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19. Spies and the Advance


HISTORY OF THE 305th FIELD ARTILLERY
by
Charles Wadsworth Camp
1919


XIX

SPIES AND THE ADVANCE

CHERY CHARTREUVE did not prove to be the ideal command post the Second Battalion had hoped. The Huns undoubtedly knew the town was thick with headquarters, and, logically, shelled it a good deal. So Major Wanvig decided to move to a cave in dead space in the steep hillside to the east of Chery.

The move was originally planned for August 24th. On the morning of the 23rd Regimental Headquarters called for a number of barrages, then abruptly shortened the lines. This meant to everyone a strong enemy attack; perhaps that vast effort we had sometimes looked for to recapture the lost ground in another drive for Paris. As a matter of fact the enemy did get La Tannerie and portions of the south bank of the river that morning, but they were unable to hold their gains for very long.

In the midst of the confusion born of this rapid and unexpected work Major Wanvig telephoned from Regi-mental Headquarters to move the P. C. at once. At that time the battalion staff was really too small for its routine work. Lieutenant Fenn gave the difficult task of wiring the new P. C. to Sergeant Froede, and tried to keep things going from the old headquarters.

All afternoon and evening the batteries continued their firing. At midnight a complete programme came in from Regimental Headquarters for a rolling barrage to accompany a counter attack by our infantry. It was hurriedly figured, and rapid firing went on until 5 A.M. Word came then to cease firing. It was also explained that there had been a misunderstanding and that the infantry had not counter-attacked. So much ammunition was ex-pended that night that stray dumps were scoured for ser-viceable shells. Still before many hours a counter-attack was staged that reached its objectives. Without inter-fering with its programme the Second Battalion got into its cave where it was never once shelled.

That night was exceptional, but every day and every night an enormous quantity of ammunition was fired. Under such conditions there were inevitably charges of short firing. The Germans had a number of guns in the vicinity of Rheims that occasionally treated infantry and artillery to a few shells. These seemed to drop from behind us, although what we suffered was really only enfilade fire. It is not extraordinary that the infantry should have thought some of these puzzling shells were shorts from their own artillery.

One day Captain Whelpley was sent from Regimental Headquarters to investigate such a charge, which had been advanced by Captain C. W. Harrington of the 308th Infantry.

Captain Whelpley lost some time at Les Pres Farm wait-ing for a guide, so that it was dark when, after a hazardous walk, he reached Captain Harrington's command post to the north of the Vesle. It seemed impracticable to return that night, but Captain Whelpley had intended to start at daybreak. With the first light, however, the Huns put down an intensive barrage which lasted for an hour, and made a shell hole a pleasanter place than the open. This was followed by an infantry attack in strength. Captain Whelpley picked up a rifle and told Captain Harrington he would help. With a party of men he moved to the edge of a patch of woods to observe and cover Harrington's left flank. He also maintained liaison with neighboring units. His party killed ten Germans and captured three. For this voluntary assistance to the infantry at a critical time he was mentioned, after the armistice, in division orders. If it had not been for the Colonel, who asked for an explanation of his absence, the story of his courage might not have been made public.

Charges of short firing were always investigated but never amounted to anything on the Vesle. For the regiment, short-officered as it was, had developed a facility with figures and execution that left small room for mistakes. The lessons learned here made the problems of the Argonne for the 305th comparatively simple. Such experience is not gained without a continued cost.

The enemy got First Class Private Frederick J. Weeber of Battery E on August 25th. He was in his gun emplacement with another cannoneer when an over, intended for the Chery crossroads, fell just outside.

"Lookout!" Weeber called to his companion.
He didn't duck low enough himself. The other man escaped, but Weeber was carried to join that great silent army that lies in the shallow graves of Champagne.

The Huns favorite type of warfare seemed now and then to be aided by a brutal sort of luck.
It was said some time back that we were taught not to care as much as we had for the Y. M. C. A. in Chery Chart-reuve. The lesson came on August 28th. Even if the passage was risky it was a relief to get permission to leave one's position and dodge to the pleasant odors and com-panionships of that little store.

On this day there was a long line of infantrymen and artillerymen waiting in the street to get to the counter. That particular shell seemed guided by an evil genius. It fell in the middle Of the line, burst, and harvested eighteen casualties. Of our regiment Private Charles C. Rosalia, Battery E, was killed; and Privates Rasmus Hanson, Battery E, Dona J. Monette, Battery E, and Corporal Alexander Landsman, Battery D, were wounded.

