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October - November


Diary

of
Paul Sluk
Private
308th Infantry
Machine Gun Battalion

1918


October

1. Rainy and misty 8AM. Pulled up forward again about 200 yrds. Mud up to knees. New officer in charge. Regimental reserve. Cpld as hell and no blankets. Couldn't sleep all night/ Letter from home. Busted.

2. Nice day. No eats arrived as yet. But leave it to me to get some. Moved up further front on meal of bread and corn willie. Sniper chased me for about 50 yrds. Guard 8-10PM. Sniper shooting all night.

3. Nice day. Slept in dugout sitting up. Took a detail of 40 men for chow. First meal that was worthwhile in 8 days down at Festcheri. Carried Stokes motor ammo about 2 kilos up to line under machine gun and shell fire. Nobody hurt. No sleep all night. Letter from home.

4. Slept a few hours this morning. Shelled hell out of the place for about an hour. 5 men hurt, shrapnel. Ammo detail in afternoon. Shelled again, 5PM. One man killed & 8 wounded, caved in dugout. Johnny Ledwith shot by machine gun. Absolute nervous wreck. Quiet night. 1st & 2nd Btln. Boxed in by Jerry and cut off. Lynch killed on ammo detail, missing.

5. Shelled again. C. Kedenburg killed. 1 man wounded. Hung in dugout all day. 1 meal, canned willie and bread and coffee. Gun guard at night. No shelter. Letter from home. Beans & willie made again.

6. Nice day. Six months A.E.F. Dug gun positions & cleaned guns and ammo all day. No relief in sight. Letter from Frances. Ration detail till late at night. Beans and willy.

7. Up at 7, raining. Expect detail for front line water & overcoats any minute. All the old men nearly gone. Letter from home. Expect relief soon. Beans and willy. Found Patty (sp?) Lynch and buried him.

8. Cloudy. Jerry must have moved back. Quiet. Ration detail. Jerry moved back still further. 1st & 2nd Btln. Opened up communications this morning. Beans and willy.

9. Nice day. Cold as hell all night. Moved around to different quarters & demonstrated on gun. Cleaned gun. Expect to move into line tomorrow.

10. Nice day. Cold. Up at 4AM. Packed guns and ammo about 5 miles. Stopped in woods. Slept pretty good. 1 meal all day, beans and willy and coffee. 13 months in army.

11. Up at 3:30AM. Cold. Packed limbers(sp?) and hung around till 7. Hiked about 2 kilos and wound up in woods. No shelter and under shell fire. Battery of 75's pulled in right in front of us. Willy.

12. Still in the woods. Hardly any sleep. Dug in. Rain and mist. Battery opened up in evening. Airial gun guard 2 hrs. Willy, coffee and hard tack.

13. Rain. Up at 5AM. 19 days and still no relief in sight. Most of the men all injured. Boucou rumors about peace but the artlliary is more active than ever. Postal from wife, letter from Frances. Sent 6 postals back.

14. Up at 3AM. Rolled packs and moved up about 1 kilo. Dug in. Moved up to 1st line 8:30PM. Hiked all night, forded the Aire river and wound up in line. Kept hiking. 1 man killed, 1 wounded ammo detail.

15. (La Loirease). Hiked all morning. Arrived 1st line soaking wet under direct enfilade fire of Jerry's gun. About 10 men wounded, q killed. Manthey(sp?) killed 11AM. Shelled all morning. Regular deathtrap. Miller H., A. Connel, Bliss Bakka, Randazzo, T. Redenberg, Coleman killed. Relieved 7PM. 78 Div.

16. Rain. Hiked all night and morning. Lost ½ Company. Patrol to try and find them. Stayed in dugouts for night.
17. Rain. Up at 4:30AM. Hiked all day and finally found Company at Abrey Crochet. Found a pretty good dugout and turned in.

