SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)
Office of Strategic Services Morale Operations Training Leaflets
Training and war game leaflets are an interesting subject because by definition, they will be cruder and less finished than the leaflets produced by a psychological operations unit during a war.
In wartime, the unit will have the best artists, translators, writers and even printing presses and inks. The leaflets will be inspected, the quality of the printing and the color checked carefully and then they will be dropped over specifically selected targets. Their leaflets are meant to be dropped on an enemy and survive sun, rain and snow, pass the tests of time and convince that enemy to comply or surrender.
The training leaflet is generally a simple test given to students asking them to prepare a leaflet on some subject. It might just be one or two students and they are expected to do all the work with whatever data or instruction they have on hand. They are still in school and have not yet perfected their military occupational specialty. Because the training leaflets are so crude, they would generally never be used against a real enemy where credibility is important.
War game leaflets are similar, except the PSYOP troops will have graduated and joined a unit. However, since the war game is just for play and training by combat forces, to test their mettle and strategy, there will be just a few PSYOP people involved and they will make some simple and meaningless leaflets with very limited printing abilities in the field as part of the general horse and pony show. In other words, everyone knows it is a war game and the 82nd Airborne Division is not going to convince the 101st Airborne Division to surrender by implying their wives are lonely and seeing other men. So, it is an opportunity to produce propaganda in the field, to show what a PSYOP team can do, but it is understood that it serves no purpose except to train the troops.
How shall we approach this article? I hope to talk a bit about training, perhaps show some of the instructional books that teach students how to prepare leaflets and then show a selection of training and war game leaflets prepared by different people and units. I have about 150 articles on real leaflets used during wartime on this website and this is a good chance for the reader to see where the artists and writers that produced those leaflets came from and how they were trained. I will limit the leaflets I depict but the reader should understand that I could show hundreds of such leaflets. Every young soldier in school being trained in PSYOP is producing such leaflets as we speak. They learn by trial and error as the leaflets are picked apart and critiqued by their instructors.
A WWII Office of War Information Training Leaflet
It is worth noting that the students cheated and used a current Filipino Patriotic Image
One of the earliest mentions of training leaflets in my library is a booklet entitled OWI Leaflet Maneuvers dated 6 October 1944. It explains how a class was ordered to prepare a propaganda leaflet. The class was held in San Francisco without benefit of instruction or advice on leaflet technique from anyone with field experience. In other words, eight new OWI agents were tasked with producing five leaflets completely on their own. The leaflets were for use in Burma, New Guinea, the Philippines, Japan and Borneo. The students were assigned an artist named Gene Schnell, a Japanese translator named Sung Soo Whang, and a Davidson Printing Pressman names Richard Hubert.
Brave Soldiers of the Thirteenth Division!
The team was given no advice on how to prepare a leaflet. This was entirely their project. This leaflet is tactical in style and targets Japanese troops in Burma based on a change of command in the Japanese forces prior to a major counter-attack. You can tell this is an early practice leaflet because it bears a map on one side and yet it is never mentioned in the text and does not explain to the Japanese soldiers how it is to be used. This is a major error. The map depicts the military situation and is labeled Burma at the lower left. The Short text at the right says:
After the battles of the brave Kokang over the last three months you can see the status of it all.
The text on the back says in part:
Brave Soldiers of the Thirteenth Division!
Your victories in the campaigns of Malaya and Java have established you as brave and gallant troops. Because you fought so valiantly and heroically in the battle of Java, you were chosen as the spearhead of the drive into India Despite your courage, despite your great sacrifice, Imphal is not yet yours.
The planes in the skies belong to the Allies. Your supply lines become weaker day by day. Look about you. Is not the ground strewn with the bodies of your comrades who have died uselessly because of lack of medicine?
The Allied armies stand before you. They, too, are strong and brave. But, they are also well fed and there are many more of them than there are of you.
Soldiers of Japan! To die uselessly in a hopeless battle in which you can gain nothing for your country is ignominious.
The Office of Strategic Services also had such training programs and new agents were tested on their ability to produce meaningful leaflets that used specific themes for propaganda. Prospective OSS Morale Operation agents were given a project of a 100-day hypothetical military operation. They were given intelligence for an invasion of Japan and a review of combat operations. This exercise took place after the alleged capture of the cities of Shiogama, Matasushima and Sendai. The three communities would be governed by one administration. The agents also received a set of problems encountered by the occupying military government and were asked to solve them. At the top of this article we see a set of the training leaflets produced by one group of candidates.
PSYOP continued to be taught and practiced through the Korean War, the Cold War, Vietnam and up to the present time.
1968 Military Assistance Command Vietnam PSYOP Guide
In Vietnam numerous publications were used to train the troops on how to prepare and distribute leaflets. The PSYOP Guide has chapters entitled: PSYOP planning, Leaflets, Newspapers, Posters, etc.
Leaflet Printing and Dissemination Guide
The U.S. Army Broadcasting & Visual Activity, Pacific produced an undated Leaflet Printing and Dissemination Guide. It contained chapters such as: Leaflet selection, Leaflet sizes, Papers, Weight, and Preparing the Leaflet Bundle.
