Bringing to Life the Brave Nurses of World War I 

By Tracey Enerson Wood
Special to the Doughboy Foundation web site 

After writing about the amazing feats of Emily Warren Roebling in The Engineer’s Wife, (who despite tremendous obstacles and laws against women working, completed the Brooklyn Bridge) I cast about, searching for my next heroine. And indeed, she needed to be a heroine as my goal is to shed light on untold stories of women who accomplished great things, yet are lost to history.

51xTaucvqxL. SX329 BO1204203200 Coming from a multi-generational military family, and having interviewed dozens more for Homefront Cooking, Recipes, Wit, and Wisdom from American Veterans and Their Loved Ones, I thought it was time to explore a woman who served in war time. Although I enjoy WWII stories, it seems there are already many excellent novels to choose from. Much less common are ones set in WWI era, with even fewer featuring women protagonists. As I am a retired registered nurse, I thought my experience could lend insight to the unique challenges my characters would face. It was an easy task to find the perfect fit: Julie Catherine Stimson.

The jacket copy nicely summarizes the story:

“Superintendent of Nurses Julia Stimson is asked to recruit sixty-five nurses to relieve those of the battle-worn British, months before American troops are ready to be deployed. She knows that the young nurses serving near the front lines of WWI would face a challenging situation, but nothing could have prepared her for the chaos that awaits when they arrive at British Base Hospital 12 in Rouen, France. The primitive conditions, a convoluted, ineffective system, and horrific battle wounds are enough to discourage the most hardened nurses, and Julia can do nothing but lead by example—even as the military doctors undermine Julia’s authority and make her question her very place in the hospital tents.

Tracey Enerson WoodTracey Enerson Wood"When trainloads of soldiers stricken by a mysterious respiratory illness arrive one after the other, overwhelming the hospital’s limited resources, and threatening the health of her staff, Julia faces an unthinkable choice—to step outside the bounds of her profession and risk the career she has fought so hard for, or to watch the people she cares for most die in her arms. Based on a true story, THE WAR NURSE is a sweeping historical novel by international bestselling author Tracey Enerson Wood that takes readers on an unforgettable journey through WWI France.”

I was fortunate to be living in Europe while researching the story. I was able to tour battlefields in Belgium and France, and spent time in beautiful Rouen, Monet’s gardens, and other places that became settings in the book. I spoke to farmers, who even today must be careful when plowing their fields, as unexploded ordinance still abounds.

I visited many of the carefully tended military cemeteries that dot the landscape, and was the first family member to visit the final resting place of my great uncle in Meuse-Argonne. While there, I discovered the story of nurse Charlotte Cox, who then became a character in the book.

I learned much about the Spanish Flu pandemic, which has become very relevant in today’s world. I trekked through preserved tunnels and trenches, climbed aboard old ambulances and tanks. The huge Lochnagar mine crater in a Somme battlefield served as inspiration for an important scene in my book.

Another important takeaway was the genius of the American Red Cross in preparing stateside medical organizations to form deployable units. In this way, they had a group of professionals, who already knew each other and worked well together, so critical for quickly creating functional units overseas.

Physically being in the same space, seeing the rows upon rows of white marble crosses and stars, walking the very earth that soldiers died to protect, and seeing the reverence paid today for their sacrifices was an honor and privilege. I endeavored to combine that with my personal experience of the physical and emotional challenges of nursing to bring Julia Stimson and her nurses’ stories to life. I hope I succeeded.

 

 

UPDATED WWI MEMORIAL “VIRTUAL EXPLORER” APP
PUBLISHING AUGUST 15, 2021
IN TIME FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR

What it is:

The Doughboy Foundation is bringing the new National WWI Memorial from Washington, D.C. to schools, classrooms, dining rooms, dens, backyards, and driveways all over America with a new updated release of the award-winning Augmented Reality App called The WWI Memorial “Virtual Explorer”.

iPad Screenshot of the Memorial model

The “Virtual Explorer” app brings a walk-around-inside-it digital 3D model of the National WWI Memorial to students at home or in school classrooms using iOS or Android smartphones and tablets, available in many K-12 schools.

