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WW II, branch of US Army Service: For Psychological Warfare Divison, War Correspondents, Interpreters?

Article about: Dear all, After attending 75 years Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands I intend to start US Army WW II reenactment. I am very interested in the Psychological Warfare Division and Coun

  1. #1

    Default WW II, branch of US Army Service: For Psychological Warfare Divison, War Correspondents, Interpreters?

    Dear all,

    After attending 75 years Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands I intend to start US Army WW II reenactment. I am very interested in the Psychological Warfare Division and Counter Military Intelligence units, in War Correspondents and Interpreters. May I ask you some questions about them please? Did they belong to a special branch of office or did they stay with the "classical" ones (maybe for reasons of camouflage): Infantry, Armoured etc. Except for the civilian war correspondents: Did they enter with higher ranks (NCO, Officer) or did the start as common soldiers? For reasons of camouflage: Did they hide their ranks at the front line?

    With best wishes
    alter musketier
    In memory of my father who was in K-Einsatz, combat engagement, with the RAD in the Alps in 1945, of my grandfather who was with the IR 87 during campaign in France in 1940 and of my grand-uncle who served in the Gardegrenadierregiment Nr. 3 "Königin Elisabeth" and who was killed in action at Craonne, Chemin des Dames in France in 1917

  2. #2


    Interesting division/units you decided to reenact.
    I cannot help with any type of descriptions of who's ,where and what they wore,
    But if you do not get an answer maybe shoot member Smitty a PM and see if he could chime in. He is a wealth of knowledge and a curator of US Army and their history.
    I'll pop it to the top and maybe he will see it.
    It should be an interesting subject.
    Good Luck!

    Semper Fi

  3. #3


    I'm not sure but I think the Psychological aspect may have fell into the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTRP)?

  4. #4



    Thank you for the vote of confidence..

    Alter Musketier,,

    This is an interesting topic and I will try to assist you with what I can.. In order to better understand I have broken down each area based on your interests: Psychological Warfare, Counter military intelligence, and translators..

    As far as reenacting this particular area or areas,, you may want to first consider picking up some of the paper products related to the fields, propaganda leaflets, and some of the other artifacts that will help you explain to others what you are portraying.. People may not understand what your interpretation is without context (i.e. visual aids to help tell the story) A table set up with Japanese, Italian and German language guides, military field manuals particular to the intelligence field (Armored vehicle recognition, uniform recognition) things along that line to help the public better understand what military intelligence and counter intelligence did...

    I can not really comment on War Correspondents as this is not in my area of expertise but I can tell you that the majority of them were civilians and approximately 32 US news correspondents who lost their lives reporting the war in combat zones, one of the most famous was Ernie Pyle who reported on the war in Britain, North Africa, Italy, Europe and the Pacific, losing his life on Ie Shima (One of the islands Northwest of Okinawa in April 1945.. Another Correspondent (War Artist) was a local El Paso Texas man Tom Lea. He painted many famous pictures during the war and I am the curator of some of his artifacts at the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Museum. We have several of his War Correspondent patches, shoulder epaulets, War Correspondent identity cards and other artifacts..

    I also have some large PDF documents that if you send me a PM with your email I can send them to you. These are official military reports (declassified) that are in the archives at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. I believe they will have all your answers to your questions within those pages...

    But here is some information for you to look through;

    Psychological Warfare:
    During World War II, the U.S. Military expanded Psychological Warfare capabilities by establishing the Psychological Warfare Branch, Allied Force Headquarters; the Psychological Warfare Division, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force; and PSYWAR sections at the Army, Group and Field Army levels. As a result, tactical PSYWAR units such as Mobile Radio Broadcasting Companies and Broadcasting Stations Operating Detachments played a key role in reducing enemy morale and winning the war.

    Counter Military Intelligence Sections

    The looming threat of war in the late 1930s brought an expansion of the CIP back to its World War I levels, and the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941 brought an even greater expansion, and a new name. On 13 December 1941 the Adjutant General of the Army issued an order renaming the CIP as the Counter Intelligence Corps, effective from 1 January 1942. A new complement of 543 officers and 4,431 non-commissioned agents was authorized. The CIC recruited men with legal, police or other investigative backgrounds, and particularly looked for men with foreign language skills. Special CIC teams were created during World War II in Europe, in large part from the Military Intelligence Service personnel (The Ritchie Boys). However, there were never enough of these and local interpreters were often recruited.

