Puslapio vaizdai

were cavalry, motor-drawn guns, motor machine-guns, battalions of motor trucks, with crews of pioneers to clear the roads. And lastly, large bodies of infantry, ready to begin new battles and to enter into action two or three hours from the beginning of the operation.

The first line consisted of two or three 'waves' of assault. If the distance to be traversed was more than 100 metres, the first wave comprised whole companies in one line, the men half a pace apart. It rushed forward to the assault immediately upon the cessation of the artillery fire, and tried to reach the enemy trench before the defenders could come out of their shelters. Down to that moment it ordinarily had no occasion to fire.

When the distance was more than 100 metres, a different disposition was adopted for the first wave: a line of skirmishers five paces apart, and 50 metres in their rear the assaulting force properly speaking, in a single line, elbow to elbow, the officers ahead, the file-closers four metres in rear. The skirmishers were supposed to protect by their fire the movement of the assaulting force, the detachments setting out from the starting-point one after another, at a single bound, and marching in step if possible. They did not break into the gymnastic gait until the movement was well developed; the charge proper started about 60 metres from the enemy. Even then they preserved the alignment as far as possible and crossed the barbed wire; then began the hand-to-hand fighting, for which there can be no rules.

When the first trench was taken they swept it clean and re-formed, lying on the ground, ten metres farther on. Then they opened fire on the second trench, and rushed forward again to

the assault. The first wave was instructed to break as far ahead as possible. The second started the instant that the first reached the enemy trench.

It does not appear that all these prescribed steps have stood the test of experience. The augmented strength of the German lines, and the resistance of their shelters, have led the high command to restrict the width of the fronts aimed at, and to limit the objectives in respect to depth, while increasing the intensity of the preparation. On the other hand, the Germans have sometimes abandoned the system of continuous trenches, to adopt a system of separate elements, reinforced by nests of machine-guns which are disposed with the greatest care and often constitute veritable points of support. They pretend to regard their lines of defense as flexible, stationing a limited effective in the first line while keeping heavy reserves behind. In case of an assault the first line is easily carried, but strong counter-attacks are able to wipe out the results so easily obtained.

The German theory does not, however, seem to be absolutely settled on these various points. It still wavers between several solutions. One unquestionable fact is that, on the FrancoBritish front, the Germans have lost their superiority in morale, and the initiative that derives therefrom. In a great majority of cases, those impassioned partisans of the most vigorous offensive are reduced to the defensive pure and simple. If the backsliding of the Russian Maximalists had not come to their assistance, it is probable that the year 1917 would have witnessed decisive events of a nature to hasten the end of the nightmare which has lain so heavily on the civilized world since the first days of August, 1914.




HAD any one in the early days of 1917 predicted that in April the United States would formally be at war with Germany; that in May Congress would pass the Selective Service law; that in June nearly ten million men would be registered for service pursuant to the President's proclamation; that in July the order in which they were to appear for examination would be determined; that in August the first quotas would be ready to report; that in September they would begin to arrive at the cantonments; and that by October the training would be well under way had any one in those early days of uncertainty and indecision possessed the temerity to suggest even the possibility of these achievements, his predictions would have attracted attention only on account of the seeming improbability of their realization. Never did a nation abandon more suddenly and completely its dreams of peace and neutrality and turn to the arts of war.

Even more noteworthy are these results when account is taken of the means by which they were accomplished. Recorded experience would have required a complicated system in some departmental bureau to work out the infinite details of the undertaking. But in this case precedent was thrown aside, and the intelligence and capacity for coöperation of the private citizen were intrusted with the task of providing the recruits for a great army. The draft law of 1863 was administered

by a bureau of the War Department and by district boards of enrollment presided over by provost marshals who had the rank and pay of captains of cavalry. The roster of the National Army of 1917 was prepared by civilians, for the law expressly enjoined that the boards charged with the selection of the men should be composed of members 'none of whom shall be connected with the military establishment.'

The enormous volume of work involved in enrolling those subject to the law, in giving them cards of registration, in preparing the lists and numbering the names of registrants preparatory to the drawing, in the physical examination of those called up for service, and in hearing and passing on claims for exemption and discharge, was performed almost entirely without compensation. Well might ProvostMarshal-General Crowder exclaim that 'no great national project was ever attempted with so complete a reliance upon the voluntary coöperation of citizens for its execution.' Democracy had stood the test, and for the time. being had earned its right to survive. The voluntary coöperation of free citizens had proved as efficient as any administrative machine devised and imposed by an autocratic government.

