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Chapter XXI

Field Operations, Table of Contents


FIRST PHASE — Continued


On September 18, 1918, the First Corps, being relieved by the Fourth Corps in the St. Mihiel salient, moved its headquarters to Rarecourt, leaving behind the division which had been under its control, and established itself there the same day, at 6 p. m.1

On September 21, at 8 a. m., the commanding general assumed command of the corps sector from Vauquois to La Harazee, into which were moving the 77th, 28th, and 35th Divisions (all less divisional artillery).1

The corps was under the tactical control of the French Second Army until noon, September 22, when the American First Army assumed control of the sector.1 The First Corps plan of communications, evacuation, and supply, was promulgated in Field Orders No. 57, September 22, pertinent extracts of which read as follows.

22 September, 1918

Field Orders
No. 57

* * * * * * *


* * * * * * *

2. Roads.

(a) Corps axial road:

Rarecourt—Clermont—Neuvilly—Varennes—Baulny—Fleville—St. Juvin—Grandpre—Briquenay—Germont.

(b) Division roads:

35th Division and corps troops—

Froidos—Clermont—Neuvilly—Varennes—Baulny—Fleville— St. Juvin—Verpel—Thenorgues—Buzancy.

28th Division—

Les Islettes—Bois Bachme—thence north and northwest thru the Foret d’Argonne via la Crois de Pierre—thence thru the Bois d’Apremont and the Bois de Chatel to Chatel—thence north and northwest thru Marcq and Chevieres to Grandpre—thence north to Briquenay and Germont.

77th Division—

Les Islettes—le Neuvour—le Claon—la Chalade—le Four de Paris—thence northeast thru the Foret d’Argonne to where it joins the 28th Division road—thence on that road to Germont.

(c) The corps axial road follows the route which the army intends to make a route gardee. At present the route gardee extends to the outskirts of Clermont. As the advance progresses forward, sections of the crops axial road will be added to the


route gardee. Before such sections can be added they must be put in shape to stand the heavy traffic. To accomplish this purpose, sections of the road will be completely closed for engineer road work. The closing of a section will be announced as far in advance as possible by G-1, First Army Corps, but in case of doubt or the lack of information the C. R. A. will have an American representative (Captain Cross) with telephonic communication at Clermont, who is charged with dissemination of information concerning the route gardee. When closed, no traffic whatsoever will be allowed on the closed portion. All traffic must therefore pass on the roads to the right and left. Roads to the east are nearly all one way going north, while those to the west are nearly all one-way roads going south. If this information is well spread there should be the minimum of confusion and congestion.

(d) The route gardee will be closed between Neuvilly and Varennes (by order of the 1st Army) commencing at H plus 24 hours.

(e)Division engineers should see that all roads in their respective sectors are made passable for troops, light artillery, and ammunition. The corps engineers follows up and improves the roads for the transportation of heavy artillery and supplies. The army engineer follows and puts roads in shape for all traffic.

It is imperative that road troops be impressed with their responsibility in opening and repairing roads. Ammunition and supplies must be pushed to the front with the greatest possible rapidity, and engineers who work with a will and an understanding of their responsibilities can speed up the entire operation by more active road work. Division engineers should also send out competent officers to locate new routes within their areas with a view to relieving traffic on congested roads. Not only should the main highways be repaired, but all roads should be opened up and used.

Every effort will be made by all concerned to construct and connect roads across No Man’s Land at the earliest practicable time, and each division should assure itself at least one circuit (front and rear) within its own sector, if possible.

(f) Corps and army troops will use such divisional roads as may be necessary.

(g)Army artillery and tanks will not be permitted to block the roads and thereby cause traffic congestion. For such traffic the army artillery and tanks should arrange their routes and time of march within the corps sector with G-l of the corps.

(h)Ammunition must be given priority and must not be delayed by food supplies. Each man in the front line has two days’ reserve rations, but he can not carry two days’ ammunition. Provost marshals will therefore park food supply and baggage columns to allow ammunition to pass. Such parks must be off the road. No baggage except the minimum will be allowed hauled to the fighting troops until the operation has been completed. The hauling of surplus and unnecessary baggage kills more animals and causes more breakdowns and traffic blocks than all the ammunition hauled.

(i) Wherever a steep or long hill is encountered the division concerned will provide a snatch team or teams to assist its traffic.

(j) Each division will also provide a motor wrecking crew whose duty it will be to remove wreckage that blocks traffic and to salvage motor vehicles.

(k) Road circulation:

1. The road system of the corps is divided into two zones.

(a)The corps zone covers all territory within the corps sector south of the Vraincourt—Clermont—Les Islettes—Ste. Menehould road (inclusive).

(b)Divisional zones include all territory within their respective sectors north of the above mentioned road.

2. Regulations governing traffic within divisional zones will be prescribed by divisions, but must conform to existing orders.

3. The corps circulation map (copies furnished divisions) shows the route gardee, two-way and one-way roads. The route gardee is reserved for motor vehicles and special application through G-1, these headquarters, to the Army C. R. A. must be made in each case where it is necessary, or desirable, that animal and animal-drawn traffic should be routed over that route.


Engineer road repair vehicles, Signal Corps telephone and telegraph installation, and repair outfits, staff cars, and strictly local traffic may travel counter to prescribed traffic. This is at their own risk, and whenever they halt (except due to traffic congestion) they must clear the road. The corps and divisional provost marshals are authorized to require all traffic to follow the prescribed one-way routes wherever an emergency requires such action.

* * * * * * *

7. Plan of evacuation of sick and wounded.

1. Sanitary organization.

(a) Battalion aid stations, relays of litter bearers, and regimental aid stations will be established by regimental surgeons under the supervision of their respective division surgeons. In no case will a battalion or regimental aid station be located at the same place as the regimental P. C.

(b) Sorting and advance dressing stations (triages) will be established as follows:

77th Division, vicinity of Florent.
28th Division, vicinity of la Croix de Pierre.
35th Division, Neuvilly.

These stations will be located off the main traffic route, preferably just outside of the town. This to avoid traffic congestion. In each case they should be located west of the main traffic route so that they may be reached by the prescribed one-way roads when the main route is closed for repairs.

Regulations governing evacuation from triages will be as published in Memorandum G-1-48, these headquarters, September 3, 1918.a

(c) Evacuation points:

All troops of the 1st Corps and within its sector:

Seriously wounded to Evacuation Hospital No. 14, Mobile Hospital No. 4, at Villers-Daucourt.
Slightly wounded to Evacuation Hospital No. 9 at Vaubecourt.
Gassed to Evacuation Hospital No. 11, at Brizeaux-Forestiere.
Ordinary sick to Base Hospital 83 at Revigny.
Neurological cases to Neubecourt.
Contagious diseases to Verrieres.


Sick, wounded and gassed to Evacuation Hospital No. 14, Mobile Hospital No. 4, at Villers-Daucourt.

(d) Evacuation routes:

To Villers-Daucourt, Verrieres, Revigny: Clermont—les Islettes—St. Menehould—south to Verrieres—south to Villers-Daucourt—south via Ante—le Vicil-Dam-Pierre—Givry—Ste. Mard—S. E. via Nettancourt and Brabant-le-Roi to Revigny.

To Brizeaux-Forestieres: From les Islettes—south via Futeau to Brizeau. From Clermont—south via Froidos and Waly to Brizeau.

