J.C.S. Files

Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff1

most secret
Enclosure to C.C.S. 316

The “Plough” Force

We have been considering the question of the possible employment of the Plough Force, which we understand will shortly become available for operations elsewhere.
The essentials as we see it are that the Force should be retained intact and employed in snow conditions on the type of task for which it has been trained.
Hence, there are now two theaters in which the Force might be employed:
Norway, as originally planned. Here, if the maintenance commitment is not too great, it might be used for some specific operation at an appropriate moment, in conjunction perhaps with Operation Overlord .
Italy. Here it might be used in conjunction with possible operations in the Apennines, or better still in the Alps if we get as far north. Failing either of these, it might conceivably fulfill a useful role in collaboration with patriot forces in the mountains of the Dalmatian Coast.
The Force is at present gaining experience in the Kiska operations and we understand that it is unlikely to arrive back in the United States much before the end of November. There is time therefore for the possibilities of its further employment to be fully explored.
We suggest that the full details of the Force and its capabilities should be communicated to General Eisenhower and General Morgan at once, who should be asked to report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff by 1 October 1943:
Whether they consider that the Force could be usefully employed in their theater, and if so, what tasks they propose it should undertake.
Whether any additional provision would be necessary in the form of transport aircraft or ancillary units to sustain the Force in the role proposed.
If General Eisenhower considers that the Force would best be employed on the Dalmatian Coast, we suggest that he should consult the Commanders in Chief in the Middle East and put forward his recommendations agreed with them.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff should then decide on the theater to which the Force should be allotted.
  1. Circulated under cover of the following note by the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff (C.C.S. 316), August 18, 1943: “In order to save delay, the enclosure, prepared by the Chief of Combined Operations [Vice Admiral Mountbatten], in consultation with the British Joint Planning Staff, is presented direct to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for their consideration.”

    For the action taken on this paper at the 112th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, August 19, 1943, see ante, p. 893.