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A. Unity of Command: U.S. and British Systems

1. One of the major problems which confronted American and British High Commands, in the conduct of cross-channel operations, was that of the method of assuring effective unity of command. From the time of the first informal American-British Staff conversations in 1940-41, there had been agreement in principle on the necessity of such unified command. It was also agreed that each country would assume responsibility for the organization of unified command of operations in regions under its strategic control. In these earlier discussions, it had been found necessary to postpone the decision as to the organization of unified "Combined" Commands over land, air and sea forces of the two countries and of their allies and associates assigned to future offensive operations. In 1942 and in 1943 there were a long series of discussions of the system of Combined Commands for the cross-channel operation then being planned.

2. When the outline plan for OVERLORD was submitted to the C.C.S. in August 1943, COSSAC pointed out the necessity both of establishing at once the system of command to be used, and of designating the principal Commander at the earliest possible moment. The responsible heads of the U.S. and Royal Navies were able to agree forthwith on proposals for Naval Command Organization and Commanders. But the C.C.S. delayed the selection of the Supreme Commander and the Land Force Commander until December 1943, moreover, they did not agree on the system of combined commands until mid-February 1944, and the air command was not finally established until the middle of April.


3. The origins of the system of command employed in OVERLORD ante-date American entry into the war. In 1927, the United States Army and Navy had agreed to a system of unified command in operations requiring joint action. As modified in 1935, this system provided that Army and Navy forces engaged in single operations would be formed into Task Forces each under the command of the Senior Officer of whichever service was pre-eminently concerned. The task force commander was to exercise operational control in accordance with principles of unity of command as laid down in an agreed doctrine.1

4. When the European Theater of Operations was established in the summer of 1942, Admiral King and General Marshall agreed that "the U.S. Army will exercise unity of command over U.S. Forces involved during the joint phases of the planning, the preparations, and the military operations, respecting the movement to, the reception and maintenance of U.S. Forces in the United Kingdom. ... Such unity of command will be as prescribed in Chapter II, Para. 9 B (3) and (10) of the Joint Action of the U.S. Army and Navy. ... The U.S. Army will make the necessary arrangements with the British, respecting command of combined operations of U.S. and British forces in Western Europe."2 This agreement was incorporated in a directive to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe, and in the directive establishing the European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army.3


1 See FTP 155 of 1935 entitled Joint Action of the Army and Navy. Among other things it was provided that in Amphibious Operations the Naval Commander would exercise command while the army was embarked and until the army was firmly established ashore.

2 COMINCH Serial 00447 of 2 June 1942, FF1/A16-1. This was a joint letter signed by COMINCH and COS USA.

3 WD 1120 of 8 June 1942. This is the directive establishing ETOUSA. See also WD 1226 of 11 June 1942.


5. The British had assured the coordination of army- navy-air effort in amphibious operations in a different way. Prior to American participation, they had established an authority called the Combined Commanders, composed of a CinC Land Forces, a CinC Naval Forces, a CinC Air Forces, and the Chief of Combined Operations.1 These Commanders were to exercise command jointly whenever a combined operation was to be executed. Each CinC came under the control of his own service ministry, and unification of authority was not obtained except in the War Cabinet under Mr. Churchill.2


2 The Chain of Command was as follows:

Chart of Chain of Command.

See General Eisenhower's report to the JCS 18th Meeting of 4 June. Admiral Ramsay who later became OVERLORD Naval CinC was at the time the Naval CinC of the Combined Commanders Organization.


In addition each of the Combined Commanders was the senior officer of one of the services, in the standing organization of the British Forces. Responsibility for the planning or conduct of the cross-channel operation was thus only an additional assignment for each of them, as their basic tasks were respectively to operate the Dover Command, or the Fighter Air Forces defending Britain or the Land Forces charged with repelling an invasion of England.

B. 1942 Plans for a Supreme Allied Command

6. The British Combined Commanders had made considerable progress before April 1942 in drawing plans and making preparations for anticipated European and Mediterranean operations. As corresponding American and allied plans and preparations had not yet been made, it was necessary to adapt the British organization and preparations to combined purposes. In order to put the British Combined Commanders on an allied basis General Marshall during his visit to England in April 1942 arranged with the British Chiefs of Staff: (1) for the addition of an American planning staff to the Combined Commanders' organization; 1 and (2) for the establishment of a Unified Anglo-American field command. The British at first were against the establishment of such a unified field command, believing that their "committee", the Combined Commanders, provided all the interservice coordination required. But, after discussion with General Eisenhower in May and June 1942, they agreed to a combined American-British command under a Supreme Allied Commander, on condition that three service C's in C were provided for in the next echelon of command below the SAC.2 This concession by the British only partially met the American desire for Unified Command by the designation of a Supreme Commander to exercise "direct" command over military forces without interposing service C's in C. The British were not


1 CCS (42) 112th Meeting of 9 April 1942; CCS (42) 118th Meeting of 14 April 1942.

2 Their proposal was as follows:

Proposed organizational chart.

See CCS 75 of 5 June 1942 and General Eisenhower 's report to 18th Meeting of 4 June 1942.


then prepared to go further in accepting the American proposal and this system was temporarily adopted.1

7. As the CCS did not decide until the end of July 1942 whether to invade France or North Africa, it was agreed that until this decision was made, the Supreme Allied Commander to be designated should exercise command over all contemplated operations, with a Deputy for Cross Channel Operations. D/SAC would be detached and retained in England for further planning in case the African Operation was executed.2 In July 1942, General Eisenhower, who had assumed duty as Commanding General, U.S. Army, European Theater of Operations (ETOUSA) on 24 June 1942 3 was designated Supreme Allied Commander.4


1 It will be seen in due course that this system, occasionally modified as to details was in fact employed in every invasion - North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Normandy. See CCS 33rd Meeting of 25 July 1942; CCS 103 of 25 August 1943; CCS 103/3 of 8 October 1943.

2 See CCS 33rd Meeting of 25 July 1942. The chain of command agreed on was:

Agreed Chain of Command chart.

p.175 #3 ETOUSA was established on 8 June 1942 (see WD 1120 of 8 June 1942) D.D. Eisenhower was appointed CG by order of the President (see letter ETOUSA AG 323.362-G of 2 July 1942). For operational purposes the USN in the European Theater was put under command of CG ETOUSA (see WD 1120 of 8 June 1942 and WD 1226 of 11 June 1942).

p.175 #4 For directive to SAC see CCS 103/2 of 27 August 1942, and CCS 36th Meeting of 27 August 1942. The President and the Prime Minister decided on an American SAC because of the political situation in North Africa which was thought to be anti-British and pro-American (see CCS 33rd Meeting of 25 July 1942.)


When the CCS decided to invade North Africa, General Eisenhower was directed to command the Allied Forces. The Deputy Supreme Commander, and British personnel of the Combined Commanders' organization, were detached from Eisenhower's command, to continue work on plans and preparations for future cross channel operations.1 This was the organization which formed the nucleus of COSSAC's staff, in January 1943, when this post was created by the CCS, to draw up the OVERLORD appreciation and outline plan.

8. A compromise system, employing both the U.S. principle of a Supreme Commander, and the British principle of service C's in C, had thus been temporarily adopted as an expedient for the TORCH Operation. The American Chiefs of Staff continued their support of a system of unified command, to be exercised by a Supreme Allied Commander normally exercising "direct" command over forces assigned, and without interposing service C's in C.2 General Marshall, however,


1 Admiral Ramsay, who was later OVERLORD Naval CinC, was, in 1942, the naval CinC in the Combined Commanders organization. Before TORCH was decided upon he drew up the Naval SLEDGEHAMMER and ROUNDUP plan. Then he drew up the Naval TORCH Plan and directed basic preparations. Admiral Cunningham, however, preferred to command the operation himself. Therefore, TORCH plans and preparations developed by Admiral Ramsay remained in London as a part of the residue of the Combined Commanders organization. In this capacity he drew up "Provisional assessment of Naval Implications of ROUNDUP in 1943", which formed the basis on which all subsequent logistic and administrative preparations for OVERLORD were made. In January 1943 he was called to the Mediterranean charged with responsibility for the naval side of the Sicilian and Italian invasions.

2 The system proposed by General Marshall, which was fully concurred in by Admiral King and Admiral Leahy, may be diagrammed as follows:

SAC Staff
British and
U.S. Officers
of all services.
U.S. Task Force
Task Forces
Task Forces
British Task Force

See CCS 39th Meeting of 4 September 1942; CPS 44/1 of 7 Oct. 1942.


did not believe that the CCS should lay down hard and fast "orders" governing the internal organization of the Supreme Commander's forces. He believed that the CCS should formulate a body of rules for the "guidance" of the Supreme Commander, to be used by him as "doctrine" but not to be binding on him. When such a "doctrine" of command should be approved in principle by the CCS, the Supreme Commander should be guided by it in meeting the requirements of any given situation.

