OCR Interpretation


The Rio Grande rattler. ([McAllen], Hidalgo County, Tex.) 1916-1917, April 27, 1918, Image 13

Image and text provided by New York State Military History Museum

Persistent link: http://www.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn87030234/1918-04-27/ed-1/seq-13/


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GAS ATTACK 11 CAMOUFLEURS BUILD REALISTIC MOUNTAIN Division Fakirs Construct Stout Hill With Intent to Deceive, “Sir, you are a fakir. You are probably the biggest fakir in the Division.” “Thank you, than k you very much, in­ deed,” replied P rivate L a u ren Stout, Co. E, 107th Infantry, beam ing in a pleased m a n ­ ner. If you don’t believe Pvt. Stout is a fakir come around and see Stout Hill, which he and the members of his camouflage class have constructed across the street from Di­ vision H e a d q u a rters, and w ithin eye-shot of the Gas A t t a c k office in the Y. M. C. A. headquarters building. If you don’t get someone to point it out to you, you m ight m iss it, for the home­ made m o u n tain is such a perfect example of camouflage th a t flowers have been de­ ceived into grow ing on it. Ju s t between us, though, it is made up of a lot of burlap bags, some leaves and a few pieces of lum ­ ber, and a rock or two which look like young G ibraltars, but w h ich can be folded up and put in your vest pocket (if you have a vest.) A Home-Made Hill. The problem given to Pvt. Stout and his class in the Divisional Camouflage School was to camouflage a good sized wooden building used to store gasoline. They had a lot of th a t faith which is supposed to move m o u n tains, and after five weeks of hard w o rk they built a hill which defies de­ tection even from a m an standing on it. Of course an enemy aeroplane would be completely fooled. The same hill could be built in a day by the class now, because all the m a terial is ready and they know ju s t how to stick a sizeable young m o u n tain to­ gether for the protection of a headquarters building or any other arm y building. A company of infantry can be quartered com­ fortably in the interior of Mt. Stout. Major General O’Ryan and his staff in­ spected Stout H ill th e other day. They pro­ nounced it a rem a rkable example of im ita­ tion camouflage. There are two kinds of camouflage—im itation and invisible. In im itation camouflage an attem p t is made to sim u late nature. In invisible camouflage the idea is to m ake the object camouflaged disappear completely. “Gentlemen,” said Major General O’Ryan, to the assembled officers, as they stood at the front of Stout Hill, “w ithin a few feet of you a soldier is stationed who can hear every word we say. W ithin tw e n ty feet three more soldiers are w atching every movement we make. W ithin fifty feet, a sniper has his rifle trained on us. Can you find them ? ” They couldnlt. They surveyed the land­ scape thoroughly but not a soldier could they spy. WADSWORTH IN 19— . A Fantastic Dream of Life After the War. The w a r had been brought to a close. The arm y had been reduced in size to a peace footing. Industry had once more ad­ justed itself to a norm al basis. “W a r Con­ tra c ts” had ceased to be. The country as a whole had settled down and resum ed its usual mode of living. All this had happened before I had the pleasure of the experience th a t I am now about to tell about. Of course, you are only too fam iliar with the details of the w ar to have me relate any further of them. You may rem em b e r how the 27th Division distinguished itself in action. The papers had full details and then again you may have m et some of the veterans. And if I know anything about “old soldiers” I know th a t you are then acquainted w ith all the facts and then some. “Bill” Randolph had alw ays been a close friend of m ine; though he was much older and had a fam ily th a t he was justly proud of. He had ideas all his own which w ere hard to change. Even his very charm ing wife had never been able to change his ideas on living. Life, to him, was given to be spent out-of-doors and he could talk for hours on the “healthful environm e n t,” as he called it. Luckily, Bill was born w ith oodles of gold and could foster, and furtherm o re, back up his ideas. Since the war, I had not heard from Randolph and so was naturally surprised to receive a letter from him post­ m a rked “Spartanburg, S. C.” It was an in­ vitation to “come down and spend a few w eeks am o n g st the H e a lthful Environ- m e n tists.” Out Pop the Soldiers. Then L ie u t Linwood P. Ames, chief Di­ visional Camouflage instructor, who has had general charge of all the camouflage classes, blew his w h istle. The officers were amazed to see emerge from under an old tree stum p th a t had apparently been rooted up and throw n aside, a figure in khaki. The stum p was just a camouflage periscope. Then from w h a t appeared to be an old well, two other men came. Still another came from w h a t seemed to be the stum p of a freshly cut tree. The sniper emerged from the branches of a lofty pine tree. Then a couple of snipers came out of the top of the m o u n tain. The officers watched their step after that. They were afraid they m ight inadvertently step on an infantry bat­ talion disguised as leaves or twigs or some­ thing. The Divisional Camouflage School, in its last sem ester, dem o n strated th a t it con­ tains some very efficient fakirs. They con­ cealed trenches, m achine gun emplacements, painted tanks to look like pieces of South Carolina made screens and displayed m a rk­ ed proficiency in every branch of the new science. R. E. C. Back to Spartanburg, It was m o stly out of curiosity th a t I found m y self heading south for Spartan­ burg w h e re I had spent m o n ths in training at the beginning of the w ar. Bill m e t me at the station th a t w a rm Septem b er day, the sam e old Bill. I suggested th a t we take the P. & N. to camp ju s t for old tim e sake, so he dism issed his w a iting motor. I was not disappointed in my desire to bring back old tim e s once more. It took us three hours to get to W adsw o rthville. As we poked ahead, backed up and w aited, I had Bill go into details concerning his “group” of healthful environm e n tists. It seem s in going over some records he had discovered an arm y health bulletin in which it pointed out in ju s t so m any per­ centages how living the regular routine (ever present in arm y life) was much m o re beneficial than any other life could be. My friend decided th a t w h a t was healthful for a soldier would be the sam e for civilians un­ der the sam e conditions. So gathering to­ gether his followers, they organized th e ir little “group,” rented Camp W a d sw o rth from the Governm ent and moved south w ith th e ir fam ilies to “enjoy the benefits of arm y life w ithout being soldiers.” H e seem ed so enthusiastic and had lived through a m o n th of the existence th a t I ju s t had to agree w ith him th a t the idea was “quite novel.” W adsworth Revisited, W h en we finally arrived, we w alked past the cam p site of th e A m m u nition T rain to w h ere th e 104th Field A rtillery had camped in my day. I had noticed as we passed th a t tents of green balloon silk w ere pitched in the streets as of yore and th a t women dress­ ed in sport clothes w ere num erous. Stop­ ping at about the old “F ” B a ttery street, he inform ed me it was w h e re he lived. L ittle had been changed except officer’s row and there on th a t sacred ground w e re two couples playing tennis on a well built court. G reat Scott! there was the old incinera­ tor still doing duty; tended now by a digni­ fied footm an in livery. It sent a shudder down my back as it brought back my K. P. days. W e continued down p a s t the m ess hall and a butler came forward, took my grip and showed me to m y tent. Not a detail had been om itted in fitting up my sleeping quar­ ters, running hot and cold w a te r, a double bed, a clothes closet, and everything to m ake one com fortable. I quickly changed to my lighter clothes because I was anxious to look around. Beyond the show er baths w h ere we had parked our guns, was now lined w ith Bill’s m achines and carriages. In the stables, w h ere m any a night I had been on guard over those ever w a n d e ring and restless horses, w ere now quartered thoroughbreds of the best breeding. Soldiering de Luxe. It was explained to me th a t each fam ily (Continued on page 24)

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