World War II
Intelligence in the Field

The Military Intelligence Service, the Signal Security Agency, and, for a time, the Counter Intelligence Corps were centrally directed organizations under the control of headquarters elements in the continental United States. However, the bulk of the Army's intelligence assets were in the field, at the disposal of commanders in the different theaters of operation established during the course of World War II. At the beginning of World War I, Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Kuhn had stated that intelligence was "as essential to modern armies as ammunition," and a second world conflict continued to demonstrate the truth of this dictum.1 In all the various theaters there were certain uniformities of intelligence organization. Army officers served on combined intelligence staffs with various Allies. The theater signal intelligence service was operated on a compartmented basis separate from other intelligence activities, and assignment of intelligence and counterintelligence specialists to units was normally under centralized theater control. However, there were also differences in intelligence arrangements from theater to theater, depending on local conditions and circumstances.

In its allotment of campaign credits, the U.S. Army recognized the existence of only three great theaters of operation in World War II: the American, the Asiatic-Pacific, and the EuropeanAfrican-Middle Eastern. The actual command structure was more fragmented than this might suggest. During the course of World War II, major Army formations were committed to combat in four geographic areas: the Pacific Ocean Area (POA); the South West Pacific Area (SWPA); the European Theater of Operations (ETO); and the North African Theater of Operations (NATO), later redesignated the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Paradoxically U.S. Army contributions from an intelligence standpoint were greater in the Pacific area, but the European war had a larger impact on the ultimate organization of Army Intelligence. Most of American military resources in the field went into the fight against Germany, including the


bulk of Military Intelligence assets. In addition, the nature of the language problem inherent in operations against the Japanese made Pacific requirements more specialized and less universal. The Army's focus on Europe and the relatively shorter distances between Washington and the field in this theater allowed lessons learned to translate rapidly into structural modifications.


The United States first entered the war in Europe as a junior partner. This was especially true in the field of intelligence, where Great Britain had developed extensive experience in field operations against the Axis, had a long tradition of successful intelligence operations, and had managed to break into the highest level of German communications with the help of its skilled cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park. British predominance in the communications intelligence field in Europe would continue throughout the war. The War Department was not apprised of the full dimensions of British success until mid-1943. The United States played no part in the exploitation of high-level German communications until 1944, when the Signal Intelligence Division of the European Theater of Operations, United States Army (ETOUSA), committed three American detachments in a War Department project to support the efforts of Bletchley Park.2 Significantly Eisenhower had a British G-2 in each of the theaters he successively commanded.3

From the intelligence perspective, the war in Europe was characterized by the gradual evolution of independent theater-level signal intelligence services, Military Intelligence services, and the institution of centralized control at the theater level over Army counterintelligence specialists. These developments took place at first in the Mediterranean and then in the European Theater of Operations.

When the Army entered World War II, it envisaged only two types of tactical signal intelligence units: radio intelligence platoons organic to the divisional signal companies and signal radio intelligence (SRI) companies assigned to field armies on a basis of one per army The signal radio intelligence companies were quite sizable units, each with an assigned strength of slightly over 300 officers and men, internally divided into a headquarters platoon, an intercept platoon, a direction-finding platoon, and a wire platoon for communications. Neither of the two types had any analytical personnel. Analysis and translation were to be accomplished centrally by small radio intelligence staff elements at the theater and field army levels, as had been the case in World War I. These elements now reported to the chief signal officer,


not the G-2. The arrangement left the corps level without any dedicated communications intelligence support.4

The process of restructuring the Army's intelligence instruments began with the invasion of North Africa in 1942. The operation was launched with good intelligence-the British provided intensive support in this area, including furnishing the American high command with ULTRA-derived material. However, in the crunch of combat, American Intelligence organization was deemed less than adequate. The organization of Army tactical signal intelligence proved to be particularly deficient. The divisional platoons, in exposed locations near the front, were in too great a danger of being overrun to practice their specialty securely; the radio intelligence companies, as organized, were too large and too unwieldy to be used to support the corps, the command level most in need of such intelligence. Central processing proved to be impracticable, and the limited staffs available at the field army level to handle signals intelligence proved to be completely inadequate. At the same time, the communications practices of the European members of the Axis presented large volumes of material sent in clear or low-level codes that were susceptible to timely forward exploitation.5

