Tennessee Maneuvers

In the autumn of 1942, the War Department decided to resume field maneuvers in Middle Tennessee. Large-scale war games had been conducted in an area around Camp Forrest, near Tullahoma, the previous summer, and General George S. Patton had perfected the armored tactics that were to bring him fame and his divisions victory in Europe. Between the wars Erwin Rommel, as a young military attaché, had visited Nashville and Middle Tennessee to study and follow the cavalry campaigns of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to help him develop a pattern for the use of tank units as cavalry. The army, perceiving in the Cumberland River and the hilly country to the south and north a similarity to the Rhine and Western Europe, decided to send divisions into the state for their last preparation before actual combat. Between September 1942 and March 1944 nearly one million soldiers passed through the Tennessee Maneuvers area.

Lebanon was chosen as headquarters and Nashville as the principal railhead. Over the hills and valleys of twenty-one counties "Blue" and "Red" armies engaged in weekly strategic "problems," with troops moved in and out according to a calendar of "phases" that lasted about four weeks apiece. In the military's scenario Nashville was Cherbourg, without the bombing. The first and second problems usually took place east of Davidson County, but the third in each phase would poise attacking Blue troops against Red troops in defense around Donelson in Davidson County and Couchville in Wilson County. This force would advance to the east toward hilly terrain. In one instance at least a problem involved the defense of Berry Field in Nashville against Blue airborne troops.

Maneuvers paused at noon on Thursday or Friday, when a light plane would fly over the mock battle lines, sounding a siren. Then thousands of soldiers would seek recreation in Nashville and the county seat towns. Facilities were limited, despite the best efforts of the U.S.O. and the American Red Cross; movie theaters and cafes were packed; drug store soda fountains were forced to shut down twice a day for cleanup. Each army PX was strained to the limit. Churches opened their doors and set up lounges; schools opened their gyms for weekend dances. The Grand Ole Opry had never drawn such crowds than during these months when Middle Tennessee hosted the army's preparations for the eventual invasion of Normandy in 1944
Training at Camp Forrest
The camp was a training area for infantry, artillery, engineer, and signal organizations. It also served as a hospital center and temporary encampment area for troops during maneuvers. Maj. Gen. George S. Patton brought his 2nd Armored "Hell on Wheels" Division, from Fort Benning, Georgia for maneuvers. The camp also served as a training facility for eleven infantry divisions, two battalions of Rangers, numerous medicaland supply units, and a number of

Army  Air Corps personnel. In addition, the camp provided logistical support for the massive Tennessee Maneuvers conducted at intervals from 1941 through early 1945
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Incoming troops were provided with amenities such as service clubs, guest houses, library, post exchanges, post office, hospital, religious services, theaters, showers, Red Cross, and Army Emergency Relief facilities Recreation facilities included swimming, archery, tennis, a sports arena and a 9-hole golf course.
William Northern Field, an air training base, was an addition for war preparation. The field was used as a training site for crews of multi-engine B-24 bombers of the Army Air Force.

The 508th joined many thousands of other soldiers in the area of Tullahoma, Tennessee, about 80 miles NNW of Chattanooga, as America conducted a full dress rehearsal for the coming invasion in Europe.
The 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion
The Battalion was ordered to the Second Army Maneuver area on the 16th of August, 1943, and the equipment and personnel were loaded on trains for the trip to Camp Forrest, Tennessee. The weather had been quite pleasant up to this time but promptly upon arrival
For additional information, contact Donald A. "Chip" Stewart, Jr. at: [email protected]
28th Infantry Division
In September 1942, the 28th as a unit of the 8th Division began a Motor March to the area of the Tennessee Maneuvers. Two more months of war games hardened the troops of the 28th. Then after a brief stay in tents at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, the Division set out for its new station, Fort Leonard Wood, MO. From December 1942 to March 1943 there was a period of comparative calm...
The 79th Infantry Division
The division moved to Camp Blanding, Florida on 1 Sep 42; moved to Tennessee Maneuvers Area on 3 Mar 43 where the division participated in the Second Army No. 1 Tennessee Maneuvers; transferred to Camp Forrest, Tennessee on 19 Jul 43 and moved to Camp Young, California on 17 Aug 43 for the Desert Training Center No. 3 California Maneuvers
The 30th Infantry Division "Old Hickory"
After receiving replacements from nearly every State in the union, the Division continued its training during 1943 at Camp Blanding, Florida, Camp Forrest Tennessee and Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where it made its final preparations prior to moving overseas up until February of 1944...
The 2nd Ranger Battalion
But other Ranger units proudly carried on and enhanced the Ranger standards and traditions in the European Theater Operations. The 2nd Ranger Battalion, activated on April 1st, 1943, at Camp Forrest, Tennessee trained and led by Lt. Colonel James Earl Rudder, carried out the most desperate and dangerous mission of the entire Omaha Beach landings
The 16th Cavalry
Re-designated 15 June 1942 as the 16th Cavalry, Mechanized, and activated at Camp Forrest, Tennessee...

Rifle Range at Camp Forrest


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