The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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U.S. Army. Via Wikimedia Commons
Collins was born in Louisiana. He graduated from West Point in 1917 but saw no combat in the First World War. Between the wars, he attended most of the Army’s command training schools, including the Infantry School (where he later served as an instructor), the Command and General Staff School, the Army Industrial College, and the Army War College (where he also served as an instructor.) He also served a tour in the Philippines.
Blessed with "quick wits and a steely will" (Perret 1991), Collins was one of the best Army tacticians. He had helped develop the triangular division concept and had revised the Army’s close order drills. He was a Marshall protégé and one of the best field commanders in the war.
Collins was the chief of staff of the VII Corps in
outbreak of war. Made chief of staff of the Hawaiian
Department immediately after the attack on Pearl
Harbor, he was subsequently promoted to brigadier general in
and to major general in May 1942. He commanded 25
Division in the Guadalcanal
and New Georgia
campaigns. Here he received his nickname, "Lightning Joe," from
telephone code for his headquarters, "Lightning," and his driving
command style. Collins refused hospitalization
for malaria during the
Quadalcanal campaign, and this resurfaced at New Georgia, where he
also suffered from gastoenteritis.
considered Collins too young for the three stars of a corps
but Marshall was
persuade Eisenhower to give Collins command of VII Corps for the
Normandy invasion, and he was transferred to Europe
in March 1944. He distinguished himself there as a corps
the German generals later
identified him as one of the two best
American corps commanders they faced. This opinion has been
largely shared by historians (e.g. Taaffe 2011). His command style
combined aggressiveness with tactical finesse, flexibility,
emphasis on good intelligence,
and close supervision of his subordinates, towards whom he was
ruthless if they failed.
Collins was chief of staff of the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict and served as a special representative to Vietnam before his retirement in 1956.
||Born in Algiers,
||Graduates from Military
standing 35th in a class of 139, and is assigned to 22
||Student, Infantry School of
||Commander, 3 Battalion, 22
||Assistant chief of staff,
American Forces in Germany
||Instructor, Department of
Chemistry, West Point
||Company officers course, Fort
||Field Artillery School, Fort
||Instructor, Infantry School
||Executive officer, 23
||Army Industrial College
||Army War College
||Instructor, Army War College
||Chief of staff, VII Corps
||Chief of staff, Hawaiian
||Commander, VII Corps, Europe
||Chief of staff, Army Ground
||Chief of Information, U.S.
||Deputy chief of staff, U.S.
||Chief of staff, U.S. Army
||U.S. representative, Standing
||Dies at Washington, D.C.
Arlington National Cemetary Website (accessed 2008-2-9)
Dupuy et.al. (1992)
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