The Thirtieth division, with 19,000 soldiers and 3,000 pieces of motor equipment, early this morning opened the largest and longest battle maneuver of its current training program after moving out on the Fort Jackson range yesterday to assume jump-off positions for a four-day “war.”
All the weapons of the division from the 30-caliber rifle up to the 155-millimeter howitzer, will be brought into action, and the open terrain of the reservation will resound with firing that is scheduled to consume 15,000 rounds of blank ammunition of all calibers.
A further touch of realism is to be added with the establishment of a railhead at the nearest point of approach to the maneuver area. Trains will transport supplies and ammunition of all calibers.
A further touch of realism is to be added with the establishment of a railhead at the nearest point of approach to the maneuver area. Trains will transport supplies and ammunition as close to the “front” as possible, with trucks moving them the rest of the way up.
Airplanes of the One Hundred and Fifth Observation squadron from Owens field and armored scout cars and motorcycles of the One Hundred and Second Cavalry, both First corps units, will join the Thirtieth for the maneuvers.
One purpose of the problem will be to assist in the molding of the division’s two brigade combat teams, more or less of an innovation in army organization, into the hard-hitting infantry-artillery combination they will eventually be.
Each team is composed of one infantry brigade plus one regiment of light artillery, which work together as a unit. “Square” divisions such as the Thirtieth contain two such combat teams, with each of the two infantry brigades of the division serving as the basis for one team.
In a complete switchover from World war tactics, which saw the division’s artillery disposed behind the infantry lines for general support at such times and places as it was needed, the new setup contemplates closer co-operation between the two branches.
The current maneuvers are intended to mold the infantry and artillery elements of each of the two combat teams into single fighting units within the division with the light artillery regiments supporting and working with definite infantry elements.
The maneuvers which began today will pit the fifty-ninth Brigade combat team against the rest of the Thirtieth division, including the Sixtieth brigade combat team, thus dividing the division approximately in half.
The main body of the Thirtieth, including the division headquarters setup, will be commanded in the field as a division by Maj. Gen. Henry D. Russell, division commander, and will be known as the “Blue” forces.
The Fifty-ninth Brigade Combat team, designated as the “Browns,” will be commanded by Brig. Gen. T. E. Marchant, Fifty-ninth Infantry brigade commander.
Both of the opposing forces include elements of the One Hundred and Fifth Engineer regiment and the One Hundred and Fifth Medical regiment. The “Blue” forces of the division likewise include the One Hundred and Thirteenth Field Artillery, the one heavy artillery (155-millimeter) regiment of the Thirtieth.
As the “battle” began early today the “blue”forces under General Russell, after encamping during the night near Blaney, began moving southward toward Columbia and Fort Jackson, with disposition of the “Brown” forces under General Marchant unknown.
Contact between the two was expected to be made today and the “battle” to develop from there on.
The mechanized squadron of the One Hundred and Second Cavalry, with its radio-equipped armored scout cars bristling with machine guns, is covering the left flank of the “Blues” on their southward advance.
Umpires for the maneuvers will come from First corps headquarters in Columbia, with a large number of officers therefrom slated to take the field to observe the “battle” and judge its results.
The One Hundred and Fifth Observation squadron will be employed by the umpires to do reconnaissance duty, take aerial pictures and gather information about troop movements during the four-day problem.
Widespread communications networks, including telephone, telegraph and radio systems, will be set up by both of the opposing contingents to maintain contacts from the two head quarters down through the smaller units, and among the smaller units themselves.
An announcements from Fort Jackson yesterday said the current four day maneuver was the first of three similar division problems to be held before the Thirtieth leaves the last of May for Tennessee for the Second Army maneuvers.
The “Blue” forces this week are composed of:
Thirtieth division headquarters and special troops; the One Hundred and Thirteenth (North Carolina) Field Artillery regiment (155-millimeter howitzers), and Brigade Combat Team No. 60, which includes the Sixtieth Infantry brigade headquarters, the One Hundred and Seventeenth (Tennessee) and One Hundred and Twentieth (North Carolina) Infantry regiments, the One Hundred and Fifteenth (Tennessee) Field Artillery regiment (75-millimeter guns), and elements of the One Hundred and Fifth Engineer and One Hundred and the Fifth Medical regiments.
The “Brown” forces include;
Brigade Combat team No. 59. which is composed of the Fifty-ninth Infantry brigade headquarters, the One Hundred and Eighteenth (South Carolina) and One Hundred and Twenty-first (Georgia) Infantry regiments, the One Hundred and Eighteenth (Georgia) Field Artillery regiment (75-millimeter guns), and the balance of the One Hundred and Fifth Engineer and One Hundred and Fifth Medical regiments.