Fifth Army
Fifth United States Army
United States Army North
United States Army North shoulder sleeve insignia
Active4 January 1943 – 2 October 1945
11 June 1946 – present
CountryUnited States United States of America
Branch United States Army
TypeArmy Service Component Command
RoleTheater Army
Part ofAllied Armies in Italy (later renamed Allied forces in Italy and then 15th Army Group)
United States Northern Command
Garrison/HQFort Sam Houston, Texas
Motto(s)"Strength of the Nation!"
EngagementsWorld War II
Lieutenant General John R. Evans Jr.
Mark W. Clark
Lucian Truscott
John P. Lucas
William B. Caldwell III
Guy C. Swan III
Thomas R. Turner II
William B. Caldwell IV
Laura J. Richardson
Distinctive unit insignia
NATO Map Symbol

The United States Army North (ARNORTH) is a formation of the United States Army. An Army Service Component Command (ASCC) subordinate to United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM),[1][2] ARNORTH is the joint force land component of NORTHCOM.[3] ARNORTH is responsible for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities.[4][3] ARNORTH is headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Redesignated ARNORTH in 2004, it was first activated in early January 1943 as the United States Fifth Army, under the command of Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark.


Interwar period

The first iteration of the Fifth Army was authorized by the National Defense Act of 1920, and was originally to be composed of Organized Reserve units primarily from the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Corps Areas. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company were constituted in the Organized Reserve on 15 October 1921 and allotted to the Fifth Corps Area. Columbus, Ohio, was designated as headquarters upon organization, but the headquarters was never organized at that location. The Headquarters Company was initiated in 1922 in Columbus. Columbus remained the Fifth Army’s designated headquarters location upon the event of its activation until 16 July 1932 when Indianapolis, Indiana, was designated as the army’s new headquarters location. Due to the abandonment of the “Six Army” plan in favor of the “Four Army” plan, the Fifth Army was deleted from mobilization plans on 1 October 1933 and demobilized (disbanded). Its subordinate units were reassigned to the Second Army, the General Headquarters Reserve, or demobilized.[5]

World War II

The United States Fifth Army was one of the principal formations of the U.S. Army in the Mediterranean during World War II, and was the first American field army ever to be activated outside of the United States.[6] It was officially activated on 5 January 1943 at Oujda, French Morocco and made responsible for the defence of Algeria and Morocco. It was also given the responsibility for planning the American part of the invasion of mainland Italy, and therefore was not involved in the Allied invasion of Sicily (codenamed Operation Husky), where it was instead assigned the role of training combat troops destined for Sicily.[7] The United States Fifth Army was initially commanded by Lieutenant General Mark Clark, who would lead the Fifth Army for nearly two years,[8] and was to experience some of the toughest fighting of World War II, where it was engaged on the Italian Front, which was, in many ways, often more reminiscent of the trench warfare of the Western Front in World War I. Writing to Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers (American deputy to Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, Mediterranean Theater commander)[9] in late March 1944, Clark explained the difficulties of the fighting in Italy so far, which could be said of the whole campaign. They were, he claimed, "Terrain, weather, carefully prepared defensive positions in the mountains, determined and well-trained enemy troops, grossly inadequate means at our disposal while on the offensive, with approximately equal forces to the defender."[10]

The Fifth Army first saw action during the Salerno landings (Operation Avalanche), the assault landings at Salerno, part of the Allied invasion of Italy, in September 1943. Due to the comparatively low numbers of American troops available in the Mediterranean Theater it was made up of one American and one British corps. They were the U.S. VI Corps, under Major General Ernest J. Dawley[11] and the British X Corps, under Lieutenant-General Richard L. McCreery.[11] At Salerno, VI Corps landed on the right flank, and X Corps on the left flank. Progress was initially slow, due in part to a lack of initiative by Dawley, the VI Corps commander, and due also to heavier than expected German resistance. However, heavy naval and air bombardment, along with a parachute drop by elements of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, had saved the forces from any danger of being driven back into the sea, combined with the approach of the British Eighth Army, under General Bernard Montgomery (the Eighth Army had landed further south in Operation Baytown,[11] six days before Avalanche), the German 10th Army began to retreat. On 20 September, by which time the Fifth and Eighth Armies had linked up,[12] Major General Dawley, VI Corps commander, was relieved of his command by Clark. Dawley was temporarily made deputy army commander, and was soon replaced in command of VI Corps by Major General John P. Lucas.[13]

Mark W. Clark, pictured in 1942 as a major general, commanded Fifth Army throughout most of its World War II service.