On the whole, though, one wonders that we didn't have more casualties in that heavily shelled, unprotected sector. We suffered a good many more than we liked, but the regiment felt that its intelligent discipline kept the list down.

There were some duties, naturally, that had to be done blindly, as it were, without using brains or anything else to protect yourself. Barrages had to be fired whether your position was being shelled or not. Rocket guards, when their comrades scattered for the funk holes at the first warning shell, had to stand their ground, and take whatever came.

Private Hackett of Battery B was caught like that one night. He remained sitting on an empty ammunition box, his glance always on Boston ridge, while his more fortunate friends got out of the way. He was pathetically reminiscent of the well-sung young man who stood upon the burning deck when be very well knew he ought to have been nearly anywhere else.

A shell burst at Private Hackett's feet. When the smoke and dust cleared away he still sat upon the box, and his gaze was still on the ridge, but now his feet were in a new crater. So he lived to become known admiringly as "The Salvage King." His own description of the moment was:
"Think? When the thing went off I expected to see myself in little pieces."

On the Vesle spies were more dreaded than in Lorraine. The bitter nature of the fighting placed in a spy's hands the lives of more men.

During several nights we noticed the unequal flashing of a lamp on Boston Ridge, The infantry there had seen it, too. Many efforts were made to catch the operator, yet none met success. If he was a spy he was an amazingly clever one. If he was a telephone linesman, carelessly using, against all orders, a light as he worked on a wire, he was lucky far beyond his due. At any rate after a few nights the flashing ceased.
The order from General Bullard, which follows, tells its own story:

P. C. Third Army Corps
31 August 1918-21:30 Hr. G-3 Order
No. 56
1. During the attack of the enemy against Fismette, August 27th someone in American uniform ran among our troops shouting that further resistance was useless and that one of our officers advised everybody to surrender. These statements were absolutely incorrect because further resistance was not useless and no officer had advised surrender. Never-the less, because of lack of training and understanding, the results were as follows: Out of 190 of our troops engaged in this fight, a few were killed or wounded, about 30 retreated fighting and escaped, and perhaps 140 surrendered or were captured.

2. A person who spreads such an alarm is either an enemy in our uniform, or one of our own troops who is disloyal and a traitor, or one of our own troops who has become a panic -stricken coward. WHOEVER HE IS, HE SHOULD BE KILLED ON THE SPOT.

3. In a battle there is no time to inquire into the identity or motives of persons who create panic, disorganization or surrender. It is the duty of every officer and soldier to kill on the spot any person who in a fight urges or advises anyone to surrender or to stop fighting. It makes no difference whether the person is a stranger or a friend, or whether he is an officer or a private.

4. The day before the attack on Fismette a German soldier was seen and mortally wounded by our men in Fismes, far inside our lines. He was well stocked with food. He had lived many years in America. It is possible that he was to get himself an American uniform and, because of his knowl-edge of our language and customs, was to be used to create doubt and disorganization among our men.
5. Division Commanders will cause this order to be read to each company or platoon in such manner as will insure that every member of the command thoroughly understands its contents.
By Command of Major General Bullard:
F. W. CLARK
Lieut. Col., G. S.,
A. C. of S., G-3

The attack against Fismette, mentioned in the foregoing order, was one of the last determined offensive efforts of the enemy on this front. It became clear about the same time that a vast German retrograde movement was in contemplation. Any change from Les Pres Farm would be a welcome one.

The intensity of our firing increased, while Jerry's waned. Undoubtedly we were making his plans difficult to carry through.

On the night of September 3rd the observatories re-ported many fires in Perles and its vicinity. A huge sheet of flame advertised the explosion of a big ammunition dump. Towards morning of the 4th the Hun-made fires thickened. Evidently great quantities of stores and the buildings that had housed them were being destroyed as an alternative to leaving them for the Americans. The Hun fire nearly ceased. Anyone who was there will recall the blessed relief of being able to stroll about those positions at last with a feeling of comparative safety.

Word came that the infantry was already moving forward. The artillery would follow in support. Strong combat patrols were already in contact with the enemy. It was understood that if a battalion of infantry were sent as an advance party across the Vesle, Battery D of our regiment would cross too. But the Hun went faster than the most optimistic had prophesied, and the entire regiment started forward on the 5th.

The old positions were policed and equipment made ready on the night of the 4th. Early the next morning the limbers came down from the echelon, whips cracked, and, after those unpleasant weeks about Les Pres and Chery, the regiment was on the road again.

