Jacob Loucks Devers Edit Profile
Bachelor of Science, United States Military Academy, 1909. Graduated from Command and General staff schedul, 1925, Army War College, 1933. Honorary Doctor University of Nancy, France, 1945.
Doctor of Laws, Williams College, 1946. Doctor Military Science, Norwich U., 1947. Doctor of Hebrew Literature, York College, 1974.
Over the heads of 474 other colonels he was promoted to brigadier general on I May 1940, and five months later he had a second star. On an assignment one would expect an admiral to get, Maj Gen Devers located British bases in the Caribbean that the US would acquire in Roosevelt's “destroyers for bases deal.”
On 9 Oct 1940 he took command of the 9th Inf Div at Ft Bragg, NC, with the additional duty of directing a $40 million building program to accommodate an incoming National Guard outfit. On 17 July 1941 Devers became chief of the Armored Force at Fort Knox, Ky, responsible for formulating doctrine, improving the design of vehicles, and readying armored forces for combat. He was promoted to lieutenant general in Sep 1942, the month of his 55th birthday.
Four days after the death of Frank M. Andrews on 3 May 1943. Devers look over the European Theater of Operations (ETOUSA) with headquarters in London. He directed the US buildup for the invasion of Europe and represented the US in COSSAC (under Frederick MORGAN). But when Eisenhower returned to London from Algiers he “sought to remove Jake Devers from the scene, sending him to the Mediterranean," writes Bradley. “Since Devers was a ‘Marshall man.’ Marshall was naturally miffed, but he finally agreed. ... It was a comedown for Devers, and thereafter his relations with Ike were frosty." Devers headed Natousa 8 Jan-22 October 1944. (AA, 605, although this source says elsewhere that Devers headed ETOUSA 7 May 1943 to 16 Jan 1944 (AA, 608). Devers had additional duties as deputy Sacmed to Henry M. Wilson and deputy CinC AFHQ (in London). Joseph T. McNarney succeeded Devers as CG Natousa on 22 Oct 1944 (AA, 605).
But since 1 Aug 1944 Devers had been forming 6th AG Hq at Bastia, Corsica (AA, 489). As Deputy Sacmed, he had general supervision over the initial landings in southern France, which were commanded by Alexander PATCH. CG 7th US Army. When the latter made contact with Patton on the south flank of Eisenhower’s forces of Shaef, Devers’s 6th AG became operational at Lyons on 15 Sep 1944. Four days later dc Lattre’s Army B was redesignated the 1st French Army, passing from the operational control of Patch to Devers. The 6th AG eventually had more French troops (405,000) than Americans (345.000). (AA, 489.) Devers look more ground than any other Allied army group commander during the period 15 Sep-7 Nov 1944 (West Point Allas. 59). Patch advanced on the left (west) and de Lattre cleared Belfort Gap before taking Mulhouse and pushing to the Swiss border. But remnants of Friedrich WIESE’s 19th German Army remained in the Colmar Pocket. After this troublesome problem was eliminated, 9 Feb 1945, smooth coordination between Patch's 7th Army and Patton's 3d Army in the Rhineland Campaign, and establishment of the Remagcn bridgehead farther north, virtually destroyed German armies in the West by 21 Mar 1945.
Devers received the surrender of AG G in Bavaria on 5 May 1945. Eisenhower rated Devers behind Spaatz, Bradley, and possibly even Patton for promotion to four star rank (Bradley, op. cit., 390; Weigley, ETO, 670). Thanks to Marshall, however, Devers headed the list of five army generals in Europe to receive four star rank, DOR being 8 Mar 1945 (AA, 915). Mark Clark and Bradley followed at two day intervals. But with Eisenhower succeeding Marshall as US Army CofS, Devers was relegated to command of Army Ground Forces. Retiring in 1949, and being Chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission, 1959-69, the general died 15 Oct 1979 at Walter Reed hospital in Washington, DC.
Clubs: Army Navy, Cosmos (Washington).
Married George Hays Lyon, October 18, 1911.; married second, Dorothy C.B. Ham, 1975.
1912 - 1916
1934 - 1936