Progress was then good for a couple of weeks and the Fifth Army crossed the Barbara Line and the Volturno Line until the Germans turned, stood and fought. They had established a position on the Winter Line (also known as the Gustav Line), which included the formidable defensive positions at San Pietro Infine in the Liri Valley and at Monte Cassino. By this point, Fifth Army had been reinforced by a second American corps, II Corps, commanded by Major General Geoffrey Keyes.[14] By the end of November Clark's Fifth Army had almost doubled in size, with the addition of French General Alphonse Juin's French Expeditionary Corps, from 130,247 men to 243,827.[15] With the failure of the first operations to capture Monte Cassino, an attempt was made to exploit the Allied preponderance in seapower before the coming invasion of Normandy robbed the Mediterranean of the naval forces necessary for an amphibious assault to seize Rome.[16]

VI Corps, with its experience of amphibious landings at Salerno, was chosen for the assault and withdrawn from the line, replaced by the French Expeditionary Corps. They made a second attempt to capture Monte Cassino in conjunction with the amphibious assault by VI Corps, which again failed. VI Corps landed at Anzio, unopposed,[17] on 22 January 1944 in Operation Shingle, and suffered many of the same problems as had been seen at Salerno. A perceived lack of initiative on the part of the commander, Major General Lucas, combined with worries about the Germans catching VI Corps off balance if it advanced too far inland resulted in the beachhead being bottled up. The Germans launched a series of attacks and counterattacks, with both sides sustaining heavy losses, and nearly breached the last beachhead defences before again being driven off by heavy naval and air support. The fault, however, "was not due to Lucas's incompetence; it was due instead to wishful thinking, faulty operational planning, and the German army's ability to respond forcefully and aggressively."[18]

After the failure of Shingle, a large reorganization took place. Previously the Apennines had been the rough dividing line between Fifth and Eighth Armies. However, the dividing line was shifted westwards, to allow the concentration of both armies on the western side of Italy for maximum firepower to break through to Rome. British V Corps was left on the Adriatic coast to pin down any German units there. Fifth Army was relieved of responsibility for Cassino[19] and the final phases of that battle saw Indian, New Zealand and finally Polish troops thrown against the fortress. Fifth Army also lost McCreery's British X Corps at this time, since it was felt that having exclusively American-organised units under Fifth Army and British-organised units under Eighth Army would ease logistics.

The breakthrough was achieved during the spring of 1944. Coordinated assaults by all the Allied forces, except V Corps, which was confined to a holding action, broke through. II Corps attacked along the coast, the French Expeditionary Corps, in a classic demonstration of mountain warfare, broke through on the right flank of Fifth Army, and VI Corps, now commanded by Major General Lucian K. Truscott, broke out of the Anzio beachhead. By early summer, Allied forces were well on their way to capturing Rome.

At this point, one of the more controversial incidents in the history of Fifth Army occurred. The strategic conception of General Sir Harold Alexander, commanding the Allied Armies in Italy (later redesigned 15th Army Group),[20] was that the forces of VI Corps, coming out of Anzio, would trap the retreating German forces, and leave them to be annihilated by the advancing Fifth and Eighth Armies.[21] However, in contravention of orders, Clark diverted units of VI Corps towards Rome, leaving a small blocking force to attempt to stop the Germans. It failed to do so, and the German forces were able to escape and reestablish a coherent line to the north of Rome. Clark claimed that there were significant German threats which necessitated the diversion, but many believe that he was primarily glory-seeking by being the first to liberate Rome.