Since they had been widely scattered, the batteries followed the most convenient routes while agents kept them in touch with battalion headquarters.

Regimental Headquarters went forward to the desolate ruins of Fismes and established itself in a cellar. Oppo-site the cellar steps an alley ran between tumbled walls. The horses, motorcycles, and bicycles were placed here as the safest place in the vicinity.

Shortly after the party had arrived Private Wallace Fisher, of the Headquarters Company, motorcycle driver for the Second Battalion, entered this alley and started to make some repairs on his machine. He was the only man there, so no one saw the thing happen. In the cellar they heard a dud fall, and another shell come over and detonate across the street. Corporal Tucker ran from the cellar to see if the horses had been struck. Two were down. The third, which, curiously, had been the center one of the trio, was unhurt.

Tucker saw that both motorcycles had been smashed. He saw Fisher lying beside one, and called to him. Fisher didn't answer, and the scout went closer. Fisher had been killed.

Tucker reported back across the street, and a party buried Fisher in the garden behind headquarters, making for his grave a rough cross from the wood of a splintered door.

Battalion commanders with their captains or recon-naissance officers started forward early to select new posi-tions in the vicinity of Ville Savoie and Saint Gilles. It rained hard, and the complaints were bitter and many -at first. A little later the men realized what a blessing the bad weather was. For the Huns still held control of the air. With better visibility he would have dropped more bombs and directed better fire on our columns which crawled by daylight along crowded roads. He would have interfered more disagreeably with the taking up of the new positions. One fellow did appear, flying low to get beneath the mist. The battery machine gunners greeted him with shouts, sending such well-directed
streams of machine gun bullets at his plane that he left the cannoneers to settle their guns in peace. '

While it was perfectly obvious these positions would be occupied only a short time, they were consolidated,
after the habit of the regiment, as if they were intended for the duration of the war. The cannoneers dug in, and officers and details figured firing data, and ran long dif-ficult lines for only a few hours' use. First Battalion
Headquarters had moved out of Les Pres Farm to a house near Mont Saint Martin. It was necessary for its bat-teries to be in telephonic liaison with it.

After only a little firing the order came to move again at midnight. The limbers had been echeloned in the neighborhood, so that there was no delay starting. Every-one knew the next stop would be nearer the enemy, and that the guns must be in position and hidden before day-light.

The batteries rendezvoused near the crossroads between Fismes and La Tannerie. Battalion Headquarters went ahead to the crossroads. It threatened to be an unhealthy place. The Huns did commence to shell it, but most of their projectiles fell to the right in low ground. Here again the rain proved its friendliness, for in the wet soil the majority of the shells buried themselves without exploding.

Nevertheless such waiting was nervous business, for there was always the prospect that the Hun would sweep, or at least shift his deflection. He seemed, however, to have lost some of his skill, or else he imagined himself directly on his target. The column grew restless.
"What's slowing us up?"
"Where are we going anyway?"
Whispers filtered back.
"We're going across the Vesle. It's the bridges that are slowing us tip."

There was a dramatic quality about this realization. Across the Vesle and to those, very heights from which Jerry had pounded the regiment for so long!

Everyone was curious, too, as to the kind of bridge he would find, and about the cost at which any bridge must have been built in such a place. The news, moreover, brought some apprehension. If the crossing of the Marne had caused misgivings, the passage of the Vesle created graver ones. The Hun artillery must surely have it reg-istered. It was inconceivable one could get over without a shelling. Perhaps that explained the delay. The bridge might be down, or it might be blocked by dead animals and broken carriages.

Long drawn, the command to get ahead ran down the line. Horses stumbled forward. The luminous faces of wrist watches appeared like fireflies here and there as the men took a check on the time.

Almost immediately the rumbling of wheels on planks came back. Word was passed along that there would be two streams to cross. At each men would dismount and lead their animals over most carefully, for there were no side guards or rails, and the column wasn't using any flares to guide its feet.

The carriages rumbled on the planking. Down below, between steep banks, rushed a narrow and black stream-the Ardre, about a kilometer from its junction with the Vesle.

There was no disturbance there, and the column was swallowed by the crumbling outskirts of Fismes. Just beyond the road swept to the right into the main highway to Braine and so came upon the Vesle.

The only light was from Jerry's distant flares and star shells. It wasn't much. It became clear to the men that the enemy was after this second bridge. The rustle or shriek of arriving shells was perpetual, but there was an odd scarcity of detonations, and there was no halting.

At the river itself the reason became apparent. Again the enemy had failed to register quite perfectly, and again the low ground and the rain were friendly. Most of the German projectiles were duds.