Under these remarkable auspices the National Army of 1917 came into being. And who can forget those memorable days when the first quotas entrained for the cantonments? crowded sidewalks, the bands, the escorts of citizens and officials, and be


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hind them the long lines of seriousfaced men, -men of every walk in life: keen-eyed business men, sturdy farmers, neatly dressed clerks, mechanics, barbers, bakers, professional men, a college professor or two, and unskilled laborers, some with countenances aglow with the consciousness and enthusiasm of patriotic service, others with hardly a perception of their mission showing through their stolid faces; men, too, of almost every racial mould that Europe produces, and many from the countries of Asia; some men with poise and dignity in their walk, a few with slouchy gait and slip-shod appearance a veritable cross-section of our population, revealing all its racial varieties, types, and conditions of men. And then the ringing bells and shrieking whistles as the trains pulled out and we almost forgot the tear-stained faces of wives and mothers and sweethearts as we hurried back to work.

In the early summer the sites for the cantonments had been selected. Tracts of farm-land and prairie, from which the latest crops had not even been harvested, suddenly became the scenes of feverish activity. Neighboring communities awakened from their slumbers and felt the thrill of a new life. Sixteen cities, containing in all twentyfour thousand buildings and designed to shelter nearly seven hundred thousand men, were rushed to completion, and each city provided with its own water, sewerage, telephone, and lighting systems, with miles of constructed roads, with its own theatres, fire department, railroad yards, refrigeration plant, bakeries, laundry, post-office, hotels, and hospital-all embodying the latest results of scientific investigation and building practice. The camps in themselves were an epic in enterprise.

And in these cantonments a new epoch in our national life began, and six hundred thousand young men entered

upon a new enterprise. Arriving at the cantonment receiving station their names were read: Aboud, Abraham, Adams, Adamski, Annarino, Applegate, Arhondakis, Anderson, Baranek, Beseske, Boerst, Brown, Cassidy, Corwin, Czarnota, Czeniakowski, Czyryla, Dzurda, - every conceivable combination and permutation of the alphabet, and they were assigned to quarters in the new barracks. Thumb- and finger-prints were taken to assure future identification, and every man was given another rigid physical examination. Any suspicion of defect was subjected to the X-Ray and the latest tests of medical science. Typhoid prophylaxis and vaccination were administered. Defective teeth and minor ailments were treated. In the first few days of its existence the National Army had appreciably raised the average of health in the United States.

Having passed the physical tests, the men were assigned, according to the districts from which they came, to the various line regiments and to the different branches of the service. Later on, a civilian committee from Washington organized for each cantonment a personnel office. Every man was required to fill out a card on which was a printed list of forty-nine occupations arranged in the order of their relative value for military purposes, unskilled labor and the legal profession being bracketed at the bottom of the scale. By means of the entries on these cards and their classification it became possible to assign men according to their trades and experience to the various duties connected with the sheltering, clothing, feeding, equipment, and the transportation and communications of a community of forty thousand souls.

Most of the men had never seen an officer, and most of the officers, fresh from their training at the officers' camps, had never commanded a pla

toon, but the novelty of the experience and the zest of action inspired all with the spirit of the mighty enterprise.

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The first lessons were in military courtesies. The meaning and the importance of the military salute were explained, and in a few days every man in camp was privileged to laugh at the untutored recruit who happened to encounter the commanding general. Not receiving the customary salute, — so the story went the rounds of the barracks, the general stopped the youth and asked him how long he had been in the cantonment. 'Oh, two days,' was the answer; 'how long have you been here?' 'A little longer than that,' replied the general; 'and how do you like it?' 'Oh, first-rate,' was the response; 'how does it suit you?'

Uniforms were lacking and the ranks at first presented a motley disarray of civilian suits and khaki, comic-opera combinations of military tunics, blue overalls, and mismatched leggingsbut all looked forward hopefully, and it was a proud day when the entire company appeared in uniform.

