Division troops yesterday were warily maneuvering into position for an expected clash in “civil war” being conducted this week as a part of the first war games of this spring for this National Guard outfit.
With the “Brown” enemy Fifty-ninth Brigade combat team grouped between the Fort Jackson reservation and the Wateree river and the “Blue” defending forces (remainder of the Thirtieth division troops) advancing south from Blaney each army unit planing flanking movements against the other force which would, eventually, bring the final clash between the two groups of soldiers onto the Fort Jackson reservation itself.
Both sides are supplied with “blank” ammunition and the maneuver, embodying all units of the Thirtieth, is being carried out under simulated wartime conditions. Officers of the First corps are supervising the orders issued fro the tactical employment of the various organizations and weapons under the command of the “Brown” brigade and “Blue” division commanders.
The “Blue” yesterday were under command of Brig. Gen. Don E. Scott, Sixtieth brigade commander, while the “Browns” were commanded by Brig. Gen. T. E. Marchant, Fifty-Ninth brigade commander.
Maj. Gen. Henry D. Russell, division commander, who was in charge of the maneuvering “Blue” forces Tuesday and Wednesday was on the sidelines Thursday as an observer of the action of both sides’ practical application of their training.
The forces were concentrated along the Batesburg-Lexington line with part of the “Blue” force of the Thirtieth on the left.
A corps of the “Reds” were attempting to hold the “Blues” northwest of Springfield-Columbia-Camden “front.”
The One Hundred and Second Cavalry regiment was disposed on the right flank of the “Blue” forces for mobile protection.
At 1 p. m. yesterday some parts of the two opposing forces were barely two miles apart from each other before the “Blue” forces got the “go ahead” signal from the First corps umpires and sent out three columns to flank the troops on their left and drive the “Reds” back across the Wateree river.
The three columns were composed of the One Hundred and Twentieth regimental combat team, approaching the “Reds” from the enemy’s left; the One Hundred and Seventeenth regimental combat team, which was schedules to strike at the enemy’s left center, and one battalion of the One Hundred and Seventeenth Infantry with one battery of the One Hundred and Fifteenth Field Artillery and one anti-tank company destined to receive the greatest shock when the force hit the center of enemy.
Other units with the “Blue” were Thirtieth Signal and MP companies with the division headquarters and detachments of the One Hundred and Fifth Medical and Engineer regiments.
The “Reds” were made up of the Fifty-ninth brigade headquarters company, One Hundred and Eighteenth and One Hundred and Twentyfirst. Infantry regiments, One Hundred and Eighteen Field Artillery regiment, and detachments of the One Hundred and Fifth Medical and One Hundred and Fifth Engineer regiments with Thirtieth Signal and Thirtieth MP troops assigned to the combat team.
It was understood that the “Red” forces would conduct a similar maneuver in an effort to outflank the fiankers and push the “Blue” defenders back towards the Fort Jackson reservation.
Many a lad from the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee is getting his first taste of “real war” in the field this week with the Thirtieth division on these four day maneuvers. For the seletees and new members of the National Guard units, it is their first extended field duty.
It’s a great experience and one that the men had been looking forward to for months. Every effort is made to make the troops as comfortable as possible under simulated combat conditions and probably everything except the beds are just as they are on the post.
Hot meals as appetizing and as well prepared the men get at the post are served from the army’s modernized field kitchen which roll along right behind the troops and following into combat area. Gasoline burning field ranges set on the backs of trucks cook the meals as they roll.
When the call for chow comes, the fighting men, hot, tired and very hungry, are quick to fall in line and any rookie will tell you he’s going to enjoy field maneuvers just as long as they feed meals like the men of Thirtieth have been getting.
Well hardened after seven months of training here, the men don’t seem to mind sleeping in the scrub land. The weather has been nice enough to forget about pitching pup tents and the men have been rolling up their blankets and “hitting” the pine needles. Non-coms say they have to be rolled over many times before they awaken.
Sleep and food are the two most important things to men in the field, but Uncle Sam is seeing to it that his soldiers get other conveniences, as well. There is a daily mail delivery to the combat areas and since no matter how well a soldier is fed, there is still a demand for refreshments and fillers, which can be obtained from a rolling post exchange that gets around the entire combat area.