the conquered territory of the Soviet Union, and while Japan would probably pose no threat except in China, the upshot was that Great Britain was the only significant ally America could expect to heave. All of the ground forces needed to defeat Germany would have to come from the United States and Great Britain, both of which had to avoid debilitating their economic and industrial base through excessive calls on manpower. The two democracies, however, could not create a ground force of 25 million soldiers. England and the Dominions were nearing the end of their reserves, and the United States was unable to raise the bulk of a 25-million-man force unaided without grave disruption of the national economy. As early as September of 1941, Wedemeyer pointed out that the United Kingdom could not provide more than one million fully equipped and well-trained troops for battle in Europe. England still had to protect her home islands and far-flung empire, as well as sustain her economic and industrial effort.4 He therefore had to consider ways in which the smaller army America could field could still do the jobs required of it.

Lacking numbers, the smaller ground forces the United States could send overseas would have to rely upon effective use of appropriate fighting machines and air forces in order to gain victory. In any case, as J.F.C. Fuller had pointed out years earlier, mass alone did not guarantee victory; a winning army had to be properly armed and intelligently wielded, in accordance with suitable doctrine. Wedemeyer cited a relevant case that supported Fuller’s contention: “Another million men in Flanders,” he wrote, “would not have turned the tide of battle for France” in 1940.5 “Allied success,” according to the War Plans Division’s best estimate of the situation, was “directly contingent upon the coordinated employment of overwhelming forces, surprise and mobility, supported by sufficient reserves


in matériel and man-power. . . .”6 The critical task was now to devise divisional organization that would allow the United States to pit its strengths against Axis weaknesses, rather than try to match the Axis man for man.
Structure of the Division: Planning Considerations
The most important question was therefore not how many men were available for the Army, but how those men could best be organized to fight. The troop basis of the 1939 mobilization plans and the organizational premises of the most recent editions of the “color” plans provided little help because the guiding assumption of both was that the United States would be fighting a war primarily in defense of the hemisphere. Therefore those plans called for divisions that could best fight a defensive battle. Of the existing divisions in 1941, eighteen were still square divisions7 of the type that had been used in World War I. Designed primarily for operations involving the slow, steady power of the infantry-artillery team, square divisions had been rendered obsolete by mechanization and the German application of the prewar theories of Fuller and Liddell Hart.8

WPD planners recognized that Americans fighting overseas would have to fight on the offensive and that force structure and equipment had to facilitate such a tactical doctrine. Mobility was characteristic of the triangular division; firepower and shock action were characteristic of the square division. Neither type division was capable of all three of those roots of offensive action. Planners thus knew that the Army would need an entirely new type of organization. Even defense had no fixed flanks in modern war, and therefore rested on the counterattack, which required maneuver and


firepower to ensure success. for all of these tasks, Wedemeyer discerned that armored forces were essential.9

Even before starting the plan, Wedemeyer had believed that the Army needed to be restructured radically. His professional reading, particularly in the years he spent in Berlin, had persuaded him that, the catastrophe of World War I notwithstanding, offensive action lay at the heart of victory in modern war. He, like his contemporaries at the Kriegsakademie, had read Fuller and accepted the need fore the speed and shock action of armored forces.10 Understanding the German doctrine for battle reinforced that belief. Although he had spent a considerable amount of time at the Command and General Staff School studying static battle, he had found that the Germans were preparing for an entirely different type of war. The situations presented at the Kriegsakademie,” he wrote in 1938, “involve war of movement, special emphasis being placed upon speed, in anticipation of the employment of mechanized and motorized forces.”11

In his first year at the Kriegsakademie, every week’s instruction had included two classes on the tactical use of air forces, five on tactics in general, and two on mechanized warfare in particular. In the second year, the number of hours devoted to tactics increased to six. The proportion of time dedicated to problems involving the armored division, large motorized forces, and light mechanized forces during the tactical instruction was high–a full four months out of the academic year. The student summer postings invariably involved mechanized forces as well. The German instructors supplemented the classroom lectures with trips to the tank school and excursions to the Krupp and Rheinmetall factories were armored vehicles were being made. As the Kriegsakademie emphasis was overwhelmingly offensive in nature, in his two years as a student in Berlin, Wedemeyer worked only three defensive situations in class, and but five situations requiring him to plan a delaying action. The remaining sixty problems were all various forms of attack. Never in his two years at the Kriegsakademie did he study a static defense such


as he had planned at Fort Leavenworth.12 In view of his clear understanding of the German way of war, Wedemeyer knew that it would be wrong to send 1918-style divisions to fight in Europe.13 The U.S. Army obviously required a new type of division that could cope with a very mobile German Army, which he knew was dedicated to a war of movement that sought early decisions in battle.

ground forces had to be supplemented by tactical air power, however, as Wedemeyer also understood from his two years in Germany. Kriegsakademie courses had stressed that every ground maneuver plan had to include a plan for employment of tactical air power as another part of its fire support. German doctrine for the use of air power demanded that the air force first establish command of the air over the battlefield to protect ground units from hostile air attack. The second mission was to attack enemy mobilization points, assembly areas, and movement toward the battlefield, as well as rear area targets such as command posts, reserves, and artillery. The example of the German tactical operations in 1939 and 1940 only validated the importance of tactical air power in a close support role. Air superiority over the area of operations was crucial, but simply having overwhelming air power was not enough. Instead, the air and ground forces had to operate together, in an effective air-ground team.14 One of the principal ways a smaller American ground force could fight a larger German Army was to use extensive air power because, as Wedemeyer saw, it could allow the smaller force to maneuver more quickly and see the battlefield more clearly than the enemy, to whom it could deny equivalent mobility by pinning his forces in place.15