Students, teachers, or any interested party can access the National WWI Memorial themselves, wherever they are, rather than needing to go to Washington, D.C. to experience and explore it. More than that, the WWI Memorial “Virtual Explorer” App is filled with interactive and experiential WWI history, including:

The Timeline Tower: An interactive, 2-story tall 3D timeline featuring over 50 key events from WWI with images and short narratives organized up and down the tower in time order.

iPad Screenshot of the Timeline Tower

The Sinking of the Lusitania: A video game-style presentation of this crucial event that was instrumental in drawing America into the global WWI conflict.

iPad Screenshot of the Lusitania story

Vehicles from WWI: Featuring interactive 3D models of breakthrough vehicles that came out of WWI including airplanes, tanks, motorized ambulances and even a 1917 Harley Davidson motorcycle.iPad Screenshot of a Sopwith Camel in Vehicles from WWI section

How WWI Changed America: More than 50 micro-documentaries (each under 2 minutes) in 9 categories featuring leading WWI historians on social studies subjects such as the effect of WWI on Women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, citizenship, propaganda, and even the 1918 flu pandemic.

iPad Screenshot of How WWI Changed America section

The Military History of WWI: A multi-part exploration of how America exploded from a low tier standing army of less than 130,000 to a global military powerhouse with 4.7 million men and women in uniform, and 2 million soldiers deployed overseas in just 18 months.

iPad Screenshot from "Pershing family tradition of Service"

 

Stories of Service: The tools and means to create research projects about WWI veterans from the local community or families, which can be submitted INTO the App, resulting in an auto-narrated story and images that are shared nationally with everyone who uses the app.

iPad Screenshot a "Virtual Remembrance" story of service

And more...

 


communicator award trophy"Best Use of Augmented Reality"The WWI Memorial “Virtual Explorer” prototype was released as an experimental app last year and received a 2021 Communicator Award for “Best Use of Augmented Reality” from the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts. The innovative “Virtual Explorer” education technology (EduTech) initiative has received support and funding from Walmart, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

There is a companion app called the WWI Memorial “Visitor Guide”. It is very similar, to the “Virtual Explorer” but is designed for use when you are physically at the WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C. The smaller app can be downloaded when at-site to ad the interactive and experiential WWI history as an overlay to a WWI Memorial visit.

The WWI Memorial Apps were produced by the Doughboy Foundation in partnership with two California based companies: TechApplication.com, LLC as creator/producer, and game studio Code Headquarters as the developer.

The Apps can be found by searching on “WWI Memorial” in either app store or by going to www.Doughboy.org/apps

 


Who is involved:

About the new National WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Legislation signed by President Obama in 2014 and expanded in 2015 designated Pershing Park, located 2 blocks east of the White House, as a National WWI Memorial. The legislation tasked the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission with creating the Memorial, starting with an international design competition in 2015, and design selection in 2016. The Memorial went through a three-year design refinement and collaboration with the Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission, the National Park Service, and others, resulting in the final design approval in 2019. Construction began in December of 2019 and continued through 2020 with all the upheavals of the period including the Pandemic. Completion of Phase 1 construction was marked by a national virtual event called “First Colors” and the Memorial opening to the public on April 16, 2021. The completion of Phase 2, with the installation of the 58’, 38-character bronze centerpiece sculpture and dedication of the completed Memorial, is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, 2024.

About the Doughboy Foundation
The Doughboy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the District of Columbia in 2013.
The Foundation’s mission is to Keep Faith with the American Doughboy with its programs of: The daily sounding of Taps at the National WWI Memorial; providing access to the Memorial via mobile apps; and organizing signature events to encourage remembrance and enhance learning about WWI.
The Doughboy Foundation has worked with the US WWI Centennial Commission since the Memorial's conception in 2014 to make the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC a reality, including taking the lead on raising the $50M for the project, as well as managing the various stages of competition, design, development, and construction.

About TechApplication.com, LLC
TechApp is a unique technology support service helping to navigate the implication, application, and integration of new technologies into mission, operation, workflow, and culture. Company founder Theo Mayer has been sitting as Chief Technologist for both the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission and the Doughboy Foundation since 2014, with his company providing a wide variety of technology infrastructure and services.

About Code Headquarter
Code Headquarters, established by founder Andranik Aslanyan, is a unique game studio based in Burbank, CA. The studio specializes in innovative projects built with the industry leading Epic Game System’s The Unreal Engine platform.
Code HQ used its video game developer expertise to realize the vision for the WWI Memorial Apps by integrating leading edge game technology with iOS and Android Augmented Reality capabilities.

