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Lorraine


HISTORY OF THE 305th Infantry
by
Frank Tiebout

Chapter4

LORRAINE


CHAPTER IV

LORRAINE

WHEN the tired troops were dumped with all their baggage out of the cattle cars at Charmes and Portieux on June 13th they were not thrilled. No crowd, no hurry and bustle, no transport, no cannon. No war. The country was beautiful - but one is scarcely in a frame of mind to appreciate the landscape when for two days and nights he has been jammed in so tight with his fellow men and all their worldly goods that he has had to stand erect half the night to make room for his sleeping brother. Someone had sense enough to send the train bearing the First Battalion through to a point somewhat nearer the rendezvous; but these men had only the prospect of another infernal hike. They were unhappy, ninety-five per cent. having lost their bet that we were headed for Italy. They were hungry and just beginning to realize that all the money they had so generously given to the Red Cross a few stations back had virtually paid for the food handed out to the 306th Infantry on the preceding train.

 

like they did toward Baccarat as a result of the vague, tissue paper orders which the train commanders somehow acquired. Had the billeting officers who were sent down beforehand, to pedal all over the countryside upon decrepit bicycles, requisitioning the most palatial cow-stables in Lorraine, been given some really sane instructions, there might have been a place designated for each and every company. Regimental Headquarters at Moyemont were soon advised by Division that the towns selected by the billeting officers -according to instructions-were not even in the correct regimental sector. In consequence, after rolling around in the grass for a good str-r-retch while the battalion transports with a bit of food were unloaded, the troops set off into the night, with inadequate maps to be studied at cross-roads by the light of a match, finally making bivouac in the fields and grumbling, " To Hell with it all."

By three o'clock on the following afternoon, it was the joyous privilege of the Second Battalion, after marching an untold number of kilometers out of their way-again, according to instructions-to land in the beautiful city of Hallianville, which had not yet deemed it necessary to legislate against the construction of sky-scrapers and whose two streets-one leading in, the other out-were flanked on either side by venerable manure piles, those stately monuments so characteristic of aesthetic rural France.

The men are hungry, but there is no food in the kitchens wherewith to feed 'em. Having tucked away fifteen in this barn, thirty in that, ten some-where else, the headquarters platoon near the proposed orderly room, the officers repair to the billets indicated upon the chart in the Mairie. H Company's officers advance upon a humble doorway which has long since retired in modest self-effacement behind the most gigantic manure heap in town.

Ha! The size of the pile is doubtless an index to wealth and standing in the community. The biggest pile, the biggest citizen. Correct. He is the genial Mayor, who is honored to place at Captain Dodge's disposal his best bedroom, the windows of which give immediately upon that prized monument resting so near the doorstep. He is proud to sell one of his poor pigs for a mere fifteen hundred francs to the brave Americans hastening to the rescue of France; he opens up a bottle of one dollar champagne in their honor and declaims grandly, "The Americans and the French are brothers; ten francs please."

Since the ban was only on alcohol, many a case of French 2.75 went forthwith out under the trees; a Polish wedding bad nothing on some of those parties. Chlorinated water was enough to drive a man to drink, anyhow-, but after sampling the beer and light wines ladled out to the soldiers, one could readily understand why drunkards are so uncommon in France. There was no more temptation to become a wine drunkard there than to become a castor oil drunkard in America. Still, it relieved the tension-a little nippy now and then. "Our money was all exhausted," wrote one of the advocates of moderation, "but there were a few of the boys who still had some. Jack was in one of the cafes playing cards and won bokoo francs; as fast as he could win them, I would spend them. 'By' was also in the corner; when retreat sounded, he and I were drinking champagne like water, out of beer glasses. I said to him, 'What do you say, Jack?' He said, 'To Hell with it. When they're ready to go up into the line we'll be on deck.' Then we started on the champagne again, and I drank so much that I thought I saw the Boches, and began blazing my rifle, when who came around the corner under the barrage but the honorable captain, who walked into the cafe and wanted to know who done the shooting. Finally he looked at me and just guessed right. While we were walking up Main Street, I dared him to transfer me into a fighting outfit. The lieutenant took me toward the guardhouse, when be heard sounds inside one of the billets. He opened the door, poked his head inside and sounded off, 'Stop this noise!' Someone hollered, 'Who in Hell are you?' He said, very dignified, 'Officer of the day,' and the doughboy said, 'Then what the Hell are you doing out this hour of the night?' I guess he had had some champagne, to

