This html article is produced from an uncorrected text file through optical character recognition. Prior to 1940 articles all text has been corrected, but from 1940 to the present most still remain uncorrected. Artifacts of the scans are misspellings, out-of-context footnotes and sidebars, and other inconsistencies. Adjacent to each text file is a PDF of the article, which accurately and fully conveys the content as it appeared in the issue. The uncorrected text files have been included to enhance the searchability of our content, on our site and in search engines, for our membership, the research community and media organizations. We are working now to provide clean text files for the entire collection.
SIGNPOSTS OF EXPERIENCE. World War Memoirs of Major General William J. Snow, U.S.A. (Retired), Chief of Field Artillery, 1918-1927. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Field Artillery Association. 1941. 317 pages. $2.75.
Reviewed by Professor Earl W. Thomson, U. S. Naval Academy
These memoirs of General Snow illustrate well the tremendous difficulties inherent in the expansion of a peace-time army into a war-time fighting force, properly trained and adequately equipped. During the war it was necessary to expand the Field Artillery by 2,000 per cent in officers and men. The responsibility for the training of the Field Artillery was removed from the divisions, where an outmoded, impracticable, wasteful divisional training plan had proved a failure, and was placed directly under the Chief of Field Artillery. In May, 1918, General Snow’s general training scheme was adopted. This included the establishment of Replacement Depots, a Central Officers’ Training School, and Schools of Fire. By the end of the war these schools were expanded to graduate 1,000 officers per week, and were capable of training 18 brigades at a time under the 80-division plan.
The war-time procurement of field artillery material was a fiasco, as there was not a single American-made light gun fired on a battle field in France during the war. The American 75-mm. gun was still in the experimental or development stage when production was started and did not prove a success. The French 75-mm. gun was adopted through expediency, but the French were reluctant to part with plans for the recuperator, and this secrecy between allies, and the difficulty of shifting from hand work to quantity assembly line production, delayed delivery. The British 75-mm. gun was not favored by our ordnance experts until late in the war, but many of these guns were used in training. By April, 1919, when the great spring drive was slated, our production schedule was such that sufficient guns would have been present on the western front. American industry would have redeemed itself if the war had not ended so soon.
These memoirs of Major General Snow form a definitive source book of World War history on the subjects of Field Artillery training and procurement. This book should be required reading for every officer of the Army and the Navy who has any planning to do along the lines of training personnel and procuring guns, ammunition, and equipment. These memoirs point out many horrible examples of bad methods employed in World War I. May we hope that some of these vivid lessons have been learned so well that they will not be repeated in World War II.
THE DELAWARE CONTINENTALS, 1776-1783. By Christopher L. Ward. Wilmington, Delaware: The Historical Society of Delaware. 1941. 620 pages. $3.75.
Reviewed by Assistant Professor Stanley Gray, U. S. Naval Academy
It is pleasant now and then to go back and live vicariously in a day when war, if not a picnic, was at least more leisurely than now; when a man could desert twice, be captured twice and serve briefly with the enemy, be recaptured on both occasions by his own outfit and still live to say, “I love my comrades and they love Docherty.”
In The Delaware Continentals we are given a detailed account of the American War of Independence from the point of view of a crack regiment. They seem to have fought with courage in nearly every major battle of the war, earning the praise of Washington, and of dozens of historians since. But their high morale presents questions.
Were these men brave because, in an army largely composed of men in rags and tatters, they were smartly dressed and carried excellent new arms? Or because they had the fortune in their first taste of battle, at Long Island, to hold for hours what they mistakenly thought was a dangerous post? Did they acquire there a legend of toughness that stuck with them in really hot fights? Or were their leaders exceptionally inspiring men? Mr. Ward prefers the last possibility, citing the successful public lives led by the surviving officers after the war. Three became governors of Delaware, one a member of Congress. Major McDonough, father of the hero of Lake Champlain, became judge of the Court of Common Pleas. All the others did well in nonmilitary professions.
This is, for the most part, not a new story. But it is thorough, sometimes exciting—as in the account of Brandywine— and the judgments of the author on the famous controversies of the war are sound.
CONVOY. By Quentin Reynolds. New York: Random House. 1942. xiii+303 pages. $2.00.
Reviewed by Lieutenant Commander C. B. Judge, U. S. Naval Reserve When Quentin Reynolds took passage last spring aboard a freighter assigned to one of the largest convoys ever to sail from Halifax he found himself with almost three weeks of enforced idleness on his hands. During that time he had a chance to review his past assignments as a reporter and war correspondent. As a result of this retrospection he has given his readers a series of sharply etched pictures, both grim and gay, of people he has known, of lands he has visited, and of food he has eaten.
