Chapter I.


The Men Who Served

About 4,000,000 men served in the Army of the United States during the war (Apr. 6, 1917 to Nov. 11, 1918). The total number of men serving in the armed forces of the country, including the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the other services, amounted to 4,800,000. It was almost true that among each 100 American citizens 5 took up arms in defense of the country.

During the Civil War 2,400,000 men served in the northern armies or in the Navy. In that struggle 10 in each 100 inhabitants of the Northern States served as soldiers or sailors. The American effort in the war with Germany may be compared with that of the Northern States in the Civil War by noting that in the present war we raised twice as many men in actual numbers, but that in proportion to the population we raised only half as many.

It would be interesting and instructive to make comparisons between the numbers in the American armies during the present war and those of France, Great Britain, Italy, and Germany, but unfortunately this is most difficult to do fairly and truly. The reason for the difficulty lies in the diverse military policies of the nations.

It was the policy of France, for example, to mobilize and put into uniform most of the able-bodied men in the population who were not beyond middle age. Some of these were sent into the combatant forces and services of supply of the active armies. Thousands of others were put at work in munitions factories. Others worked on railroads or cultivated their farms. In general, it was the policy of the Government to put its available man power into uniform and then assign these soldiers to the work that had to be done, whether it was directly military in nature or not.

In the United States it was the policy to take into the Army only those men who were physically fit to fight and to assign them, save in exceptional cases, only to work directly related to the ordinary duties of a soldier. The work of making munitions, running railroads, and building ships was done by men not enrolled in the armed forces of the Nation.

The policies of the other Governments were all different from the two just described. These are the reasons why accurate international comparisons of armies will not be possible until figures are available showing the numbers and lengths of service of the men in the combatant forces of the different nations rather than the figures now at hand showing the total numbers called to the colors and placed on the rolls.

The American Expeditionary Forces and the British Expeditionary Forces

There is, however, one comparison which may fairly be made. This is the comparison between the American Expeditionary Forces and the British Expeditionary Forces. Both countries devoted their major efforts to building up and maintaining their armies in France. The results are set forth in diagram 1, which shows the strength of the two forces at different dates.

Diagram 1. British and American Expeditionary Forces on the western front.

The British curve mounts rapidly at first and falls off in the latter part of the period. The American starts slowly and then shoots up very rapidly. The British curve is in general convex in shape and the American is concave.

The British sent to France many more men in their first year in the war than we did in our first year. On the other hand, it took England three years to reach a strength of 2,000,000 men in France and the United States accomplished it in one-half of that time.

It must, however, be borne in mind that the British had to use men from the beginning to fill gaps caused by casualties, while the American forces were for many months built up in strength by all the new arrivals.

Army at Home and in France

The most difficult feature of the American undertaking is to be found in the concentration of the major part of the effort into the few months of the spring and summer of 1918. When the country entered the war it was not anticipated in America, or suggested by France and England, that the forces to be shipped overseas should even approximate in numbers those that were actually sent.

It was not until the German drive was under way in March, 1918, that the allies called upon America for the supreme effort that carried a million and a half soldiers to France in six months. Diagram 2 shows the number of soldiers in the American Army each month from the beginning of the war and the number of them who were overseas.

Diagram 2. Thousands of soldiers in the American Army on the first of each month.

When war was declared there were only 200,000 in the Army. Two-thirds of these were Regulars and one-third National Guardsmen who had been called to Federal service for duty along the Mexican border. When the war ended this force had been increased to 20 times its size and 4,000,000 men had served.

After the signing of the armistice, demobilization of troops was begun immediately. As diagram 2 indicates, more than 600,000 were discharged during December. Forces in this country were at once cut to the lowest point consistent with carrying on the storage of equipment and settlement of contracts, and the discharge of men returning from overseas. In spite of the time necessary for return of overseas forces, demobilization was carried forward more rapidly in proportion to the number under arms than in any previous American war.

Diagram 3 shows the three sources from which the Army came.

Diagram 3. Sources of the Army

More than half a million came in through the Regular Army. Almost 400~000 more, or nearly 10 per cent, entered through the National Guard. More than three-quarters of all came in through the selective service or National Army enlistments. Of every 100 men 10 were National Guardsmen, 13 were Regulars, and 77 belonged to the National Army, or would have if the services had not been consolidated and the distinctions wiped out on August 7, 1918.

The Selective Service

The willingness with which the American people accepted the ,universal draft was the most remarkable feature in the history of our preparation for war.

It is a noteworthy evidence of the enthusiastic support given by the country to the war program that, despite previous hostility to the principle of universal liability for military service, a few months after the selective service law was passed, the standing of the drafted soldier was fully as honorable in the estimation of his companions and of the country in general as was that of the man who enlisted voluntarily. Moreover, the record of desertions from the Army shows that the total was smaller than in previous wars and a smaller percentage occurred among drafted men than among those who volunteered. The selective service law was passed on May 19, 1917, and as subsequently amended it mobilized all the man power of the Nation from the ages of 18 to 45, inclusive. Under this act, 24,234,021 men were registered and slightly more than 2,800,000 were inducted into the military service. All this was accomplished in a manner that was fair to the men, supplied the Army with soldiers as rapidly as they could be equipped and trained, and resulted in a minimum of disturbance to the industrial and economic life of the Nation.

The first registration, June 5' 1917, covered the ages from 21 to 31. The second registration, one year later (June 5' 1918 and Aug. 24, 1918), included those who had become 21 years old since the first registration. The third registration (Sept. 12, 1918)' extended the age limits downward to 18 and upward to 45. The total number registered with the proportion who were actually inducted into the service is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Men registered and inducted.

At the outbreak of the war, the total male population of the country was about 54,000,000. During the war some 26,000,000 of them, or nearly half of all, were either registered under the selective-service act or were serving in the Army or Navy without being registered. Diagram 4 shows the percentages of the male population who were included in each of the registrations and the proportion who were not registered.

Diagram 4. Male population registered and not registered.

The experience of the Civil War furnishes a basis for comparing the methods used and the results obtained in the two great struggles. This comparison is strikingly in favor of the methods used in the present war. During the Civil War large sums were paid in bounties in the hope that by this means recourse to the draft might be made unnecessary. This hope was frustrated and the draft was carried through by methods which were expensive and inefficient. This may be summed up by noting that during the War with Germany we raised twice as many men as we raised during the Civil War, and at one-twentieth of the cost. This does not mean one-twentieth of the cost per man, but that 20 times as much money was actually spent by the Northern States in the Civil War in recruiting their armies as was spent for the same purpose by the United States in the War with Germany. In this war 60 per cent of all armed forces were secured by the draft as compared with 2 per cent in the case of the Civil War. Diagram 5 shows the number of men inducted through the draft each month.