When the loot got me in the mill, he wanted to know why I done the shooting. I said, 'To celebrate the Fourth of July, for I never had a chance to, on the Fourth.' Next day & old captain called me down something terrible, but still he released me without trial, and T never heard any more about it."

Leaving our earlier habitations, Rehaincourt, Orton-court, St. Genest, Hallianville and Moyemont, the billeting officers of the battalions and the billeting N. C. O.'s of each company had their fill of marching on ahead of their companions to list and apportion the available cowsheds and other roofs. The Supply Company, which soon took up its abode in Azerailles, into which the railroad trains crept now and then and from which they could readily distribute supplies, was decidedly envied by the rest of the Regiment, even though Azerailles was a good target for aerial bombs. And not merely a good target, but the subject of a number of harrowing attacks. The Supply Company suffered there more casualties than all the rest of the Regiment, in Lorraine. Through Domptail, Fontenoy la Joute, Glonville, Gelacourt and other villages, our billeting experiences ran.

Our experiences hiked, rather; for the Infantry generally travels afoot. This entire period stands out in our minds as one of countless night marches, moving ever nearer and nearer the front, drilling the while, hoping and praying for the time to come when we could at last feel safe " in the trenches. " Well how is the Major feeling?" one doughboy would ask another. "Looks worried," might be the reply. "Then let's start getting our packs ready, for there's a hike on, tonight."

All this territory had once been in the hands of the Cermans; they had advanced rapidly during the first days of the war. Stark and staring now, gaunt ruins reared their tottering heads into the moonlight, the churches shattered, the stars peeping through great gaping holes in their crumbling towers, the houses gutted and unfit for habitation. Pathetically, a few old men, women and ragged children would gather in the moonlit squares to call, "Bonne chance, mes enfants. Vive I'Amerique!" as the troops filed through. On and on through the countryside, past an endless stream of motor trucks and transports into the next diminutive stone village, each one a bit poorer than the last and exactly as the retreating Germans had left it in 1914. One came to dread these marches, the consuming fatigues, the sore feet, the suddenly discovered illnesses probably induced by too much vin rouge, the commandings, the drivings, urgings which are an inseparable part of every long journey afoot and which eat the heart out of a man. On the other hand, there was the encouraging tramp, tramp, tramp of the faithful, the ten-minute rest on the right of the road, and then the fifty-minute back-breaker. "I've tramped over every road in France but one," wailed an eloquent letter writer, and I expect to cover that one tomorrow. A week or so ago, after we had been walking nearly all one night, Jack and 'Sauerkraut' shouted 'Rest!' from their place in ranks, and were given 'arrest' by the old captain; but they both preferred court martial to company punishment. Poor 'Sauerkrauk" was transferred to the Q. M. and in Azerailles was fatally wounded in an air raid. He should have taken company punishment in the first place."

Each new town visited meant a cleaning of both town and man; no sooner would the streets be swept, the civilian garbage buried and the men scrubbing their clothes at the public "lavoir" than off we'd go to another cleaning. The French never could comprehend the apparent eagerness with which the American shaved, plied the toothbrush or rushed to the nearest swimmin' hole. But the French did wash their clothes now and then; and tremendously amusing was the sight of an old woman at the public fountain, lambasting the wash with a weighty paddle. Some of the boys reckoned that cooties could not survive such manhandling, and tried it out, ineffectually.

