Low Entanglements are formed of pickets two feet high, 2-1/2 inches in diameter, wired in all directions. Vegetation renders the entanglement invisible from the enemy and from aerial observation. This type may also be placed in shallow excavations which are concealed from the enemy and partly protected from artillery fire. Sharpened stakes, with their points hardened by fire, driven obliquely into the ground, may also be used.
Loose Wire in the form of loops of small diameter fastened to stakes, or wire laid along the ground and attached at the ends, or spirals of barbed wire in racks, is used for entanglements. It is reported that this form is coming into considerable use, but the details have not been published. Such entanglements are much harder to locate by aerial observation.
* * * * *
The following are a number of criticisms made by Lieut. Henri Poire of the French army, detailed as instructor at Plattsburg, upon the system of field works constructed by the 17th and 18th Provisional Training Regiments. The ground was of loose sand, with some gravel at a depth of about six feet.
1. Dimensions of trenches as laid out were not followed. (a) Bottom of trenches behind firing steps too narrow. (b) Firing step too deep. It should never be more than 3 feet 4 inches below berm of parapet. (c) Parapet much too thin in most cases. It should be at least three feet thick. (d) Communication trenches (boyaux) generally too narrow. (e) Islands in communication trenches should never be less than 10 x 12 yards—otherwise one shell will demolish the entire passageway.
2. Revettment work not well anchored. In some cases too many wires from supports fastened to one dead man. Another fault is that dead men were not buried deeply enough in the ground, nor far enough back from the trench. In one case a dead man (a stake) supported all four sides of an island in a communication trench. The destruction of this post would have completely blocked every passage around the island. Furthermore, dead men rot quickly and tend to break off. It is necessary, therefore, to have a number of them, each holding only a portion of the weight. All projecting branches and irregularities along a trench should be removed by occupying troops.
3. Too many loop-holes. Except for snipers, riflemen and automatic riflemen fire over the parapet.
4. Machine gun loop-holes not wide enough. They should not be less than 36 inches wide. There must be vegetation planted in front and a curtain hung over the loop-holes to prevent detection. The growing plants in front will be easily swept away at the first discharge.
5. Remember never to imitate shell-holes until after a real bombardment by the enemy.
6. The dugouts made were never deep enough and afforded no protection. In fact it would be far better to have none than to be caught inside when a shell exploded in a shallow one, because the confinement of the explosion would intensify the effect.
7. Shelters were all too wide. Six feet is the maximum. The platoon headquarters dugout should be of the same width as the trench, not over three feet, but as long as necessary. Company headquarters is six feet wide and of whatever depth required.
8. In digging, not enough care was used to conceal the fresh earth from the enemy. Make false emplacements to utilize this dirt; also dig dummy trenches about one foot deep, leaving the sides sharp so that they will show clearly on aerial photographs.
9. In using plants as camouflage, distinct care must be exercised not to put growing plants too freely nor to place them where they never existed. The actual ground conditions must be copied.
10. Some latrines were not arranged with the stools close beneath the wall nearest the enemy. This caused the loss of protection, which it is imperative to consider, as many casualties occur here.
11. Too many listening posts. They are easily captured by hostile fighting patrols. There should never be more than two listening posts to a battalion.
12. The observation stations in many instances had no good field of fire or were outlined against the sky on the crest of some rise. The site for an observation post should always be placed over the crest and have a good field of fire for use in case of attack.
I. Relief in the Trenches.
A. THE TWO MAIN CLASSES OF RELIEF: 1. General Relief. Applied to the relief of a whole position manned by a division or more. Executed when large units are going to "full rest" in the rear or being removed from one part of the front to another. Executed in the same way as interior relief; i.e., by successive relief of the battalions involved. 2. Interior Relief. Applied to the relief of one sector or portion of a sector manned by a brigade or less.
B. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF RELIEF:
1. Interior relief is executed about once every six days; more frequently when the stay in the trenches is particularly arduous, less frequently when it is unusually comfortable. 2. The battalion is the relieving unit. 3. It is advisable to arrange the relief between units which have friendly relations to one another; e.g., battalions of the same regiment; and, so far as possible, to assign each unit to the same trenches on each relief. This promotes continuity of effort. 4. Relief is executed at night; the hour must be varied; secrecy is imperative. 5. Prompt execution is essential, to prevent fatigue of the troops and congestion of the boyaux.
C. THE MECHANISM OF RELIEF:
1. Reconnaissance, 24 hours in advance, by the captain of each relieving company, accompanied by his platoon leaders and non-commissioned officers. He ascertains: (1) The plan of occupation; i.e., the dispositions and duties of the unit to be relieved. (2) The shelter accommodations. (3) Work being done and proposed. (4) Condition of the wire and other defences. (5) The available water supply. (6) Artillery support. (7) Communications. (8) The location, amount and condition of stores. (9) Danger points. (10) All available information of the enemy; his habits, location of his snipers, what work he is doing. (11) The ways and means of liaison, both lateral and from front to rear. To the success of this reconnaissance, the closest co-operation between all officers of the companies relieving and relieved, is indispensable.
2. The march from billets to the trenches: (a) Transportation, by auto-trucks and wagons, is utilized to a point as near the lines as possible, to carry the packs of the men, the auto rifles, extra ammunition and other heavy equipment. When the distance is great the men themselves should be carried by auto-truck; this saves time and fatigue. The men will carry rifles loaded and locked, full cartridge belts, gas masks, and all other lighter equipment, with rations for 24 hours at least. Grenades will be secured in the trenches. Electric torches will be carried by company and platoon commanders. (b) The strictest discipline must be maintained. On arrival within sight of the enemy, noise and smoking (or other lights) will be prohibited. (c) Guides, from the company to be relieved, will meet the relieving company promptly at a point definitely agreed upon in advance.
3. The march through the boyaux (communicating trenches): (a) Distance; often as much three or four miles. (b) Order of march: company in single file, captain at the head; each platoon leader at the head of his platoon; a non-commissioned officer at rear of each platoon. (c) The column must be kept closed up. Each man must consider himself a connecting file, guiding on the head, and behave accordingly. A guide should accompany the commander of the last platoon. (d) Rate of march: roughly, about 40 yards per minute. It takes 250 men about 20 minutes to pass a given point. (e) Route and right of way: The first line and support trenches will never be used as roads. Separate boyaux should, if possible, be assigned to the troops relieving and relieved. In no case will one company cross the path of another. In case of two columns meeting, one moving forward, the other to the rear, the former has the right of way.
4. No man of the unit in occupation will leave his post until he has actually been relieved and has transmitted all orders and information relative to that post.
5. Liaison must be established, immediately on arrival, with the units on the flanks and with headquarters in the rear. Captains must make sure that their runners are thoroughly acquainted with the routes of communication.
6. As soon as relief is accomplished both captains will report that fact to their respective commanders.
7. The relieving commander then inspects his trenches. He ascertains that all his watchers are at their posts and that the balance of his men know their posts and duties and are prepared to assume them quickly.
8. The duties of the relieved commander are: (1) To turn over his sector thoroughly policed and in good condition as regards its construction and the new work, if any, in progress. (2) To turn over his supplies in good condition and fully accounted for. (3) After reporting the relief, to march his men back to billets as promptly and secretly as possible, in column of files, platoon leaders in the rear of their platoons, a non-commissioned officer and guide at the head of each. (4) On the evening preceding relief, to send his cooks back to billets so that his men may be provided with a hot meal immediately on arrival.
D. If an attack occurs during the march through the boyaux, to or from relief, the company affected occupies the nearest defensive position and at once notifies its battalion commander. If an attack occurs during the actual process of relief, the senior officer present takes command.
II. The Stay in the Trenches.
A. THE FOUR OBJECTS OF A TRENCH COMMANDER:
1. Security of his sector. 2. Protection of his troops. 3. Constant and accurate observation. 4. A continuous offensive.
B. HIS PLAN OF DEFENSE:
1. General principles of defense: (a) Arrangement in depth. The most dependable defense is in prearranged counter attacks. The system of defense must react like a helical spring. (b) Tenacity of defense. 1. Each unit must be prepared to hold its post to the last extremity. 2. Orders to withdraw will never be obeyed unless unmistakably valid. 3. All ground lost must be retaken at once in counter attack by the unit which lost it. (c) Apportionment of responsibility. Each active segment must have a commander responsible for its defense, upkeep and sanitation, and the discipline and instruction of his men.
2. Basis: (a) The plan of defense turned over by the preceding commander. This will usually suffice for the first 24 hours after relief. (b) General information of the enemy's lines, dispositions, and intentions, based chiefly on aerial photographs.
C. ORGANIZATION OF DEFENSE:
1. Allocation of front. (The front of an American battalion will average about 1,000 yards.) Diagrams: A. The Regiment. B. The Battalion. C. The Company. D. The Platoon. 2. Distribution of effectives. Determined chiefly by the terrain and by 3. 3. Employment of the several arms: (a) Machine guns. Crew of 8 men per gun. (Furnished by detachments of a machine gun company.) Located by the infantry commander, in concealed emplacements behind the first line, to deliver successive barrages from flanking positions. Effective range: up to 700 yards. (b) Automatic rifles. Crew of 3 men per rifle. Usually posted to enfilade the entanglements of the first line. They concentrate the fire effect of from 7 to 10 riflemen. Effective range: up to 300 yards. (c) Rifle Grenadiers. Located near enough to first line to hold the enemy trenches under fire and deliver effective barrages near the mouths of our own communicating trenches. Should be located near observation posts so that their fire can be promptly corrected. (d) Trench mortars. Located similarly to (c). Manned by riflemen. (e) Bombers. One supply man to each 2 grenadiers. Used for protection of auto-rifles, in counter attacks, for protection of communicating trenches and fighting in close quarters. (f) Riflemen. Posted to deliver frontal fire. Grouped according to the plan of counter attacks. (g) As many men as possible should be instructed in the use of the enemy's weapons.
