Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander

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Frederick E. Morgan

Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander , COSSAC for short , was the official title for the chief of staff appointed on April 13, 1943, of the - at that time not yet determined - Commander in Chief of the Allied Forces in Western Europe and his British - American staff, which existed until 1944 .

The COSSAC staff was established and set up in accordance with a resolution of the Casablanca Conference in 1943. The headquarters were initially in Norfolk House, St. James Square, London , and later in the bomb-proof South Rotunda in Westminster with direct access to various British ministries via the Whitehall tunnel. The first and only COSSAC was British Lieutenant General Frederick E. Morgan , whose deputy was American Major General Ray W. Barker . In addition to the initially three departments for operations (further subdivided according to armed forces), administration and reconnaissance, those for civil affairs as well as information and psychological warfare were added later.

The main task of Morgan and his staff was the planning and preparation of the Allied invasion of Normandy ( Operation Overlord ), in addition, plans were made for simulating landing preparations on various European coasts in 1943 ( Operation Cockade ) and for a possible earlier landing on the continent in Prepared in case of a sudden German collapse ( Operation Rankin ). Morgan and his staff looked for suitable positions for an Allied landing in France, as well as suitable strategies and procedures. Two landing sites were originally considered for Overlord , Normandy and the Pas de Calais , and the decision was made in favor of the former. Various military personnel were called in for advice, who contributed their knowledge of certain topics and thus should simplify the organization. Morgan's plan provided for three landing sections, each with a landing division on the French Normandy coast, which the General Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Commander in Chief of the Ground Forces Bernard Montgomery later declared to be too few and a front of five divisions - i.e. five beaches - demanded, whereupon the Sections of Utah and Omaha Beach were incorporated into the plan. The most difficult problems identified were the provision of a sufficient number of dropships and the provision of supplies for the landed forces. The latter problem was to be solved by the construction of artificial harbors ( Mulberry Harbor ) and the rapid conquest of deep-water harbors on the Cotentin peninsula and in Brittany . The plan for a submarine pipeline ( Operation PLUTO ), which was drawn up before the establishment of the COSSAC staff in Great Britain, was included in the Overlord plan.

The preliminary master plan for Operation Overlord stood in August 1943 and was presented to the Allied governments and the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the Quadrant Conference in Quebec that month and approved by them. There, a supplementary simultaneous attack on southern France ( Operation Anvil ) was provisionally decided, which should be planned and carried out by the Allied Forces Headquarters . At the end of November 1943, the directives for the preparation of Operation Overlord were issued to the Allied Army groups involved. In the autumn of 1943, an extensive deception plan ( Operation Bodyguard ) was incorporated into the COSSAC concept, which was to be coordinated by the British Joint Planning Staff .

After Eisenhower's appointment as Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force , the COSSAC staff was renamed Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force on January 15, 1944 .


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