FDR Library
President's Secretary File (PSF)
Box 59
Folder: Navy Dept - November-December 1940

PSF: Navy

Navy
1-40

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

December 23, 1940.

MEMORANDUM FOR
                                              THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY

Dear Frank:–

The dear, delightful officers of the regular Navy are doing to you today just what others officers were trying to do to me a quarter of a century ago. If you and I were regular officers of the Navy, you and I would do the same thing!

On this question of personnel during the World War, we started with 72,000 men in 1916. I got all excited and by the process of “a little here and a little there” got about 130,000 men by April 6, 1918. Many of them were still in training but the work had started.

Then came the problem of ships. It is not strictly true but it is very nearly true that you can train men as fast as you can convert ships for Navy use. The result was that by the time we had converted all the ships we took over after war started, we had enough men to man them. Remember that in those days we had very few reserves – and the situation today would be relatively much better.

I don't believe in more Congressional authorizations. What I want for the 1942 Budget is the total number of men needed to man our ships during the fiscal year 1942 – not the total number of men needed to man battleships, cruisers, destroyers, etc., which will be completed in 1945.

I think you will see the point.

There is one other factor which the Bureau of Navigation is wrong about. They are now asking for 115% of a fully manned ship under war conditions. In time of peace – or war – that unduly crowds the ship, makes for poorer morale, makes for epidemics, and is destructive of the idea of “a happy ship”. Take the case of some of our ships today. There are too many men on board, either from the point of view of health or happiness.

100% means 100% of perfection from the fighting point of view. 115% means a headache from every point of view.

Therefore, will you please tell the Bureau of Navigation for me as Commander-in-Chief, no ship will have more than 100% of it's complement – based on previous definitions and not new definitions?

The estimates for 1942 will include enough men to man ships in commission or in reserve at that time, plus, of course, the number of men in training stations or in transit.

This is a period of flux. I want no authorizations for what may happen beyond July 1, 1942.

All of us may be dead when that time comes!

F.D.R.

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PSF Navy

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
WASHINGTON

December 19, 1940

Memorandum for the President:

Subject:        Increase in the Authorized Enlisted Strength of the Navy.

1. Present law limits the Navy's peacetime regular enlisted strength to 137,485 men, plus hospital corpsmen, and some minor additions. The same law permits an increase to a maximum total of 205,000 during a national emergency. The authorized enlisted strength of the Marine Corps is 20% of the strength of the Navy.

2. On November 9, 1940, by memorandum, you authorized the Department to proceed with its accelerated recruitment program until the legal maximum of 205,000 enlisted men was reached.

3. It is anticipated that this maximum allowed strength will be reached by April 1, 1941, provided the applicants continue to become available as at present.

4. A study of the enlisted personnel requirements under the present authorized construction program indicates that 480,000 enlisted men are necessary to meet the Navy's peacetime needs by 1946. This number would man all combatant vessels of the “Two-Ocean Navy” to 100% of complement. It is estimated that 70,000 additional men would be required to man the additional vessels which would be taken over during an emergency. Consequently, the emergency limit is set at 550,000.

5. Since it is expected that the present legal limit will be reached by April 1, 1941, it is considered necessary that immediate steps be taken towards securing Congressional authorization for an increase in the authorized strength of the Navy.

6. Your approval is requested, at this time, for the Department to initiate the required legislation to accomplish the necessary increase in enlisted strength, as indicated above, for presentation to the 77th Congress in January 1941.

Respectfully,
/S/
FRANK KNOX

The President,
The White House.

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PSF Navy

“TWO-OCEAN NAVY”

Fiscal Year 1946 – 100% Complement

15

Battleships (BB) (Fiscal Year 1941)

22,244

6

Battleships (BB) (35,000 ton)

9,186

6

Battleships (BB) (45,000 ton)

9,900

5

Battleships (BB) (New design)

9,750

7

Aircraft Carriers (CV) (Fiscal Year 1941)

10,041

11

Aircraft Carriers (CV) (New)

14,300

6

Large Cruisers (CB)

8,400

26

Heavy Cruisers (CA)

23,436

10

Light Cruisers (CL) (7500 ton)

6,500

41

Light Cruisers (CL) (10,000 ton)

33,673

8

Light Cruisers (CL) (Atlanta)

4,800

145

Destroyers (DD) (1600 ton)

28,379

13

Destroyers (DD) (1850 ton)

3,119

128

Destroyers (DD) (2100 ton)

33,792

4

Destroyers (DD) (New-small)

600

74

Destroyers (ODD) (Old)

9,768

117

Submarines (SS) (New)

6,271

68

Submarines (OSS) (Old)

2,573

15

Auxiliaries, Destroyer Tenders (AD)

10,412

12

Auxiliaries, Submarine Tenders (AS)

6,343

11

Auxiliaries, Seaplane Tenders (AV)

4,677

39

Auxiliaries, Seaplane Tenders, Small (AVP)

4,596

7

Auxiliaries, Repair Ships (AR)

5,140

9

Auxiliaries, Store Ships (AF

1,950

28

Auxiliaries, Oilers (AO)

4,274

5

Auxiliaries, Oilers (AOG)

360

6

Auxiliaries, Ammunition Ships (AE)

1,200

11

Auxiliaries, Cargo Ships (AK)

1,578

2

Auxiliaries, General Store-Issue Ships (AKS)

460

31

Auxiliaries, Transports (AP)

10,663

6

Auxiliaries, Transports (Destroyers) (APD)

540

259

Auxiliaries, Mine Sweepers (AM)

9,014

17

Mine Sweepers, High Speed (DMS)

2,244

5

Mine Layers (CM)

1,600

8

Light Mine Layers (DM)

1,056

3

Auxiliaries, Hospital Ships (AH)

1,170

26

Auxiliaries, Ocean Tugs (AT)

1,318

11

Auxiliaries, Submarine Rescue (ASR)

726

4

Auxiliaries, Net Layers (AN)

1,360

14

Auxiliaries, Miscellaneous

3,044

3

Minelayers, Coastal (CMc)

480

9

Patrol Vessels, Gunboats (PG and PR)

904

2

Patrol Vessels, Converted Yachts (PY)

168

79

Patrol Vessels, Subchasers (PC)

3,502

12

Patrol Vessels, Motor Subchasers (PTC)

101

8

Patrol Vessels, Eagles (PE) (Red. commission)

448

50      

Patrol Vessels, Motor Torpedo Boats (PT)            

            437

1,382

Total Ships

316,497


Fleet Aircraft

21,907


At Sea – Flag Allowances, Transit Sick, etc.

       12,120


Total at sea

350,524


Total ashore

       129,476


Total Enlisted Personnel

480,000

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“TWO-OCEAN NAVY”

Fiscal Year 1946

DISTRIBUTION – SHORE STATIONS

Recruiting

1,200

Training Stations:


Operating Force

1,800

Under Training

8,200

Service Schools (Exclusive of Aviation):


Operating Force

900

Students

8,900

Service Schools (Aviation):


Operating Force

600

Students

4,460

Hospitals:


Operating Force

5,000

Patients

9,000

Prisons

34

Submarine Bases

4,000

Receiving Ships and Stations:


Operating Force

1,700

General Detail

4,000

Navy Yards

2,800

Naval Stations

9,000

Naval Communications

2,500

Ammunition Depots and Torpedo Stations

1,600

Naval Air Stations

56,171

Miscellaneous

2,800

Additional personnel required for new construction by end of fiscal year not in O.F.P.

1,600

In Transit – Ashore

          3,211

TOTAL – ASHORE

129,476