(a) By telephone. Quickest and most accurate. Maintained between each platoon and its company headquarters, and between adjoining companies. Especially subject to destruction in bombardment. Wireless and ground telegraphy are used only between brigade and division headquarters. (b) By runners ("liaison agents"). Five detailed from each company to battalion headquarters; one sent to each adjoining company headquarters; one from each platoon to company headquarters; four or five on duty at each platoon headquarters; five from each machine gun company to battalion headquarters. Messages sent by them should, if practicable, be written and signed, and should be receipted for by the addressee. (c) By rockets and flares. Quickest means of liaison with the artillery in rear. (d) Domestic (message carrying) grenades. (e) Dogs and carrier pigeons. Sent out to the rear from battalion headquarters. (f) One searchlight—with a radius of 3 miles—is furnished to each company. (g) Noise. Klaxon signals, etc., give warning of gas attacks.
(a) Observers: 1. Must be men of infinite patience, keen hearing and eyesight. 2. They are located behind the first line in positions combining good view with concealment. 3. Each is provided with a panoramic map, made from aeroplane photographs, of the enemy's trenches. On this must be promptly noted every slightest change in the trace, height of parapet, etc., of the enemy's line. Such notes greatly assist in locating machine gun emplacements. 4. Each observer will also record in a note book everything of importance, with the time observed. 5. A report of changes, with an abstract of observer's notes, is forwarded daily to regimental headquarters. (b) Watchers (sentinels): 1. Stationed, one near the door of each dugout, in the first line, support and intermediate trenches. 2. They must be carefully concealed. 3. They must watch over the parapet (never through slits or loopholes) so as to have unrestricted view. 4. They are furnished with signal rockets and flares for prompt communication with the artillery, and have authority to use them. 5. Double sentinels are posted at night. (c) Listening Posts: 1. Located, usually in shell holes, just inside the entanglements. Connected with front line by tunnels. Protected from grenades by heavy gratings, when possible, and by concealment. 2. Occupied by 4 men (1 in command), in 3 reliefs. Usually occupied only at night unless our trenches are on a reverse slope. 3. Chief function is protection of the entanglements. (d) Microphone Posts.—Installed usually behind the first line. Intercept the enemy's telephone and ground-telegraph messages and any loud conversation in his trenches. (e) Fixed Patrols.—Generally remain in shell holes in front of our entanglements. (f) Reconnoitering Patrols: 1. Composed of from 3 to 5 men, commanded by a non-commissioned officer. Sent out at night only. 2. The company commander must promptly notify commanders of adjoining companies of the dispatch of these patrols, their time of departure, route and probable time of return. 3. Men should be assigned to this duty by roster.
F. TRENCH WORK:
1. Constant battle with the elements, care for drainage, revettment, sanitation and storage. 2. Repair of the effects of bombardment. 3. New work, for better security, communication and observation. 4. Work in the open. (a) Usually consists of repair or rearrangement of wire entanglements, digging new listening posts, etc. (b) Effected by parties detailed by roster. (c) They are guarded by fighting patrols, composed like reconnaissance patrols. Their best protection is in silence and concealment. (d) Adjoining companies must be notified of their dispatch, location and probable time of return. (e) This work, like all operations conducted outside the protection of the trenches, offers a valuable tonic to the morale.
G. OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS:
1. Sniping: (a) Snipers constitute one of the most dependable and productive agencies of attrition. (b) The best shots of the company are especially trained and assigned for this duty exclusively. (c) They operate in pairs and post themselves to cover any exposed portions of the enemy's trenches, especially his communicating trenches. (d) They should be well supplied with all necessary special equipment; e.g., sniperscopes, telescopic sights, painted headgear, etc.
2. Mining Operations.
3. Raiding: (a) Object of raids: destruction of the enemy's defenses, disturbance of his morale, collection of prisoners and information. (b) The personnel of raiding parties will usually include: A commander and second in command, bayonet men, bombers, engineers, signal men, stretcher bearers. Their numbers and proportions are regulated by the nature and difficulty of the task. (c) Co-ordination with the artillery barrage is the essential of their success. The limit of advance, extent of operations, and time of return will therefore be set in advance and rigidly adhered to.
H. ROLE OF THE TRENCH COMMANDER:
1. Inspections: The men will be formally inspected twice daily at the general "stand to" by the company commander. Particular attention will be paid to the health of the men, condition of their feet and their clothing. Each man must have at least one pair of dry socks always available. Arms, gas masks, and other equipments will also be rigidly inspected. 2. Roster: The company commander will carefully supervise the preparation of the duty roster. An obviously equal distribution of the arduous duties involved in trench life is essential to the maintenance of morale. 3. Reports and Records: (Additional to those already required by regulations.) Log Book, Report of Casualties, Wind Report (daily), Bombardment Report (daily), Intelligence Report, which will include observer's notes and changes (twice daily), and a daily report of Work completed and Undertaken. 4. "One principle which the trench commander should never forget is the necessity for his frequent presence in the midst of his men. * * * Direct contact with the troops on as many occasions as possible is the most certain way to gain their confidence."
Duties of the Company Commander.
1. To inspect the sector his company is to occupy, one day in advance of occupying it. 2. To assign segments to the platoons. 3. To prepare a plan of defense. 4. To connect by liaison with the companies on his flanks. 5. To have an agent or runner at Battalion Headquarters. 6. To prepare a plan for counter attacks. 7. To report to the Battalion Commander when his company has taken up its position: (a) Its situation. (b) Security. (c) Liaison. (d) State of position left by predecessor. (e) Defense of sector. (f) Plan of counter attacks. 8. To inspect the trenches frequently to see that everything is in proper condition and that his men are in jubilant spirits. 9. To have platoon guides report to Battalion Headquarters on the date for the relief of his company and act as guides to the company that relieves him. 10. To keep a special log book in which the following are kept: (a) Work completed by his unit. (b) Work under way. (c) Work proposed. 11. Turn over to his successor: (a) Measures taken for security. (b) Plan of attacks. (c) Plan of counterattacks. 12. Have one officer on duty at all times. 13. "Stand to" will take place one (1) hour before daylight, and all available men will attend. There will be a thorough inspection. Rapid loading will be practiced. The firing position of every man will be tested to see if he can hit the bottom of our wire. Gas helmets will be inspected. 14. Time table—allot hours of work, rest and meals. 15. Supplies—make timely requisitions for them—be especially watchful about meals and rations—have no delays. 16. To have one watcher and one relief on duty near Company Headquarters at all times. 17. To get a good field of fire to the front and cover the sectors of each company on flanks. 18. (Subject to change) Red Rocket-Artillery Barrage wanted. White Rocket Gas Attack. 19. To report twice daily all changes in wind direction. 20. To report to Battalion Commander when relieved.
Duties of Platoon Leaders as Officers on Duty with Company.
1. Report with old officer at company headquarters. 2. Make frequent inspections of all trenches occupied by company. 3. Visit each Listening Post; at least once during tour of duty. 4. Visit all sentinels and receive their reports. 5. See that one non-commissioned officer per platoon is on duty. 6. Receive reports of non-commissioned officers after they have posted sentinels. 7. At end of tour hand over to new officer all orders, a report of work in progress, and any useful information. 8. Report with new officer at Company Headquarters on completion of tour. 9. To report anything unusual to Company Headquarters. 10. To send dead and wounded to dressing station trenches. 11. To send patrols to front at night.
Duties of Platoon Leaders.
1. Must accompany company commander on inspection of trenches one day previous to occupying them. 2. Make necessary reliefs for his men in his segment. 3. Make a plan of defense and counterattack for his position or approve the one left there. 4. Establish sniping posts and arrange reliefs. 5. Establish Listening Posts and arrange reliefs. 6. Assign non-commissioned officer to duty with platoon and arrange relief. 7. Instruct every man as to his place in case of attack. 8. Establish liaison with platoons on both flanks; and one runner to Company Headquarters. 9. Have one platoon guide report to Company Headquarters on day his platoon is to be relieved. 10. On completion of posting his platoon, report to his company commander. 11. Turn over to platoon relieving him all orders and data pertaining to his position. 12. Be especially attentive to rigid military discipline; i.e., every soldier to be neat; equipment must be clean at all times; to render the required salute when not observing or firing at the enemy. 13. Have one non-commissioned officer on duty at all times. 14. To inspect rifles, equipment and latrines twice daily. (a) To have at least one latrine in working order at all times. (b) To have a sentry on duty at each platoon dugout at all times. (c) Establish one Observation Post in daytime. 15. In Front Line Trenches: (a) No smoking or talking to be allowed at night. (b) Every man to wear his equipment except packs. (c) Have rifle within reaching distance. (d) All reliefs to be within kicking distance of soldier on duty. 16. Inspect at "Stand to" and report results to Company Headquarters, especially if each man has 170 rounds of ammunition and necessary grenades and bombs. 17. To be especially attentive to sanitation and care of the men's feet. 18. To have one (1) watcher and relief on duty at all times near platoon dugouts. 19. To get a good field of fire to his front and to cover the sector of each platoon on his flanks. 20. Make requisition for material. 21. To see that all of his men are properly fed. 22. Report to company commander when relieved. 23. Must know what every man is doing at all times.