Why is this Viet Cong Guerrilla Confused? What did we do wrong?
Another 42-page training booklet was entitled: Communicating with Vietnamese Thru Leaflets. It was prepared in an effort "to improve the quality of leaflets being produced by American PSYOP personnel in Vietnam.
How to Prepare Copy for 7th PSYOP Publication
The 7th PSYOP Group was located on Okinawa and had PSYOP sections that worked in Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and Japan. They often prepared leaflets for other units busy on the battlefront. This booklet explains what the PSYOP soldier must do to make his leaflet ready to be printed by the 7th Group. The booklet is for the soldier in the field and discusses layout, printing, inks, color, text and a host of other features that go into a viable propaganda item.
How to Prepare Copy for RSC Manila
Sometimes the printing jobs were really big and needed a major printing plant. In such a case the material might be sent to Regional Service Center, run by the United States Information Agency. This booklet discusses photo offset printing, layout, photographs, artwork, different types and sizes. During the Vietnam War, RSC Manila ran around the clock and printed millions of leaflets, magazines and pamphlets.
I could show another dozen booklets and military manuals on preparing leaflets, but I think the reader has the idea. Lets move ahead and look at some training and war game leaflets used over the past six decades.
The 5th Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company was deployed to Germany during the Korean War. Since there was no hot war in Europe at the time, the unit concentrated on training and preparing leaflets for war games. Above is one of my favorite leaflets by the Company. This October 1951 Combine war game leaflet is designed to frighten the enemy by telling them of the deadly (but imaginary) Kreuzotter snake. Allegedly the leaflet worked to some extent because the enemy troops are said to have been afraid to sleep on the ground, and instead slept in their vehicles.
Meet Combine Connie
This COMBINE leaflet was prepared by the 5th L&L Company to get the enemy to listen to its radio broadcasts. The back lists five different propaganda stations where you can hear Connies seditious messages. Combine Connie was Dorothea Kovelas who broadcast on American Forces Network Europe. She asked the men to visit Connies Inn, because she hated maneuvers but loved soldiers.
A Casualty of Total War
This 5th L&L Company leaflet numbered 150120 was produced on 4 October 1951 for Exercise Connie. At first it seems to be a standard leaflet depicting a weary soldier and his dog-tag. But, it was actually an informative leaflet to show the soldiers of the Seventh Army the value of psychological warfare. The message warns of the need to prepare soldiers for enemy propaganda. On the back there is a long discussion of the Korean War and the many Communist troops that surrendered due to American leaflets. The leaflet ends:
Can they recognize enemy propaganda and resist it? When the going gets rough, will they be able to withstand psychological attacks calculated to break their morale, to distract them from their battle jobs to induce them to surrender?
Combat readiness includes readiness for psychological warfare.
The United States always wants the enemy to listen to its broadcasts during wartime. That is one way to get them to hear the surrender messages and eventually defect. In this 2nd Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company training leaflet used in Exercise Southern Pine in August 1951, a Lovely woman is depicted at the left with a microphone. The girl was a local named Gladys Mathews. The text is:
Listen to Lorelei
The velvet voice of aggressor in her nightly broadcasts
Just for you!
The back of the leaflet is in the form of a handwritten letter. It says in part:
Hello to all you fellows in the U.S. Army I do so want to please you, to comfort you, maybe to recall a memory or two of time you used to know Ill try to help you fellas, help you to maybe get away from all this sweat and dirt and the bugs, if youll only let me. How about it? Will you listen for me each night .
Your Platoon Sergeant never looked like this
This wargame leaflet also uses a pretty female face to catch the attention of the enemy. The back is covered with kisses and says in part:
Miss something out here friend?
The dreamy armful on the reverse side is one of those things youll have to do without on this maneuver. The only armful you get out here is some sweaty tent partner rolling over in his sleep. And besides, he snores .
What I found most interesting about this leaflet is that the owner placed it for sale estimated at $99.99 and described as Original 1940's WWII Enemy Propaganda Flyer/Leaflet Germany/USA/British. This training leaflet was so well done that a dealer 60 years later assumed it was a genuine German leaflet aimed at the Allies and valued it at about $100.
While the 1st L&L Company was in Korea and the 5th L&L Company was in Germany, the 2nd L&L Company (November 1950 to February 1955) remained in the United States for training purposes. They took part in several war games and exercises, most noticeably Southern Pine at Ft. Bragg in August 1951 where they printed 485,800 leaflets, Snow Fall at Ft. Drum in February 1952 where they printed 50,000 leaflets, and Long Horn at Ft. Hood where they designed 16 different leaflets and printed over 500,000 leaflets.
We show several leaflets above that have Allied radio stations as a theme. This leaflet for Exercise Flintlock depicts a rather odd looking dragon and tells the enemy where to find the radio station WIZZ that broadcasts four times a day. Eurock (European Rock) was apparently a popular form of music for young men at the time.
