Jan 1943 sham battle article
THE PITTSBURGH PRESS. MONDAY, JANUARY II, 1943 Minute Men Rise Home Defense Units 'Battle' Enemy Attack on Pittsburgh in a he to a in to of at or I as up He I'll on a Mr. the to full and an ask be of was law and my assumption park I AM the of a his now To By Repel Attack 'Parachutists' 'Enemy Troops' Liquidated by Home Guard Units, Soldiers After Seizing Hill in Raid Designed To 'Destroy' Allegheny River Lock By JOHN TROAN While most of the city slept, "enemy parachutists" struck inside Pittsburgh's gates yesterday as the Army and civilian "home guard" units staged the district's first mock invasion battle of the war. Sloshing through ankle-deep snow, close to 1000 soldiers and volunteer "minute men" clam- bered over hillsides above the Highland Park Bridge in Indian 'tree-to-tree fashion in a maneuver designed to test the city's defenses against possible invasion by an Axis suicide saboteur corps. When the smoke of battle and there was plenty of it had cleared, the 60 "parachutists," who infiltrated from the Aspinwall side 4 the bridge, had' been liquidated, two hours and three minutes after they had crossed the span and seized a strategic hill preparatory to "destroying" a lock on the Allegheny. So Verdict Given In line with Army rules, no official victor was proclaimed although Captain W. W. Carroll, who served as one of the battle umpires, ventured to say that the "paratroopers" probably could have achieved their mission before their capture because many of the defending units failed to move into position quickly enough and because Second Lieutenant Albert J. Weber, of Monaca, who headed the "enemy" outfit, deployed his men so well they were difficult to dislodge. Generally, all Army officers expressed satisfaction at the results, especially in view of the bad weather conditions and the fact this was the first test of its kind here, and Lieut. Col. Charles A. Bayler said later that more "similar problems" will be held. rian Broader Test Colonel Bayler, who is commander of the West Pennsylvania Internal Security Division, disclosed the next test will involve "all Civilian Defense agencies," indicating a daylight alert in conjunction with a sham battle. Details are being drawn by himself and Ross L. Leffler, chairman of the Allegheny County Council of Defense, the colonel explained. He added that plans are in too for-mulative a stage at present to say whether an exacuation drill will be staged which would entail the orderly withdrawal of residents from a specific "battle area" to clear the decks for military action. Besides soldiers from the Military Police battalion stationed in Pittsburgh, yesterday's test involved the Pennsylvania Reserve Defense Corps., its "minute man" auxiliary and the Sheriff's Rifles. Notified By Spotter Preliminary action began at 9 a. m., when the Internal Security Division headquarters at Logan Armory, Oakland, was notified by a "home guard" spotter that "a strong party of enemy parachutists, estimated at 40 to 60 men," had been dropped about a mile north of the Highland Park Bridge and were advancing with the apparent intention of blowing up a lock. Actually, the men had driven there from their South Park barracks. Although planes of the Civic Air Patrol were to fly over the area to add a greater touch of realism, this was not done because of snow. As the "paratroopers," wearing white arm bands, plodded across the bridge and climbed a' strategic ridge overlooking the span, the message of their landing was re layed to the Pennsylvania Reserve Defense Corps headquarters at Hunt Armory, East Liberty, to its Aux iliary and to the Sheriff's Rifles. Advance Down Allegheny The members rushed from their homes in full battle regalia, includ ing rcnes, ana reported to prearranged stations. by 9:30, the "counter-attack" was under way, The PRDC, in light blue uniforms, advanced down toward the Alle gheny from a point just above Reser voir No. 1 m Highland Park. The PRDC Auxiliary marched up Butler St. toward the river-end of the park. The Sheriff's Rifles, in the. brilliant red coats and hats of the hunters, ploughed up a precipitous hillside overloowing Washington Blvd., near the Motor Police inspection grounds .Meanwhile, ambulances roared out to the central command post at tne inspection grounds from the various city hospitals and undertak' ing establishments, and "MP" sen tinels were posted at vital street intersections throughout the East End to keep traffic lanes open for essential convoy movements. Starts at 9:48 The "shooting" began at 9:48 a. m. when one of the "enemy paratroopers espied a red-coated Sheriff's Rifleman climbing up the hillside and opened nre. "If we had had live ammunition," Lieutenant Weber later explained at a post battle critique, "they all would have been dead pigeons. Despite their glaring outfits, how ever, members of the Sheriff's Riflemen were commended for the way in which they moved into attack positions. 