Duties of Non-Commissioned Officer on Duty (Each Platoon).
1. To make frequent inspections of the position occupied by his platoon. 2. To be responsible that each soldier knows his duties. 3. To report anything of special importance to officer on duty. 4. On being relieved to report with the new non-commissioned officer to the officer on duty. 5. After posting sentinels to report "All is Well" to officer on duty. 6. Explain to his sentinel his duties, the position of Section and Platoon Commanders and of sentries on either side; and to caution his sentries when friendly patrols are out, the probable time and place of return. 7. Bayonets will always be fixed in front line trenches. 8. At night time to have double sentinel. 9. To see that each sentinel in daytime has a periscope. 10. Rifles to be loaded; no cartridge shall be in the chamber except when necessary to shoot. 11. To report to Company Headquarters any change in direction of wind.
1. Usual orders about patrols. 2. Always go out at night via the Listening Post; tell the men in the Listening Post your mission and probable time of return.
1. To sound Klaxon horn on approach of gas attack. 2. To report immediately to non-commissioned officer on duty any change in direction of wind. 3. In cold weather to work bolt frequently to keep it from freezing. 4. At night to challenge only in case of necessity, and then only in a low tone. Challenge "Hands up." 5. Number of posts depends on assumed nearness of enemy and local conditions. Normally one per platoon by day and three double sentinels per platoon at night. 6. Relief kept close at hand. Report "All is Well," or otherwise, when officer passes. 7. Screened from observation. 8. Remain standing unless height of parapet renders this impossible.
1. Non-commissioned officer and one (1) watcher on duty at all times. 2. Except in emergency they will not be fired from their regular emplacements. 3. Unless emplacements are well concealed, guns will not be mounted except between evening and morning "stand to." 4. Before dusk each gun will be sighted on some particular spot either in front of or behind the enemy's line. 5. Range cards will be prepared and kept with each gun.
1. Sniping Post consists of one (1) observer and one (1) rifleman with relief of two (2) men posted close by. 2. Sniping post should be well concealed. 3. Daily report from each post, of (a) Any work done by enemy. (b) Enemy seen; place, uniform, apparent age, physique, equipment. (c) Any other information of interest. 4. Sniper to be appointed from each section. 5. Must be intelligent, alert, good scout, good shot, courageous. 6. Snipers should spend 24 hours in trenches with those of command which theirs is to relieve, before relief takes place. 7. No night work required of these men since they must be constantly on the alert during the day.
Organization of a Platoon—Rifle Company—Table No. 7
Platoon Headquarters 1 Lieut. 1 Sgt. 4 Privates.
1st Section 2d Section 3d Section 4th Section Hand Bombers Rifle Grenadiers Riflemen Auto-Riflemen + + -+ 3 Teams, each 1 Team of 1 Sgt. 1 Sgt. and 2 Corps. 1 Leader 6 Grenadiers 2 Squads of 4 Teams, each 1 Thrower 3 Carriers 8 men each 1 Gunner 1 Carrier (May be 4 Extra 2 Carriers 1 Scout subdivided) riflemen[R] 2 Corps. 2 Corps. 1 Sgt. and 2 Cpl. 1 Sgt. and 2 Cpls. 4 Pvts. 1st Cl. 1 Pvt. 1st Cl. 6 Pvts. 1st Cl. 4 Pvts. 1st Cl. 6 Pvts. 6 Pvts. 12 Pvts. 8 Pvts. Total 12 Total 9 Total 21 Total 15
[Footnote R: Runners: Attached to 3d Section and 7th Squad. With Platoon commander when company is in extended order formation.]
Suggested Organization of Platoon in Close Order and for Administration.
1st Squad 2d Squad 3d Squad 4th Squad -+ -+ -+ Bomber Section 1/2 Auto Rifle 1/2 Auto Rifle (less 1 bomber Section i.e., Section i.e., Grenadier team) Cpl and 2 teams Cpl and 2 teams Section 1 Corp 1 Cpl. 1 Cpl. 1 Cpl. 7 Pvts. 6 Pvts. 6 Pvts. 7 Pvts. (Extra Cpl. in File Closers) -+ -+ -+ +
5th Squad 6th Squad 7th Squad -+ -+ - 1 Rifle Squad 1 Rifle Squad 1 Bomber Team plus 4 extra riflemen[S] 1 Cpl. 1 Cpl. 1 Cpl. 7 Pvts. 7 Pvts. 7 Pvts. -+ -+ -+
Right Guide—Automatic Gun Sgt. Left Guide—Rifle Sgt. Chief of Platoon—Lieut. File closer or acting 1st Sgt.—Sgt.-Asst.
Note.—If desirable the 4 mechanics and 4 privates (signalmen) who are not assigned to platoons regularly, can be used to fill the blank files in the 2d and 3d squads.
[Footnote S: Runners: Attached to 3d Section and 7th Squad. With Platoon commander when company is in extended order formation.]
(a) The following plans for deployment are not to be regarded as rigid. The positions of the various squads depends upon tactical considerations. (b) The platoon in attack will be used only for accomplishment of its offensive mission. Moppers-up, additional carriers, etc., will be furnished by other organizations. A. Being in line, to form single skirmish line to the front. 1. As skirmishers (so many) paces, guide right (left or center). 2. March. Executed as described in pars. 206 and 208, i.d.r. Normal interval to be ordered, 4 or 5 paces. This formation to be regarded as exceptional. B. Being in column of squads, to form single skirmish line. Same command as in (A). Executed as described in para 207 and 208, i.d.r. C. Being in line to form double skirmish line to the front (i.e., to take the "Formation for Attack" in the diagram.) 1. In two lines. 2. As skirmishers (so many) paces, guide right (left or center). 3 March. Executed according to the principles in pars. 206 and 208, i.d.r., except that at the command March the even-numbered squads stand fast while the odd-numbered squads form the first line by deploying on the base squad as in the case of deployment in single line. Similarly, the even-numbered squads form the second line by deploying on their base squad after the odd-numbered squads have moved forward about 20 paces.
D. Being in line or column of squads to deploy in line of squad columns in one or two lines. Use same commands and execute in same manner as described in (A), (B), (C), except that in the command "Squad Columns" is substituted for "as skirmishers," and in the execution each corporal on approaching the line forms his squad in "squad column" instead of deploying it as skirmishers. E.G. 1. In two lines—2. Squad columns (so many) paces, Guide right (left or center)—3. March. This gives a "Formation of Approach" as the French describe it, or as an "Artillery Formation" as the British describe it; which may be used directly or indirectly (by means of echelons) for advancing when not liable to infantry fire.
E. Being in above formation to vary the intervals. 1. Squad columns (so many) paces, 2. Guide right (left or center). Executed in the same manner as similar movement described in i.d.r. 126.
General Principles of the Platoon Formation in the Assault of Fortified Positions in Trenches. (Points of Resistance, Etc.).
1. The platoon is now a complete fighting unit within itself. It contains riflemen, bombers, auto-riflemen, and rifle grenadiers. With this combination the platoon commander has, under his immediate control, all the different kinds of fire available to the infantry.
2. This formation was developed so that the platoon commander could meet the different contingencies that arise from being opposed by points of resistance in a "Trench-to-Trench" attack or the "Semi-Open-Warfare;" that is the secondary stage of a push.
3. When strong opposition develops, the principle on which the platoon works is to develop or surround the point of resistance, the platoon acting either alone or in conjunction with neighboring platoons. The four different kinds of fire are then used to their best advantages to silence or diminish the enemy fire thus making this manoeuvre possible.
4. In order to obtain success it is first necessary to impress on the officers and men that the primary advantage of the entire formation is its mobility, and the scope it gives to the initiative of the platoon section, squad and team leaders. In studying this formation it is first necessary to free the mind of all parade ground formations and to feel that there is nothing to hinder any desired movement of the sections, so long as the movement is not contrary to the operation orders for the attack. Until this idea is grasped thoroughly no progress can be made.
5. There is no typical or "normal formation." The one given at the beginning of this instruction here is a drill or parade ground formation, and while it may be used under actual conditions of warfare, it is simply utilized at this time as a basis from which the necessary variations may be worked out. In an attack, every platoon in the battalion may use a different formation.
6. The formation to be used is decided upon after a careful study of air-photographs. As far as possible all points of resistance are picked out and the best method of meeting the situations that may arise are then considered. The platoon is then arranged so as to best facilitate this manoeuvre. It must be realized that there will be other platoons on the flanks and in the rear, and their dispositions must be studied with a view of their probable bearing on the points of resistance.
7. In order to know how to get results it is first necessary to have a very clear conception of the uses and limitations of the different weapons in the platoon.
Briefly they can be used in the following ways:
(a) The auto-rifles open up a point blank fire on the strong point as soon as it is discovered. Their function is to either draw the fire of the enemy or to silence him by a hit or forcing him to take cover. Their work may be compared to the work of the field artillery in a barrage. They cover the movement of the infantry across the open. The auto rifles so place themselves at such points that their line of fire will in no way interfere with the manoeuvre of the commander of the platoon or the remaining units of the platoon interfere with the effective use of the auto rifles of the platoon.
