Ready for Soldiers' Street Fighting Training
CAMP EDWARDS, July 18 -- Visitors to this big, busy army training centre really stumbled into something here today when they walked smack into a mock German village of 15 buildings, each complete in every detail from German signs to flower boxes and bird houses, and even with the swastika mark on each structure.
They quickly were given the reason, however, and it is that the replica has been erected to provide soldiers-in-training with actual village warfare conditions. It is located on a range area here and is the only village of its kind in New England.
The village was constructed from a wooded area in these days by members of the 150th Engineer Combat Battalion from Fort Devens. The land was cleared and the buildings erected within two days, while the third day was spent in painting the structures and building targets which will be hidden inside the buildings and spring up as soldiers are trained in street fighting.
New England engineers, working in two shifts, erected the village, which includes a schoolhouse, barber shop, restaurant, hotel, bakery, meat shop, beer garden, theatre, police headquarters, bank, mayor's house and other dwelling houses, and then added such decorative touches as fences, flower boxes, trellises, bird-houses and stone walls.
NAMES IN GERMAN
Names in German script identify the public buildings, the streets are named after Rommnel, Freidrich and Wilhelm. A swastika flies from the bell tower of the schoolhouse and other symbols of Naziism are used to give the area the appearance of the real thing.
The modus operandum of the training is for a soldier to approach the village along Wilhelmstrasse, the main street. As the soldier advances on the alert for snipers, a control operator talks into a telephone from a position where he can observe the -area and orders another operator hidden in a nine-foot dugout behind the buildings to pull a certain target.
The dugout operator then pulls a cord attached to a target and the target, a silhouette of a man - generally Hitler - springs up at a window, behind a door or a fence, or perhaps on a roof top. If the soldier is on the alert, he will spot the target and fire at it.
In such a building as the hotel, soldiers will be instructed to seize it, room by room, using simulated grenades, and then advance to the next building by leaping across an alley or by scaling a fortified wall.
Safety firing zones will be established along the streets for each target, so that all firing will be controlled to prevent wild shots from entering other ranges in the area.
The village primarily will be used to acquaint troops with the technique of street fighting.