Units of 30th Engaged In Large-Scale Maneuver Aided By Planes
Field artillery pieces boomed as machine guns and rifles kept up a constant fire today as 10,000 officers and men of the 30th Division, reenforced with Mechanized cavalry and planes, clashed deep in the Fort Jackson reservation.
The division split up to form two sides for the divisional maneuver had moved out of the fort Monday night, The Blues, headed by Maj. Gen. Henry D. Russell, had encamped near Blaney while the Browns had bivouacked across the Wateree river.
Yesterday, the two opposing forces began moving toward each other, the Blues entering the northeastern end of the reservation while the Browns poured in from the South. Last night, the motor movement of the troops, carried out in 3,000, continued without the use of lights, and the rival forces found themselves only five miles apart today on the reservation.
The Browns with a mission of taking Fort Jackson were moving in toward the camp area while Blue forces dug in on defense lines separating the hostile force from the camp.
While the main bodies of the two armies had not met today, contact had been effected by patrols which resulted in brief skirmishes. Planes of the 105th Observation squadron flying over the battle area from their over the battle area from their base at the Columbia airport, sent back photographs and messages to their troops concerning movements of the enemy units.
With defense lines made, officials predicted that the main bodies of the armies would not meet until tomorrow morning, the officers prepared to move their troops to new strategic positions tonight under the cover of darkness.
However, throughout today, a steady roar of artillery and rifle fire was maintained with patrol units, both in the air and on the ground seeking to determine enemy emplacements and strength.
The maneuver the largest ever held at Fort Jackson, began Tuesday and is expected to reach its climax tomorrow morning in a pitched battle between the opposing forces. In this “battle”, blank ammunition will be used in the guns, but officials of the First army corps from Columbia who are refereeing the fight, will determine how the tide of battle is going.
With the first actual contact made today, men were being brought back to an evacuation hospital in ambulances where they were treated before being returned to their regiments. This imaginary casually list was thus giving medical corps personnel, attached to both sides, actual training in the movement of simulated wounded men from the battlefield, back to evacuation hospitals, and in applying first aid treatment.
To simulate actual combat conditions, 15,000 rounds of blank ammunition will be fired during today, tonight and in the critical battle expected tomorrow morning.
Since Monday night, the troops have remained in the field camping in pup tents and eating field rations. This maneuver could not be predicted like earlier field exercises since the strategy of the commanding officers, General Russell with the Blues, and Birg. Gen T. E. Marchant of the Browns, was being employed feely.
After moving into their new positions today, the rival armies set up telephone radio and switchboard systems to maintain contact with various units. Spies from both sides were captured while trying to disrupt the communication lines and were being questioned today by intelligences officer in an effort to find out probable enemy movements.
After the battle tomorrow morning, preceded by three days of troop maneuvering, the 30th Division, with the mechanized units of the 102nd Cavalry and the 105th Observation squadron, will return to their camp areas.