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Cookeville Home to WWII War Maneuvers

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Home to WWII War Maneuvers

Some 850,000 troops came to the Upper Cumberland over 80 years ago to prepare for World War II.

Putnam County Archivist Glenn Jones said the troops came from all over the United States for training in preparation to go to the front overseas.

“The terrain here resembled France, Belgium, and Germany, and the Cumberland River resembled the Rhine River,” Jones said. “It was the same kind of terrain so they wanted to conduct their training in the same kind of ground that they would find in Western Europe.”

Jones said the main headquarters for the middle Tennessee training was at Cumberland University, and there was even a small headquarters at the Cookeville armory.

Jones said troops were across the Upper Cumberland in Putnam County, White County, Jackson County, Smith County, and Dekalb County, among others. Jones said approximately 268 soldiers died in training from drowning, getting struck by lightning, and one in a tornado.

“When they were opposing each other, they would called one team ‘Blue’ and one ‘Red,’ and they would fight each other on these farms right across the road from where I live,” Jones said. “And then bombers would fly overhead, and they would drop 5-pound flour sack bombs right on the guys down there. If it hit one of them it would have killed them. And when the flour sack bomb hit the ground, it would explode and white flour would go all over, and that’s how they could figure out what it would be like being bombed.”

Jones said that the Upper Cumberland also played a part in the victory of WWII. George Patton was a general in the United States Army and according to experts, is regarded as one of the most successful field commanders of any war. Jones said Patton’s familiarity with middle Tennessee aided him in his wartime success.


The post Cookeville Home to WWII War Maneuvers appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.