Monday, November 2, 2015

U.S. Calling Up Additional 800,000 Men in Second Army Draft, 1918

“800,000 Drafted Men to be Called During 1918” from the French Broad Hustler, March 28, 1918

Washington, March 12—Eight hundred thousand men are to be called to the colors gradually during the present year under the second army draft, which began March 29.

An announcement today by Provost Marshal General Crowder of the number to be called was followed closely by an order for the mobilization of 59,000 men during the five-day period beginning March 29, some 15,000 of them to be assembled under the second draft. Eighty thousand will be men of the first draft of 687,000 not yet summoned into service.

Details Later

Details of how the second draft is to be applied will be made public later, after congress has acted upon proposed legislation providing for the registration of youths attaining the age of district quotas on the number of registrants in Class One. In his first official statement on the subject, however, General Crowder assures the country that no sweeping withdrawal of large numbers of men at one time is contemplated and that care will be taken to avoid interference with harvesting.

The 95,000 men now called, it is understood, are needed at once to fill up divisions and other units scheduled for departure or to take the place of men transferred from other divisions to make up such deficiencies. Newly organized regular divisions are particularly short of men and heavy draft on national army divisions to make these good have been necessary, seriously interfering with the training work of the national army divisions drawn upon. The call for new men makes it probable that no further transfers will be necessary.

Will Fill Up Army

The 800,000 men to be summoned this year represent the number necessary to fill up all existing divisions, to create all the army corps and field army troops to fill out the war machine for which the framework already exists, and to provide a quarter of a million replacement troops. When they have been mobilized, which will not be completed before the first of next year, there will be more than 40 full infantry divisions of 27,700 men each and all the additional units necessary. No additional divisions of the national army or national guards will be created this year, although the program for the regular army, now composed of 80 infantry and one calvary division may be enlarged.

The first purpose of the war department is to complete the first field army in France. Probably this will be composed of five army corps of six infantry divisions each. It has been estimated that with the force and its necessary auxiliaries at his disposal. General Pershing would be able to hold a 100 mile sector of the battle front, relieving the strain upon French man-power during 1918 to that extent. What that would mean to France may be judged from published statements of French officials that on January, 1918, the Belgian army held about 15 miles of the western front, the British forces about 105 miles and the French about 205 miles.

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