Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF; // SHAYF) was the headquarters of the Commander of Allied forces in northwest Europe, from late 1943 until the end of World War II. US General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the commander in SHAEF throughout its existence. The position itself shares a common lineage with Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Atlantic, but they are different titles.
Allied Expeditionary Force
|Disbanded||14 July 1945|
|Countries|| United Kingdom|
|Role||Theater of operations|
|Part of||Combined Chiefs of Staff|
|Engagements||World War II|
|Supreme Commander||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Deputy Supreme Commander||Arthur Tedder|
Eisenhower transferred from command of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations to command SHAEF, which was formed in Camp Griffiss, Bushy Park, Teddington, London, from December 1943; an adjacent street named Shaef Way, and a gate into the park called Shaef Gate, remain to this day. Southwick House was used as an alternative headquarters near Portsmouth. Its staff took the outline plan for Operation Overlord created by Lieutenant General Sir Frederick E. Morgan, Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (Designate) (COSSAC), and Major General Ray Barker. Morgan, who had been appointed chief of staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (designate) in mid-March 1943 began planning for the invasion of Europe before Eisenhower's appointment and moulded the plan into the final version, which was executed on 6 June 1944. That process was shaped by Eisenhower and the land forces commander, General Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, for the initial part of the invasion.
SHAEF remained in the United Kingdom until sufficient forces were ashore to justify its transfer to France. At that point, Montgomery ceased to command all land forces but continued as Commander in Chief of the British 21st Army Group (21 AG) on the eastern wing of the Normandy bridgehead. The US 12th Army Group (12 AG) commanded by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley was created as the western wing of the bridgehead. As the breakout from Normandy took place, the Allies launched the invasion of southern France on 15 August 1944 with the US 6th Army Group (6 AG) under the command of Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers. During the invasion of southern France, the 6 AG was under the command of the Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) of the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations, but after one month command passed to SHAEF. By this time, the three Army Groups had taken up the positions on the Western Front in which they would remain until the end of the war—the British 21 AG to the North, the American 12 AG in the middle and the 6 AG to the South. By December 1944, SHAEF had established itself in the Trianon Palace Hotel in Versailles, France. In February 1945, it moved to Reims and on 26 May 1945, to Frankfurt.
SHAEF commanded the largest number of formations ever committed to one operation on the Western Front, with American, Free French, British and Canadian forces. It commanded all Allied airborne forces as an airborne army, as well as three army groups that controlled a total of eight field armies;
SHAEF also controlled substantial naval forces during Operation Neptune, the assault phase of Overlord, and two tactical air forces: the US Ninth Air Force and the RAF Second Tactical Air Force. Allied strategic bomber forces in the UK also came under its command during Operation Neptune.
|Supreme Allied Commander||General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower||United States Army|
|Deputy Supreme Allied Commander||Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder||Royal Air Force|
|Chief of Staff||Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith||United States Army|
|Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations)||Lieutenant General Frederick E. Morgan||British Army|
|Deputy Chief of Staff (Chief Administrative Officer)||Lieutenant General Humfrey Gale||British Army|
|Deputy Chief of Staff (Air)||Air Marshal James Robb (to May 1945)||Royal Air Force|
|Air Vice Marshal Roderick Carr (from June 1945)||Royal Air Force|
|Ground forces commanders||Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery|| British Army|
21st Army Group
|Lieutenant General Omar Bradley|| United States Army|
12th Army Group
(activated 14 July 1944)
|Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers|| United States Army|
6th Army Group
(activated 29 July 1944)
|Air Force Commander-in-Chief||Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory|| Royal Air Force|
|Deputy Air Force Commander-in-Chief||Major General Hoyt Vandenberg||United States Army Air Force|
|Naval Forces Commander||Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay.||Royal Navy|
|French Representative||General Marie-Pierre Kœnig||French Liberation Army|
|Soviet Representative||General Ivan Susloparov||Red Army|
| Belgium &
|Major-General George Erskine||British Army||Head of the Mission|
|Col. John B. Sherman||United States Army||Deputy for Belgium|
|Col. F. E. Fraser||United States Army||Deputy for Luxembourg|
|France||Major General John Taylor Lewis||United States Army||Head of the Mission|
|Major-General Harold Redman||British Army||Deputy Head of the Mission|
|Netherlands||Major-General John George Walters Clark||British Army||Head of the Mission|
|Brigadier General George P. Howell||United States Army||Deputy Head of the Mission|
|Denmark||Major-general R. H. Dewing||British Army||Head|
|Col. Ford Trimble||United States Army||Deputy|
|Norway||General Sir Andrew Thorne||British Army||Head|
|Col. Charles H. Wilson||United States Army||Deputy|
After the surrender of Germany, SHAEF was dissolved on 14 July 1945.
With respect to the U.S. forces, it was replaced by U.S. Forces, European Theater (USFET). USFET was reorganized as EUCOM (European Command, not to be confused with the present-day United States European Command) on 15 March 1947.
Starting in April 1951 when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) cannibalised WUDO, it was put under the command of Supreme Allied Commander Europe Dwight D. Eisenhower in Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE; Allied Command Europe [ACE]), comprising many of the same allies that were part of SHAEF. WUDO, followed by SHAPE, were in many respects the successors to SHAEF.
SHAPE is currently the headquarters of NATO's Allied Command Operations (ACO). Since 1967 it has been located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons, but it had previously been located, from 1953, at Rocquencourt, next to Versailles, France.
From 1951 to 2003, SHAPE was the headquarters of Allied Command Europe (ACE). Since 2003 it has been the headquarters of ACO, controlling all NATO operations worldwide.
The European Union has established a Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC), which is due to gain more tasks and may rival SHAPE's dominance as the primary forum for multinational European missions.