(b) The rifle grenadiers advance at once just as close as possible, but at all costs to within effective grenade range. They then take cover in shell holes, trenches, etc., and open up a rapid fire. They are the long distance howitzers of the platoon and are very valuable. By a well placed grenade the whole resistance may be overcome. This section usually works around a flank.
(c) The riflemen work up by squad as far as practicable and to a flank, when an opportunity presents itself, the squad opens fire in such a manner as to protect advance of other squads or teams.
(d) The bombers endeavor to get well around behind the enemy and taking advantage of cover get to within bomb range. They may be compared to the close range howitzers or trench mortars.
When all four sections are in action at proper ranges, the opposition can probably last but a short time, and as soon as the machine guns cease fire the platoon, especially the riflemen, go after the remainder of the garrison with the bayonet.
It may happen that the barrage put up will so demoralize the enemy that the riflemen can advance before his machine guns are even put out of action. This operation allows the rifle men to get in with the bayonet, if the resistance is not sooner overcome.
When the different sections are getting to their places, they usually find enough shell holes or old trenches to obtain cover. They should not move as entire sections, but as small groups of three or four at a time.
8. After the encircling movement has once begun, the platoon commander loses all control, and the action is then conducted by the section, squad or team leaders. They must be trained to act on their own initiative, as further orders are rarely practicable.
The resistance will finally be overcome, either because the enemy will retreat or surrender under the menace of encirclement, or by the losses caused by our fire or by the attack at close range of our bombers or else by the final assault with the bayonet led by our riflemen.
It must be remembered that under an artillery barrage it is never possible to issue verbal orders, so the sections must be trained to understand and obey the arm signals of its officer, or more often to work without orders.
9. A sequence of command must be arranged in each section, squad and team down to the last man.
REMARKS REGARDING THE FORMING OF WAVE FROM CLOSE ORDER.
The sketch of deployment attached is an illustration of one of the formations that may be adopted. It is given as an example. Any other wave formation may be practically as easily formed up. The platoon commander simply calls out the squads he wants in the first line.
It must not be imagined that this transition from close order to extended is done in the field when actually under fire or as a result of surprise.
Before the platoon goes into an attack it is all arranged so as to allow it to be changed with ease from column of sections at extended intervals (formation for approach) to the wave formation decided upon. This arrangement is made when the platoon is miles to the rear.
When the change is made from column of sections to the wave formation there must be no crossing of sections as they go to their places.
Some of the Many Questions a Platoon Commander Should Ask Himself on Taking Over a Trench, and at Frequent Intervals Afterwards.
1. I am here for two purposes: To hold this line under all circumstances, and to do as much damage as possible to the enemy? Am I doing all I can to make this line as strong as possible? Am I as OFFENSIVE as I might be with organized snipers, sniperscopes, rifle grenades, catapults, etc., and patrols?
2. Do I connect up all right with the platoons on my right and left? Do I know the position of my nearest support?
3. Does every man know his firing position and can he fire from it, over the parapet, at the foot of the wire?
4. Where are my S.A.A. and bomb stores? Are they under cover from the weather?
5. Do all my men know their duties in case of attack—bombers especially?
6. Are all my rifles and ammunition clean and in good order? Have all the men got rifle covers? Are the magazines kept charged?
7. Is my wire strong enough?
8. Are my parapets and traverses bullet-proof everywhere?
9. Where are my sally ports?
10. Where are my listening posts? Are my listening patrols properly detailed?
11. What points in front particularly require patrolling at night?
12. Are my sentries in their right places? Are they properly posted by N.C.O's.? Have they received proper instructions?
13. Have I got the S.O.S. message in my pocket, and do I know the orders regarding its use?
14. Are the trenches as clean and as sanitary as they might be? Are live rounds and cases properly collected? Are my bags for refuse and empties in position?
15. Are my trenches as dry as I might make them?
16. Am I doing all I can to prevent my men getting "Trench Feet"?
17. How can I prevent my parapets and dugouts from falling in?
18. Have I got at least one loophole, from which men can snipe, for every section? Have I pointed out to Section Commanders the portion of the enemy's trench they are responsible for keeping under fire, and where his loopholes are?
19. Have my men always got their smoke helmets on and are they in good order?
20. Are the arrangements, in case of gas attack, complete and known to all ranks?
21. Are the orders as to wearing equipment carried out?
22. Are my men using wood from the defences as firewood?
23. Are my men drinking water from any but authorized sources?
24. I am here for two purposes: To hold this line under all circumstances, and I do as much damage as possible to the enemy? Am I doing all I can to make this line as strong as possible? Am I as OFFENSIVE as I might be with organized snipers, sniperscopes, rifle grenades, catapults, etc., and patrols?
Defensive Measure Against Gas Attacks.
A. General Considerations:
In the absence of suitable means of protection the poison gases used in war are extremely deadly and the breathing of only very small quantities of them may cause death or serious injury. This being the case, it is essential that not the slightest time should be lost in putting on the anti-gas device on the gas alarm being given.
It cannot be too strongly insisted on that the measures to meet hostile gas attacks afford perfect protection, and if they are carried out properly no one will suffer from gas poisoning.
The whole basis of protecting troops against gas lies (a) in keeping the appliances in perfect working order; (b) in learning to adjust them rapidly under all conditions, and (c) in ensuring that every man is given immediate warning. These results can only be attained:
(1) By frequent and thorough inspection of all protective appliances. (2) By thorough instruction and training in their use. (3) By every man understanding and complying with all standing orders on the subject of defense against gas.
If these are effectually carried out, there is nothing to fear from hostile gas attacks. Officers must impress this on their men, as an important object of all anti-gas instruction should be to inspire complete confidence in the efficacy of the methods which are adopted.
B. Nature of Gas Attacks:
(1) GAS CLOUDS:
This method of making a gas attack is entirely dependent on the direction of the wind. The gas is carried up to the trenches compressed in steel cylinders. These are dug in at the bottom of the trench and connected with pipes leading out over the parapet. When the valves of the cylinders are opened, the gas escapes with a hissing sound, which, on a still night, can frequently be heard at a considerable distance. It mixes with the air and is carried by the wind towards the opposing trenches, spreading out as it goes forward. A continuous wave of gas and air is thus formed, the color of which may vary:
(a) Because of the weather conditions. In very dry air it may be almost transparent and slightly greenish in color, while in damp weather it forms a white cloud. (b) Because it may be mixed with smoke of any color.
A cloud attack can only take place when there is a steady but not too strong wind blowing from the enemy's lines towards our own. A wind between 4 and 8 miles an hour is the most likely condition. An 8-mile wind will carry the gas cloud twice as quickly as a man walks rapidly.
Gas attacks may occur at any time of the day, but are most likely to be made during the night or in the early morning.
Gentle rain is without appreciable effect on a gas attack, but strong rain washes down the gas. Fogs have hardly any effect and may, in fact, be taken advantage of to make an attack unexpectedly. Water courses and ponds are no obstruction to a gas cloud.
The gas used by the enemy is generally a mixture of chlorine and phosgene, both of which are strongly asphyxiating. The gases are heavier than air, and therefore, tend to flow along the ground and into trenches, shelters, craters and hollows. The gas cloud may flow round slight eminences, thus leaving patches of country which remain free from gas.
Chlorine and phosgene strongly attack the mucous membranes of the respiratory organs, causing bad coughing. In strong concentrations of gas, or by longer exposure to low concentrations, the lungs are injured and breathing becomes more and more difficult and eventually impossible, so that the unprotected man dies of suffocation. Death is sometimes caused by two or three breaths of the gas. Even when very dilute, chlorine can be recognized by its peculiar smell, which is like chloride of lime, but stronger and more irritating.
Both chlorine and phosgene also exert a strongly corrosive action on metals, so that the metal parts of arms must be carefully protected by greasing them.
The speed with which the gas cloud approaches depends entirely on the wind velocity. Gas attacks have been made with wind velocities varying from 3 to 20 miles per hour, i.e., from 1-1/2 to 10 yards per second. In a 9-mile wind, the gas would reach trenches 100 yards distant in 20 seconds.
Gas attacks have been made on fronts varying from 1 to 5 miles; their effects at points up to 8 miles behind the front trenches have been sufficiently severe to make it necessary to wear helmets.
(2) GAS PROJECTILES:
The use of these is not entirely dependent on the direction of the wind. In gas projectiles such as shells, hand grenades, and trench mortar bombs, a part or the whole of the explosive charge is replaced by a liquid which is converted into gas by the explosion. The explosive force and noise of detonation of these projectiles is less than that of the ordinary kind, and a large number of them are usually discharged into a comparatively small space. After the explosion, the irritant chemicals form a small gas cloud, though some may sink to the ground and remain active for a considerable time.
For using gas shells, the best condition is calm, or a wind of low velocity.
Gas projectiles can be used in all types of country. Woods, bushes, corn fields and clumps of buildings may hold the gas active for a considerable time.
Two kinds of shell gases are used by the enemy, viz., lachrymators, which mainly affect the eyes, and poison gases, which may affect the eyes and are just as deadly as the gases used in the form of clouds.
(1) TEAR, OR LACHRYMATORY SHELLS:
These shells on explosion drive the liquid chemical which they contain into the air as a mist. They cause the eyes to water strongly and thereby gradually put men out of action.
Their actual smell may be slight. Large concentrations of lachrymators begin to affect the lungs and cause sickness, coughing and general irritation.