'They had advance scouts to cover them," Captain Carroll said. and they took advantage of nat ural protective cover, such as trees and brush. The PRDC did the same although some of "them hesitated too long before sprinting from one tree to another. On the other hand, the Army units (which arrived later) failed in most instances to send scouts on ahead." Notify Command Post In line with the plans, the vol unteer defense units immediately notified the command post by foot courier that they had met with "strong fire from several points on the high ground just south of the Highland Park Bridge," and that they were unable to make any fur ther progress. The report was sent on to the Army headquarters at Logan Ar mory, and a force of soldiers was dispatched to the Washington Blvd. area under Lieut. CoL W. W. Johnson, commander of the MP bat talion here, and Major W. H. Chris tian. Colonel Bayler and Lieut. Col. George Henderson, of the Third Service Command at Baltimore, also rode to the scene to view the sham battle. The Army reinforcements arrived shortly after 10 o'clock with orders to "contact the hostile force immediately and destroy it." The enemy now was outnumbered by 15 to 1. , Hold Advanced Positions While the volunteer defenders held their advanced positions, the soldiers moved in to storm the "enemy" stronghold and mop up the paratroopers. Several companies of men were strung out along the lower rim of the hillside atop which the "enemy" was entrenched, and then began the Army s slow, weaving, Indian-like attack as soldiers, with full field packs and rifles, charged through the deep snow, leaped over treacherous gulleys and dove from tree to tree. Meanwhile, another force of sol diers had moved onto a hill on the opposite side of Washington Blvd. with machine-g'uns and mortars to lay down a protective curtain of fire over the heads of the advancing MPs. Use Firecrackers The men were to use blank am munition but officers said even that is so scarce they were forced to utilize firecrackers to simulate shooting. The mortar crews, however, did unleash some honest-to-goodness "smoke shells" to provide a smoke screen for the advance and to shield from the "enemy" a cara van of scout cars which raced over the ice-slick boulevard to the south end of the Highland Park Bridge, where they disgorged another group of soldiers who stood by to prevent any 'retreat" by the paratroopers. Hemmed in and their ammunition exhausted, the "enemy" troops ca pitulated, and at 11:03 a bugler sounaea tne end of the battle. Although lack of good communi cations between the various units hampered the maneuver, Army officers said the co-operation demonstrated by the volunteer civilians was noteworthy. 'You men," Colonel Henderson said, "have a very real part to play in the internal security of this city and nation, and the Army is con templating to make more use of you. "Sometime in the future, you 'will be assigned to areas of responsibility around key sensitive points throughout the district to which you would report in case of any emergency to forestall sabotage by the enemy." I fjkjfif . , v vt N r VriH "u ' &i!fcrPsL Jj $ s v ;f v . I Star-: Intruder Wounded, Taken to Hospital Awakened by a noise in his home early yesterday, James McCall, of 1847 Colwell St., fired four shots at an object moving in the darkness. A short time later police at Center Ave. Station received a call that a man who had been shot was at 1813 Linton St. Rushing to the scene they found John Wilson, 40, Negro, of that address with a gunshot wound in the left arm. Wilson, who was released from the Western Penitentiary last No vember after serving a seven-year term for robbery, was treated at Mercy Hospital and then arrested on a burglary charge. Card Loss Threat Cures CIO Invalids By The United. Press CLEVELAND. Jan. 11 A slow down at the Lakeside works of Otis Steel Co., ended today when the CIO United Steelworkers threatened 125 participating workers with expulsion from the union. . t Apparently becoming impatient for an agreement in current negotiations between the union and the company, the workers stayed away from the milf Friday, all claiming illness. When they failed to report again Saturday, Leo E. Casey, international representative of the union, intervened with an ultimatum to work or lose their union membership. The demonstration ended. THE SHAM BATTLE OF PITTSBURQH was "fought" in the Highland Park district during a morning snow yesterday as the Army and volunteer defense groups simulated a paratroop attack on the city. Some of the scenes: 1 Firecrackers were used instead of blank ammunition to represent shooting. Here a soldier "fires." 