In the initial stages of the North African campaign, the British bolstered the raw and badly organized American signals intelligence units with their own personnel. In early 1943 the U.S. Army deployed a theater signals intelligence service to North Africa. The 849th Signal Intelligence Service-the only such service to receive a numerical designation-was originally intended to function as a staff section, operating under the Signal Intelligence Division of Armed Forces Headquarters. Instead, in a hasty improvisation, it became a field unit. As the historian of the 849th SIS noted, "the unit set up in an isolated ravine in North Africa, without a telephone, a foot of field wire, a radio set, or a power unit, to mention only a few of the more obvious necessities."6 Even toward the end of the war, the unit was handicapped by the ad hoc nature of its creation. A report deemed "the present organization . . . amorphous and unsatisfactory."7

Despite its organizational deficiencies, the 849th Signal Intelligence Service provided tactical signal intelligence units with the necessary analytical support. When the fighting moved to Italy, the problem of signal intelligence was solved by breaking the unwieldy signal radio intelligence companies into detachments and adding a small analytical element from the 849th SIS to each detachment to accomplish processing. Although this arrangement presented certain administrative complexities, since each element had a different parent headquarters, it


served to provide adequate communications intelligence to American ground and air forces. Later in the war, the Army Air Forces' own signals intelligence units took responsibility for the air dimension.

Combat experience in North Africa and the Mediterranean led to an overhaul of the entire structure of Army tactical signals intelligence in Europe. In 1943 the War Department gave the Signal Intelligence Division of ETOUSA operational control of all radio intelligence units in the theater. Further reforms followed. A revision of the divisional tables of organization and equipment (TOES) in November 1943 eliminated the radio intelligence platoon from the divisional signal company, although it is not clear that this change was always implemented in the field. New tables provided for the incorporation of two radio intelligence platoons into the corps signal battalion.

This organizational concept was not especially happy, since it repeated the mistake of lumping a small number of communications intelligence personnel with a larger unit performing an unrelated function, with all the security and operational disadvantages this entailed. In the Pacific, when this reorganization went into effect, a knowledgeable intelligence officer would find the corps-level radio intelligence platoon he observed "fatally handicapped by lack of information and planning."8 In the European theater, however, planners found a better solution. They devised a completely new type of communications intelligence unit to support the corps-a small signal service company with an organic cellular detachment of analytical personnel. These companies, numbered in a sequence beginning with 3250, required less than half the personnel spaces allotted to the regular signal radio intelligence companies and were formed from in-theater resources.9

Meanwhile, the war's lessons and the Army Air Forces' wishes had led the War Department to authorize similarly self-contained units, designated "radio squadrons, mobile," to meet the special needs of the Army's air arm. These squadrons replaced the mix of signal radio intelligence companies, aviation, and monitoring platoons in signal service companies, aviation, which previously had supported the Army Air Forces. In addition to containing a large analytical section, the new squadrons could intercept both continuous wave (Morse code) and voice transmissions from dispersed locations. 10

American forces in Great Britain were finally committed to the crossChannel attack on 6 June 1944. Once fully deployed, they mustered an impres-


sive array of tactical signal intelligence units. Signal Security Detachment "D," a field element of the Signal Intelligence Division, ETOUSA, provided analytical support to the signal radio intelligence companies at the army-group and fieldarmy levels, while AAF radio squadrons furnished signals intelligence to the numbered air forces. The signal service companies with their organic intelligence detachments operated in support of fourteen of the American corps that fought under Eisenhower. A similar type of unit was fielded in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in 1945.

In theory, the signal radio intelligence companies were designed to fill the Army's communications security needs, as well as to provide signal intelligence. A section within the headquarters platoon of each company was allotted for communications monitoring. In practice, however, this function usually was neglected because of the press of more urgent duties. As a partial solution, the commander of Army forces in the Mediterranean area suggested that the Army develop a TOE for a new type of unit that could carry out a signal information and monitoring (SIAM) mission. Two such units were ultimately formed from Army assets in the Mediterranean: the 3151st Signal Information and Monitoring Company, which was assigned to the U.S. Seventh Army to support the invasion of Southern France, and the 3326th SIAM Company, which operated in support of the U.S. Fifth Army in Italy. These large units, each containing about 500 men, monitored Army communications for the dual purpose of checking for security violations and tracking the positions of the friendly units themselves. Under the fast-moving conditions of mobile warfare in Europe, normal command channels often operated too slowly, making such byproducts a useful tool for the field commander. 11

