Digest of Selected Articles and Documents
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The Employment of Artillery
By Major Pamard. (13 pages—French text.—To be continued.) —Revue Militaire Générale, Nov., 1921, p. 852.
This article, which is the first of a series, is very interesting, although ̱̱based more upon stabilized conditions than upon warfare of movement.The present article deals with the evolution of artillery from 1914 to 1918, the fundamental principles of artillery employment, and the employment of artillery in the defensive.
The most valuable portion of the article is the study of artillery tactics made with a view of stopping the German offensive of 15 July, 1918. (See bottom of page 861.) This outlines the methods of German attack, and the countermeasures taken by the French.
The following are a few interesting extracts taken at random from this article:
For the defensive of 15 July, 1918, four days of fire were provided. It is interesting to note that the average expenditure by 75-mm guns during nine hours beginning at midnight was 1000 rounds per gun, an expenditure that it would be well to consider as dangerous to exceed, as well on account of wear to materiel as on account of ammunition supply. * * * “The artillery and infantry are the principal arms of battle, and success depends upon the incessant coordination of their action.” * * * “Before the World War, the power of artillery was not fully realized. ‘The artillery supported the attack of the infantry, but did not prepare for it.’ The infantry was the first to recognize this mistake and to demand an artillery preparation before an attack.” * * * “Infantry, in modern warfare, cannot get along without artillery, while, on the other hand, if the artillery is insufficiently protected by the infantry, it is at the mercy of an adversary imbued with an offensive spirit. Artillery that is too heavy or too slow paralyzes the mobility of the infantry and becomes a useless encumbrance.” * * * “The end to be attained is perfect coordination of action of the two arms through a very close liaison. The artillery is an arm just as capable of maneuver as any other arm; if the main attribute of the infantry is maneuver by movement, ̱̱that of the artillery is maneuver by fire.”
Cavalry on The Flank and in The Rear
By Gen. N. N. Golovine. Translated by Col. A. M. Nikolaieff. (A study of certain cavalry operations in the World War, on the eastern front.) 21 pages.—Cavalry Journal, Jan., 1922, p. 40.
General Situation. During the latter part of August 1914, Austrian forces were advancing on the line Lublin-Ivangorod. To oppose this threat, the Russian XVIII Army Corps was ordered to concentrate by rai1, deploy and make a general attack. The Russian concentration and deployment was covered by the 13th Cavalry Division and the Guards Cavalry Brigade (the latter consisting of the Grodno Hussar Regiment, the H. M. Lancers and the 3d Horse Guard Battery), all deployed along the line of the Khodel River, where they were in contact with the Austrian advance.
Special Situation (Russian). On the night —th August, 1914, elements of the 23d Infantry Division of the XVIII Army Corps (Russian) relieved the cavalry on the line of the Khodel River. The Guard Cavalry Brigade, reinforced by the 9th Don Cossack Regiment, the Vladimirski Regiment and the 23d Horse Artillery Battery, was ordered to assemble on the right flank in the vicinity of some bridges near the village of Zmieviska, and to cooperate with the 23d Infantry Division in holding the line of the Khodel until the arrival of the remaining units of the XVIII Army Corps, which were being detrained at that time. (For maps see Cavalry Journal.)
The terrain in the zone of action under consideration is undulating, varied by patches of woods of irregular size and density, and traversed by the small Khodel River, which flows from the southeast to the northwest between low swampy banks.
Narrative of the Resulting Action. Shortly after daylight, following its relief by the 23d Division, the Guards Cavalry Brigade (reinforced), with the 9th Don Cossack Regiment as advance guard, approached the bridges opposite Zmieviska. Here the advance guard, finding the bridges lightly held by the Austrians, promptly attacked, drove the defenders back, and secured the crossing. The ease with which this maneuver was accomplished convinced the Guards Cavalry Brigade commander that the Austrians were paying little attention to their left flank. He therefore decided to cross the entire command to the opposite bank, without delay, and to operate ~against the Austrian left flank and rear.
The Maneuver. The 9th Don Cossacks were ordered to press the retreating enemy energetically, and, moving southeast along the left bank of the Khodel, to secure certain other crossings and to cover the left of the main body of the Guards Cavalry Brigade. The main body of the cavalry brigade was to cross the river, and advance with the object of striking the enemy’s left flank six to nine kilometers south of Zmieviska.
Shortly after leaving the river, the brigade commander, who was riding with the cavalry main body, received a report that the 23d Division was being forced back from the Khodel by the Austrians. He decided to adhere to his plan and continued the march.
When the cavalry main body reached a point on its line of march about seven kilometers from Zmieviska, it turned to the southeast, deployed and advanced on the village of Nezdukhov, which was seen to be occupied by the enemy. At this time a dispatch rider from the Don Cossacks arrived with a message to the effect that that regiment had driven the enemy from the village of Pomorze by a surprise attack, captured an ambulance of an Austrian division, and was advancing on the villages of Grobla and Zagrody (six kilometers southeast of Zmieviska) . It was clear now that the Guards Cavalry Brigade (reinforced) had penetrated in rear of the enemy’s left flank.