This exercise Flintlock was supported by the 6th PSYOP Battalion in Germany in 1987. Later the same name, Exercise Flintlock, was used for an annual regional exercise among African, Western, and U.S. counterterrorism forces. Occurring in nations across the Sahel region of Africa, the exercises were planned by Special Operations Command-Africa to develop the capacity and collaboration among African security forces to protect civilian populations. Flintlock participation has included ground and air forces from over 16 countries across a broad spectrum of operations.
Operation Equinox Germany 1952
As the Korean War continued American troops in Baden-Baden, Germany, took part in an Operation Equinox Training Exercise in September, 1952. This major exercise pitted the French I Corps, the U.S. 43rd Infantry Division, The French 5th Armored Group and the French 2nd Infantry against the US VII Corps, the U.S. 28th Infantry Division, the French 4th Infantry Division and the French 24th Airborne Division. This exercise was designed to produce better communication and coordination between the U.S. and their French allies and this goal was achieved.
The leaflet is quite good and shows the circulatory system of a man and warns of the danger of an imaginary disease called mud typhus, and basically tells the soldier to go on sick call immediately or suffer the consequences. Of course, when enemy soldiers go sick, they are off the front lines and cannot fight.
Soldiers of the French 5th Armored Division
This is one of the few war game leaflets I have seen in the French language. The owner thought it was a German propaganda leaflet and priced it at $24.99. I would have thought the origin was clear because it does mention aggressor twice and at the bottom actually says: This is an example of a psychological warfare leaflet. The image is a caricature of the symbol of the French 5th Armored Division and it is about to be enveloped by an Aggressor pincer movement. After the end of WWII the French 5th Armored Division served as occupation troops in Germany. The text is:
Soldiers of the 5th Armored Division.
[From the] Aggressor Army
You overestimated your strength and have gone too far. Now you could be encircled .
You have no reason to continue the fight. Avoid unnecessary losses and further weariness!
Come to the Aggressor army! You will be well treated.
This is an example of psychological warfare leaflet
Counting the days?
This leaflet reminds the soldier that although the weather is nice at present, he will be back playing again in January and it will be much colder then. It mentions Maneuver, so we know it is a war game leaflet. The text on the back of the leaflet recommends malingering and surrender:
A heavy cold means a trip to the hospital long enough to keep you out of the rest of maneuvers Aggressor troops have it made during this exercise. Theyre based in warm comfortable barracks. If you are smart you will get away from these war games and come over to Aggressor Stay high and dry with Aggressor!
This is a dogface
This is a nice low-key leaflet that almost reminds one of Beetle Bailey. It depicts a beat-up dogface at the top looking tired and confused. He is in the field and poorly fed during night maneuvers. Below we see another soldier, happy and sleeping in a warm, bed. He has come over to the Aggressors and is being treated well.
He isnt Getting Anywhere .are you?
This is another leaflet that mentions maneuvers. This training leaflet hints that taking ones time is the way to travel on maneuvers. In other words, take it easy, malinger and dont tire yourself. Of course, if a military unit practices that, they will not accomplish any missions and will be regularly late for everything.
Two Ways to End a Maneuver
Another leaflet that mentions maneuvers. Many times you can tell who was involved in a maneuver or exercise because the training leaflet mentions the unit. In this case the leaflet mentions the 84th Infantry Division. The 84th Training Command (Rail splitters) is a formation of the United States Army. During World War I and World War II, it was known as the 84th Infantry Division. From 1946 to 1952, the division was a part of the United States Army Reserve. In 1959, the division was re-designated once more to the 84th Division. The division was headquartered in Milwaukee in command of over 4,100 soldiers divided into eight brigades, including an ROTC brigade, spread throughout seven states. In September 2010, the 84th was renamed 84th Training Command and began reorganization. The 84th mission currently supports three training divisions: The 78th Training Division, the 86th Training Division, and the 91st Training Division. We assume that when this leaflet was printed the 84th was taking part as a training command. The back of the leaflet has alternating horizontal bands of red and white.
Courtesy of Veritas
This leaflet was produced by the 2nd L&L Company for use in Exercise Southern Pine targeting the 28th U.S. Army Division that had just been federalized. The triangle in the handle of the scissors is the symbol of the Aggressor forces. The major U.S ground units were the 82nd Airborne Division, the 28th Infantry Division and the 43rd Infantry Division. The major aggressor ground units were the 315th Airborne Infantry Regiment and the 511th Airborne Infantry Regiment. The text is:
Wondering where to go now since youve been cut off?
The U.S. Will Return
Courtesy of Veritas
The above 2nd L&L Company above was printed for Exercise Long Horn. The U.S ground troops were the 31st Infantry Division, the 47th Infantry Division, the 508th Regimental Combat Team, and the 1st Armored Division. The aggressors were the 82nd Airborne Division and the 17th Armored Cavalry Group. The text is:
While Aggression troops are in your city while Aggressor cockily parades in your streets the U.S. is preparing the counterattack which will drive the enemy from your city.