Diagram 5. Thousands of men drafted each month.

The columns and the figures of the diagram illustrate the manner in which the men came into the service. In the fall of 1917 the first half million came in rapidly. During the winter the accessions were relatively few, and those that did come in were largely used as replacements and for special services. In the spring of 1918 came the German drive and with it urgent calls from France for unlimited numbers of men. Then over a period of several months the numbers of new men brought into the service mounted into the hundreds of thousands, and reached their highest point in July, when 400,000 were inducted. During the succeeding months the numbers fell off considerably on account of the epidemic of influenza, and with November the inductions ceased entirely due to the unexpected ending of the war.

Rejections for Physical Reasons.

Under the operation of the draft, registrants were given physical examinations by the local boards in order that those men who were not of sufficient physical soundness and vigor for military life might be sorted out. After those who were found to be qualified for service had been sent to camp, they were given another examination by the Army surgeons, and additional men were rejected because of defects which had not been discovered in the first examination.

An attempt has been made to compute from the records of these two sets of physical examinations data which will show how the men from the different States compared in their physical qualifications. Results are presented in map 1 on this page which shows four classifications of the States.

Map 1. Per cent of drafted men passing physical examinations, by States.

First come those States which are indicated in outline. These are the States which sent men of so high an order of physical condition that from 70 to 80 per cent of them survived the two examinations and were accepted into the military service. It is noteworthy that these States constitute about one-quarter of all and are mostly located in the Middle West. Next come the States from which 65 to 69 per cent of the applicants were accepted, and these are indicated by light cross hatching. This group is about equal in numbers with the first' and most of them are contiguous to the first group either on the east or west. The third group makes still poorer records. Here from 60 to 64 per cent of the young men passed the tests. The States are indicated by heavy diagonal bars. Most of them were in the South and far West. Finally, there is a group of States, including, like each of the other groups, about one-quarter of all, and indicated on the map in solid black. Here are the States from which 50 to 59 per cent of the candidates were accepted. They are found in the Northeast and the far West, especially in those portions of the West which have in recent years become popular as health resorts and so have attracted large numbers of physically subnormal people. In general, it is noteworthy that the best records are made by those States that are agricultural rather than industrial and where the numbers of recently arrived immigrants are not large. Conversely, most of the States making low records are preeminently manufacturing States and also have in their populations large numbers of recently arrived immigrants.

Further analysis of the records of physical examinations shows that the country boys made better records than those from the cities; the white registrants better than the colored; and native-born better records than those of alien birth. These differences are so considerable that 100,000 country boys would furnish for the military service 4,790 more soldiers than would an equal number of city boys. Similarly, 100,000 whites would furnish 1,240 more soldiers than would an equal number of colored. Finally, 100,000 native-born would yield 3,500 more soldiers than would a like number of foreign-born. The importance of these differences may be appreciated by noting that 3,500 men is equivalent to an infantry regiment at full war strength.

200,000 Officers.

About 200,000 commissioned officers were required for the Army. Of this number, less than 9,000 were in the Federal service at the beginning of the war. Of these, 5,791 were Regulars and 3,199 were officers of the National Guard in the Federal service. Diagram 6 shows with approximate accuracy the sources of the commissioned strength of the Army.

Diagram 6. Sources of the commissioned personnel.

The figures show that of every six officers one had had previous military training in the Regular Army, the National Guard, or the ranks. Three received the training for their commissions in the officers' training camps. The other two went from civilian life into the Army with little or no military training. In this last group the majority were physicians, a few of them were ministers, and most of the rest were men of special business or technical equipment, who were taken into the supply services or staff corps.

The Share of Each State

A summary of the results attained is shown in diagram 7 which gives the number of soldiers (not including officers) furnished by each State. The bars are proportionate in length to the total number of men furnished, whether by volunteering in the Regular Army, coming in through the National Guard, or being inducted through the draft.

Diagram 7. Soldiers furnished by each State.


1. The number of men serving in the armed forces of the Nation during the war was 4,800,000, of whom 4,000,000 served in the Army.

2. In the War with Germany the United States raised twice as many men as did the Northern States in the Civil War, but only half as many in proportion to the population.

3. The British sent more men to France in their first year of war than we did in our first year, but it took England three years to reach a strength of 2,000,000 men in France, and the United States accomplished it in one-half of that time.

4. Of every 100 men who served, 10 were National Guardsmen, 13 were Regulars, and 77 were in the National Army (or would have been if the services had not been consolidated).

5. Of the 54,000,000 males in the population, 26,000,000 were registered in the draft or were already in service.

6. In the physical examinations the States of the Middle West made the best showing. Country boys did better than city boys; whites better than colored; and native born better than foreign born.

7. In this war twice as many men were recruited as in the Civil War and at one-twentieth of the recruiting cost.

8. There were 200,000 Army officers. Of every six officers, one had previous military training with troops, three were graduates of officers' training camps, and two came directly from civil life.




Chapter II.


The Average Man

The average American soldier who went to France received six months of training in this country before he sailed. After he landed overseas he had two months of training before entering the battle line. The part of the battle line that he entered was in a quiet sector and here he remained one month before going into an active sector and taking part in hard fighting.

The experiences of thousands of soldiers differ widely from the typical figures just presented, but a careful study of the training data of nearly 1,400,000 men who actually fought in France gives the average results shown above. In summary they are that the average American soldier who fought in France had six months of training here, two months overseas before entering the line, and one month in a quiet sector before going into battle.

The Divisions

The Infantry soldier was trained in the division, which was our typical combat unit. In the American Army it was composed of about 1,000 officers and 27,000 men. Training and sorting organizations of about 10,000 men, known as depot brigades, were also utilized, but as far as possible the new recruits were put almost immediately into the divisions which were the organizations in which they would go into action.

Before the: signing of the armistice there were trained and sent overseas 42 American divisions. The training of 12 more was well advanced, and there were 4 others that were being organized. The plans on which the Army was acting called for 80 divisions overseas before July, 1919, and 100 divisions by the end of that year.

Table 2 lists the divisions that were organized and trained before the signing of the armistice. The different columns show the number by which each division was designated, the camp where it was trained, and the States from which its members came at the time of organization. In many cases the original composition was afterwards greatly changed by bringing in replacements to make up for losses.

Table 2. Place of organization of divisions and sources by States.

