After Combat Report submitted by Headquarters, 12th Reinforcement Depot, 5 July 1945.

Source:  Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower Archives, Box 1, Study 3, After Combat Report.

 

HEADQUARTERS

12TH REINFORCEMENT DEPOT

APO 518-B

AG 319.1                                                                                                                                                              5 July 1945

SUBJECT:              After Combat Report.

TO:                         Commanding General, Ground Force Reinforcement Command, APO 887, U.S. Army

 

a.       Problem of Transportation.  Basically, the T/O & E of a replacement Depot transportation section is wholly inadequate for troop movement, training, supply, and general housekeeping. Recommend the assignment of a truck company, which, in addition to supplying the need for transportation throughout the depot, will also do away with the turnover of new drivers. This will in turn eliminate the tremendous need for second, or even higher, echelon maintenance caused by lack of care for the vehicles on the part of inexperienced drivers.

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(4)  Laundry and shower facilities: This depot operated for approximately one month under field conditions, but it was quite evident that shower and laundry facilities were required to insure the cleanliness of the troops themselves and of their clothing. While men can bathe and wash clothing in helmets, it was found practically impossible with the equipment then on hand to heat sufficient water for the purpose. Then, too, with climatic conditions such as exist in the UK clothing would not dry for many days. The net result is eventually a lack of cleanliness. Adequate laundry and shower units should be attached to a depot and be under the direct control of the depot.

 

(5)  Portable water purification units:  While this depot operated in the field it had considerable difficulty obtaining water from the engineer watering points due to the fact that they were always being moved about to meet the demands of other troops. Eventually it became necessary to obtain a mobile water purification unit for the depot to ensure the water supply. One of these units plus the necessary tank trucks should be included I the T/O & E of a reinforcement depot (together with qualified personnel to operate it).

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(3)  It is felt that no comment is necessary on the subject of clearly defined administrative channels and administrative jurisdiction. This was firmly established at the time GFRC came under control of the Armed Ground Forces. Prior to that time there was considerable confusion as to whether specific correspondence should be forwarded through District, Base, or other headquarters.

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                        (c) The two (2) ambulance authorized this depot under T/O & E 12-42 were inadequate. Five (5) additional vehicles were obtained from UK Base on loan and trucks were utilized as auxiliary ambulances. Such vehicles are not satisfactory for transporting certain types of cases, those with pneumonia for example. It is recommended that ambulances be authorized each reinforcement battalion, particularly when the battalions are located in different camps.

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a.       The procurement of suitable instructors from combat experienced officers and enlisted men was made difficult by certain factors, chiefly:

(1)    Men were not physically able to withstand long hours of hard work required in training.

(2)    Personnel lacked previous experience in mass production training.

(3)    Prevalent attitude of –“I have done my part, etc.”

       

                                          Recommended solution: Use about 70% general assignment and about 30% limited assignment personnel with a monthly rotation policy set up so as to move personnel out at the end of 6 months.

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                                i.  Problem of Sound Orientation Program, with reference to:

                                                (1) Satisfactory I & E Program for troops:  The ½ hour daily news discussion period is considered satisfactory. Company bulletin boards should be kept, and up to date.

                                                (2) I & E personnel requirements:  Full time I & E personnel was found inadequate to effectively put on this program.

                                               

                                                Recommended solution:  That each company have a full time I & E Officer and one NCO at platoon level in addition to present depot and battalion I & E personnel.

 

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                (3) Personnel for postal activities: The army post office serving a depot is not adequately manned under existing table of organization to give the maximum trained supervision of all men on special duty. To a great extent, the activation of a provisional postal company, with trained postal officer personnel and competent clerically trained enlisted men would ensure speedier and more accurate distribution and directorizing of mail.

k.  Problem of Military Justice.  With reference to:

                (1) General court-martial jurisdiction and procedure. If general court-martial jurisdiction was given to the reinforcement depot commanders, it is believed that general court-martial cases could be disposed of in a much speedier manner than possible when handled as in the depot by the Southern Base Section and subsequently by the UK Base. It is strongly recommended that depot commanders be given general court-martial jurisdiction in future operations.

                (2) Personnel requirements. A staff Judge Advocate and an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate in the grades of Major and Captain respectively, and six (6) well trained and qualified clerks, all preferably with some legal experience, should be allocated to each depot to take care of summary, special, and general courts-martial of the depot.

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       m.  Problem of T/O Operating Personnel.

                        (1) It was found at this depot that the T/O for a Headquarters and Headquarters, Replacement Depot, was inadequate to perform the duties made necessary by the administration, quartering, and feeding of approximately 6000 static personnel, and the receipt, processing, training, and shipment of approximately 18000 free reinforcements every 6 weeks.

                        (2) Where Augmentation was Needed: The mission to be performed by a unit in large part determines those functions which must be augmented or initiated over and above that allowed by the T/O. This fact is best shown by a comparison between the replacement depot T/O and numbers used as augmentation.

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                                        (b) The replacement depot T/O includes no personnel for the following functions. It will be noted that these services were supplied either by  other T/O units, T/A units, or deport augmentation:

                                                        Finance

                                                        Postal

                                                        Signal

                                                        American Red Cross

                                                        Judge Advocate

                                                        Utilities

                                                        Chemical Warfare Service

                                                        Ordnance

                                                        Army Exchange Service (1 officer on T/O 12-42)

                                                        Information and Education (1 officer on T/O 12-42)

                                       

                      (c). Sections of this depot using the largest number of augmentation personnel were as follows:

Transportation:                         Truck drivers and maintenance

Provost Marshall:                     Prison chasers and guards

A.E.S.:                                           Sales clerks and barbers

Postal:                                          Postal clerks

Supply and Utilities:                Supply clerks, stock record clerks, electricians,                                                                            plumbers, carpenters.

 

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(e) T/O 12-42 provides for the receipt, housing, and processing of reinforcements, but is not designed for an Infantry conversion training program. To accomplish this mission, each T/O company (36 companies) was augmented by 15 non-commissioned officers and 5 officers with combat infantry experience. Generally, this personnel did a good job. A screening process was inaugurated and unqualified personnel eliminated. It was also necessary to make continuous adjustments with this group insofar as individuals often had physical or mental disabilities which prevented them from performing all tasks necessary in completely training as infantry rifleman.

 

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        n. Problem of Operations:

                        (1) The chief problem encountered in movement of troops was that of control and discipline while enroute. It was noted at this depot that most officers and non-commissioned officers in charge of troops (free reinforcements) enroute were either:

                                        (a) Incompetent

                                        (b) Irresponsible

                                        (c) Inadequately instructed in their duties

 

                                        This criticism applies equally to shipments from the United States and shipments within this theater. The deficiency was manifested by the condition in which men, their equipment and records arrived at this depot. Untold time and money was lost in replacing or extemporizing lost or inadequate records and in re-equipping men, some for the fourth and fifth time, simply because the men themselves had not had necessary sense of discipline instilled in them, and the officer in charge failed to require such action of them.

       

                        (2) It was noted, when Hq GFRC announced that immediate effective disciplinary action would be taken against escort officers who failed to discharge their duties, and this information was passed on to such officers, that a sharp decrease in deficiencies was effected. It is recommended that this policy be adhered to in future operations.

 

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Note: this is the end of the copy of the original report as received by the author. It is not known if it is the end of the actual report.  (2/12/19)