The PSYOP units in Germany also practiced making mock leaflets against the Communist German and Soviet troops. This 6th PSYOP Battalion Russian-language Cold War training leaflet was made in conjunction with the German 800th PSV (Psychological Defense) Battalion. The front depicts two Russian soldiers with the girlfriends and the text:
On the back of the leaflet the two Russian soldiers have disappeared and only the girls remain. The text is:
Today, tomorrow, and then how long?
When military paymasters are in training they are tested in various difficult situations. Banknotes go missing, soldiers or civilian employees try to pass through the pay line more than once, people are paid too much or too little and other problems that their instructors think will be beneficial to the paymaster's career. The notes above are a front and back of a training banknote series used in Vietnam dated August 1964 to help train paymasters that might be involved in paying U.S. Troops or Vietnamese guerillas. The U.S. Army Finance Corps insignia is depicted at the lower right on the one dollar note. The code to the side of the note indicates: Army Field Printing Plant, work order 974, August 1964, 15,000 copies.
Training Leaflets using the Korean War Banknote Image
During the Korean War the Unites States parodied Korean banknotes with safe conduct messages signed by Ridgway, Van Fleet and Clark. It is interesting to note that long after the end of the Korean War, American Special Forces were still using the Korean safe conduct pass format as a training aide. One green safe conduct pass banknote has the following message in English and Esperanto:
This official certificate guarantees your safety by the Aggressor Nation. You may present this certificate to any Aggressor soldier when you decide to cease fighting. The Esperanto statement at the left is my official order to my troops to give you safe passage and reads as follows . . . (Signed) Wolfgang Francois Umberto, Field Marshall, Aggressor Army, Commander-in-Chief, Northeast Asia Forces.
It is doubtful that any of the young soldiers finding the pass knew of its Korean War origins.
A War Game Leaflet using the Cuban Invasion Banknote Image
Just as the PSYOP personnel were familiar with Korean War safe conduct passes, they had also worked on counterfeit money for the Bay of Pigs invasion and probably still had all the images in their files. As a result, for years afterwards various war game currencies were prepared using the image of the Cuban 20 peso note. This war game note is similar to the counterfeit except for all the additional text and the changing of the title from Banco Nacional de Cuba to Banco Nacional de Red.
A Training Leaflet using the Cuban 5 Peso Note
Since much of the American war game training was against Communist nations in South and Latin America, it was common to use a Cuban currency facsimile. I have at least six different of this specific image in my files. The banknote is a safe conduct pass from the Republic of Costa. The war game was usually between the nations of Costa and Ventura. It is also interesting to point out that a real American propaganda leaflet banknote using this image was used in Grenada where there were Cuban troops and construction people building an air field for the Communist nation.
Pineland is a fictitious country located in North Carolina, developed by the United States Army Special Forces Command at Ft. Bragg to train Special Forces, PSYOP and Civil Affairs in unconventional warfare. The basic scenario of Pineland is that the government has been overthrown through a violent coup and US forces are now assisting a guerrilla force that aim to overthrow the de facto government and restore order to the nation.
Fun in the woods - Need we say more?
The guerrilla forces are comprised primarily of Active Duty soldiers and volunteer civilians who participate in the exercise often referred to as Robin Sage. There is a fake currency known as Don which can be used to pay guerrilla forces, transportation and even food in some of the participating restaurants. This is excellent training in how to manage and safeguard funds used to pay guerrillas. Thousands of residents in North Carolina have participated in Robin Sage for years acting in various roles from town mayors to CIA contacts all designed to help train the Special Forces soldiers.
Joint Training Exercise Solid Shield 1967
Why Risk Needless Injury
This handsome leaflet was prepared by the 6th PSYOP Battalion based at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. The back warns of increased military activity in the area and asks the families to stay inside their home for their safety.
Solid Shield was an annual massive military exercise that lasted one week each year. It emphasized command and control in a unified environment. More than 50,000 personnel from the U.S. Army's Forces Command, the Navy's Atlantic Fleet, the Marine Corps' Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, TAC MAC and the Coast Guard joined in the massive exercise.
Will you Ever Return to Her?
This Solid Shield leaflet depicts a lonely woman thinking of her man. It is the kind of leaflets that is always used in every war. The back is also interesting since it shows the insignia of the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.
Another leaflet that mentions the airborne troops is aimed at the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment of the United States Army, part of the 82nd Airborne Division. Its subordinate units currently constitute the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. This leaflet actually uses a little humor on the front, something not often seen. A trooper tries a taste from a boiling pot made by the mess sergeant and his face explodes. The sergeant innocently asks:
The back of the leaflet discusses the next few days of the maneuvers and how boring they will be. The PSYOP unit promises to send reading matter from out of the blue and voices in the wind. The unit that prepared this war game leaflet is the 3rd Reproduction Company of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion based at Ft. Bragg, NC.
This is what your life can be like
Leaflets that promise sex and good treatment are always popular. One war game leaflet that just barely uses a sexual theme is coded Army Ft. McPherson Ga 1277 / 51. It depicts a young man in a swimming pool talking to a pretty girl on a diving board. The text on front is:
This is what your life can be like in an Aggressor Rest Camp. It's up to you.