Army counterintelligence organization in the field was also shaped by lessons learned in combat in North Africa and the Mediterranean. The first group of counterintelligence agents to be deployed had been a 71-man-strong detachment that accompanied the Western Task Force in the invasion of North Africa. Lacking in combat training, scattered in small sections over wide areas, and confronted by unsympathetic G-2s ignorant of the functions of the Counter Intelligence Corps, this initial element encountered many operational difficulties. However, under combat conditions, Counter Intelligence Corps personnel slowly resolved the initial problems. For example, new agents were trained in field security duties as well as in investigative functions. By mid-1943, with operations on Italian soil about to commence, all CIC agents in the theater were placed under the centralized administrative control of Counter Intelligence Corps, North African Theater of Operations, United States Army (NATOUSA). Also, a theater TOE had been developed, calling for 6-man divisional detachments and 13man detachments at the corps level. Similar arrangements were introduced in the European Theater of Operations.


Some problems remained unsolved. Counter Intelligence Corps personnel were still controlled from Washington as part of the Military Intelligence Service. Although the rationale for this arrangement was Washington's fear that highly specialized counterintelligence assets otherwise might be misused, administration from 3,000 miles away created enormous problems. The arrangement slowed promotion in the field, and the CIC came to be nicknamed the "Corps of Indignant Corporals."12 The attempt to run the Counter Intelligence Corps from offices in Washington also hampered local efforts to make timely adjustments in organization and doctrine based on field experience. The 6-man divisional detachments authorized in the Mediterranean area were obviously inadequate, since under combat conditions some CIC personnel needed to stay behind to provide continuity of coverage, while others advanced with their units. Moreover, the War Department tables of basic allowances (TBAs), under which detachments functioned, proved to be impracticable. Although CIC units were allotted equipment for performing the most elaborate investigations, they lacked adequate transportation.

Ultimately, these problems also were resolved. Counter Intelligence Corps personnel in the Mediterranean theater passed to local control in November 1943, and their counterparts in the United Kingdom made the same transition in April 1944. In January 1944 a new organizational table restructured Counter Intelligence Corps detachments along cellular lines, allowing units to be tailored to meet the requirements of varying echelons of command. In the ETO this resulted in the creation of a 17-man divisional CIC detachment composed of an administrative team and two operational teams. Larger counterintelligence detachments were attached to higher tactical echelons and to rear area service organizations. Finally, a more realistic allowance of equipment was secured, allocating a jeep to every two counterintelligence agents and giving the CIC the mobility it needed in a combat environment.

The problem of logically identifying CIC detachments was resolved in August 1944, when separate sequences of numbers were allotted to detachments serving with various levels and types of commands. Detachments serving with infantry and airborne divisions were given the numbers of their corresponding divisional organization: the 200 series was reserved for detachments serving with corps, the 300 series for those attached to field armies, the 400 series for CIC units attached to the theaters, the 500 series for detachments serving with armored divisions, and the 600 and 700 series for Counter Intelligence Corps elements attached to major formations of the Army Air Forces.

Intelligence specialists overseas not affiliated with the Counter Intelligence Corps were eventually organized under separate theater-level Military Intelligence services. These organizations evolved gradually in the case of the


European Theater of operations, the first non-CIC intelligence organizations to deploy in England were forward elements of MIS-X and MIS-Y: specialized sections of the War Department's Military Intelligence Service that were tasked respectively with assisting the escape attempts of downed American fliers and interrogating captured enemy personnel in depth. In April 1943 both elements were merged into a Military Intelligence Service detachment under theater control. With the arrival of additional diverse intelligence units, such as Military Intelligence specialist teams, censors, topographic and photographic intelligence personnel, and a training team, all field agencies except counterintelligence detachments were folded into the integrated, theater-level Military Intelligence Service, European Theater of Operations, in August 1943.