    As most CIC agents in the field (as well as Military Intelligence Service in Europe) held only non-commissioned officer rank—corporals and various grades of sergeant—they wore either plain-clothes, or uniforms without badges of rank; in place of rank insignia, and so as not to be perceived as privates, agents typically wore officer "U.S." collar insignia. They were instructed to identify themselves only as "Agent" or "Special Agent" as appropriate, in order to facilitate their work. These practices continue among modern counterintelligence agents.
    Within the U.S. the CIC, in collaboration with the Provost Marshal General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), carried out background checks on military personnel having access to classified material, investigations of possible sabotage and subversion, and allegations of disloyalty, especially those directed against Americans of Japanese, Italian or German ancestry. Despite the prohibitions in the delimitation agreement with the FBI, the CIC ended up devoting considerable effort to civilian investigations. As Volume 7 of The History of the Counter Intelligence Corps explains: "Espionage and sabotage, being enemy directed involved more than one person. Usually there were a number in the chain extending from the agent in the United States back through cutouts and couriers to the enemy country. This inevitably involved civilians with military suspects and the case became connected with the FBI. The military aspect became minor, and major investigative effort was in the civilian community to locate the higher-ups who presumably were controlling more than one agent."
    However the use of informants within the Army become politically controversial, and CIC was forced to curtail its activities. In particular, the CIC was ordered to cease its domestic investigations, to destroy its investigative records, and to ship its agents out to overseas theaters. The reason for this sudden and unprecedented expulsion has never been clarified. One leading theory was expressed in the official history of the Corps, “the speed [of these events] left little doubt that someone—possibly Communists who still held key positions in government—was determined to halt CIC investigative activities in the United States.” Another possible explanation is that the CIC mistakenly bugged the hotel room of Eleanor Roosevelt and incurred the President’s wrath. In any event, the CIC protected the investigative records it had so painstakingly accumulated. According to Sayer and Botting (p. 47) “When the command was given to cease any investigations of known or suspected Communists and destroy all files on such persons immediately, eight of the nine Corps Area Commanders took the remarkable step of disobeying this order.” According to the official history of the Corps, this information proved highly valuable in controlling communism: “the information acquired by CIC from May 1941 to September 1945 regarding communism and its adherents played a major part in keeping communism under control in the United States ever since.”


    Allied military translation and intelligence efforts in the Pacific primarily operated via attachés and the various offices within the G-2 Intelligence Section until February 1942, when Lieutenant Colonel Sidney Mashbir was re-enlisted to head a new Translator and Interpreter Unit as a part of General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters in the South-West Pacific Area under Major General Charles A. Willoughby commander of the US G-2 Intelligence Section. However, by August 1942, it became apparent to MacArthur that there was need for a greater unified allied intelligence unit, and he instructed that a new section be formed as a "centralized intelligence organization composed primarily of language personnel ... designed to systematize the exploitation of captured documents and the interrogation of prisoners of war", and oversee the collation and distribution of this information to Allied military forces in the South-West Pacific Area.

    On September 19, 1942, the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section was formed from the union of US personnel from the Translator and Interpreter Unit, G-2, GHQ, SWPA, which consisted of nine men, with Australia's Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC), which consisted of 17 personnel. The Allied Translator and Interpreter Section was an inter-allied, inter-service organization which began operation at the Advanced Land Headquarters in Indooroopilly, Brisbane, Australia.[1] The headquarters for ATIS then moved its base each time the General Headquarters(GHQ SWPA) moved over the course of the war, transferring from Melbourne, Australia, to Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, then to Leyte Island and Manila in the Philippines, and finally to Tokyo in October 1945 to assist with the occupation campaign.