Under the covering fire of the horse artillery, the cavalry main body continued its advance·on Nezdukhov, which it captured by a combined mounted and dismounted attack. Further advance beyond the village was checked by deployed enemy forces, which, as time elapsed,·grew stronger. In the meantime, large enemy infantry forces, together with artillery, and supply columns, could be seen retreating in a southerly direction, on roads out of range of the cavalry brigade’s artillery. The cavalry commander became excited, rushed up and down the firing line, urging it forward, but without success. At this stage of the fight, control of progress was lost. The leader began to act on personal impressions only, derived from what was going on in the section of the front immediately before him.
In the meantime, the 9th Don Cossacks, having captured Grobla, were advancing successfully.
In view of the impossibility of pushing straight ahead with the cavalry main body, a decision to shift its attack to the left, nearer to the Don Cossacks, with a view to seizing the bridges at Vola Rudska and Grabuvka (on the Austrian main line of retreat), would have been proper, and such action, would probably have been decisive. This decision, however, was
not forthcoming, for the reasons that the brigade commander could not be reached with information of the success of the Don Cossacks, and even if he could have been reached, he had so lost control of the action that the ̱̱maneuver could not have been effected without loss of valuable time.
Conclusions. Viewed as a whole, this cavalry action apparently influenced the Austrians in coming to a decision to withdraw. However, it was not decisive, due principally to the following causes:
(a) Lack of close cooperation between the Guards Cavalry Brigade and the 23d Infantry Division.
(b) Disclosing prematurely the presence of the cavalry on the enemy’s flank.
(c) Failure to shift promptly the direction of attack of the main body of the cavalry, when it was found that it could not be continued successfully in the chosen direction.
Comments. The author makes the following comments which seem to be applicable to cavalry action in general, and to cavalry action against the flank and rear in particular:
- There must be close cooperation between the cavalry acting on the flank of an enemy, and the friendly infantry, in order that the moral effect caused by the flank attack can be exploited immediately, on a large scale. (Note: This requires some means of quick inter-communication, as for instance radio telegraphy or radio telephony.)
- The cavalry commander must conserve his faculty for considering calmly the whole situation. (Note: He must be quick to shift the direction of his main attack when it appears that the attack cannot progress favorably in the direction originally decided upon. The mobility of his command enables him to do this promptly, if he so decides.)
- Quick and sure inter-communication between cavalry units must be established and maintained. (Note: The cavalry commander must establish a fixed command post early in the action and make few changes in its location hereafter, leaving competent personnel in charge of the old command post until the location of the new command post is known to the command.)
Notes by the Digester.— The principles set forth in the above account of a cavalry action against the flank and in the rear of an enemy are considered to be sound and are in accord with those taught at these schools. Under author’s comments, the matter in parentheses has been added. The article, as it appears in the Cavalry Journal, contains an additional example of a cavalry action on the flank, on a larger scale, as also an example of how the action of enemy cavalry against our flank and rear can best be met. The entire article is well worth reading by anyone interested in this subject.
To Abolish Poisonous Gas
1 ½ cols.—Army and Navy Register, Jan. 14, 1922, p. 29.
This news gives the text of the resolution submitted by Mr. Root, and adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, on January 7th, providing for the abolition of the use of gases in war, together with the speeches made by Minister Sarraut (France) and Mr. Balfour (Great Britain).
The resolution follows:
“The use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gases and all analogous liquids, materials or devices, having been justly condemned by the general opinion of the civilized world and a prohibition of such use having been declared in treaties to which a majority of the civilized powers are parties:
“Now to the end that this prohibition shall be universally accepted as a part of the international law binding alike the conscience and practice of nations, the signatory powers declare their assent to such prohibition, agree to be bound thereby between themselves and invite all other civilized nations to adhere thereto.”
Minister Sarraut stated his adherence to the resolution condemned the introduction by Germany of the new methods “consisting in the use of gases, burning liquids, and poisonous substances,” and expressed the hope for the final disappearance of these infamous practices by setting an example to other countries. On the other hand, he cited the reports of the experts, which showed the extreme difficulty, if not the impossibility, of taking steps to prevent or limit the manufacture of gases and poisons, due to the fact that the chemicals used for the manufacture of the same are used also for innumerable substances necessary to the industrial and peaceful life of the human race. As a result it is impossible to prevent any country from arming itself against the unfair use of gases by an unscrupulous enemy as occurred in the late war.
