INFANTRY IN BATTLE World War I

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THE INFANTRY JOURNAL INCORPORATED,WASHINGTON D C,UtL IY4L i. COPYRIGHT 1939 BY,THE INFANTRY JOURNAL INCORPORATED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INCLUDING THAT OF,TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES. SECOND EDITION,PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. GARRETT MASSIE RICHMOND VIRGINIA, Reprinted by the USACGSC with the permission of the.
Association of the United States Army,CHAPTER PAGE. INTRODUCTION Vii,II OBSCURITY 16,III SIMPLICITY 35. IV SCHEME OF MANEUVER AND MAIN EFFORT 55,V TERRAIN 69. VI TIME AND SPACE 79,VII MOBILITY 94,VIII SURPRISE 107. IX DECISIONS 122,X THE PLAN 138,XI ORDERS 152,XII CONTROL 169.
XIII COMMAND AND COMMUNICATION 179,XIV SUPERVISION 195. XV DIRECTION 205,XVI FIRE AND MOVEMENT 223,XVII FIRE OF MACHINE GUNS 239. XVIII INFANTRY ARTILLERY TEAM 250,XIX NEARING THE ENEMY 277. XX THE ADVANCE TO THE ATrACK 294,XXI SOFT SPOT TACTICS 307. XXII BATTLE RECONNAISSANCE 324,XXIII COUNTER ORDERS 345.
XXIV ACTION AND MORALE 355,XXV NIGHT ATTACKS 364,XXVI MIRACLES 390. XXVII OPTIMISM AND TENACITY 400,11111 11 1 1111111 11 111 111111111111. INTRODUCTION, THIS book treats of the tactics of small units as illustrated. by examples drawn from the World War It checks the. ideas acquired from peacetime instruction against the experience. There is much evidence to show that officers who have re. ceived the best peacetime training available find themselves sur. prised and confused by the difference between conditions as pic. tured in map problems and those they encounter in campaign. This is largely because our peacetime training in tactics tends. to become increasingly theoretical In our schools we generally. assume that organizations are well trained and at full strength. that subordinates are competent that supply arrangements func. tion that communications work that orders are carried out In. war many or all of these conditions may be absent The veteran. knows that this is normal and his mental processes are not. paralyzed by it He knows that he must carry on in spite of. seemingly insurmountable difficulties and regardless of the fact. that the tools with which he has to work may be imperfect and. worn Moreover he knows how to go about it This volume is. designed to give the peace trained officer something of the view. point of the veteran, By the use of numerous historical examples the reader is ac. quainted with the realities of war and the extremely difficult. and highly disconcerting conditions under which tactical prob. lems must be solved in the face of an enemy In so far as there. was material available these examples pertain to American. troops and have been drawn from the personal experience mono. graphs on file at The Infantry School The combat experience. of other armies however has been utilized to supplement that. of our own, This work does not purport to be a complete treatise on minor.
tactics of infantry The aim of its authors has been to develop. fully and emphasize a few important lessons which can be sub. stantiated by concrete cases rather than to produce just another. book of abstract theory,GEORGE C MARSHALL,Colonel Infantry. May 1 1934,FIRST EDITION,May 1 1934, INFANTRY IN BATTLE was prepared by the Military History. and Publications Section of The Infantry School under the direc. tion of Colonel George C Marshall Major Edwin F Harding. planned the book and supervised the preparation and edit of. the manuscript Major Richard G Tindall wrote the original. drafts of most of the chapters Captain John A Andrews Cap. tain Robert H Chance and Lieutenant C T Lanham assisted. in the research and the preparation of the maps and contributed. parts of some of the chapters Captain Russel B Reynolds. drafted the chapter on the fire of machine guns Lieutenant Lan. ham edited and revised the manuscript in full,SECOND EDITION. September 1 1938, The second edition of INFANTRY IN BATTLE is not a mere. reprint The entire book has been extensively revised Many of. the sections have been completely rewritten much of the tactical. doctrine restated and new maps by Technical Sergeant William. H Brown substituted for those of the first edition This work was. performed by Captain C T Lanham in consultation with Lieu. tenant Colonel Edwin F Harding,Chapter I Rules,Combat situations cannot be solved by rule.
HE ART OF WAR has no traffic with rules for the infi. nitely varied circumstances and conditions of combat never. produce exactly the same situation twice Mission terrain. weather dispositions armament morale supply and compara. tive strength are variables whose mutations always combine to. form a new tactical pattern Thus in battle each situation is. unique and must be solved on its own merits, It follows then that the leader who would become a compe. tent tactician must first close his mind to the alluring formula. that well meaning people offer in the name of victory To master. his difficult art he must learn to cut to the heart of a situation. recognize its decisive elements and base his course of action on. these The ability to do this is not God given nor can it be ac. quired overnight it is a process of years He must realize that. training in solving problems of all types long practice in mak. ing clear unequivocal decisions the habit of concentrating on. the question at hand and an elasticity of mind are indispensable. requisites for the successful practice of the art of war. The leader who frantically strives to remember what someone. else did in some slightly similar situation has already set his feet. on a well traveled road to ruin, EXAMPLE 1 In the early days of August 1918 the Germans. were retiring toward the Vesle River On the third day of this. month the U S 4th Division relieved the 42d and advanced. The 39th Infantry part of this advancing division moved for. ward in an approach march formation with two battalions in. assault All day the troops struggled forward the slowness of. the advance being caused not by hostile resistance but by the. 2 INFANTRY IN BATTLE, difficulty of the terrain particularly the dense woods that had to. be negotiated, Late in the day resistance was encountered and overcome. The enemy fell back Orders were now received to form a column. with an advance guard take up the pursuit and drive across the. Vesle in order to establish a bridge head on the slopes to the. The 39th Infantry less one battalion was designated as the. advance guard of the 7th Brigade After a march of several. hours hostile artillery fire was encountered whereupon the. column halted for the remainder of the night At dawn the. march was resumed but finding that the proposed route of ad. vance was being shelled by the enemy the advance guard. counter marched to another road Some confusion resulted from. this the 2d and 3d Battalions becoming intermingled Thus. when the movement again got under way Company H formed. the advance party Companies F K and L the support and. Companies I M Machine gun Company Companies E and G. in the order named the reserve, Early on August 4 the column approached the Vesle on the.