To Nubecourt, Vaubecourt: From les Islettes—Clermont—Froidos—Fleury—Nubécourt—Beauzee—S. W. thru Pretz to Vaubecourt.

(e)Army and corps troops (both French and U. S.) will use the evacuation system and units of the nearest division.

(f) The sanitary units of the 92d Division will he held subject to the call of the corps surgeon for use where needed. If this division reinforces the line it will use the sanitary organization and system of evacuation of the division it reinforces, or relieves.

(g)If additional transportation is needed call will be made on the corps surgeon, who has at his disposition the ambulance companies of the 92d Division and those of the corps.

aQuoted in Chapter II, p. 71.


(h)If practicable and the necessity demands it, evacuations from triages at Florent and la Croix de Pierre may be made on returning empties on the narrow-gauge line touching those points.

* * * * * * *

8. Evacuation of animals:

1. Corps advance collecting point: In woods just south of the railhead, les Islettes on the les Islettes—Futeau road.

2. Army evacuation stations: Heippes, Autrecourt.

3. An application has been made to the 1st Army for a remount squadron for use in assisting evacuations from divisional veterinary sections, from the battle field and from the supply route. Divisional veterinary sections should render first aid wherever possible and group evacuations and then call on the corps veterinarian at the corps advance collecting point to evacuate. In addition the corps hopes to be able to send out a veterinary searching squad in each divisional area to seek out and care for wounded and exhausted animals and to report the locations of dead animals so as to insure early burials. All emergency cases may be evacuated direct to the corps advance collecting point. In case large numbers (150 or more) need to be evacuated, special arrangement must be made by G-1, First Army Corps.

* * * * * * *

The usual order for burials was included in paragraph 11 of the annex 9; this is quoted in full elsewhere (p. 390). It placed Pioneer Infantry troops detailed to this duty under the exclusive control of the divisional sanitary inspectors.

On September 25, the night before the attack, the corps held the 11-km. (6.8 miles) front between La Harazee and Vouquois. On the left of the corps sector the 77th Division had all four regiments in line; in the center there were three regiments of the 28th Division; and on the right there was one brigade of the 35th Division. The 92d Division (less artillery and one infantry regiment) was corps reserve, and the 82d Division (less artillery) was held in the woods in the vicinity of Clermont-en-Argonne, as army reserve.1 Liaison with the 91st Division on the right flank of the corps was maintained by one battalion from the reserve brigade of the 35th Division, and with the French 1st Light Infantry Division on the left, by one regiment of the 92d Division and a detachment of French infantry and artillery.1

On the morning of September 26, the corps attack started at 5.30. Its advance through the Foret d’Argonne was impeded by hostile machine-gun nests and was otherwise hampered by natural difficulties which this thickly wooded terrain presented. On the right, progress of our troops along the banks of the Aire River, in their movement to envelop the forest, was more rapid. During the afternoon, the corps objective, approximately as follows, was reached all along the line: From a point in the Bois de la Grurie, 2.5 km. (1.5 miles) north of la Harazee, eastwardly to 1.5 km. (0.9 miles) northwest of Petite-Boureuilles, thence north and east to about 1 km. (0.6 miles) southeast of Montblainville.1, 2

On September 27, at 5.30 a. m., the attack was resumed. Enemy artillery, which had been withdrawn and which was now in position, as well as an addition to the enemy effectives, combined to prevent any but moderate success.1


On September 28 the corps again pushed forward. There was no change in the disposition of the division of the corps, whereas two additional enemy divisions were identified.1

On September 29, the 92d Division (less one brigade) was detached and relieved from duty with the corps. The 28th Division placed in line the regiment which had been held in reserve, in order to strengthen its position in the forest; and the 35th Division also sent forward an additional regiment. On the enemy’s front, troops of two additional divisions were identified. The line on this day remained practically unchanged, in spite of a weak enemy counterattack against our position in the vicinity of Montrebeau.1

On September 30, the 28th Division took over the left portion of the 35th Division sector. In conjunction with this movement one regiment of the 82d Division was assigned to the 28th Division and took a position at Baulny. During the day, in the face of stubborn resistance, the corps resumed its gradual advance in the Foret d’Argonne; while on the east bank of the Aire our troops, subject to the harassing fire from artillery situated in the forest, retired to the Apremont—Eclisfontaine line. This flank fire, with direct observation, which was the most serious hindrance to our Infantry, was continued until the corps flank attack on Cornay and Chatel-Chehery forced the enemy to withdraw.1

During the night of September 30-October 1, the 1st Division (assigned to the corps on September 29) relieved the 35th Division, which was moved to south of Cheppy.1

On October 1, the enemy attempted an attack on our positions north and west of Apremont. If prisoners’ statements are reliable, complete failure of this attack was due largely to our tanks, which inflicted heavy losses and otherwise disorganized the enemy attack formations.1

On the night of October 2-3b the regiment of the 82d Division which had been assigned to the 28th Division was withdrawn, and the 1st Division, spread out on the left up to the original limit of the 35th Division sector, having on its left the 28th Division with one regiment of each brigade and the 77th Division with all four regiments in line.1

On October 3, the first stage of operations was brought to a close. After the original advance, progress was slow. The corps successfully withstood two counterattacks, and furthermore was subject to constant harassing artillery fire.1


On September 24, a conference was held at Souilly relative to hospitalization for the coming campaign. This was attended by the corps surgeons of the First, Third, and Fifth Corps, a representative of the chief surgeon, First Army, and the chief of the medical group with G-4 of the army. Probable shortage of ambulance transportation gave considerable concern at

bOperations report, 1st Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, October 17, 1918, gives the night of September 30-October 1 as the date for this change.


this time, but, as it eventuated, the First Army was able to supply the First Corps with sufficient extra ambulance companies to meet its needs.3

Under subparagraph (c) (p. 551) the evacuation points were prescribed; they were those determined upon at the conference at Souilly previously mentioned. Modifications were soon made as follows:4

Gassed: Evacuation Hospital No. 14, at Villers-Daucourt. Gas Hospital No. 4, at Rarecourt.
Nontransportable wounded: Mobile Hospital No. 2, at Chateau de Salvange. Mobile Hospital No. 4, at La Grange aux Bois.
Ordinary sick: Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt.
Seriously wounded: Evacuation Hospital No. 14 at Villers-Daucourt. Mobile Hospital No. 4 at La Grange aux Bois. Evacuation Hospital No. 11, at Brizeaux-Forestieres.
Slightly wounded: Field Hospital No. 161, at Futeau, thence to Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt.