9. The British Chiefs of Staff, however, were not prepared to agree that even in such a "doctrine", service C's in C should not be interposed between the Supreme Commander and his forces, or that the CCS should refrain from directing the Supreme Commander to employ such service commanders in designated posts. A compromise paper was accordingly prepared which incorporated both the British and American ideas.1 The agreed "doctrine" was defined in the following terms:

1. "Unified Command is the control, exercised by a designated commander, over a force integrated from combined and joint forces allocated to him for the accomplishment of a mission or task. This force will include all the means considered necessary for the mission's successful execution. Unified command vests in the designated commander the responsibility and authority to control the operations of all arms and services composing his force, by the organization of task forces, assignment of missions, designation of objectives, and the exercise of such control as he deems necessary to insure the success of his mission. Unified command does not authorize the commander exercising it to control the administration and discipline of any forces of the United Nations composing his command, beyond those necessary for effective control.
2. "The term "joint" refers to participation of forces from two or more of the arms (United States) or services (British) of one nation.
3. "The term "combined" refers to the participation of forces of two or more of the United Nations.----
4. "In cases where the Governments concerned so decide, a Supreme Commander will be appointed for


1 U.S. British Agreement on Combined Command Structure: CCS Paper 75/3 of 24 October 1942.


operations when forces of more than one of the United Nations are to be employed on a specific mission or task.
5. "He will be appointed by agreement between the Governments concerned at the earliest possible moment after the decision to undertake an operation has been made.
6. "He will exercise unified command over all forces of the United Nations allocated to his operation.
7. "He will be the recipient of all major directives pertaining to the arms and services of his force.
8. "Out of the means allocated to him he will organize task forces as necessary, designate their commanders, and assign the major tasks to be performed by each.
9. "He will be assisted by a small composite staff which will include in principle a Chief of Staff, a Planning Division, an Operations Division, an Intelligence Division, a Logistical Division, and a Communications Center. Each nation involved and each of the several component arms or services of the force will be represented on the Staff in order to ensure an understanding of the capabilities, requirements, and limitations of each component. ----
10. "The officer appointed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff as the Senior Officer of each combined arm or service not specifically allocated to task forces by the Supreme Commander, and will advise the Supreme Commander on the best use of his own combined arm or service.
11. "These commanders will carry out their duties at the headquarters of the Supreme Commander unless specifically ordered otherwise by him.----
12. "Task Force Commanders will organize their commands as may be necessary for the execution of the tasks assigned. Sub-Task Force Commanders


will be designated as may be necessary for the execution of the subordinate tasks assigned. The principle of unified command will apply throughout.
13. "The organization of task forces will be governed by the nature of the operations to be performed. The task force will include all the elements - land, air and naval necessary for the accomplishment of the task. The appointment of the task force commanders, subordinate as well as major, will be governed by the nature of the task assigned, and the major arm or service involved in its performance, i.e., whether preponderantly land, air or naval.----
14. "In so far as conditions will permit, task forces will be composed of units of the same nationality. When organizations of one nation serve under the command of an officer of another the principle will be maintained that such organizations shall be kept intact and not scattered among other units."

C. 1943 Discussions of Combined Command Systems.
(Casablanca Conference: COSSAC Proposals)

10. The "doctrine" thus proposed as a compromise in November 1942 was adopted at the CCS 67th meeting of 22 January 1943.1 The views of Admiral King about this were:

"The United Nations Navy members --- state that, while this paper does not in its entirety accord with their views, it is believed that it presents with best agreement which can be reached at this time. The United States Navy members believe that the status of the assistants to Supreme Commander, because of the possible interpretation of their functions, may result in actually interposing an additional element in the chain of command which would limit the authority of the Supreme Commander." 2


1 See CCS 75/3 of 24 October 1942; CCS 67th meeting of 22 January 1943. CCS 161/1 of 21 January 1943; CCS 67th meeting of 27 January 1943; CCS 171/2/D of 23 January 1943; CCS 304/12 of 12th February 1944; SHAEF (44) 22 of 10 March 1944.

2 CCS 75/3 of 24 October 1943 and CCS 67th meeting of 22 January 1943.


11. The British insistence on having service C-in-C's designated to command respectively under the Supreme Commander the combined sea, air, and land forces, committed to a specific combined amphibious operation, reflected both the traditional British command organization and the specific functions of such commands in the Northwest European and Mediterranean Theatres. This command organization had been functioning during the three years in which British forces had already been operating in the war in Europe. It therefore seemed normal to the British Chiefs of Staff that officers already holding area commands, should be designated as the service C-in-C of their arm for any offensive operation in that area.

12. For example, Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, R.N. who was designated allied Naval C-in-C for the invasion of Sicily, was primarily the Royal Navy Commander in the Mediterranean. As such he communicated directly with and took orders directly from the Admiralty without reference either to the CCS or to the Supreme Commander, in the execution of Royal Naval tasks, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean, which were no part of the Supreme Commanders responsibility. He was also responsible for the internal administration and logistics of the Royal Navy, both those parts serving within and those parts operating outside of the Supreme Commanders responsibility. In the British vernacular of the time, he was "wearing two hats". From the strictly Naval point of view this had another disadvantage. When U.S. Naval Forces were assigned to perform a specific task, such as the movement and support of the U.S. Army invading Sicily, Admiral Cunningham would tend to consider them as part of his total resources, which he could utilize for accomplishing all of his many tasks. U.S. Naval forces placed under his command as part of the combined Naval force might then be diverted from the task for which they had been assigned to the Mediterranean and employed in other roles. Moreover the assignment of U.S. naval units to operations under the Royal Navy organization tended to involve unnecessarily the British command in the internal administrative and logistic affairs of the U.S. Navy.1


1 Admiral Cooke's paper entitled "Memo for Admiral King", subject "Naval Command Set Up in U.K. for Cross Channel Operations", dated 7 October 1943.


13. CCS 75/3 had provided an agreed principle for command of combined operations in general. It is a curious coincidence that the first agreements regarding the OVERLORD command structure in particular, should have been reached at the very same Casablanca CCS meeting. At this 67th meeting, the CCS agreed:

1. That OVERLORD would be under the command of a British Officer as Supreme Allied Commander.
2. "Under him (the SAC), will be subordinate commanders air, land and sea", the land commander acting also as deputy SAC.
3. "Under these commanders will be two Task Forces....".1

14. Pursuant to this conception of the OVERLORD command structure, COSSAC later (July 1943) recommended the following system of land command.

"A study of this operation from the initial assault to the final achievement of our objects shows that command and control of the land forces will be simplified to the utmost extent possible if the following recommendations are accepted:

a. Lines of communication will be simplified if the British Canadian forces are based on ports nearest the United Kingdom. In consequence, United States forces should normally be on the right of the line, British-Canadian forces on the left.
b. Formations of one nationality must expect on occasions to be under command of a higher formation of the other nationality. Normally it should not be necessary to place a formation lower than a corps under command of another nationality.


p.181 1

1. That SAC would be British see CCS 170/2 of 23 January 1943, para 4.
2. That OVERLORD would have 3 service C's in C see CCS 169 of 22 January 1943, para 7; and CCS 67th meeting of 22 January 1943.
3. The command agreed to for OVERLORD was to be similar to that "just agreed to for operations in the Mediterranean". These put the task forces under the service C's in C.


c. It will simplify the development of the operation if formations of both nationalities take part in the initial assault, United States on the right, British on the left; any other arrangement is likely to lead to very great confusion.
d. It will simplify control and further development of the operation if the initial assault is carried out under the command of a British Army Commander.
e. It will simplify control, if the subsequent operations up till the capture of the Brittany Peninsula or the establishment of a United States Army Group H.Q. on the Continent, whichever occurs first, are carried out under the command of the Commander of the British-Canadian Army Group." 1

D. Quebec Conference decisions:
Delay in Designation of Supreme Allied Commander

15. When COSSAC's OVERLORD plan was presented to the CCS, the American views as to the combined commands had changed in two respects:

a. General Marshall had become reconciled to the idea of employing service C's in C; but
b. he now intended to propose that both the Supreme Commander and the commander of land forces should be U.S. Army Officers.2

Hence it seemed appropriate that the U.S. should agree to the selection of British officers as Naval and Air Commanders.3 Accordingly Admiral King acquiesced both in the British proposal to appoint Admiral Little R.N. as OVERLORD Naval Commander in Chief, and in the later Admiralty decision to substitute Admiral Ramsay for Admiral Little.4 Similarly General Arnold agreed to the appointment of Air Chief Marshal Sir


1 See COSSAC plan Part I Paragraphs 40 and 41.

JCS 105th meeting of 16 August 1943; JPS 263/D of 3 September 1943; JPS 263/1 of 11 September 1943.

3 JCS 105th meeting of 16 August 1943.

4 CCS 113th meeting of 20th August 1943.


Trafford Leigh-Mallory as OVERLORD Air Commander in Chief.1 These two appointments were therefore formally approved, on 20 August, at the Quebec Conference.

16. General Marshall did not put formally forward his own proposals for the designation of U.S. officers as SAC and as the land commander. No agreement was therefore reached as to the choice of a Supreme Commander, but General Morgan, as Chief of Staff to a future Supreme Commander, (COSSAC) was authorized to proceed with detailed planning and full preparations.2 But General Morgan's position had in fact become an impossible one. Without the fundamentals settled, COSSAC could make no firm decisions regarding details.

17. The question of the Supreme Command was thus doubly confused. Not only was the name and nationality of the Supreme Commander undecided, but also the system of command to be employed had not been determined. Early in November, General Marshall proposed the unification of the European-Mediterraen commands. He suggested that an overall Supreme Allied Commander should be appointed, having under him three subordinate Supreme Allied Commanders, namely (l) SAC Mediterranean, (2) SAC OVERLORD (3) SAC Strategical Air Forces.3 In presenting this proposal it was pointed out that:

1. The war against Germany had become one battle with three attacks, a - combined operations from the Mediterranean, b - combined operations from the United Kingdom, c - combined strategical air operations from the entire periphery around Germany;
2. Each of these operations was a unity requiring unified command;
3. Overall command of strategic bombing was imperative;
4. The coordination of the air offensive, with Army and Navy operations in the Mediterranean and from the United Kingdom, required an overall Supreme Commander.4


1 CCS 113th meeting of 20 August 1943.

2 Quadrant and Citadel meeting of 23 August 1943, and CCS 319/5 of 24 August 1943.

3 JCS 567 of 5 November '43 entitled Memorandum by the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, and CCS 408 of 25 November '43. The chain of command suggested was:

SAC Med. SAC Strategic Air Forces SAC Overlord

4 CCS 126th meeting of 5 November '43; CCS 408 of 25th November '43; General Marsha1l also believed that this arrangement would deter the British in what he considered their unilateral Eastern Mediterranean policy. (JCS 122 and meeting 9 Nov. '43.)