(2) POISON SHELLS:
Besides the comparatively harmless lachrymators the enemy also uses projectiles which contain a gas, the action of which is very similar to that of phosgene. Because of their slight detonation, these shells are liable to be mistaken for blinds, but they emit large quantities of a gas which attacks the lungs strongly and is very dangerous, and even in slight cases may cause serious after effects.
The enemy may make use of smoke, either in the form of a cloud or emitted from shells and bombs. Smoke may be used with gas or between gas clouds; it may also be used alone to distract attention from a real discharge of gas, to cover the advance of infantry, or merely as a false gas attack.
(4) MINE AND EXPLOSION GASES:
The poisonous gases which occur in mines, and which are formed in large quantities when high explosive goes off in an enclosed space, e.g., from a direct hit in a shelter, or on the explosion of a charge in a mine, are not protected against by the ordinary anti-gas appliances. The chief of these gases is carbon monoxide. Protection against such gases will not be considered in these notes.
Officers are held responsible that all the anti-gas appliances for protecting their men are maintained in perfect condition, and that all ranks under their command are thoroughly trained in the use of these appliances and in all other measures which may affect their safety against gas.
Summary of Protective Measures:
(a) Provision to each man of individual protective devices. (b) Arrangement for the inspection of those appliances and training in their use and instruction in all other measures of gas defense. (c) Provision of protected and gas-proof shelters. (d) Weather observations to determine periods when the conditions are favorable to a hostile gas attack. (e) Arrangement of signals and messages; for immediate warning of a gas attack. (f) Provision of appliances for clearing gas from trenches and shelters.
C. Protection of Shelters:
(1) METHODS OF PROTECTION:
Protection of dugouts, cellars, buildings, etc., is given if all entrances are closed by well-fitting doors or by blankets sprayed with hypo. solution. Practically no gas passes through a wet blanket, and the protection depends on getting a good joint at the sides and bottom of a doorway, so as to stop all draughts. This can be effected by letting the blanket rest on battens, fixed with a slight slope, against the door frame. The blanket should overlap the outer sides and a fold should lie on the ground at the bottom. A pole is fastened to the blanket, which allows the latter to be rolled up on the frame and causes it to fall evenly.
Wherever possible, particularly where there is likely to be movement in and out of the shelter, two blankets fitted in this way but sloping in opposite directions should be provided. There should be an interval of at least three feet between the two frames, and the larger this vestibule is made the more efficient is the dugout.
When not in use, the blankets should be rolled up and held so that they can be readily released, and should be sprayed occasionally with water or a little Vermorel sprayer solution.
If the blankets became stiff from a deposit of chemicals, they should be sprayed with water.
All ranks must be taught how to use gas-proof dugouts, e.g., how to enter a protected doorway quickly, replacing the blanket immediately, and carrying in as little outside air as possible.
The protection afforded by these means is just as complete against lachrymatory gases as it is against cloud gas and poisonous shell gases.
(2) SHELTERS WHICH SHOULD BE PROTECTED:
The following should always be protected:
Medical aid posts and advanced dressing stations; Company, Battalion and Brigade Headquarters; signal shelters and any other place where work has to be carried out during a gas attack.
In addition to the above, it is desirable to protect all dugouts, cellars and buildings within the shell area, particularly those of artillery personnel. It should be noted, however, that the protection of dugouts for troops in the front line of trenches is usually inadvisable on account of the delay involved in getting men out in time of attack. It is desirable to protect stretcher bearers' dugouts with a view to putting casualties in them.
D. Protection of Weapons and Equipment:
Arms and ammunition and the metal parts of special equipment (e.g., telephone instruments) must be carefully protected against gas by greasing them or keeping them completely covered. Otherwise, particularly in damp weather, they may rust or corrode so badly as to refuse to act. A mineral oil must be used for this purpose. The following in particular should be protected:
(1) SMALL ARMS AND S.A.A.
Machine guns and rifles must be kept carefully cleaned and well oiled. The effects of corrosion of ammunition are of even more importance than the direct effects of gas upon machine guns and rifles.
Ammunition boxes must be kept closed. Vickers belts should be kept in their boxes until actually required for use. The wooden belt boxes are fairly gas-tight, but the metal belt boxes should be made gas-tight by inserting strips of flannelette in the joint between the lid and the box.
Lewis magazines should be kept in some form of box, the joints of which are made as gas-tight as possible with flannelette.
A recess should be made, high up in the parapet if possible, for storing ammunition and guns. A blanket curtain, moistened with water or sprayer solution, will greatly assist in keeping the gas out.
(2) HAND AND RIFLE GRENADES:
Unboxed grenades should be kept covered as far as possible. All safety pins and working parts, especially those made of brass, should be kept oiled to prevent their setting from corrosion by the gas.
(3) LIGHT TRENCH MORTARS AND THEIR AMMUNITION:
As far as the supply of oil permits, the bore and all bright parts of light trench mortars and their spare parts should be kept permanently oiled. When not in use, mortars should be covered with sacking or similar material.
Unboxed ammunition should be kept covered as far as possible and the bright parts oiled immediately after arrival. Ammunition which has been in store for some time should be used up first.
Sentries must be prepared to give the alarm on the first appearance of gas, as a few seconds delay may involve very serious consequences. Signals must be passed along by all sentries as soon as heard.
The earliest warning of a gas attack is given:
(a) By the noise of the gas escaping from the cylinders. (b) By the appearance of a cloud of any color over the enemy's trenches. If the attack takes place at night, the cloud will not be visible from a distance. (c) By the smell of the gas in listening posts.
(1) ACTION TO BE TAKEN IN THE TRENCHES ON GAS ALARM: (a) Respirators to be put on immediately by all ranks (a helmet, if no box respirator is available). (b) Rouse all men in trenches, dug-outs and mine shafts, warn officers and artillery observation posts and all employed men. (c) Artillery support to be called for by company commanders by means of prearranged signals. (d) Warn battalion headquarters and troops in rear. (e) All ranks stand to arms in the front trenches and elsewhere where the tactical situation demands. (f) Blanket curtains at entrances to protected shelters to be let down and carefully fixed. (g) Movement to cease except where necessary.
(2) ACTION TO BE TAKEN IN BILLETS AND BACK AREAS: (a) All men in cellars or houses to be roused. (b) The blanket curtains of protected collars, etc., to be let down and fixed in position. (c) Box respirators to be put on immediately, the gas is apparent.
H. Action During a Gas Attack:
(1) PROTECTIVE MEASURES:
There should be as little moving about and talking as possible in the trenches. Men must be made to realize that with the gas now used by the enemy, observance of this may be essential for their safety.
When an attack is in progress, all bodies of troops or transport on the move should halt and all working parties cease work until the gas cloud has passed.
If a relief is going on, units should stand fast as far as possible until the gas cloud has passed.
Supports and parties bringing up bombs should only be moved up if the tactical situation demands it.
If troops in support or reserve lines of trenches remain in, or go into, dug-outs, they must continue to wear their anti-gas appliances.
Officers and N.C.O's must on no account remove or open up the masks of the box respirators or raise their helmets to give orders. The breathing tube may be removed from the mouth when it is necessary to speak, but it must be replaced.
Men must always be on the look-out to help each other in case an anti-gas device is damaged by fire or accident. When a man is wounded, he must be watched to see that he does not remove his respirator or helmet until he is safely inside a protected shelter; if necessary, his hands should be tied.
Men must be warned that if they are slightly gassed before adjusting their respirators or helmets they must not remove them. The effect will wear off.
(2) TACTICAL MEASURES:
From the point of view of protection against gas, nothing is gained by men remaining in unprotected dug-outs or by moving to a flank or to the rear. It is, therefore, desirable that on tactical and disciplinary grounds all men in the front line of trenches should be forbidden to do these things. In support or reserve lines where there are protected dug-outs, it is advisable for men to stay in them unless the tactical situation makes it desirable for them to come out.
Nothing is gained by opening rapid rifle fire unless the enemy's infantry attacks. A slow rate of fire from rifles and occasional short bursts of fire from machine guns will lessen the chance of their jamming from the action of the gas and tends to occupy and steady the infantry.
It should be remembered that the enemy's infantry cannot attack while the gas discharge is in progress and is unlikely to do so for an appreciable time—at least 10 minutes—after it has ceased. It is, in fact, a common practice for the enemy infantry to retire to the second and third line of trench whilst gas is being discharged. There is, therefore, no object in opening an intense S.O.S. barrage of artillery on "No man's land" during the actual gas cloud and it is advisable that the warning to the artillery of a gas attack should be a signal differing from the ordinary S.O.S. signal, as the latter may have to be sent later if an infantry attack develops.
It must be remembered that smoke may be used by the enemy at the same time as, or alternately with, the gas and that under cover of a smoke cloud he may send out assaulting or raiding parties. A careful look-out must, therefore, be kept; hostile patrols or raiders may be frustrated by cross-fire of rifles and machine guns and should an assault develop the ordinary S.O.S. procedure should be carried out.
I. Precautions Against Gas Shells:
Owing to the small explosion which occurs with these shells, they are liable to be mistaken for blinds, and even when the gas is smelt men may not realize its possibly dangerous character at once and so may delay putting on respirators or helmets until too late. Men sleeping in dug-outs may be seriously affected unless they are roused. Men in the open air are unlikely to be seriously affected by poison gas shells, provided they put on respirators or helmets on first experiencing the gas. The following points should therefore be attended to:
(i) All shells which explode with a small detonation or appear to be blind should be regarded with particular attention; the respirator or helmet should be put on at the first indication of gas and blanket protection of shelters adjusted.
