Topic: US Armed Forces
American Troops in France Will Be "Armed to Teeth"
Infantry Will Have Trench Knives, Machine Guns and Cannon in Equipment
Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 29 September 1917
American soldiers will literally be "armed to the teeth" when sent into the trenches against the Germans.
In addition to then usual rifles, bayonets and pistols with which the men are now armed, there will be added to the fighting equipment of each regiment 480 trench knives, 40 to each company; 1192 machine guns, 16 to each company, and three one-pound cannon.
Details of the new fighting equipment were given in a statement by Secretary Baker at Washington, D.C., outlining the new army organization for overseas service.
This reorganization increases the ratio of artillery to infantry from 3 to 9, as at present, to 3 to 4. A corresponding increase is made in machine gun strength. In addition, there are sections of sappers and bombers who have important parts to play in the new warfare.
The strength of the new organizations will be:
Division, 27,152; Infantry brigade, 5210; artillery brigade, 5068; infantry company, 256; machine gun company, 378.
Each infantry regiment will have a strength of 103 officers and 3652 men. There will be one headquarters company of 313, three battalions of four rifle companies each totaling 3078, one supply company of 140, one machine gun company of 178, and one medical detachment of 56.
The rifle company has 259 men and six officers. It is composed of a company headquarters with two officers and 18 men, and four platoons. Each platoon has two sections of riflemen of 12 each; one section of bombers and rifle grenadiers of 23 men, and one section of auto riflemen of 11 men and four guns.
The 178 men of the machine gun company will be armed with 12 heavy machine guns and four spare guns.
The organization of the infantry devision in detail is as follows:
One division headquarters, 164; one machine gun battalion of four companies, 768; two infantry brigades, each composed of two infantry regiments, one machine gun battalion of three companies, 16,420; one field artillery brigade composed of three field artillery regiments, one trench mortar battery, 5068; one field signal battalion, 262; one regiment of engineers, 1666; one train headquarters and military police, 337; one ammunition train, 962; one supply train, 472; one engineer train, 84; one sanitary train composed of four field hospital companies and four ambulance companies, 949—total 27,152.
Each regimental headquarters will consist of seven officers and 294 men. There will be a headquarters platoon of 93, a staff section of 36, an orderlies section of 29, a hand section of 28, a signal platoon of 77, including a telephone sections; a sappers and bombers platoon of 44, a pioneer platoon of 55 for engineer work, and a one-pounder cannon platoon of 33 officers and men.
The transportation equipment to each regiment will be 22 combat wagons, 16 rolling kitchens, 22 baggage and rations wagons, 16 rations carts, 15 water carts, three medical carts, 24 machine gun carts, 59 riding horses, eight riding mules, 332 draft mules, two motorcycles with side cars, one motor car and 42 bicycles.
There will be 14 machine gun companies to the division. Each of the four infantry regiments will have one, each of the two brigades a machine gun battalion of three companies and the division will have a separate machine gun battalion of four companies.
This gives the division a mobile machine gun strength of 10 companies, which can be used as a special needs require, while each regiment still has its own machine gun equipment in one of its component companies. And, in addition, there are 48 sections of auto riflemen, each section carrying four light machine guns.