    The Allied Translator and Interpreter Service originally consisted of 25 officers and 10 enlisted men, and grew rapidly along with the scope of its operations. By September 1944, 767 personnel were assigned to ATIS and at its height of operations in 1945 almost 4000 men and women were employed, most of which were second generation Japanese Americans, known as Nisei. From its beginnings ATIS suffered from a lack of qualified translators and language personnel. In September 1942, Life magazine asserted that optimistic estimates were that fewer than 100 non-Japanese Americans could function as linguists, and quoted Archibald MacLeish of the US Office of War Information as stating that there were only 'three Americans with full command of the language' at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
    After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, President Roosevelt declared war on Japan the next day. Three days later, Hitler declared war on the United States. Thus the American military was thrust suddenly into the Second World War, fighting in two different Theaters, against vastly different enemies. General Douglas MacArthur, who had been commanding forces in the Philippines, arrived in Australia in March 1942 and was soon thereafter appointed as the Supreme Commander of all Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA).

    The SWPA was constituted on 18 April 1942 by agreement among the Governments of Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. On that date, General MacArthur assumed command and proceeded to establish his General Headquarters at Melbourne. His Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence was Colonel Charles A. Willoughby, who oversaw the complex intelligence network of the SWPA Theater. Willoughby set up a number of Allied intelligence collection organizations under his direct control: The Central Bureau handled Cryptologic functions. Human Intelligence came from the Allied Intelligence Bureau, whose mission was to collect intelligence through clandestine operations behind enemy lines, conduct sabotage operations and recruit aid from the natives. The Allied Geographical Section was formed to collect and assemble topographic information, and to prepare and publish reports and locality studies on areas of immediate tactical interest. The most productive single intelligence agency established under the G2 of the SWPA was the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service , or ATIS, which was organized on 19 September 1942.
    ATIS effectively neutralized the Japanese language barrier -- one of the greatest advantages possessed by the Japanese, as it was almost as effective as a secret code. The G2 employed hundreds of second-generation Japanese-Americans (called Nisei) in linguist detachments under the ATIS. They accompanied assault landing forces across the beachhead and on inland, conducted spot interrogations, translated captured maps and plans, and gave the psychological warfare planners excellent insight into the morale problems of enemy soldiers through the exploitation of letters and diaries. Other captured and translated documents revealed the enemy's food and supply problems, his order of battle, the effects of Allied air attacks and the effectiveness of both Allied and Japanese weapons.
    The Commander of the ATIS, Colonel Sidney F. Mashbir, in his book I Was an American Spy, called the ATIS document translation process a "brain-power quantity production line." He stated that by the end of the war, ATIS had interrogated 14,000 prisoners, translated almost two million documents, and published more than twenty million pages of Japanese intelligence. The irony was that the Japanese kept scrupulous records, which they rarely encrypted, having absolute confidence in the security the language barrier afforded. ATIS used this to their complete advantage, compiling nearly complete sets of unit papers, including war diaries, organizational rosters, intelligence reports, pay books, postal-savings books, correspondence, and personal possessions. Using these captured items, they slowly and patiently built up a mosaic picture of the enemy force. By the time the American forces reached Manila in January 1945, Mashbir boasted that [ATIS] "literally knew more about the Japanese Army than most of its own officers, because, as a matter of fact, we had their records. This was equally true of the Navy and Air Force." Over the course of the War, ATIS issued thousands of printed documents, providing intelligence of immediate operational importance as well as overall strategic value.

    As I said,, Send me a PM and I can email those military documents to you from the historical archives..


  5. #5


    Dear Phil,

    Thank you very much for your positive feedback about my idea of reenactment and making contact to Smitty!

    Dear René,

    Thank you very much for information about ASTRP and presenting the uniform pic!

    Dear Smitty,

    Wow, what a comprehensive knowledge about the different units. Many thanks for sharing! And thank you very much for your kind offer about the additional sources.

    With best wishes
    alter musketier
    In memory of my father who was in K-Einsatz, combat engagement, with the RAD in the Alps in 1945, of my grandfather who was with the IR 87 during campaign in France in 1940 and of my grand-uncle who served in the Gardegrenadierregiment Nr. 3 "Königin Elisabeth" and who was killed in action at Craonne, Chemin des Dames in France in 1917

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