(ii) Arrangements must be made for giving a Local alarm in the event of a sudden and intense bombardment with poison gas shells, but care must be taken that this alarm is not confused with the main alarm. Strombos horns must on no account be used to give warning of a gas shell bombardment.
(iii) All shelters in the vicinity of an area bombarded with poison gas shells must be visited and any sleeping men roused.
(iv.) Box respirators or helmets should continue to be worn throughout the area bombarded with poison gas shells until the order is given by the local unit Commander for their removal.
Lachrymatory or "tear" shells are frequently used by the enemy for the purpose of hindering the movements of troops, for preventing the bringing up of supports, or for interfering with the action of artillery. Owing to the deadly nature of poison gas shells, however, the precautions given in paragraph 60 above, must be taken for all gas shells. The goggles are intended for use after lachrymatory bombardments only, in cases where the irritant gas persists in the neighborhood.
K. Action Subsequent to a Gas Attack:
The most important measure to be taken after a cloud gas attack is to prepare for a further attack. The enemy frequently sends several successive waves of gas at intervals varying from a few minutes up to several hours and it is therefore necessary to be on the alert to combat this procedure. The following measures should be adopted as soon as the gas cloud has passed:
(a) Removal of respirators.—Anti-gas fans should be used to assist in clearing the trenches of gas, so as to admit of respirators being removed. Respirators and helmets must not be removed until permission has been given by the Company Commander.
A sharp look out must be kept for a repetition of the gas attack, as long as the wind continues in a dangerous quarter.
Owing to the enemy gas sometimes causing bad after effects, which are intensified by subsequent exertion, the following points should be attended to: (a) No man suffering from the effects of gas, however slightly, should be allowed to walk to the dressing station. (b) The clearing of the trenches and dugouts should not be carried out by men who have been affected by the gas. (c) After a gas attack, troops in the front trenches should be relieved of all fatigue and carrying work for 24 hours by sending up working parties from companies in rear. (d) Horses which have been exposed to the gas should not be worked for 24 hours if it can be avoided.
3. CLEARING DUGOUTS AND OTHER SHELTERS:
It is essential that no dugout be entered after a gas attack event with box respirators or helmets adjusted, until it has been ascertained that it is free from gas. The only efficient method of clearing dugouts from gas is by thorough ventilation. The older method of spraying is not efficient.
An appreciable quantity of gas may be retained in the clothing of men exposed to gas attacks and also in bedding, coats, etc., left in shelters. Precaution should, therefore, be taken to air all clothing.
Natural Ventilation.—Unless a shelter has been thoroughly ventilated by artificial means, as described below, it must not be slept in or occupied without wearing respirators, until at least 12 hours after a gas attack. It must not be entered at all without respirators on for at least 3 hours. The above refers to cloud gas attacks. In the case of gas shell bombardments the times cannot be definitely stated, as they depend on the nature of the gas used and the severity of the bombardment. With lachrymatory gases the times after which shelters can be used without discomfort may be considerably longer than those mentioned above.
Ventilation by Fire.—All kinds of shelters can be efficiently and rapidly cleared of gas by the use of fires. Shelters with two openings are the easiest to ventilate and where possible, dugouts with only one entrance should have a second opening made, even a very small one, to assist in ventilation.
In dugouts provided with a single exit at the end of a short passage, the best results are obtained if the fire is placed in the center of the floor of the dugout and at a height of about 9 inches.
In dugouts provided with a single exit at the end of a long and nearly horizontal passage, the best results are obtained if the fire is placed about one-third of the distance from the inner end of the passage.
In dugouts provided with two or more exits, the fire should be placed at the inner end of one of the exit passages.
In general, 1 pound of dry wood per 200 cubic feet of air space is sufficient for clearance of any gas. The best fuel is split wood, but any fuel which does not smoulder or give off thick smoke can be used. The materials for the fire, e.g., the split wood, newspaper, and a small bottle of paraffine for lighting purposes, should be kept in a sand bag, enclosed in a biscuit tin provided with a lid. An improvised brazier should be kept ready for use.
The fire must be kept burning for at least ten minutes and the atmosphere in the shelter should be tested from time to time.
Ventilation by Fanning.—Dugouts can be ventilated by producing air currents in them by means of special anti-gas fans.
If no anti-gas fans are available, ventilation can be assisted by flapping with improvised fans such as sand bags, ground sheets, etc.
5. CLEANING OF ARMS AND AMMUNITION:
Rifles and machine guns must be cleaned after a gas attack and then re-oiled. Oil cleaning will prevent corrosion for 12 hours or more, but the first available opportunity must be taken to dismantle machine guns and clean all parts in boiling water containing a little soda. If this is not done, corrosion continues slowly even after oil cleaning and may ultimately put the gun out of action.
After a gas attack, S.A.A. should be carefully examined. All rounds affected by gas must be replaced by new cartridges immediately and the old ones cleaned and expended as soon as possible.
All hand and rifle grenades exposed to the gas should have their safety-pins and working parts cleaned and re-oiled.
All bright parts of light trench mortars, together with all accessories and spare parts exposed to the gas, must be cleaned and wiped dry as soon as possible after the attack and in any case within 24 hours, after which they should be thoroughly coated afresh with oil. The same applies to ammunition which may have been exposed to the gas.
Ammunition which, for any reason, had not been oiled, must be cleaned and oiled and expended as soon as possible.
For details regarding the cleaning of guns and artillery ammunition and signal equipment, see paragraphs 116 and 123.
6. TREATMENT OF SHELL HOLES:
In the neighborhood of shelters or battery positions where gas from shell holes is causing annoyance, the holes and the ground round them should be covered with at least a foot of fresh earth. Shell holes so treated should not be disturbed, as the chemical is not thereby destroyed and only disappears slowly.
Concealment From Aerial Observers.
A. 1. An aeroplane cannot conduct reconnaissance at a height of less than 5,000 feet without being within easy range of anti-aircraft artillery; nor of less than 2,000 feet without coming into range of machine-gun and rifle fire. 2. To be observed from such heights, objects on the ground must be distinguished by: (a) Motion. (b) Color contrast. (c) Line contrast, or (d) Shadows.
B. Concealment: 1. (a) On warning of hostile aircraft, troops on the march should withdraw to the side of the road (if possible, into shade), or lie down flat in the road and remain motionless. (b) If it is necessary to continue the march, this should be done in broken detachments, which are far less distinct than continuous column. (c) Troops in a trench should crouch down in the shadowy side and remain motionless. (d) Faces should never be turned up, as the high lights on cheek-bones and foreheads then show up distinctly. (e) Bright metal on arms, equipment and headgear must be kept covered. 2. Artillery wagon-trains, etc., should if possible be halted promptly on warning. When halted, their neutral coloring protects them. 3. Trenches are best concealed: (a) By avoiding, in construction, a too regular outline, and following as far as possible the contours of the ground. (b) By coloring the parapet and parados to match the ground. This may be done most quickly by painted canvas; if the latter is not available, by planting or strewing the loose earth with surrounding herbage. In this work care must be taken not to make the covering itself too conspicuous by brightness or monotony of coloring. (c) By covering the trench itself, where convenient, with a thin material, colored like the parapet and parados. (d) By avoiding all overt movement of troops in the trenches under observation. 4. Buildings, e.g., ammunition dumps, hangars, etc., can be completely concealed by being painted the color of the ground they stand on and fitted with canvas curtains, similarly painted and stretched from the eaves to the ground at a horizontal angle of 35 degrees. These curtains completely eliminate shadows. 5. Success in each work of concealment by camouflage is best assured by the assistance of an aeroplane observer to test and correct it.
* * * * *
Orders Governing Intrenchment Problems at Second Plattsburg Training Camp.
HEADQUARTERS PLATTSBURG TRAINING CAMP, PLATTSBURG BARRACKS, NEW YORK. SEPTEMBER 22, 1917.
DIVISIONAL ENTRENCHING PROBLEM.
The Salmon river forms the boundary line between two states, the "Blue" on the north and the "Red" on the south. War has been declared and the Red Army is mobilizing near Keeseville. Mobilization by the first Blue Army at Plattsburg has been completed.
Special Situation, Blue:
Our advanced troops are holding the line of the Salmon river against strong detachments of the Red Army. The commanding general of the Blue Army has decided to establish a second position on the line, Bluff Point to the bend (248) in the Saranac river.
The following order is issued by the Division Commander:
HEADQUARTERS, 101st Div., PLATTSBURG, N.Y. 23 Sept., '17, 9:00 A.M.
FIELD ORDERS, No. 1.
1. Our advanced troops are holding the line of the Salmon river.
2. This division and 1 Brigade 102 Division will entrench along the line: Bluff Point—Chateaugay Branch Railroad—Saranac River (248).
3. (a) The Chief of Artillery will prepare the positions, and lines of communication for his Brigade, determine his sectors, and submit his plan of action.
(b) The 1st Brig. and 2 Bns. 267th Inf. will entrench the sector, Saranac River (248) to Sand Road, exclusive. The 2nd Brig. will entrench the sector Sand Road to Bluff Point, both inclusive. The supports will entrench on the line, Saranac River (182)—Cliff Haven.
(c) The Reserve—1 Brig. 102 Div. less 2 Bns., will construct crossings on the Saranac River—under direction of the Chief of Engineers, and prepare them for defense.