A further consideration in laying out the blueprint for the new army was the theater in which it would have to fight. Wedemeyer already knew that the European theater would be the focus of American attention. From that premise, strategic considerations would directly influence questions of tactics and organization. Planners had to design divisions to operate well in western Europe, where there was scope for maneuver and where the enemy could be


expected to have powerful and mobile air and land forces. A division tailored to fight in the Pacific, by contrast, would have far fewer vehicles and would have to worry far less about mobility. Furthermore, it would not have to be so concerned about the problem of combating enemy armor. WPD took the position, however, that if the Army possessed field forces able to win the highest intensity battle they were likely to face, then it would also be adequately prepared for operations in other theaters and against lesser foes.16

Wedemeyer and his colleagues carefully studied the military operations under way in Africa and Europe, which affected their thinking about the force structure an American army needed to fight in Europe. The Blitzkrieg against France was impressive, transforming a static front into a decisive defeat for Anglo-French forces in the course of only seventeen days. The German advances in Libya, involving broad, sweeping maneuver over vast distances and the investment of strongpoints, and major fortresses such as Tobruk, likewise drew the attention of WPD planners. They noted the importance of tactical aviation in support of armored attack and realized that this new style of war required “a major decision on our part as to the direction of our development in equipment, organization, and tactics.”17

Less successful operations also caught their attention. Spectacular victories in Poland, France, and North Africa did not conceal the problems the Germans faced in their amphibious operation in Norway in April of 1940, where they had to face a strong opposing fleet and air force. Nor did the utility of tactical aviation overshadow the German defeat in the Battle of Britain fought between July and September of 1940. They noted the airborne successes in Norway and Belgium, but observed that the Germans had secured Crete in May of 1941 at the cost of high casualties among their expensive parachute troops. effective joint planning was clearly necessary to enable, air, naval, and military forces to work together smoothly, particularly in high risk operations such as parachute and amphibious assaults. Furthermore, while they conceded the value of specialized divisions–cavalry, mountain, airborne, and parachute–in specialized circumstances, the men in WPD also believed that such


units could not conduct sustained combat and should be few in number.18

The progress of the war in Europe left Wedemeyer and his associates with certain impressions about equipment other than tanks and airplanes, too. Antitank gun appeared to be an important countermeasure against tanks that standard infantry divisions would need. As WPD planners evaluated the Camp Forrest maneuvers of 1941, they saw conditions prevailing on European battlefields duplicated in Tennessee. Armored units surrounded, disrupted, and disorganized conventionally organized troops with astounding ease. If infantry divisions were to be able to resist armored attacks, they needed powerful antitank support, and it seemed better that the antitank guns be mounted on track laying vehicles, too, because the towed gun lacked the requisite flexibility and could not be prepared for immediate fire, both characteristics that the war showed was essential. WPD parenthetically noted that the 37-mm. antitank guns was far too light to be effective against the latest foreign tanks and stated the need for a more effective new gun. Because he had never been a weapons specialist himself, Wedemeyer accepted the opinions of War Department ordnance experts on the various weapons proposed for the new divisions.19

The impressive power of German tactical aviation also suggested the need for more and better antiaircraft weapons to defend mobile ground troops. Automatic weapons adaptable to a highly mobile force, including the .50-caliber machine gun and the 37-mm. antiaircraft gun, had to be organic to the division. “These weapons, for effectiveness,” WPD planners wrote, “must be available in quantity.”20 Protection of the rear area command and supply installations supporting mobile forces was also important, and the heavy antiaircraft gun, preferably the new 90-mm. gun, appeared to be ideal for the purpose. Forward-looking planners, conscious of the German use of heavy Flak units against tanks in Africa, observed that “such guns should be so designed as to be capable of firing at either air or ground targets.”21

Mobile war also demanded mobile logistics and services, and Wedemeyer saw the need for an enormous number of vehicles to supply the advanced elements of the force. Such vehicles had to have


low silhouette and high cross-country ability in order to assure a reliable channel of supply to ground troops in advanced positions. The great number of rapid fire weapons that the general staff planned for the division created the requirement for an assured flow of fuel and ammunition in order to sustain continuous battlefield mobility. Therefore logistics had to be as mobile as the combat forces, and the G-4 organization in theaters of war demanded efficient supply units with their own extensive transportation cadre.22

Combat support units had also to be mechanized to fight alongside armored units. WPD therefore assumed that engineer units would need cross-country vehicles to carry bridging equipment, demolition equipment, and the other engineer matériel required to promote a continuity of movement under all combat conditions. Likewise, signal troops had to be mechanized. Command and control, particularly of fast mechanized and armored units, relied on efficient signal communications. Both signal operations and signal maintenance units had to be able to keep pace with the armored task forces.23

Those diverse requirements seemed to imply extremely complex divisions composed of a wide variety of motorized, mechanized, and armored units. Such units would be unwieldy and difficult to train and control in battle unless WPD could devise organizational principles to simplify control. Wedemeyer found the key in an aspect of German organization that had impressed him: the Einheit, or “standard unit” principle.24 Insofar as possible, the Germans built all larger formations from independent units of standard configuration that could be attached or detached at will without sacrificing tactical integrity or creating administrative or supply nightmares. The building block design allowed a corps commander continuously to reconfigure his divisions for the exact mission they encountered, but without introducing the confusion that divisional reorganization had traditionally involved. The division was no longer the standard tactical unit the German Army,


but was rather a headquarters with certain permanently assigned service units, capable of receiving, commanding, and sustaining a variety of combat elements. In doing this, the Germans eliminated the brigade echelon of command as superfluous, and the division commander directly controlled the operations of his regiments, each of which was the core of a combat team. Such an organization seemed to be ideal for an American army fighting on varied terrain, because it would make it possible to build divisions of specialized capabilities out of commonly designed regiments that could conduct similar training.25 The pace of modern war was also an important consideration. The tempo of mechanized warfare dramatically decreased the amount of time available to a commander to make decisions in battle.[*] The flood of information, including battlefield intelligence, available to the commander was difficult to assimilate in the short time now available, so that he was often little better off with too much information than with too little. The Kriegsakademie had taught Wedemeyer that a merely adequate decision, quickly reached, was far better than a perfect one reached after the fact. To exploit fleeting opportunities in battle, then, the commander had not only to think, decide, and act quickly, but he had also to be able to manipulate his task forces quickly. Large units were difficult to handle, and the British and French experience in 1940 indicated to WPD that smaller divisions with greater organic firepower were by far the better idea. Commanders could maneuver smaller divisions more quickly, supply them more easily, and tailor them for battle with greater efficiency.

