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World War Two - Combat Training

American Tank Destroyers (America's Alertmen, 1942)

Another look at the M-2 Half Track and the training of their five-man crews at Fort Hood, Texas. We got a kick learning that these men were not simply trained to fire their 37 and 75 mm. mounted guns, but also instructed in all other manner of tank fighting methods:

"Another little trick they master is the construction of a "sticky grenade"; a white sock filled with TNT, soaked in heavy axle grease to triple it's detonating power. This sticks like glue; and if it explodes near the tank's ventilators -- that's all, brother."

Click here to read about the TD units that fought at the Battle of the Bulge.


The Earliest Days of Training (Newsweek Magazine, 1941)

"Up by bugle at 5:45 in subfreezing temperature. Breakfast - boiled oatmeal, French toast and syrup, toast, jam, coffee. At 7:30 began 'psychological test' for mental alertness (typical question: An orange is a broom, bat, flower, or fruit?). Received complete uniforms. Try-on period after lunch resulted in many misfits, much swapping and revival of old crack about there being only two sizes in the Army - too big and too small..."

Click here to read about what was involved in training a WAAC.


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.

Five years after the war, many infantry replacement camps had to reopen...

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.


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.


''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. The article is well illustrated with two color images and a brief explanation as to what was involved in the training of those lucky souls who were charged with the task of learning how to climb the rocky terrain held by the Fascist powers.

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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