The back is all text and tells the American troops how to defect to the aggressor side where they will be sent to a "rest camp" to meet young women. One of the more interesting lines of text is:
How about a Holiday?
This hand sign [Two hands up in surrender] is your ticket to an Aggressor Rest Camp.
And dont forget to bring some ready cash. Remember, you can buy beer, cokes, cookies and other snacks at an Aggressor Rest Camp
While you could be enjoying a holiday
A similar leaflet obviously made by the same unit using some of the same people is Army Ft. McPherson Ga 1277/51 in that it shows the same pool on one side but with two men and two women sitting under an umbrella and the test:
You could be enjoying a holiday like this at the Aggressor Rest Camp. How about it Soldier? The choice is yours.
The back depicts a tired and dirty soldier in the field with the text:
Why sweat your guts out day after day under a burning sun crawling through the brush and sand and dirt
Vacation on Vieques
Another war game leaflet that uses sex as a theme was prepared for use on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. This island was used for naval training for several decades since about 1941 and the eastern end of the island was used for live training exercises, ship-to-shore gunfire, air-to-ground bombing and US Marine amphibious landings. There is a roughly 11,000-acre Eastern Maneuver Area for Marine Corps ground exercises. Puerto Rican nationalists demanded that the U.S. Navy stop using the island for live firing exercises and the Navy agreed.
The front of the leaflet is coded TID 3- 2 (Tactical Information Detachment 3, leaflet 2?) and depicts two beautiful girls in bathing suits. The text is:
Vacation on Vieques
Beautiful Caribbean isle but
The back of the leaflet is all text and says:
Not for you soldier. Only heat, barracuda, sharks, bad chow, mosquitoes, poison cactus and Aggressor, a first class fighting man. Remember aggressor treats prisoners right!
Sometimes leaflets can be used to train the troops on various survival methods and military knowledge. This training leaflet depicts a Special Forces Staff Sergeant on the front wearing his Green Beret with a belt of ammo and a rappelling rope over his shoulder. He points at the leaflet reader and says: WATCH OUT. The back of the leaflet is a discussion of sabotage with information on Molotov Cocktails, arson and hand grenades.
We're Getting Combat Ready Too
This training leaflet is instructional and tells the soldier about the Field Service organization designed to make life in the field just a bit easier. It doesn't hurt that the leaflet shows a pretty blond girl in a jeep on the front. The text on the back explains that the teams will go into the field to help run "rest camps" so that the men need not be sent back hundreds of miles. The teams need training too so they are taking part in the maneuvers. Each unit has books and magazines, a snack bar, beer, and when weather permits will sponsor dances for the troops. I have never heard of this organization so am not sure if this is propaganda or legitimate. I have my doubts
Cold Pine 1
This 6th PSYOP Battalion leaflet depicts a prison camp and a graveyard. On the back the text is:
You have nothing to loose. This is what the red liberators have in mind for you.
There is one error in the spelling that makes the leaflet virtually worthless. Propaganda language should be perfect, but this one uses the word loose instead of Lose.
Soldiers of the Red Army
This sort of leaflet has been very popular among military forces for decades, I call them death and disfigurement leaflets, and they are generally considered to be ineffective because the people that study the field claim that it appears to the enemy that the maker is bragging and shows no mercy toward his foes. I have seen them in every war and usually they look worse than this with the dead soldier horribly burnt or scared. Military field manuals warn against their use, but the PSYOP troops just love to make them.
The back of this leaflet warns that the enemy is facing an elite U.S. Division and they are dying for nothing:
How can you continue to fight for leaders who consider you expendable? Give up this needless bloodshed; sling your weapons muzzle down and resist this incompetent leadership.
I have a large group of leaflets prepared for Cold Pine 1, but I am unable to find any data on the exercise. I do see that one leaflet is addressed to the citizens of Charleston, so I assume this game was played in South Carolina. If any reader can tell me more, I encourage you to write.
Bright Star 1977
Operation Bright Star started about 1981; a biannual 10-day war game with the United States and Egypt working together. This went on until 1991 when Operation Desert Storm occurred and there was no need to play at war. The war games returned after the end of the Persian Gulf War. The leaflet depicts a face in the clouds blowing against Soviet tanks and aircraft and protecting Allied tanks and aircraft. The text on the front and back is:
The Bulletin of Bright Star 1977: With the strength of the Khamsin winds. The Allies of the Green Country have arrived in Egypt.
The International Alliance promises to end the aggression of the Orange country. You are now about to meet the strongest military in the world. You will surely suffer defeat.
6,000 American troops took part in this exercise with the Egyptians, Italians, French, Kuwaitis, British and United Arab Emirates. The Khamsin is a hot, dry, dusty wind in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula that blows from the south or southeast in late winter and early spring. It often reaches temperatures above 104° F, and it may blow continuously for three or four days at a time
A Vietnam Practice Leaflet
As I said above, PSYOP troops believed that leaflets showing dead enemy would destroy their morale while psychologists believed it would make the enemy fight more intensely. Here is a practice leaflet drawn during the Vietnam War. This particular leaflet was never perfected and disseminated, but a dozen others very similar were prepared and airdropped over the Viet Cong. The artist also drew a leaflet with rats eating a freshly killed corpse but it was considered too controversial to be placed on a leaflet.