Two days after Rome fell, on 4 June 1944, Operation Overlord was launched.[22] The strategic conception of Overlord called for a supporting operation to be mounted by invading southern France. In order to do so, forces would have to be withdrawn from the Allied Armies in Italy. In the end, VI Corps was withdrawn, forming the nucleus of the field forces of the U.S. Seventh Army for the invasion of the French Riviera, Operation Dragoon. The French Expeditionary Corps was also withdrawn, to allow its men to be used to for the French First Army, a follow-up formation for Dragoon. In slightly less than two months, the strength of the Fifth Army dropped from 248,989 down to 153,323.[23] However, the 25,000-strong Brazilian Expeditionary Force, under Marshal J.B. Mascarenhas de Morais,[24] as well as other divisions had arrived to align with U.S. IV Corps (which had arrived in June) under Major General Willis D. Crittenberger, so two corps were maintained within Fifth Army.

In the second half of 1944, the Allied forces fighting on the Italian Front within the U.S. Fifth Army and British Eighth Army resembled more a multi-national force being constituted by: Americans (including segregated African/and/Japanese-Americans), British, French, members of French and British colonies (New Zealanders, Canadians, Indians, Gurkhas, Black Africans, Moroccans, Algerians, Jews and Arabs from the British Mandate in Palestine, South Africans, Rhodesians), as well as Brazilians and exiled forces from Poland, Greece, former Czechoslovakia and anti-fascist Italians.[25][26]

The Germans reestablished their line across Italy at the level of Pisa and Rimini. The Allied forces spent another winter, after fierce fighting in the summer and autumn in front of the Gothic Line, frustrated at their lack of ability to break through. This time Fifth Army, with British XIII Corps under command, led by Lieutenant-General Sidney Kirkman (whose relationship with Clark was apparently very stormy) was straddling the Apennines, with many of its units occupying high, exposed positions which were miserable to garrison. That winter also saw a significant change of command. Lieutenant General Clark moved to command 15th Army Group (previously styled the Allied Armies in Italy), and Lieutenant General Lucian K. Truscott was appointed to command Fifth Army in his place. Truscott would command the Army from 16 December 1944 until the war's end. Another change came in January 1945 when XIII Corps reverted to control of British Eighth Army, which had also seen many changes in composition and command, and was now commanded by Lieutenant-General Richard L. McCreery.

In the final offensive of the Italian campaign, launched in April 1945, against the German Army Group C, the Eighth Army initiated the main offensive on the Adriatic coast, and then the Fifth Army also broke through the German defenses around Bologna. The German units, in the main, were pinned against the Po River and destroyed, or at the very least deprived of their transport and heavy weapons, which effectively made many of them useless. II Corps units raced through Milan towards the French frontier and the great port of Genoa. IV Corps pushed due north through Verona, Vicenza and as far as Bolzano and to the Brenner Pass, where they linked up with elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, under Lieutenant General Alexander Patch.

Its role in Italy cost Fifth Army dearly. It suffered 109,642 casualties in 602 days of combat, of which 19,475 were killed in action. The Fifth Army headquarters returned to the United States in September 1945. Fifth Army was inactivated on 2 October 1945 at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts.[27]

In the informal athletic competitions held between units of the European and North African theaters, the Fifth Army was among the most successful, winning titles in baseball, boxing, swimming and football during the 1944 season. The football championship was gained after a victory over 12th Air Force in the Spaghetti Bowl on 1 January 1945.[28]

Order of Battle August 1944

(Part of 15th Army Group)

Post war

The Army's next role was considerably less violent, and it was reactivated on 11 June 1946 at Chicago under the command of Major General John P. Lucas, who had commanded U.S. VI Corps in the early stages of the Battle of Anzio (Operation Shingle) during World War II before being relieved. The Army provided trained units and replacements to the U.S. forces in the Korean War from the summer of 1950 to late 1952.[1] It was redesignated as the Fifth United States Army on 1 January 1957. Its postwar role was as a command and control headquarters for U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard units, formally responsible for the training of many Army troops and also the ground defense of part of the continental United States. In June 1971, the Fifth Army moved to its current base at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Redesignation in 2004

