The Pittsburgh Press (December 29, 1943)
Britons named naval and air commanders of Allied forces
By Joseph W. Grigg, United Press staff writer
London, England –
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Allied invasion command neared completion today with the announcement that two Britons, Adm. Sir Bertram Ramsay and Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory – had been appointed naval and air commanders-in-chief respectively.
Another in the alternate series of announcements in London and Washington revealed that Gen. Eisenhower’s deputies for the naval and air phases of the European invasion would be British veterans renowned in their fields and tempered by long experience.
Helped at Salerno
Adm. Ramsay, an amphibious expert since early this century, supervised the Allied landings in Sicily and at the Salerno beaches of Italy, and took a prominent role in the planning of the entire Mediterranean campaign.
Marshal Leigh-Mallory has shouldered a large share of the responsibility for the organization of Britain’s fighter offensive for the past two years, and is an expert in the synchronization of fighting services. He laid out the aerial operations incident to the Dieppe attack.
Balanced against the delegation of the two key posts to Britain were Gen. Eisenhower’s appointment as supreme commander and the assignment of Lt. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz as commander of U.S. Strategic Air Forces over Europe and Maj. Gen. James H. Doolittle to head U.S. air forces in Britain and as commander of the 8th Air Force.
Other members of Gen. Eisenhower’s new staff are: British Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur W. Tedder, deputy commander under Gen. Eisenhower, and Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, commander of British ground forces.
Two outstanding gaps in Gen. Eisenhower’s command were the places of Adm. Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham and Gen. Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, deputies under Gen. Eisenhower in the Mediterranean Theater. But Adm. Cunningham was already in London as British First Sea Lord and obviously will take a major role in the invasion in one capacity or another.
Plan Balkan push
The fact that Gen. Alexander, who fashioned the 8th Army campaign and was largely responsible for the victories in Tunisia and Sicily, remains in the Mediterranean indicated that that theater was not going to be written off by stabilizing the Italian front, but that a Balkan campaign was probably planned.
In support of this indication was the transfer of Maj. Gen. Ira C, Eaker, head of the U.S. 8th Air Force and an expert in daylight bombing, to become Allied air commander in the Mediterranean, and the shift of Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, one of America’s foremost tank officers, from command of all U.S. forces in Britain to become deputy supreme commander of all Allied forces in the Mediterranean under British Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson.
Washington (UP) –
Both the United States and Britain “will hit the common enemy with everything available,” the U.S. High Command pledged today.
The pledge was apparently issued in reply to Senator Edwin C. Johnson (D-CO), who said Saturday that Americans would comprise 73% of the Western Europe invasion force and British and Canadian troops the remainder.
The High Command did not reveal the proportion to be used but it noted that Britain, with one-third of the population of the United States, has considerably more troops in the Mediterranean than the United States. The High Command also declared flatly that “there has been no disagreement between American and British chiefs of staff” in the matter of the invasion proportions.