Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 100

coalitions. In Allied Master Strategists, author David Rigby adds to the exhaustive field of World War II scholarship by tackling the complex inter-workings of arguably the most successful multinational coalition in modern history, the Anglo-American Alliance during World War II. Rigby focuses on the organization, structure, effectiveness, and personalities involved in the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Established in January 1942, the Combined Chiefs of Staff, serving as “the supreme uniformed military command for the Western Allies,” had the daunting task of formulating strategy to quickly and decisively defeat the Axis powers. Rigby sets the foundation by providing brief biographical sketches of key members of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. This not only provides essential background information, but also allows a better understanding of the biases—national, service, and individual—which shaped the staff ’s overall contributions to the committee. Rigby outlines the structure and intra-workings of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and provides insight into the function of the respective national feeder organizations, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and the British chief of staff. When explaining the success of the Western Alliance, Rigby is not short on his praise for Field Marshall Sir John Dill and the British joint staff mission in Washington, which the author rightly argues is instrumental in the close cooperation enjoyed by the military leadership of the Western Allies. By comparison the alliance between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union did not enjoy such a fruitful relationship and was often rife with suspicion and bureaucratic inefficiencies. Much of the overt tension within the alliance concerned two major strategic decisions—the Germanyfirst strategy that relegated the defeat of Japan to a secondary effort and the desire of the United States to open a second front on the western European continent in 1942 or 1943. The reader gets a feel for the challenges facing the Combined Chiefs of Staff as Rigby lays out the skillful diplomacy required when addressing these two issues. The Americans, full of emotion after the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, sought approval of an offensive campaign plan in the central and western Pacific, while the British feared that vital resources would be diverted from the European Theater of Operation. Likewise, the U.S. delegation was continually suspect of British reluctance to invade 98 the continent, instead favoring operations in the Mediterranean as well as operations the United States felt were guided more by the restoration of colonial influence rather than strategic necessities. Rigby records the gradual shift in power as the might of the U.S. military industrial complex begins to overshadow the equality of the Allies, and the United States moves to a position of dominance in influencing the Combined Chiefs of Staff and overall strategic objectives adopted by the Allies. In the chapter “Delegation versus Control for the Center,” Rigby describes an early version of mission command as the Combined Chiefs of Staff sought to empower the theater commanders to achieve their broadly outlined strategic objectives without becoming entangled in the operations of each theater. The final portion of the book is devoted to explaining the role the Combined Chiefs of Staff played in shaping wartime production in both Britain and the United States. One quickly grasps the enormity of global warfare by the examination of the production of wartime materials and munitions, the allocation and transportation of those resources, and the force generation and apportionment to each theater. The Combined Chiefs of Staff, by influencing such organizations as the War Production Board in the United States and Ministry of Aircraft Production in Britain, ݕɔ