Chery Chartreuve St Thibaut Road About 2 000 meters south. of St Thibaut this road passes through a deep defile 200. meters wide and nearly perpendicular to the commanding heights. north of the river The road runs through the full 1 000 meter. length of this defile then emerges at the northern exit to open. terrain over which it winds smoothly to the little village of St. Thibaut To reach this village the open terrain before it has to. be crossed and this lies under direct command of the high. ground to the north, No enemy infantry had been encountered Company H in. column of twos approached St Thibaut without being fired on. At 8 00 a m it entered the town By this time part of the sup. port marching in column of squads was well out of the defile. Company H had cleared the town and had nearly reached the. bridge over the Vesle when suddenly the Germans on the north. oo 0 500 0po,SCALEIN METERS,4 INFANTRY IN BATTLE, ern heights opened with machine guns and artillery on the ad. vance party and the support causing heavy casualties and throw. ing the support in particular into the greatest confusion. From the personal experience monograph of Major Manton S Eddy who com. manded the Machine Gun Company of the 39th Infantry. DISCUSSION Here is a perfect example of a command of. fered up on the bloody altar of form Let us look at that sacrifice. more closely, Until the advance guard emerged from the defile the terrain. had shielded it from hostile ground observation As it left this. friendly protection it came in direct view of the commanding. heights to the north Hostile artillery had been firing from these. heights but a short time before but in spite of this the advance. party moved out in column of twos and the support in column of. squads In Major Eddy s words It was a sight that must have. made the German artillery observers gasp in amazement for. before them lay an artilleryman s dream, Why was this done Probably because their training had es. tablished it as a custom of the service as a law of the Medes and. the Persians that an advance party moved in column of twos and. a support in column of squads Their orders had directed them. to form an advance guard they were not under fire and there. fore they adopted one of the diagrammatic formations set forth. in training manuals, True this unit was entirely lacking in open warfare experi.
ence having participated in only one attack and that from a. stabilized position It is also true that the intermingling of the. 2d and 3d Battalions rendered command difficult Nevertheless. common sense decried such a suicidal formation in the presence. of the enemy, EXAMPLE 2 On October 14 1918 the U S 77th Division. attacked the Germans north of the Aire River near St Juvin. The hostile positions in this vicinity were strong particularly. against an attack from the south Feeling certain that the Ger. man barrage and defensive fires were registered south of St. Juvin and the Aire River the division commander planned to. take the village by envelopment from the east and southeast. 6 INFANTRY IN BATTLE, while one regiment made a frontal demonstration from the. south He decided that under cover of darkness troops could. cross the Aire well to the south unobserved This operation. would require movement in the zone of the 82d Division on the. right but the position of the 82d facilitated this maneuver. Therefore the 77th Division order specified, By maneuvering with its right in the area of the 82d Division it the. 77th Division will attack St Juvin from the south and the east. Unfortunately this idea of maneuver was not reproduced in. the orders of the lower echelons the troops being sent straight. against St Juvin from the south the direction that the division. commander had particularly wished to avoid for the real attack. The 1st Battalion of the 306th Infantry which the division. commander had expected to be directed against St Juvin from. the east attacked straight from the south with the unfordable. Aire between it and its objective The hostile barrage and mur. derous machine gun fire from the slopes north of the Aire. swept through the assaulting units in a wave of destruction The. attack stopped At noon the situation was such that the division. commander believed a serious repulse inevitable, At this time the commanding officer of the 306th Infantry. concluded that there was no chance of success if the attack con. tinued along these lines Therefore after the failure of the. frontal effort this regimental commander acting on his own. initiative directed the rear elements of his regiment to cross the. Aire east of Marcq and make a flanking movement against St. Juvin This maneuver was carried out and the town the hostile. position and 540 prisoners were captured, Prom Memories of the World War by Major General Robert Alexander.
who commanded the 77th Division, DISCUSSION General Alexander emphasizes the fact that. the attack as launched at first was merely frontal It failed Not. until the regimental commander acting on his own initiative. ordered troops to cross the Aire and strike the hostile position in. flank was success achieved, This division commander states that evidently the malign in. fluence of trench warfare doctrine which in all cases depended. upon a barrage and a straight push behind it still controlled the. minds of some of his subordinates, From beginning to end the World War is studded with major. and minor reverses that resulted from attempts to apply methods. that were successful in one situation to another situation. EXAMPLE 3 On November 2 1918 the 9th Infantry part. of the U S 2d Division was in division reserve southwest of. Bayonville et Chennery An American attack launched on No. vember 1 had achieved considerable success and the Germans. appeared somewhat demoralized, On the afternoon of November 2 the 9th and 23d Infantry. Regiments 3d Brigade received orders to advance abreast. cross the front line at 8 00 p m and under cover of darkness. moved forward to the heights just north of the Nouart Fosse. Road They would then organize this position and prepare for a. THIS book treats of the tactics of small units as illustrated by examples drawn from the World War It checks the ideas acquired from peacetime instruction against the experience of battle There is much evidence to show that officers who have re ceived the best peacetime training available find themselves sur prised and confused by the difference between conditions as pic tured in map

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