Their review of the progress of the war, the challenges facing the United States Army on a European battlefield, and the growth of military technology persuaded Wedemeyer and his colleagues in War Plans Division that the United States needed to rebuild the Army as a basically mechanized force with the armored division as the principal offensive tool. Enormous demands for manpower could be moderated only through intelligent force design and the best possible use of the most effective modern military technology.

As Wedemeyer completed his study of divisional organization, he was satisfied that the contemporary square division was obsolete because of its overreliance on manpower alone. The value of manpower had to be enhanced through mobility. Ultimately, American
[*] This claim continues to be made up to the present day (2006); but is it really true? Earlier in this chapter, the author emphasizes the speed of the German blitzkrieg against France: 17 days to achieve decisive results. Napoleon and Wellington fielded forces far too large to be easily commanded by themselves, and a decisive battle in a matter of hours. The great battles of the ancient world (Gaugemela, Cannae, etc.), also fought by formations too large for the commanders to decisively affect in the course of the engagements, were decided in the space of a few hours. –HyperWar]


divisions would fight in the high intensity European theater, where only armored and mechanized units had real offensive utility. Fewer of those units would suffice, if their value, in turn, were multiplied by powerful tactical air forces. Organizational economy could be gained by building divisions of different types and capabilities out of standard tactical units. To meet the threat of strong enemy armored forces and air forces, which WPD planners expected to be even more powerful by 1943, divisions required massive antitank, antiaircraft artillery, and field artillery reserves for support. Highly mobile logistical and service units sustained the divisions in battle. Finally, a smaller division, vastly greater in firepower than the old square division, was the more efficient tactical tool on a modern, fast-paced battlefield.

As Wedemeyer had written in his report on study at the Kriegsakademie, modern reconnaissance techniques virtually precluded true surprise and made the ideal of wide envelopment almost impossible. He believed that “the ever essential surprise element could best be accomplished through mobility and rapidity.”26 He therefore began to lay plans for a force that relied on speed and firepower.
Organizing the Force: Influence of the War Plan

Thus far, Wedemeyer’s calculations, although based upon a series of planning assumptions, were essentially mathematical in nature. Once he began to device an organizational structure for the war army, however, he had to use those planning considerations subjectively. In many cases the planning reflected Wedemeyer’s best estimate of the forces the Army would need to carry out the national military strategy as he understood it. Types and numbers of divisions and other organizations were the product of his judgment, and were therefore a matter of informed opinion, subject to debate among members of his “murder committee.”


Wedemeyer did not exercise his judgment in the abstract, but in pursuit of a specific, realistic objective. No mobilization plan has inherent merit; its value accrues only insofar as it contributes to the accomplishment of a plan of operations. In this case, the provisions of the RAINBOW 5 plan gave his remaining work its structure. In broad outline, war plan RAINBOW 5 required sufficient military forces to accomplish three main objectives:

Enforce the Monroe doctrine by defending the western hemisphere from foreign attack.

Protect U.S. possessions in the Pacific and maintain a sufficient force to deter war in the western Pacific.

Create task forces capable of fighting in the Americas, the Caribbean, and in conjunction with Great Britain, in Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe.

While 14 million men were theoretically available, industrial requirements and the demands of mobilization construction reduced the figure realistically to somewhere around 12 million. A notional total of 8.5 million men had to suffice for both land forces and for air forces to execute those tasks, with only a portion of those men assigned to ground forces. The air staff sent Wedemeyer an estimate of Army Air Corps requirements that demanded around 2.1 million of the Army’ share of military manpower, leaving around 6 million men for the ground army. This was still, he believed, a large enough force to satisfy the war plan’s requirements.

Wedemeyer believed “that the enemy can be defeated without creating the numerical superiority” traditionally required for success in battle.27 They key to victory lay in building efficient forces and using them effectively to achieve local force superiority. His basic plan involved creating powerful armored and mechanized task forces that could exploit this local superiority to strike violently and swiftly from well-prepared European bases to defeat the Germans in detail. Firepower, mobility, and air power would make up for manpower shortages.
Mission One: Hemispheric Defense

The first requirement was to maintain the security of the western


hemisphere, where outlying minimum garrisons would defend the sea frontiers of America in the event of the sudden collapse of the United Kingdom. Since small island bases for air and naval patrol units required very small army garrisons, Wedemeyer allocated minimal units to the army forces in Newfoundland, Greenland, Jamaica, Bermuda, Antigua, St. Lucia, Curaçao, British Guiana, Aruba, and Trinidad. He believed that a grand total of 32,144 troops of all types would be sufficient, in cooperation with the Navy and Air Corps, to sustain the Atlantic outposts. Most of the soldiers would be in the administrative, logistical, and service forces, although the bases would need military police and similar security elements as well. The only significant combat element in the Atlantic bases was drawn form the Coast Artillery Corps, which provided harbor defense guns and antiaircraft artillery protection for anchorages and airfields.28 Atlantic bases would not require mobile combat units.
Mission Two: Defend the Outlying Possessions

Defense of the outlying possessions of the United States required greater manpower than did the defense of hemispheric bases. Hawaii was important as the principal anchorage of the United States Pacific Fleet. The terrain in the islands was rugged enough, however, to make it impractical to use mechanized units. Conventional infantry regiments were the best choices to operate in the tropics, and two triangular infantry divisions appeared to Wedemeyer sufficient to secure Hawaii.29 To back up the divisions, he allotted two heavy artillery regiments, one battalion of parachute infantry, and one light tank battalion. Coast Artillery regiments manning the existing harbor defenses needed to be supplemented by an antiaircraft organization consisting of one aircraft warning regiment and five antiaircraft artillery regiments to protect the port


and harbor fortifications. In all, the Army’s contribution to the defense of Hawaii required only 58,696 men, including service troops.30