Intelligence specialists in the field operated in four types of teams during World War II: interrogation, interpreter, photo interpreter, and order of battle. In the European Theater of Operations, the first three types were allotted two officers and four enlisted men; order of battle teams had a single officer and two enlisted men. The Military Intelligence Service, European Theater of Operations, attached two prisoner interrogation teams and one of each of the other three types to each division, where they operated under the control of the divisional G2. Larger numbers of teams were allotted to higher formations, and groups of teams at this level were sometimes formed into detachments with attached administrative personnel. Although the individual teams were small, the number of intelligence personnel assigned to them was considerable. The European Theater of Operations had 3,500 officers and men organized into specialist teams, not counting Military Intelligence personnel assigned to headquarters elements and to censorship duties. 13

The collection of technical intelligence was not the responsibility of the theater-level Military Intelligence Service, but of "enemy equipment intelligence services" directed by the individual technical services. Technical intelligence personnel operated in teams at the field army level. Teams varied in size-the Signal Corps collection unit, for example, consisted of five officers and six enlisted men.14 The efforts of the individual technical services in the field were supplemented by those of other organizations. The Army was represented on the Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee, an element under the control of the Combined Chiefs of Staff which fielded joint United States-British, military-civilian teams to investigate scientific targets. The Army also played a leading role in the specialized mission, code named ALSOS, set up


at the instigation of the director of the Manhattan Project to look for evidence of German atomic research. 15

In the war against Germany, technical intelligence teams often combined with other intelligence and counterintelligence personnel in ad hoc task forces to exploit newly liberated areas of intelligence interest. In Italy, "S Force" gave coverage 20 liberated Rome; "T Force" performed similar operations in France and Germany. These elements reached formidable size: the "T Force" that entered Paris contained representatives from seventeen different Allied intelligence elements and had a strength of 1,800, although most were administrative and security personnel.

Topographic intelligence was another specialized case. During World War I, 'the American Expeditionary Forces in France had placed this function within the G-2 section. In World War II theaters of operation, the function reverted to the Chief of Engineers, who maintained an Engineer Intelligence office. Mobile Engineer topographic battalions, relying on aerial photography, prepared maps. Field armies usually had a topographic engineering battalion, and a topographic Engineer company was assigned to each corps. 16

For positive collection operations in the MTO and ETO, the Army relied on the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the independent intelligence and special operations organization under the direct control of the joint Chiefs of Staff. Although at the departmental level considerable rivalry existed between the OSS and the MID, Army commanders in Europe found the OSS a useful organization. In fact, Army personnel provided the bulk of OSS strength. In May 1944 friction in the European Theater of Operations was further eased when OSS and its British counterparts were directly subordinated to the theater commander under the newly created Headquarters, Special Troops, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force. Members of OSS field units engaged both in collection and in special operations. Support was provided to Army units down to the division level. In addition, the X-2 Branch of OSS deployed small counterintelligence detachments. These detachments, which had access to selected ULTRA information, did not engage in active field operations, but provided CIC detachments information on enemy agents obtained at Bletchley Park. 17

During World War I, the AEFs G-2 had been responsible for both propaganda operations and deception. This arrangement was not repeated in World War II. Eisenhower ran limited psychological warfare operations using pam-


phlets and loudspeaker units through a special staff section, not through his intelligence staff. Planning the extensive deception operations that shrouded the time and place of the Allied landings was a British monopoly, carried out by the London Controlling Section. However, the U.S. Army deployed specialized units to support such operations in Europe, including Signal Corps elements and the 23d Headquarters, Special Troops, a composite unit that used rubber tanks, noise-making equipment, and dummy communications nets to simulate an armored division.

The Pacific

In the Pacific, Army Intelligence was structured a little differently In the Pacific Ocean Areathe vast oceanic operational theater commanded by Admiral Chester W Nimitz- the Army served as an adjunct to the Navy and the Marine Corps, and intelligence work was largely a naval preserve. However, an Army officer eventually did serve as J-2 controlling the joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Area (JICPOA); Army topographic engineer companies provided JICPOA with mapping support; and two SRI companies were ultimately deployed. 18 In addition, toward the end of the war, a joint Army-Navy COMINT exploitation center, RAGFOR-for Radio Group, Forward-was set up on recaptured Guam to attack Japanese Army and Navy air-ground traffic, using the Army Air Forces' 8th Radio Squadron, Mobile, as its intercept arm. 19 This unit included Nisei interpreters. Military Intelligence interpreter, interrogator, and translator teams attached to Army divisions in the Pacific seem to have consisted of four, rather than six, persons.20

The major Army presence in the war against Japan was located in the South West Pacific Area, a theater that opened up when General Douglas MacArthur regrouped his forces in Australia following the American defeat in the Philippines. Here, organizational arrangements differed strikingly from those prevailing in the trans-Atlantic theaters. The creation of the SWPA committed the United States to the defense of beleaguered Australia. Significantly, the theater was directly subordinated to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, not to the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff. The objective situation, coupled with


