Ernest J. Dawley

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Ernest Joseph Dawley
Nickname(s) "Mike"
Born (1886-02-17)February 17, 1886
Died December 10, 1973(1973-12-10) (aged 87)
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held 82nd Field Artillery Regiment (1939)
Division Artillery, 7th Infantry Division (United States)
40th Infantry Division (United States) (September 1941-April 1942)
U.S. VI Corps (April 1942-September 1943)
US Army Tank Destroyer School (1943)
US Army Tank Destroyer Center (1944)
Ground Forces Reinforcement Command, European Theater of Operations (1945)
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Other work Retired in 1947

Ernest J. "Mike" Dawley (17 February 1886 - 10 December 1973) was a Major General in the United States Army, known for commanding VI Corps during Operation Avalanche (the landings at Salerno). After the landings, he was relieved of his command and returned to the United States.

Early career[edit]

World War I[edit]

During World War I, Dawley was the executive officer for the Saumur Artillery School in France.[1]

World War II[edit]

The VI Corps took part in the Allied invasion of Italy at Salerno on September 9, 1943, with the British X Corps under Fifth Army as part of Operation Avalanche. The stiffness of the German defences sorely tested VI Corps, inflicting heavy casualties. German attempts to throw the American force back into the sea were thwarted by the artillery of its 45th and 36th Infantry Divisions, strongly supported by naval and aerial bombardment and the approach of the British Eighth Army from the south.

Dawley had been moved on by Patton in Sicily and his suitability for high command had been questioned by the Commander-in-Chief, Eisenhower, and the British general, Alexander. After the problems at Salerno, Dawley was replaced by Fifth Army commander Mark Clark after Salerno, as he was judged to be "worn out".[2] He reverted to his permanent rank of colonel on 23 December 1943 and was assigned as the commander of the Tank Destroyer School and Center in the U.S., the first of several appointments to military training establishments. Some sources say that he was subsequently promoted to Brigadier-General on 30 September 1947. However, the the "Biographical Dictionary of World War II Generals" says that he was "Commanding general" of the Tank Destroyer Center from February 1944-March 1945." He retired in 1947 and was given the rank of Major-General (Retired)on 29 June 1948.[3]

Ernest Dawley died on 8 September 1973.