British Hq - Staff Duties (SD)- Equivalent funtion in US Hq?

Discussion in 'General' started by pamak, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Hello everybody!

    I was reading about the organization of the HQ and staff in the British Army during WWII, and it is apparent that the structure differed from that of the US Hqs and staff. While some staff groups and functions among the US and the British HQs are identitcal (for example Intelligence), there is a group of staff officers in the British Hqs called "Staff duties" (SD) which does not seem to have an equivalent counterpart in the US Hqs.
    Does anybody know the role of this British staff group?
    What was the equivalent staff group in a US HQ?

    Thank you
  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    A good question. As far as I have thought on it at all I have assumed that it was the section of the General Staff which took care of the administration and coordination of the work of the headquarters staff. I have found no mention of its duties in the documents etc that I have.

    I would very much like to know the answer.

  3. Temujin

    Temujin Junior Member

  4. Temujin

    Temujin Junior Member

    And detailed info on Canadian (and British and US comparisons) of Headquarters “command” and “staff” duties, and their evolution over time
    Aixman and timuk like this.
  5. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I've had a look through my limited Corps HQ info and can only see the term "for staff duties" against one GSO2 on the Operations staff of the 1943-45 Corps HQ. Plenty of staff officers and captains, but not a full subset for staff duties. Whereabouts did you find the reference? It might be the context helps to explain it.

    The US Army Handbook on British Forces (TM30-410 of Sep42) has a very long description of comparative staff duties in British and US units and formations. As I recall it's largely replicated in the British Army Handbook by George Forty.

  6. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    My memory of staff duties (SD) is more than a bit rusty but from what I recall there were two aspects:
    1. SD's main function within a HQ was responsibility for generating and promulgating affiliations of units and formations, and unit postings. There was a Colonel SD, who worked closely with the G Staff (now G3).
    2. SD also means military writing, a precise method for laying out various documents such as operations orders, briefing papers and memos. While this was awful to learn, once you were in the swing of it, it made sense and complying with the various layouts and conventions helped staff officers to produce and read documents when working under pressure.

    I'm sure there was more to it than that but hopefully that helps!


    PS. Happy Christmas!
  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    From WE XIV/1/2.
    Headquarters 21 Army Group.

    Staff Duties

    Brigadier General Staff
    Colonel General Staff
    2 X General Staff Officer 1st Grade
    6 X General Staff Officer 2nd Grade
    6 X General Staff Officer 3rd Grade
    Supervising Officer, Quartermaster
    38 X clerk RASC including
    Warrant officer Class I
    Warrant Officer Class II
    2 X staff serjeant
    3 X serjean
    9 X corporal
    4 X lance corporal
    18 X private
    Clerks include seven shorthand typists

    Fairly heavyweight.
  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    Staff Duties as a branch is responsible for maintaining the order of Battle. (In peace time they attract some of the G3 SLJO such as establishments) Formations, units and sub-units can be attached and detached, Someone has to keep track of who is where in the organisation at any one time. S D drives distribution lists for orders. That isn't a trivial matter: Napoleon was a division short at Waterloo because Giraud's Division was left on the battlefield of Ligny.

    In the field the SD staff are interchangeable with G3 in manning G3 (Operations) shifts in the HQ
    Trux likes this.
  9. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Thank you for your replies!

    I will use this message to provide some thoughts and clarififcations / answers to the questions some of the previous posters asked.

    Much of the information I have comes from this site and specifically from Trux's thread about the army and corps HQs WE.
    I noticed there for the first time that army and army group HQ had a section called "staff duties" It is interesting that at corps level or even lower, I do not see this separate branch (The link posted by Temujin also does not show such separate branch for the Canadian Division HQ).

    I read that this section may have been responsible for administration issues, keep track of TOEs, etc. I guess I have to find and read a journal of the Staff Duties Section to understand the precise range of activities of this branch. The things that I find puzzling is that there is already a section in the British HQs called A&Q. I assume that the "A" (Administration) portion of this A&Q staff would be the appropriate branch for keeping track of such administrative matters. As for the issue of the coordination, I would assume that each branch at each level of command would be more efficient in coordinating its actions with the equivalent branches at the immediate higher and lower Hqs, and that the Chief of Staff would be responsible for coordinating the actions among the different branches within a certain HQ. Notice that such "staff duties" branch is not necessary for the coordination of the different branches n American or German HQs.