In other ways, the civilian customs provided entertainment. The Headquarters Company at Moyemont were daily aroused by the shrill blasts of the community stockherder's trumpet. At the first peep of dawn, when all good doughboys were pounding the blanket hard, he would sound off, shambling down street in motley garb-perhaps the regalia of his high office -a'dragging his wooden shoes with difficulty over the cobbles. The first blast usually produced the desired result. Out of barns and yards tumbled sundry sheep, goats, cows and pigs, to fall in behind him. Returning from the fields at dusk, the animals would instinctively fall out and retire to their respective habitations. Two members of the Regimental Band yearned for trouble. The machinations of their fertile brains sent the loudest and strongest First Comet down street one morning long ere Reveille, blowing a Call to Arms. The Pied Piper of Hamlin boasted no such array. With stately tread, he conducted his unique platoon around the town. Whither he went, they followed. He stopped playing, but still they hung on. The thing was revealing complications. Showing signs of deep concern, the cornetist attempted the soothing strains of "Go to Sleep, My Baby," without result. Far be it from such loyal adherents to desert their leader in the midst of drill. But hark! What is that old familiar sound? The shrill call of the herder's old fish-horn resounding through the village! With tails erect, or flying, or kinked or not showing at all, as the case might be, the animals dashed off in all directions. Pandemonium reigned, during which the First Cornet made good his escape.

At last, from the heights above Fontenoy, a somnolent village of several hundred souls and a few bodies, one could look off into Germany. There, in the distant haze, were the Vosges Mountains. Down in the hollow, where the little puff s of smoke appeared, were the front lines, where the 42d Division were getting what we were pleased in those days to call a "strafing." Overhead, the aeroplanes wheeled and ducked, the " Archies " planting their shrapnel bursts carefully around them, while a bugler stationed under a tree on the hilltop blew the warning Attention, his call being relayed to points wherever troops might be drilling. How we rejoiced whenever the call came which sent us flat into the grass, there to loaf and sleep until the birds disappeared and Recall sounded. Anything, to escape drill! And how we detested getting back again to that "Line of Half Platoons, Automatics on the Right Flank," as so beautifully and so uselessly charted in the red pamphlet, Offensive Combat of Small Units!

Whether to train some more, or to go on hiking for the rest of our lives, was the question. Perhaps to relieve them of this soul-consuming anxiety, eight officers and about twenty-five men, mostly from the Third Battalion, were about this time sent down into southern France for two months of horse-buying. Think of the frightful worries they had down there-sleeping in a bed every night, knowing where their next meal was coming from, real towns to play in! It must have been terrible!

Units of the Rainbow Division were now streaming to the rear, nights, through our town. It was evident that a relief would soon be accomplished. The warnings, taunts and gibes which those veterans of ninety days in the

front lines threw at us were not at all commensurate with the reports of our officers. "What they won't do to you ain't worth mentioning!" "Yeah!" is the fabled retort, " all the Germans we've seen have been singin', 'I'm always chasing Rainbows."' Those who had gone up into the front lines to reconnoitre brought back harrowing tales. The men were actually billeted, not living night and day in the trenches. The officers could with difficulty be pried out of their hammocks under the trees. The Germans would stroll into town now and then, inviting someone at the point of a gun to journey back with them; but as a war, it was a good picnic.

To learn how inexact these stories were we again took up the march about June twenty-third, this time with the steel helmets where they belonged, the little "go to Hell caps" tucked into the packs. Into a luxurious reserve position in Glonville went the Third Battalion, the Second into support at Pettonville and Vaxainville, the First into the front line at Migneville and Herberviller, Regimental Headquarters at Hablainville. French guides had met the relieving units some distance in rear of the positions, cautioning silence and an absence of lights. Would the Germans shell during the relief? The strain was terrible. " Our first night in the Lorraine Sector, I was posted with a small detail on the edge of a wood; the open field beyond was No Man's Land. I was very cautious and worried all night lest the enemy advance and annihilate our gallant little band. But with the dawn's early light I beheld in the middle of our No Man's Land a French peasant cutting bay with a horse-drawn mower."