The divisions are in three groups. The Regular Army divisions, numbered from 1 to 20, were originally made up from Regular Army units plus voluntary enlistments and selective-service men. The National Guard divisions, numbered from 26 to 42, came in largely from the militia of the several States. The National army divisions, numbered from 76 to 92, were made up almost wholly of men called in by the selective-service law. As an aid to memory it may be helpful to note that the Regular Army divisions were numbered below 25, the National Guard divisions from 25 to 50, and the National Army divisions between 50 and 100. All the .divisions shown in the table reached France except the 12 Regular Army divisions numbered from 9 to 20. The divisions being organized at the time of the signing of the armistice were numbered 95, 96, 97, and 100.

The sources of the National Guard divisions are shown in diagram 8. The black portion of each circle shows the part of each division drawn from the National Guard; the shaded portion represents troops drawn from the National Army and other sources; and the unfilled gap in each circle represents the number of troops that the division was short of its authorized strength when it sailed.

Diagram 8. Composition of National Guard divisions.

Reference to the lower right-hand circle in the diagram shows that the average composition of these National Guard divisions was one made up of about two-thirds State troops and one-third other troops. This illustrates the noteworthy fact that one tendency of the methods of divisional organization was to produce composite divisions made up of men from most varied sources.

The Forty-second Division, called because of its composite character the "Rainbow Division," was made up of selected groups from over the entire country and sent to France early. The Forty-first, called the "Sunset Division," was a composite of troops from many Western States. Four divisions were made up from one State each the Twenty-seventh' Twenty-eighth, Thirty-third, and Thirty-seventh.

Camps and Cantonments

To carry forward the training program, shelter was constructed in a few months for 1,800,000 men. For the National Guard and National Army divisions, 16 camps and 16 cantonments were built. National Guard units being organized rapidly during the summer of 1917 were put under canvas in camps throughout the South. The cantonments were largely in the North for the National Army called in the fall of 1917. The location of these 32 training areas is shown in map 2.

Map 2. Camps and cantonments.

One National Guard division, the Rainbow, required no training field, for it was assembled directly at Camp Mills for early transportation to France. Two National Army divisions, the Ninety-second (colored) and the Ninety-third (colored), were trained in separate units at various camps. The headquarters of the Ninety-second were at Camp Funston and those of the Ninety-third at Camp Stuart. The remaining 16 National Guard and 16 National Army divisions began their training in the camps and cantonments in the summer and fall of 1917.

The building of the cantonments was authorized in May, 1917; the last site was secured on July 6, and on September 4 accommodations were ready for 430,000 men. This capacity was shortly increased to 770,000, an average capacity per cantonment of 48,000. Construction of the camps went forward at the same rapid pace. Although tents were provided for housing the soldiers, a considerable number of wooden buildings were necessary, as well as water supply, sewerage, electric light, and roadway construction. The capacity of the camps reached 684,000, giving a total camp and cantonment capacity of nearly a million and a half.

The Regular Army divisions were trained in part at one or another of these 32 centers, in part as separate units at various Army posts.

Troops had to be accommodated at many other points besides the 32 camps and cantonments. There were schools for training men for special services, such as the Artillery, Aviation, Engineer Corps, Chemical Warfare, Tank Corps, Quartermaster Corps. There were proving grounds and testing fields. There were also large embarkation camps at New York and Newport News. For these purposes housing was constructed with a capacity for more than 300,000 men.

Instructors for Training 4,000,000 Men.

In the American Army there is one officer for each 20 men. This means that 200,000 officers were required for the army of 4,000,000 men. But when war was declared there were only 6,000 officers in the Regular Army. The National Guard divisions were fortunately able to furnish most of their own officers. After this source of supply had been exhausted, however, it was still necessary to secure some 180,000 officers elsewhere.

The officers' training camp was the instrumentality that really solved the problem of securing the commissioned personnel of the American Army. The successful precedents of the Plattsburg camps were followed. Candidates for the camps were selected after rigid tests as to physical and mental qualifications, many Reserve Corps officers being included. Three months of intensive training put the prospective officers through all the tasks required of the enlisted man and the duties of the platoon and company commander. This type of training camp furnished the Army with nearly half its total number of officers and more than two-thirds of those for line service. Diagrams 9 and 10 show some details about the graduates of these training camps.

Diagram 9. Officers commissioned from training camps, by ranks.

Diagram 9 shows the ranks of the commissions granted. By far the largest number of graduates were given the grade of second lieutenant, but exceptional ability, coupled with previous military training, was singled out in the first series of camps for more advanced commissions.

Diagram 10. Officers commissioned from training camps, by services.

Diagram 10 shows the numbers of officers commissioned in each branch of the service. Infantry and Artillery absorbed seven-eighths of the graduates with the Infantry taking more than twice as many as the Artillery. The total of 80,568 is not the grand total of graduates of officers' training schools but only of schools training officers for line duty. After the close of the second series of schools in November, 1917, it was found desirable for various staff corps and departments to conduct separate specialized schools for training their officers and many commissions were granted in these state schools in addition to those shown in the diagram. The Quartermaster, Engineer, Signal, Ordnance, and Statistical officers shown in diagram 10 were all graduated from the first two series of schools.

French and British Instructors

Shortly after the first of the new camps were established, France and England sent to the United States some of their ablest officers who had seen service on the western front to bring to our training approved methods developed in the war. These instructors were not numerous but the aid they rendered was of the first importance. Diagrams 11 and 12 show how the subjects of instruction were divided among them.

Diagram 11. French instruction officers.

Diagram 11 gives the information for the French officers, who were 286 in number. Their major specialties were Artillery and staff work. Corresponding details for the English officers are shown in diagram 12. These military specialists were 261 in numbers and much of their effort was devoted to instruction in gas and physical training.

Diagram 12. British instruction officers

In addition to the officers shown, the British also detailed 226 noncommissioned officers as instructors, who were assigned to different subjects in about the same ratio as the officers. These groups of foreign instructors attached to training schools, divisions, and other units, rendered service out of all proportion to their number. They were a significant contribution to our training program.

Length of Training

Of the 42 American divisions which reached France, 36 were organized in the summer and early autumn of 1917. The other 6 were organized as divisions by January, 1918, but had been in training as separate units months before that time.

Although the average American soldier who fought in France had been under training only six months before sailing, the figure for the training of the divisions is greater than that. The main reason for the difference is that gaps in the divisions were filled by men who had received much less training than the original troops of the organization.

Diagram 13. Time from organization of divisions to entering line.

The average division had been organized eight months before sailing for France and its period of training was further lengthened by a two months interim between the time the division landed in France and the time it entered the line. Diagram 13 shows these periods for each of the 42 divisions. Each division is represented by a horizontal bar. The hollow part shows the period from organization to arrival of headquarters in France; the lightly hatched part, the time in France before entering line; the heavily hatched part, the time between entering the line for the first time and engaging in combat in an active sector; and the solid portion the length of service as an active battle organization.