The river was scarcely wider than the Ardre, but the bridge if anything, seemed narrower and riskier than the other. Drivers led their horses and cannoneers manned the wheels. There was only one casualty, and that aroused a laugh that made itself audible above the shells. Musician Scharf, acting as messenger, was crowded over the side, and splashed in the deep, unpleasant current. They pulled him out, and he went on his way, laughing, too.

The column hurried through Fismette, into which the regiment had sent so many shells; and scattered into the positions selected during the reconnaissances of the day before.

The First Battalion commenced to dig in a kilometer south of Blanzy, near a confluent of the Vesle.

The Second Battalion, which had come from its Chery home without taking up intermediate positions, swung more to the west, and with its batteries side by side estab-lished itself on the slope of a deep ravine across from Perles. By daylight every battery was in place.

The First Battalion settled its command post in a road repairman's house on the Fismette-Blanzy road. There was no cellar. The only protection was the stone walls of the building.

The Second Battalion chose a German dugout in the ravine between Perles and its guns.
Regimental Headquarters moved forward from Fismes on September 8th and came upon what proved to be about its nastiest experience of the war.

It was the custom for our headquarters to remain with infantry brigade headquarters.

Near Blanzy was the cave of La Petite Logette, a huge hole, which the Hun had long occupied, digging from it many galleries. It was a perfect shelter except for one thing. Its very appearance proclaimed it a gas trap.

Regimental Headquarters says that it had no oppor-tunity to judge, so it established its command post with Brigade Headquarters in the cave. Engineer and medical officers worked nearly all day to purify the air of this formidable hole. They declared the main portion was safe when Colonel Doyle arrived the latter part of the afternoon, but even then the place retained an atmosphere unhealthy and ominous. The doctors had boarded up the more suspicious of the galleries, and they warned the men against invading the remainder.

The men, however, were very tired. The mere fact that such a place had been chosen as command post was a recommendation to them that it was safe. Some of the galleries were a good deal quieter than the main portion of the cave.

Regimental Headquarters set to work at La Petite Logette, quite a different affair from Regimental Headquarters on the table in the mess hall of J1 at Camp Upton.

There were about forty men attached to it at that time. After dark, when all the soldiers, not on missions, should have been in the large cave or near the entrance, a check was taken and a number reported as missing. The searchers entered the forbidden galleries and found a number asleep or resting, quite unaware of the risk they ran. All were gassed to some degree. They were removed and treated, and the night's work went on.

About midnight a new condition stealthily disclosed itself. Men sniffed the air of the main cave. Clearly it was poisoned. So much gas could not have escaped from the galleries. The Huns, beyond question, must have buried gas shells in the floor of the cave, surrounding them with an acid, perhaps, to eat through the casings and so release the fumes when the occupants were without suspicion.

Most of those who had spent the evening in the cave were unfit for duty. There was no other shelter near by, but the Colonel ordered everyone out of the cave.

"The entire medical staff (officers and men)," to quote Colonel Doyle's account of the evening, "had been gassed and were unable to give any assistance. Colonel Doyle alone remained in the cave, giving aid to a constant stream of gassed men."

As is usual with slight cases of mustard gas poisoning eyes suffered most of all, and many were temporarily blinded. After their eyes had been bathed with a weak alkaline solution the victims were hurriedly evacuated. A few were more seriously affected.

Colonel Doyle worked until 4:30 in the morning when he was forced to leave the cave. A medical officer of the Engineers, who had been summoned, took his place.

The effects of the gas on the Colonel were slow. He stayed by the telephone all day. It was only after a hard day's work, in fact, towards 10 o'clock, that he lost the use of his eyes. As long as he could talk, however, he insisted on staying with his regiment, and he was not evacuated until midnight. The regiment did not lose him for long, but he suffered from his experience for many months afterward.

The list of officers and men more or less gassed in this extraordinary incident includes: Colonel Doyle, Captain Gammell, Captain Mitchell, Lieutenant Klots (his second wound stripe), Sergeant Bromm, Sergeant Mamluck, Sergeant-major Miller, and Gillette, Hoffman, Kurash, Palmer, Pullen, Saloman, and Wallach.

The regiment had struggled through its most difficult days with insufficient officers. When the word came that it was to receive replacements, officers and men took the news skeptically. Only two or three had come in before the crossing of the Vesle, but now the rush commenced.