 

The Battle of Bellicourt Tunnel – Tommies, Diggers, and Doughboys on the Hindenburg Line 1918 

By Major Peter L. Belmonte, USAF (Retired)
via the ARGunners Magazine web site 

Students of World War I are very familiar with the strategic situation of the Western Front in September 1918. With the goal of driving the Germans across the Hindenburg Line, cutting German army rail supply lines, and positioning the Allied armies for victory in 1919, Marshal Ferdinand Foch planned a series of grand offensives sequentially beginning on September 26 and roughly covering the area from the Meuse River to the Belgian coast. Dale Blair’s new book covers a crucial part of Foch’s attack plan involving British, Australian, and American troops in an assault on the Hindenburg Line in the area of the St. Quentin Canal.

9781848325876 33 209x300Blair, a freelance Australian writer and historian, sets the stage by giving a brief overview of the strategic situation followed by a close look at the St. Quentin area and at the Anglo-American forces involved in the assault. The focus of the book is upon the Australian Corps commanded by Lieutenant General Sir John Monash and including the American 27th and 30th Divisions. Blair covers the attack chronologically and by divisional sector. Most of the book recounts action that took place on 29 and 30 September; this will give the reader an idea of the detail into which Blair delves to describe the advance.

In discussing the attack, including the disastrous attempt by the 27th Division to reach their jump-off line two days before “D-Day,” Blair gives us plenty of detail down to battalions, companies, and individuals. The main assault began on 29 September with the two American divisions’ objective being the “Green Line” past the Hindenburg Line. While some groups of men did indeed achieve that line, the Americans met with strong resistance and failed to achieve their objective. In subsequent chapters, Blair covers each day’s fighting as the Australians, with British support on their flanks, pushed through the Americans to finally reach the Green Line on 30 September.

It was thought at the time that the American lack of success was due to their failure to mop up behind their assault lines. Blair disagrees with this assessment and instead asserts that the Americans were held up by stiff resistance:

The reality was that the 27th Division had been repulsed all along its front but for a few groups that had pierced the line and plunged headlong into the Germans [in the Hindenburg Line]. [p. 89]

Thus the Germans encountered by the Australians following behind the Americans were not isolated pockets that the U.S. troops had failed to “mop up,” but were actually surviving troops of the front line along with reinforcements. The American troops certainly were aware of the necessity to mop up behind the assault line. The author attributes their failure to adequately do so to the difficult weather and ground conditions, the German principle of aggressive counterattacks, and the efficient use of German reserves. Blair also rebuts the notion that the Bellicourt Tunnel, through which the St. Quentin Canal flowed in the American sector, housed reserves that “popped up” behind advancing Americans and threatened their rear. 

 

Tragic PhotoThe so-called 'tragic' photo, as it shows four American pilots, each of whom died for France before America entered the War. From left to right, James McConnell, Kiffin Rockwell, their French captain Georges Thénault, Norman Prince and Victor Chapman. 

A Destiny of Undying Greatness: Kiffin Rockwell and the Boys Who Remembered Lafayette 

By Mark M. Trapp
Special to the doughboy.org web site 

Most Americans with a passing knowledge of history know of General Pershing’s July 4, 1917, march through Paris with the newly arrived American troops to the tomb of Lafayette where, on behalf of America, Pershing’s aide Colonel Charles Stanton uttered the famous words “Lafayette, we are here.” But too many are unaware of the actions and sacrifices of Kiffin Rockwell and other American boys dating back to the outset of the Great War more than two and a half years before Pershing’s arrival.

mtrappMark M. TrappMy own knowledge came about more by happenstance than anything else when, in the Fall of 1997, I began law school at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. On my first day, I took a walk around campus to familiarize myself with my new surroundings. Upon entering Lee Chapel, I came across a small plaque honoring a W&L alumnus by the name of “Kiffin Yates Rockwell” who, the plaque indicated, had been “killed in aerial combat” in France in September 1916. Because my wife was eight and a half months pregnant with our first child, baby names were at the front of our minds, and I believed I had just come across the coolest name ever. But what was the bearer of that name doing in France in 1916, in aerial combat, no less? Like many Americans, I knew next to nothing about World War One, but I knew that we had not entered the war until 1917.