MacArthur's autocratic proclivities, allowed him to set up a U.S. Army staff to direct theater operations. At the same time, only limited American military assets were available initially. These considerations exerted strong pressure on the organization of intelligence in the theater. In contrast to the situation in Europe, U.S. Army intelligence personnel in the SWPA were integrated into combined organizations under the direction of an American G-2, Brig. Gen. Charles Willoughby. 21

In the spring of 1942 MacArthur set up a centralized cryptologic agency Central Bureau, Brisbane (CBB). Headed by MacArthur's chief signal officer, Brig. Gen. Spencer Akin, a former chief of the Signal Intelligence Service, CBB was jointly manned by personnel of the U.S. Army and the Royal Australian Army and Air Force. The American component consisted at first of two officers and a few intercept operators drawn from a detachment of the 2d Signal Service Company on Corregidor, later reinforced by a signal service detachment furnished by Arlington Hall. The latter detachment included Col. Abraham Sinkov, one of the four men Friedman had initially recruited for the Signal Intelligence Service.

Thus, from the beginning Army Intelligence personnel in the Pacific were part of a high-level processing center that eventually broke Japanese military codes and thus generated ULTRA. Despite its name, CBB was not a static organization; an advance echelon of the Central Bureau accompanied MacArthur's GHQ in successive forward deployments, and by July 1945 almost the whole organization had been moved to San Miguel on the Philippine island of Luzon. By the end of the war, the Central Bureau had 1,500 personnel, more than half of them American, had acquired batteries of IBM machines, and was directing the collection efforts of four American signal radio intelligence companies and some ten equivalent British Commonwealth units.22 In addition to this theaterlevel communications intelligence effort, an Army Air Forces radio squadron, mobile, operated in support of each of the two separate numbered American air forces assigned to the theater, and at least some tactical elements appear to have had their own radio intelligence platoons.

At the tactical level, communications intelligence was carried out in the South West Pacific Area under field conditions that differed significantly from those in Europe. Although the signal radio intelligence companies frequently operated in detachments, there was less requirement for analytical personnel to


be decentralized at unit level in the Pacific, since Japanese low-grade systems "were practically nonexistent." 23 Furthermore, because of the vast distances in the Pacific, field sections were seldom close enough to the enemy to pick up low-powered tactical circuits.

The Central Bureau, Brisbane, was a purely cryptologic organization. A separate multinational organization, esoterically designated Section 22, General Headquarters, SWPA, was set up under Akin in 1943 to collect electronic intelligence on the rapidly increasing number of Japanese radar sets deployed in the theater. Section 22 differed from CBB in that it included representatives of the Navy and Marine Corps, as well as Signal Corps, Army Air Forces, and foreign personnel.

Other intelligence activities in the Pacific were also conducted on a multinational basis. The Allied Geographic Service provided topographic information on this little-mapped theater, while the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS) blended Australian and American intelligence personnel into an integrated structure. Here, the nature of the target played a large part in the selection of personnel and in the approach to intelligence collection. Most of the 2,000 Americans who served in ATIS were Nisei, second-generation Japanese Americans. Because few soldiers of the Imperial Army surrendered, the emphasis was mostly on translation of documents written in the complex and polyalphabetic Japanese language. In Europe, three times as many interrogators as translators were needed. In the Far East, the ratio was reversed.24

Human intelligence collection operations in the SWPA came under the direction of the Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB), because MacArthur barred the Office of Strategic Services from the theater. In addition to employing a network of stay-behind Australian coast-watchers to monitor Japanese shipping, the Allied Intelligence Bureau engaged in extensive penetration operations.25 U.S. Army efforts in this field focused on the Philippine Islands where guerrillas already engaged in resisting the Japanese provided useful intelligence assets. To better exploit this resource, MacArthur fielded a special reconnaissance element largely manned by Filipinos recruited in the United States. This unit, the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion (Special), and its attached 978th Signal Service Company inserted radio-equipped teams by submarine into the islands to link with the guerrillas and collect intelligence.

