Baseball Bat Boys

While researching Joseph Alva Ogle, I came across an article about U.S. Army maneuvers in Fort Knox that discussed artillery training that incorporated the use of baseball bats.

Baseball Bats

Used by Army

As Artillery Substitute in Fort Knox Work

Cincinnati Reserve Officers in Intensive Maneuvers of Defense Program

By Larry Herron

Special Dispatch to the Enquirer

European blitzkriegs to his own defenses his army currently is in a state of terrific transition and 47 Cincinnati reserve officers at this post are finding that at times it actually is a “baseball bat army”

The Cincinnatians are part of a contingent of 525 members of the Officers’ Reserve Corps and have been drawn from the four states of the Fifth Corps Area, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia.

A battalion of the 329 Infantry is here from Cincinnati, with many reserve officers from numerous other branches and arms of the service.

Command of the 329th was assumed by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Morrow, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge, in the absence of Colonel Harry Toukmin, Jr., of Dayton. Colonel Morrow Wednesday was confined to the post hospital with an attack of arthritis.

When Mayor James Stewart visited the post this week he addressed the Cincinnati contingent and then spoke before numerous groups of other components of the army here. He was accorded a rousing ovation by his fellow citizens.

Stewart declared that had he followed an early ambition, he would have set out to pass through the academy at West Point. He declared that he heartily envied the completeness of a soldier’s life.

Pace Is Strenuous

High army authorities assert that the intensity of current preparations has only been matched by those of the war years of 1917. Indeed, they assert, the scenes many of them, are identical. Raw recruits are pouring in so fast that they cannot be outfitted with clothes within a few days of arrival and hence make their appearance in their awkward squads in their civilian garb.

In the field, new weapons expected to be provided soon to the army, are not yet available. So, in studying tractical situations in the field, the reserves have been propping up baseball bats and pieces of timber to serve as emplacements of the new 60 and 81 millimeter mortars so important in infantry operations.

Hence, with a good deal of merriment, the Cincinnati contingent calls it fellow members who “operate” this improvised “artillery” the regiment “baseball bat-boys.”

Army authorities, however, declare that the shortage is no laughing matter and that in the intensity of training into which the service ahs swung as a result of the President’s declaration of a limited emergency, it has been a discouraging factor that shortages of all kinds currently exist.

All 75’s Old

The artillery, supposed to be equipped with the new split-trail 75’s and the new pug-nosed howitzers, are training on 75’s of World War type. These are effective weapons but would be outclassed in combat with equipment available to armies today, authorities declare.

Shortages of equipment for the famed mechanized brigade of cavalry located at the post, but most of whose unites are readying elsewhere for the forthcoming Wisconsin maneuvers, are desperately serious, high-ranking mechanized officers say without any hesitation.

All of these phases of any army donning its war raiment are intimate phases of daily life for the Cincinnati reserve officers here. They not only learn what’s gong on and much of the general scheme of things in the months to come, but they take part quite actively in all the new operations being devised to cope with the almost fantastic war methods developed and demonstrated bloodily abroad.

After two weeks of training, the reserves are scheduled to leave here sometime Sunday. During their last two days they will attend a demonstration of blitzkrieg cavalry operations.

They will watch, first of all, a parade of scores of the army’s modern mechanized rolling equipment. Brigadier General Adna R. Chaffee post commander and chief of the regular army’s only mechanized organization, has arranged , then for a field demonstration, following the formal but exciting “pass in review” operation of the combat cars and tanks.

To Watch “Battle”

The reserves will move to one of the sections of the fort’s 33,000 acre terrain, rough hilly, and wooded, for an intimate view of battle operations of the mechanized troops. The dep-throated roar of light and heavy artillery will form the background for the peppery snap of literally hundreds of machine guns of several cities and calibers.

All reserves at this post are under the command of Colonel N. B. Briscoe, of the Tenth Cavalry, regular army. A veteran of long service, he is regarded as one of the country’s outstanding authorities on the direction of cavalry operations which so closely parallel the lightning warfare of mechanized forces Colonel Briscoe normally is assigned to the Louisville area and is personally know to hundreds of reserve officers.

Colonel Briscoe declared to their representative of The Cincinnati Enquirer that the response of reserves to the heavy training schedules into which they have swung, including numerous night exercises over the Kentucky hill wilderness, has been indicative of the spirit with which Americans are responding to current defense expansion plans.

Although no list of officers who have applied for immediate entrance into he army for at least a year’s service is available, a number of Cincinnatians have applied for details in all branches, including the non-flying sections of the air corps, and service with troops in Panama and the Philippines.

Will be Accepted

There is nothing secret regarding the fact that these applications have been received and that most of them will be accepted, it was pointed out, but all papers have not gone through the higher-geared processes of the army and hence will not be published for a short time.

Many Cincinnati reserve officers declare that in their long experience, many of them dating experience from World War I, they have never witnessed such precisioned, earnest efforts to effect what the country needs most at present – adequate defense.

Office complements of two other regiments besides the 329th Infantry present here are from the 475th Field Artillery adnth308th Engineers. Other officers are from miscellaneous organizations and branches.

Following is a list of those present from Cincinnati, compiled alphabetically from army rosters and not according to rank:

First Lieutenant, John C. Avery; Second Lieutenant, Leonard A Berrens; First Lieutenant M. E. C. Jacob; Second Lieutenant, Eric J. Espel; Colonel, Frank M. Hammit; Second Lieutenant, Fred B. Hartman, Jr.; First Lieutenant, Dan M Hayes; First Lieutenant, Wilbur C. Helt; Second lieutenant, Edward B. Krekler; Second Lieutenant Robert F. Meyer; Captain, Thomas J. Moore, Jr.; First Lieutenant, Robert P. Myers; Second Lieutenant, Joseph A. Ogle; Second Lieutenant, Henry C. Peterson; First Lieutenant, Edwin J. Selbert; Second Lieutenant, Richard P. Trauth; Major, Gordon J. Wolf;

From 329th Infantry

Following are the officers  from the 329th Infantry, the 308th Engineers, and miscellaneous arms and branches: First Lieutenant, Henry M. Adnee; First Lieutenant James D. Algyre; Major, Lewis B. Blakeney; First Lieutenant, Paul J. Boothe; Captain, William Bruckmann; First Lieutenant, Edwin H. Connelly; First Lieutenant, Early Derbes; Second Lieutenant, Clarence T. Foust; Second Lieutenant, Lloyd C. Gilbert; Captain, Henry A. Heister; Second Lieutenant, Carrol R. Hines; Second Lieutenant, Roland Jenkins; First Lieutenant, Lee C. Kelsey, Jr. First Lieutenant, Joseph D. Kenty; Major, William H. Kite, Jr.; Captain, Earl F. Klinck, Major Edwin C. Lindberg; First Lieutenant, Harry J. Loving; First Lieutenant, Arthur W. Miller,; Second Lieutenant, Elmer L. Munger; Captain, Phillip H. Riddinger; Captain, William C. Shakel; First Lieutenant, John Thysell; First Lieutenant, Robert W. Weil, Second Lieutenant, Rusell A. Wenzel; First Lieutenant, Richard G. West; First Lieutenant Adam F. Westerkamp; first Lieutenant, William P. White and second Lieutenant, Richard C. Wood.

“Baseball Bats,” The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio), 14 July 1940, page 12; digital images, ( : viewed online 4 December 2021).