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Posted on May 30, 2006 in Armchair Reading

General Adna R. Chaffee Jr.

By Charles Ward


I was wondering if any future issues might have an article on Gen. Chaffee Jr., and his role in the development of America’s Armored Forces?

Charles Ward

* * *

Thanks very much. We don’t have any plans at the moment to do an article on Gen. Chaffee, but he was certainly an important figure in the development of the US Army’s armored force that fought WWII. Tragically, he died of cancer before he saw the performance of the armored force in WWII. However, some of his disciples, including BG Bruce C. Clarke, the hero of St. Vith during the Battle of the Bulge, used the organization and principles developed by Gen. Chaffee to great success in Europe in WWII.


When I interviewed Gen. Clarke, he spoke very highly of Gen. Chaffee and attributed much of the success of the US armored force to Chaffee’s hard work in putting it together and testing it in the Louisiana Maneuvers (1941). At one point near the culmination of the maneuvers, Clarke was with Gen. Chaffee when news came in that one of their armored forces had succeeded in getting behind the ‘enemy’ force. Clarke said Chaffee shouted, "Clarke! We’ve won!", meaning had they not only won the tactical problem of the maneuvers, but that by doing so they had ‘saved’ the armored force from being taken over by the infantry in the reorganizations leading up to the war.

Jerry Morelock
Managing Editor/Senior Historian
Armchair General Magazine


  1. In going through my Great Aunt’s belongings, I’ve come across an 8×10 photo of Adna R. Chaffee mounted on 11×14 paper. It is autographed and there is an inscription to my Great Aunt who was a Major in the Nursing Corp.

    Do you know how to contact the Chaffee family? I wonder if they’d like the photo? It’s dated 1938 and the photo is not one I’ve seen on the internet.

    Chris Chambers

    • I am a 5 times removed relative of Adna Chaffee, and a member of the ARNG. I would love to have a copy of the picture you have. ( a digital copy would be awesome!)

      Robert Chaffee

    • Chris, Adna R. “Chad” Chaffee was in Florida somewhere I believe. He’s a retired Army Master Sergeant in his late 70s or early 80s now. You might be able to contact him through the Armor and Cavalry Museum or the Armor Association. I had the privilege of spending some time with him in 1994 at the Patton Museum at Fort Knox.