18. Nice day. Cleaned guns. Got a bath and entire new uniform. Turned in early. Letter from wife.

19. Up at 5AM. Stand to all day. Cleaned guns and cartridges. Running Company like a regular Boarding school punk. Whole Company disgusted.

20. Rain all day. Up at 2AM. Rolled packs and hiked to front line about 15 kilos. Reserve Chateau after hiking all day. Dried clothes in one of Jerry's shacks. Good supper.

21. Slept fine all night. Cleaned guns. Moved to new quarters. Show in afternoon. Pretty good. 2 letters from home. Wrote letter to home. Chene Tondou.

22. Slept fine all night. Up at 6AM. I.D.R. in morning. Cleaned guns and nomanclature in afternoon. Got hell from Leut. McGuire. Rain.

23. Up at 5:45AM. Rolled packs. Our day to be on the alert. I.D.R. in morning. Machine gun firing in afternoon. Jerry sunk 2 balloons. Bombing party at night. Otherwise O.K.

24. Cleaned guns and nomanclature in morning. Lecture by M.J Alexander. Hiked all afternoon and evening to reserve position. Shelled at night, gas.

25. Moved up further. Dug [position and made ourselves comfortable. Moved back about 4 kilos to woods. Pitched tents. Pouring rain. Rotten chow, 10 months married.

26. Clearing up. Cleaned guns. Rotten chow, roast beef hash. Kept busy all day on guns. Some "play the game stuff" by McGuire.

27. Cold as an iceberg all night. Up at 5:45. Monkey exercises and nomenclature in morning. Rolled packs and moved back 1 kilo.

28. Managed to keep pretty warm all night. Up at 5:45. elementary drill in morning. Range in afternoon.
29. Up at 5:45. Frosty. Monkey exercises and elementary drill. Worked all day. Letter from home at night. No sleep. Heavy shelling. Rumor has it that Austria quit.

30. Up 5:45. Cold. Some damn fool started a fire over a Jerry dud. 1 man blinded and about 4 hurt. Machine gun and pistol range in afternoon. Met Meyer first time in 7 months. Heavy shelling all night.


31. Up at 5:45. Cold 305th M.G.B moved in during night. Elementary drill all day. 305th moved up at night. Letter form wife and Frances. 2 letters home. Rain in evening. Expect barrage.
Got 2 1Lb. Shells for souvenirs from Brogan.

November

1. Big drive started today. Up at 4:30. One beautiful barrage. Rolled packs and stood to all day. Expect to move up tomorrow. Rumor that Turkey quit and Austria granted armistice. I hope so. Unrolled packs and went to sleep.

2. Up at 4:30. Rolled packs and left at 6:30AM. Hiked to Marq, had a cup of coffee and hiked to St. Juvien. 1 slice of corned willie and cup of coffee for supper. Hiked all night.

3. Hiked till 6:45AM. Stopped at Verngel. Slept till 9. Had a cup of coffee and some rice, bacon and hardtack. Hiked all day till 9PM. Big blister on left foot. Stoped at Germont (sp?) barn.

4. Up at 6. roast beef, coffee and hardtack. Left Germont 7. Stopped at Authe for a rest of a few hrs. Left Authe and hiked about 2 kilos. Jerry opened fire with H.E's and gas. Couldn't move till night fall. Hiked to St. Pieremont and slept in barn.

5. Up at 3:30. had a cup of coffe and hardtack. Left St Piermont 4:30. Arrived Oches 7AM. Shelled gas and H.E. Left Aches 12AM. Hiked to La Belliere. Stayed in town till 4:50. Shelled town while we were there. Hiked to Stonne but couldn't get into town on account of shell fire. Went back to La Belliere and stayed overnight. Rain.

6. Rain. Up at 5. Had breakfast, rice and coffee. Left La Belliere and hiked into Stonne and Davy came back at 2PM. Had chow and hiked to edge of village of Raincourt. Stayed in old gristmill and dried out.

