J.C.S. Files: Telegram

The Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force (Eisenhower) to the Combined Chiefs of Staff1

top secret

Fwd 14276, Scaf 77. 1. Following are my recommendations relative to assumption of command of Dragoon forces.

2. It is estimated that by 15 September the Dragoon forces will be located in strength in the Dijon area, that Seventh Army Headquarters will be north of Lyons and that an advance echelon of General Devers’ Army Group Headquarters will be near Lyons. At that time, therefore, operational control should pass to me and I will transmit [Page 233] operational directives direct to General Devers with copies to SACMed and the Commanding General, Seventh Army.2

3. Coincident with my taking operational control of the Dragoon forces, the Commanding General, Ninth Air Force3 will assume operational control of the XII Tactical Air Command of 1st Fighter Group and auxiliary units which is actually with the Seventh Army. The Ninth Air Force will augment the XII Tactical Air Command as now constituted as necessary in order to support the Army Group adequately. The Twelfth Air Force in support of the Allied Armies in Italy will continue to support the Dragoon forces until the Ninth Air Force can assume this responsibility.

Subsequently when General Devers’ Army Group comprises the French Army and at least 1 United States Army and provided the Twelfth Air Force can be spared from Italy, it should be transferred to Dragoon. Alternately should existing conditions in Italy make such a transfer undesirable, in the opinion of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the Twelfth Air Force will furnish a command and staff echelon to General Devers’ Army Group for the necessary coordination of air operations and for complete air liaison with SHAEF. Under this alternative it may be that we shall have to obtain at least 1 more fighter-bomber group from the Twelfth Air Force.

4. The exact date when administrative control should pass to me cannot be stated at the present time. Logistical support and maintenance for the Dragoon forces should continue from the Mediterranean Theater so long as United States supplies are in excess of reserves needed for other United States units in that theater. Thereafter maintenance may continue through southern France ports or be shipped to other routes if the latter prove more advantageous. Close coordination with the Mediterranean Command will be essential while resources are being shipped through the ports of southern France, whether from the United States or from North Africa or a combination of the two. I recommend that the terminating date of this responsibility be arranged by mutual agreement between Generals Wilson and Devers.

5. It is suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff directive to General Wilson and me regarding my assumption of command of the Dragoon forces be based upon the recommendations presented in the foregoing paragraphs.

  1. Circulated as the enclosure to the following note by the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff (C.C.S. 674, “Assumption of Command of ‘Dragoon’ Forces by Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force”, September 11, 1944): “The enclosed message (Scaf 77) from the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force is submitted for consideration by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.” For the discussion of this message by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 172d Meeting, September 12, 1944, see post, p. 305.
  2. Lieutenant General Alexander M. Patch.
  3. Major General Hoyt Vandenberg.