Not all Army Intelligence assets in the Southwest Pacific Area, however, were integrated into combined operations. The U.S. Army ran its own counterintelligence operations, which were controlled by the G-2 of U.S. Army Forces, Far East


(USAFFE), the base command responsible for the administration and supply of Army elements in the SWPA. Due to difficulties in securing counterintelligence agents from the United States, because of the enormous distances that separated Australia from the North American continent, a CIC school under theater control was set up to procure and train counterintelligence personnel. After August 1944 Brig. Gen. Elliot Thorpe, the G-2, U.S. Army Forces, Far East, exercised control over thirty-nine CIC detachments scattered around the Pacific through the theater-level 441st Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment. Divisional detachments in the Southwest Pacific Area were smaller than in the European Theater of Operations, but were augmented by Filipino linguists once the fighting reached the Philippine Islands. Although counterintelligence was clearly a national responsibility-the Counter Intelligence Corps in Europe reported to G-2, European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, not to G-2, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force-the fact that Willoughby lacked control over counterintelligence produced much bureaucratic friction.26 Interestingly enough, when all Army troops in the Pacific were placed under MacArthur's control through the creation of U.S. Army Forces, Pacific (AFPAC), in April 1945, counterintelligence operations were again allotted to a special staff section, not to G-2.

U.S. Army tactical elements in the theater operated under separate American command after the end of 1942 and were supported by their own intelligence structure. However, interrogators and document translators were provided by advance echelons of ATIS. Optimally, two officers and ten men would be assigned to a division. In April 1945 separate language detachments, numbered in the 100 series, were activated from ATIS assets. In August the system was bolstered by fifteen headquarters elements dispatched from the Military Intelligence Training Center at Fort Ritchie. These received designations as numbered intelligence service organizations. 27

Army Intelligence assets in the South West Pacific Area also included an elite reconnaissance force, the ALAMO Scouts. This provisional unit was used to conduct the type of long-range operations that the OSS conducted in Europe. Small parties of scouts were landed by submarine and flying boat on remote


islands, both to gather intelligence and to engage in special operations. The unit derived its name from ALAMO Force, which controlled all American tactical units in the SWPA until September 1944, when it was replaced by the Sixth Army.28 Technical intelligence for the Army was collected by the 5250th Technical Intelligence Composite Company (Provisional), a unique unit commanded by a colonel and formed from intelligence personnel of six Army technical services in the South West Pacific Area.29

Common Collectors

In all of the worldwide theaters, Army tactical units also played a role in the Military Intelligence process. The S-2 of each maneuver battalion had an intelligence section of 1 sergeant and 6 other soldiers, while the staff of the division G-2 was comprised of 2 officer assistants and 9 enlisted personnel. For reconnaissance purposes, each infantry and armored regiment had an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon. At the division level, a reconnaissance troop was organic to each infantry division, and each armored division had its own reconnaissance squadron.30 Groups of mechanized cavalry were available to higher echelons of command; however, in practice these units were usually employed as combat elements in a screening role, rather than as intelligence collectors. At the corps level, the field artillery observation battalion also provided some incidental intelligence input.

Ground reconnaissance assets were not the only collection elements available. One major source of intelligence was provided by the L-4 "Grasshopper" light aircraft, organic to all divisions and artillery groups. These planes were first introduced in 1942, when it became clear that the semi-autonomous Army Air Forces, which had prime responsibility for both photographic and visual observation, intended to implement its mission in ways that scanted the priorities of the ground forces. The ten light aircraft assigned to each infantry division were used primarily for artillery spotting, but, at least in the European theater, they flew 30 percent of their missions for general intelligence support.31



Several points in the field organization of Army Intelligence during World War II are notable. At the tactical support level, the Army organized Intelligence into a multitude of singlediscipline teams and detachments. Intelligence work was still largely thought of as a staff function, not a line function, and intelligence specialist teams were attached to tactical formations to assist the G-2 staff.32 This approach was reflected in unit structure. Signals intelligence, a specialized case, was carried out by company-size Signal Corps units and by the Signal Security Agency's single oversized battalion. In the other intelligence disciplines, there were no units larger than detachments or teams, apart from the provisional technical intelligence company that operated in the South West Pacific Area and a one-of-a-kind provisional 1st Combat Intelligence Platoon at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

As the war went on, the Army made some attempts to introduce higherlevel organizational structures. To improve command and control of intelligence work in the field, by 1945 the Military Intelligence Training Center had activated twenty-six three-man military intelligence headquarters detachments, each capable of coordinating the efforts of several intelligence specialist teams. The compartmented work and reporting channels of signals intelligence also produced a more hierarchical form of organization. Such measures were, however, exceptional.

