The Louisiana Maneuvers were a series of military exercises held all over Northern and Western-Central Louisiana, including Fort Polk, Camp Claiborne and Camp Livingston, in August and September 1941. The exercise was designed to evaluate US troop training, logistics, doctrine, and commanders.
When Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, starting World War II, the United States military began preparing for probable war in Europe. The very small peacetime U.S. Army, with far fewer troops than most European armies, sought large bases in which to train an expanded force. Thousands of acres of unused land in Louisiana were selected by General Leslie McNair and Colonel Mark Wayne Clark as a good place for large-scale training. The area they used spanned from the Sabine River all the way East to the Calcasieu River and up North to the Red River.
The U.S. Army in 1939 was largely an infantry force with supporting artillery, engineers, and cavalry, as well as combat support and combat service supporting arms. Few units were motorized or mechanized. As war approached, there was a need to both modernize the force and to conduct large-scale maneuvers to test all aspects of a fast-growing, inexperienced force.
The Louisiana maneuvers involved half a million men, separated into 19 Army Divisions, taking place over 3400 square miles (8,800 km²) of Louisiana from August to September 1941.
Around 400,000 troops were divided into two equal armies of two made-up countries. The countries' names were Kotmk (Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky) and Almat (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee). The armies were also called the Red Army and the Blue Army. These armies were fighting over navigation rights and strategic points along the Mississippi River.
 Blue Army
The Blue Army set up headquarters in the town of Kinder, Louisiana at the Kinder High School, where there is a roadside marker in remembrance.
 Lessons learned
The U.S. Army fighting doctrine was based around two fundamentals: mass and mobility. The constabulary-type Army of the frontier days was based on a very high level of mobility. However, the Army that won the U.S. Civil War was based on mass. The Union Army successfully massed combat power where it was needed in a series of campaigns aimed at the heart of Confederate strength. These two legacies shaped U.S. doctrine in the period leading up to World War II, and were tested in the maneuvers.
The first U.S. Armored Division was tested in the maneuvers. Built around a nucleus from Chaffee's 7th Mechanized Cavalry, the armored division tested the ability of a very large combined-arms mechanized unit to move long distances, maintain troops and vehicles in combat conditions, and affect the outcome of tactical and operational-level problems. The armored division concept was considered sound and led to the formation of 16 U.S. Armored Divisions during World War II.
U.S. defensive doctrine was based on the perceived need to defeat German blitzkrieg tactics, and U.S. units expected to be faced with large numbers of German tanks attacking on relatively narrow fronts. The maneuvers tested the concept of the tank destroyer. This concept, originating with artillery officers, consisted of large numbers of highly mobile guns to be held in reserve. Upon an enemy tank attack, the towed or self-propelled tank destroyers would be rapidly deployed to the flanks of the penetration with the intent of taking a heavy toll of attacking tanks. Tank destroyers were supposed to employ aggressive, high-speed hit-and-run tactics against tanks. The use of these guns was distinct from the forward placement of towed antitank guns assigned as a normal part of the Infantry Regiment. The Louisiana Maneuvers' data showed that the Infantry's AT guns actually took a much higher toll of 'enemy' tanks than did the tank destroyer battalions' guns. However, the conclusion drawn was that a tank destroyer force of independent tank destroyer battalions should be raised.
In actual practice during World War II, such massed enemy tank attacks rarely happened; indeed, throughout the war only one TD battalion ever fought in an engagement quite like that which had originally been envisaged. The Tank destroyer command eventually numbered over 100,000 men and 80 battalions equipped with 36 tank destroyers or towed anti-tank guns each. Immediately after the war, the force was disbanded and the anti-tank role was formally taken over by the Infantry, Engineer and Armor branches.
Realistic military training can lead to injuries and death due to risks incurred through various factors including lack of sleep, enervation, the presence of heavy equipment, traffic accidents, presence of firearms, and airplane accidents. During the Louisiana Maneuvers, 26 men died, most from drowning in the Sabine River or vehicle accidents. One died from getting struck by lightning, and one had a heart attack at age 24. 
A roadside memorial is erected on the property of the Beauregard Regional Airport that was then called the DeRidder Army Airbase.
General Omar Bradley later explained how the local population welcomed the soldiers with open arms. Some soldiers even slept in some of the residents' houses. Bradley said it was so crowded in those houses sometimes when the soldiers were sleeping, there would hardly be any walking room. Bradley also noted that a few of the troops were disrespectful towards the residents' land and crops. They would tear down crops for extra food. However, for the most part residents and soldiers established good relations.