7. Up at 5. No breakfast. Left Raincourt 9AM. Passed through Harcourt. Stopped outside Angecourt but pulled up in woods. Shelled all day and night. Killed 7 mules in 306 M.G.B. Slept in open all night.

8. Cold. Had a coog breakfast. Moved back to Harecourt. Slept in barn. Good supper. Expect an armistice any moment. Larry McGuire finally left-good riddance.

9. Had a fine sleep. Good eats, etc. Some change since Davy is back. Officially made Coporel. 3 packages of reading matter form home. Bounced a few over.

10. Up at 8. had a good breakfast. Went to 10:30 Mass. Good eats. Expect to move up but haven't received orders yet. Bounced them all around the barn but nobody hurt. 14 months in army.

11. Up early. Expect finish of war today. Cease firing order at 11AM. Nice and quiet. No shooting.

12. Up at 7AM. Rolled packs and had a bath. Left Harencourt 1PM. Arrived Oches 7PM. Slept in old Jerry prison camp. Cold as blazes.

13. Up at 7, cold. Left Oches 12Pm. Hiked 15 kilos to Beaumont. Pitched tents on field. Talk about cold. Whew!

14. Up at 6 with icicles on my toes. Hiked 7 kilos to Mouzon. Patrolling the border between Jerry's lines and ours on the banks of the Meuse. Slept in barn, Boucou hay.

15. Up at 8. Cold. Hung around all day. Have to cross pontoon bridge every meal. Good eats. S letters form wife and 2 from Frances. Gun guard 4PM. 120 new men.

16. Slept out in gun position all night. Frozen stiff. Relieved 4PM. Had a fine stew for supper. Wrote letter home.

17. Up at 6. Rolled packs and got ready to move. Hung around all day waiting orders but stayed overnight. Very cold.

18. Up at 6. Cold. Monkey meat for breaakfst. Rolled packs and moved from Mouzon to Beaumont about 10 kilos. First snow.

19. Slept pretty good all night. Pay day but I'm S.O.L. $90 IOU's/ Expect to be home before Christmas.

20. Up at 5:30. Rolled pack. Left Beaumont and hiked 18 kilos to Buzancy. Slept in stable. Move again tomorrow. YMCA.

21. Up at 5:30. Hiked about 23 kilos to Chatel Chehery. Passed through Thenorgues, Verpel, Chanyignenlle, St. Jein, Maroq, Cornay. Slept in church.

22. Left Chatel Chehery 8. Passed through Apremont, Montblainville, Varennes, La Harazee and stopped at Vienne le Chateau. 28 kilos all in.

23. Up at 5:30. Left Vienne le Chateau 8. Hiked to Canys Petits Bastis about ½ kilo from Florent. Slept pretty good.

24. Up at 6. went to 8 o'clock Mass and then walked about 4 kilos to be deloused but were disappointed. Hiked to Florent for grub.

25. Up at 7. changed underwear and took a bath in can. Hiked to Le Claon, presentation of D.S.Co. Start 9 day hike in morning. Married 11 months.

26. Up at 5:30. Rolled packs. Left Petits Batis at 8:30. Hiked through Moisesrout, St. Menhould, Dancourt and stopped at Braux St. Remy. 18 kilos. Rain.

27. Rain. Left Braux 8:30. Passed through le Vieil Daanspierre, La Neuville and stopped at Givry en Argonne.Had ham cut by old women.

28. Rain. Left Givry en Argonne 8. Thanksgiving dinner- 1 piece of bully beef. Passed through Le Chatlier Nettancourt, Vroil, Bettancourt la Loar(sp?), Villere la Sec and stopped at Alliancelles. 20 kilos.

29. Left Alliancelles 8. Arrived Villes en Lieu. 22 kilos. Boucou beer and vin blanc. Rain.

30. First dry day. Had a French woman cook some rabbit stew for dinner and supper. Some feed. Rest all day. Big hike for four more days. Borrowed 25 francs form Bries. Joe Grasek killed by Morgan. Put under guard.
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