The experience of two full tours of duty in the Philippines convinced Wedemeyer that the islands were indefensible at any cost the United States was willing to pay. Both the Army and the Navy had long accepted that the Philippines were a strategic liability that could not be defended in the event of a major war involving Japan. Still, Manila Bay and Subic Bay were excellent ports, the use of which ought to be denied any potential enemy for as long as possible, and the islands provided important air bases as well. Furthermore, political considerations overrode the purely military, because the United States could ill afford simply to withdraw, thereby abandoning the Filipinos to their fate. The existing garrison sufficed to protect the critical harbors and establish the essential American “presence,” and the War Department did not plan to send many additional troops to the western Pacific. Less than 25,500 men, a significant proportion of which was Philippines Scouts, manned one provisional infantry division, one horse cavalry regiment, and a seacoast artillery brigade. Wedemeyer projected strengthening the force with two heavy artillery regiments, one antiaircraft artillery regiment and one aircraft warning regiment, one light tank battalion, and one parachute infantry battalion. As with the Hawaiian Islands, light troops were best suited to fight in the Philippines.31

The harsh climate and forbidding terrain of Alaska also made use of mobile troops impractical. The proposed 27,000-man garrison included three conventional infantry regiments reinforced by one separate infantry battalion, one parachute infantry battalion, a light tank company, one heavy artillery battalion, and one light artillery battery. The Coast Artillery Corps again provided the principal defenses. The coastal artillery was to expand to a strength of three heavy artillery battalions for harbor defense, one aircraft warning regiment, three antiaircraft artillery regiments, and four antiaircraft batteries.32

Caribbean possession were another matter. To secure Puerto Rico, a strategic garrison, Wedemeyer allotted one triangular infantry division and one parachute infantry battalion. Ports and airfields


demanded a small antiaircraft organization consisting of one aircraft warning company and two antiaircraft artillery regiments. Approximately 25,000 men sufficed for all Army missions in Puerto Rice. Panama, with the strategic canal, was more difficult for a potential enemy to reach by land and was also protected by the Navy. Total Army forces there amounted to just over 31,000 men, of whom 10,000 were infantrymen and a similar number coast artillerymen and antiaircraft gunners. Three infantry regiments, three parachute infantry battalions, one airborne battalion, and a battalion each of medium and light artillery comprised an adequate maneuver force. Coast defenses required two Coast Artillery regiments, one aircraft warning company, and four antiaircraft artillery regiments.
Mission Three: Overseas Task Forces
The conventional units Wedemeyer planned for the security missions implicit in RAINBOW 5 used around 200,000 men. Almost six million soldiers remained for the offensive portions of the war plan. Because the nation’s basic strategic concept involved encircling Germany and bringing continuously greater pressure to bear through progressive military and economic constrictions, a proportion of those six million had to be diverted to establish and maintain forward bases in the European theater from which combat forces could operate. Wedemeyer foresaw American garrisons in Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, and England as likely bases from which to launch American attacks on the continent of Europe. Infantry regiments to secure the bases, antiaircraft gunners to protect harbors and airfields, and the various medical, ordnance, quartermaster, engineer, and signal units that operated the facilities consumed a total of 105,500 more soldiers. Many were form the Coast Artillery Corps. New mechanized or armored divisions were unnecessary for such garrisons.33 After establishing the bases, about five and one-half million men were left for task forces and strategic reserves. The division slice governed distribution of the balance between ground forces and services.

Division slice was the WPD planners’ term to describe the ratio between combat soldiers and the number of service troops required


to sustain the former in battle. The figure was a variable that depended upon the degree of technical sophistication of military equipment and support systems. The more complex the tank, for example, the more skilled men had to be assigned to tank maintenance. The division slice was a planning figure that allowed WPD to allocate manpower between the arms and services–the “tooth-to-tail” dilemma of modern armies. Wedemeyer used the Army G-3′s then-current planning data, a figure of 1:1, or one soldier in support for every soldier in the line. The resulting division slice was 30,000, when meant that each 15,000-man combat division required another 15,000 men in the services to support and sustain it.34

Cognizant of that need, Wedemeyer divided the ground force component of the Army into combat and service units. He allocated 3.9 million men to combat arms and 1.8 million to the services. This almost exactly reflected the division slice figure, after allowing for administrative and service troops organic to divisions, the headquarters overhead demanded by corps and army echelons, and the independent garrisons manning the outposts in the Pacific and Atlantic ocean frontiers.35 He agreed with WPD estimates that called for one motorized division for every armored division, because armored divisions spearheaded offensive action, while motorized divisions allowed infantrymen to keep pace with armored forces and provide a highly mobile, strategic reserve in the theater. Still, numbers of conventional triangular infantry divisions were needed to pave the way in slow, difficult operations on broken terrain and, reinforced with adequate antitank units, to hold ground in the face of a hostile armored threat. Limited numbers of special purpose divisions, organized to suit the requirements of fighting in the European theater, also had to be formed. Within the general headquarters, there needed to be a reserve of antiaircraft, armor, antitank, artillery, and special purpose and miscellaneous troops.36


Working from these decisions, Wedemeyer organized task forces to fight the war. He planned two task forces for operations in the Americas and the Caribbean. even though he thought the possibility of German or German-inspired attacks through South America was a fanciful notion, he established small forces that could deal with this potential threat. The first task force was therefore designated for Brazil, the closest nation to Africa, and therefore the most likely landing area for enemy troops. Constituted as a corps, the Brazil task force contained on e triangular infantry division and one airborne division, a horse-mounted cavalry regiment, and appropriate antiaircraft and artillery units. The small corps held a total of only 77,700 troops and was to defend North American from attack from the south and preclude or minimize defections of South American nations to the Axis. The units Wedemeyer assigned to the corps reflected the terrain in which they would be expected to fight, terrain where mechanized or motorized forces could not be used effectively. Most importantly from Wedemeyer’s point of view, the corps would also be a strategic reserve, a strong striking force for use in southern Europe or the African theater.37

