U.S. Department of Defense


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(1) This is a digital copy of a typewritten history prepared shortly after World War II. This history is a working document which was apparently not published. Parts of the digital copy are not legible.

(2) The document copied was loaned to Robert Bolin by the US Army Military History Institute.


During World War II, the Ordnance Department was one of the army technical services. There were a number of technical services including the Chemical Warfare Service, the Army Medical Department, the Corps of Engineers, the Quartermaster Corps, the Signal Corps, and the Transportation Corps. The technical services were bureaus providing weapons, equipment, and services to the Army. They managed the careers of officers in their corresponding branches, and organized special military units. They also ran schools to train individual and military units in their specialty.

During World War II the emphasis of technical intelligence was foreign weapons and equipment. The technical services studied weapons and equipment analogous to the weapons and equipment which each provided for the US armed forces. According to part one of this history the “…Ordnance Department … has the entire responsibility for providing the fighting troops with such items as bombs, rockets, … guided missiles…, proximity fuses... [and more] prosaic ….Ordnance items like machine guns, tanks, trucks, pistols, rifles, antiaircraft… guns…, aircraft armor, [and] artillery, together with all the ammunition and fire control for those. “

This volume is a collection of reports on the technical intelligence efforts in various important theaters of operation. The reports were apparently prepared by participants in those technical intelligence efforts. Since the technical intelligence efforts were closely integrated in some theatres, some of the reports contain detailed information about collection of all sorts of weapons, equipment, and information. It also contains information about joint technical intelligence efforts with allies.

Note this was written before the major post-war effort that brought a large number of missiles and related technology as well as missile specialists to this country.


Some useful terms to know are:

Army Service Forces (ASF) was a short-lived military command which included all of the technical services and some other activities. The ASF was headed by a general who reported to the Chief of Staff. The ASF was analogous to the Army Air forces and the Army Ground Forces. The Ordnance Department may be referred to as the “Ordnance Department, ASF,…”

CBI stands for the China, Burma, India Theater.

CPA stands for the Central Pacific Area.

ETO stands for the European Theater of Operation.

MTO stands for the Mediterranean Theater of Operation.

NATOUSA stands for the North African Theater of Operation .

SWPA stands for the Southwest Pacific Area.