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Louisiana Maneuvers

In 1940 Lt. Gen. Stanley D. Embrick of the U.S. Army Fourth Corps Area, Atlanta, Ga., selected central Louisiana as site of training maneuvers to prepare American forces for possible involvement in war in Europe. Louisiana's 1941 maneuvers were the Army's largest peacetime training exercise. Approximately 400,000 troops were divided into armies of two imaginary countries: "Kotmk" (Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Kentucky) and "Almat" (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee), supposedly at war over Mississippi River navigation rights. These maneuvers allowed Army strategists to test conventional defenses attacked by armored vehicles. Maj. Gen. George Patton's tanks pushed back conventionally-armed defenders but failed to achieve a spectacular victory. Army commanders also encountered reconnaissance and troop supply problems expected in battlefield conditions and thus had several months to formulate solutions before the U.S. entered World War II. The Army conducted smaller scale maneuvers in 1942 and 1943 in the same area, but cancelled 1944 exercises to allow troops to participate in the D-Day invasion of Europe. In addition to Patton, military leaders who visited central Louisiana during the maneuvers included Joseph Stillwell, Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, Mark Clark and J. Lawton Collins. Many of these headquartered at the Hotel Bentley.

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