Today, our war on the Baccarat Front (so called because the Division Headquarters were at Baccarat) seems like a period of unalloyed happiness. Seemingly, by mutual consent, the forces on both sides indulged in the merest sort of aggressive tactics, sending thither for rest and recuperation such units as had exhausted their strength on other fronts. Though regiments of the Division suffered appreciably from spasmodic aggressive tactics by the Germans, to which they retaliated in kind, the Three Hundred and Fifth never had any nasty tricks played upon it. The French who so ably chaperoned oar first few weeks on this front, before withdrawing from their intimate association with us, were terror stricken lest our artillery should fire on towns held by the enemy, or that any pronounced offensive should be precipitated. Yet, however luxurious those days appear to us now, however much we longed to get back to them once more during the bitter, heart-breaking days which overtook us on other fronts, the worries of the Lorraine Sector were all very real, at the time. Major Metcalf's battalion, the first unit of America's National Army to enter the battle line, probably did not sleep at all the first few days, what with the newness of it all, the minute reports of enemy activity to be made at unearthly hours, the stand-to at dawn, the question of feeding.

It took five hours for a ration-carrying party to fetch to all the P. P.'s on the Herberviller section-through which the Boches could have driven in four -horse chariots, had they willed. Rifles blazed away all night at imaginary raiding parties; every bush furtively glimpsed over the parapet of the P. P. was without doubt a skulking German. The planning of a Defense in Depth, the arranging of G. C.'s or Groupes de Combat, the locating of P. P.'s or Petites Postes, the placing of the P. C.'s or Postes de Commandement, were brain-fatiguing tasks. just what should be done "en cas d'attaque?"

Who will forget the first shell that came over, or the sudden barking of a battery of 75's seemingly right behind one's left ear? Who will forget the German aeroplane landing signal which, with indefatigable precision, mounted the sky at periodic intervals during the night? Who will ever forget the first ghostly glare of Very lights rocketing skyward from numerous points of the German line, or the fable of the old, one-legged German on the motorcycle dashing madly from one end of the sector to the other, setting off a bunch of sky-rockets now and then to fool us into thinking there were large bodies of troops opposed to us? Will years obliterate the terrors of a gas attack, which never occurred?

It was here that we had been warned to have our weather eyes open for the Hindenburg Circus, which had shortly before been sprung by the Germans with considerable success. The old "gas wave" was thought to be well nigh obsolete, dependent as it was upon favorable winds, terrain and barometric conditions. Gas was now projected chiefly by shells or cylinders filled with volatile poisons which burst on landing with a slight detonation somewhat like a pistol shot, just enough to crack the cylinder or spray the liquid within a short radius. The Hindenburg Circus was thought to be an indefinite number of simple dischargers, like sections of gas pipe easily and quickly set up in a trench, all discharged simultaneously by means of an electric current, appearing in effect as a brilliant and sudden roar of flame and a smothering blanket of gas before masks could be adjusted.

The result was that gas alarms, false alarms, were frequent. Down the line from right to left, and sweeping on into the back areas, would sound the beating of empty shell casings, the clanging of bells, the ominous whir of rattles and klaxons, and the frantically hurried adjusting of masks. Doubtless the klaxon to many will yet mean, not the warning of an automobile's approach, but Gas! Corporal Humphreys of A Company likes to tell of the balmy days down in the G. C. "Chauviret" where little Marcus Heim would hang his mask on an old apple free before going in swimming with the boys. "Morg and Carl resolved to show him the terrible consequences of being without his mask, letting out a yell 'GAS!' that started Marcus on a mad rush for his mask. We all had ours on, and it was some time before we 'discovered' his, threw him on his back and forced it on his face. Poor Marcus lay on his back gasping for breath while we made believe look up a doctor to come and pronounce him a victim. We found that our yells had been relayed back for miles. A ration carrying detail came up just about that time. 'What's the matter with you,' we said. 'Don't you hear the alarm of Gas?' 'Oh, that's all right,' they replied, 'we don't belong to this platoon."'

