United States Army in World War II: European Theater of Operations

The Supreme Command

By Forrest C. Pogue


. . . to Those Who Served

Table of Contents


Note on the History of the European Theater of Operations


Biographical Sketches

Chapter 1: The Supreme Commander

The Selection of the Supreme Commander—The New Commander

Chapter 2: The Coalition Command

Heads of Governments—Combined Chiefs of Staff—The Supreme Commander and His Subordinates—The Organization of the Subordinate Commands—The Supreme Commander’s Directive

Chapter 3: The Nature of SHAEF

Contributions of AFHQ—Contributions of COSSAC—The Chief Deputies

Chapter 4: The Machinery of SHAEF

The Powers Reserved to SHAEF—The Operations Division—The Intelligence Division—Administration—Civil Affairs—Publicity and Psychological Warfare—The Special Staff Divisions—Political Officers—Committees—Locations of SHAEF

Chapter 5: Planning Before SHAEF

Early Background—Allied Planning and Preparation in 1943—The COSSAC Plans

Chapter 6: SHAEF Revises Plans for the Attack

Strengthening and Widening the Assault and the Postponement of ANVIL—Increase of Airborne Units in the Assault—The Revised Plan

Chapter 7: SHAEF’s Air Problems, January–June 1944

Problems of Command—Railway Bombing Plan—CROSSBOW—Effect of the Air Program

Chapter 8: Relations With the Occupied Countries

Allied Liaison Machinery—Civil Affairs Agreements—Troubled Relations With the French Committee

Chapter 9: Final Preparations for the Invasion

Intensified Air Efforts Against the Enemy—Propaganda Efforts Against the Enemy—Security for the Operation—The Patton Episode—Exercises and Maneuvers—The Decision To Go

Chapter 10: D Day to the Breakout

Unfolding of the Grand Design—The Enemy—Allied Command—The Battle for Caen

Chapter 11: The Breakout and Pursuit to the Seine

The Allied Situation in Late July—The German Situation—Plans for the Breakout—The COBRA Operation—Hitler Outlines His Plan—Eisenhower Prepares for Action—The Mortain Counterattack—Closing the Falaise Gap—Withdrawal to the Seine

Chapter 12: The Campaign in Southern France

The Second Phase of the ANVIL Controversy—The Landings and the Advance

Chapter 13: Relations With the French, June–September 1944

Civil Affairs—Command of the French Resistance Forces—Activities of French Resistance, June–August 1944—The Liberation of Paris

Chapter 14: The Pursuit Stops Short of the Rhine

The Situation at the End of August—Allied Plans for an Advance to the Rhine—Logistical Reasons for the Halt

Chapter 15: Command Reorganization, June–October 1944

The Ground Forces—The Air and Naval Forces—Shifts in Locations of Supreme Headquarters

Chapter 16: Fighting In the North

Background of Operations in the Netherlands—The MARKET-GARDEN Operation—Discussion of Future Operations—The Battle for Antwerp

Chapter 17: The Battles of Attrition, September–December 1944

The Enemy Regroups—October Battles—Plans To End the War Quickly—The November Offensive—Allied Strategy Re-examined—Action in December

Chapter 18: Relations With Liberated Countries

Relations With France—Relations With Belgium—Relations With the Netherlands—Allied Public Information Activities in the Liberated Countries—Other Aid to Liberated Peoples

Chapter 19: Program For Germany

Efforts To Induce German Surrender—Military Government of Germany

Chapter 20: The Winter Counteroffensives

The German Plan—Allied Estimate of Enemy Intentions—The Attack—Preparations for an Allied Attack—The Allies Take the Initiative—The Attack in Northern Alsace—The Question of Strasbourg—6th Army Group Counterattack—Effects of the German Counteroffensive

Chapter 21: The Battle for the Rhineland

Russian Plans—Formulation of Allied Strategy—General Eisenhower’s Replies—Discussion of Strategy by the Combined Chiefs—Looking Toward the Rhine—German Difficulties—SHAEF Establishes a Forward Headquarters—Allied Operations, January–February 1945—The Crossing of the Rhine in the North

Chapter 22: The Battle for the Ruhr

A Change of Plans—Encircling the Ruhr—The Ruhr Pocket

Chapter 23: The Drive to the Elbe

Shall It Be Berlin?—The Area and the Enemy—The Nature of the Pursuit—Operations in the North—The Main Thrust to the Elbe—6th Army Group Operations

Chapter 24: The Drive to the Elbe (Continued)

Aid for the Netherlands—The Stuttgart Incident—Avoiding Clashes With the Russians—The End of Hitler

Chapter 25: The German Surrender

Early Peace Feelers—Dönitz Appraises the Situation—Piecemeal Surrenders—Preliminary Talks with SHAEF—Surrender at Reims—Ceremony at Berlin