(d) The Chief of Engineers will supply tools for entrenching and lay out the lines of entrenchments. He will repair the following trunk roads: Peru Road, Sand Road, Lake-Shore Road; and construct a transverse trunk line road from Pulp Mill to O'Connell's Farm, and the necessary tram lines. The Engineer Depot for stores and material will be established at Plattsburg Barracks.
(e) The Chief Signal Officer will establish necessary lines of communication, utilizing equipment at Plattsburg Barracks, Central Station. Aero Squadron at Chazy.
4. (a) The Chief Medical Officer will establish his dressing stations in the Butts of the rifle range and in ravine on O'Connell's Farm. A field hospital will be established at the Lozier Works.
(b) Ammunition train and supply train will be parked in the Fair Ground. Ammunition distributing stations at railroad spurs, Plattsburg Barracks, and O'Connell's Farm. The Division Ordnance Officer will locate the Ammunition Dumps along transverse trunk line road.
(c) Field trains, until further orders, at north end of Plattsburg Barracks Reservation. Distributing point, Plattsburg Railroad Station—Regimental Supply Stations: Saranac River 182; intersection Peru Road and Rifle Range Road, Sand Hole in Rifle Range, Sand Road on O'Connell's Farm, Ravine on O'Connell's Farm.
(d) The commander of trains will establish traffic regulations for all roads.
5. Messages to Statistical Office.
WOLF, Major General.
Official copy: J.A. BAER, Genl. Staff, Chief of Staff.
Copies to: Brig. and Regt. Commanders. C. of E. Div. Q.M. C.S.O. C.M.O. Div. O.O. C. of Tr.
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HEADQUARTERS, 1ST BRIGADE, 101ST DIVISION, PLATTSBURG BARRACKS, N.Y. 23RD SEPT., 1917, 6 P.M.
FIELD ORDERS No. 1.
1. Strong detachments of the Red Army, now mobilizing at Keeseville, are south of the Salmon River. Our advance troops are holding the line of the Salmon River.
2. Our division and one brigade, 102nd Division, will entrench and occupy the line Bluff Point-Chateaugay Branch (D. & H.R.R.), Saranac River (248). This brigade, reinforced by two Battalions, 267th Infantry, will entrench and occupy the sector, Saranac River (248), Sand Road, exclusive.
3. (a) The 1st and 2nd Battalions, 267th infantry will entrench and occupy the sector from the Saranac River to a point 600 yards east.
(b) The 266th Infantry, the sector from a point 600 yards east of the Saranac River, connecting with the trenches of the 267th Infantry, to a point 100 yards east of Peru Road.
(c) The 265th Infantry, the sector from a point 100 yards east of the Peru Road, and connecting with the trenches of the 266th Infantry, to the Sand Road exclusive.
(d) The Brigade Machine Gun Battalion will organize and maintain strong points along line regimental reserves. The C.O. of this organization will, at once, consult with the regimental commanders relative to preparation of machine gun emplacements and probable need for re-enforcements within their respective sectors.
(e) The Brigade Signalmen will establish telephonic communications between Brigade and Regimental Headquarters.
4. (a) The regimental commanders and senior officers of the two battalions, 267th Infantry, will at once report to the Chief Engineer of the Division for plan of entrenchments in their respective sectors.
(b) Tools and materials for entrenching will be supplied at the trench sites.
5. Messages to Brigade Headquarters near Peru Road, east Savoy Hotel.
GOODRICH, Brigadier General, Commanding.
Official Copy: WM. KIRBY, Major of Cavalry, U.S.R., Adjutant.
Copies to: C.O., 265th Infantry. C.O., 266th Infantry. C.O., 1st and 2nd Battalions, 267th Infantry. C.O., Brigade M.G. Co. Headquarters, 101st Division.
HEADQUARTERS, 1ST BATTALION, 265TH INFANTRY PLATTSBURG BARRACKS, N.Y. OCT. 16, 1917.
FIELD ORDERS No. 1.
Blue print of trenches; scale 24 inches equals 1 mile.
1. The enemy strongly occupies a line of trenches immediately South of the Chateaugay Branch Railroad, the center of their line being about opposite the center sector of our first line of trench, Sand Road-Target Range Fence, their line of trenches being within 50 yards of the railroad at that point, and then retiring slightly from the railroad to the East and West.
The 264th Infantry occupies the section of trenches directly to the East of us and the 266th Infantry occupies the section of trenches directly to the West of us.
2. This battalion will take up a defensive position in the nearly completed line of trenches, Sand Road-Target Range Fence, and as rapidly as possible complete the trench system in the following order of work: a. Deepen all trenches to at least three feet. b. Construct latrines. c. Provide cover. d. Revet work previously done.
3. a. Front lines, i.e., fire, communicating and support trenches: Company "B" will occupy the East sector, i.e., Sand Road to Belgium Boyau, inclusive, including Slum Boyau and the salient at South end Reserve Trench immediately in rear of East end of Support trench.
Company "C" will occupy the Central sector, i.e., from East sector (Belgium Boyau, exclusive), to Cardona Boyau, inclusive, including Poire Boyau.
Company "A" will occupy the West sector, i.e., from Central sector (Cardona Boyau, exclusive), to and including salient near Southwest corner of Target Range Fence.
b. Reserve Line: Company "D" will occupy the line from the Target Range Fence on the West to a point 165 yards East of the Verdun Salient, one-half of the Company occupying the sector, Target Range Fence, to a point 75 yards East of the Rams Horn Boyau, including Rams Horn Boyau, and the other half of the Company occupying the sector from a point 75 yards East of the Rams Horn Boyau to a point 165 yards East of the Verdun Salient.
c. Machine Guns: Headquarters, 1st Platoon and 1st Platoon Machine Gun Company, will report to the Commanding Officer, Company "A," for assignment to the shell craters (converted) and dugouts (constructed for machine guns), four in all, in the West sector.
Headquarters, 2nd Platoon and Third Section (2nd Platoon) Machine Gun Company, will report to the Commanding Officer, Company "C," for assignment to the shell crater (converted), and dugout (constructed for machine gun), two in all, in the Central sector. Fourth section (2nd Platoon), Machine Gun Company, will report to the Commanding Officer, Company "B," for assignment to the shell crater (converted), two in all, in the East sector.
d. Trench Mortars: Two trench mortars have been assigned to the Central sector and the Commanding officer, Company "C," is charged with the construction of emplacements therefor and the manning of them.
4. a. Dressing stations have been established in the Butts of the rifle range and in ravine on O'Connell's Farm.
b. Ammunition distributing points are located at Plattsburg Barracks and O'Connell's Farm.
c. Regimental supply stations are located at Saranac River (182), intersection Peru Road and Rifle Range Road, Sand Hole in Rifle Range, Sand Road on O'Connell's Farm, and Ravine on O'Connell's Farm.
5. Battalion Headquarters are located in dugout in Support trench (West Tremont), midway between Rams Horn and Poire Boyaux, to which place messages will be sent.
BOSCHEN, Captain, 56th Infantry, Commanding.
Copies to: C.O., 265th Infantry. C.O., Companies A, B, C and D. C.O., M.G. Company. C.O., Headquarters Company. R.S.O.
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HDQTRS. 1ST BATT., 265TH INFTY., PLATTSBURG BCKS., N.Y., Oct. 17, 1917.
FIELD ORDERS No. 2
1. DISPOSITIONS: a. The assignment of companies to sectors is as announced in Field Orders No. 1, these headquarters. b. Company commanders are charged with the details of occupation of the trenches and the proper disposition of the "specialists" (bombers, grenadiers, auto-riflemen, etc.), directing particular attention to the active and passive areas of their sectors.
2. FIELDS OF FIRE: Company commanders must arrange for and obtain the best fields of fire in their own sectors, and provide for protection of visible areas in adjoining sectors by lateral fire.
3. IMPROVEMENTS OR CHANGES IN TRENCHES: Company commanders before making any changes or improvements in trenches will render to battalion headquarters brief recommendations of changes desired. These recommendations will be submitted at 11.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m., after which hours the battalion commander will inspect and if deemed necessary will be ordered.
4. ORGANIZATION FOR WATCHING AND OBSERVATION: a. Each company commander will organize a system for watching the enemy by day and will establish look-out posts for this purpose; this system will be augmented at night by patrols if necessary. b. The watching of the enemy must be continuous and long occupation of the sector will not warrant any laxity.