Company A, with its P. C. in the crumbling Chateau de la Noy, a relic of olden days, staged a war of its own. Why the Boches didn't loft a package of high explosive into its crumbling towers, no one could guess; it was in full observation, and full of troops. Feeling sure that the "entente cordiale " would be respected, the French and American officers took life there casually enough, dining in style, altogether too far above ground for safety. It was after several of our own unwieldy and noisy patrols had skulked about No Man's Land for several nights-"kill or capture" patrols, as they were desperately termed-neither killing nor being killed, that noises were heard in the moat one black night. A German patrol, without a doubt, coming to blow up the chateau! From the battlements, a squad of bombers listened. Again, a sound of footsteps "squnching" in the mud. Rockets were fired into the darkness, from a Very pistol, without revealing a Boche. More stealthy foot noises, until at last a brave and bold bunch of bombers floundered down into the slime, only to scare out a flock of old herons.

Sergeant Fortenbacker of Company A tells of another harrowing battle staged by his company.

" Second Lieut. Morgan Harris was on the 16th day of July in the historic year of 1918 in full command of the old fighting fourth platoon in which I'm proud to say I was a corporal. We were at the same time stationed in the support position in front of the town of Vaxainville, in the Baccarat Sector.

"Lieut. Harris had just received his commission with four other sergeants of the company. His first trouble as a commissioned officer was that we enlisted men would forget the salute, which means so much to the newly made officer. He therefore placed his favorite runner, Private McPartland, in a place where all could see him and then passed up and down the line a few times so we would get the idea as McPartland did.

"This just reminds me of the great feeling that existed between Lieut. Harris and his runner. Platoon headquarters was occupied by Lieut. Harris and Sgt. Lathrop. On the above-mentioned morning, runner McPartland saw Sgt. Lathrop "reading" his only undershirt in an attempt to rid himself of the cooties which were always doing squads cast and left on his chest and back. The runner, fearing his lieutenant would also catch these terrible shirt rats, informed him of his great peril. For this brave act Lieut. Harris made Sgt. Lathrop move to another dugout and allowed runner McPartland the great honor of sleeping in his dugout.

"On the afternoon of this eventful day the newly appointed lieutenants attended a farewell dinner given in their honor by our old company officers. It seems, in the case of Lieut. Harris, that the French wine brought out his great fighting qualities; he was sure the Germans were about to make an attack on us. He was so sure of the Dutchmen breaking through the front lines we held, that he got right on the job to make our position impregnable.

"His first move was to send for a detail of nearly the entire platoon to get rifle and hand grenades. After getting all the bombs available he instructed the men, saving to his detail, 'For your own safety I wish you ammunition carriers would keep two hundred yards in front of me while going through the woods'

"His second move was to call a meeting of the non-coms to get together and plan a defense so that our Fighting Fourth would go down in history for holding the entire German army at bay. The non-coms assembled and the lieutenant called the meeting to order, and started as follows: 'Now men, give me your attention. You may smoke if you wish-who's got a cigarette?' As nobody was lucky enough to have a 'cig' our platoon leader had to be satisfied with the makings. 'Now then, men, tonight of all nights I want you all to stick to me. We have had our ins and outs, but let bygones be bygones, because by morning some of us may be gone forever. We will stand-to all night. If something happens to me Sgt. Lathrop is second in command. I also want you all to put your heart and soul in this coining battle.' just then Sgt. Lathrop walked up with tears running down his cheeks and shook Lieut. Harris' hand, saying, 'Morg, I want to be the first to sav good-by to you.' just at this point there was a snicker from the corporals, for they knew the only time they were good friends was only when one or the other got away with a can of the platoon's jam. Now the meeting broke up and we got set for the big battle which would mean Kaiser Bill's Waterloo.

" Well, to make a long story short, when Lieut. Mooers inspected our position he found all the men unnecessarily standing-to, ready for action, the platoon leader himself studying a map and preparing for the greatest battle ever caused by a bottle of vin blanc."