First Lieutenant H. J. Svenson had arrived on September 1st, but he was invalided away on the 14th. Second Lieutenants George E. Putnam and Jesse W. Stribling bad reported on the 3rd, but the real influx came when the batteries were in their new positions across the Vesle.

On September 8th Second Lieutenants Stedman B. Hoar, and David J. Macleod, a veterinarian, reported. On the 9th came Second Lieutenants Osbon W. Bullen, Johnston Copelin, Raymond E. Dockery, Leon H. Hattemer, and Harold Holcomb. On the 10th the arriving stream of subalterns seemed a beautiful dream. That day brought Second Lieutenants Roy H. Camp, Thadeus R. Geisert, Edward W. Hart, Albert B. Hill, Waldo E. McKee, Thomas M. Norton, Reuben T. Taylor, John G. Teichmoeller, Philip A. Wilhite, and Charles L. Graham.

These were practically all young men from the Artillery School at Saumur. They were distributed among the three headquarters and the batteries, and made the fighting between the Vesle and the Aisne far simpler than it had been in the short-handed days of Les Pre Farm.

For self-sacrificing work in the Vesle-Aisne fighting Lieutenant Thayer, Corporal Ramsdell, and Privates Shackman and McCune received divisional citations.
This campaign was in many ways far less exacting than the preceding one. The regiment, to be sure, was opposite the pivotal point of the Hun line between Soissons and Rheims, but, although there was plenty of artillery opposite, the shooting seemed poorer, and there were fewer casualties.

The weather played its share, too. The brilliant, warm days of Les Pres Farm were replaced by much mist and rain. The nights, too were colder. The men, therefore, did not need much urging to dig themselves in. Very few German dugouts could be used, because their openings were in the direction of hostile fire. But German straw could be carried from its old home to the new hillside apartments of the Americans. Tiny, living souvenirs may have come with that straw, but one acquired those anyway, and it seemed a small price then, before the S. 0. S. inspectors got at the regiment, to pay for warmth.

There's no point in wasting words on cooties. Prac-tically every man and officer knows all there is to say about them.

Observation brought its difficulties here also. There was no satisfactory observatory near the First Battalion Command post, so Lieutenant Thayer pushed forward to the very front line of the infantry. On the edge of the ruins of Serval he found a deserted house. It stood on high ground in a salient of the American front line, so that it was exposed to fire from three sides. Yet while nearly everything else in Serval had been destroyed, this building was comparatively whole.

Lieutenant Thayer didn't attempt to get his men in or run a telephone line until after dark. The line was long and difficult to keep open, but for the most part com-munication was maintained. By using extreme care the presence of observers in the house was kept from the Germans. Only once while the regiment was in that posi-tion did the place get a direct hit. Yet it was necessary to make reliefs to carry in food, to bring water from a well in Serval, and to have telephone men coming along the line whenever it went out.

You might hear such a conversation as this in the lower room, after a telephone man has crawled in and lies on his back, catching his breath.

"You fixed the line all right," says one of the observers gratefully. " What kind of a trip did you have? "
"As per usual, Kid," the telephone man explains as he rests. "All the way across, Jerry threw G. 1. cans at me as if they didn't cost a cent. When I gets to the foot of the hill here a machine gun goes pop-pop-pop-pop. I plays possum, but for a long time, every time I lifts my head, pop-pop-pop-pop he goes again. Honest, George, I've never felt very harsh towards the Bosche, but, George, when they turn a machine gun loose on one poor linesman every time he moves his little finger, I say they ain't right-minded folks. Can't tell me any atrocity stories I won't swallow now, George."

The interior of the stone house was given over to per-petual watchfulness. Old clothing was hung across the front windows so that no one would be silhouetted for the benefit of the Germans, and behind these the instruments were placed. Day and night Lieutenant Thayer and his scouts watched the Germans, and the effect of our fire, within calling distance, practically, of his victims.

Positions very much less exposed didn't fare so well. The Supply Company, when the regiment crossed the river moved forward from Nesles Woods to the grove behind Les Pres Farm in which Battery C had been stationed until September 5th. By all the rules of the game that should have been a safer place than Nesles Woods. The Supply Company had two men killed during the war, and both were lost in this place.

This tragedy recalled the earlier charges of short-firing. With all of the batteries far forward no such explanation could be advanced here. Evidently the Hun guns near Rheims were at work again. The Supply Company men indulged in the wildest hazards to account for this strange shelling. There was talk of supernaturally concealed guns left by the Germans when they had retreated. There were whispers of an extraordinary underground railway on which the Bosche moved big guns to convenient trap doors within our lines. For, until the Rheims explanation was generally passed around, this fire did look like magic.