The First and Second Divisions left this country as separate units and were organized in France. The troops of which they were composed were mostly thoroughly trained men of the Regular Army. The Second Division also included two regiments of Marines. The next three, while their stay in this country as organized divisions was short, were composed of selected units of the National Guard, most of which had seen service on the Mexican border and could be counted as well-trained bodies of troops. All the other divisions show extended periods of training in this country. The Regular Army divisions show the shortest periods, but were made up of the most experienced soldiers.

It is noticeable that a]l but two of the National Guard and National Army divisions were organized in August and September, 1917. The two exceptions to the rule were the Twenty-ninth, whose records show that it started the process of reorganization a few days ahead of schedule, and the Ninety-second (colored) Division which for a number of months trained in separate units at a number of different camps.

The conclusion to be drawn from the diagram would seem to be that the average American division entered battle only after 10 or 11 months of thorough training. This is true of the skeletons of divisions, but it is not true of all the men who made up their strength. There are two reason for this. In the first place, some weeks or even months usually elapsed from the time a division was organized to tile time when it reached full strength. In the second place, troops were frequently taken from one division to bring up to strength another which was sniling, or to be sent overseas to replace losses. The training of individual enlisted men was therefore''less than for the divisions as organizations.

The length of training of the men can be got at in another way. By September, 1917, we had 500,000 men in this country training for overseas duty. We did not have 500,000 men in France until May, 1918, or eight months later. It is probable that the millionth man who went overseas began training in December, 1917. He did not reach France until July, 1918, after seven months of training. Evidence of this character goes to show that for our first million men the standard of seven months' training was consistently maintained as an average figure.

In June with the German drives in full swing, the Allies called on US to continue the extraordinary transportation of troops begun in April. The early movement had been met by filling up the divisions that sailed with the best trained men wherever they could be found. Divisions embarked after July 1 had to meet shortages with men called to the colors in the spring. By November the average period of training in the United States had been shortened to close to four months, and the average for the period July 1 to November 11 was probably five months.

Seven months may then be taken as the average training figure for the first million men, five months for the second million, an average of six months before reaching France. After reaching France an average of two months' training before going into front­line trenches was maintained, although the experience of divisions used as replacements in the last months was under this figure.

There were of course many cases in which the training was under these averages. To make these cases as fevv as possible a number of safeguards were set up. In this country a careful system of reporting on training was arranged so that only the better trained divisions eflght be sent forward. At the replacement centers in France the men who had slipped through without sufficient training were singled out and put through a 10 days' course in handling the rifle.

In the last months of the war, the induction of men was carried forward at top speed and every device was used for hastening training. The result fully justified the effort. Into the great Meuse­Argonne offensive we were able to throw a force of 1,200,000 men while we had many thousands of troops engaged in other parts of the line. Our training-camp officers stood up to the test; our men, with their intensive drilling in open-order fighting, which has characterized American training, routed the best of the German divisions from the Argonne Forest and the valley of the Meuse.


1. The average American soldier who fought in France had six months of training here, two months overseas before entering the line, and one month in a quiet sector before going into battle.

2. Most soldiers received their training in infantry divisions which are our typical combat units and consist of about 1,000 officers and 27,000 men.

3. Forty-two divisions were sent to France.

4. More than two-thirds of our line officers were graduates of the officers' training camps.

5. France and England sent to the United States nearly 800 specially skilled officers and noncommissioned officers who rendered most important aid as instructors in our training camps.




Chapter III.


Sending the Troops Overseas

During the 19 months of our participation in the war more than 2,000,000 American soldiers were carried to France. Half a million of them went over in the first 13 months and a million and a half in the last 6 months. Within a few weeks of our entrance into the war we began, at the earnest request of our co-belligerents, to ship troops overseas. At first the movement was not rapid. We had only a few American and British troop ships chartered directly from their owners. During the early winter, as the former German liners came into service, embarkations increased to a rate of nearly 50,000 per month, and by the end of 1917 had reached a total of 194,000.

The facts as to the transportation of troops to France and back to the United States are presented in diagram 14, in which the upright columns show the number carried each month.

Diagram 14. Men sailing each month to France and home.

Early in 1918 negotiations were entered into with the British Government by which three of its big liners and four of its smaller troop ships were definitely assigned to the service of the Army. The results of this are shown in the increased troop movement for March. It was in this month that the great German spring drive took place in Picardy, with a success that threatened to result in German victory. Every ship that could be secured was pressed into service. The aid furnished by the British was greatly increased. It was in May and the four following months that the transport miracle took place. The number of men carried in May was more than twice as great as the number for April. The June record was greater than that of May, and before the 1st of July 1,000,000 men had been embarked.

The record for July exceeded all previous monthly totals, the number of troops carried being more than 306,000. Before the end of October the second million men had sailed from our shores. During many weeks in the summer the number carried was more than 10,000 men a day, and in July the total landed averaged more than 10,000 for every day of the month.

No such troop movement as that of the last summer had ever been contemplated, and no movement of any such number of persons by water for such a distance and such a time had ever previously occurred. The record has been excelled only by the achievement in bringing the same men back to the shores of the United States. The monthly records of this return are shown by the black columns of the same diagram, which indicate the even more rapid increase of totals from month to month and the attainment of higher monthly accomplishments. The total number of soldiers brought home in June was nearly 360,000. If we add to this the sailors and marines, the total is more than 364,000.

Growth of the Transport Fleet

The necessity for creating a great transport fleet came just at the time when the world was experiencing its most acute shortage of tonnage. The start was made by chartering a few American merchant steamers and by the 1st of July there were in service seven troop ships and six cargo ships with a total deadweight capacity of 94,000 tons.

Diagram 15 shows how there was developed from these small beginnings a great transport fleet which aggregated by the end of 1918 three and one-quarter million deadweight tons of shipping. The size of the fleet each month is shown by the figures in the bars of the diagram. It will be noted that each bar is divided in two parts, the portion on the left showing the deadweight tonnage of the troop ships and that on the right the tonnage of the cargo ships.

Diagram 15. The trans-Atlantic fleet in thousands of deadweight tons.

During these same months another great American transport fleet, of which little has been said in the public press, was created with an almost equally striking rapidity. This was our cross-Channel fleet, which carried cargo and men from England to France. Its growth is pictured in the bars of diagram 16, in which the figures also represent the number of deadweight tons from month to month. Beginning with 7,000 tons in October, 1917, this fleet consisted of more than a third of a million tons by the end of 1918. About one-fourth of the vessels were Swedish or Norwegian, while the rest were American. This service utilized large numbers of small wood and steel vessels built by the Emergency Fleet Corporation at the yards of the Great Lakes and along the coast.