Chapter 26: The Last Phase

Initial Measures—Disarming the German Forces—The Final German Surrenders—Disarming the Enemy in Denmark and Norway—Closing Out Supreme Headquarters

Appendix A. SHAEF and the Press, June 1944–May 1945

Appendix B. SHAEF Personnel

Appendix C. Roster of Key Officers, SHAEF

Appendix D. Forces Under SHAEF, 1944–45

Appendix E. Strength and Casualty Figures

Appendix F. The Supreme Commander’s Orders of the Day

Appendix G. Table of Equivalent Ranks


Code names

Bibliographical Note




1. Casualties Caused by Flying Bomb and Rocket Attacks on the United Kingdom, 1944–45

2. Estimated Casualties in the Ardennes

3. U.S. Battle Casualties, Ardennes–Alsace, 16 December 1944–25 January 1945

4. Authorized Strength of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, 12 July 1944

5. Authorized Strength of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, 1 February 1945

6. Authorized Strength of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, 1 April 1945

7. Assigned Strength of U.S. Army Forces in European Theater of Operations, July 1944–June 1945

8. Battle Casualties of U.S. Army in European Theater of Operations, June 1944–May 1945

9. British and Canadian Strengths, Northwest Europe, 1944–45

10. Battle Casualties of the British 21 Army Group, D Day to V-E Day

11. Battle Casualties of French Army, 8 November 1942–8 May 1945


1. Allied Organization for Combined Operations, 24 May 1944

2. Chain of Command, Allied Expeditionary Force, 13 February 1944

3. Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, 6 June 1944

4. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 1 April 1944

5. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 1 September 1944

6. Operational Channels, First Allied Airborne Army, 28 November 1944

7. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 18 December 1944

8. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 27 March 1945

9. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 1 May 1945


1. D Day to Breakout, 6 June–24 July 1944

2. Campaign in Southern France, 15 August–15 September 1944

3. The Arnhem Operation, 17–26 September 1944

4. Clearing the Schelde Estuary, 2 October–8 November 1944

5. Battle of the Ardennes, 16–26 December 1944

6. Battle of the Ardennes, 26 December 1944–28 January 1945

7. The Battle of Alsace, 1 January–9 February 1945

8. Situation in Europe, 15 January 1945

9. Battle of the Ruhr, 28 March–18 April 1945

Maps I-VI Are in the Maps chapter at the end

I. Order of Battle OB WEST, 6 June 1944

II. Breakout and Advance to the Seine, 25 July–25 August 1944

III. Pursuit to the German Border, 26 August–15 September 1944

IV. Battle of Attrition, 16 September–15 December 1944

V. Battle of the Rhineland and Crossing of the Rhine, 8 February–28 March 1945

VI. Drive to the Elbe, 4 April–7 May 1945


General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower—General Morgan—General Marshall and Secretary Stimson—Conference at Quebec—Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory—Admiral Ramsay—General Brereton—General Spaatz—General Bradley—General Montgomery—General Crerar—General Dempsey—General Devers—General Barker—Air Chief Marshal Tedder—General Smith—Air Vice Marshal Robb—General Gale—General Bull—General Whiteley—General Nevins—Brigadier McLean—General Strong—General Crawford—General Lee—General Grasett—General Davis—General McClure—General Cameron—General Vulliamy—General Kenner—General Hughes—High-Level Conference—Air Attack—Air Attack—General de Gaulle—General Koenig—Aerial Reconnaissance—U.S. MULBERRY—Adolf Hitler—Field Marshal Keitel—Field Marshal von Rundstedt—General Blaskowitz—Field Marshal Rommel—Field Marshal von Kluge—General Patton—General Hodges—Field Marshal Kesselring—Field Marshal Model—General Patch—General de Lattre de Tassigny—General Simpson—General Gerow—Air Chief Marshal Harris—General Vandenberg—Trianon Palace Hotel—General Doolittle—General Juin—SHAEF at Reims—Admiral Burrough—Meeting at the Elbe—Surrender at Reims—Surrender at Berlin—Victory Speech—I. G. Farbenindustrie Building

Illustrations are from the following sources

J. C. A. Redhead, FRPS, London: page 46 (Leigh-Mallory).

Bassano Ltd., London: page 46 (Ramsay).

British Information Services: page 50 (Montgomery).

Canadian Army: page 51 (Crerar).

Fayer Camera Portraits, London: page 148.

Service Cinéma des Armées, France: page 398.

Walter Stoneman, London: pages 94 (Cameron, Vulliamy, Hughes), 430.

Captured German Photographs: pages 176, 178, 195, 212.

All other photographs are from Department of Defense files.

CMH Publication 7–1

Office of the Chief of Military History

Department of the Army

Washington, D.C.