1-136 Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, First Army, August 23, 1918

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 23, 1918

Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, First Army

August 23, 1918 [Neufchateau], France


Secrecy in preparations for offensive operation.

1. The following measures are suggested as necessary to insure the desired secrecy in preparing for offensive operation:

A. Regulations governing reconnaissances.

Hours—Less than 3 kilometers from German first parallel, to be made between dusk and dawn in groups of not to exceed 5, including guides.

Less than 10 kilometers and more than 3 kilometers, to be permitted during daylight by groups of not to exceed 3, including guide.

Vehicles—Automobile circulation to be forbidden, except during hours of darkness, in zone within 7 kilometers of front, and use of side cars to be restricted.

Additional precautions—Officers on reconnaissance within 3 kilometers of front must wear soldier’s uniform, including spiral puttee leggins. Leather despatch cases, notebooks, with entries, special maps, etc., will not be carried in this zone. Sam Browne belts will not be worn in divisional sectors.

B. Corps Control.

Each Corps Commander will organize a special force, in addition to the usual military police force, to prevent preparations for the attack being made in a manner which might convey information to the enemy of our offensive intentions. The officer in charge of this force and his assistants will inspect all work in progress, observe the circulation and conduct of reconnaissance groups. He will be empowered and directed to take immediate action to correct or stop improperly camouflaged undertakings and undue circulation.

These instructions apply particularly to the construction of artillery or trench mortar emplacements, the construction of signal lines, the repair of roads and trails, the preparation of new dumps (or depots) or the enlargement of existing ones, the rapid circulation of motorcycles on dusty roads, etc.

Corps Commanders are authorized to make specific exceptions to the rules under (A) for particular cases.

C. Dissemination of Information. . . .

2. If the foregoing is approved it should be put in force at once, special arrangements being made with the French to permit our Corps Commanders to function in enforcing these regulations over Americans in sectors not now under American Corps control.

Furthermore, it is recommended that visiting from area to area by officers and men of divisions be forbidden.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I) (RG 120), Records of the First Army, Historical File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 156-157.

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