Viewing page 59 of 171
It looks like you're using a mobile device. We recommend using a physical keyboard for transcription entry.
-4- I remember little about the remaining ten days or so that I stayed with Battery C. I was sent out to drill gun crews, and was rather shocked to find that the 7th Field Artillery regiment was still using the drill manual that had been composed some decades earlier for the now obsolete American 3-inch gun. The division had then been in France for 8 months. It had French guns. The commands laid down in the ritual for aiming, loading and firing the 3-inch gun simply did not fit the 75. I cannot now remember the sequence of commands that led up to the firing of either the 3-inch or the 75. I do remember that the gunners of Battery C, as I called out the commands from the old 3-inch manual, had to make certain meaningless movements of the hands at a certain stage; and that they had at certain stages to carry out procedures not called for in the manual. The 75 had parts that were absent from the 3-inch gun. The French of course had their own appropriate manual for drill with the 75. All we needed to do was to translate and adopt it. That we had done at Saumur. But the West Pointers who ran our brigade, from General Summerall on down, had been trained in the 3-inch manual. Like the old time religion, it was good enough for them. But most of our enlisted men were recruits who had joined the division since it came to France. To my mind we were just making things needlessly complicated for them. But there was nothing I could do. Once during that time I was Officer of the Day on the occasion of a formal guard mount. I don't know whether the army still has formal guard mounts, but in those days you had to have one once a week. It was a traditional ceremony, as rigid in its ritual as a high mass and even more elaborate. The leading parts were taken by me and by an old-timer of a sergeant. I could see that he was watching me closely, expecting and perhaps hoping that I would blow my lines. But that was the kind of thing Sands had loved, and he had drilled us in it rather thoroughly. Somewhere around January 20th I went to battalion headquarters on some now-forgotten errands. On the bulletin board I saw a notice that artillery and infantry officers, up to and including the rank of captain, were wanted for detached service with the aviation branch of the army signal corps. Anyone wanting to apply could just leave his name with the adjutant. ^[[Love, Dad]]
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.