The second task force was also dedicated to hemispheric defense. The Colombia-Ecuador-Peru task force consisted of one heavily reinforced triangular infantry division, totaling 34,000 men. While it could reinforce the Brazil task force if threats developed there, the division most likely would collaborate with Air Corps units to defend the Panama Canal. Wedemeyer also considered these troops part of the strategic reserve and emphasized that they had to be held ready for prompt movement to another theater.38

The three task forces intended to conduct the war in Europe contained the vast majority of the nation’s combat power.39 Using the division slice figure and estimating the number of special purpose divisions and conventional infantry divisions the Army


needed as opposed to armored and mechanized divisions, Wedemeyer devised a grand total of 215 division of all types, organized into five field armies. First, Third, and Fourth Armies were purely offensive task forces, exempt from the defensive portions of RAINBOW 5. Each army had the specific mission to train and prepare for battle in central Europe, although each also had a contingency mission. Third Army was required to be ready to fight in South and Central America and Africa, and Fourth Army was to be prepared to operate on the west coast of South America, in Alaska, and in the Hawaiian Islands if required. Second and Fifth Armies were the strategic reserve that the Army could activate as necessary.

Wedemeyer built each army around a core of nine triangular infantry divisions. The striking force of each army, however, lay in its armored and mechanized divisions. First Army had four divisions of each type, plus two mountain divisions and two airborne divisions. Third Army had two cavalry, two airborne, two armored, and two mechanized divisions. Fourth Army consisted of two armored, four mechanized, two mountain, and two airborne divisions. Each army had appropriate corps headquarters to command the divisions and sufficient organic service troops to sustain the combat units in action. To contend with strong German armored units that enjoyed close tactical air support, the U.S. forces would have powerful combat support forces under army control, including tank destroyer and antitank battalions and reserve artillery. For the same reason, Wedemeyer gave each army an elaborate antiaircraft artillery organization. the armies were similar in organization, but their strength varied from 17 to 21 divisions:

First Army

Army Hq. & Hq. Co., and Army Troops
3 Corps Headquarters & Corps Troops
2 Armored Corps Headquarters & Corps Troops
9 Triangular Infantry Divisions
4 Armored Divisions
4 Triangular Infantry Divisions (Motorized)
2 Mountain Divisions
2 Airborne Divisions
8 Separate Tank Battalions
10 Tank Destroyer Battalions
10 Antitank Battalions (Gun)
5 Parachute Infantry Battalions
2 Heavy Artillery Regiments
9 Medium & Light Artillery Battalions


12 Aircraft Warning Regiments
20 Antiaircraft Artillery Regiments
10 Mobile Antiaircraft Battalions
Service Troops

Third Army

Army Hq. & Hq. Co., and Army Troops
3 Corps Headquarters & Corps Troops
1 Armored Corps Headquarters & Corps Troops
1 Cavalry Corps Headquarters & Corps Troops
9 Triangular Infantry Divisions
2 Armored Divisions
2 Triangular Infantry Divisions (Motorized)
2 Airborne Divisions
2 Cavalry Divisions
5 Tank Destroyer Battalions
10 Antitank Battalions (Gun)
5 Parachute Infantry Battalions
1 Heavy Artillery Regiment
2 Medium Artillery Battalions
3 Aircraft Warning Regiments
5 Antiaircraft Artillery Regiments
3 Mobile Antiaircraft Battalions
Service Troops

Fourth Army

Army Hq. & Hq. Co., and Army Troops
3 Corps Headquarters & Corps Troops
9 Triangular Infantry Divisions
2 Armored Divisions
4 Triangular Infantry Divisions (Motorized)
2 Mountain Divisions
2 Airborne Divisions
8 Separate Tank Battalions
10 Tank Destroyer Battalions
15 Antitank Battalions (Gun)
2 Parachute Infantry Battalions
4 Heavy Artillery Regiments
4 Medium Artillery Battalions
6 Aircraft Warning Regiments
15 Antiaircraft Artillery Regiments
10 Mobile Antiaircraft Battalions
Service Troops

Besides the task forces, Wedemeyer envisioned a considerable strategic reserve, a well-balanced pool of units either to reinforce and supplement existing task forces, or to create complete task forces for other missions. Unable to predict the exact military situation


the United States would be facing in July of 19943, he also planned for a reserve of fully equipped units. Those units would not be created immediately, however, because their manpower was more urgently needed to construct training areas, barracks, and the like, and work the production lines that were vital to manufacture the military matériel to equip units the Army would organize immediately. The Army would call up the additional men as needed, to active units in the strategic reserve, in accordance with developments in the international situation. The strategic reserve consisted of two armies, the Second and the Fifth:

Strategic Reserve, GHQ

2 Army Hq & Hq Cos. and Army Troops
10 Corps and Corps Troops
14 Armored Corps and Corps Troops
27 Triangular Infantry Divisions
53 Armored Divisions
51 Triangular Infantry Divisions (Mechanized)
2 Cavalry Divisions
6 Mountain Divisions
3 Airborne Divisions
115 Medium and Heavy Artillery Battalions
86 Separate Tank Battalions
290 Tank Destroyer Battalions
262 Antitank Battalions (Gun)
22 Parachute Infantry Battalions
29 Aircraft Warning Regiments
129 Antiaircraft Artillery Regiments
133 Antiaircraft Battalions (Mobile)

Wedemeyer’s completed calculations outlined a powerful army of 215 maneuver divisions, of which 61 were to be armored, 61 mechanized, 54 infantry triangular, 4 cavalry, 10 mountain, and 7 airborne. The remaining divisions were allotted to task forces committed to hemispheric defense and defense of outlying possessions of the United States, or were to be constituted from separate battalions in the strategic reserve.40 When Wedemeyer submitted his


study in early September, his final manpower commitments were as follows:

Air Force Combat units 1,100,000
Air Force Service units 950,000
Total Air Force41 2,050,000
Military Bases and Outlying Possessions 346,217
Potential Task Forces 2,199,441
Fixed Defenses & Zone of the Interior Forces 1,200,000
Total Active Units 3,745,658
Units in strategic reserve to be activated when situation required 3,000,000
Total Army Ground Forces 6,745,658

Wedemeyer then sent copies of his final estimate of Army Requirements to each element of the War Department staff for comment. By 23 August 1941, the G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, and Air Corps had all informally concurred in the draft. General Gerow, in turn, transmitted the document to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, for action.42 He asked the G-4 to determine the number of each of the critical and essential items necessary to equip and maintain the force Wedemeyer proposed. Without the basic strategic plan Wedemeyer had written, it would have been impossible for the G-4 to tabulate such information; with it, the task was manageable. The G-4 staff swiftly computed the equipment requirements and returned a list to Wedemeyer on the afternoon of 4 September 1941.43

General Marshall’s original concern had been that President


Roosevelt’s plan to supply Great Britain and Russia with military matériel would completely disorganize the Army’s mobilization program. In fact, when Wedemeyer finished his work, the Army had no better understanding of production requirements to meet the needs of Lend Lease.44 For instance, Marshall continued to argue that American forces had to be equipped before the United States shipped any significant amounts of modern weapons and munitions to the Allies.45 However vague the Army’s understanding of Lend Lease needs, its estimate of matériel established a planning basis that at least allowed planners to figure the impact of Lend Lease on American readiness. eventually, the Army passed Lend Lease production questions to the civilian authorities, largely because the War Department staff could only guess at the needs of the British and the Russians.

the Army planning data, including estimates made by the planning section of the Air Corps, were combined as a joint study and, together with a similar estimate made by the Navy for “Victory Sea Forces,” were turned over to the Joint Army and Navy Board. The Joint Board approved the basic plan and forwarded it to the civilian production agencies in the government. Although Wedemeyer’s plan was frequently called the “Victory Plan,” or “Victory Program,” that name more properly applies to the entire production program, of which Wedemeyer’s study was one of the major components, eventually administered by the Office of Production Management.46


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (3) * Next Chapter (5)

1. Marshall had held that view for some months. For his reflections on the problem, see Memorandum, George C. Marshall for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, October 14, 1941, Subj: Estimate of Ground Forces. . . . NARA RG 165, File WPD 4594.

2. Interview with General Wedemeyer, 24 April 1987.

3. For the entire discussion of comparative combat strengths, see Ultimate Requirements Study, pp. 2-7, and Estimate of Army Ground Forces, pp. 6-12. Projections of German military power, like appraisals of Axis intentions, derived from G-2 estimates.

4. Memorandum, Wedemeyer for Gerow, 9 September 1941, NARA RG 165, OPD Exec. #4, Item #7.

5. Estimate of Army requirements, p. 8.

6. Ibid., p. 7. Emphasis in original.

7. “Square” divisions, consisting of four infantry regiments with artillery and supporting services, was the Army’s organization in World War I. The “Triangular” infantry division reduced the infantry regiments to three and increased the mobility and firepower of the division.

8. See Memorandum, Gerow for the Chief of Staff, 10 August 1941, Subj: Evaluation of Modern Combat forces, pp. 9, 14. NARA RG 165, File WPD 3674-52. In late 1941, the Army had a total of 33 divisions: 18 square, 8 triangular, 1 motorized, 4 armored, and 2 cavalry. The 1942 Troop Basis proposed few changes in its total of divisions: 18 square, 9 triangular, 6 motorized, 6 armored, and 2 cavalry. An army so designed was intended for defense.

9. Ibid., p. 13.

10. Interview with General Wedemeyer, 24 April 1987. General Wedemeyer emphasized the influence of Fuller on his thinking and commented that Fuller’s works were widely read and discussed among Kriegsadakemie students.

11. Memorandum, Captain A.C. Wedemeyer for the Adjutant General, 3 August 1938, Subj: German General Staff School, p. 12. NARA RG 165, G-2 Regional Files–Germany (6740), Box 1409 (Suitland). Hereinafter cited as Kriegsakademie Report.

12. Kriegsakademie Report, pp. 7-8, 10-14, 140.

13. Interview with General Wedemeyer, 24 April 1987. General Wedemeyer made this point in his report on attendance at the German War College and remarked that general Marshall and certain officers on the WPD staff shared his view that mechanization made old-style divisional organization obsolete.

14. Kriegsakademie Report, p. 5.

15. Interview with General Wedemeyer, 24 April 1987.

16. Evaluation of Modern Combat Forces, p. 3.

17. Ibid., p. 1. emphasis in original. This document explicitly mentions WPD review of the war; many other documents show that officers on the Army staff were watching the fighting carefully and thinking critically about what lessons might be learned from it.

18. Ibid., pp. 9-10. Also see Estimate of Army Requirements, pp. 8-10.

19. Evaluation of Modern Combat Forces, p. 7.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid., p. 8.

23. Ibid.

24. Evidently the principle of standard units was a topic of conversation in professional military circles in the late 19302. General Wedemeyer remarked upon the German implementation of the idea in his report on attendance at the German War College, and noted that the concept was favorably regarded by officers in WPD in 1941. Interview with General Wedemeyer, 24 April 1987.

25. See Wedemeyer’s comments in Kriegsakademie Report, pp. 141-42.

26. Ibid., p. 140. Emphasis in original. Wedemeyer wrote that the envelopment was the most effective form of maneuver which, “if aggressively employed deep in the hostile flank or rear, can result in a decisive victory–an annihilation of the enemy.” He went on to observe that “wide envelopments are more effective than close in.” Nonetheless, such wide maneuver was very difficult to arrange because of the technical intelligence means available to the field army. See pp. 91-92.