The First Army established a gas hospital at Rarecourt, in a French Adrian barracks hospital. Its personnel were inexperienced and untrained, but by the active assistance of the corps medical gas officer were able to discharge all duties imposed upon them. The number of actually gassed in the First Corps during this operation was comparatively small.4

Mobile Hospital No. 2 was established in Chateau de Salvange. This building was in good condition; it was located about 3 km. (1.8 miles) southwest of Rarecourt. The hospital in question was designated for nontransportable wounded, though in reality it was too far back for this purpose. It drained the right half of the First Corps advance area.4

Mobile Hospital No. 4, established at La Grange-aux-Bois, on September 29, was located on the western side of the Argonne, on the Clermont-St. Menehould road. Inasmuch as the operation was a flanking one (on the east of the Argonne so far as Americans were concerned) casualties from this side were not very numerous, and therefore the hospital was not occupied to the limit of its capacity. For the care of nontransportable patients both of these Mobile Hospitals, No. 2 and No. 4, should have been closer to the front.4

As Revigny was too far back from the lines to receive the sick, Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt, was designated to care for them and was found much more satisfactory than a more distant unit would have been.5


From the standpoint of the corps evacuation service, the outstanding feature at this time was the extremely congested condition of roads. This was due to several causes:6 (1) Lack of proper road discipline. Well-conceived orders governing road traffic were in force but were not properly carried out. For example, the orders were that every tenth truck in a convoy should display a red disk and that no vehicle approach within a certain number of yards of this truck, so that in place of a solid line of vehicles there should have been a break after every tenth truck, making it possible for ambulances and staff cars to wind around and pass a block in the road. As a matter of fact, how-


ever, trucks continued to crowd up close so that there were miles of a continuous line of motor vehicles with practically no space between any of them. Traffic was sometimes completely blocked for hours.6 (2) Few roads. One main road, Clermont—Varennes, was supplying the entire corps with three divisions in the line.7 (3) Mine craters. Just south of Varennes and also of Boureuilles, on the main road, there were two immense mine craters approximately 100 feet wide and 40 to 50 feet deep, so placed that a fill had to be made in order to get around them while a bridge was being built. It took many days fully to overcome this difficulty.7

Road congestion during the early days was so great that on one occasion ambulances were practically at a standstill for 24 hours. At one time during the early days of this operation the corps surgeon was informed that the 35th Division, at Neuvilly, had a number of wounded at that point and was having difficulty in evacuating them. Thereupon he took the commanding officer of the corps sanitary train and the corps consultant in medicine with him and proceeded by motor to Neuvilly to see what could be done to relieve the situation. Upon reaching a point about 0.8 km. (half a mile) from Neuvilly they could go no farther, the road ahead being blocked by a continuous line of motor vehicles which appeared to extend for miles. They walked the remaining distance, instructing the chauffeur to follow with the automobile as soon as he could do so. During the three or four hours spent by these officers at the 35th Division triage their automobile had not advanced more than a hundred yards. Though ambulances had the right of way to the rear, even with this advantage they could make no headway against the road congestion.7

This situation interfered many times with the work of evacuating patients, but the first phase of this operation was by far the worst period. Delays were inevitable, and nothing that the Medical Department could do had much effect in obviating or in measurably alleviating the difficulty.7

At this time the First Corps sanitary train consisted of three field hospitals and three ambulance companies, all motorized.5 Its work was divided as follows:5


At Futeau, a quiet, sheltered spot in the middle of the Argonne, on the road between Les Islettes and Brizeaux, the corps sanitary train placed its three field hospitals and established what was later called the corps rest camp. It was far enough back to be out of range of enemy artillery, centrally located so as to cover the entire corps front, and so sheltered and quiet as to be ideal for rest. Several subjects were discussed by the corps surgeon in this connection:

The rest camp proper - It was surprising to the inexperienced to see how many cases of simple exhaustion were sent to the rear. Many of these men were sent back with a diagnosis of shell shock or as gas cases when, as a matter of fact, they were simply exhausted, mentally and physically. All they needed was a complete rest, good food, quiet, and a bath, and in a day or two they were usually completely restored and fit for duty again. In the


early days of the Chateau-Thierry campaign, due solely to exhaustion, many men—the numbers probably running into the thousands—got back into the base hospitals. They became a serious problem, as they were occupying beds which were none too plentiful and which at any time might be urgently needed for the actually sick or wounded. Establishment of this rest camp solved the problem so far as the First Corps was concerned. Later on it was planned by General Headquarters to establish a convalescent camp of 5,000 cots for the entire army, but before this could be accomplished the armistice was signed. The corps rest camp served the double purpose of relieving base hospitals of an unnecessary burden and of saving man power for the front line at a time when every man was badly needed. In active operations divisional field hospitals were quite unable to hold a patient a longer time than was required to give him the necessary preliminary care and treatment and to secure his transportation to the rear. Neither the slightly sick nor those who were merely suffering from exhaustion could be retained in these formations, since their successful operation was based on their ability to move at a moment’s notice.8

Slightly sick - At the corps rest camp were received the slightly sick from divisions in the corps. If it was thought that these patients would be fit for a return to duty within 7 to 10 days, they were held here to be returned to duty when their condition fully warranted this action. Serious cases were never held here, and if in a supposedly slight case the patient later developed serious symptoms he was sent immediately to an evacuation hospital.9

Relay for the slightly wounded - Thecorps rest camp was used as a collecting point for the slightly wounded, usually sent there by trucks from the divisional triages. From this point the corps sanitary train carried them to the designated evacuation hospital. No operations were permitted at this camp.9

Collecting point for men returned from evacuation and gas hospitals - Arrangements were made with evacuation hospitals to notify the commanding officer, corps sanitary train, of any cases erroneously sent to the evacuation hospital from the divisional triages which should not be sent farther to the rear. Similar arrangements were made with the gas hospital for such patients as were not actually gassed or who were so slightly affected that they would be fit for duty within a few days. Upon such notification the commanding officer of the corps sanitary train sent necessary transportation to these hospitals and these cases were moved to the corps rest camp, thus providing another check to prevent men without real disability being sent to the rear. When such cases did get into a base hospital it meant that they were lost to the front for a period of weeks, as there was inevitable delay in returning them to the line through replacement depots. The saving of time in each such case was therefore great.10

Equipment - A certain amount of clothing and equipment was kept on hand at this camp, so that when men were returned to duty from it they would be properly clothed and equipped. These supplies were necessary, as here


all of their equipment and frequently much of their clothing had been salvaged on their journey from front to rear.10

Destination on return - Divisions were called upon to designate places to which their men should be returned. This was essential to prevent them being sent to points inconvenient for further distribution and to preclude delay and fatigue in consequence through their wandering about in search of their organizations. At appropriate intervals the corps sanitary train collected men fit for duty and distributed them to the points designated by their divisions.10

Exercise.-When fit for some exertion all patients at the camp were given appropriate exercise in order to keep them in good condition. Care was taken that no one was returned to his organization who was not thoroughly fit for full duty.10


The commanding officer of the corps sanitary train had his headquarters at Rarecourt, with the corps surgeon, and here he kept his three ambulance companies as well as the additional companies furnished the corps by the army. By this means he always had a reserve on hand for assignment where most needed. From this reserve, ambulances were sent to reinforce, as required, the sanitary train of any division in the line. When a division’s needs ceased these ambulances were withdrawn from it, cleaned, and repaired, and the personnel was given opportunity to rest. They were then available again for duty with any division that might be in difficulties. This method enabled the corps to meet all evacuation needs promptly during the Meuse-Argonne operation.11


Examination of the plan of evacuation prescribed by Field Order No. 57 and by the later modifications, as noted, shows that there were eight widely separated points to which sick and wounded from the First Corps were to be evacuated. These were Villers-Daucourt, Brizeaux, Vaubecourt, Rarecourt, Chateau de Salvange, La Grange aux Bois, Nubecourt, and Verrieres. The number was increased later. One unfortunate result of this dispersion was that ambulance drivers became confused with the multiplicity of directions given them, and much difficulty in evacuation ensued. Having learned the way to a certain hospital a driver would often concentrate on that one, taking patients only to that point and thus causing it to become congested, while other hospitals might be relatively inactive. The commander of the corps sanitary train controlled this situation by the following method:11

(a)Enlisted men were stationed at important points on the roads and were charged with the proper direction of all passing ambulances. These places displayed by night illuminated signs made of an ordinary box with the front replaced by removable, perforated sheeting, and lighted by candles. Lettering of signs for use by day was large and black. The following is an example of the signs used:12

"E. H. at Fleury closed. E. H. at Froidos receiving"


(b) The men acting as road guides were under the immediate supervision of an officer of the day, appointed by roster from the corps sanitary train.

