TELEGRAPH BATTALIONS. The gen eral duty of signal troops is to collect and transmit information, to asist in providing se curity for troops, to assist in directing fire attack during combat, to provide means for ready verbal and written communication be tween distant commanders and troop leaders, to facilitate the transmission of verbal and written messages and orders, to insure the secrecy of such messages when necessary by means of codes and ciphers, to exercise super vision over the character of matter transmitted by means under its control, and when circum stances make it neccessary, to fight in order to accomplish any of these objects.
The work of signal troops assigned to lines of information in war varies with the nature of the lines which they control, viz. (1) The maintenance and operation of electrical lines of information from the capital of the nation to the headquarters of the armies in the field. (2) The construction, maintenance and opera tion of the radio stations and central permanent telegraph and telephone lines connecting the headquarters of each army in the field with its various divisions and other units, and the necessary camp telephone and telegraph lines within these armies. These lines are included in the zone of the advance.
The signal organizations assigned to both these classes of duties are called Telegraph Battalions. In the first class they are distrib uted along the lines and at stations as required for construction, maintenance and operation without being supplied with the special technical equipment and transportation required in the field. They operate the telegraph cable and radio offices and the telephone systems with substantially the same apparatus used in times of peace. These lines extend from the seat of government through the zone of the line of communications tip to army headquarters. For maintenance, repair and extension the ma terial and equipment supplied is the same as in commercial practice.
In the second class of work signal troops must instal and operate lines under quite differ ent conditions. The poles and wire must be light and the instruments of special design for a service unlike that encountered in commercial practice. For administrative purposes the tele graph battalions employed in this class of work are organized into companies, and these in turn into sections, each equipped with supplies and transportation for installation of a com plete telegraph or telephone system in the mobile units with which they serve. The tele graph battalion prescribed in the tables of or ganization consists of two companies. Each company has six sections — three telegraph and three telephone. A telegraph section is equipped to instal 20 miles of wire on lances with three telegraph offices. The equipment is carried in one wagon of the escort type and one lance truck. The 10 men of the section furnish the linemen, operators and messengers necessary for the construction, maintenance and opera tion of 20 miles of line. The telegzaph equip ment and personnel of the company is sufficient for 60 miles of line and that of the battalion for 120 miles. A telephone section is supplied with material for the installation of a tele phone system of 20 telephones connected with a field switchboard and 20 miles of insulated wire laid on the ground or supported on lance poles. The equipment is carried in two tele phone wagons of the escort type and the lance truck. Twenty-one men make up the switchboard operators, linemen and messengers needed. The equipment of the telegraph bat talion is necessarily bulky and heavy and its mobility in general is limited to that of the supply train.