Having spent their brief period in the front line, it was the First Battalion's turn to retire for rest, while others took up the arduous duties of maintaining control of No Man's Land. "It was our fifth day; the sun was shining brightly and the boys were gracefully draped over the green grass. In front of them was about forty feet of strong barbed wire to prevent a visit from any square-headed sausage inhaler who might stray over on his way back from a fishing trip or outdoor pinochle game. All was quiet and peaceful when a messenger came up and gave us the information that we were to go back in support that night. Accordingly we rolled up our homes and reluctantly filed through the winding trenches to the support position in the wood. And there our troubles began. From the precautions our platoon lieutenant took in those support trenches, and from the worried look he always wore, one would think that the fate of the army, the safety of democracy and the political freedom of the next generation depended upon our staying up all night.

"Directly night would begin to think about falling, the Chauchat teams would be marched out to their positions and given their countersigns and passwords. The latter usually sounded like a cross between a Patagonian swear word and the name of a new patent medicine. One of our fellows actually remembered his password until morning, but he long since was evacuated for brain trouble. We were then left guarding the barbed wire in front of us until morning, with the injunction to stay awake under pain of court martial, death, starvation, corned-willie"and"other horrors. At various times of the night, the lieutenant would come out with two or three sleepy non-coms to inspect us and wake up the guards. 'Gee, this is the worst war I've ever been in,' I heard someone say. 'They won't even let a feller sleep at night.' Well, it was the best little war they had to offer."

One of our most reliable privates, coming from Battalion Headquarters one night was halted by a sentry. " Halt! Who goes there? " cried the guard.

The answer, "Friend." But the private had forgotten the password -"Digne-Druot," or something like that-and was turned back. It was a rather long and lonesome journey back to Battalion Headquarters. Suddenly footsteps were heard approaching. Playing the part of a sentry, he halted the stranger, demanding the password, which he received without any trouble. Having saved himself a trip to headquarters, he then stepped over to the real sentry, gave him the password, and went merrily on his way.

Back in the support lines of Pettonville and Vaxainville the life was equally terrifying. Dog tents appeared along the grassy slopes of the Wittenmyer Line, where nights were spent digging perfectly useless trenches in the solid rock on a reverse slope, serving merely to call the Jerry-planes' attention to the fact that the Americans were there in force, daring them to send over a bit of artillery fire. Here, as further back in reserve, it was drill, drill, drill, when not carrying rations up over the tiny railway in the Bois de Railleux, and coasting home at a speed which compared favorably with the best that the switchbacks at Coney Island could offer.

There were some criticisms at the time because the 77th Division had been sent to a French sector after receiving its instruction with the British. It was unfortunate, perhaps, that the men had learned the British way of "carrying on " and had learned to use the British weapons, such as the Lewis machine gun, or light automatic rifle. This was replaced by the clumsy, clanking Chauchat which was lighter and fired a delicate and troublesome clip of twenty rounds instead of forty. Again, the British used one type of grenade, the Mills, while the French used two "citron" types, one which broke up into rough and rugged splinters for use on the defense, and another which destroyed merely by concussion, for use on the offense. Both types were primed either by lever release, or by a plunger to be struck against the heel or helmet before being thrown. There is no doubt that these new weapons caused some embarrassment at first, particularly in the other regiments of the Division, which sustained vigorous raids by the enemy. And so, the days were consumed with practice in the use of these weapons.

However poor the rations may have seemed at times, they didn't stop our daily music ration. The boys in the trenches needed aesthetic enjoyment and Corporal Kosak of the Signal Platoon set out to provide it. Daily at three the band played at Regimental Headquarters in Hablainville. To relay this music forward to the trenches was a problem easily solved. At that particular hour the Corporal would call each Battalion Signal Detachment, and had them listen on the telephone while the band played. As the musicians were stationed directly beneath the room in which the switchboard was located, the melodies were audiblv transmitted over the wire. For a long time these sessions continued, and the lieutenant in charge wondered as to the why and wherefore of all the connections on the switchboard.

Here, too, the hard work of the Intelligence Section could be seen in perspective. There seemed, in a way, to be no positive division between French and German holdings. There were many German sympathizers on the French side, just as there were French sympathizers on the German side of the lines. It wasn't exactly a case of having an enemy in the rear, but the situation approximated that to a degree. Now, it is the duty of the Intelligence Section to appre-hend all spies, as well as to know what Ger-man regiments are op-posing, or to detect and report any indications of enemy activity.