Diagram 16. The cross-Channel fleet, in thousands of deadweight tons.

Where the Ships Came From

In building up our trans-Atlantic and Channel fleets every possible source of tonnage had to be called on for every ship that could be secured. The first great increment was the seized German vessels, which came into service during the fall of 1917. The taking over of Dutch steamers in the spring of 1918 and the chartering of Scandinavian and Japanese tonnage accounted for great increases in the cargo fleet. Map 3 shows the amounts of tonnage that were secured for our Army fleet from the different countries of the world.

Map 3. Deadweight tons of American Army shipping secured from different countries.

The most ample credit must be given to the Emergency Fleet Corporation, which turned over nearly a million tons of new ships, and to the Shipping Control Committee, which stripped bare of all suitable vessels our import and export trades and turned over for Army use nearly a million and a half tons of ships. The Army vessels also came from 12 other nations well scattered over the globe and shown in the figures of map 3.

Embarkation and Debarkation

Most of the troops who sailed for France left from New York. Half of them landed in England and the other half landed in France. Most of those who landed in England went directly to Liverpool and most of those who landed in France went to Brest. While these statements are valid generalizations, they fall short in showing what happened in detail. The principal facts of the eastward troop movement are shown. in map 4.

Map 4. Troops sailing from American ports and landing in France and England.

Troops left America from 10 ports, as shown in the little table in the left of the map. In this table the several ports of Hoboken, New York, and Brooklyn have all been included in one, and the same thing is true of the different ports at Hampton Roads, which have been shown under the heading of Newport News.

While 10 American ports were used, including 4 in Canada, more than three-quarters of all the men went from New York. The ports of arrival are given in the tables on the right of the map, which show that the ports of debarkation in Europe were even more numerous than those of embarkation in America.

Help from the Allies

Credit for the troop movement must be shared with the Allies, and with the British in particular, since approximately half of the troops were carried in their ships. This is shown by the figures of diagram 17.

Diagram 17. American troops carried by ships of each nation.

Among every hundred men who went over, 49 went in British ships, 45 in American ships, 3 in those of Italy, 2 in French, and 1 in Russian shipping under English control. Part of the explanation for the large numbers of troops carried in American ships is to be found from the fact that under the pressure of the critical situation on the western front, ways were found to increase the loading of our own transports by as much as 50 per cent. In addition, our transports exceeded those of the Allies in the speed of their turnarounds. The facts as to the average number of days taken by the ships to go to Europe, discharge their cargo and troops, come back, take on another load, and start for France once more, are shown in Diagram 18.

Diagram 18. Average turnarounds of troop and cargo transports in days.

The cycle of operations is termed "a turnaround," and it is not complete until the vessel has taken its load over, discharged it, returned, reloaded, and actually started on another trip. When our ships began operations in the spring of 1917 the average turnaround for the troop ships was 52 days, and that for the cargo ships 66 days. These performances were improved during the summer months, but became very much longer during the exceptionally cold winter of 1917. During the spring, summer, and fall of 1918 the performances of both cargo and troop ships became standardized at about 70 days for cargo ships and 36 days for troop ships.

In noting these facts, as presented in the figures of the diagram, it is to be borne in mind that the figures refer to the lengths of the turnarounds of all the ships sailing from American ports in one month. Thus the high figure of 109 days for the cargo ships means that 109 days was the average time required for all the cargo ships leaving American ports in November to complete their turnarounds and start on their next trips. These vessels made their trips in the exceptionally cold months of December, January, and February.

The fastest ships have averaged under 30 days. During the spring and summer of 1918 the Leviathan, the former Vaterland, has averaged less than 27 days, as has the Mount Vernon, the former Kronprinzessen Cecelie. These turnarounds, made under the embarrassment of convoy, are much quicker than anything attained in commercial operation. During the summer the Leviathan has transported troops at the rate of over 400 a day, and so has landed the equivalent of a German division in France each month. Two American ships, the Great Northern and Northern Pacific, have averaged 25 and 26 days, respectively, and have each made turnarounds in 19 days.

Cargo Movement

The first shipment of cargo to support the forces abroad was made in June, 1917, and amounted to 16,000 tons. After the first two months the shipments grew rapidly and steadily until they were in excess of 800,000 tons in the last month of the war. These facts are shown in diagram 19.

The shipment of cargo differs from that of troops in that it was done almost entirely by American ships. Less than 5 per cent of the cargo carried was transported in allied bottoms. The great bulk of the cargo was carried in the cargo ships shown in diagram 15. Relatively small amounts were carried in the troop ships.

Diagram 19. Tons of Army cargo shipped to France each month.

After the signing of the armistice every ship was withdrawn from the service as soon as it could be spared and put back into trades or the carrying of food for relief work in Europe. By April the total cargo fleet was only a third as large as it had been five months before.

The cargo carried for the American Army consisted of thousands of different articles of the most varied sort. Something of this variety is revealed by diagram 20, which shows the number of short tons carried for each of the Army supply services and for the special agencies. Nearly one-half of all consisted of quartermaster material, largely composed of food and clothing. The next largest elements were engineering and ordnance supplies. All together, from our entrance into the war through April, 1919, the Army shipped from this side of the Atlantic nearly seven and a half million tons of cargo.

Diagram 20. Tons of cargo shipped for each Army supply service to April 30, 1919.

Included in the cargo shipment were 1,791 consolidation locomotives of the 100-ton type. Of these, 650 were shipped set up on their own wheels, so that they could be unloaded on the tracks in France and run off in a few hours under their own steam. Shipment of setup locomotives of this size had never been made before. Special ships with large hatches were withdrawn from the Cuban ore trade for the purpose and the hatches of other ships were specially lengthened, so that when the armistice was signed the Army was prepared to ship these setup locomotives at the rate of 200 a month.

The Army also shipped 26,994 standard-gauge freight cars, and at the termination of hostilities was preparing to ship flat cars set up and ready to run. Motor trucks to the number of 47,018 went forward, and when fighting ceased were being shipped at the rate of 10,000 a month. Rails and fittings for the reinforcing of French railways and for the construction of our own lines of communications aggregated 423,000 tons. In addition to the tons of cargo mentioned above the Army shipped 68,694 horses and mules, and at the cessation of hostilities was shipping them at the rate of 20,000 a month. The increase in the shipment of cargo from the United States was consistently maintained from the start of the war, and at its cessation was undergoing marked acceleration.

Aside from the cargo shipped across the Atlantic, Gen. Pershing imported large amounts from European sources, the chief item being coal from England. In October he brought into France by means of his cross-Channel fleet a total of 275,000 tons of coal and other commodities.