27. Estimate of Army Requirements, p. 8.

28. The 52d Coast Artillery (Railway), for example, sent on e battery of 8-inch railway rifles to help protect the harbor at Newfoundland, and another battery to Bermuda.

29. In October 1940 the Army created the 24th Infantry Division form the old Hawaiian Division, having drawn cadres form it to create the new 25th Infantry Division in August. Both divisions were still in Hawaii in December 1941. See John B. Wilson, Armies, Corps, Divisions and Separate Brigades. ARMY LINEAGE SERIES (Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History, 1987).

30. The figure did not include Air Corps personnel, which were computed separately. See Ultimate Requirements Study, p. 9.

31. Ibid.

32. Ultimate Requirements Study, pp. 7-9.

33. Ibid.

34. Wedemeyer reports!, p. 66.

35. An excellent personnel summary is contained in Memorandum, Lt. Col. Harry Reichelderfer for Colonel Mallon (G-4), 5 September 1941, Subj: Ultimate Requirements for the Army, a document Reichelderfer prepared for his chief to summarize the contents of Wedemeyer’s study. This document indicates that Wedemeyer distributed copies of his study to various staff elements for information; in this case, he asked the G-4 to determine exactly how much matériel would be required to equip the forces he proposed. NARA RG 165, File WPD 4494-4.

36. Evaluation of Modern Combat Forces, pp. 16-21.

37. Ultimate Requirements Study, p. 10.

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid., pp. 11-12. Also, Estimate of Army Requirements, Tab A, pp. 1-3. All discussions of task forces, including specific troop figures, come from these documents. The two differ in detail. The earlier of the two, the Ultimate Requirements Study, reaches a smaller total of divisions; the Estimate of Army Requirements was the final paper and contained the figures submitted to the President. Aside from division totals, the two papers vary in details such as specific strength figures and nondivisional units assigned to task forces. Those differences are not significant for purposes of this discussion.

40. Estimate of Army Requirements, p. 12 and Tab A.

41. Air Force requirements were computed separately by Air Staff and delivered to War Plans Division; Wedemeyer was not responsible for them.

42. Memorandum, Brig. Gen. L.T. Gerow for Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, 23 August 1941, Subj: Ultimate Requirement for the Army. NARA RG 165, WPD File 4494-4.

43. Memorandum, Brig. Gen. E. Reybold for Assistant Chief of Staff, WPD, 5 September 1941, Subj: Ultimate Requirements for the Army. NARA RG 165, File WPD G-4/33473.

44. G-4 calculations of matériel for U.S. units followed existing and proposed Table of Organization and Equipment. In some cases, both in ground forces and in air forces, the staff made attempts to estimate Lend Lease requirements as well. See Production Requirements. U.S. Estimates of Own Needs and Those of Foreign Nations, Critical Items Only. NARA RG 165, WPD Files 4494-5 and 4494-26.

45. Memorandum, General George C. Marshall for president F.D. Roosevelt, 14 October 1941, Subj: Estimate of Ground Forces required (1) for immediate security of the Western Hemisphere, (2) ultimately to defeat our potential enemies. NARA RG 165, File WPD 4594.

46. For the final, detailed production estimates, see Joint Board No. 355 (Serial 707), Army and Navy Estimate of United States Over-All Production Requirements, September 11, 1941. NARA RG 225.

Matthew Rothschild: 10 Questions about Obama’s Iraq Bombing — The Progressive

obama grimace 2

In assessing President Obama’s latest escalation in Iraq, it’s worth asking a few basic questions.

1. Is it constitutional? Only Congress has the right to declare war. Under what authority is President Obama sending U.S. warplanes back to Iraq?

2. Has he followed the War Powers Act? This 1973 law says the President can send the armed forces into action only by “statutory authorization” or in case of “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” Neither of those applies here. Also, the War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action. Has the President done that?

3. Is the bombing legal under international law? The U.N. charter says that no country can attack another country except in self-defense. The Islamic States, as repulsive as it is, has not attacked the United States.

4. If U.S. personnel at our embassy or in our consulates are in danger in Iraq, as Obama has said, why not pull them out instead of sending in the bombers?

5. President Obama cites the humanitarian crisis of the Yazidis. And yes, it is a crisis. But there are other humanitarian crises around the world—in Syria, in the Congo, in the Ukraine. Why Iraq and not the others?

6. If the United States couldn’t subdue enemy forces in Iraq with 170,000 soldiers and Marines on the ground, how will it be able to do so with none on the ground?

7. What role is oil playing in all this? As Steve Coll writes in The New Yorker, “ExxonMobil and Chevron are among the many oil and gas firms large and small drilling in Kurdistan under contracts that compensate the companies for their political risk-taking with unusually favorable terms.”

8. President Obama on August 9 said, “Ultimately, only Iraqis can ensure the security and stability of Iraq. The United States can’t do it for them. . . . Ultimately there’s not going to be an American military solution to this problem.” Well, then, how long is “ultimately”?

9. Though the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki was, by almost all accounts, corrupt and extremely divisive, what right did the United States have to muscle him out of power?

10. What credibility does the United States have to claim it’s now on a humanitarian mission in Iraq to save innocent lives when it killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives from 2003-2011?

Matthew Rothschild is the senior editor of The Progressive magazine.

hillary mean

Kiev’s blocking of Russian aid convoy to east Ukraine, use of white phosphorus bombs escalates risk of war — WSWS

[See all this shit is going down toward the weekend when the typical Washington practice is to "dump" bad or disturbing news and hope it disappears in the black hole of TV or spectator sports, vapid bar hopping and mind numbing entertainment, incessant shopping, and the typical narcissistic behaviors -- and THIS WEEKEND -- just before school starts and EVERYBODY is BUSY ANYWAY -- a GREAT WEEKEND TO DUMP MORE OBAMA GOLDMAN-SACHS/WALL STREET WAR NEWS.]