18. This proposal for designation of an Over-all Supreme Commander for all American-British forces engaged in operations against Germany was not approved, and only added to the general confusion in OVERLORD preparation. The British Chiefs of Staff would not agree to this proposal for the following reasons:

1. one Overall SAC would have no real authority, because major strategic moves had in any case to be decided by the CCS;
2. the over-all SAC would not be able to deal with propaganda, subversive activity, diplomatic efforts to entangle other nations, and other methods of indirect warfare;
3. the existing machinery, under which the CCS exercised general strategic direction of all war operations, utilizing area Supreme Commanders, for each combined offensive action seemed a preferable method of dealing with all problems involved in operations in Europe.1

19. The question of the Air Command also still remained undecided. The British desired to put only the tactical air forces under the command of the OVERLORD Air CinC, and to leave command of the strategic air forces to the Chief of Air Staff who would be responsible for providing the strategic bombers required for the OVERLORD operation.2 General Arnold on the other hand, wanted the Strategic Air Forces of both Britain and America to operate under a single air commander who would be placed directly under the Supreme OVERLORD commander.3 This plan would have placed the entire strategical air forces of both Britain and the U.S., in both the Mediterranean and the United Kingdom, under one command.4


1 CCS 408/1 of 26 November 1943.

2 CCS 304/2 of 12 October 1943.

JPS 263/1 of 11 September 1943; CCS 124th meeting of 22 October 1943; CCS 126th meeting of 5 November 1943 CCS 304/6 of 29 October 1943.

JCS 601/1 of 13 November 1943; CCS 400 of 10 November 1943.


The OVERLORD Air C-in-C would then have kept control of only part of the OVERLORD air effort. Leigh-Mallory wanted to direct both Strategical and Tactical OVERLORD air operations. General Marshall preferred to leave the whole question to the Supreme Commander, provided the Supreme Commander should be an American Army officer. Another very important question left undecided was whether the strategical air forces should be directly under the command of the Supreme Commander, or should be operated independently to meet OVERLORD requirements. Not until the CCS had decided this important point in mid March was the air command finally established.1 The strategic air forces finally passed under the control of SCAEF, acting through his Air CinC only on 14 April. This left them a month and a half to draw up their plans, which were in fact not completed until after the assault forces were on their way to Normandy.2

20. The organization of the ground forces command also remained for later decision. At Quebec, the question of the Army Command was not formally discussed. The British General, Sir Bernard Paget, was acting with COSSAC's staff as CinC 21 Army Group, but he had no clearly defined status and held only a temporary appointment.3 General Devers and the acting U.S. Theater Commander has proposed that the British and U.S. parts of the OVERLORD should be under separate command, with the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force under a U.S. Army commander executing one half of the assault, and with British forces under a British Commander executing the other half.4 General Marshall favored the appointment of an American general to command both British and U.S. land forces under the Supreme Allied Commander.5


1 CCS 520 of 17 March '44; CCS 520/1 of 24 March '44; CCS 520/2 of 26 March '44; CM & N. 9791.

2 ANCXF report Vol. 1 Appx. 1. Paragraph 27.

3 ANCXF report Vol. 1 Appx. 1. Paragraph 9.

4 ETOUSA letter COSSAC of 4 September 1943.

5 JCS 105th meeting of 16 August 1943; JPS 263/D of 3 September 1943; JPS 263/1 of 11 September 1943.


E. Establishment of OVERLORD Command:
General EISENHOWER Designated S.A.C.

21. The President and the Prime Minister with the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff met in the Sextant Conference at Cairo in November 1943. No final decision, either as to the OVERLORD operation, nor as to the supreme command was reached in the first part of this conference. When the conference was continued at Teheran with Marshal Stalin and the Soviet Chiefs of Staff such decisions were finally made. When the discussion began at Teheran, 28 November 1943, the President and the Prime Minister had agreed on General Eisenhower as Supreme Commander and on the names of the three Service C-in-C's. General Marshall however was not prepared to agree to the appointment of General Montgomery as C-in-C Land Forces, except for the assault phase of the operation. The American Chiefs of Staff envisaged two army groups, one British and one U.S., each under its own commander and wished this to be specified in the CCS directive setting out the OVERLORD chain of command. General Marshall informed the British Chiefs of Staff that if General Eisenhower as Supreme Commander wished to launch the assault with only one army group of mixed British and U.S. forces and under command of General Montgomery as Commander of the 21st Army group he (General Marshall) would raise no objection.1 The British, having ascertained that General Eisenhower would in fact employ General Montgomery as C-in-C Land Forces during the assault phase, agreed to General Marshall's wording of the OVERLORD command directive.2

22. The selection of General Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander was immediately agreed to by all, when the final decision was taken to execute OVERLORD. General Eisenhower was officially appointed to the Supreme Command of the Cross Channel Operation, 6 December 1943. On 7 December, the CCS agreed that General Eisenhower's new title would be Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force (SCAEF), and that the British General, Sir Henry Maitland Wilson should relieve General Eisenhower as Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean on January 1 1944 or as soon thereafter as General Eisenhower considered wise.3


1 CCS 304/9 of 27 January 1944; CCS 304/12 of 12 February 1944; CCS 144th meeting of 4 February 1944.

2 See SHAEF 44(22) of 10 March 1944.

3 A-02785 of 6 December 1943; CCS 138th meeting of 7 December 1943.


23. The following directive was issued to General Eisenhower on 12 February 1944: 1

"1. You are hereby designated as Supreme Allied Commander of the forces placed under your orders for operations for liberation of Europe from Germans. Your title will be Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force.

"2. Task. You will enter the continent of Europe and, in conjunction with the other United Nations, undertake operations aimed at the heart of Germany and the destruction of her armed forces. The date for entering the Continent is the month of May 1944. After adequate channel ports have been secured, exploitation will be directed towards securing an area that will facilitate both ground and air operations against the enemy.

"3. Notwithstanding the target date above you will be prepared at any time to take immediate advantage of favorable circumstances, such as withdrawal by the enemy on your front, to effect a re-entry into the Continent with such forces as you have available at the time; 2 a general plan for this operation when approved will be furnished for your assistance.

"4. Command. You are responsible to the Combined Chiefs of Staff and will exercise command generally in accordance with the diagram at Appendix (reproduced on page 189). Direct communication with the United States and British Chiefs of Staff is authorized in the interest of facilitating your operations and for arranging necessary logistic support.


1 CCS 304/12 of 12 February 1944.

2 This was Operation RANKIN. (See Chapter II, section 3).


"5. Logistics. In the United Kingdom the responsibility for logistics organization, concentration, movement, and supply of forces to meet the requirements of your plan will rest with British Service Ministries so far as United States Forces are concerned, this responsibility will rest with the United States War and Navy Departments. You will be responsible for the coordination of logistical arrangements on the Continent. You will also be responsible for coordinating the requirements of British and United States forces under your command.

"6. Coordination of operations of other Forces and Agencies. In preparation for your assault on enemy occupied Europe, Sea and Air Forces, agencies of sabotage, subversion, and propaganda, acting under a variety of authorities are now in action. You may recommend any variation in these activities which may seem to you desirable.

"7. Relationship to United Nations Forces in other areas. Responsibility will rest with the Combined Chiefs of Staff for supplying information relating to operations of the Forces of the U.S.S.R. for your guidance in timing your operations. It is understood that the Soviet Forces will launch an offensive at about the same time as OVERLORD with the object of preventing the German forces from transferring from the Eastern to the Western front. The Allied Commander in Chief, Mediterranean Theater, will conduct operations designed to assist your operation, including the launching of an attack against the south of France at about the same time as OVERLORD.1 The scope and timing of his operations will be decided by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. You will establish contact with him and submit to the Combined Chiefs of Staff your views and recommendations regarding operations from the Mediterranean in support of your attack from the United Kingdom. The Combined Chiefs of Staff will place under your command the forces operating in Southern France as soon as you are in a position to assume such command. You will submit timely recommendations compatible with this regard.

"8. Relationship with Allied Governments. - The reestablishment of Civil Governments and Liberated Allied Territories and the administration of enemy territories. Further instructions will be issued to you on these subjects at a later date."


1 This was operation ANVIL, later known as DRAGOON (see Chapter II, Section 7).



Caption: Chain of Command chart.


24. General Eisenhower assumed command of OVERLORD forces in England in January, 1944. The outstanding command problems were the following:

1. There was no Naval Command problem as it had been agreed from the first that all naval forces would operate under the Allied Naval Commander in Chief, (ANCXF), who in turn was under the command of SCAEF;
2. He assigned Tactical Air Forces to CinC AEAF, in accordance with his directive (CCS 304/12), and later, when the CCS finally agreed that the Strategic Air Forces would work under his direction, he assigned them also to CinC AEAF;


3. He assigned the 1st U.S. Army, and attached troops, to the British 21st Army Group under General Montgomery, on the understanding that "the CinC 21 Army Group will be responsible for the Command of all ground forces engaged in the operation, until such time as the Supreme Commander allocates an area of responsibility to the Commanding General First (US) Army Group .... The effective date for the allocation of an area responsibility to the First (US) Army Group will be when, in the opinion of the Supreme Commander, the number of Unites States troops landed on the continent warrants their control being exercised by the First (US) Army Group Commander." 1


1 SHAEF (44) 22 of 10 March 1944. The chain of operational command for the assault phase was thus:


Chain of operational command for the assault phase chart.

25. The system of command finally adopted for OVERLORD Operation was grounded on two basic principles.

1. In the Chain of Command, service C's in C were interposed between the Supreme Commander and his task forces; but, except in the case of the Air C in C, the service commanders were not officers holding some other basic appointment in their own national service.1
2. The Supreme Commander and his direct subordinates exercised operational command. The normal channels and standard machinery of each service of each nation provided administrative and logistic support. These normal authorities supplied the operational commanders with fully organized forces and provided all necessary support during the battle.


1 It will be seen later on that this limitation was generally employed on lower echelons. For example, operational command of U.S. Naval Forces was vested in a Task Force Commander and not in ComNavEu or Com12th Fleet which functioned as one of the regional or Fleet commands in the basic organization of U.S. Naval Forces. NCETF and all but one of the assault force commanders likewise had no other function than their part in the operation.