Losses at Sea.

During the whole period of active hostilities the Army lost at sea only 200,000 deadweight tons of transports. Of this total 112,000 tons were sunk by torpedoes. No American troop transport was lost on its eastward voyage. For this splendid record the Navy, which armed, manned, and convoyed the troop transports, deserves the highest commendation.

Return of Troops

In diagram 14, figures are presented showing the number of troops brought back to the United States from France each month since the signing of the armistice. The figures mount even more rapidly and reach higher totals than those of the eastward journeys.

As soon as the armistice was signed preparations were made for returning the troops to the United States in the shortest possible time. This was rendered difficult by the fact that for the eastward movement we had relied largely on the British, who carried approximately half of all the troops. After the signing of the armistice the British needed these ships for the return of their own colonial troops, to Canada, Australia, and South Africa.

Diagram 21. Average days required to convert cargo ships to troop transports.

This situation was met by the Army Transport Service, which immediately began the conversion of our large cargo ships into troop-carrying vessels. Diagram 21 shows the number of days that were required to convert cargo ships into troop-carrying transports. The upright columns of the diagram are proportional to the number of days required. The ships upon which work was begun in December were not ready for the first trips as troop carriers until 55 days later. During the following months the work went forward more and more rapidly, as is shown by the shortening lengths of the columns in the diagram. By April the time required for converting cargo ships to troop carriers had been almost cut in two and was approximately one month. By means of these converted cargo ships, by the assignment of German liners, and also by the great aid rendered by the Navy, which put at the Army's disposal cruisers and battleships, the Army is being brought back home even more rapidly than it was taken to France.


1. During our 19 months of war more than 2,000,000 American soldiers were carried to France. Half a million of these went over in the first 13 months and a million and a half in the last 6 months.

2. The highest troop-carrying records are those of July, 1918, when 306,000 soldiers were carried to Europe, and June, 1919, when 364,000 were brought home to America.

3. Most of the troops who sailed for France left from New York. Half of them landed in England and the other half landed in France.

4. Among every 100 Americans who went over 49 went in British ships, 45 in American ships, 3 in Italian, 2 in French, and 1 in Russian shipping under English control.

5. Our cargo ships averaged one complete trip every 70 days and our troop ships one complete trip every 35 days.

6. The cargo fleet was almost exclusively American. It reached the size of 2,700,000 deadweight tons and carried to Europe about 7,500,000 ions of cargo.

7. The greatest troop-carrier among all the ships has been the Leviathan, which landed 12,000 men, or the equivalent of a German division, in France every month.

8. The fastest transports have been the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific, which have made complete turnarounds, taken on new troops, and started back again in 19 days.




Chapter IV.


The Problem of Purchase.

In the spring of 1917 there were in the United States some 4,000,000 young men who were about to become soldiers, although they little suspected the fact. Before they entered the Army, as well as after they were in it, these men consumed such ordinary necessities of life as food, coats, trousers, socks, shoes, and blankets.

These simple facts lead directly to the mistaken conclusion that the problem of supplying the necessities of life for the soldiers in the Army was the comparatively simple one of diverting into the camps substantially the same amounts of food and clothing as these young men would have used in their homes if there had been no war.

These men constituted about one twenty-fifth of the population of the country and undoubtedly consumed before the war more than one twenty-fifth of the food and clothing used in the United States. But after every possible allowance has been made for the requirements of youth and the wastefulness of war, the figures of Army purchases still present surprising contrasts with those of civilian use in normal times.

Some of these contrasts are shown in diagram 22, which compares total American production of blankets, wool gloves, wool socks, and men's shoes in 1914, as given in the census of manufactures, with Army purchases of the same articles in 1918.

Diagram 22. Total American production of four articles compared with Army purchases.

The first two columns of the diagram relate to blankets. They show that the Army purchases in 1918 were two and one-quarter times as great as the entire American production in 1914. To put it another way, the figures mean that the blankets bought in one year for the use of 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 soldiers would have been sufficient to make good the actual normal consumption of blankets by 100,000,000 American civilians for two and a quarter years. From the data of the other columns of the same diagram similar, if not equally surprising, comparisons may be made.

The reasons for the enormous figures of Army purchases are not far to seek. In the first place, men who went to camp received complete equipment of new articles, whereas ordinary production in peace time goes mainly to replace articles that have been worn out. In the second place, the supplies required for an army increase in proportion to the distance that separates the army from its home base. In the third place, the consumption in action is three or four times the peace rate.

The stream of supplies going forward to an army may be likened to the water delivered against a fire by an old-fashioned bucket brigade. For every pailful thrown on the fire there must be many that have been taken from the source of supply and are on the way. As the distance from the source increases this supply in transit constantly grows. When an army is 3,000 or 4,000 miles from its sources of supply the amounts of supplies in reserve and in transit are enormous as compared with the quantities actually consumed each month.

The rule generally followed for clothing was that there should be for each man at the front a three months' reserve in France, another two or three months' reserve in the United States, and a third three months' supply continuously in transit. Wool coats, for example, last about three months in active service. Hence for every coat on a man's back at the front there had to be a coat in reserve in France' a coat in transit, and a coat in reserve in the United States. For every man at the front four coats were needed, and needed as soon as he went overseas. Two million men overseas required something like 8,000,000 coats, and required them immediately.

The same thing was true for other supplies and munitions. The need for reserves and the time required for transportation called for the supply of enormous quantities and called for it at once. The immediate needs for each man sent forward were in fact far in excess of the later requirements. For munitions difficult to manufacture, such as artillery and ammunition, the problem presented by this necessity for reserves and large amounts in transit, in addition to the actual equipment of troops, was almost insuperable. The initial need is so great in a situation of this character that it can only be met in one of two ways; either by having the initial equipment available at the outbreak of war, or by immediately securing such an enormous productive capacity that it is larger than is required for maintaining the establishment later.

In supplying food and clothing and other articles which are matters of common commercial production, the problem was not as difficult as with ordnance, but the large needs for initial equipment did put an enormous strain upon the industries concerned. A list of the total deliveries during the war of some of the common articles of clothing shows the size of the task. They are given in Table 3. The cost of the articles listed was more than $1,000,000,000.

Table 3. Clothing delivered to the Army April 6, 1917, to .May 31, 1918.