During the next few years, I tried to learn more about this boy named Kiffin, and of how he came to be fighting and dying in France during the time that the United States was officially neutral and President Woodrow Wilson was campaigning for re-election using the slogan “he kept us out of war.” Through sporadic research over the years, I learned the basic outlines of a remarkable story: long before their own country entered the conflict that would redefine the world, a handful of young American men ignored President Wilson’s declared neutrality and risked their lives fighting on the side of France and, as they saw it, civilization itself.

Initially fighting in the trenches, many of these idealistic volunteers eventually took to the skies as part of the first generation of fighter pilots. A good number of these boys, many from some of the wealthiest and most privileged families in America, willingly sacrificed everything to repay what they saw as a debt owed by their nation based on the heroic actions and support of the Marquis de Lafayette and France when America was engaged in its struggle for independence from Britain. Kiffin Rockwell was one of these boys, and with his brother Paul in early August of 1914, he was likely the very first volunteer to leave America’s shores to defend France.

While many history buffs are familiar with the broad outlines of the story of the Lafayette Escadrille, as the all-American flying squadron fighting for France would eventually be called, I was amazed to learn of the noble sacrifices made by these boys who had everything to lose. But as a practicing attorney with young children and a very busy life, my interest in the story never advanced beyond a general desire to know more.

That all changed when, in 2014, my son was born on the exact 100-year anniversary of the day that Kiffin and Paul Rockwell enlisted in the French Foreign Legion in Paris. We named our little boy Kiffin and, my interest in the story rekindled, I began five years of research and writing that truly changed my life. Working at nights, on weekends, and during my daily commute to downtown Chicago where I still practice as an attorney, I began to uncover the details of the remarkable story of “the boys who remembered Lafayette,” as I began to think of them.

 

 

Biographies of 140 WWI veterans published in “Greene-Dreher in the Great War” 

By Lyle T. Galloway
via the River Reporter newspaper (NY) web site 

HONESDALE, PA — Bethel School may have closed decades ago, but there has been no shortage of learning there. Many tours, spelling bees, lectures and other special events have been conducted in the tiny building. On Sunday, July 11 Bethel School held an open house and a lecture.

About Bethel School

Bethel School was built in 1870. Despite some minor renovations to the stairs and other parts of the outside of the building, the interior looks relatively unchanged. A large blackboard is at the front of the room, a pull-down wall map from 1897 hangs above it, too fragile with age to be fully displayed. Rows of wooden desks are placed all over the room, topped with vintage books in all kinds of subjects from American History to Basic Arithmetic.

Before the school’s closure in 1951, it saw 31 different teachers, with Mary Agnes McCarthy being the last. She taught from 1946 to 1951.

Lennon's book on the local heroes of World War I. For some, the small, central room was home to many happy memories. “I went to school here and enjoyed every minute of it... Across the road was an apple orchard, and if you felt like eating your lunch in the apple orchard, that’s what you did,” said Dorothy Kieff, former student at Bethel School and member of the Wayne County Historical Society.

She remembered wading in the nearby brook, playing marbles in the middle of the dirt road and playing “Haley Over” with the other children.

Kieff attended during the school’s final years. She recalled that there were 21 kids in her class. It comprised kids across different grade levels. Classes were called up in order to the front of the room to present their work. Afterward, the next group was called and others did individual work. 

“If you were stuck on something, there was always an older kid to ask, or if you were one of the older kids, there was always a kid to help. I always said that was cooperative learning at its best,” said Kieff.

‘The army within the Army’

The old wooden desks were occupied with those eager to learn something new once again as local historian Bernadine Lennon presented a lecture entitled “The Army within the Army.” The lecture focused on the volunteers and other unsung heroes that kept the American armies fighting.

Lennon is part of the Greene-Dreher Historical Society. In 2016, the group wanted to take on a project related to WWI as America’s centennial anniversary of joining the war was approaching.

Lennon visited local cemeteries, taking note of gravesites with flags. The project grew from there. By the time research was completed in 2019, the biographies of 140 local WWI veterans were published in Lennon’s book “Greene-Dreher in the Great War.” Three more were discovered after the book’s publishing.

 

WWI soldier Farley Lafore Lock and his namesake VFW post 

via the State Journal-Register newspaper (IL) web site 

Springfield, IL’s Lafore Lock Post 755 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this month, is named after World War I U.S. Army Pvt. Farley Lafore Lock.

Lock died Oct. 18, 1918, of wounds he suffered from an artillery shell the day before in the Verdun sector of France. Born in 1896, Lafore was one of 10 children (eight of them boys) of Nelson and Gretta Lock.

