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Editorial Note on St. Mihiel Planning
In preparing for the St. Mihiel attack, one of Marshall’s chief problems was the extent of the artillery preparation to be made. With little time for elaborate strategems and no heavy tanks, only three options seemed available: (1) fourteen hours of fire in order to break gaps in the barbed wire; (2) five hours of fire, mainly to demoralize the defenders and inspire the attackers; (3) no preparatory fire. As the day of the battle drew closer, Pershing seemed to lean toward the third alternative, a course Marshall considered fraught with potential disaster. (Memoirs, pp. 135-36.) Finally, Marshall, and his assistant, Colonel Walter S. Grant (U.S.M.A., 1900), composed a memorandum on the subject.
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), p.157.