The author numbers his adventures by the hundred, his friends by the thousand; he has been everywhere and seen everything. However, of all the characters he describes, the most unforgettable one is the modest, genial Colonel “Billy” Bishop, Canadian ace of World War I, who had 72 German planes officially to his credit. Reynolds sums him up as “the toughest man in the world—a man entirely without fear.” Another figure stands out also: that of Tony Canzoneri, once lightweight champion of the world, a fighter whose heart was too big for his body, a man who “walked through the muddy gutters of professional pugilism without ever wetting his feet.” Then there is the success story of Harry Stevens, caterer to fans of the New York Giants. One cold day at the Polo Grounds Stevens invented the “hot dog” by uniting a dinner-roll in gastro- nomical bonds with an alien frankfurter, to make the honest American sandwich now known throughout the nation.
Those who expect a thrilling journal of danger and hardship may possibly be misled by the title of this volume. In Convoy there are no stories of courage, heartache, and the indomitable will to endure, such as are found in The Wounded Don't Cry or in London Diary. The voyage turned out to be merely a frame in which to set the author’s reminiscences. But hidden danger was always present, as Reynolds and all seafaring men about him very well knew. Most definitely we prefer the tales he told of his past life to those he might have had to relate under more unfortunate circumstances.
SEA OF MEMORIES: THE STORY OF MEDITERRANEAN STRIFE PAST AND PRESENT. By Lieut. Comdr. Charles Moran, U. S. Naval Reserve (Retired). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1942. 307 pages, 9 illustrations and map. $3.50.
Reviewed by Professor Walter B. Norris, U. S. Naval Academy
Lieutenant Commander Moran, a frequent contributor to the Naval Institute Proceedings, has here sketched in vivid colors and with excellent illustrations many of the human-interest episodes of naval warfare in the Mediterranean since the days of Homer. From years spent since boyhood on its shores and waters, he pictures the fascination of its natural scenery and the charm of its history. Little known adventurers, such as Geoffrey of Villehardouin, the Frenchman who ruled the Peloponnesus, and Jacques Coeur, who attacked Constantinople, appear in its pages as well as such unconventional characters as Garibaldi and Lord Byron.
There are also striking, even if incomplete, narratives of battles like Lepanto and the Nile, and episodes such as Eaton’s capture of Derna and the escape of the Goeben. Naples, Lady Hamilton, and Nelson appear very unfavorably in an account of the execution of Carracioli and the savage suppression of the Parthenopean Republic. Perhaps the most important contribution to serious thought is the discussion of the major strategy of Napoleon’s Egyptian expedition as a diversion that might have given him control of the English Channel itself. It is a volume to enrich the memory of the traveler and to sharpen the taste of the lover of romantic history.
DOBIE’S MODERN NAVIGATION. By Captain R. E. Dobie. San Francisco, California: Dobie’s Navigation & Engineering School. 1941. 166 pages. $5.00.
Reviewed by Commander K. J.
Christoph, U. S. Navy The title of this work would indicate that it is a textbook on the subject of navigation. It is actually a multilithed form of practical work book, with printed extracts from the Nautical Almanac, featuring the solution of 12 single sun sights each worked out by 5 methods, namely the seldom used Time Sight Method and Marcq Saint-Hilaire Method, the more recent H.O. 208 and H.O. 211 methods, and the most modern H.O. 214.
All theory on the subject of navigation has been eliminated. On the other hand in addition to the many sun sight solutions there are included solutions very seldom used by the modern navigator; for instance, solution by the obsolete <t>' </>" formula, deviation by amplitude of the sun, special emphasis on the solution of meridian altitude and ex-meridian altitude of stars, planets, and moon.
The author states that this publication is “a treatise written primarily for the use of those who have already obtained their license from the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation and not those students who are preparing for their original license.”
FLIGHT IN WINTER. By John Clinton Adams. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press. 1942. Cloth. 281 pp. 1 map. $3.00.
Reviewed by L. M. Tichvinisky
The writer, Mr. Adams, a Dartmouth historian and a competent scholar of the intricate and heterogeneous Balkans, presents the perhaps already forgotten World War I tragedy of the Serbian nation and Army which, in this World War II are again overrun by the same enemies.
The book describes a remarkable epic of human fortitude during the valiant and gallant two-front struggle of the Serbian Army against superior enemies of the Central Powers. After a war which was definitely lost and was waged with, unfortunately, inadequate friendly Allied assistance, the Serbian Army did not surrender but chose instead a seemingly impossible alternative of forcing its way toward the Adriatic through forbidding and snow- covered mountains. Only the strong and best fit could endure the ordeal of this mass exodus and live through to liberate and see their land again.