IL SPR SangamonCountyHistoricalLock’s death was described in a letter written to his family in January 1919 by Russell Burleigh, Lock’s sergeant in the medical unit of the 133rd Regiment, 33rd Division.

“Twice in our army life I called for volunteers to go with me on perilous journeys under enemy shell fire and twice Lafore and Neal (full name not given) volunteered to go with me regardless of what our prospect was or our chance of return.

“It was during the trying times when the enemy was trying to stop the rush of American manhood throught the impregnable Argonne Forests that Lafore after going to the front line and assisting in establishing a first aid post, volunteered to return and bring the remainder of the men up after dark.

“He started on his perilous errand with the same smile and joking way that he always wore while doing his duty. He never finished his errand, but we all know and God knows it was not through any fault of his.

“A high explosive shell from the gun of the unseen enemy came within five feet of him and not hearing it he failed to drop on the ground and a piece of the shell cut the lower third of the thigh of his left limb nearly severing it, and also cut the right limb. …

(H)e was immediately put on an ambulance and rushed by special request to the field hospital and the last words we heard him say was, with a faint smile, “Well they got both my legs.” …

“The day after Lafore was injured, he succumbed to his injuries… . The shock from the shell, the pain from the injuries, the loss of blood all were too much for anyone to bear or sustain. …

“We were 68 days in the woods and strewn battlefields, no baths and very little water and unable to claim our lives from one moment to the next.

“Lafore was the only one in the corps to succumb to wounds although several more of the men received wounds.

“LaFore left us nothing to remember him by but his personality which will never leave us. 

 

af7ed45f 281e 4e29 a699 49b6a39ab1c6 1920x1080From World War I to former President Barack Obama's time in office, Elizabeth Francis has seen the world go through a lot of changes. 

112 years young: Houstonian Elizabeth Francis celebrates her big day in a big way 

By Melissa Correa
via the KHOU television station (TX) web site

HOUSTON — Elizabeth Francis celebrated her 112th birthday on Sunday.

At 112, Francis deserves the parade neighbors put on at her north Houston home. She had an escort, wore a tiara, set up a well-positioned fan and was serenaded. The front-row seat to see her friends and family was all she needed to enjoy the day.

She even got a visit from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

Francis' granddaughter, 66-year-old Ethel Harrison, said the pandemic put a damper on the celebration last year.

"Last year, with the pandemic, we didn’t get to do a whole lot," Harrison said. "So, we're just so blessed that we still have her."

At 112, Francis still recognizes her loved ones, watches the news and carries hope.

"She’s very, very spiritual. And a lot of her strength comes from her faith that she has in God," Harrison said.

Francis was born in 1909. William Taft had just become President of the United States. The NAACP was in its infancy, only a few months old. At 7, Francis watched women fight for the right to vote. She lived through World War I and the Spanish Flu. She survived the Great Depression and lived through World War II. The March on Washington happened days after her 54th birthday. She saw the images from Vietnam and kept up with the space race. She's seen technology evolve and saw a monumental shift in civil rights for Americans. 

 

1506086037084The Great War in Europe had been raging for two and a half years before the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. The first U.S. Navy ships dispatched were the destroyers of Division Eight. On arriving at Queenstown, Ireland in May, they went into immediate service alongside the British Grand Fleet. The British government wanted United States ships to supplement shortages in Royal Navy flotillas, but the U.S. Navy did not want its ships separated. The difference of approach delayed the arrival of United States Battleship Division Nine until December 1917. It then entered service as the Sixth Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet. The squadron served in the North Sea. 

History Informs the Future Of American Sea Power at the U.S. Naval War College 

via the U.S. Naval War College Foundation web site

The U.S. Naval War College (USNWC) and the Naval War College Foundation (NWCF) have used the centenary of the first “great war” and the pandemic of 1918 to reconsider the historical influence upon contemporary discussions of future maritime strategy. Research in original documentary sources has enabled practitioners at the USNWC to develop fresh strategic perspectives about the future of American sea power. Just as Admirals Stephen B. Luce and Alfred Thayer Mahan used history with an applied purpose, the NWCF has encouraged contemporary historical research with the gracious support of the Pritzker Military Foundation, on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.

