European Theater of Operations, United States Army

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European Theater of Operations,
United States Army
(ETOUSA)
Active1942–45
Country Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg United States
BranchFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Type Theater Army
RoleHeadquarters
Part of War Department
Allied Expeditionary Force
Nickname(s)"ETOUSA"
Anniversaries V-E Day (8 May)
Campaigns World War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Frank Andrews
Jacob Devers

The European Theater of Operations, United States Army (ETOUSA) was a United States Army formation which directed US Army operations in parts of Europe from 1942 to 1945. It referred to Army Ground Forces, United States Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces operations north of Italy and the Mediterranean coast, in the European Theater of World War II. It was bordered to the south by the North African Theater of Operations, US Army (NATOUSA), which later became the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTOUSA).

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Army Ground Forces

The Army Ground Forces were one of the three autonomous components of the Army of the United States during World War II, the others being the Army Air Forces and Army Service Forces. Throughout their existence, Army Ground Forces were the largest training organization ever established in the United States. Its strength of 780,000 troops on 1 May 1942 grew to a peak of 2,200,000 by 1 July 1943. Thereafter its strength declined as units departed for overseas theaters.

United States Army Air Forces aerial warfare branch of the United States army from 1941 to 1947

The United States Army Air Forces, informally known as the Air Force, was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army during and immediately after World War II (1939/41–1945), successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which on 2 March 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, and the Army Air Forces. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Army Chief of Staff.

Contents

The term theater of operations was defined in the US Army field manuals as the land and sea areas to be invaded or defended, including areas necessary for administrative activities incident to the military operations. In accordance with the experience of World War I, it was usually conceived of as a large land mass over which continuous operations would take place and was divided into two chief areas-the combat zone, or the area of active fighting, and the Communications Zone, or area required for administration of the theater. As the armies advanced, both these zones and the areas into which they were divided would shift forward to new geographic areas of control. [1]

Combat Purposeful violent conflict, typically refers to armed conflict or melee

Combat is a purposeful violent conflict meant to weaken, establish dominance over, or kill the opposition, or to drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed.

Communications Zone

Communications Zone is a US Army and NATO term which describes a part of the theater of war operations.

History

Selected senior American commanders of the European theater of World War II. *Seated are (from left to right) Lt. Gen. William H. Simpson, CG, Ninth US Army; Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., CG Third US Army; Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, CG, US Army Air Forces European Theater; Genera of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces; Gen. Omar Bradley, CG, 12th Army Group; Lt. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges, CG First US Army; and Lt. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, CG VIII Corps. *standing are (from left to right) Brig. Gen. Ralph F. Stearley, Maj. Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Maj Gen. Otto P. Weyland, and Brig. Gen. Richard E. Nugent. Notably absent/excluded from this grouping: Gen. Mark W. Clark, CG 15th Army Group; Gen. Jacob Devers, CG 6th Army Group; Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee, CG US Communications Zone European Theater; Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch, CG Seventh US Army. American World War II senior military officials, 1945.JPEG
Selected senior American commanders of the European theater of World War II. *Seated are (from left to right) Lt. Gen. William H. Simpson, CG, Ninth US Army; Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., CG Third US Army; Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, CG, US Army Air Forces European Theater; Genera of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces; Gen. Omar Bradley, CG, 12th Army Group; Lt. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges, CG First US Army; and Lt. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, CG VIII Corps. *standing are (from left to right) Brig. Gen. Ralph F. Stearley, Maj. Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Maj Gen. Otto P. Weyland, and Brig. Gen. Richard E. Nugent. Notably absent/excluded from this grouping: Gen. Mark W. Clark, CG 15th Army Group; Gen. Jacob Devers, CG 6th Army Group; Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee, CG US Communications Zone European Theater; Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch, CG Seventh US Army.