During present international vicissitudes the example of the little heroic Serbian Army and nation will serve in the most illuminating and guiding manner.
The book is well edited and contains a good bibliography, chapter notes, and an index. There is also a black and white map, but a more complete and better reproduced one could advantageously contribute to the worth of this most absorbing and dramatic book.
ARMY TALK. By Elbridge Colby. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1942. 232 pages. $2.00.
Reviewed by Lieutenant (J. G.)
John Cadwalader, U. S.
This glossary of the language of the American soldier avoids technical shop talk on the one hand and on the other such colloquialisms as are common “outside,” and confines itself to what appears to be a very thorough treatment of the peculiar idiom of military life. It further avoids speech forms peculiar to limited groups, such as cadets at the Military Academy, and is interested only in usages well established throughout the service. Some recent coinages which give promise of general adoption are listed in the appendix.
The reader must be struck by the conservative nature of this speech, though this is not surprising when we consider how much navy speech derives from the days of sail. This must be partly due to the natural influence of the old-timer on new blood in the services, but perhaps mainly to the excellence of the established idiom, which rarely admits of improvement. It does not take a reader of Mencken’s American Language to recognize the strength of a speech which calls a dishwasher a “pearl-diver,” and an ambulance a “meat-wagon.” But like any other living speech, army talk grows with the times, and such a form as “armored cow” for canned milk shows the effects of mechanization. If the vigor of a language reflects the vigor of its speakers, our Army should accomplish great things.
HEROES OF THE ATLANTIC. By Ivor Halstead. New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., Inc. 1942. 235 pages. $2.50.
Reviewed by Lieutenant Clarke Olney, U. S. Naval Reserve
Heroes of the Atlantic is an account of the work of the British “Merchant Navy,” presented in a popular and journalistic style. The first half of the book deals with the rise of British sea power from the Armada to the Battle of the Atlantic. The remainder of the book relates instances of heroism on the part of merchant sailors in modern war. There are also several short articles by qualified persons on aspects of a merchant sailor’s life, afloat and ashore.
The purpose of the author, a British journalist, is a commendable one. He presents vividly the courage and stamina of officers and men of the Merchant Marine, and emphasizes the essential work they perform. The photographs which illustrate the book help to bring home the dangers and hardships of a merchant sailor’s life in war time.
The professional reader will find little that is new or unfamiliar in Heroes of the Atlantic, but he may well be heartened by the spirit and courage of the men whose story it tells. .
WAR AND NATIONAL POLICY, A SYLLABUS. Edited by Grayson Kirk and Richard Poate Stebbins. New York: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc. 1942. 131 pp. $1.00.
Reviewed by Associate Professor Allen Blow Cook, U. S.
No matter where we place the blame for our inability as individual American citizens to grasp the true significance of the world-shaking happenings which daily affect our lives, we have a personal and patriotic duty to become intelligently aware of the forces and failures which have led our nation to war. Whether as serious professional scholars or as amateur students of national policy we approach the field of military strategy we need a guide to direct our reading into intelligent channels and to point out the significant books which help to clarify the situation.
Perhaps the study of our own history as taught in school and college for the last generation or so has neglected the military and naval strategy used to implement our foreign policy and by stressing too much the economic aspect of history has dulled our interest in and awareness for those principles of logistics, tactics, organization, and morale which today are vital for the very preservation of our way of life. The need to reconsider our methods of teaching history has been championed by several groups and notably by a committee of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton under the direction of Professor Edward Mead Earle and by the faculty of Columbia University. To all those scholars mentioned in the Introduction and to all others who have had the vision to see the shape of coming things we owe a debt of gratitude.
When force is needed to implement national policy, war becomes at least a probability. The Army and Navy are organized to prevent war or, if war comes, to wage it. War has become, however, no longer a struggle on remote battle fronts between professional soldiers and sailors, but total war embracing entire populations. War has become the concern of entire peoples, our own included.
The syllabus, War and National Policy, outlines the general setting, military technique, and national organization for total war and supplements the outline with a useful bibliography. There are omissions from the list of books mentioned by the editors, but these omissions are usually general texts such as Williamson’s Short History of British Expansion which students of history will generally be able to supply for themselves. The bibliography is excellent for recent works and for specific texts. As a guide for the study of forces affecting the national policy of our country and of the military and naval techniques needed to bring victory in total war, the syllabus is an indispensable volume of valuable suggestions.