A. Designation of Allied Naval Command-in-Chief (ANCXF)

1. The naval system of command for the cross-channel operation had been developed within the broad framework of doctrine of combined commands to meet specific problems of the naval aspects of the operation. By November 1943 the fundamentals of the OVERLORD Naval command were established and thereafter such detailed modifications as were necessary to meet the developing situation were effected logically and easily. The Naval system of Command and Control under the policy prescribed by CCS 75/3, consistently separated the functions of operational command from those of logistic and administrative command, control, and support. Under the Supreme Commander, the Allied Naval Commander in Chief exercised unrestricted operational command of all naval forces - (ships, personnel, authorities, and shore establishments) engaged in executing the Naval plan. On the other hand, throughout the whole period of normal fleet organization, under the control of the standard naval authorities of both navies, remained responsible for (1) providing organized forces to ANCXF, and (2) maintaining and supporting the forces engaged.

2. Operational Command of Naval forces was vested in the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, Expeditionary Force (ANCXF). This command had its origins in the Combined Commanders "Committee" which the British had established in 1941 and 1942. In 1942 Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay had been V.A. Dover, one of the R.N. Home Commands. While still holding that post, he was assigned extra duty as the Naval C-in-C of the Combined Commanders. In this capacity he drew up the plans and set up the Naval organization employed in the North African invasion. He also developed the Naval part of the ROUNDUP plan in his "Provisional Assessment of Naval Implications of ROUNDUP, 1943". This was a concrete statement of what the navy would be required to do, what it would be required to provide, how the job could be done, what commands would be required and the responsibilities which each naval authority would be required to assume. This "assessment" included:

a. calculation of the number of ships and craft required to provide the assault lift;
b. the number of berths, anchorages, hards and general naval accommodation required in England to handle the number of ships involved;


c. the number of convoys which would be likely to be required for the movement of the assault follow-up and the build-up forces;
d. the number of escort groups required for the total number of convoys;
e. the number of swept channels which would be required to pass the convoys;
f. the number of minesweepers required to sweep the channels;
g. the scale of naval bombardment likely to be necessary;
h. the number of bombarding ships required to deliver the required bombardment;
i. the shipping tonnage required for the build-up, and
j. such other naval problems - far shore, maintenance, support and all the rest, as were involved in the cross-channel operation.

3. The ROUNDUP operation was never definitely scheduled, and no definite number of divisions assigned to it. Admiral Ramsay's assessment made in 1942 could be no more than a provisional estimate based on assumptions as to the scale of army and air effort. But the assessment was realistic, and gave a clear account of the naval tasks involved, of the method for accomplishing them, and of the resources required to do so.

4. Early in 1943, Admiral Ramsay was transferred to the Mediterranean. There he drafted the Naval Plans for the invasions of Sicily and Italy, and, under Admiral Cunningham, commanded the R.N. forces engaged. On 5 May 1943 his place, as Naval C-in-C on the British Combined Commanders "Committee", was taken by Admiral Sir Charles Little, Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth. At the Quebec conference in August, Admiral Little's appointment as ANCXF (designate) was put on a combined basis when Admiral King and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff agreed to his selection, and to putting the U.S. Naval OVERLORD forces under his command.


B. Relations of Royal Navy and U.S. Navy Organization with ANCXF

5. U.S. Naval forces assigned to execute OVERLORD would serve under the operational command of a Royal Navy ANCXF. The U.S. Army-Navy agreement by which the U.S. Army was to "exercise planning and operational control, under the principle of Unity of Command, over all U.S. Naval forces assigned to the European Theater for participation with the U.S. Army in operation against Western Europe" 1 had therefore to be rescinded. In October 1943, Admiral King proposed,2 and General Marshall agreed to the cancellation of this agreement.3


[ Page 196 consisted only of footnotes to page 195. ]


1 WD 1120 of 8 June 1942; WD 1226 of 11 June 1942; Cominch Serial 00447 of 2 June 1942.

2 Cominch serial 001798 of 30 August 1943;

3 Cominch serial 002346 of 29 October 1943; Agwar R-5111 of 29 October 1943, Par. 4. As no operation in Western Europe had been executed prior to October 1943, the method of putting the entire Naval organization in the theater, including the senior Naval authority, wholly under the operational command of the Army was not put to the test of experience. In September 1943, however, the Commanding General, ETOUSA, General Devers, proposed that the U.S. Forces, Army, Navy, and Air, should conduct their part of OVERLORD totally independently of the British. The Supreme Commander would thus have had under his command two distinct forces, one wholly British employing whatever command system the British chose to employ, the other wholly American under the command of Commanding General, ETOUSA. As U.S. Naval Forces in Europe were still to be under the operational command of C.G. ETOUSA in any cross-channel operations or other operational plans, COMNAVEU declined to enter into the discussion evoked by General Devers plan. U.S. Naval opinion was nevertheless unanimous that this plan would introduce many naval difficulties:

1. No matter who commanded the operation, the U.S. Navy would be required to utilize R.N. facilities to a considerable degree for maintenance, harboring, berthing, sailing, communications, and similar facilities.
2. The intended assault area was so small and the convoy routes so congested that an overall Naval command would be required to coordinate the movements and activities of the many thousands of ships and craft.
3. The Royal Navy was committed to provide both British and U.S. sectors with covering forces, minesweeping forces and a substantial part of the screening, escorting and bombarding forces.
4. The ETOUSA plan would make little use of the U.S. Naval Craft and Bases organization which had been established and which would be essential for the support and maintenance of the U.S. Naval Forces engaged in NEPTUNE.
5. Non-Naval difficulties with the ETOUSA plan, mentioned by COSSAC, were:

a. difficulty of producing an integrated air effort;
b. difficulty of producing an integrated cover plan;
c. difficulty of producing an integrated movement or administrative plan. (See ETOUSA letter to COSSAC of 4 September 1943, and accompanying correspondence in ANCXF file on COSSAC Command arrangements.)

General Marshall had suggested in October 1943 that the two armies should operate distinct forces, while the two Navies, the two strategical air forces, and the two tactical air forces would each be placed under a single command to assure transport and as support for the two separate armies.


Allied Navies U.S. Army British Army Allied Strategic Air Forces Allied Tactical Air Forces

(See CCS 304/6 of 29 Oct 1943.)


6. The Admiralty apparently considered that, in working out the command relationships between the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy, not only the operational control of the forces assigned to OVERLORD by the two navies, but also their logistic support and administration should be assured within the general framework of the R.N. Home Commands. The selection initiated by the Admiralty of a C in C Home Commander as ANCXF, was a major step in this direction. The major function of the C in C Portsmouth was the command of, and responsibility for, an important area command in the standing organization of the British Navy. His assignment also as OVERLORD Naval Commander was thus regarded as only a temporary additional responsibility.

7. In an Admiralty publication on the subject of the status of ANCXF, it was stated that:

"It is intended to organize the landing craft, which are based in any one (R.N. Home) command area, into a single Naval assault or follow-up force. It is the present intention that naval assault forces shall be based in the Portsmouth Command, R.N. Assault Force J); Plymouth Command, (U.S.N. Assault force O); and the Rosyth Command (R.N. Assault Force S); whilst naval follow-up forces will be based in the Nore Command (R.N. Force L); and the Western Approaches Command (U.S.N. Force B)1 - - - During the period of their training the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief will assume general directions to both British and U.S. Naval assault forces, and to follow-up force Commanders, regarding the administration and training of their forces. For day to day administration and operational purposes, the force commanders will be responsible to the Commanders in Chief of the Home Command, within which they are based.2 The Naval Commanders-in-Chief, Home Commands, and the Naval Port Authorities will . . . be the coordinating authority for requirements of maintenance, refuelling . . . etc."3


1 Admiralty M.053859/43, Para. II

2 Ibid., Para. 1.

3 Ibid., Para. 10.


8. This publication further provided:

a. that the Home Commands would exercise administrative control over the U.S. Assault forces;
b. that the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, would assist the Home C's in C in the administration of U.S. Naval Forces, and,
c. that during the actual operation ANCXF would act under the joint control of Admiralty and SCAEF.1

9. The basic concept of the Admiralty was thus clearly expressed. The Admiralty would deliver the component parts of an R.N. assault or follow-up forces to a C-in-C Home Command. The U.S. Navy Department would likewise deliver the component parts of the U.S.N. Force to a C-in-C, R.N. Home Command. The Home Commands would assemble, organize, and train the assault forces and manage their logistic and administrative support, drawing on U.S. sources for the resources necessary to support the U.S. elements. When the forces were organized they would all be turned over to the Portsmouth Home Command which would direct the operation.


1 Ibid., diagram 2.


[ An accidental duplication of page 198 ]


1 Ibid., Paragraph 10.

2 Ibid., diagram 2.


10. The U.S. Naval authorities, on the other hand, felt that SCAEF and ANCXF should be given full and unqualified operational control, 1 of Naval forces already organized and prepared for the operation. At the same time, they wished to preserve independent U.S.N. control of the fundamentals of the U.S. Naval Fleet and logistic organization, without which the U.S. Naval forces could not operate with full efficiency. Mediterranean experience had indicated the difficulties involved in assigning a fleet commander with his fleet in toto to the command of an Allied Naval C in C, 2 especially when the latter's primary appointment was that of commander of a major geographic sub-division in the basic and long term organization in the Royal Navy.


1 CominCh despatch 102212 of February 1944 defined operational control as follows: "British Admiralty and Air Ministry and CominCh have agreed upon following definition of operational control as to Forces of the services concerned. 'Operational control comprises those functions of command involving composition of task forces or groups or units, assignment of tasks, designation of objectives and coordination necessary to accomplish the mission. It shall always be exercised where possible by making use of normal organization units assigned, through the responsible Commanders. It does not include such matters as administration, discipline, internal organization and training of units. U.S. Units assigned to the operational control of a British Commander or vice versa operating without a combined staff shall normally be assigned a mission which sets forth the tasks for which the unit is assigned. It is recognized that the operational authority may in emergency or unusual situations employ assigned units on any task that he considers essential to effective execution of his operational responsibility.'"