Instruction began with the school of the soldier, and with close-order drill by squads. Constant attention was given to 'setting-up' exercises, for this war makes unprecedented demands on physical endurance. As proficiency was acquired, close-order drill was taught in platoons, companies, and larger units. Then came instruction in extended order, in attack and defense, and in the work of covering detachments.

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sighting was taught with sighting bars which the men made for themselves. The artillery regiments were even more put to it for equipment. For months after the preliminary training had been completed, the men were compelled to wear out their enthusiasm on Quaker guns improvised from cart-wheels logs, stove-pipes, or anything at hand, which, by violating the imagination, could be made to resemble artillery.

By this time French and British officers had arrived, and had begun instruction in the new methods and the new weapons which the war has called into use. An automatic rifle, brought from France, and the only weapon of the kind in the cantonment, went the rounds for purposes of demonstration. Groups from every company were instructed in the art of bomb-throwing. The resources of the country having proved inadequate to supply trenchmortars, a few mechanical geniuses, out of materials at hand, produced a weapon which tested out as satisfactorily as any mortar in actual service. The trench-systems of the Western front were duplicated, the infantry battalions taking turns at digging front-line trenches, communication, supporting, and reserve trenches, and bomb-proof shelters, and in making fascines and sand-bags for the parapets and parados. Barbed wire was strung, and dummies representing German soldiers defending the system were set up. Under conditions as realistic as art could produce, and under the eyes of veterans who had faced the Boche and bested him, the men were taught the 'will of the bayonet,' democracy's answer to Germany's 'will to power.' Whoever witnesses the bayonet practice in any of the cantonments will realize that our men are being prepared, not for the idealities, but for the grim business of war.

Nor was it all work. Men whose

minds and bodies had never been swept by the purifying atmosphere of healthful play learned for the first time the meaning of outdoor sport. At the daily recreation hour forty football games could be seen in progress in all parts of the camp. More than one gridiron star, whose services in the past would have commanded a general's salary, was wearing a uniform and coaching men who had never seen a game. A number of ring champions had been drafted in the first quotas. Their fame spread rapidly through the barracks and they were commandeered for instruction in the manly art. Two big league nines happened to stop at the cantonment and played a ten-inning game in a natural amphitheatre formed by the hills. Twelve dozen balls were lost among the thirty thousand soldiers who covered the hillsides. The next day every battalion had its baseball nine.

After the day's work a lecture or entertainment would pack the liberty theatre or the various camp auditoriums; but there was abundant talent among the men themselves. Moreover, every man's ability in the way of public entertainment had been recorded and classified at headquarters with as much care as his previous military experience and ability to speak French or German. Monotony and discontent are as deadly as an epidemic. Practice in mass singing was encouraged and was taken up by the men with enthusiasm. Battalions on practice march could be heard carrying with lusty voices the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic to some such improvised words as, —

Watch your step, here comes O-HI-O!
Watch your step, here comes O-HI-O!
Watch your step, here comes O-HI-O!

To fight for liberty!

America's long neglect of her immigrant population was early reflected in the returns made by the personnel

office. Out of twenty-four thousand men in one cantonment it was found that over four thousand could speak little or no English, and that thousands more had so imperfect a knowledge of it that their military training was seriously handicapped. One regiment, drawn from a large industrial centre, was said to contain over twenty-five hundred such men. Forty foreign languages and dialects were found to be represented in the division. Most of these men were of necessity transferred from the permanent organizations to the training battalions of the dépôt brigade, and intensive instruction in English through the dramatic method was begun. Many enlisted men volunteered as teachers. On the other hand, one man, who was born in Germany and had been a college professor in civil life, gave instruction in French and German to the division headquarters staff.

In this way civilian garb gave place to khaki, stooping shoulders and careless gait to expanding chests and precision of muscular movement, stolid looks to alertness and attention, inertia to the spirit of the bayonet. Classdistinctions were obliterated, and racial and religious prejudices cast aside, bringing into relief those qualities of sinewy manhood, patriotism, and service which in times past have been the glory of the Republic. Frequently mothers, harassed by rumors that the 'boys were starving,' or that 'half a company had been frozen to death,' or that 'the men were being mistreated,' drifted into camp. They met their boys, were shown over the barracks, sat down to mess, and went away satisfied - hoping against hope that it would all end with the cantonment.

In accordance with the Selective Service law, the men had been organized, as far as practicable, into units corresponding with the sections from which they came. Early in the training

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