Without seeing them Again
The training leaflet was prepared by the 1st Leaflet and Loudspeaker Company, probably in Korea. It depicts a dead American soldier bleeding from the head on the ground. Near him is his M1 carbine. The back of the leaflet depicts a mother with two young children.
The 1st Loudspeaker and leaflet company was sent to Korea in 1950 and officially authorized in January 1951. The M1 carbine was an issue weapon during the Korean War. The language is in English. The only logical reason would seem to be that it was prepared by our own people prior to or during the Korean War as a training exercise. Perhaps at some later date the text would have been translated into the Korean or Chinese language and the dead soldier would be dressed in a Communist uniform with a Russian or Chinese-made weapon.
Surrender and Stay Alive
This training leaflet was prepared in Korea, I believe as a training exercise for the Eighth Air Force. It is a standard surrender leaflet with the offer of good treatment and food. It is odd that the text is in both English and Korean, but perhaps the English writers were being graded as were the Korean translators.
Dont worry about it, Pal
This training leaflet was prepared by the 15th Psychological Operations printing branch on Okinawa in 1966. We can tell that although it targets U.S. Forces, it was used in South Korea because there is a line of text in Korean at the bottom. It attempts to divide the clerical and non-combat troops from the infantry and other combat specialties by pointing out that this is not their job and they should just relax and wait for it to end. We could call it a malingering leaflet. Such were printed and disseminated by the Germans in WWII.
Feasting with laFemme
The 1st Leaflet and Loudspeaker Company also prepared this training leaflet that depicts a Leader of a mythical foreign country having a feast with a beautiful woman. The text on the back is in the form of a poem. It says:
Your Commanders chow is caviar with wine,
While upon cold chow you dine.
Hell commit you to slaughter make no mistake.
Join Blue forces and of freedom partake.
Curiously, in 1990 when Saddam Hussein attacked the rulers of Kuwait he disseminated similar leaflets of their royal family in Europe drinking with western women.
This leaflet was prepared by the 6th Battalion for Practice ARTEP III. In the military an ARTEP is an Army Training and Evaluation Program. The front depicts a family being marched away by armed soldiers. The back is all text and says in part:
Repressed citizens of White! Leave this area immediately. Do not let yourself be used as a human shield behind which the cowardly capitalist forces will hide themselves in the struggle for liberation.
Handshake of Freedom
The Island of Aragon is roughly six hundred miles east of Atlantica, and is divided into three distinct nations: Peoples Democratic Republic of Acadia, the Republic of Cortina, and the Republic of Victoria. Cortina is rich in natural resources and vital to U.S. interests, but is highly unstable due to political corruption, ethnic strife, and right wing insurgencies. The Cortina Liberation Front, a domestic terrorist organization, is supported by the PDRA and has recently stepped up its violence. Their goal is to overthrow the Cortina government. The United States isnt going to let that happen. Joint Task Force Cortina, comprised of conventional land, air, and sea elements, as well as special operations forces, has been sent to the area. Theyve been ordered to help with the counterinsurgency, provide security, and offer humanitarian aid where its needed. This simulated invasion is one scenario used during the three-week field training exercise at the U.S. Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The large poster-leaflet (8 x 10-inches) was printed by the 745th PSYOP Company from Dallas Texas. It depicts the friendship between U.S. forces and the Government of Cortina.
The above leaflet depicts a family with the option of following the path to democracy and peace, or death and the grave. Text on the back is:
You choose, the enemy is death and the Government is Democracy and Liberty
Attention U.S. Soldiers
Two more colorful leaflets were dropped on U. S. Army basic training recruits at Ft. Stewart, Georgia, in 1971. They were dropped from a helicopter during a mock war game. The leaflet above and below were both printed by the 92nd PSYOP Company, based on Ft. Stewart. The above leaflet is very colorful and depicts the flag of the Aggressor (enemy) force. The short text is:
ATTENTION U.S. SOLDIERS
SAFE CONDUCT PASS
The back is all text and addressed to soldiers of the 30th Infantry Division. It tells the finder that he can defect to the enemy and will receive a one-day pass to Savannah, Georgia. Upon his return he will be allowed to play tennis, swim at the pools and go to the movies. He will get full credit for his basic training. There will be no harassment or details. This has all been approved by the 3rd Army and even if his commander denies it, he knows he must follow the rules.
Did you enjoy being gassed?
The second Ft. Stewart leaflet is more comical. Every recruit goes through the gas chamber where he gets to know what it is like to be tear-gassed for a few minutes before being allowed to put on his mask. There are lots of funny stories of recruits standing in the tear gas and singing the Marine hymn or the Ballad of the Green Berets. The idea is to have the men confident in their masks and understanding that tear gas will not kill, it will simply make you really uncomfortable. This leaflet depicts several recruits probably just leaving the gas chamber and they are suffering. The text is:
AMERICANS: Did you enjoy being gassed? Did all of your masks work? Dont worry, theres more to come.