Led by the experts at the Naval War College’s Hattendorf Historical Center, we have continued to discover fresh historical perspectives about the lasting influence of the First World War upon contemporary concepts of American sea power and the future of maritime strategy in the twenty-first century. The Naval War College Museum exhibit, To Win or Lose All, features singular artifacts recently donated to by the family of Admiral William S. Sims. As the first to command foreign naval forces in combat during the First World War, Sims also twice served as President of the Naval War College. Having learned from the methods pioneered by Sir Julian Corbett in the “Historical Section” of the Imperial Staff in London, Sims returned to the Naval War College to establish a “Historical Section” with Captain Dudley W. Knox and reserve Lieutenant Tracy Barrett Kittredge. The organization established in Newport later influenced the development of the “Historical Section” within the Office of Naval Intelligence under Dudley W. Knox. Within twenty years, the Historical Sections of the Naval War College and Office of Naval Intelligence evolved into the Office of Naval History within the context of the Second World War.

Naval War College efforts to use history as the foundation for achieving decisive results in both peace and war remained a guiding principle for the Office of Naval History. Notably, the President of the Naval War College, Admiral Edward C. Kalbfus, served as the first Director of Naval History with Commodore Dudley W. Knox serving as the deputy director. Meanwhile, Captain Tracy Barrett Kittredge helped synthesize the efforts of the Naval War College and the Office of Naval History. During service in Europe during the Second World War, Kittredge worked at the direction of Kalbfus and Knox to drive efforts behind enemy lines to secure enemy intelligence sources. In this role, Kittredge worked directly with U.S. Army Reserve Colonel John Nicholas Brown II. Brown remained closely involved with Kittredge during their postwar work together at the Naval War College, and, later, Brown became a founding member of the Naval War College Foundation.

Pursuant to understanding the influence of sea power upon history, the Naval War College continued developing means to use the past as a foundation for future strategy. After 1943, the President of the Naval War College, Vice Admiral William S. Pye expanded the historical research mission at the College — working in direct collaboration with the Office of Naval History, Office of Naval Intelligence, and joint service equivalents for the primary postwar purposes of establishing conditions for a sustainable peacetime end under the United Nations. Pye also built from the earlier work of the Naval War College. As the Second World War ended, Commodore Richard S. Bates also formed the Battle Studies Group with the assistance of other former Naval War College historians, including Knox and Kittredge. Notably, Bates also later joined forces with John Nicholas Brown II as a founding member of the NWCF. The Bates papers and those of the Battle Studies Group in the historical collections of the Naval War College remain a rich repository of documents and other sources, which will keep historians busy for many years to come. 

 

ww1 gun crew 05997American gun crew in action during the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the largest offensive in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers. It is also the second deadliest battle in American history, resulting in over 350,000 casualties including 28,000 German lives, 26,277 American lives and an unknown number of French lives. 

The American and Joint Origins of Operational Depth in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign 

By Thomas Bruscino, PhD
via the Marine Corps University Press web site 

Abstract: A common view is that the U.S. military adopted wholesale the Soviet concept of operational depth in the 1970s and 1980s. However, a closer look at U.S. Army concepts, doctrine, and planning reveals that the concept, word, and definition of depth existed in the U.S. military prior to the 1970s. The beginnings of depth in the U.S. Army predate even the great interwar Soviet theorists. The American idea traces to the World War I era, during which it was made manifest in the Joint campaign and operations known as the Meuse-Argonne offensive. 


In the mid-1970s, the U.S. military was trying to recover, like the rest of the country, from the travails of the Vietnam War. Since it seemed safe to say that the United States would avoid Vietnam-type interventions for a while, much of its armed forces returned to a more singular focus on a potential war with the Soviet Union in Europe. This focus helped the Services rebuild, and the armed forces improved tremendously in their recruiting, training, education, and technology. Revitalized schools and rigorous training events, especially in Europe, led to a closer look at the Soviet armed forces and their fighting doctrines and theories. Out of such studies of the enemy came the formal adoption into U.S. doctrine of the Soviet concept of operational art, the level of war between strategy and tactics. With Soviet operational art came the tenet of depth.1

