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Memorandum for the Commanding General,
May 17, 1918 [Mesnil-St. Firmin], France
Alert arrangements, advance posts, alarms.
1. During the present period of moonlight nights while large working parties are employed well to the front and a heavy offensive action by the enemy at any moment must be considered as a possibility, it is particularly important that all commanders, particularly subsector commanders, make careful arrangements:
—for obtaining early information of the enemy’s activities by means of numerous, strong patrols
—for obtaining prisoners
—for disposing of the troops at work in advance of their assigned alert positions in case of alarm. (Note: If practicable, these troops will immediately be returned, by previously reconnoitered routes, to their regular alert stations.)
2. Advance Posts.
The advance posts established in front of the line of resistance will be relieved frequently. Their positions will be changed, if necessary, so as to insure the protection of the line of resistance against a surprise attack and to keep the enemy in ignorance of their location.
During the recent German offensive there were instances where German infantry reached the line of resistance before the alarm was given. Patrols and advance posts will be instructed in several methods of giving the alarm quickly and effectively, despite the noise of bombardment. All front line troops will be similarly instructed. Whistle signals, rifle and revolver fire, “to arms” sounded on the bugle and any other available means will be employed to give the alarm to rear echelons in time to permit them to man their trenches.
G. C. Marshall, Jr.
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I) (RG 120), Records of the First Division, Historical File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. Brigadier General Beaumont B. Buck (U.S.M.A.,1885).
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. 138.