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World War Two - Combat Training

Late War Combat Training: Camp Wheeler (Yank Magazine, 1945)

The attached article weighs the way infantry basic training was conducted at the beginning of the war and how it had changed as the war progressed, evolving into something a bit different by 1945. The training period was originally a 13 week cycle in 1941, yet in time after carefully watching the soldiers in the field and finding that infantrymen needed a broader understanding of the tools at hand, the infantry training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, had been extended an extra two weeks. One of the obvious factors involved a far wider pool of combat veterans to rely upon as instructors.

This article was used to support a point in an honors thesis at the Army Command and General Staff College.

You might also like to read this article about W.W. II cavalry training.
Statistical data concerning the U.S. Army casualties in June and July of 1944 can be read in this article.


Ranger School (Yank Magazine, 1942)

"The 76th Division at Fort Meade learns the latest scientific methods of hand-to-hand slaughter and free-for-all street fighting that will soon be taught to every infantry outfit in the Army." The article concerns the hand-t-hand combat instruction of one Francois D'Eliscu - a U.S Army major made famous for his 11-point training plan.

"Major D'Eliscu is one of the toughest men alive. He can kill with a flick of his elbow, maim with a pinch of his fingers. He imparts this toughness into the course he gave to the 76th Division instructors and to the Special Service officers from the other divisions."

See Major D'Eliscu at Work in this Color Film About Ranger Training


Combat Boxing (Click Magazine, 1943)

We are not sure how wide-spread boxing exercises were among all the U.S. Army infantry training camps during W.W. II, but the attached photo-essay will cue you in to the fact that it was mighty important at Camp Butner in 1943.


Training Marines in San Diego (Leatherneck Magazine, 1943)

Originally published in the STARS & STRIPES of the U.S. Marine Corps, THE LEATHERNECK, this is an interesting eight page article illustrated with fifteen photographs regarding the dramatic growth in that institution that took place in the immediate aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack. Even before the bodies were buried at Pearl it had occurred to the rocket scientists who run the War Department that the upcoming unpleasantness was going to be fought in the Pacific, and with that in mind 125,000 acres were hastily purchased just North of San Diego for the rapid establishment of "the Parris Island of the West".

Click here to read a CLICK MAGAZINE article about the Marines of W.W. II.
Read what the U.S. Army psychologists had to say about courage in war. Read what the editors of YANK MAGAZINE thought about the Marine Corps Magazine, LEATHERNECK...


Assault Climbing (Click Magazine, 1944)

One month after this article was seen on the newsstands, America would be reading a good deal about the U.S. Army Assault Climbers when they thirsted to read further about those hardy lads who climbed the steep cliffs at Point du Hoc on D-Day; but in May of 1944, the term was new to them.

This article is beautifully illustrated with two color images and a brief explanation as to what was involved in the training of those lucky souls in the U.S. infantry who were charged with the task of learning how to climb the steep, rocky terrain held by the Fascist powers.

"An assault climber is a soldier who is (1) a mountain guide, and (2) a fighting man. He must know how to attack by going up steep mountains swiftly and quietly that no telltale rocks go crashing down to spread an alarm to the enemy....In small groups, assault climbers are schooled in every phase of mountaineering; from properly walking, to correctly falling. They must to stand erect in climbing and descending. In twos and threes they help each other. They learn to lead an attacking party, using ropes clinched around rocks, trees or their own braced bodies..."

Read what the U.S. Army psychologists had to say about fear in combat.


The Training of Tank Crews (Collier's Magazine, 1942)

For the Americans, World War II was just four months old when these three color pictures appeared depicting the most up to date (and economical) methods used in the training of Stuart Tank gunners.


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