To Colonel Hjalmar Erickson1
October 6, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
I received your note of October 2d with your comments and questions regarding the Army maneuvers.
The development in division and corps management was remarkable; the supply procedure from corps areas through the depots and rail-heads to the troops was about as good as we are ever going to get it. You were right in your question regarding the training of the small units, though we did manage to accomplish this in the so-called Regular divisions on a remarkably satisfactory basis.2 We have to go at it again with the National Guard units, along with considerable change in officer personnel.
Of course in all of this you will have to remember that the Army had no previous time standard as a basis, because we never had the opportunity to go through the entire cycle up to Army maneuvers. The improvement between the first small maneuvers of a couple of divisions through the inter-corps maneuvers of five to six divisions, the army maneuvers of eight to twelve divisions, and finally the inter-army maneuvers of about 450,000 troops, was amazing. The show started last June. The First Army maneuvers, which will involve five additional divisions are now getting under way in the corps phase and will culminate the end of November.
Throughout the Louisiana affair the men bore the hardships in great shape. It was very impressive to find a maneuver covering practically an entire State.
With warm regards,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Erickson, who had served with Marshall in the First Division in 1918, was living in Reno, Nevada. He had retired in 1923 because of disability in line of duty, but he had been retained on active duty until 1932. (With the president’s consent, the army could retain or recall to duty retired officers, although those above the rank of major served with reduced pay and allowances.)
2. After complimenting Marshall on the favorable newspaper reports of the fall maneuvers, Erickson observed that while the higher commanders and services had been tested, he “wondered how the lesser commanders and their men (who make victories possible) stood up to the test after such a short period of training behind them.” (Erickson to Marshall, October 2, 1941, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981– ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 630–631.