By Niles Williamson
16 August 2014

EXCERPT: “Kiev has unleashed a group of fascist militias to besiege and shell the two major cities of southeastern Ukraine, killing over 2,000 people and wounding thousands. The Kiev regime’s shelling of Donetsk has killed more than 80 civilians and wounded at least 116. Just since Thursday, shelling has killed eleven civilians and injured eight others in the city.”

EXCERPT: “At the same time, Western officials have maintained a total silence on videos that emerged yesterday showing the Ukrainian military bombing the rebel-held east Ukrainian city of Donetsk with white phosphorus. Such a bombing directly violates the Geneva Conventions and other international treaties.”

International tensions continued to mount throughout the day yesterday, as Ukrainian officials began inspecting a convoy of humanitarian aid that Russia hopes to send to the besieged city of Luhansk, which is held by pro-Russian separatists hostile to the pro-US regime in Kiev. The convoy of 280 trucks, which left for Ukraine on Tuesday, has been stalled at the Ukrainian border just outside the city of Izvaryne, as fighting intensifies across east Ukraine.

Russia agreed to allow a team of Ukrainian border guards to inspect the 2,000 tons of aid before passing across the border and on to Luhansk.

US and NATO [OBAMA GOLDMAN-SACHS/WALL STREET] officials had made threatening statements earlier in the week that they would consider the passage of a Russian aid convoy into Ukraine without permission from Kiev to be an invasion.


The government in Kiev has stipulated that the Russia convoy not be accompanied by any sort of defensive personnel or equipment, under the pretense of ensuring that the convoy is not a cover for a military intervention.

According to the Pentagon, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assured US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a phone call on Friday that no Russia troops were involved in the convoy, that it would not be used as pretext for further intervention, and that Russia was doing everything it could to meet the Ukrainian regime’s demands.

Russia’s agreement to the Kiev regime’s demands has left the convoy vulnerable to attack from Ukrainian armed forces and fascist gangs which have been active in the attacks on Luhansk and Donetsk.

Moscow claimed on Friday to have uncovered a plot by the paramilitary Aidar Battalion to disrupt the humanitarian convoy. They allegedly planned to place mines along the pre-planned route to Luhansk and place the blame on the pro-Russian separatists.

Also on Friday, [OBAMA GOLDMAN-SACHS/WALL STREET] NATO accused Russia of dispatching a convoy of armored personnel carriers into rebel-held territory Thursday night, raising the prospect of war. The Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that the alliance had indications of an incursion of vehicles from Russia overnight Thursday. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko then released a statement, claiming that Ukrainian forces had launched an attack and successfully destroyed part of the Russian convoy.


The claims of NATO and Poroshenko have yet to be independently verified and have been flatly denied by Moscow as fabrications.

Reports of a Russian incursion have been seized on by the Western imperialist powers to ratchet up tensions and threaten war. The European Union released a provocative statement calling on Russia to “to put an immediate stop to any form of border hostilities, in particular to the flow of arms, military advisors and armed personnel into the conflict region and to withdraw its forces from the border.”

British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond summoned the Russian ambassador and warned that “if there are any Russian military personnel or vehicles in eastern Ukraine they need to be withdrawn immediately or the consequences could be very serious.”

The Kiev regime’s decision to block the aid convoy testifies to the utter ruthlessness with which it is pursuing its campaign of collective punishment against the population of east Ukraine, [OUTLAWED BY THE NUREMBERG WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL AFTER IMPERIAL WAR II aka World War II] now including allegedly using the

chemical weapon white phosphorus

against the city of Donetsk. [And where the fuck did they GET white phosphorus? From the Soviet Union? From the Russian Federation? Yeah, right, like the Soviets or the Russians would give such a dangerous, noxious weapon to an ally who could turn and use it against them -- or did Kiev get it from the US which has a nasty record of using it repeatedly?!]


EXCERPT: “Kiev has unleashed a group of fascist militias to besiege and shell the two major cities of southeastern Ukraine, killing over 2,000 people and wounding thousands. The Kiev regime’s shelling of Donetsk has killed more than 80 civilians and wounded at least 116. Just since Thursday, shelling has killed eleven civilians and injured eight others in the city.”

The situation is even worse in the besieged city of Luhansk, where residents have been without electricity, running water and telephone service for nearly two weeks. People risk being torn to bits by mortar fire as they wait in long lines for food and water.

The city’s hospital is desperately low on basic medical supplies, including insulin and tuberculosis medicine, and water treatment facilities have run out of chemicals to disinfect water.


At the same time, Western officials have maintained a total silence on videos that emerged yesterday showing the Ukrainian military bombing the rebel-held east Ukrainian city of Donetsk with white phosphorus. Such a bombing directly violates the Geneva Conventions and other international treaties.

Reports that Kiev regime forces had used white phosphorus bombs had already emerged during the siege of the rebel-held city of Slavyansk in June. Residents told Russian media that a number of buildings as well as open ground in the suburb of Semyonovka had been set ablaze by the incendiary bombs. The ground hit by white phosphorus continued to burn for nearly an hour after it was hit.

White phosphorus when used as an incendiary weapon can cause especially severe second and third degree burns, melting through skin, and can cause fatal organ failure if ingested or inhaled. The Geneva Conventions as well as Article One of Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons forbid the use of incendiary weapons against civilians or in civilian areas.

The devastating effects of white phosphorus have made it a favored weapon of US imperialism and its allies in recent years for brutally suppressing civilian populations. Israel admitted to deploying white phosphorous incendiary bombs against civilian areas in Gaza during its Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.


The American military deployed white phosphorous in 2004 against civilians in the city of Fallujah in Iraq as it stormed the city in an attempt to crush its resistance to the US occupation. Residues from white phosphorus and other toxic materials used by the US military have contributed to an alarming rise in birth defects in babies born since 2004 in the city.

bush and obama are one