It was on September 11th that these shells got Wagoners Jackob E. Jackson and Fiori Fillici.
There had been some firing, but at three o'clock it lifted, and the men poured from their funk holes and re-turned to work.

Jackson was cleaning harness at one of the wagons when the company clerk came up and spoke to him. The waggoner was very happy, for he had just that day received a letter from home, telling him that his wife had presented him with a son. He displayed the letter to the clerk, and they chatted cheerfully about the future. With the Huns falling back all along the line it might be only a few months before Jackson would be on his way home to this new arrival. The clerk promised to look after the additional government allowance which the baby's birth would give Jackson's wife.

"My wife," Jackson said, "needs the money very much, because things are so high in the States."
He said nothing more after that. The clerk climbed into the wagon to search for something the captain had left there, and at once the Huns resumed their odd shelling. The third shell, the clerk said, seemed to burst directly beside the wagon. A piece hit him in the leg, inflicting, however, only a slight wound. When he climbed down he saw Jackson lying on the ground, a medical orderly bending over him. A piece of the shell had struck him in the back of the head. He died on the way to the hospital.

Fillici was killed during the same bombardment, although he was a short distance from the echelon. He had started on a horse without saddle or bridle to get some medicine from the Veterinary Detachment. Fillici had volunteered for this service as the company veterinarian was occupied at the moment. He had been advised to take a short cut, but instead chose the main road.

The news of his death was brought by French soldiers who had been working on the road. The shell, they said, had burst very close to Fillici, knocking him from his horse. Fillici had been killed, but the horse had not been scratched. The Frenchmen said that the same shell had killed a captain and a lieutenant of the 305th Infantry.

When one considers the number of shells that fall idly it is astonishing to count up the amount of damage some one shell, better aimed, or carried by chance, will accomplish. The First Battalion got one of these at its command post near Blanzy on September 15th.

For days shells of all calibers had fallen about the place without accomplishing any more damage than tearing up the soil. Then this one arrived. It fell at the picket line. The horses stood in a row. Private Almer M. Aasgard groomed a horse near the end of the line. Near him sat a group of telephone men, winding wire on makeshift reels -a necessary diversion of the telephone detail when there was nothing else to do. The men heard the whine of the approaching shell and realized from their acquired judgment that it would fall very near. They called out a warning and ducked. Aasgard wasn't quick enough. A tiny fragment cut into his neck, severing the jugular vein. Dr. Cronin hurried to the doomed man. Aasgard died within a few minutes.

The same shell caught Corporal Leonard Cook of the telephone detail in the knee, disabling him and putting him out of the war. An ambitious telephone man, he was evacuated grumblingly, and was never returned to the regiment. Other fragments cost the detail eight more of its vanishing horses.

But these serious moments were the exception. Life north of the Vesle was far less complicated than it had been about Les Pres. There were, of course, minor cas-ualties.

First Class Private McGranaghan gave Sergeant Hickey an opportunity to distinguish himself. McGrahaghan was hit while working on the Serval line. Hickey, who had been on duty in the observatory, picked him up and carried him over a crest exposed to machine gun fire to the first aid station.

These individual instances of courage were innumerable. Men, however, don't say much about what they do themselves. Unless someone happened to see their bravery it drifted into that vast blurred background of devotion and sacrifice against which the American soldier fought.

Between the Vesle and the Aisne the Second Battalion was even more fortunate than the First. Major Wanvig's command didn't have a single casualty in the Perles posi-tions. Hun airmen gave it one bad night, and might have done a lot of damage.

A bomber created the impression that he had located the emplacements, for he dropped a number of flares over them, and followed with two bombs in the ravine, which missed Battalion Headquarters, and one on the slope close to the guns, which splintered a number of trees.

A group of men from Battery D had a close run of it. They had made themselves comfortable in a large German dugout whose only overhead cover was a sheet of elephant iron. At the first flare they decided there might be safer places, and sought one. When they returned a few moments later, after the plane had throbbed away, they found their pleasant home, a mass of twisted elephant iron, ploughed up dirt, and ruined equipment. The third bomb had made a direct hit on the dugout in which they had just before been crowded for warmth.

The regiment fired as persistently here as it had done in the Les Pres and Chery positions. Barrage after barrage Was thrown ahead of our infantry on La Petite Montagne, which because of its pivotal situation was of great strategic importance. Before it was captured the order came for the regiment to move to other pastures.
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