In general the masks always work, but sometimes in haste to put on the mask the recruit will not get a tight fit and then the gas will seep into the mask. That is why you drill on getting the mask on quickly and properly.
The text on the back is:
GAS!! Compliments of the Circle Trigon [the Aggressor symbol of a triangle within a circle] and theres more to come.
I am old enough to remember training with the old MSA chemical masks. They had the chemical in a canister at the bottom of the mask and since dampness would harden the chemicals, you had to remember to pull off a piece of tape that covered the air holes and kept the interior dry or you could not breathe. There were always a few people that forgot.
I can remember a particularly cruel lieutenant that loved to squeeze the rubber hose going down to the canister and once said to me Cant breathe, can you Johnny?
My pal Major Ed told me another story:
My father told me about his worst gas experience. He was a judge during an exercise conducted after WWII. The exercise included a CS tear gas attack. My dad positioned himself where he could best observe the attack yet have minimal exposure to the gas. Although he would still be exposed to a little gas my father believed that putting up with a minor irritation would still let him see better than restricting his vision with the protective gas mask. As the first whiffs of gas came his way he realized something was horribly wrong. He quickly put his mask on only to vomit into his mask all the way to his eyeballs. Someone either unknowingly or intentionally had substituted vomiting gas for the tear gas. That was the first and last time my father opted not to use his gas mask.
Team Spirit 1990 South Korea
ROK/US Team Spirit
Team Spirit was a joint military training exercise of United States Forces Korea and the Military of South Korea held between 1976 and 1993. The exercise was scheduled from 1994 to 1996 but cancelled as part of diplomacy to encourage the Government of North Korea to disable the North Korean nuclear weapons program.
The above leaflet bears the flags of the United States and the Republic of Korea. It depicts troops on parade. The back of the leaflet used cartoon characters and symbols of the United States and Korea inside designs. The text is:
This exercise will help maintain peace by building the strength of ROK/US combined Forces
Blue Forces are Invincible
This leaflet is more in the form of a tactical leaflet and depicts Jet planes, helicopters, rockets, tanks and fighting men and the text in English:
Blue forces are invincible through ROK/US partnership
The back of the leaflet depicts various Korean troops in action and the Korean language text:
Sky and Land, ever victorious invincible Blue Force.
Orange/Brown forces, you have been surrounded. Any futile resistance against Blue Force would mean nothing but death. You have one chance...
Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm)
During the First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) the United States produced about 29 million leaflets. As always, there were many practice and test leaflets prepared and evaluated by the PSYOP units as they prepared for war. These are called Developmental artwork. The leaflet above did not make the cut. I have copies of about 100 of these early drafts of leaflets. Here is a very early sketch one artist drew of Saddam holding his soldiers over a fire which certainly is meant to represent the Coalition forces.
Death from Strafing
This leaflet did not quite make the cut but it is pretty good. A U.S. fighter strafes, bombs and virtually annihilates an Iraqi soldier. No text needed. Notice the developmental art is signed at the bottom right and dated 14 December 1990 at Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia.
Coalition Forces bombing Iraqi Tanks
American Air Force, Naval, and Marine aircraft, the British RAF, and Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched against military targets in Iraq from 16 to 19 December 1998. The official explanation for this four-day attack was that it was retaliation for Iraq's refusal to allow the inspection of sites as stated in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, agreed upon at the end of the Persian Gulf War. The name of this operation was Desert Fox. Four leaflets were prepared early, then another four. Of the eight, only four were actually dropped. We show one of the non-disseminated leaflets which we will call developmental art.
The front of this leaflet depicts three A-10 Warthog fighters flying over a pair of burning Iraqi tanks. The text is:
Iraqi Soldiers. Go back or face your destruction.
The back of the leaflets depicts two A-10 Warthog fighters being directed to an Iraqi tank by U. S. satellites. The text is:
Iraqi Soldiers. We are watching you.
Here is another early leaflet prepared before the actual shooting phase of the war that did make the cut. However, the artist was one of the Army's best so very similar leaflets depicting Coalition aircraft attacking Iraqi tanks were prepared and dropped and this is clearly a precursor to those leaflets.
People who Co-operate
Four years after Desert Storm in 1994, The United States entered Haiti as part of a military campaign named Operation Uphold Democracy aimed at returning President Aristide to power. A number of propaganda leaflets were prepared and disseminated. At least six were prepared and not approved for distribution. I show one here. It depicts a Haitian solder throwing his rifle away at the left and shaking hands with a U.S. soldier at the right. I suspect the leaflet was disapproved because an almost identical leaflet was used during Desert Storm, except it was reversed because Arabic is read from right to left. Text on the back is:
People who cooperate will be paid. People who cooperate will have jobs. People who cooperate will be part of Haiti's future.