Or at least so the story goes. The Soviets, led by such thinkers as Alexander A. Svechin, Mikhail N. Tukhachevsky, Vladimir K. Triandafillov, and Georgii S. Isserson, had invented the concepts of operational art and depth during the interwar period between the First and Second World Wars. Their focus was on the activities of large units—armies, corps, and divisions—in the field, along with a Marxist-Leninist emphasis on revolutionary changes in warfare. For them, operational art was a deviation from the old strategy of a “single point,” whereby armies would maneuver until they came together for a decisive battle. Greater numbers of soldiers, extended ranges and rates of firepower, and the extension of continuous lines had created the necessity of campaigns that consisted of multiple large units engaged in simultaneous, successive, and distributed operations. Depth was the central feature of modern operations that drove operational art. This had been evident in World War I, with deep-echeloned defensive formations and long-range artillery. But the Soviets quickly moved past that depth and focused on the advent of faster and more durable tanks, longer-range attack and bombing aviation, and large long-range airborne units. Their deep operations included deep fires, especially using aviation, simultaneous to the advance of a ground attack on the front lines to achieve a penetration, which would be followed by a breakthrough of mechanized and motorized forces deep into the enemy’s defensive echelons and reserves, causing shock and collapse of enemy forces.2

In the 1970s, the U.S. Army, the confidence of which had been hit especially hard by the Vietnam War, took the lead in the United States in developing more well-defined operational concepts. Through an agreement with the U.S. Air Force, Army leaders developed the operating concept of AirLand Battle in the 1980s. This new operating concept explicitly used operational art and emphasized depth. In Operations, Field Manual (FM) 100-5, published in 1986, offensive depth was described as follows:

 

54604, 8/24/12, 9:09 AM,  8C, 3862x5347 (295+1295), 100%, Custom, 1/240 s, R30.5, G14.1, B35.8Ernest Peixotto in uniform with his wife, Mary, in 1918. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the American artist was eager to lend his hand to the effort. 

Ernest Peixotto: The Enlisted WWI Artist on the Western Front 

By Pamela D. Toler
via the historynet.com web site 

In late July 1914, American artist Ernest Peixotto and his wife, Mary, returned from a sketching trip in Portugal to the small studio-home in the French village of Samois-sur-Seine that had been their base for 15 years. The town was filled with people enjoying the summer weather: families boating on the river, ladies hosting outdoor tea parties under colored awnings, soldiers on leave sauntering along the streets.

A week later, Germany and France declared war on each other. Overnight, the atmosphere of gaiety disappeared. Five days after the French government posted an order for general mobilization, Peixotto joined the local communal guard. For six weeks, from early August to the First Battle of the Marne on September 12, Peixotto helped patrol the local roads, woods, and fields, watching for spies and deserters.

The Allied victory at the Marne dashed hopes on both sides that the war would be brief. Faced with the prospect of a long and brutal conflict, the Peixottos decided to return to the United States.

Four years later Ernest Peixotto would return to France as one of eight artists attached to the American Expeditionary Forces. As a unit, the uniformed artists were charged with the often conflicting tasks of documenting the war for the historical record while creating stirring images of American soldiers in battle that could be used for propaganda at home.

Peixotto recorded his experiences in sketches and paintings he produced for the War Department and in a powerful memoir of his months as an official army artist, The American Front, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1919.

Peixotto was born into a prominent San Francisco merchant family in 1869. He studied painting first at San Francisco’s School of Fine Arts and then at the Académie Julian in Paris, one of the most respected art schools in the world at the time. By the time the war began, he was well established as a painter and illustrator. He showed paintings at important exhibitions in Paris, New York, and San Francisco and acquired an international reputation as a muralist. He wrote and illustrated his own travel books, and he illustrated books written by others, including Theodore Roosevelt’s Oliver Cromwell: The Story of His Life and Work (1904)

 

Mammoth Cave WWI MemorialThe Mammoth Cave WWI Memorial. Through the local American Legion post, the people of Barren County, Kentucky placed the tribute to their fallen loved ones inside of nearby Mammoth Cave in 1922.

Check Out Mammoth Cave's Hidden World War I Memorial 

By Blake Stilwell
via the Military.com web site 

In the years between the first and second world wars, most people thought World War I really was the “War to End All Wars,” and they reacted appropriately. Memorials were raised all over the country to men who died in the trenches “over there.”

At the time, there weren’t really national memorials dedicated to those who died in America’s wars, and those that were built weren’t in Washington, D.C.

A national memorial to the Civil War’s Union soldiers was dedicated on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1897. The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri -- then called the Liberty Memorial -- was dedicated by Congress in 1926.

There are dozens of federally administered monuments, cemeteries and memorials around the world. The nation’s first national memorial was erected in 1780, dedicated to Revolutionary War Gen. Richard Montgomery. Montgomery was killed during the battle to take the war to Quebec.