2 A trench mortar in action against the "enemy" saboteurs. 3 Attack! Soldiers storm up a hiNside to destroy the paratroopers. - 4 The "Big 3" viewing the maneuvers: Lieutenant Colonels George Henderson, Third Service .Command headquarters; W. W. Johnson, commander of the local MP's, and Charles A. Bayler, head of the West Pennsylvania Internal Security Division. 5 Battle plans are checked on a map by Captain John B. Laing, of the local military police battalion. 6 End of the trail for captured "paratroopers." 7 Machine-gunners lay down a curtain of fire from Scout cars to protect advancing soldiers. 2 Bystanders Shot In Saloon Brawls As a result of brawls in saloons in the Hazelwood and Hill Districts, one man is dead and three others are suffering from gunshot wounds. Arthur Sessley, 38. Negro, of 5504 Second Ave., was killed and George Agie, 21, of 72 Vespucius St., wounded when it is alleged Pinky Watkins, 23, Negro, of 79 Herbert Way, fired a shotgun at Sessley, in Vespucius St. watkins was ar rested. Lee Barnes, 43, Negro, of 1831 Webster Ave., and Burden ParKer, 53. of 1614-Wvlie Ave. were -shot by a Negro in a saloon at 1710 Wylie Ave. Barnes and anotner Negro were in an argument when the former was snot, parser, an innocent victim, was wounded slightly U. S. Official Communique Navy No. 247 SOUTH PACIFIC , (All dates east longitude): . 1 On Jan. 10: (A) U. S. forces on Guadalcanal Island laid down an artillery bar rage on Japanese positions. (B) "Dauntless" dive bombers and "Airocobra" fighters followed up the shelling by bombing and strafing the enemy areas. (C) Following the shelling and bombing, U. S. ground forces made small advances into enemy terri tory. Enemy resistance to the ad vances was weak. THE GREMLINS II LET'EM MAKE A "" B ,suckekouTaxj. s. ) ' ? "v4nd The T jwvr . Xr I "Poor, chump fell 'Nf 3 -A FOR. IT LIKE AU?M y .rfvSZp Q?L (KT I j OP BRICKS. HE BEEN JtJ Srf "K2 vnJV""-. DOWN! ON THE CORNER fyO (pjtwmLX ShooTiw Pool For Communists Report On Enemy Agents Information on Axis agents in the U. S. which was collected by Communists prior to the Nazi invasion of Russia has been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and has helped in keeping sabotage in" America to a minimum, Lieut. Col. George Henderson, of the Army's Third Service CommancJ at Baltimore, said here yesterday. , Colonel Henderson, speaking to a force of soldiers and volunter home-defense units after .a sham battle in the Highland Park district, said the information was obtained while Communists and Nazis ostensibly were working together in the U. S. before Hitler turned on Russia. Nevertheless, he wrarned, there "still are groups in the TJ. S. ready to obev Hitler's orders, still under his strict controL" "They have not yet been cut loose," he said, "but it is believed they may be ordered to stage a concerted sabotage campaign in conjunction with a possible token air raid." IrU South Side Mem Injured By Tcrxicab During Storm Struck by a taxicab in the 1100 block of E. Carson St, yesterday, Thomas P. McManus. 615 Cabot Way, South Side, was taken to St Joseph's Hospital with internal in juries, a fractured skull, broken left arm and face lacerations. - Salvatore Gugliuzza, 28, of 321 Beltzhoover Ave- driver of the taxi- cab, told police he was blinded by the lights1 of an auto during a snowstorm and did not see Mr. Mc- Manus. Mr. Gugliuzza took Mr, McManus to the hospital. Second Serizs'- OFFICIAL INSIGNIA COMBAT ST AMRS Every day a black and white copy of an Official Combat Insignia Stamp will appear in this space in The Pittsburgh Press. These copies (there will be 50 in all!) may be exchanged FREE, for authentic, full-color Combat Stamps. Clip and 6ave them in series of 10. As each group of 10 is eaved ; send them to The War Insignia Editor, Box 476, The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pa., with a self -addressed, stamped envelope. We will then send you 10 originals in full color absolutely free! Clip This Stamp! siAJur ju. .o is the 28th stamp in the Second Series of authentic combat insignia stamps. This second series, like the fir6t which was offered by The Press, contains 50 full-colored insignia stamps. To get the stamps, you simply clip the coupon which is published here every day and trade them in in groups of 10. Walt Disney, the famous cartoon animator, created this entire second series of combat stamps. On ships of the line, on squadrons of battle planes throughout the world, and on tank battalions on the African deserts, these Insgnia carry on with our fighting men. Clip this stamp today! - t.