(c) The commanding officer, corps sanitary train, kept in touch with all evacuation hospitals draining the First Corps, and thus always knew the available bed capacity of each. This information was promptly transmitted to the officer of the day, who passed it on to the road guides. The latter were thus prepared at all times to direct ambulance drivers intelligently. As it proved, however, road congestion was frequently so great and telephone service so unreliable during active operations that it became impossible to keep the corps accurately informed concerning the number of vacant beds in the different evacuation hospitals, and this caused much time to be lost and transportation wasted by taking cases from one hospital to another in the search for vacant beds. In the early part of this operation it happened on occasion that some hospital would fill and then, without first sending notification to the corps or division surgeon, would refuse to accept more cases. Under such circumstances a chauffeur might have to drive about for a long time in search of a hospital where he could leave his patients.12

(d) A medical officer from the corps sanitary train, stationed at the triage of each division belonging to the corps, in the line, was responsible for evacuation from the divisional triage.13

(e) A medical officer from the corps sanitary train was stationed at each important evacuation hospital, and one would have been placed at every evacuation hospital had there been enough of such officers available for this purpose. The duty of these officers was supervision of the unloading of ambulances, the exchange of supplies, the instruction of drivers and orderlies concerning their return, and the adjustment of any other matters pertaining to the ambulance service. They also kept a record of the time when ambulances arrived and departed. A similar record was kept at the triages by the medical officers from the corps sanitary train, at those points, so that information was immediately available concerning the time required by a given ambulance to cover the distance between triage and evacuation hospital. This was an effective check upon any ambulance driver who might be inclined to drive to a secluded spot and rest after unloading his cases; such action, however, was extremely rare. As a matter of fact, working against almost insuperable difficulties, such as congested roads, long hours, driving at night without lights over unfamiliar ground, these drivers performed their tasks willingly, courageously, and most efficiently.13

During the Meuse-Argonne operation the corps sanitary train developed progressively in efficiency and formed a most important link in the chain of evacuation.13


During the night of September 23-24, 1918, elements of the 77th Division were placed in the second line, Foret d’Argonne, the French retaining the first line as a screen to our (American) operations from the observation of the enemy. The Artillery of the division reached the new sector on the night


of September 24-25, and there went into position for a contemplated attack.14, 2

This attack was fixed for the morning of September 26. The division front was about 7.5 km. (4.6 miles), extending from a point approximately 1.5 km. (0.9 mile) north and one-third kilometer (0.2 mile) west of La Harazee, thence southeasterly through the Four de Paris and easterly to Pierre Croissee.14, 2 All four Infantry regiments of the division were in the front line.14

At 5:30 a. m. on September 26, and after an artillery preparation of six and one-half hours, the division advanced, having on its right the 28th Division and on its left the French 1st Light Infantry Division. The artillery preparation was extremely efficacious so far as the front lines of the enemy position were concerned, and very little active resistance was encountered therein. This position of Foret d’Argonne had been regarded by both the French and the Germans as a rest area; consequently material obstacles in the way of barbed wire entanglements, deep trenches, etc., were extremely extensive and complete. The material obstacles alone, then, rendered the task of the infantry extremely difficult, and it was only by the most persevering efforts on the part of our men that the advance made on this day was accomplished. At the end of the first day’s operation the left flank had advanced 1 km. (0.6 mile) and the line extended approximately southeasterly to a point about one-fourth kilometer (0.15 mile) south of Fontaine Four Zube, thence easterly for about three-fourth kilometer (0.45 mile), thence northerly for about three-fifths kilometer (0.37 mile).14, 2

On September 27 the division renewed the attack at 5.30 a. m., endeavoring to keep in liaison with the allied units on the right and left. During the course of the 27th, the strongly entrenched positions of Abri de St. Louis, Fontaine Four Zube, and St. Hubert Pavilion were attacked. The 305th Infantry assaulted Abri de St. Louis four times before resistance there was overcome, and the 306th assaulted the trench position in the Fontaine Four Zube three times before the enemy was finally driven back. At the end of the day the division line was exactly the same as that of the day before.14, 2

The attack was continued on the 28th, the infantry continuing its advance at 6.30 a. m., forcing the enemy who had been entrenched at St. Hubert Pavilion and in the Abri de St. Louis, to retire by our attack. At the close of the day the left flank had advanced one-half kilometer (0.3 mile) north, the line extending thence north of northeast 1 km. (0.6 mile), thence easterly 1½ km. (0.9 mile), thence southwardly eight-tenths kilometer (0.48 mile), thence easterly 2 km. (1.2 miles), thence northeasterly 1½ km. (0.9 mile).14, 2

The division continued its advance from day to day, attacking each morning, continuing to attack and advance during the day. No organized positions were encountered after passing the enemy first line of resistance until the position running along the crest of the Bois de la Naza, extending thence westward (south) along the adjacent ridge into the trench system running south and southeast from the Bagatelle Pavilion was reached.14


The enemy organized position, just referred to, was encountered on the morning of October 1. The entire position was attacked but very little progress was made during the day.14

On October 2, the attack was resumed at an early hour in the morning and the position was penetrated on the left toward evening, by the 1st Battalion of the 308th Infantry, together with elements of the 307th, and elements of the 306th Machine Gun Battalion. This detachment advanced as far as the position near Bois de la Buironne, on La Viergette Road, about 500 meters (545 yards) to the east of Moulin de Charlevaux. The troops on the right of this detachment, however, were unable to penetrate the positions on their front. During the night the enemy forces penetrated the trenches south of the Bagatelle position, and linked up with those trenches, by wire entanglements, the positions on the ridge west of Bois de la Naza, in such a manner as to isolate the detachment referred to. At the end of the day the division line extended from a point approximately 1 km. (0.6 mile) northeast of Binarville, thence eastward approximately 4 km. (2.4 miles).14, 2

On the morning of October 3 the attack was renewed, the purpose being primarily to advance and secondly to reestablish communication with the detachments which had been cut off by the enemy. Owing to the difficulties of the terrain, the absence of adequate artillery preparation, and the thick character of the country, no appreciable progress was made during the day either on the right or left. At the end of the day the left flank had withdrawn to a point approximately three-fifths kilometer (0.3 mile) south of that attained the day before. Thence the line extended northeasterly to the parallel of the day before, thence easterly to the division elements.14, 2


As a result of its previous experiences, the medical department of the division had now adopted the following tentative plan for removal of wounded. Two ambulance companies were to be sent forward and two held in reserve, to advance beyond the others when the military situation warranted. One of the field hospitals was to be used for gassed, one for general medical, and two for surgical cases, and two triage units were organized from personnel of the two last named hospitals.15 How radically this plan had to be modified is indicated below and in the history of the 77th Division in the second phase of this operation.