Russian Training Propaganda Messages for Interoperability 2016
Many of the leaflets above mention radio broadcast and tell the enemy what stations to listen to. In 2016, the Russians held a war game where they broadcast anti-NATO messages. I thought it might be interesting to add their training broadcasts here. The training exercise was called Interoperability 2016 and combined the forces of Russia and its old colonies; Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The message was transmitted in several languages, including Russian, German and English:
NATO soldiers! You are being deceived! You are not peacekeepers! Lay down your weapons! You are fighting on the foreign territory. With your treacherous invasion, you have interrupted the peaceful life of an innocent country. You will be brought down by a just revenge and an anger of the people that have never been defeated in war. Drop your weapons and stop being puppets in the hands of your leaders!
Training Leaflets used for Recruitment
Try a Real World Mission
Tired of the Same Old Thing?
I had no intention of adding these two leaflets because they are clearly recruitment tools. But, I looked at my old notes from about 1998 and although it was a recruitment drive, it was used as a training exercise for the 6th PSYOP Battalion. I wrote at the time:
The leaflets were targeted at all the soldiers at Ft. Bragg, NC, who were coming to the end of their first enlistment. It was a training exercise, with target audience analysis and pre and post dissemination testing. The leaflets were issued as a boarding pass for the aircraft at a Saturday fun jump [Only paratroopers can jump out of perfectly good airplanes and call it fun] run by the 4th PSYOP Group. Posters were also printed and placed on manned sandwich boards along the route of the 82nd Airborne Division Run during All American Week in 1998. One of those was a photo of a division run with the term "Step out from the group. Some of the PSYOP troops were called out by senior Airborne Division NCO's who didn't take kindly to the poaching attempts.
Memories of War Games
A Wartime Postcard features Maneuvers
I always like to add a little personal touch to these stories. Way back when, about six decades ago, when you took part in a war-game, if you saw an enemy you literally called out: Bang! You are dead! Sometimes the enemy would agree and sometimes he would argue that he was not dead. If there was an umpire he would decide, if not, it got interesting. I recall one pitch black night when we were protecting an installation and spotted some enemy troops. One of our guys shouted: Bang, you are dead and the enemy shouted back F-you! That meant war. There were no umpires, so our guys rushed out and immediately there was a brawl and members from both sides decided to solve the problem with fisticuffs. The good old days!
Soldier outfitted with MILES equipment
Years later, to solve just such problems, the multiple integrated laser engagement system, or MILES was invented. Both sides had attachments to their rifles that only shot a laser when the weapon was fired, and both sides wore multiple sensors on the uniform and helmet so that if he was hit, a bell rang until an umpire came and shut it off. If you shot him, everyone within a city block would know it and there was no argument. This was an excellent training tool and ended a lot of late night brawls. Also, since the laser only worked when the blank rounds in the rifle were fired, it required the soldiers to keep the weapon clean and in good condition and use good firing discipline. No ammo, no MILES.
MILES "God Gun"
Decades later, when I acted as a judge, I had a God Gun. That was a hand-held laser that shot out a wide beam that covered a large area. If I wanted to check and see that all the soldiers had batteries in their MILES (Yes, soldiers have been known to cheat,) I could just pull the trigger and they all would go off. If I did not get a loud ringing from every single soldier, somebody was in deep doo-doo.
I should also mention that the God Gun was a great training tool. I could tell my squad to totally camouflage themselves and make sure that no part of their head or body was exposed to the enemy. Once they were ready and thought they were invisible in the vegetation I could use the god gun to see if they were vulnerable. There were always one or two squeaks or whistles that told me that although there was not enough exposure to set off the alarm, the sensors had picked up the waves coming close. That was such a valuable teaching tool because it showed the soldier that part of his body was exposed and taught him to really use cover and concealment. After a while I could shoot the gun at them all day and not a peep from the brush. They were truly invisible.
I was thinking of all the funny things that happen during a war game and another situation came to mind. It was 60 years ago and I am probably a private First Class up on the Canadian border. It is about zero degrees and freezing cold and it is maybe 0200. We are all suffering from the cold with just fatigue jackets. Your nose runs to the knot that holds the hood closed and freezes and you need a screw driver to chip the ice and untie the knot. I discover there is a heated latrine just behind our defensive position. I go and in find this wonderful warmth, sit down on the toilet and promptly fall asleep. I awake about 0400 and look down and there are heads all around my feet. I carefully open the door and there are bodies all over the floor, maybe as many as 20, some heads practically in the urinals. Apparently, I was not the only person to discover that a heated latrine is a nice place for a quick nap on a bitter cold night. Americans will find a way to adapt, adjust, and persevere.
This has been just a very brief look at some of the early leaflets drawn by artists who were being training to work in PSYOP and those leaflets produced in the field for war games or as developmental art. This story could be 10,000 words long, but most of the leaflets are not very good because of the experience of the artists and the conditions they worked under. The leaflets would get much better as they learned their trade and were placed in an organization that had the finest papers, pens, inks and cultural experts.
We invite anyone who cares to comment on this story to write to the author at email@example.com.