British–American military staffs agreed during their meetings in Washington in January–March 1941 (the ABC-1 Conversations) to exchange military missions to facilitate planning for the eventuality of American entry in the war. [2] Major General James E. Chaney, an Army Air Corps officer, arrived in the United Kingdom on 18 May 1941, and on the following day, Headquarters, Special Observer Group (SPOBS), was established in London. [3] SPOBS also had the role of studying British use of Lend Lease supplies. [4] His formal title was the Special Army Observer in the United Kingdom and head of SPOBS. After the United States entered the war, SPOBS was succeeded by United States Army Forces in the British Isles (USAFBI), actually SPOBS under a new name. At the time of the ARCADIA Conference, December 1941 – January 1942, the decision was made to place the MAGNET forces (U.S. Forces for Northern Ireland) under the command of Maj. Gen. E.L. Daley, and make him in turn responsible to General Chaney, designated as CG, USAFBI. On 5 May 1942, Maj. Gen. John C. H. Lee became Commanding General, Services of Supply, U.S. Army Forces British Isles, and later deputy theater commander, ETOUSA. [5] On 8 June 1942, the United States Department of War officially established ETOUSA in its place. Its mission was to conduct planning for the eventual retaking of Europe and to exercise administrative and operational control over U.S. forces.

James E. Chaney

James EuceneChaney (1885-1967) was an American military officer in the army before moving to the air force. He served in both the First World War and Second World War.

United States Army Air Corps Air warfare branch of the US Army from 1926 to 1941

The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was the aerial warfare service of the United States of America between 1926 and 1941. After World War I, as early aviation became an increasingly important part of modern warfare, a philosophical rift developed between more traditional ground-based army personnel and those who felt that aircraft were being underutilized and that air operations were being stifled for political reasons unrelated to their effectiveness. The USAAC was renamed from the earlier United States Army Air Service on 2 July 1926, and was part of the larger United States Army. The Air Corps became the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on 20 June 1941, giving it greater autonomy from the Army's middle-level command structure. During World War II, although not an administrative echelon, the Air Corps (AC) remained as one of the combat arms of the Army until 1947, when it was legally abolished by legislation establishing the Department of the Air Force.

John C. H. Lee United States Army general

John Clifford Hodges Lee was a career US Army engineer, who rose to the rank of lieutenant general and commanded the Communications Zone in the European Theater of Operations during World War II.

The 133rd Infantry Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division was the first United States Army unit sent to Europe in World War II. The first battalion arrived in Belfast in late January 1942, followed by the rest of the regiment in February. These units were designated as U.S. Army Northern Ireland Forces, later incorporated within the European Theater of Operations. The 133rd and 168th Infantry Regiments trained in the peat bogs, and performed border guard patrols between British Northern Ireland and the neutral Irish Free State. The remaining unit of the division, the 135th Infantry Regiment, arrived in May 1942.

34th Infantry Division (United States) division

The 34th Infantry Division is an infantry division of the United States Army, part of the National Guard, that participated in World War I, World War II and multiple current conflicts. It was the first American division deployed to Europe in World War II, where it fought with great distinction in the Italian Campaign.

Belfast City in the United Kingdom, capital of Northern Ireland

Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. It is the second-largest city on the island of Ireland, after Dublin. It had a population of 333,871 as of 2015.

Irish Free State Sovereign state in northwest Europe (1922–1937), Dominion status to 1922, succeeded by Ireland

The Irish Free State was a state established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the forces of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and British Crown forces.

From February 1944 the operational command was the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) which as an Allied command also had operational control of British and all other allied land forces and tactical airforces in the European theatre. Until SHAEF was operational ETOUSA liaised closely with the British in the planning and organising of Operation Overlord.

Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force

Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force was the headquarters of the Commander of Allied forces in north west Europe, from late 1943 until the end of World War II. U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the commander in SHAEF throughout its existence. The position itself shares a common lineage with Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Atlantic, but they are different titles.

Theater (warfare) Area or place in which important military events occur or are progressing

In warfare, a theater or theatre is an area in which important military events occur or are progressing. A theater can include the entirety of the airspace, land and sea area that is or that may potentially become involved in war operations.

Operation Overlord Successful invasion of Nazi-held northern Europe in World War II

Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings. A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August.