2 When Admiral Hewitt went to the Mediterranean for operation HUSKY he was responsible for all activities of the U.S. Navy in that area. He was given operational command and was also made responsible for the administration and logistic support of all U.S. Naval forces in Northwest African Waters. He was ordered to report to the Supreme Commander for duty under the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Cunningham, R.N., Admiral Cunningham tended to merge U.S. and British Naval Forces in the Mediterranean under his own command and to employ Admiral Hewitt as deputy, that is to say, as a staff officer on Admiral Cunningham's staff. In this way the internal affairs of the U.S. Navy in such matters an administration, logistics, force organization, disposition and employment of units, might be complicated by R.N. intervention in non-operational U.S.N. affairs. (see CominCh serial 001798 of 30 August 1943, and Admiral Cook's paper, entitled "Memorandum for Admiral King" subject "Naval command set up in U.K. for cross-Channel Operations", dated 7 October 1943.)


11. With this situation in mind, CominCh took action in September, 1943:

a. to avoid any merger of U.S. and R.N. forces with the resultant dangers of dislocation of U.S. Naval administration and logistic support and of the diversion of U.S. Naval strength to purposes for which it is not intended;
b. to shield the U.S. Naval establishment in England from R.N. intervention in matters of internal administration and logistics, and, in relation to functions of the U.S. Naval mission and area command; (ComNavEu) and, finally,
c. to preserve the U.S. Navy from the same type of control by U.S. Army authorities.


C. Organization of the Twelfth U.S. Fleet and of Task Force 122

12. There had been continuing discussions between Cominch and ComNavEu staffs since May 1942 as to the appropriate chain of command for U.S. Naval forces that might later be assigned to a cross-channel operation (envisaged as ROUNDUP in 1942 and as OVERLORD in 1943). In order to provide for the U.S. Naval participation in the OVERLORD operations, provisionally approved at the Quebec (Quadrant) Conference in August 1943, Cominch took three steps:

a. The Twelfth fleet, with Admiral Stark, Commander U.S. Naval Forces in Europe as its Commander, was established as an independent administrative U.S. Naval Command. As such it was to be free from control by the Admiralty, by ETOUSA, by SCAEF, or other authorities in the European Theater.1


1 Cominch letter to ComNavEu, serial 001915 of 9 September 1943 is quoted below:

"1. The Naval Forces assigned your command are being redesignated as the Twelfth Fleet - the designation as Task Force 112 as directed in CominCh despatch 111312 of August 1943, to be simultaneously discontinued.

2. The forces engaged in training for and participating in the cross-channel operations will be formed into a Task Force of the Twelfth. This Task Force will operate under the command of the Supreme Commander for these operations (to be designated later).

3. A Commander to command this Task Force, with appropriate staff, will be directed to report to you for further assignment to this duty. Final provisions for the overall command set-up for the cross-channel operations have not, as yet, been completed, but it is anticipated that the Commander, U.S. Naval Task Force (for cross-channel operations) will be under the immediate command of the British Naval Commander-in-Chief for these operations.

4. The Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe, will provide the general administrative and logistic support for this operating Task Force. Logistic support will be accomplished in accordance with current logistic directives."


b. A new amphibious force was organized under the command of Rear-Admiral Hall, and this force was assigned in toto to the Twelfth Fleet.1 It was to include all amphibious vessels assigned to OVERLORD, and a Landing Craft and Bases Organization for their support and maintenance, (non-amphibious naval forces required were assigned directly to the Twelfth Fleet.2


1 Cominch despatch 111902 of 12 August 1943; Cominch serial 03683 of 24th October; BuPers despatch 281439 October 1943.

2 All U.S. Naval OVERLORD amphibious forces were assigned to the Eleventh Amphibious Force. These included:

a. the ships and vessels concerned and,
b. the Landing Craft and Bases organization, whose main duty, once the sea-going forces arrived, was to provide for their support and maintenance. The whole Eleventh Amphibious Force was assigned in toto to the Twelfth Fleet. The command structure of the basic fleet organization of the U.S. Naval Forces in Europe then became the following:

CominChCom TWELFTH Fleet
Commander Eleventh Amphibious Force
(1) Commander Landing Craft and Bases.
(2) Forces.
(3) Bases.

Cominch serial 03800 of 4 November 1943; CominCh serial 04350 of 24 December 1943; CominCh serial 0400, of 1 Feb 1944; Cominch serial 01200 of 12 April 1944; Cominch serial 02200 of 18 June 1942.


c. Rear Admiral A.G. Kirk, USN with a qualified staff was assigned to duty under ComTwelfthFleet to act as Task Force Commander during the operation.

13. Commander Twelfth Fleet was to report for duty under ANCXF. He was not to act on the staff of ANCXF or as deputy ANCXF. Commander Twelfth Fleet was to assign command of the U.S. Naval Forces, to be engaged in the OVERLORD operation, to the U.S.N. Task Force Commander at the appropriate time. Admiral Kirk and his Task Force, designated as Task Force 122, were to execute the orders of ANCXF but to do so as an independent U.S.N. organization.1 Throughout the entire period of preparation and training for the operation, Commander Twelfth Fleet, employing U.S.N. methods in accordance with the U.S.N. organizational system, was to provide logistic and administrative support.2


[ Footnotes continued from previous page ]


1 CominCh letter to Com12thFleet, serial 002346 of 29 Oct. 1943 is quoted in part below:

"(1) - - - - effective upon the date of reporting of Rear Admiral A.G. Kirk, you will establish a task force of the Twelfth Fleet of those forces to be assigned to his immediate command for the purpose of training and for participating in operations the invasion of Western Europe; and inform me of its designation.

(2) You will direct him to report for duty to the Supreme Allied Commander when that officer is appointed; and prior to that time you will direct him to report to the Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander for duty under the Allied Naval Commander in Chief.

(3) The Eleventh Amphibious Force, and Landing Craft and Bases, Europe will be assigned to the above Task Force upon its establishment. Additional U.S. Naval Forces for this operation, as allocated and made available in the future will be assigned to this Task Force.

(4) By agreement with the Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army references (b) and (c) are cancelled insofar as they place the U.S. Naval Forces assigned to the European Theater for participation with the U.S. Army in operations against Western Europe under the operational control of the Commanding General, European Theater of Operations. Instead, the Commander of this Task Force, having reported to either the Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander or to the Supreme Allied Commander himself, will operate this chain of command. He will cooperate with the appropriate U.S. Army Task Force Commanders during the training and preparatory phases to the end of adequately preparing the Joint Task Forces for carrying out their part of the planned operations. For the embarkation, and during the joint operations of the U.S. Forces, the Command of the U.S. Army and Navy Forces will be in accordance with the principal of unity of command. The shift of Command from the Naval Task Force Commander to the Army Commander will be arranged by those officers in accordance with the normal procedure........"

2 VCNO serial 0141812 of 1943; VCNO despatch 161627 September 1943.


14. The following arrangements were made to give effect to this basic plan:

a. ComTWELFTHFleet, on 10 November 1943, designated Rear-Admiral Kirk as Commander Task Force 122 and directed him to report to COSSAC for duty under ANCXF.1 Rear-Admiral Kirk so reported to COSSAC on 15 November 1943, and to General Eisenhower as SCAEF on 18 January 1944.2
b. ComTWELFTHFleet directed ComLanCrabEu and Com11thPhib to report to CTF 122 for duty.3


1 ComTWELFTHFleet despatch 101009 of November 1943; ComTWELFTHFleet serial 2729 of 11 November 1943. Rear-Admiral Wilkes reported to CTF 122 on November 10th, Rear-Admiral Hall reported on his arrival in England on 27 November 1943. (See CTF 122 serial 08 of 4 December 1943, 11th Phib serial 20 of 7 December 1943; CTF 122 serial 02 of 10 November 1943.

2 CTF 122 serial 001 of 15 November 1943, and CTF 122 serial 001155 of 18 January 1944.

3 CTF 122 serial 0043 of 11 December 1943 entitled 122 Operation Plan 1 - 43.


D. Command Arrangements and Operation Plan, Task Force 122

15. Soon after his arrival in London, Admiral Kirk, as CTF 122, worked out, in agreement with ComTWELFTHFleet, the U.S. Naval operational plan for the pre-assault period and explicitly outlined their divided responsibilities. CTF 122 and his own staff would "supervise and inspect basic training (and) "prepare basic plans for future operations". The Eleventh Amphibious Force of the Twelfth Fleet was:

a. to "prepare and train for amphibious operations";
b. to "maintain all elements of the Force in maximum operational readiness", and,
c. to "provide for the reception, maintenance, and repair of landing craft, and for accommodations for personnel of this force ashore, by establishment, operation, and administration, of Bases under the command of Commander Landing Craft and Bases......".1

16. When the scale of assault was increased from a three-divisional basis to a five-divisional basis, the U.S. Navy was required to provide two assault forces plus one follow-up force instead of one of each. Rear-Admiral Kirk then modified accordingly the CTF 122 plan. The new assault force commander, Rear Admiral Moon, was put under the command of the Commander Eleventh Amphibious Force, Twelfth Fleet, to whom the additional ships and craft were also assigned.


1 CTF 122 serial 0043 of 11 December 1943 entitled 122 Operation Plan 1-43, ComllthPhib serial 0024 of 20 January 1944 entitled CTF 123 Operation Plan B-44.