In anticipation of the operation, Ambulance Company No. 305 established a dressing station at La Croix Gentin, with a car post west of Le Four de Paris, detailed five runners to maintain contact with regimental and battalion posts, and sent its litter-bearer section forward to bring the wounded from the regimental aid station of the 307th Infantry, some 1¼ km. (0.7 mile) distant. On the evening of September 26, this company established an advance dressing station 1 km. (0.6 mile) south of La Harazee, advanced the car post to the same point, discontinued the former bearer route, and brought to this place patients from the regimental aid stations of the 307th and 308th Infantry. During the afternoon of this day the litter bearer route covered



FIG. 64.-La Chalade, Ardennes, France, where a triage was established by Field Hospital No. 308, 77th Division, September 28, 1918


2½ km., (1.5 miles) through the trenches. Ambulance company dressing stations were located in French dugouts. Evacuation, both by litter and by ambulance, was retarded by muddy roads. The ambulance company used eight Ford cars between the dressing station and the triage at La Florent, while its heavier cars were assigned in rear of the triage.16

Ambulance Company No. 306 operated a dressing station in a log cabin on a road which entered the road from La Chalade to La Claon, about 1 km. (0.6 mile) south of the former town. Here it cared for 60 gassed cases and 10 sick from the 28th Division.16

FIG. 65.-Triage operated by the 77th Division, La Chalade, September 28, 1919

Ambulance Company No. 307 operated the triage at Florent, about 7 km. (4.3 miles) behind the line, where Ambulance Company No. 308 was held in reserve (supplying 25 men to the triage), and here the field hospitals were grouped.16 Field Hospital No. 305 received medical cases, No. 306 the gassed, No. 307 the slightly wounded, and No. 308 was held in reserve, but ready to move.16 Ford cars, including those of United States Army Ambulance Service Sections No. 578 and No. 611, delivered patients at this point, and 12 G. M. C., ambulances evacuated to the rear those who would not be fit for duty in four days.16

On September 27, the ambulance companies continued to operate as before except that Ambulance Company No. 306 established a dressing station at La Chalade with 2 officers and 15 men and sent 48 litter bearers to the 305th


and 306th Infantry. The station here admitted about 300 cases, which it sent to the triage. It maintained 2 ambulances at its ambulance posts and employed a total of 20, alternating shifts of 10 each.

Field hospitals remained as on September 26, except that No. 308 moved to La Chalade at 6 p. m., occupying the church there as a triage. In the interval September 27 to October 11 this hospital received from the 77th Division, 3,284 patients, of whom 2,613 were wounded, 47 gassed, and 624 sick.17

On September 28, the length of the bearer route of Ambulance Company No. 305, across very difficult terrain, had increased to 5½ km. (3.5 miles). The dressing station detachment of this company at La Harazee was now increased by 16 additional men. The 306th Company sent 48 bearers to Infantry regiments and with 1 officer and 8 enlisted men established a dressing station in an old dwelling built into the side of a cliff near le Four de Paris. About 250 cases were received there on this date. Twenty ambulances from United States Army Ambulance Service sections, in shifts of 10 each, were used to serve with this ambulance company which kept 2 ambulances at its ambulance posts. On the afternoon of this date Ambulance Company No. 307 sent 8 noncommissioned officers and 40 other enlisted men to the Depot des Machines to assist Ambulance Company No. 305 in evacuating cases from the 307th and 308th Infantry aid posts to the dressing station at La Harazee. This evacuation was attended by almost insuperable difficulties, being principally by hand carriage over very difficult ground, though at times it was possible to evacuate by a narrow-gauge railway. From the regimental aid stations to the Depot des Machines the distance was approximately 2½ km. (1.5 miles), and from that point to La Harazee 6.5 km. (4 miles), necessitating, with the rough terrain, the establishment of relay posts at short intervals. All this evacuation was effected under harassing artillery fire and sniping. The triage which the company had been operating closed at 12.30 p. m. on the 28th, after caring for 372 patients. No change was made in the location of Ambulance Company No. 308 nor of the field hospitals.18

Bearer routes of Ambulance Company No. 305 were changed on September 29 so that both converged to the car post at La Harazee, the length of these routes being approximately 6 km. (3.5 miles). Ambulance Company No. 308, now in reserve, moved to the neighborhood of La Chalade, where 50 men and 7 wagons were employed as a road-building detail at the triage. There was no change in the disposition of other units. On September 30 the only change in service was the establishment by Ambulance Company No. 306 of an advance dressing station in a dugout at Abri du Crochet, near the regimental post control of the 305th Infantry. Personnel of this station was 2 officers and 10 men, while 48 litter bearers carried patients 1 km. (0.6 mile) to the car posts, which were 3 km. (1.8 miles) in advance of the main dressing station. The following day, Ambulance Company No. 307 sent from Florent 3 additional noncommissioned officers and 20 other men to assist in evacuation from the 307th and 308th Infantry to La Harazee.19 Bearer routes were


gradually lengthened on account of the advance of the troops, until on October 2 those of Ambulance Company No. 305 had increased to 7 km. (4.3 miles) and others proportionately. The company dressing station at La Croix Gentin was discontinued on October 3, its personnel reinforcing that at La Harazee. On the same date Ambulance Company No. 307 established at the site of the regimental aid station of the 307th Infantry a station near the Depot des Machines, where it relieved Ambulance Company No. 305, which had been operating in that area.

On this date, the last day of the first phase of the Meuse-Argonne operation, units of the sanitary train of the 77th Division were disposed as follows: Ambulance Company No. 305 near La Harazee; No. 306, Abri du Crochet; No. 307, Depot des Machines; No. 308, La Chalade; Field Hospitals, Nos. 305, 306, and 307 at Florent, 308 at La Chalade.20


At the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne operation, the 28th Division held a sector extending from Pierre Croissee on the west to the vicinity of Boureuilles on the right. The 35th Division was on its right and the 77th Division on its left.22

On September 26, at 5.30 a. m., all fire settled into a standing barrage on the German front line for 25 minutes. The direction of the attack was approximately down the valley of the Aire, with the river on the right flank and the Foret d’Argonne on the left. The 55th Brigade was in the right front of the line and the 56th Brigade was on the left.21, 22 The advance was to be pushed rapidly along the Aire Valley, while the left of the line was to be echeloned to the rear to follow up and complete the capture of that part of the wooded heights of the Argonne in the division zone.23 The attack was launched successfully, although some units were late in arriving at their position. In the advance the right of the line progressed rapidly forward after once getting started, but the left, likewise behind schedule, made slow progress in the Argonne forest. Some of the elements of this part of the line became lost in attempting to move forward across No Man’s Land and into the German trench system. At the end of the day the line approximately reached the corps objective on the right. It extended from the vicinity of La Forge, southwestwardly to the vicinity of Les Escomportes Ferme, thence to a line just south of Cote des Perrieres which extended westwardly to a point about 500 meters south of Carriere des Meurissons.24

On September 27, at 5.30 a. m., the attack was renewed. The enemy increased their resistance to our advance by machine-gun and artillery fire to an extent almost to check further advance. In the morning, the 2d and 3d Battalions, 111th Infantry, pushed north, overcoming resistance in the Foret d’Argonne, supporting the attack of the 112th Infantry. The objective was given as combined army first objective. At midnight the line was approximately as follows: Vicinity of Baulny, thence south to Les Escompertes Ferme, thence as of the preceding day.21, 2



During the night of September 27-28, the 56th (left brigade) which was held up in its advance through the Foret d’Argonne, was withdrawn and was marched around through the open to the east of Cote des Perrieres, to a position in the ravine south of Le Chene Tondu. One battalion was left in position in Foret d’Argonne, maintaining liaison with the 77th Division.21