5. ORGANIZATION FOR SUPPLY: a. Company commanders will make the necessary details for obtaining supplies; these details to be in charge of Mess or Supply Sergeants and will not exceed three squads for each lettered company. b. Food: Machine guns details and members of the Medical Corps assigned to each sector are attached to the lettered companies for rations. c. Cooked food will be at the Food Station at 6.00 a.m., 11.50 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. daily, and will be distributed at that point. d. Company commanders will detail the Mess Sergeant, with an appropriate detail (about 2 squads) to proceed to Food Station, which is located at the wire entanglement on the west side of the Target Range about 400 yards north of Brigade Headquarters. e. The details mentioned above will proceed via trenches, leaving same at junction of Tipperary trench and Rams Horn boyau in the following order: Co. D: Detail will clear junction Rams Horn boyau and Tipperary trench at 5.40 a.m., 11.10 a.m. and 4.40 p.m. Co. A: Detail will clear junction Tremont trench, and Rams Horn boyau at 5.30 a.m., 11.00 a.m. and 4.30 p.m., proceeding via Rams Horn boyau. Co. B: Detail will clear junction Tremont trench, and Poire boyau at 5.35 a.m., 11.05 a.m. and 4.55 p.m., proceeding via Poire boyau and Tipperary trench. Co. C: Detail will clear junction Tremont trench and Slum boyau at 5.40 a.m., 11.10 a.m. and 4.40 p.m., proceeding via Slum boyau and Tipperary trench. f. These details will return to their respective sectors via the indicated routes, moving in reverse order at five-minute intervals, and company commanders will make necessary arrangements for distribution of food within their respective sectors. g. Company commanders will cause the necessary police after each meal to insure sanitary condition of trenches. h. Food containers will be held in company until the next meal hour when they will be returned to the Food Station. i. Water: Water wagon will be at the Food Station from 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily. j. Containers for water will be furnished by Regimental Supply Officer at the Food Station. k. All men will carry full canteens of water when entering the trenches. l. Company commanders will detail the Mess Sergeant, with an appropriate detail (about 2 squads), to proceed to the Food Station to procure water in containers; these details will proceed via the routes indicated in paragraph 5, section "e": Co. D, 2.00 p.m.; Co. A, 2.05 p.m.; Co. B, 2.10 p.m.; Co. C, 2.15 p.m. m. These details will return to their respective sectors in reverse order at five-minute intervals. n. Miscellaneous: Details for obtaining tools, ammunition, trench supplies, etc., will be arranged for as required. o. Requisitions for miscellaneous supplies required will be submitted by company commanders to the Regimental Supply Officer not later than 3.00 p.m., October 17, 1917.
6. ORGANIZATION FOR LIAISON: a. The Signal Officer will establish necessary telephonic communications. b. Each organization will detail one runner to report to the battalion commander at regimental headquarters at 8.00 a.m. c. Four runners will be detailed for duty with each company headquarters and one runner will be detailed for duty with each platoon headquarters. These runners should be lightly equipped and wear a distinctive mark. d. At least two men per section must be able to act as guides to all company headquarters of the battalion. e. Verbal messages will not be sent by runners; all messages must be written. f. Company commanders, or their representatives, will report daily at battalion headquarters at 5.00 p.m. g. There must be accurate communication between platoons in company, and companies in battalion, in order to insure co-ordinated action.
7. DEFENSE: a. Immediately after the occupation of the trenches, company commanders will make a careful estimate of all tactical situations presented in their sectors and will plan for a stubborn defense. Care must be exercised in providing for defense in depth and lateral defense. The front line trenches of each sector will be held until actually entered by the enemy, and no sector will be abandoned until the occupants are actually forced out. b. The main line of resistance will be the support trenches (Tremont) and special attention must be given to the preparation for defense. If the front line trenches of any sector be captured by the enemy there will be no withdrawal from any other sector of the front line trenches for the purpose of establishing a continuous line in the support trench. c. The company commander of the reserve will organize parties for counterattacks and these parties will be held in readiness at convenient points to insure prompt movement to the front. d. Continuous occupation of the trenches without fire action must not cause a feeling of security and result in being surprised by the enemy.
8. STAND TO: "Stand to" will take place at 5.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m., daily. At this formation every available man will be present. Rifles, ammunition, equipment, clothing, etc., will be inspected. Rapid loading will be practiced. The firing position of every man will be tested to see whether he can hit the bottom edge of our wire. Gas helmets and respirators will be inspected if worn. After "stand to" in the morning and before "stand to" in the evening rifles will be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.
9. TRENCH ORDERS: a. Current "Trench Standing Orders" recently published from Brigade Headquarters are in force. b. During the occupation of the trenches it will be assumed that, the trenches are under the observation and fire of the enemy and all movement in the trenches will be conducted accordingly. All movements of troops, either individuals or groups, will be via the trenches at all times. c. No one will be allowed to go overland between trenches or to enter the trenches by the flank. All persons will enter the trenches from the reserve trenches and no visitors will be allowed in the trenches except on passes issued from the Regimental Headquarters. d. Commanding officers, Companies A and B, are responsible for the posting of the necessary sentinels along the flanks of the position (during the day), with instructions covering the provisions contained in paragraph 9, sections "b" and "c."
10. REPORTS: a. Company commanders will submit by 1.00 p.m., October 18, 1917, a report showing the dispositions and plan of defense of their respective sectors. b. Frequent reports of information obtained and any change of conditions at the front will be made to battalion headquarters when necessary.
BOSCHEN, Captain, 56th Infantry. Commanding.
Copies to: C.O. 265th Infty. C.O. Cos, A, B, C and D. C.O. M.G. Co. C.O., Hdq. Co. R.S.O.
Company Organization (in Detail):
1 Captain, commanding company, 1 First Lieutenant (senior), second in command, 1 First Sergeant, armed with pistol, 1 Mess Sergeant, armed with rifle, 1 Supply Sergeant, armed with rifle, 1 Corporal, company clerk, armed with rifle, 4 Mechanics, armed with rifle, 5 Wagoners (from Supply Company), 4 Cooks, armed with rifle, 2 Buglers, armed with pistol, 4 Privates, first class, company agent and signalmen.
Equipment: 15 rifles, 5 pistols, 8 automatic rifles (for replacement), 40 trench knives (to be distributed as needed), 2 bicycles. Following from Supply Company: 1 rolling kitchen, 4-mule; 1 combat wagon, 4-mule; 1 ration and baggage wagon, 4-mule; 1 ration cart, 2-mule; 1 water cart, 2-mule; 16 mules, draft.
4 Platoons, each organized as follows (numbered 1 to 4 in company):
1 First Lieutenant; 1st and 4th Platoons commanded by First Lieutenants; 2nd and 3rd Platoons commanded by Second Lieutenants, armed with pistol.
1 Sergeant, assistant to platoon commander, armed with pistol and rifle.
Equipment: 1 rifle, 2 pistols.
1st SECTION: Bombers and rifle grenadiers:
1 Sergeant, armed with pistol and rifle,
3 Corporals, armed with pistol and rifle, 1 trained as rifle grenadier; remainder trained as bombers,
6 Privates, first class, 2 armed with pistol and rifle, and remainder with rifle only; 1 trained as rifle grenadier, and remainder as bombers.
12 Privates, armed with rifles; 4 trained as rifle grenadiers, remainder trained as bombers.
Equipment: 22 rifles, 6 pistols.
2nd SECTION: Riflemen: 2 Corporals, armed with pistols and rifles, 3 Privates, first class, armed with rifle, 7 Privates, armed with rifle, Equipment: 12 rifles, 2 pistols.
3rd SECTION: Riflemen: 2 Corporals, armed with pistol and rifle, 3 Privates, first class, armed with rifle, 7 Privates, armed with rifle. Equipment: 12 rifles, 2 pistols.
4th SECTION: Auto-riflemen: 1 Sergeant, armed with pistol and rifle, 1 Corporal, armed with pistol and rifle, 3 Privates, first class; 1 armed with rifle, 2 armed with pistols; auto-rifle gunners, including 1 extra, 6 Privates, armed with rifle. Equipment: 9 rifles, 4 pistols, 2 auto-rifles.
NOTE.—Sections numbered from 1 to 16 in company.
Captain 1 First Lieutenants 3 Second Lieutenants 2 —— Total 6 ====
First Sergeant 1 Mess Sergeant 1 Supply Sergeant 1 Sergeants 12 Corporals 33 Mechanics 4 Wagoners (from Supply Company) (5) Cooks 4 Buglers 2 Privates, first class 64 Privates 128 ——- Total 250 =====
Rifles 239 Pistols 69 Auto rifles 16 Trench knives 40 Bicycles 2 From Supply Company: Rolling kitchen, 4-mule 1 Combat wagon, 4-mule 1 Ration and baggage wagon, 4-mule 1 Ration cart, 2-mule 1 Water cart, 2-mule 1 Mules, draft 16 ====
Trench Standing Orders.
1. Duties.—A. One officer per company and one non-commissioned officer per platoon will always be on duty. During their tour of duty they will not be in their dugouts. They will frequently visit all trenches occupied by their units. Every listening post will be visited at least once by an officer during his tour of duty.
B. The officer and non-commissioned officer on duty will, when his tour of duty is completed, turn over to the officer or non-commissioned officer relieving him all orders, a report of the work in progress, if any, and any other information of use.
C. At night the officer and non-commissioned officer on duty will frequently patrol the trench line, to see that the sentries are alert and to receive any reports they may desire to make.
D. The-non-commissioned officer coming on duty will go round and post new sentinels with the non-commissioned officer coming off duty.
E. The length of the tour of duty will depend upon the number of officers and non-commissioned officers on duty. Normally each tour should be, by night, two hours; by day, four hours. This may be modified, however, so that all officers and non-commissioned officers will have an equal amount of this duty while in the trenches.
F. Non-commissioned officers, after posting sentinels, will report "all is well" or otherwise to the officers on duty.
G. No man will be detailed for a duty in the trench without being given suitable warning of this duty and be informed at which hour he will come on duty.
H. The Company Commander will be responsible for sending any report required by Battalion Headquarters.
2. Sentries.—A. The number of sentry posts required will depend on the assumed propinquity or distance of the enemy, strength of obstacles, ease with which sentry posts can be re-enforced and other local conditions. Normally by day this should be one sentinel for each platoon and at night three double sentinels for each platoon. There must be sentries enough to insure alarm being given promptly in case of attack and that local resistance is sufficient until help can arrive.