No matter which way you look at it, there is no question that Army strength makes up the majority of the U.S. military. But throughout World War II, the entire Army had massive problems with recruitment, training, transportation, etc.
The top brass who originally proposed the defense plan had hoped that the Conscription Act would be passed no later than August 1, 1940, to ensure that recruits could begin training in reasonably warm weather conditions. But because the first conscripts were not assembled until late fall and the construction of the necessary temporary barracks took six months to complete, training did not begin in earnest until May 1941. In February 1941, the Army of The United States was officially formed. Although it is almost indistinguishable from the United States Army we know now, The former, however, refers specifically to the Army forces called up through the Conscription Act at the time to avoid the effects of the U.S. spillover into the war. At the same time, it also marked the full-scale expansion of the U.S. Army. Until the day of Pearl Harbor, the actual strength of the U.S. Army was 1,473,000 (excluding 212,000 airmen under the command of the Department of the Army), knowing that the total strength of the U.S. Army at that time was only 2.2 million men. As the U.S. declared war, the Army’s recruiting restrictions began to be further reduced, and the training cycle was shortened by a full third due to the intense fighting at the beginning of the war.
But as the war in the Pacific progressed, the War Department began to recognize the need for targeted training of specialized military technicians to match the evolving war effort, and this was the underlying motivation for the War Department to launch the Army Specialists Training Program in September 1942. The program was open to all U.S. college students and required an IQ test of 115 or higher. The program required trainees to complete a full course of study in engineering mechanics, medicine, dentistry, psychoanalysis, and other disciplines within 18 months and to remain on call as Army reservists.
As the war progressed, however, the full-time program became increasingly questionable as to whether the U.S. Army had a need to develop this non-combatant class of Army personnel at the same time, given the shortage of troops.
The War Department and the War Department first planned to complete no less than three integrated divisions by March 1942, but their first steps were not realized. Six months later, the U.S. Army was still nearly 330,000 men short, and although training cycles in the rear had been stretched to the limit, this did not change the tight manpower situation on the front lines. This situation reached its peak after the Normandy landings in 1944, Instead of being able to expand its strength to 213 divisions, the U.S. Army was overstretched to replenish its existing 89 divisions.
The main reason this problem was so acute was that the Americans’ ability to transport troops was extremely limited. Given the overall strategic needs within the Allied forces, the Americans gave priority to training cargo ship crews and transport pilots, while largely ignoring the problem of sending new recruits to the front. Although the U.S. Army subsequently recognized this shortcoming and re-established the Transportation Corps on July 31, 1942, which had been abolished after World War I, it could only transport troops within the U.S. to the nearest port on the front lines to be placed on standby, which did not fully address the shortage of troops on the front lines. This did not completely solve the problem of shortage of soldiers at the front. Finally, in February 1944, the War Department decided to send all 110,000 recruits who had completed the Army’s full-time training program to front-line units in Europe and the Pacific, but the vast majority of these recruits served only as medical, engineering, and service soldiers, and did not have a significant effect on the increase in combat power of the troops.
The Army’s shortage peaked in 1944 and began to reveal problems in U.S. Army tactics and training formations. According to the tank armor tactics strongly advocated by Lt. Gen. Leslie McNair, enemy fire positions and fortifications that impeded infantry advances should be destroyed by tank destroyers. The problem, however, was that tank destroyers were neither adapted to such offensive operations nor were they often separated from infantry units to accomplish anti-tank missions alone; and without effective armor support, even a single German MG-42 machine gun squad could bring great resistance to the advance of the American infantry. The crux of the problem lay in the fact that U.S. infantry and armored troops were trained on two separate military bases and never received a complete drill in coordination. It was not until the end of the war that the Fort Benning base first began to allow armored soldiers to be stationed for training.
Also, Replenishment of the military system was much maligned by the late War. Under the system, if a soldier was wounded or sick at the front, he or she had to be withdrawn from the front and sent to a supplemental station for treatment until he or she recovered. However, the soldier would not be allowed to return to the front to join his previous unit immediately, but would be deployed according to the shortage of troops on the front line, which meant that once the soldier was withdrawn from the front, it was almost impossible for him to return to his unit and continue to work with his old comrades who had formed an understanding with each other in the training camps at home. This system was not abolished until April 1945, but it was of little consequence to the development of the war effort.