On the morning of September 28 the attack was renewed. At noon the line had advanced slightly so that it included Apremont, then ran southwest parallel to the army objective, to the vicinity of Pont a l’Aune.21, 2

On September 29, the attack was continued during the day, the enemy increasing his resistance with infantry reenforcement, with machine guns, and artillery. The 112th Infantry made an unsuccessful attempt to pass around Le Chene Tondu. After heavy artillery preparation the attack continued on Le Chene Tondu, making a little progress. At nightfall the division line was practically unchanged except for a slight improvement in some places.21

On September 30, the division organized for defense a line which crossed the sector of the division on a line Apremont—Le Chene Tondu. This order was effected during the day. The line was pushed forward slightly in some places to strengthen the position and close contact was maintained all along the line.21

On October 1, the division line was organized. However, as a part of the line was very exposed it was determined to push forward in some parts, thus obtaining more advantageous positions. With this end in view the artillery preparation had been ordered for 6 a. m. and at 6.30 a. m. the infantry was to advance along the entire division line and establish itself in the new position, which would be improved during the day. At 5.45 a. m., however, the enemy launched an attack, with about one division, over our entire divisional front. This attack was of the most vicious and determined character. Fortunately our troops were on the alert, awaiting their own hour of attack, so that in spite of the heavy barrage, especially heavy on Apremont, the line was ready to receive the enemy.21

On October 2 and 3, the division line remained unchanged.21


For the jump-off of September 26, Ambulance Company No. 110 established a dressing station at Les Sept Fontaines. Ambulance Company No. 112 already had placed a dressing station detail at Neuvilly, September 21, and another at Le Vieux Foret, on the same date. Ambulance Company No. 109 was in reserve near Croix de Pierre, and Ambulance Company No. 111 was at the triage at Locheres, to act as an evacuation ambulance company. Ambulance Company No. 112 served the 55th Brigade, on the right, and Ambulance Company No. 110 the 56th Brigade, on the left. Litter-bearer details from these companies followed the troops closely, participating in their difficulties. During the first 12 hours it was necessary for them to make long carries, frequently under fire and often cut off from supplies. These details followed the division’s advance through Boureuilles, Varennes, Montblainville, Apre-


mont, and, in the second phase of the operation, to Chatel Chehery and almost to Fleville. One litter squad, when searching for wounded, came upon a concealed German machine-gun nest and captured its crew of 11 men.

On the 27th, a large dressing station was established at Varennes, with personnel from all four ambulance companies. This station was near the front and was unusually complete, maintaining, among other departments, a separate shock room. It was estimated that 3,500 patients were treated at this point, for from the date of its establishment it was the principal dressing station of the division.25

As the main highway southward from Varennes was blocked with traffic, a road through the woods, across No Man’s Land, was opened by the ambulance sections. This was used to marked advantage for 36 hours; then it was cleared of all traffic save artillery and ammunition trucks, thus throwing ambulances back on the crowded road to Varennes, where traffic was obstructed by two huge mine craters as well as by great congestion.25

When the division passed Apremont a collecting point was established at Montblainville. As the ruins of that town offered no protection against enemy artillery fire, cellars with 2 or 3 feet of earth and stone covering were utilized to shelter both patients and personnel. Though the two available roads to the rear were frequently shelled, the evacuation of patients proceeded without interruption.

The triage was located at Locheres and was operated by Field Hospital No. 109, which had reached that point at 11 p. m., on September 22. This hospital took over a large barn, the best building available for the purpose, and arranged dressing tables, record desks, and shock tables in the smaller part of the structure, which had flooring of brick and tile. The larger section, a shed for farm implements, was prepared for use as a storeroom and as a ward for patients awaiting evacuation. By noon of the 23d, the entire building had been cleaned, disinfected, and made ready for patients.26

Although the attack began on the morning of the 26th, patients did not begin to arrive in any considerable numbers until the following evening. The entire hospital personnel was divided into two shifts, but the irregular arrival of the wounded made it necessary to arrange for special reliefs. At 5.45 p. m. on September 27 the ambulances and trucks, delayed for hours by roads and trucks, began to come in from the dressing stations. By 7.45 some 350 patients had been recorded. The rush then abated, but by noon of the 28th, 549 cases had been admitted. The number of arrivals continued large, but irregular, until October 4, the largest number received in one day being 688 and the total number 3,428.27

Work of the triage was carried on quickly and without confusion, although space was extremely limited. Two benches were constructed in the receiving division, at each of which the required blank forms for each patient—the register card and the field medical card and envelope—were filled in. With the envelope attached to his clothing, each patient was transferred to the dressing table for examination and treatment. Here further necessary notations were added to the records. The patient was then re-


moved to the ward, or immediately evacuated. As he was placed in an ambulance his destination was added to the register card. The record of evacuation, on the "Daily report of casualties and changes," was made only after each register card had been checked against the corresponding record of admission.

This hospital was closed on October 4, and on the 11th followed the division to the rear, for rest at Bouvron.27

Field Hospital No. 110 was established on September 23 near Croix de Pierre and by morning of the 26th was ready for duty. The total number of patients here received was 732, of which 267 were returned to the front. The greatest difficulty encountered was a shortage of water for bathing purposes.28

Field Hospital No. 111 reached Brizeaux on September 20 and on the 23d moved to Les Islettes, where a number of dwellings, two schoolhouses, and a barn were utilized. There was a large increase in the number of influenza cases admitted here.29

Field Hospital No. 112 was located first at Froidos, and then, on September 23, near Croix de Pierre. Here a French underground dressing station was occupied and shock tables set up. During that night and the next day 46 patients were received. With the help of the engineers, a clearing was made in the forest sufficient for the erection of four large tents, roadways were built, and a complete field hospital was installed. Enemy shelling was intermittent. On September 26, 86 patients were received, on the 27th, 200, and on the 28th, 172. Then the underground hospital was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin. Roads also became so choked with traffic that travel was all but impossible, and Field Hospital No. 109 at Locheres took over most of the work. Occasionally an ambulance worked its way through to the front, but from September 29 to October 4 only 58 cases were received. The hospital then moved to Neuvilly and was installed there in a large barn.30


On September 17, 1918, the 35th Division was attached to the First Army Corps, and passed under the tactical control of the French Second Army. On September 18 it was placed under the command of the general, Groupiment Mordacq, pending the assumption of control of the sector by the American First Army, September 22. On the night of September 20-21 the 35th Division relieved the French 73d Division in the Grange-le-Comte sector.31, 32

On September 26 the division attacked on a front, Vauquois (inclusive) to Boureuilles (exclusive), at 5.30 a. m., after six and one-half hours’ artillery preparation. The division attacked in a column of brigades, the 69th Brigade in the lead, the 138th Regiment on the right, and 137th Regiment on the left. The 70th Brigade followed at a distance of about 2 km. (1.2 miles), with the 140th Regiment on the right and the 139th Regiment (less one battalion) on the left.33


In accordance with the plan of attack, Vauquois Hill and Bois de Rossignol were passed through by the flanks and were cleared of the enemy by the battalion detailed thereto. On the left flank the leading battalion of the 137th Infantry was held up by heavy fire from Varennes and was later passed through by the 139th Infantry. The advance was held up for some time by very heavy machine-gun and artillery fire from the front and by heavy artillery fire from the 28th Division sector on the left, and also by flanking batteries on the right. Heavy casualties, particularly among officers, were suffered during this stage of the attack. Varennes was finally taken by the left combat group; in cooperation with the tanks, Cheppy also fell.33