In 2004, Fifth Army transferred its Reserve preparation obligations to First Army, and became responsible for homeland defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) as United States Army North, the Army Service Component Command of United States Northern Command. Joint Task Force-Civil Support, a subordinate command, is designated as the Department of Defense (DoD) command element for Department of Defense assistance to the overall federal response to a state governments request for assistance in the event of a catastrophic chemical, biological, nuclear or high yield explosive CBRNE emergency. The command also has a subordinate Contingency Command Post (CCP), known as Task Force-51, which is responsible for responding to all hazards incidents that require DOD assistance. TF-51 can be employed as an all-hazards task force or a Joint Task Force (JTF) with joint augmentation.

In 2020, ARNORTH mitigated the COVID-19 pandemic by setting up hospitals using 15 Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces.[29]


The current organization of US Army North as of 21 December 2021 is as follows:[30][31]

Commanding Officers

Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, right, Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, passes the U.S. Army North colors to Lt. Gen. John R. Evans, Jr., during the U.S. Army North change of command ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, September 9, 2021.

Fully qualified officers of the Regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve are eligible and considered by the Secretary of Defense and Congress when selecting the United States Army North commanding general.[41]

See also


  1. ^ a b "United States Army North (Fifth Army) History". US Army North (Fifth Army). Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  2. ^ "The United States Army Organization". US Army.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Army North (15 May 2020) Joint Forces Land Component Command JFLCC component of NORTHCOM
  4. ^ Sgt. Joshua Ford, U.S. Army North PAO (January 22, 2010) ARNORTH CG visits 167th TSC
  5. ^ Clay, Steven E. (2010). U.S. Army Order of Battle, 1919-1941, Volume 1. The Arms: Major Commands and Infantry Organizations, 1919-41. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute Press. p. 130.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ Mikolashek, p. 44
  7. ^ Mikolashek, p. 51
  8. ^ Mikolashek, p. 47
  9. ^ Mikolashek, p. 110
  10. ^ Mikolashek, p. 117
  11. ^ a b c Mikolashek, p. 57
  12. ^ Mikolashek, p. 63
  13. ^ Mikolashek, p. 64
  14. ^ Mikolashek, p. 72
  15. ^ Mikolashek, p. 73
  16. ^ Mikolashek, p. 79
  17. ^ Mikolashek, p. 97
  18. ^ Mikolashek, p. 80
  19. ^ Mikolashek, p. 119
  20. ^ Mikolashek, p. 149
  21. ^ Mikolashek, p. 125
  22. ^ Mikolashek, p. 137
  23. ^ Mikolashek, p. 142
  24. ^ Mikolashek, p. 143
  25. ^ Ready, J.Lee, "Forgotten Allies: The Military Contribution of the Colonies, Exiled Governments and Lesser Powers to the Allied Victory in World War II"
  26. ^ Corrigan, Gordon "The Second World War" Thomas Dunne Books, 2011 ISBN 978-0-312-57709-4 Page 523
  27. ^ Mikolashek, p. 161
  28. ^ "Spaghetti Bowl". Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  29. ^ Sean Kimmons, Army News Service (April 15, 2020) ARNORTH rapidly expands mission to curb pandemic
  30. ^ "Organization". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  31. ^ "United States Army North". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  32. ^ "One-of-a-kind intelligence brigade activates at Fort Sam Houston". Joint Base San Antonio. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  33. ^ "263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  34. ^ "South Carolina National Guard : Units". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  35. ^ "3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command :: Fort Bragg". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  36. ^ "43rd Sustainment Brigade". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  37. ^ "Fort Carson". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  38. ^ "167th Sustainment Command". Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  39. ^ "Alabama brigade staff trains at Army Sustainment Command". National Guard. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  40. ^ "The 1169th Contracting Battalion cased it colors on Aug. 16, 2020, during a deactivation ceremony at Fort Jackson M. Balch in Huntsville, Alabama". Facebook. 167th Theater Sustainment Command (Official). 31 August 2020. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  41. ^ "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 - Public Law 112-81" (PDF). 31 December 2011.