During the war, some commanders questioned the prevailing organizational concepts. Lt. Col. H. Gordon Sheen, who had served as the first chief of the CIC, proposed that intelligence battalions be formed from Army-level troops and attached down to corps level as needed. He envisioned an integrated multidiscipline battalion, consisting of a headquarters and headquarters company, a counterintelligence company, an engineer topographic company, a prisoner-of-war interrogation company, and a radio intelligence company.33 However, Sheen was ahead of his time. It would take a dozen more years to integrate even counterintelligence and positive collection functions into a single unit, and much longer before signals intelligence could be brought under the same umbrella as the other intelligence disciplines.

Whatever deficiencies existed in the organization of Army Intelligence, it had at least performed well enough to help bring about victory in World War II. On 9 May 1945, Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered to Allied forces. Japan followed suit on 14 August. The United States had fully achieved all its military objectives. However, victory did not bring security. As an


inevitable result of the destruction of German power in Central Europe, the forces of the Soviet Union had extended their influence deep into Europe. And the USSR, a totalitarian society committed to a messianic ideology, would prove to be as great a danger to the stability of the world order as had the Axis. The war had produced a quantum advance in technical progress, but the most ingenious of the new devices-the atomic bomb which the United States had invented and employed-in the long run threatened civilization itself. It was now the task of the U.S. Army and its Intelligence component to help keep the uncertain peace.


1 Powe, The Emergence of the War Department Intelligence Agency, p. 84.

2 A popular account of this effort is contained in Thomas Parrish, The Ultra Americans: The U.S. Role in Breaking the Nazi Codes (New York: Stein and Day, 1986).

3 Unfortunately, the memoirs of Eisenhower's G-2 were written before the release of the ULTRA secret. Maj. Gen. Sir Kenneth Strong, Intelligence at the Top: Recollections of an Intelligence Officer (New York: Doubleday, 1969).

4 SRH 391, American Signal Intelligence in North Africa and Western Europe, pp. 6-7.

5 Memo, Col Harold G. Hayes, 1 Dec 43, sub: SIS: Lessons from North Africa, Army Cryptologic Records.

6 SRH 124, Operational History of the 849th Signal Intelligence Service, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, p. 10.

7 Memo, Lt Col M. E. Rada for Colonel Shukraft, 27 Jan 45, sub: Reorganization of 849th Signal Intelligence Service, Army Cryptologic Records.

8 SRH 32, Reports by U.S. Army Ultra Representatives with Field Commands in the Southwest Pacific, Pacific Ocean, and China Burma India Theaters of Operations, 1944-1945, p. 69.

9 A description of the operations of the corps-level signal service companies can be found in SRH 42, Third Army Radio Intelligence History in Campaign of Western Europe. This development was alluded to, but not fully explained, in the official World War II Signal Corps history. See Thompson and Harris, The Signal Corps: The Outcome, pp. 22, 347.

10 AAF Manual 100-1, AAF Radio Squadrons Mobile (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, Army Air Forces, 1944).

11 Thompson and Harris, The Signal Corps: The Outcome, pp. 37-38, 65-67.

12 History of the Counter Intelligence Corps, vol. 2, U.S. Army Intelligence Center, 1959, p. 87.

13 The activities of Military Intelligence Service specialist teams in Europe are discussed in detail in U.S. Forces, European Theater, Report of the General Board, Study no. 12, The Military Intelligence Service in the European Theater of Operations (U.S. Forces, European Theater, 1946). Brig. Gen. Oscar Koch, Patton's G-2, recalled that "each division had at least fifty auxiliary intelligence specialist personnel attached in the form of teams." Koch, G-2, Intelligence for Patton (Philadelphia: Whitmore, 1971), p. 131.

14 Thompson and Harris, The Signal Corps: The Outcome, pp. 165-66, 521.

15 The leader of this mission, Boris Pash, has provided a detailed account of the quest for a nonexistent Aryan atom bomb in The Alsos Mission (New York: Award House, 1969).

16 For engineer intelligence at the theater level, see Engineers of the Southwest Pacific, vol. 3, Engineer Intelligence (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1950), p. 6.

17 OSS support for Army operations in World War II is described in Bradley F. Smith, The Shadow Warriors: OSS and the Origins of the CIA (New York: Basic Books, 1973), p. 203, and in Rhodre Jeffreys-Jones, The CIA and American Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 307.

18 Capt. Jasper W. Holmes served as chief of JICPOA and describes the organization in Double-Edged Secrets: U.S. Naval Intelligence Operations in the Pacific During World War II (Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1979).

