Military History/WW1 box
Hello there I recently ran into the opportunity to purchase some old US Army items and I was wondering if you could assist me in knowing the value. The box is about 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall by 2 feet deep. There is US 1907 on the outside. The front folds down revealing drawers and shelves there is places for ink wells to go on the door that folds down I assume. On the inside it is mostly shelves with one center box that may have held a radio? The frond door secures with two over center latches then there is a fold over lock on the top center. The piece is in very good condition. The piece is very cool and screams history. I don't believe it's just another army surplus box. Any info or knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
What you have is a field office secretarial. They were more likely to have used a field telephone than radio, and might even have used telegraph.
What a lot of people do not realize due to Hollywood, is the amount of paperwork that was required of officers in Headquarters units down to Company and Platoon Level.
These kinds of secretarials were probably used at Battalion and possibly Company level.
A battalion was somewhere between 2000- 1000 men. Its a wide range because the size of units varied over time due to changes in Divisional structure. As machine guns became more prevalent, they reduced the size of the units because the automatic weapons increased firepower without requiring the larger number of men. It was all about firepower.
Platoon leaders sent in morning reports to the company commanders with figure for the number of casualties in the squads of the platoons and the previous day's action. The company staff would then do a company report that would go up to the battallion. There were four companies in a battallion, four platoons to a company and four squads to a platoon. In WWII this changed from the "square" organization to a "triangular" one, of threes, three squads, three platoons, three battalions. There were still four companies and four platoons only they added a Heavy weapons company at each level tha contained the machine guns and mortars. But each platoon only had three squads.
All this book keeping had to be done in duplicate or triplicate. The center box probably held a typewriter for typing up the final reports sent to the next higher headquarters. I can't say for sure but it is probable that this box would have been capable of being transported by animal.
As for value, its highest value would be to reenacter groups or militaria collectors, or maybe a museum. Try websites for the first two.
They can tell you what it might be worth to them.