The British views, as represented by Mr. Balfour, were stated at somewhat greater length, but were essentially of the same tenor. After referring to the example of the World War, he stated that it had been found “perfectly impossible so to arrange matters that a nation bent on doing so should not in time of peace (whatever the rules of war might be) make such preparations as would enable it to use that monstrous and inhumane method of warfare at its will if war broke out. * * * No nation could therefore forget the duty of examining how such attacks could be properly dealt with and effectively met. * * * ”
Chemical Warfare Service Materials Used by the Air Service
8 pages.—Chemical Warfare, Jan. 15, 1922, p. 2.
This article deals with the possible uses of chemical materials from the air, and includes among such materials three distinct classes: incendiaries, smoke and gases.
Descriptions are given of different kinds of incendiary bombs, but the principles do not differ from those laid down in the General Service Schools text.
As to smoke screens, the statement is made that these can be put down more efficiently on land by other means than airplanes.
The recent bombing tests, conducted in the summer of 1921, appear, however, to indicate the value of phosphorus bombs in connection with air bombing of naval vessels, to blind anti-aircraft personnel and thus give protection to the heavy, relatively slow-traveling bombing planes which are to follow. Phosphorous bombs were used in 25, 50, and 100-lb. sizes, containing 60 to 70% of smoke material.
Another type of smoke bomb which is described is the Navy Type or Aero Smoke Bomb, which upon being dropped will float on the water and give off smoke for a period of three minutes. Its purpose is to produce a screen on the water, behind which our own forces may maneuver.
The suggestion has been made that a small amount of economical tear gas be included in phosphorus drop bombs, so as to combine the tear gas effect with that of the smoke and burning effects of the phosphorous.
Gas. The distribution of gas by the Air Service increases the possibilities of its use and extends the range almost indefinitely both on land and on water. Gas is an extremely suitable weapon for airplane distribution, because, weight for weight, it is much more effective than H. E. for use against personnel, and because the vapors are carried by the wind and direct hits are not necessary. It is pointed out that the development of the use of gas from the air should take place with a view to its use solely against combatants. Three distinct types of gas could be used from the air: the mustard gas type, the phosgene type, and the lachrymator type. With the mustard and lachrymator types the bombs should in general be small, as the object to be accomplished is to scatter a small concentration over a more or less extended territory. With the phosgene type the object is to obtain an exceedingly high concentration on some particular target and the bombs should be large.
Competitive Tests of Shoulder Rifles (Semi-Automatic Rifles.)
¼ col—Army and Navy Register, Jan. 28, 1922, p. 91.
The board that conducted tests at Springfield Arsenal, Mass., of semi-automatic shoulder rifles, beginning in November, found that none of the three pieces submitted met satisfactorily all the conditions of the trials. The present Springfield rifle, therefore, remains supreme as the military small arm, but attention is being given to the further development of the semi-automatic rifle.
General Pershing on the Size of the Army
1 ½ pages.—Army and Navy Register, Jan. 21, 1922, p. 49.
Following is a digest of a statement submitted by General Pershing to the committee on Military Affairs of the House, on January 18th, 1922.
The reorganization and readjustment necessitated by the restriction of the size of the army to 150,000, made by the appropriation act of 1921, has been completed. About 17,000 troops, including one peace strength division, have been allotted to the Philippines, 15,000 to Hawaii, and 13,500 to the Canal Zone, leaving slightly over 100,000 for service in the United States and for the army occupation in Germany. The troops in the United States intended for field service have been organized into three infantry divisions, one cavalry division and some unattached brigades and regiments.
Distribution of Army Officers
1 ½ cols.—Army and Navy Register, Jan. 28, 1922, p. 73.
This article gives a statement of a plan prepared for the Secretary of War for the ultimate distribution of commissioned officers of the Regular Army. The requirements call for a total of 16,652 officers, distributed as follows:
Administrative functions essential to an effective mobilization of Regular Army, National Guard and Organized Reserves___________________________________2,521
Educational system for professional development of officers and enlisted specialists, including administrative officers, instructors, and students__________________________2,260
Duty with National Guard, Organized Reserves, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and training centers___________________________________3,344
With that portion of Regular Army in United States immediately available for an emergency___________________________________5,063
Insular garrisons—Philippine Islands, Hawaii, Panama Canal Zone, and Porto Rico___________________________________2,854
Total ultimate requirements___________________________________16,652
Estimated requirements to July 1, 1923___________________________________13,000
Plans or Summer Maneuvers
1/3 col.—Army and Navy Register, Jan. 28, 1922, p.81.
The War Department has completed plans for the work on the National Guard, Organized Reserves, R.O.T.C., and C.M.T.C. organizations to take place at camps the coming summer. The realization of the program depends on appropriations. It is hoped to have means to train a total of 28,900 officers and 180,000 men, as follows: 7,000 officers and 132,000 enlisted men of the National Guard; 20,900 officers and 10,000 men of the reserve forces; 8,000 R.O.T.C., and some 30,000 civilians at the military training camps.
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