All these garments could be made in ordinary commercial factories, but their quantity was so enormous that at a number of times during the war it was feared that the demand would run ahead of the supply. When the troop movement was speeded up in the spring of 1918 the margin on woolen clothing was dangerously narrow. To secure these and other articles in sufficient quantity it was found necessary in many cases for the Army to take control of all stages of the manufacturing process, from assembling the raw material to inspecting the finished product. For many months preceding the armistice the War Department was owner of all the wool in the country. From- September, 1918, to June, 1919, if the troop movement had continued, Army needs were estimated at 246,000,000 pounds of clean wool, while the amount allotted to civilian needs was only 15,000,000 pounds. The British Army had in a similar way some years before taken control of the English wool supply in order to meet army and navy needs. Their requirements were, however, less than ours, to the extent that they did not need such a large reserve in France and practically none in transit. Their requirements per man for equipment were for this reason about two-thirds as great as ours.

Something the same story might be told for about 30,000 kinds of commercial articles which the Army purchased. Purchases included food, forage, hardware, coal, furniture, wagons, motor trucks, lumber, locomotives, cars, machinery, medical instruments, hand tools, machine tools. In one way or another the Army at war drew upon almost every one of the 344 industries recognized by the United States Census. In some cases readjustments of machinery for a slightly modified product were necessary. In many an improved product was demanded. In practically all an enormous production was required. In the cases of some articles all the difficulties of quantity production were combined with the problems of making something not before manufactured. Typical instances are the 5,400,000 gas masks and the 2,728,000 steel helmets produced before the end of November, 1918.

Machinery of Distribution.

For those supplies that were to a certain degree articles of commercial manufacture, the problem of distribution was fully as difficult as procurement. For production, machinery already in existence could be utilized; for distribution, a new organization was necessary. In this country the problem was not hard for there were ample railway facilities; an abundance of motor transportation could be requisitioned if necessary; and the troops were near the sources. In France, a complete new organization was necessary whose main duty it was to distribute munitions and supplies. It was called the Services of Supply, the S. O. S., and had its headquarters at Tours. It was an army behind the Army. On the day the armistice was signed, there were reporting to the commanding general of the Services of Supply, 386,000 soldiers besides 31,000 German prisoners, and thousands of civilian laborers furnished by the Allies. At the same time there were in the zone of the armies 160,000 noncombatant troops, the majority of whom were keeping in operation the lines of distribution of supplies to the troops at the front. The proportion of noncombatants in the American Army never fell below 28 per cent. In the British Army it often ran higher. Even when there was the greatest pressure for men at the front, the work back of the lines took roughly one man out of every three.

Distributing supplies to the American forces in France was in the first place a problem of ports, second a problem of railroads, third a problem of motor and horse-drawn transportation, and fourth a problem of storage.

The ports and railroads of France were crowded with war traffic and fallen into disrepair. It was not necessary to build new ports, but American engineers added 17 new berths, together with warehouses and dock equipment. It was not necessary to build new railroads, for France already had a railway net denser per square mile than that of the United States, but it was desirable to increase the carrying capacity by nearly 1,000 miles of new trackage, and by switching facilities at crucial points, by new repair shops and round-houses, and by new rolling stock. These things were done by the Engineers. The problems were not wholly solved. There were never enough docks to prevent some loss of time by vessels waiting to dock, but the capacity for handling American cargo was tripled from 10,000 tons per day in the spring of 1918 to 30,000 tons by November 11 and the waiting time of ships was shorter than in commercial practice. There were never wholly adequate railway facilities, but with the help of locomotives and freight cars shipped from this side, freight was carried inland about as fast as it was landed. Map 5 shows the main railway lines used by the overseas forces. They connect the principal ports at which the Army fleet docked with the headquarters of the Services of Supply at Tours and with the Toul-Verdun sector, where the American armies operated. The dots represent the principal storage depots of the transportation service.

Map 5. Seaports, storage points, and supply lines of the American Army in France.

Narrow-Gauge Railways and Motor Trucks

Railroads carried American supplies from the ports in France to intermediate or advance depots. As map 5 shows, railroad lines roughly paralleled the front. Spurs led up to the front, but beyond a certain distance the standard-gauge railroad did not go. Where the danger of shelling began or where the needs changed rapidly as the battle activity shifted from this front to that, the place of the heavy railway was taken by other means of distributing supplies. First came the narrow-gauge railroad, with rails about 2 feet apart, much narrower than the usual narrow-gauge road in this country. American engineers built 125 miles of these roads, for which 406 narrow-gauge locomotives and 2,385 narrow-gauge cars were shipped from this country, in addition to the standard-gauge equipment.

Beyond the range of the narrow-gauge railway came the motor truck. The truck could go over roads that were under shell fire. It could retire with the Army or push forward with advancing troops. Trucks were used on a larger scale in this war than was ever before thought possible. The American Infantry division on the march with the trucks; wagons, and ambulances of its supply, ammunition, and sanitary trains stretches for a distance of 30 miles along the road. The 650 trucks which the tables of organization of the division provide are a large factor in this train. The need for trucks increased moreover during the latter months of the war as trench warfare gave place to a war of movement. As the forces moved forward on the offensive away from their railway bases, more and more trucks were demanded.

The Army overseas never had all the trucks it needed during the period of hostilities. Diagram 23 shows how the supply, month by month, measured up to the numbers called for in the tables of organization. The dash line shows the truck tonnage needed and the heavy line the amount available.

Diagram 23. Motor-truck tonnage needed and available in the American Expeditionary Forces.

The supply was least adequate during the last four months of the war, when the shipment of trucks fell behind the accelerated troop movement. The difficulty was almost entirely a shortage of ships. At practically all times there were quantities of trucks at the ports of embarkation, but trucks take enormous amounts of cargo space on ships. It is slow and difficult work to load them, and time after time embarkation officials were forced to leave the trucks standing at the ports and load their ships rapidly with supplies needed still more urgently overseas. In October and November more ships were pulled out of the trades and the trucks were shipped even at the expense of other essential supplies. The shipment kept pace with the troop movement, but the initial shortage could not be overcome until February. The number of trucks sent overseas prior to the armistice was 40,000 and of these 33,000 had been received in France. The trucks ranged in size from three-quarters of a ton to 5 tons.

Beyond the range of the motor truck the horse and wagon were the means of supply distribution. Here again the American armies made an inadequate equipment do the work that was required. The shipment of animals overseas was discontinued early in 1918 on the information that horses could be purchased overseas. Then in the fall when every ton of shipping was precious, the supply of foreign horses proved inadequate and 23 of the best of the Army's cargo vessels had to be converted to animal transports. About 500 horses and mules were embarked in September and 17,000 in October. The shipments could not, however, be started soon enough to prevent a shortage. A horse uses as much ship space as 10 tons of cargo, but in the latter months the need for animals was so great that this sacrifice was made.