Rear-Admiral Hall as ComllthPhib was directed to organize the three forces, to assign ships and craft to them, to arrange for the "marrying" of army formations to the assault forces, to conduct the training of all forces, to support and maintain all forces and to maintain them in conditions of readiness. CTF 122 also assigned all the many supporting elements, such as gun fire support craft, beach battalions, escort groups, transports, bases, etc., to the Eleventh Amphibious Force. Rear-Admiral Hall was to organize and prepare all of these raw elements so as to deliver three fully organized forces into the hands of CTF 122 on the eve of D-day.1

17. This system worked admirably. Commander Twelfth Fleet, freed from the encumbrance of local army and R. N. interference, was able to perform his four-fold task with speed and effectiveness. The chief functions performed during this period by ComNavEu, as Commander Twelfth Fleet were the following:

a. Working through the headquarters organization of the Twelfth Fleet, provision was made for the accumulation of forces and logistic resources in the United Kingdom and for the administration and logistic support of these forces.
b. The Commander of Task Force 122 participated in the preparation of ANCXF's plans to make sure that these were realistically based on U.S.N. capabilities and that U.S.N. preparations and organizations were so arranged as to meet the requirements of the ANCXF plans.
c. The Amphibious Force commander assembled, organized, trained, and prepared, U.S. Naval forces for the invasion.
d. The Commander Landing Craft and Bases provided direct maintenance, logistic support, and administration of these forces, utilizing the resources supplied in bulk from Commander Twelfth Fleet in order to meet the operational requirements of the amphibious force commander.

18. The standard organization of the U.S. Navy thus went about the business of preparing the forces for action and of providing support for them during operations, while complete operational command was assured SCAEF and ANCXF. Concurrently with the establishment of this U.S. Naval Command organization to separate effectively operational control from the administrative and logistic aspects of command, a similar development was taking place on the Royal Navy side.


1 CTF 122 Serial 00164 of 18 March 1944 entitled 122 Operation Plan 1-44; Com 11th Phib Serial 0345 of 22 March 1944 entitled CTF 123 Operation Plan B-44 Revision #1.


E. Admiralty Modification of Royal Naval Command Organization:
Admiral Ramsay Designated ANCXF

19. The traditional policy of the Admiralty had always been to designate as Naval Commander-in-Chief of any specific operation the Royal Navy Commander in the area most closely concerned with the operation. When ROUNDUP or SLEDGEHAMMER, which would have been launched from the Dover area in England, were under consideration, the Admiralty had designated the Vice-Admiral commanding the Dover Home Command (Vice-Admiral Ramsay) as Naval Commander-in-Chief. When TORCH, HUSKY, and AVALANCHE, were being prepared and executed, the Admiralty designated the R.N. Commander of the Mediterranean Station (Admiral Cunningham) as Naval Commander-in-Chief. When OVERLORD, which would be mounted and executed principally in the Portsmouth area was being developed, the Admiralty designated Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth as Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief.

20. The Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth (Admiral Little) was tentatively designated ANCXF on 5 May 1943,1 and occupied that post when COSSAC drew up the OVERLORD Appreciation and Outline Plan. He and his staff were charged with preparing the Naval Plan. As the chief function of Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth was to operate the Portsmouth Home Command, the Admiralty had provided him with a special staff (the X staff) and a special Chief of Staff (X), (Commodore Hughes-Hallet), to develop the OVERLORD Naval Plan..

21. During the six months Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth occupied the post of ANCXF designate, the only document in the nature of a Naval Plan produced was a paper - "General Instructions for the Conduct of Naval Assault Forces in Home Waters (CICNAF).2 This document was notable in several respects:


1 Admiralty letter MC53171/43 of 5 May 1943.

2 CICNAF - Admiralty House Portsmouth of 27 July 1943. This document is something in the nature of Amphibious "doctrine" but less specific as to how much, with which, and so on.


a. It contained no operational plan and no proposals for the organization of the Naval Command of this operation.
b. It contained no definition of the tasks for which the Naval forces would be responsible.
c. It contained no estimate of the naval resources required for the naval part of the operation.
d. The document was made up chiefly of generalizations relative to the best methods for operating naval units or groups in those circumstances which it was considered, might arise in the course of a major amphibious operation.
e. The naval parts of the COSSAC plan were similarly devoid of anything in the nature of a tangible concrete operation plan or command organization.

22. In October the Admiralty relieved Admiral Little of his duties an ANCXF and brought Admiral Ramsay back from the Mediterranean to assume this Command.1 Admiral Ramsay's new appointment was as ANCXF only. His only function was to exercise operational command, under the Supreme Commander, of the British, U.S., and Allied Naval Forces, assigned to the NEPTUNE, or assault phase, of the OVERLORD operations.


1 See Admiralty letters MO 53171/43 of 12 October 1943, and MO 53171/43 of 4 November 1943. Several reasons for appointing Admiral Ramsay and relieving Admiral Little may be considered. (1) On 4 October 1943, Admiral Cunningham was appointed First Sea Lord of the Admiralty and Chief of Naval Staff, succeeding Admiral Pound, who died on 21 October 1943. (See Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, Vol.1., XXXIX No.553 of February 1944.) Admiral Ramsay had worked under Admiral Cunningham for TORCH and HUSKY, and other Mediterranean Amphibious enterprises. (2) Admiral Ramsay was especially gifted in the matter of drawing up practical and realistic amphibious plans, and at erecting them. In October this was urgently required. (3) Admiral Little as CinC Portsmouth had a full job to do in preparing his own command for the logistic support of the operation and in preparing the forces based in this command for the operation. (4) Admiralty may also have been influenced by the consideration that in a combined operation involving all the services of many nations, effective unity of operational command cannot be achieved, nor the full benefit of the logistic and administrative machinery of each component service obtained unless the functions are separated with operational command and that only centered in one officer.


Admiral Ramsay was appointed Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief on the 25th October, 1943. "His first concern was to modify the chain of command for the operation so that ANCXF could exercise the necessary over-all control whilst ensuring that full value was made of the existing organizations......" 1 In order to do this he drew up a statement setting out the division of responsibilities between all authorities in the operation.2 On the one side, he arranged that responsibility for the provision and support of fully organized and trained Assault and Task forces would be assumed by "existing organizations", namely, Admiralty Commanders-in-Chief, Home Commands, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe, etc. On the other side, he took over direct control of all aspects of operational command. These arrangements, which are set out in detail in XFPM #1, were approved by Admiralty and ComNavEu.3


1 ANCXF Report, Vol. 1, Page 24.

2 XFPM #1 of 27 November, 1943.
XFPM #1 (revised) of 20 December, 1943.
XFPM (second revision) of 17 January 1944.

3 See Admiralty MO 53859/43 (revised) and ANCXF Report Vol. l, page 27.


23. The appointment of Admiral Ramsay as ANCXF thus marked a significant development in the system of combined Naval Command. For the Royal Navy, a well as for the U.S. Navy, the functions of operational command were firmly separated from those of logistic and administrative support. The normal and fundamental authorities of the fleet organization in both navies were therefore able to proceed with their normal business of assembling, organizing, supporting and maintaining the naval forces designated for the operation, while operational command for the performance of a specific task was vested in ANCXF. The normal authorities directed their efforts to supplying naval resources. ANCXF devoted his attention to the employment of those Naval resources in the accomplishment of the Naval Mission assigned to the OVERLORD operation. The establishment of Naval Command on this firm basis may be dated at 25 October 1943 when Admiral Ramsay assumed command as ANCXF, 1 and at 10 November when Rear-Admiral Kirk reported as U.S. Naval Task Force Commander.2


1 ANCXF Report Vol. l, page 24.

2 CTF 122 serial 001 of 15 November 1943.


A. Pre-NEPTUNE Phase (25 October 1943 - 27 May 1944)

1. After October 25, the naval organization for the cross-channel operation passed through three stages: Pre-NEPTUNE, NEPTUNE, and Post-NEPTUNE. In the pre-NEPTUNE stage the normal Naval authorities of both the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy brought together, maintained, and organized the Naval Forces to be employed in the operation. In the operational stage, SCAEF, employing ANCXF as his Naval Commander, assumed operational control of all forces of both navies with which he executed NEPTUNE. In this phase, they executed his orders, while the normal authorities stood by to provide support and maintenance of the forces engaged. When the NEPTUNE phase ended, later stages of operation OVERLORD continued to require Naval support. During this phase the normal authorities resumed command, but assigned naval forces to the control of ANCXF, as necessary, to meet the requirements of the Supreme Commander.

2. Although, in the pre-NEPTUNE phase, responsibility for developing organized naval forces rested with the "normal authorities", it was essential that these forces should be organized, trained, and prepared, in conformity with the operational plan which they were to execute. Conversely, the plan had to be so devised as to exploit fully the capabilities of the forces engaged, and to avoid requiring them to perform duties for which they were not suitably qualified. In order to assure the required coordination of effort, ANCXF proposed, while the Admiralty and ComTWELFTHFleet approved, the following division of responsibilities among the major authorities.1

a. During the period of formation and operational training of the assault forces, ANCXF would issue general directions concerning the coordination of planning, and of the training of naval forces. In the case of British forces these were to be issued via the normal chain of command (viz. via the C's-in-C Home Commands). In the case of U.S. forces, they were to be issued via CTF122.


1 XFPM #1 (second revision) of 17 January 1944.


b. Administrative instructions were to be issued to the British and U.S. Forces separately by the Allied Naval Commander-In-Chief and by Commander Task Force 122.
c. For day-to-day administration and operational purposes, the British Assault and Follow-up Force Commanders were responsible to the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Command, within which they were based. For the same purposes the U.S. Assault and Follow-up Force Commanders were required to conform to the local regulations of the Home Command within which they were based, but were responsible to normal U.S. Naval authorities, or as laid down by Commander Task Force 122.
d. In addition to his executive function, in command of the Allied Naval Forces allotted to the operation, ANCXF was the naval advisor and the naval planning authority of the Supreme Commander.
e. ANCXF was to issue the naval outline plan, and at a later date, his operation orders in sufficient time to enable Commander Western Task Force (CTF 122), Naval Commander Eastern Task Force and the Naval Assault and Follow-up Force Commanders, to make their detailed plans in collaboration with the appropriate authorities in the other services.
f. ANCXF was to make such adjustments, as might be required, between the strengths of the various naval assault forces and follow-up forces, to give effect to the NEPTUNE plan.
g. The Naval Task Force Commanders were to be responsible, for the coordination of the training and organization of their forces and for assuring that they were prepared to execute the naval plan.
h. The Naval Assault and Follow-up Force Commanders were responsible for the detailed training and organization of their forces.