A page from a German-printed book is found in Migneville on which is penciled, as if by the merest beginner in the study of English, "Love to Joe." This suspicious bit is hurried down to the Battalion Commander by the Intelligence Officer of the Regiment with the imperious command:

"Search every library in town and apprehend the owner of the book from which this leaf was torn! No one but a female spy could be so intimate with an American soldier." At all costs, we must be protected from the sinister workings of the German spy system within the ranks. That we shall be so protected is made clear by the report: " Private H-, on May 7th, was seen giving cigars to several of his comrades. You will recall that this is the anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania. This man will bear watching.

Again, the doughboy hears a distinct and characteristic whizzing overhead, sees the dirt fly on the hillside below Regimental Headquarters, hears the explosion and, in his ignorance, immediately jumps to the conclusion that the German is doing a bit of shelling. Ali, but one must be sure! Loughborough vaults into the saddle of his trusty, rusty bicycle, pedals madly to the scene of the intrusion and reports the awful truth: One German 77. German activity cannot escape detection by our Intelligence Department.

A big factor in our lives was Vaxainville Pete, the short change artist of the Y. M. C. A. If you asked him what time it was, he would cheat you out of' five minutes. He was a wizard on this one-to-a-man stuff. He would take your five-franc note, dig into his subway pocket for the change, wag his head sadly and say, "No centimes; be a good fellow." "Oh, that's all right," the boys would have to say, "buy a drink with it, all for yourself." We expect to hear that Vaxainville Pete has bought a farm with his winnings, and settled down.

Terrible as the war was up at the front, it was equally terrible in reserve -at Gelacourt, Brouville and Glonville. With the city of Baccarat near by, the boys longed for passes, but got precious few of them. It is rumored that all who pleaded with their lieutenants in suspiciously earnest fashion to be sent to the " delousing " plant, somehow landed up in Baccarat for a holiday.

And that four o'clock Reveille! Whose bright idea was it which turned the Second Battalion out of billets at that hour of the morning, think-ing to escape the heat of the day? A f air idea it might have been for the men; but company commanders will tell you a long, soulful story-how they would crawl back to bed at nine A. M., crawl out again to swat the pestering fly, lie down, get up to answer the battalion orderly's persistent knock, retire once more, at eleven o'clock fling on a few clothes and dash down to Battalion Headquarters in response to a peremptory summons. General Duncan, it appears, had breezed through town in his limousine, had seen a man in billets without his gas mask slung, another without his rifle and cartridge belt immediately beside his recumbent form, another outside the door of the barn in his shirt sleeves, and had demanded recourse to immediate disciplinary measures. Then, perhaps, the poor old captain would have to sit at the pay table from twelve to three, before drilling again, or inspect his kitchen, his billets, his men's equipment. Well into the evening he had his numerous reports to attend to.

And the dubbin! Shoes must be dubbined at all times, though a man have but one pair, the roads dusty, the fields muddy. "The same morning that the first dubbin arrived, the lieutenant in charge of our company received an order to send a few N. C. O.'s over to the 37th Division to teach them practical machine-gun work-a few of us Lorraine veterans. Ahem! He rallied his braves around him and picked seven for the job. We had to get our packs made and slung, eat, shave and get slathers of the awkward Chauchat stuff together in about twenty minutes, as usual. As each change in orders would occur to the lieutenant's mind, runners would be dispatched to the various billets to inform us. These runners, true to their calling, would stick their heads inside the doors, yell the news and run. 'Take helmets.' Then, 'Overcoats on the packs.' 'Wear your overcoats.' And so on. Finally, one bright chap came looking for me-'Corporal Lazarus, oh, Corporal Lazarus, Wilson says to take dubbin along; I don't know what platoon he's in, but ya gotta take him."'

It was a terrible war, but not so awful for those who got away, via motor truck, to study bomb-throwing or attend the school of the clanking Chauchat at Fraimbois. They did not complain at all about the late, luxurious Reveille, the easy classes, swimming in the river Meurthe or tripping to the big city of Luneville-or the grand parade of combined American detachments on July fourth, and the international field meet in which we gave the French such a drubbing.