    So, my question about this peculiar British organization is related to my effort to understand if such a staff arrangement with the inclusion of a Staff Duties Section was redudant and added unnecessay complexity, bureaucracy and paperwork within the British HQs. Was this some type of organizational deficiency that was partially responsbile for the slower (in general) reactions of thr British higher command to the battelfield develoments?
  10. Temujin

    Temujin Junior Member

    Sorry, just saw your response. The document I posted was from the website link below:

  11. Temujin

    Temujin Junior Member

    Just a follow up. DTIC mission statement (brief) and they are located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. It is a part of the US Defence Department

    About DTIC
    DTIC's mission is "to aggregate and fuse science and technology data to rapidly, accurately and reliably deliver the knowledge needed to develop the next generation of technologies to support our Warfighters and help assure national security."

    The Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC®) has served the information needs of the defense community for more than 70 years.

    Established in June 1945 as the Air Documents Research Center (ADRC), the agency’s original mission was to collect German air documents. The documents collected were divided into three categories: those that would assist the war in the Pacific theater, those of immediate intelligence interest to the United States or British forces, and those of interest for future research.

    In 1945, the ADRC relocated its operations in London, United Kingdom to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (AFB) in Dayton, Ohio where it was renamed Air Documents Division (ADD). The ADD staff cataloged captured documents and translated a small number of reports deemed as high-priority research.

    In 1948, the secretaries of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force reorganized ADD into the Central Air Documents Office (CADO), broadened its mission to include collecting, processing and disseminating information for use within military regulations. The organization has since evolved—in name and mission—to become the central resource for DoD- and government-funded scientific, technical, engineering and business related information for the DoD community.
  12. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    My understanding is that Staff Duties responsibilities also included allocation of equipment. That might be wrong? I mean, obviously that falls under creating War Establishments but did they have a fair amount of decision making power in this regard?

    "(a) G. (S.D.) Branch is the coordinating General Staff Branch. It is responsible for organization of troops for battle, allotment of priorities of weapons and equipment, policy concerned with organization and armament for battle, etc."

    Notes on the British General Staff, Arms and Services, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 11, November 5, 1942 (Lone Sentry)
  13. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I see things have moved on apace and the question has been largely answered.

    I did see this from a an 'aide memoire' in a Joint Q Planning School over on Fold3, dated Oct43. It includes a typical British Staff layout for US officers trying to understand the differences. Under General Staff there is a G (SD&T) with a note 'Existent only in Army and Static HQ. Duties Corps performed by G (Ops)'. That's in line with Mike's finding it in the 21 Army Group Army HQ. No suggestion what the T stands for though.

  14. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    These notes are very interesting.

    Notice the following part

    "A" Branch considers questions of manpower and statistics, and in connection with those subjects it follows that "A" Branch is concerned with the organization of units and manpower generally. There is a very close link with G. (S.D.).

    It suggests the same thing I mentioned (as a speculation) in my previous post about the redudancy and overlap of the "A" and "SD" activities
  15. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    I think the SD and T stands for Staff Duties and Training.

    From Trux site of the Army HQs,

    War Establishment XIV/250/2. December 1944.
    There were 12 amendments to the previous establishment. Many of these were in fact included in the previous establishment as increments.


    Staff Duties and Training add
    Major , Staff Officer for Physical Training

    I think in the US the subject of training is part of the G3 branch's responsibilities

  16. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Do you have the details of the document?
  17. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    These are a few pages from it, including the diagrammatic layout mentioned.

    To put in context these were drafted by a US source for distribution to US officers to allow them to understand British systems. There's no attempt to declare one or other system the more efficient.


    Attached Files:

    pamak likes this.
  18. pamak

    pamak Junior Member

    Thank you for the info.

    By the way, I found a War Diary of the SD Section from the first Canadian Army. it has journals and messages related to the branch, so one can browse the document to see the exact nature of the activities associated with the staff duties branch.

    War diaries : T-7075 - Héritage
    Chris C likes this.
  19. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Pamak, thank you for the link! I might want to have a look through that.
  20. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

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