U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower had multiple command appointments; he replaced Chaney in late June 1942, but in November he also commanded the Allied forces in Operation Torch through AFHQ. He then relinquished command of ETOUSA to Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews in February 1943, who was killed in an air crash in May. He was replaced by Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, former Chief of the Armored Force. In December 1943 it was announced that Eisenhower would be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. In January 1944 he resumed command of ETOUSA and the following month was officially designated as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. (Note that Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) was the headquarters of the Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, whereas the AFHQ was the headquarters of only the Allied forces.) He served in a dual role until the end of hostilities in Europe in May 1945. From February 1944, SHAEF was the operational command and ETOUSA administrative command.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th president of the United States

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful Invasion of Normandy in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

Operation Torch Allied landing operations in French North Africa during World War II

Operation Torch was an Anglo–American invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. It was aimed at reducing pressure on Allied forces in Egypt, and enabling an invasion of Southern Europe. It also provided the 'second front' which the Soviet Union had been requesting since it was invaded by the Germans in 1941. The region was dominated by the Vichy French, officially in collaboration with Germany, but with mixed loyalties, and reports indicated that they might support the Allied initiative. The American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the operation, planned a three-pronged attack, aimed at Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) and Algiers (Eastern), in advance of a rapid move on Tunis.

Jacob L. Devers United States Army general

Jacob Loucks Devers was a general in the United States Army who commanded the 6th Army Group in the European Theater during World War II. He was involved in the development and adoption of numerous weapons, including the M4 Sherman and M26 Pershing tanks, the DUKW amphibious truck, the Bell H-13 Sioux helicopter and the M16 rifle.

Some units were transferred between operational commands and administrative commands at different times. For example, the American 6th Army Group, which was set up under the Mediterranean Theater of Operations to oversee Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France between Toulon and Cannes, was passed to SHAEF (and into ETO) a month after the invasion which took place on 15 August 1944.

By the end of 1944, Eisenhower, through SHAEF, commanded three powerful Allied army groups. In the north British 21st Army Group commanded by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery ("Monty"), in the middle the American 12th Army Group commanded by General Omar N. Bradley, and in the South the American 6th Army Group commanded by Devers. The British 21st Army Group and French elements of the 6th Army Group were not part of ETOUSA, but by that stage of the war most of the operational forces under the command of SHAEF were American.

The ETOUSA planning staff in London was usually referred to by its Army Post Office number, "APO 887". After the war in Europe ended, ETOUSA became briefly U.S. Armed Forces Europe, then U.S. Forces, European Theater (USFET), and then, eventually, United States Army Europe.

Campaigns and operations

Chart 12.- Typical organization of a theater of operations as envisaged by War Department Doctrine, 1940. Theater of operations.gif
Chart 12.- Typical organization of a theater of operations as envisaged by War Department Doctrine, 1940.

Operation Torch—the invasion of French North Africa—involving the 9th, 3rd Infantry and the 2nd Armored Divisions, initiated on 8 November 1942, was the first ground combat operations for the United States in World War II. [6]

Albert Coady Wedemeyer was chief author of the Victory Program, published three months before the U.S. entered the war in 1941, which advocated the defeat of the German armies on the European continent. When the U.S. entered the war after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and the U.S. was at war with both Japan and Germany, a "Europe first" a modified version of his plan was adopted by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Under the German first policy, the plan was expanded to include the blueprint for the Normandy landings.

See also

Notes

  1. Blanche B. Armfield, M.A., Prepared and published in 1963 under the direction of Lieutenant General Leonard D. Heaton The Surgeon General, United States Army. "Medical department United States Army in World War II: Chapter VII: Prewar Army Doctrine for Theater". history.amedd.army.mil.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. Ray S. Cline, Washington Command Post: The Operations Division, Appendix B: U.S. Army Commanders in Major Theater Commands, December 1941 – September 1945, via HyperWar, accessed March 2012
  3. James E. Chaney 1908
  4. Mayo, Lida (1991). UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, The Technical Services, THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT: ON BEACHHEAD AND BATTLEFRONT. Washington, D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army.
  5. "CHAPTER XV Command Reorganization, June–October 1944". ibiblio.org.
  6. American "observers" had participated in the Dieppe Raid in August 1942

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References

Further reading