The others were just about ready to be tagged to the hospital for nervous aggravation, when news of the first American offensive came through-news that the French and Americans had advanced beyond Chateau Thierry, taking thousands of prisoners and liberating twenty towns. Great was the enthusiasm and excitement. The men jumped with unwonted vigor into their bayonet drill, picturing the heroic deeds which they might at that moment have been doing. If others could fight, they could.

Then along came the 37th Division looking for something to do, and merged for a week or so their inexperienced units with ours. Veterans we considered ourselves, superciliously regarding their initial efforts in a much less charitable spirit than that of the French who had led us through the mazes of the first dance. At least, we did not discharge Colt 45's out of the second-story windows of Pettonville during an imaginary gas attack, or try to shoot up one of our own tired units, as they did our C Company when it passed rear-ward through the support lines!

It was pitch dark the night of August third when we started on a long, weary hike to the rear, the rain and lightning terrific-much less welcome than any shelling we had experienced in that sector. Played out from their long stay in the dirty trenches, out of which they had carried most of the cooties, the men slopped and slipped in the muddy road, unable to see the pack in front, but keeping distance by holding on to it. Yet, such was the relief gleaned from the prospect of some different adventure, that men sang all the way-all the way back to Domptail, where the Second Battalion was herded into an old airdrome, the first good roof they had crawled under in some time.

But there, the next day being Sunday, and though kilos and kilos behind the lines, they couldn't even go outside the building without rifle, belt, bayonet and gas-mask. And one of those irksome inspections ordered! Again that night they hit the long, long trail leading into the vicinity of Blainville, a railhead. Through Gerberviller the units passed by moonlight, the worst used-up town encountered thus far. It was said that during the Germans' 1914 advance an entire brigade had been stopped there by a mere handful of the French Blue Devils, who had been ordered to stay the advance for at least two hours. They held it up for half a day. To vent his rage, the German general had sacked and burned the town, torturing the civilians. Every time he raised his glass ten men, women and children were shot down. In the moonlight, the little town looked ghostly, scarcely one brick left standing upon another. We itched to try our guns upon Berlin itself.

Before the entrainment on August 7th, there was time in which to practice "infiltration" as -the Boche had worked it against the English. It was a beautiful word, uttered as fondly by the local Powers That Be as that "defense in depth," and "liaison." But of real instruction, real information as to how it worked out in detail, there was none. It was left to the imagination of the officers. "You are now to get back to the idea of an individual warfare, man against man, everyone for himself. It is just like the games you used to play in the sand-lots when you were boys. Go out and 'infiltrate."' And "now that you have given one morning to the teaching of 'infiltration, we can let that drop." It was dropped, until September 26th, when something akin to it was tried out in desperate earnest.

Though vaguely sensed here and there in the ranks that life was not to be simply one journey after another, there were blithe spirits-of differing sorts-aboard the trains. This despite orders that nothing drinkable but water and coffee could be allowed. One of his men tells how Lieut. Robinson of E Company cemented the ties which bound him in affection to his platoon: "When about a hundred kilos from Blainville, old 'Champy' Robinson, the champagne hound, jumped out of the officers' coach and bought six bottles of Monte Belle. The train started while he was making the purchase. Robbie paddled desperately after the moving train, handing bottles through the car doors as they flashed by, ere he could make a landing. Some of the boys thought he was remarkably generous to hand out such a beautiful drink to plain soldiers and lingered just long enough to toast him; others never even hesitated, but sent it home with a greeting and a gurgle. At the next stop, Robbie started down the line to collect his liquor, but was out of luck. 'Must have been the next car, Lieutenant,' was his reception. 'Come on, boys, come across,' he would hopefully call at the doors in turn-, but his language sounded like Chinese."

Still blithe and carefree, the boys alighted at Mortcerf, to billet for a night in the neighborhood of Moroux, all unmindful of the thrill awaiting them.

 

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