3. In the production of plans and operation orders, the following division of responsibility between the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, the Task Force Commanders, the Naval Commanders-in-Chief, Home Commands, and the Naval Assault and Follow-up Force Commanders were laid down.1

a. An outline plan for the operation as a whole (the COSSAC Plan) had been issued under the authority of the Supreme Commander.
b. A Joint Plan was to be issued, under the authority of the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, the Commander-in-Chief, 21st Amy Group, and the Air Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expeditionary Air Force (NJC 1004).
c. A naval outline plan was to be issued to the Naval Task Force Commanders by the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, after consultation with the Army and Air Commanders-in-Chief.
d. A Task Force naval outline plan was then to be prepared by the Naval Task Force Commanders, in collaboration with the appropriate Army and Air Commanders, to give effect to the "combined" plan for the conduct of their operations.
e. This naval outline plan was to take account of the detailed requirements of the Assault Force Commanders. The Task Force naval outline plan was to be submitted to the Allied Naval Commander-In-Chief for approval. He was to give it full effect in his naval operation orders in accordance with the combined plan. The Task Force Naval Outline plan was to be drawn up, in consultation with the Naval Commanders-in-Chief, Home Ports, insofar as local conditions were involved.
f. The Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief was to issue Naval Operation Orders to give effect to the Task Force Naval Outline Plan as coordinated and integrated by him. He was also to consult with the Naval Commanders-in-Chief, Home Commands, insofar as operations within their commands were involved.


1 XFPN #2 of 17 January 1944.


g. Task Force, Assault Force, and Follow-Up Force Commanders were also to issue Force Naval Operation Orders which would conform to the movements directed in the Naval operation orders of the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief and carry out those required by the combined plans for the assaults, as agreed with the appropriate Army and Air Force authorities. These orders were to be drawn up in collaboration with the Naval Commanders-in-Chief, Home Commands, insofar as movements within their commands were involved.


B. NEPTUNE Phase (May 27 - 10 July 1944)

4. During the Operation, ANCXF exercised, under the Supreme Commander, operational command of all naval forces engaged except those providing distant cover (viz. operating outside of the English channel). Under operational command of ANCXF were:

a. The Naval Task Force Commanders who exercised 'general' operational control of their forces.
b. The Naval Assault and Follow-up Force Commanders who exercised 'detailed' operational control of their forces under the appropriate Task Force Commanders.
c. The C's-in-C, Home Commands (to the extent that they had operational functions to perform), who were required by Admiralty "to give immediate effect to the requirements of the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, as set out in his plan and operation orders and as communicated by him at the time".1


1 Admiralty M.053859/43 (revised) gave the C's-in-C Home Commands the following orders:

"The Naval Commanders-in-Chief of the Home Commands will continue to exercise their normal functions subject to the following modifications:

a. Operational responsibility for the conduct of the operation within the "assault area" was delegated to the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief.
b. All operations and movements within their commands must be coordinated so as to give immediate effect to the requirements of the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief as set out in his plan and operation orders, and communicated by him at the time. It is the responsibility of the Commanders-in-Chief, Home Ports, to initiate and conform to all movements of the naval invasion forces as required by the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief. This includes the turn- round of craft during the Build-up period.
c. Certain facilities within their commands will be required for the use of the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief. Prior to the operation the latter will state his requirements in this respect. Where additional facilities are necessary, their provision is the responsibility of the Commanders-in-Chief, Home Ports."

Diagram No. 2 (revised) of this same Admiralty document also shows the Home C's-in-C as under ANCXF for "Control in S.A.C." while under Admiralty for "Control outside S.A.C."


5. The principal operational functions of the C's-in-C, Home Commands, with respect to which they came under the command of ANCXF were:

a. Management of the naval side of the Build-up outside the "assault area" including movements and maintenance of ships and the control of escorts; and,
b. the operation of patrols and other measures for the defense of waters outside the "Assault area".

6. In the normal R.N. organization the C's-in-C, Home Commands, were responsible for designated off-shore areas. They normally exercised command over all naval vessels operating in these waters, except those functioning as part of an organized fleet or force temporarily operating within these limits. For operation NEPTUNE, Admiralty on the recommendation of Admiral Ramsay, directed that this arrangement should remain in force with three qualifications:

a. In exercising their Command over Channel waters, the C's-in-C Home Commands, during the progress of the operation, would be subject to the command of ANCXF.
b. The Waters of the Bay of the Seine, South of 49° 40 N, would be withdrawn from the Portsmouth Command, and placed under the direct control of ANCXF who would delegate responsibility for sections of this area to the Task Force Commanders. They, in turn, would delegate responsibility for sub-segments to the Assault Force Commanders.
c. Task Force, Assault Force, and other NEPTUNE seagoing authorities were directly responsible for their (organized) forces under ANCXF while in Home Command Waters.

7. The chain of Naval operational command may therefore be diagramed as follows:


Organizational command chart.


C. Post NEPTUNE Phase1 (10 July 1944 - 14 July 1945)

8. The broad policy for command changed after the assault phase was completed, provided for as rapid as possible a return to the "normal" Naval Command Organization of both navies, with such modifications as might be required:

a. to operate naval activities on the continent of Europe; and,
b. to give SCAEF the control required over naval "lift" and merchant forces to assure that they would serve his requirements. In order to achieve this result, the following arrangements were envisaged:

1. Naval parties, capable of operating the beaches, artificial harbors and captured ports, were organized in advance of the operation; during the assault phase, they were established ashore, under the appropriate task and assault force commanders.
2. In addition, Shore Authorities to assume command on the Far Shore were established. Those authorities were called Flag Officer West (FOWEST), and Flag Officer British Assault Area (FOBAA).
3. At an appropriate time the Assault Force Commanders were to withdraw, turning over command of their areas to FOBAA or FOWEST.
4. Still later the Task Force Commanders were to withdraw turning over command of their areas to FOBAA or FOWEST.
5. As vessels completed their assault duties they were to be transferred to other commands as follows:

a. Ferry craft, minesweepers, area screen vessels, and others required in the assault area were to be held under command of the Assault and Task Force commanders and later turned over to FOBAA and FOWEST:


1 Details of the Post-NEPTUNE Naval Organization are given in chapter X. The generalized account given here is intended only to indicate to whom the reigns of control were passed when the assault organization was brought to a close.


b. Vessels required for the Build-up were to be returned to the appropriate Home Commands, in the case of British vessels, and to the 11th Amphibious Force in the case of U.S. vessels.
c. Vessels required for the defense of the channel were to be turned over to the appropriate Home Commands.
d. A proportion of the vessels required for a subsequent one-divisional assault were retained by an Assault Force Commander.
e. Other vessels were to be released from OVERLORD.

6. In the post assault phase ANCXF continued to act:

a. As Naval Advisor to SCAEF.
b. In operational command of Naval Forces on the continent of Europe and its waters.
c. With authority to require the C's-in-C, Home Commands, and other Naval authorities, to operate Naval Overlord forces to his requirements.


D. Chronological Summary of Naval Command Developments - OVERLORD Operation

9. Chronologically the various steps in the evolution of the OVERLORD Naval Command were as follows:

a. 25 October 1943: Admiral Ramsay assumed command as ANCXF., RN. Commanders Force G, S, and L, were already "attached".1
b. 10 November 1943: Admiral Stark assigned the llth Amphibious Force and Landing Craft and Bases to CTF 122, who reported for duty under ANCXF.2
c. 27 November 1943: ANCXF issued XFPM No.1, by which command of NEPTUNE Naval Forces was to be executed by "normal" authorities during the pre-assault period, except that ANCXF reserved authority to issue general directives required to give effect to the combined plan.3
d. 11 December 1943: CTF 122 issued his Operation Plan 1-43 by which "direct" command of U.S. Naval Amphibious Forces was to be exercised by Com11thPhib who was to prepare, organize, and train, the U.S. Naval Forces.4
e. Mid-February 1944: Force G, the new British Assault Force, was formed in the Portland area of the Portsmouth Home Command.5 Naval Commander Eastern Task Force was established.6 The Home Commands continued to be responsible for assembly, administration, and support, while ANCXF supervised only broad policy.7


1 ANCXF Report, Vol. 1, page 24.

2 CTF 122, serial 001 of 15 November 1943.

3 XFPM No.1 of 27 November 1943.

4 CTF 122 Serial 0043 of 11 December 1943.

5 ANCXF Report, Vol. II, NC Force G, Section ___ Page 5.

6 ANCXF Report Vol. O, Page 26.

7 XFPM No. 1 (second revision) of 17 January 1944.


f. 6 March 1944: Force U was established.1 NC, Force U, was assigned to 11th Phib. Com11thPhib was made responsible for formation, preparation, training, etc. of all three U.S. Naval Assault Forces.2
g. 1 April 1944: Com12thFleet placed all U.S. Naval Forces, allotted to operation OVERLORD, under operational command of ANCXF.3 Neither ANCXF nor CTF 122 altered the pre-NEPTUNE command arrangements, which provided that Com11thPhib, in direct concert with Com12thFleet, was responsible for preparing, organizing, training, maintaining, and managing, the U.S. Naval Forces.
h. 2 May 1944: For the purpose of a full-scale exercise (FABIUS), the assault chain of command was put into effect:

1. ANCXF assumed operational control of the Channel, the C's-in-C, Home Commands, and the Naval Task Force Commanders, and,
2. NCWTF (CTF 122) assumed direct command of U.S. Naval Forces taking part.4 This exercise ended on 6 May, and command reverted to the preceding arrangement.5

i. 25 May 1944: ANCXF ordered NEPTUNE executed.6
j. 27 May 1944: NCWTF (CTF 122) ordered WTF to execute his operation Plan 2-44, thus revoking the pre-assault command structure and putting into force the assault chain of command in the Western Task Force.7


1 CTF 122 Serial 00865 of 6 March 1944.

2 CTF 122 despatch 041117 of March 1944; CTF 122 Op. Plan
  1-44, serial 00164 of 18 March 44, and ComllthPhib Op. Plan
  B-44, serial 0024 revision of 20 March 1944.

