17-18 Julio Field maneuvers start to gel

July 17-18, 1937

Robert Merriman’s diary for July 17 and 18, 1937

Company 1 Roster

Company 1 Roster of the Training Battalion on July 18, 1937. RGASPI Fond 545/Opis 2/Delo 265, pg 12.

Company 1 Roster (Cont)

Company 1 Roster (Continued). RGASPI 545/2/265, pg 13

The Mac-Paps spend two more days in the field on exercises.  Things begin to go well and Merriman is very pleased that Company 3 went out on a night patrol and when challenged by a patrol of Bill Wheeler, the Mac-Pap operational commander at the time, and Merriman, they were challenged for passwords.  Company 3 also apparently tried to take “prisoners” and one wonders if that was Merriman and Wheeler.  In any case, the actions of the field group were professional and Merriman was happy.   Except perhaps for sharing sleeping quarters with Joe Dallet and Bill Wheeler who “snored and scared off the enemy”.

Company 1 (end).  RGASPI 545/2/265, pg 14

Company 1 (end). RGASPI 545/2/265, pg 14

Company 3

Company 3 Roster on July 18, 1937. This Company would be the core of the Canadian component of the Mac-Paps. RGASPI 545/2/265, pg 15

Ben Barsky

Benjamin Barsky, photographed in August 1938, just before he was killed in the Sierra Pandols, ALBA Photo 11-0237, Tamiment Library, NYU

Merriman continues to assign men who are not performing to kitchen patrol (KP) duty.  Frederick Cavanaugh (who later became the Cook) and Arthur Coapman are two so assigned.  Merriman had to reprimand the Bulgarian-American Gilesco Racheff and New Yorker Ben Barsky (who would go on to be a Commissar in the Mac-Paps).   Carson is probably Jack Kerson or Karson who arrived in Spain on June 4.  Carson requested William Carroll and Alfred Litwin to be assigned to the Officer’s School at Pozorubio.  Carson will go on to lead the John Brown Battery of the 11th Artillery so these men are being called out for artillery training.

Jesse Wallach

Jesse Wallach of the Mac-Paps. Photo Credit: RGASPI Archives, Fond 545/Opus 6/Delo 1008, Moscow

The 18th of July maneuvers did not go as well as the advance was prematurely started by a whistle used to warn of overflying aircraft and the whistle was mistaken for the call to go over the top and start and attack.   They tried to make the best of it, but they did not recover from the mistake and the attack was uncoordinated.  Bill Skinner had problems with three soldiers who were unnamed.   Jesse Wallach was in the field during these exercises.  Jesse Wallach would become Battalion clerk.