World War I saw the return of the remains of the Unknown Soldier, who was interred at Arlington National Cemetery. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a national memorial to those whose remains are unidentified long after the war’s end.

Until the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall was finished in 1982, there were no national memorials to all soldiers and veterans of a single war. Memorials and monuments were built and administered at the state and local level.

After the unprecedented destruction and loss of life that came with World War I, municipalities across the United States began dedicating memorials to their local war dead. Barren County, Kentucky, was no different. Through the local American Legion post, the people of the county placed the tribute to their fallen loved ones inside of nearby Mammoth Cave. 

 

file 20210512 24 1b89lotEugene Debs, at center with flowers, who was serving a prison sentence for violating the Espionage Act, on the day he was notified of his nomination for the presidency on the socialist ticket by a delegation of leading socialists.

Free speech wasn’t so free 103 years ago, when ‘seditious’ and ‘unpatriotic’ speech was criminalized in the US 

By Eric P. Robinson
via The Conversation web site

Just over a century ago, the United States government – in the midst of World War I – undertook unprecedented efforts to control and restrict what it saw as “unpatriotic” speech through passage of the Sedition Act of 1918, signed by President Woodrow Wilson on May 16 of that year.

The restrictions – and the courts’ reactions to them – mark an important landmark in testing the limits of the First Amendment, and the beginnings of the current understanding of free speech in the U.S.

As a scholar and lawyer focused on freedom of speech in the U.S., I have studied the federal government’s attempts to restrict speech, including during World War I, and the legal cases that challenged them. These cases helped form the modern idea of the First Amendment right of free speech. But the conflict between patriotism and free expression continues to be an issue a century later.

Government’s pursuit of ‘radicals’

The onset of war led to a patriotic fervor, fed by an intense government propaganda campaign. It also led to new challenges to the concept of free speech.

Within a few weeks of declaring war in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act.

This law, which is still largely in effect, makes it a crime to do three things. First, to convey false information in order to interfere with the American military, or promote the success of America’s enemies. Second, to cause or attempt to cause insubordination within the military. Third, to willfully obstruct military recruitment or enlistment.

Both the Obama and Trump administrations used this law to investigate unauthorized leaks of government information, including obtaining reporters’ phone records.

The more restrictive Sedition Act of 1918 went further, amending the Espionage Act to criminalize “disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive” speech about the United States or its symbols; speech to impede war production; and statements supporting a country with which the U.S. is at war. 

 

Camp BowiePanoramic photograph depicting Camp Bowie in Fort Wort, TX during October 1917. At this time, the camp was still under construction but also housed an entire infantry division in training for World War I. Ongoing construction efforts are clearly evident, as piles of lumber in various states of organization occupy the field in the center foreground.  

Turning Sons into Sammies: Just Call It “Camp Quick” 

By Mike Nichols
via the Hometown by Handlebar (TX) web site

Imagine the Fort Worth of a century ago. Imagine what the Star-Telegram at the time described as “a wind-swept, untrampled tract of a prairie” on the western edge of town (today’s Casa Manana would be at that edge).

Now imagine that in just three months that wind-swept, untrampled tract of prairie would become decidedly trampled, would become transformed, would become a city of thirty thousand people—the population of Cleburne or Waxahachie or Farmers Branch.

But this instant city would be different. It would have a rifle range, an artillery range, battlefield trenches. And its population of thirty thousand would be mostly male. This was the Army’s Camp Bowie in the summer of 1917, and in terms of America’s response to our declaration of war against Germany in World War I, Camp Bowie was Camp Quick.

Think of it: The United States declared war on April 6. In late May Fort Worth city officials proposed that the Army build one of its planned mobilization camps just west of town.

On June 11 the War Department announced that Fort Worth had indeed been selected for a National Guard mobilization camp.

Camp Bowie would be “operated like a separate city, with the best of water, gas, electric, telephone and street car service.” Northern Texas Traction Company said the route of its Arlington Heights line would be changed to accommodate the camp. Part of the line would also be double-tracked.

Construction of Camp Bowie began on July 18, 1917 as the Army’s 36th Infantry Division was organized from Texas and Oklahoma National Guard troops. Camp commander was Edwin St. John Greble (he not only graduated from West Point but also was born at West Point). 

Follow us

Interested in WWI? Hit the buttons below to follow us -