In general, it may be said that the Army overseas never had enough means of transportation. It may also be said that they had very large quantities and that they produced remarkable results with the supply they had.

47,000 Telegrams a Day

In order to operate the transportation of supplies in France, a new system of communication had to be set up; so the Signal Corps strung its wires over nearly every part of France. This is shown in map 6.

Map 6. American telephone and telegraph lines in France, England, and Germany.

The heavy lines indicate telephone and telegraph lines wholly constructed by Americans or wires strung on French poles. The light lines are wires leased from the French or taken over from the Germans. Trunk lines led from all the principal ports to Paris, to Tours, and to general headquarters (G. H. Q.) back of the American battle areas. The lines running to Coblenz for the army of Occupation were taken over from the Germans. At the time of the signing of the armistice the Signal Corps was operating 282 telephone exchanges and 133 complete telegraph stations. The telephone lines numbered 14,956, reaching 8,959 stations. More than 100,000 miles of wire had been strung. The peak load of operation reached was 47,555 telegrams a day, averaging 60 words each.

Construction in the United States

To build factories and storage warehouses for supplies, as well as housing for troops, 200,000 workmen in the United States were kept continuously occupied for the period of the war. The force of workers on this single activity was larger than the total strength of both southern and northern armies in the Battle of Gettysburg. The types of construction included cement piers and warehouses, equipment for proving grounds, plants for making powder and explosives, repair shops, power plants, roads, and housing for troops. Building was required in every State of the Union, as shown in map 7. Each dot represents a construction project.

Map 7. Construction projects of the Army in the United States.

The region of greatest activity was the Northeast, at once the most densely populated section and the center of munitions production.

Housing constructed had a capacity of 1,800,000 men, or more than the entire population of Philadelphia. The operations of the Construction Division constituted what was probably the largest contracting business ever handled in one office.

The total expenditures in this enterprise to November 11, 1918, were, in round numbers, $800,000,000, or about twice the cost of the Panama Canal. The per cent of the total which was allotted to various purposes is shown in diagram 21. The largest single item is the cost of National Army cantonments which was nearly one-quarter of the total. Ordnance Department projects, including the building of enormous powder, high-explosive, and loading plants, come second.

Diagram 24. Costs of construction projects in the United States.

The costs of construction were probably higher than they would have been for slower work. The outstanding feature of the accomplishment was its rapidity. Each of the cantonments was completed in substantially 90 days. It was this speed that made it possible to get the draft army under training before the winter of 1917 set in and made it available just in time for the critical action of the summer of 1918.

Construction in the A.E.F.

The conduct of the war in France necessitated a construction program comparable in magnitude and number of projects with that in the United States. Less new building was required for shelter and for the manufacture of munitions, but more for the development of port and railroad facilities and for the repair and complicated equipment of a modern army.

The storage space constructed in France was more than nine-tenths as large as the amount built at home. Hospital capacity constructed in France was twice the new capacity at home.

All construction work in France was performed by the Corps of Engineers under the Services of Supply. The labor force consisted largely of American soldiers and German prisoners, although French and English civilians and Chinese coolies were used wherever available. To economize tonnage materials were obtained in Europe as far as possible, sometimes at high prices. The Engineer Corps ran its own quarries and its own logging camps and sawmills. Only such materials as could not be obtained abroad---chiefly machinery and steel products---were purchased in the United States.

Up to the signing of the armistice construction projects had been undertaken by the Corps of Engineers to the number of 831. Their distribution over France is shown in map 8, in which every dot represents a place at which one or sometimes several projects were undertaken. The A. E. F. left its trail in the shape of more or less permanent improvements over the greater part of France. The projects cluster most thickly around the ports used by American forces and the American area on the southern end of the battle line.

Map 8. Construction projects of the Army in France.

Food and Clothing at the Front.

The real test of the efficiency of the supply service comes when an army engages in battle. Measured by that test the work of feeding, clothing, and equipping the American Army was well done for, in the main, the expeditionary forces received what they needed. Within the limits of this report no account can be given in detail of how fully the supplies received overseas met the needs of the troops. A few typical and fundamentally important items only can be selected. Food and clothing are the most essential.

At no time was there a shortage of food in the expeditionary forces. Soldiers sometimes went hungry in this as in all other wars, but the condition was local and temporary. It occurred because of transportation difficulties during periods of active fighting or rapid movement when the units outran their rolling kitchens. The stocks of food on hand in depots in France were always adequate. This is illustrated in diagram 25. The columns show the stocks of food in depots on the first of each month in terms of how many days they would last the American forces then in France.

Diagram 25. Days supply of Army rations on hand in the American Expeditionary Forces each month.

During the winter and spring of 1918 the amounts on hand rose steadily. On May 1, about the time when American troops were entering active fighting for the first time, they were well over the 45-day line, which was considered the required reserve during the latter months of the war. For a time efforts were made to build up a 90-day supply in order that the overseas forces might continue to operate for some months, even if the lines of supply across the ocean were cut. As the menace of the submarine becomes less acute, and as the need of ship tonnage for other supplies became more pressing, the required reserve was cut to 45 days. It will be seen from the diagram that at no time during the period of active operations did the reserve fall below this line.

In the matter of clothing also, the supply services rose to the emergency of combat.

There were periods in the history of many individual units when needed supplies could not be immediately obtained but, as in the case of food, the difficulty was one of local transportation.

The records of the Quartermaster show that during the six months of hard fighting, from June to November, the enlisted man in the A. E. F. received on the average:

Slicker and overcoat, every 5 months.
Blanket, flannel shirt, and breeches, every 2 months.
Coat, every 79 days.
Shoes and puttees, every 51 days.
Drawers and undershirt, every 34 days.
Woolen socks, every 23 days.


1. The problems of feeding and clothing the Army were difficult because of the immense quantities involved rather than because of the difficulty of manufacturing the articles needed.

2. Requirements for some kinds of clothing for the Army were more than twice as great as the prewar total American production of the same articles.

3. To secure the articles needed for the Army the Government had to commandeer all the wool and some other staple articles in the United States and control production through all its stages.

4. The distribution of supplies in the expeditionary forces required the creation of an organization called the Services of Supply, to which one-fourth of all the troops who went overseas were assigned.

5. American Engineers built in France 17 new ship berths, 1,000 miles of standard-gauge track. and 125 miles of narrow-gauge track.

6. The Signal Corps strung in France 100,000 miles of telephone and telegraph wire.

7. Prior to the armistice 40,000 trucks were shipped to the forces in France.

8. Construction projects in the United States cost twice as much as the Panama Canal, and construction overseas was on nearly as large a scale.

9. The Army in France always had enough food and clothing.


Chapter Five

Table of Contents