19 SRH 133, Report of Mission to Hawaii and Marianas to Study Security of 21st Bomber Command Communications, MIS, WDGS, March 1945, pp. 23-25.

20 Chandler and Robb, Front-Line Intelligence, p. 157. In September 1944 the TOEs for such linguist units were revised to call for four-man, rather than six-man, teams. War Department, Military Intelligence Service, History of Military Intelligence Training at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, 19 June 1942-1 January 1945, pp. 65-66, copy in INSCOM History Office files. However, the change was not implemented in the European theater. The Military Intelligence Language School at Camp Savage, not Camp Ritchie, provided linguist teams in the Pacific.

21 The achievements of MacArthur's intelligence organization are documented (and glorified) in Operations of the Military Intelligence Section, GHQ, SWPA/FEC/SCAP, 10 vols. (Far East Command, 1948).

22 Discussion of Central Bureau Brisbane was inhibited for many years by the fact that the organization's host government preferred not to have the subject discussed. However, a photographic history of the American contribution was published shortly after the war. Curiously, the organization even was named somewhat inaccurately. It was hardly central- the naval communications intelligence effort was run on a completely separate basis- and it soon left Brisbane. One of the few open-source publications to mention it is D. M. Homer, High Command: Australia and Allied Strategy, 1939-1945 (Sydney: George Allen and Unwin, 1982), pp. 224-46.

23 SRH 169, p. 47.

24 Col. Sidney F. Mashbir headed the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service. An account of its operations can be found in Mashbir's rather melodramatically entitled book, I Was an American Spy (New York: Vantage, 1953).

25 Col. Allison Ind, who headed the bureau, also wrote a book, Allied Intelligence Bureau: Our Secret Weapon in the War Against Japan (New York: McKay, 1958).

26 The antagonism between the SWPA G-2, Maj. Gen. Charles Willoughby, and the USAFFE G-2, Brig. Gen. Elliott Thorpe, continued to be nourished after the war ended. The Willoughbysponsored official intelligence history of Far East Command claimed that counterintelligence arrangements were "contrary to staff manuals and ultimately led to friction, overlap, duplication, and general inefficiency." Operations of the Military Intelligence Section, GHQ, SWPA/FEC/SCAP, vol. 3, Intelligence Series (I) (Far East Command, General Headquarters [GHQ], Military Intelligence Service, General Staff, 1948), p. 14. Thorpe, in his own book, East Wind, Rain: The Intimate Account of an Intelligence Officer in the Pacific (Boston: Gambit, 1969), is more reticent. One CIC agent assigned to SWPA has written personal reminiscences. See William A. Owens, Eye-Deep in Hell: A Memoir of the Liberation of the Philippines, 1944-1945 (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1990).

27 Operations of the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section, GHQ, SWPA, vol. 5, Intelligence Series (Far East Command, GHQ, Military Intelligence Service, General Staff, 1948), pp. 27-28.

28 An excellent article on the Alamo Scouts is Les Hughes, "The Alamo Scouts," Trading Post 45 (April June 1986): 2-16.

29 Marc B. Powe and Edward E. Wilson, The Evolution of American Military Intelligence (Fort Huachuca, Ariz.: U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School, 1973), p. 76.

30 Chandler and Robb, Front-Line Intelligence, pp. 35, 83, 87. The reconnaissance troops were sometimes known as "tincan cavalry," and were often diverted to nonintelligence functions.

31 Report of the General Board, Study no. 20, Liaison Aircraft with Ground Forces Units (U.S. Forces, European Theater, 1946). The Army Air Forces observation squadrons and groups previously assigned to Army tactical units were resubordinated to AAF Air-Ground Support Commands in 1941 concurrently, it became all too apparent from the experience of the other warring air forces that existing observation aircraft could not survive in a combat environment. Ultimately, the "observation" mission was subsumed into reconnaissance, and carried out by stripped-down converted fighters and bombers assigned to the AAF's tactical air commands. Futrell, Command of Observation Aviation, pp. 6-29.

32 "It may be said that the general organizational plan of intelligence forces in the Army is designed to locate the G-2 section or its counterpart, as a 'staff' unit rather than a 'line' unit." History of Military Intelligence Training at Camp Ritchie, p. 15.

33 History of the Counterintelligence Corps, vol. 11, U.S. Army Intelligence Center, 1959, p. 62.

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