3 Com12thFleet despatch 141058A of March 1944.

4 ANCXF Report Vol. I, page 34; Admiralty Letter M054861/43 of 18 Jan 1944, and M056795/44 of 27 April 1944.

5 ANCXF Report Vol. I, page 34.

6 ANCXF Report Vol. I, page 39.

7 NCWTF Despatch 291942B of May 1944.


k. 1 June 1944 (1200): ANCXF assumed command in the English Channel over the Eastern and Western Task Forces, as well as over the Home C's-in-C, in accordance with the agreed operational chain of command.1
l. 24 to 30 June 1944: The assault chain of Command in the Eastern Task Force, was replaced by the post-NEPTUNE chain of command:

1. FOBAA established headquarters in British Assault area preparatory to taking over command on 24 June 1944.2
2. NC Force J withdrew on 24 June 1944, FOBAA assuming command of this sector.3
3. NC Force G withdrew from assault area at 1000 27 June 1944, FOBAA assuming command of G-sector.4
4. NC Force S withdrew at 1200 on 30 June 1944, command of the sector being assumed by FOBAA.5
5. NCETF withdrew at 1200 on 30 June 1944 and command of the whole ETF area was assumed by FOBAA.6

m. 24 June to 10 July 1944: The assault chain of command in the Western Task Force was replaced by the post-NEPTUNE chain of command.

1. Admiral Moon was relieved as NC Force U (CTF 125) by Admiral Wilkes on 24 June 1944.7


1 Admiralty Despatch 301738 May 1944.

2 ANCXF War Diary for 24 June 1944.

3 ANCXF War Diary for 24 June 1944.

4 ANCXF War Diary for 27 June 1944.

5 ANCXF War Diary for 30 June 1944.

6 ANCXF War Diary for 30 June 1944.

7 ANCXF despatch 241612 June 1944.


2. Admiral Wilkes assumed additional duties as FOWEST at 1200 on 27 June 1944.1
3. Admiral Hall withdrew at 1200 on 27 June 1944. Command of his sector being assumed by Admiral Wilkes (FOWEST and CTF 125) while titles of NC Force O (CTF 124) and NC Force U (CTF 125) lapsed.
4. Admiral Hall then resumed his commands as CTF 123 and Com11thPhib.2
5. NCWTF, Admiral Kirk, withdrew at 1200 3 July 1944, being relieved by Admiral Wilkes, FOWEST.3
6. CTF 122 was dissolved and command of U.S.N. OVERLORD Forces reverted to Com12thFleet as of 0001, 10 July 1944.
7. Com12th Fleet assigned control of naval forces on the French coast as set out in his 081724 of July 1944.

n. 26 July 1944: ANCXF relinquished Naval control of the Channel to the normal C-in-C, Home Commands, except for the assault area, which was expanded to include Cherbourg.4
o. 21 September 1944: ANCXF relinquished control of the assault area, and the naval command in this area then reverted to the normal control of C-in-C Portsmouth.5


1 CTF 122 despatch 262328 June 1944. ANCXF War diary of 27 June 1944.

2 CTF 122 despatch 262328 June 1944. ANCXF War diary of 27 June 1944.

3 ANCXF War diary for 3 July 1944.

4 ANCXF War diary for 22 July 1944.
  ANCXF War diary for 25 July 1944.
  ANCXF despatch 161335 July 1944.
  ANCXF despatch 182203 July 1944.
  ANCXF despatch 192324 July 1944.
  Admiralty despatch 222010 July 1944.

5 Ref. ANCXF War diary of 20 September 1944.
  Cositintrep No.170 of 21 September 1944.
  Admiralty despatch 200652 September 1944.
  Admiralty despatch 200651 September 1944.


A. Chain of Integrated Command

(See next page)


1. The structure for integrated operational command may be diagrammed as follows:1

Chart showing the structure for integrated operational command.


1 O.N.I. Appx I.


B. Division of Responsibilities for Planning

2. The following matters were to be the concern of the Allied Naval Command-in-Chief in concert with 21 Army Group, and were to be covered in his operation orders1:

a. All matters of major naval policy.
b. Naval advice to Supreme Commander, including advice on the date and time of the assault.
c. Allocation of all naval forces.
d. Convoy programs and routing of assault convoys up to assault area. (Coordination of convoys with towing schedule for MULBERRY.) e. Coordination of communication arrangements.
f. Program of initial movements.
g. Coordination of administrative and fuelling, repair, maintenance, and salvage arrangements for the operation as a whole.
h. Stating requirements for covering forces.
i. Coordination of air reconnaissance, anti-submarine air requirements and fighter protection.
j. The general organization of the captured coast, the allocation of major items of necessary equipment, and the coordination of methods of unloading, etc..
k. General control of the Build-up to meet the requirements of the Army.

3. The following matters were to be the responsibility of the Task Force Commanders, the Assault and Follow-up Force Commanders, and the Senior Officers Assault Groups, respectively, in consultation with their respective Army, Corps, Divisional and Brigade Commanders:

a. Detailed planning of the assaults.


1 XFPM #2 of 17 January 1944.


b. The loading and sailing of their forces to give effect to the Joint Plan.
c. The priority of loading of naval stores and equipment in their convoys.
d. Detailed arrangements for minesweeping, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft protection, air raid warnings, etc., off the enemy coast.
e. Detailed arrangements for bombardment.
f. Detailed arrangements for the subsequent unloading of craft and ships during the Build-up.
g. The organization of the captured coast in their areas, including detailed arrangements for fuelling, repair, maintenance, and salvage, on and off the beaches.
h. Detailed communication arrangements.
i. The sailing of all craft and shipping from the assault area to the United Kingdom including provision of escorts.


C. Division of Responsibility Between Army and Navy

4. During the operation, and until the Army were firmly established ashore, the command of each Naval Task and Assault Force, and of the Army formations embarked, was to be executed by the appropriate Naval Commanders.1

5. In the Western (U.S.) Task Force division of responsibilities between the Army and the Navy before and during the assault phase was governed by a Joint Agreement between the Commanding General, U.S. First Army (Lieut. General O.N. Bradley) and the Commander Task Force 122 (Rear-Admiral A.G. Kirk)2. This defined a detailed division of responsibilities, following generally the broad policies of U.S. Joint Army-Navy Doctrine for amphibious operations.3 Some of the main points were:

a. For training, the Navy was to be responsible for detailed training of Naval Personnel and for coordination of training of Joint forces afloat, in amphibious exercises and dress rehearsals; while the Army was responsible for training its own personnel, except for joint amphibious training coordinated by the Navy.
b. On the near Shore, movement of personnel, vehicles, and supplies to ports and points of embarkation, as required by the landing force commander, was to be the responsibility of the S.O.S. ETOUSA. Movement of vessels to and from berths, quays, or hards, and subsequently was to be the responsibility of the Navy.
c. On the Far Shore, movement of vessels to and from beaches or berths was to be controlled by the Navy, while discharge and priorities was to be controlled by the Army.


1 ON-1.

2 CTF 122 serial 0066 of 23 February 1944. (this was called the Kirk-Bradley Agreement.)

3 FTP 155 of 1935 Joint Action of the Army and Navy.


d. Control of the beaches was to be vested in the Army (Engineer Special Brigade) which was to exercise control of the movement of vessels, beaching or retracting or discharging, through Naval Beach parties supplied particularly for that purpose.
e. Defense of beaches and ports was the responsibility of the Army.
f. Cross-Channel transit of beach structures (MULBERRIES, etc.) was under control of the Navy; installations below high water mark was the responsibility of the Navy; installations above high water mark was the responsibility of the Army.
g. Breeching and removal of submerged beach obstacles was the responsibility of the Navy, of "dry" obstacles, the responsibility of the Army, but mutual assistance in both jobs was to be rendered.

6. The respective responsibilities of the U.S. Army and Navy, in the Post Assault phase for the operation of ports, was governed by an agreement between ComNavEu and the C.G. ETOUSA (Deputy).1


1 This agreement was called the Stark-Lee Agreement. The title was "Responsibilities in Captured Ports -- Joint Agreement between Commanding General, European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, and Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, "dated 5 March 1944".


D. Division of Responsibility for the Build-Up

7. Control of the Build-up was governed by the Initial Joint Plan of the three C's-in-C, issued in February 1944, under the authority of the Supreme Commander.1

a. Overall control was to be exercised by an inter-service body called BUCO (Build-up Control Organization) which represented the three Joint C's-in-C.
b. Control of military movements was to be exercised by the Army MOVCO.
c. Control of Build-up shipping was to be exercised by the British Home C's-in-C, operating through TURCO's (Turn Round Control Organization), which, in turn, executed the broad policy directives of BUCO.


1 NJC 1004 of 1 February 1944, Appx. R.
  NJC/00/302 of 23 March 1944.



See General Eisenhower's report to the JCS 18th Meeting of 4 June. Admiral Ramsay who later became OVERLORD Naval CinC was at the time the Naval CinC of the Combined Commanders Organization.

1 CCS (42) 112th Meeting of 9 April 1942; CCS (42) 118th Meeting of 14 April 1942.

2 Their proposal was as follows:



See CCS 75 of 5 June 1942 and General Eisenhower 's report to 18th Meeting of 4 June 1942.

1 It will be seen in due course that this system, occasionally modified as to details was in fact employed in every invasion - North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Normandy. See CCS 33rd Meeting of 25 July 1942; CCS 103 of 25 August 1943; CCS 103/3 of 8 October 1943.

2 See CCS 33rd Meeting of 25 July 1942. The chain of command agreed on was:




[End of Chapter 3]

Published: Thu Mar 12 07:54:15 EDT 2015