Rawson, Andrew James (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis seeks to investigate the role of the divisional commander in the United States Army in World War II, using the general officers who were engaged during the Normandy campaign in June and July 1944 as a case study.
The thesis examines the ‘Normandy Group’s’ entry into the Army and the impact of World War I and the post Armistice demobilization before focusing on the officers’ careers between the wars. It then investigates the Army’s methods for assessing incumbent commanders and selecting replacements after the war in Europe began in September 1939 and the United States entered the war in December 1941. The thesis explores the differences challenges faced by the Regular Army, the Armored Force, the National Guard and the New Army. It argues that using Efficiency Ratings and networking achieved a 75-percent success rate but that battle testing was the true test of command effectiveness.
The thesis investigates the role of the divisional commander and his staff on the battlefield and uses five case studies to investigate success and failure in command. Finally, it examines what essential command skills a successful divisional commander needed and what leadership qualities were desirable.
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