What is a Replacement (Reinforcement) Battalion?
In 1945 the Army prepared a comprehensive review of the U.S. Forces in the ETO. In this report the mission of a Reinforcement Depot was:
1. The mission of a reinforcement depot operating in support of an Army is to supply personnel to the Army, which it supports.
2. In accomplishing this mission, the Depot will:
a. Receive, process and supply Army reinforcements directly from the port of debarkation and assign as expeditiously as possible upon requisitions approved by the Army.
b. Receive, classify, process, supply and reassign, automatically, casuals from hospitals to their former units.
c. Insure that all casual and/or reinforcement personnel shipped forward are completely outfitted with all items of clothing and equipment, including an appropriate arm which has been zeroed and fired.
d. Forward through Reinforcement Command Channels limited assignment personnel not meeting MR 1-9 requirements, as directed by Ground Force Reinforcement Command.
e. Receive, administer, and assist in arranging transportation for rotational personnel of the Army served, as directed by Ground Force Reinforcement Command, or higher headquarters.
f. Operate a training program as prescribed by Ground Force Reinforcement Command, the Army served, and higher headquarters (Eisenhower, Appendix 2, p. 11).
A Replacement (reinforcement) battalion was sometimes part of a Depot, and sometimes acted independently, as the 54th did in Marseille France.
Much has been written about how well or poorly the reinforcement system worked during the war. The system has received a lot of “bad press” in hindsight. This discussion is beyond the scope of this project and is left to those with much more knowledge than I have.