Many of the senior officers had been killed or wounded during these actions and the units had become intermingled, due largely to the dense fog. The battalions were reorganized and the advance was continued to the south of Charpentry, with the right near Very and the left to the north of Varennes.33

On September 27, at 5.30 a. m., the division renewed its attack, but only one battalion of Field Artillery supported the attack, though all the Light Artillery had advanced beyond the old front position and could have supported the attack. A passage of the lines was made and the attack was carried out by the 70th Brigade. The 69th Brigade supported the attack.33 After a short advance serious resistance was met from the enemy’s artillery and machine guns, and little progress was made. The town of Charpentry was a particularly strong point, and the flanking artillery fire from the left caused many losses. Tanks were brought up and the attack against Charpentry was renewed with but little success, owing to the heavy artillery and machine-gun fire. At 5.30 p. m. a new advance was ordered. In this attack Charpentry was taken, as was also the town of Baulny. In the night advance some links of the division progressed beyond Montrebeau woods, but the main body entrenched near Baulny.33

During the day the artillery was advancing into positions north of Varennes and Cheppy. By night all guns were in advanced position and were set for firing in the region of Montrebeau woods, l’Esperance, and Exermont. The command post of the division was at Les Cotes des Forimont.33

At daybreak on September 28 the enemy made a counterattack, which was repulsed. The division advanced under heavy artillery fire, the fire from the left flank across the river being particularly deadly, since it was necessary to cross open fields in full view of the enfilading batteries. On the left, the advance reached the northern edge of the Montrebeau woods; on the right, the attack being made a little later, reached a position about 500 yards north of l’Esperance—Chaudron Ferme road. Enemy artillery and machine-gun resistance was strong, especially on the left flank.33

The attack was resumed at 5.30 a. m., on September 29. The formation was now in two columns. The left column succeeded in pushing a few men to the ravine west of Exermont, with enemy machine guns menacing their flanks. The right column was held up by heavy artillery fire at the start, and as the



supporting elements of the left column were unable to advance, the leading battalion was forced back to the northern edge of the Montrebeau woods. Later, elements of the right column succeeded in pushing forward to Exermont, but not in sufficient force to hold the position. At this time the division commander made a personal reconnaissance and found that the losses, especially in officers, had been so great that it was necessary to reorganize, and that it was impracticable to try to push the attack further. He therefore directed that the troops in Exermont fall back after dark, the withdrawal being covered by the troops in the Montrebeau woods. The condition of the troops in Exermont had become so precarious, owing to flanking machine-gun fire, that they were forced to fall back before dark; but the withdrawal of these troops and also of those in the Montrebeau woods was successfully accomplished, although heavy losses had been suffered during the day.33

On September 30 a defensive position was organized with the line Cote 231—Serieux Ferme—Chaudron Ferme—l’Esperance, as the line of resistance, with a second line on the ridge north of Baulny. These lines were organized and consolidated by the 110th Engineer Regiment. The outpost position was held by the 69th Brigade and the 128th Machine Gun Battalion, with the 70th Brigade in reserve at Charpentry. The position was held under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire throughout the day. Two hostile counterattacks were made, but they were easily repulsed. Early in the afternoon a battalion of the 82d Division moved up just east of Baulny with orders to attack. A heavy hostile barrage was brought down on this battalion and on the rear defensive position of the 35th Division, causing many losses. The battalion of the 82d Division took over a part of the front trenches and, a detachment of the 110th Engineers holding them, withdrew to the second line.33

On the night of September 30-October 1, the 35th Division, with the exception of the 60th Field Artillery Brigade and the ambulance section of the sanitary train, was relieved by the 1st Division, the relief being successfully accomplished with no loss. The artillery was ordered relieved by the 1st Division Artillery on the night of October 1-2, and the ambulance section of the sanitary train was relieved on the 2d. The organizations of the divisions were assembled and marched to the area south of Vavincourt, which was reached by all elements of the division on October 7.33


When, on September 20-21, the 35th Division relieved the French 73d Division, its sanitary train transportation consisted of 12 motor ambulances (8 G. M. C. and 4 Fords) and 12 animal-drawn ambulances. Twenty-two trucks were all that could be spared from the divisional pool for the use of the sanitary train, including its supply depot.34 On September 21, Ambulance Company No. 138 had established a dressing station, which also functioned as a triage, at Auzeville; a portion of Field Hospital No. 140 had established, near Camp du Wagon, a hospital for sick and wounded, and a section of Field Hospital No. 139 had been set up at the same point to function as a gas


hospital. Ambulance Company No. 140 (animal-drawn) was serving the Artillery.35 On the 24th, Ambulance Company No. 41, with 8 G. M. C. ambulances and a litter bearer section, joined, and on the 25th United States Army Ambulance Section No. 649 was reported en route to join.34 The medical carts joined their units in the woods, but some were not in time to reach the most advanced battalions and were not permitted to accompany their commands as they advanced, nor would they have been able to keep up with them had they done so. For these reasons some of the battalions were out of contact with their regular supplies from September 15 until after this action.34 Medical Department personnel with regiments therefore went forward with such supplies as they could carry in empty gas-mask cases, grenade sacks, and other containers.36

At 6 p. m. on September 25, orders were issued directing the sanitary train to proceed immediately to the ravine and woods south of Courcelles, on the Auzeville—Aubreville road. Personnel of Ambulance Company No. 138, with attached triage teams and triage equipment, were ordered to the same front, but instructed to be ready to function at Neuvilly at 6.30 a. m., September 26. Ambulance Company No. 139, using such transportation as Ambulance Company No. 41 could furnish, was to be prepared to move forward with litter squads and dressing station at 5 a. m. Ambulance Company No. 137, with the transport section of Ambulance Company No. 140, after proceeding to Courcelles, was to be prepared at 6.30 a. m. to send forward its litter-bearer and dressing-station section. The rest of the ambulance section was to move to Courcelles as soon as transportation became available. By the same order the field hospitals were disposed as follows:34

Field Hospitals No. 138 and No. 139, at Depot du Wagon, cleared into evacuation hospitals or into Field Hospital No. 140, and the latter was closed and prepared to move to Courcelles by 6 a. m., September 26. All field hospitals were to move as soon as transportation became available, and the medical supply unit was to open at Neuvilly on September 26.37 Because of road conditions there was grave doubt whether the movement could be made in the time allowed. With his office personnel the division surgeon moved to the dressing station at Auzeville, while his assistant represented him at division headquarters. Division ambulance companies were placed in immediate control of the collecting and evacuating of patients in front of the triage, and the commanding officer of the sanitary train was charged with all Medical Department activities in rear of it.38

