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To Major Walter S. Wood
December 20, 1935 [Chicago, Illinois]
I have just received your letter with further comments regarding the GUARDSMAN. I am very glad to find out how well things have gone.1
As to the advertising proposition, I think Colonel Davis will receive a letter in the next day or so, proposing that he select an individual to function as advertising solicitor in the southern part of the State on the basis of receiving 25% of collections. We can manage the extra space required by increase of advertising, and I agree with you that if your people are active in getting something for the paper and also seeing activities of that region mentioned in the paper, interest will be stimulated.
Incidentally, you seem to be something of a writer, and I know you have had quite an experience in the National Guard. You must have some positive ideas as to the most efficient and expeditious method of winter training for the National Guard. If you have any such idea, I wish you would put it in concrete form so we might publish it in the GUARDSMAN.
I feel at the present time we are still stumbling around trying to find a satisfactory method for training infantry regiments.
The artillery scheme is pretty well cut out and the nature of their service in the field is along such precise lines, in a manner of speaking, that their training system seems quite satisfactory. The same applies to the engineers, medical troops, and even to the special troops. But when it comes to the infantry, I think we are pretty much of a flat fizzle and it is up to the regular officers to devise a more efficient method for producing a genuine combat team.
I spent July in camp with the three artillery regiments and I have seen their work at other times. I followed the Engineers pretty closely and have seen quite a bit of the Medical troops; and when I compare infantry communications with artillery communications, and infantry one pounder and trench mortar technique with artillery gun technique, I am appalled at the contrast. Even more depressing is the contrast between an artillery regimental team and the infantry regimental team. In the infantry they understand the initial deployment and the message center technique and a little about communications; but when it comes to coordinating the special weapons, as well as knowing how to use them in connection with advancing infantry, when it comes to knowing how rear units are led forward, how communications are intended, how effective artillery support is actually secured—weaknesses are tragic. I think this is largely our fault, because I see the same weakness in regular infantry regiments.
I am talking very frankly here, so this letter must be confidential, but am concerned to find a beginning to the solution which I know does not consist of merely learning to recite combat principles.
Think this over.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Wood, a Regular Army instructor with the 130th Infantry, wrote to Marshall on December 11 to pledge the regiment’s closer cooperation with the Illinois Guardsman. He also inclosed a copy of a letter he had written to the regiment’s officers encouraging them to support the magazine and to supply it with information and pictures.
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. 480-481.