The sanitary train experienced considerable delay in its forward movement, but early in the morning of September 26 Ambulance Company No. 138 (the triage formation) had passed Courcelles and moved to a point just west of Neuvilly, where it began operations.39 The transport section of this company entered the already congested stream of traffic on the Neuvilly—Varennes road, and a few ambulances were directed to make every effort to get through the wood roads northeast of Neuvilly and remove the wounded from the vicinity of Vauquois Hill. Ambulance Company No. 137, arriving at Courcelles without transportation, sent part of its personnel to operate


a collecting station for slightly wounded at Neuvilly and a detachment of 2 officers and 50 men to establish a dressing station at Boureuilles and to collect wounded between that point and Vauquois Hill.39 Ambulance Company No. 139, also without transportation, covered the right of the sector, established collecting stations at Hill 290, on the southern slope of Vauquois Hill, at Boureuilles, and later on that same day (September 26) at Cheppy.40 Ambulance Company No. 140 (animal drawn) sent details to assist the shock, gas, surgical, splint, and neurologic teams at the triage, and by the use of an unindicated, circuitous route six of its ambulances reached Cheppy during the evening of the 26th.40 The remainder of its vehicles cleared the blockaded sector between the trench lines and Cotes de Forimont.40 United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 649 sent its 20 Ford ambulances to make contact with the several collecting stations, while Ambulance Company No. 41 was ordered to establish dressing stations at Boureuilles and, if possible, at Varennes.40 United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 520, assigned to the division by the corps surgeon, operated between the triage and the evacuation hospitals.41 The sanitary train, exclusive of the last-mentioned unit, consisted of 19 G. M. C. ambulances, 12 animal-drawn ambulances, 20 serviceable and 3 unserviceable Ford ambulances, and 22 trucks.41 Because of the shortage of the last-mentioned vehicles it was necessary to move the field hospitals in relays. All arrived at Courcelles by morning of the 27th, where they were held in reserve, except that a section of Field Hospital No. 140 was sent to Neuvilly to operate as a medical and rest annex for the triage. Fortunately the hospitals were not needed during the first day of the operation, for there was no road across the trench lines during the first 30 hours after the attack, and animal-drawn ambulances were the only vehicles at this time upon whose operation any reliance could be placed.41 By evening of the 26th surgeons with combat troops were informed that supplies were being sent to Boureuilles and Cheppy, whence they were to be carried to the front by ambulances, pack mules, and litter bearers. These officers were enjoined to collect their wounded in groups, preferably on roads, and to notify the division surgeon of their location. By nightfall there were 38 wounded remaining on the field near Vauquois and 400 near Cheppy. Nearly all the disabled were collected in groups.42

Ambulance Company No. 138, at Neuvilly, was relieved by Field Hospital No. 138, at 2 p. m. on September 27, and was held in reserve, prepared for an advance.43 By afternoon the wounded had begun to reach the triage, animal-drawn vehicles worked around Vauquois, and a few Ford cars had reached Cheppy, and the G. M. C. vehicles the mine crater near Boureuilles.43 Meanwhile the other companies were moving forward. Ambulance Company No. 137, continuing its dressing station at Boureuilles, established relay stations between that town and Vauquois and thoroughly cleared this area.44 Ambulance Company No. 139 moved its station to Cheppy, and Ambulance Company No. 140 sent pack mules and ambulances to replenish supplies and to assist the other companies, especially the 138th until that closed, holding the main body of the company, however, in reserve.44 United States Army


Ambulance Service Section No. 649 brought in wounded (sometimes from the regimental aid stations) to the triage, while United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 520 worked both in front of the triage and in rear of it.44

The section of Field Hospital No. 140, established as a rest and medical treatment station at Neuvilly, continued to operate there in this capacity after Field Hospital No. 138 had relieved Ambulance Company No. 138, which conducted the triage, until the afternoon of September 27. At this point a considerable number of men claiming to have been shell shocked or gassed sought treatment, and, though every effort was made to return suitable cases to the front, many had to be sent to the rear to relieve congestion. In the rush of cases it was not possible to sort them with definitive exactitude, and those cases in which there was question were given the benefit of the doubt. Field Hospitals No. 137 and No. 139 were held in reserve, but their personnel was distributed as required among the other hospitals.45

Regimental detachments were still being supplied by ambulances returning to the front. Every ambulance carried supplies—dressings, blankets, and all the litters that could be spared. Infantry and machine-gun units were supplied during the night. Artillery regiments were able to carry their own medical supplies and had no difficulty.46 Trucks were sent to the rear for supplies to meet the constant drain. Road congestion continued well into the afternoon of the 27th, by which time a new road around the mine crater near Boureuilles had been completed. At 4 p. m. 4 mule-drawn ambulances arrived at Neuvilly from Cheppy in six hours, but the Vauquois—Cheppy road was still impassable to motors. During the afternoon all ambulance company sections pertaining to the division were working in advance of the field hospitals, for the corps surgeon had sent two corps ambulance sections to clear these hospitals. By 5 o’clock congestion on the main road (Varennes—Neuvilly) began to lessen, collecting stations were being satisfactorily cleared, and adequate supplies were going forward. Ambulance Company No. 41 had established a dressing station at the crossroads east of Varennes, the 139th Company had a station at Cheppy, while the 137th was still operating at Boureuilles.47

On the morning of September 28 Ambulance Company No. 137 moved to Cheppy, established a dressing station in German dugouts on the south side of the town, and by 3 o’clock had received more than 300 cases. At 3 p. m., under heavy artillery fire, this company moved to Charpentry and established a station in a building, four barns, and four dugouts. This soon was overflowing with patients. Evacuation was reasonably prompt, but the road was so congested that 24 hours was the estimated time required in getting patients to Neuvilly, distant 13 km. (about 8 miles).48

All trucks going through to Neuvilly were loaded with such wounded as could endure 24 hours of this kind of transportation, but the greater number, including all seriously wounded, were relayed to Cheppy.48

Ambulance Company No. 138, with triage equipment and accompanied by the division surgeon, left Neuvilly at 8 a. m. September 28 for Cheppy, estab-


lishing the triage there and relieving sections of Ambulance Companies No. 137 and No. 139, which were then sent forward to Charpentry. The triage was located in dugouts formerly occupied by the dressing station, where 250 wounded men had been collected. Others continued to pour in, from the 91st as well as from the 35th Division. Stations were assigned to the special departments of the triage, in shacks and in the open, while dugouts and tents were reserved for the wounded. The division surgeon’s office, the admission and the antitetanic service sections, and the supply, salvage, and evacuation services were established in tents in front of the dugouts. So great was the number of wounded that it was not possible to keep records, and the utmost efforts were necessary to prevent complete overwhelming of the triage. Ambulant cases were sent back on foot, and all returning vehicles were utilized as well as all ambulances which could be spared from the front. This station worked unremittingly day and night until the division was withdrawn.49

Moving forward from Cheppy and withdrawing its station from Very, Ambulance Company No. 139 concentrated at Charpentry, whence its dressing station and litter-bearer section moved to Baulny, on the afternoon of the 28th, to establish a collecting station.50

On the morning of the same day Ambulance Company No. 140 moved up to Charpentry and established a dressing station at that place. Animal-drawn ambulances were concentrated there, working forward to the battalion and regimental aid stations. Ambulance Company No. 41 maintained its dressing station east of Varennes, chiefly as a relay station and for the slightly wounded coming down from Charpentry, but it also cared for other slightly wounded and for ambulant patients. Its litter-bearer personnel was divided, one section covering the territory between Cheppy and Charpentry, while another section beyond Charpentry served the troops near Baulny and Bois Montrebeau. The transport sections of Ambulance Companies No. 138 and No. 41 worked between the stations at Cheppy and Charpentry and the field hospitals at Neuvilly. United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 520 worked on the same route, while No. 649 worked almost exclusively between Charpentry and the triage at Cheppy. Trucks were also utilized for wounded, both in front and in rear of Neuvilly.51

Field Hospital No. 138 had continued to operate at Neuvilly, where, by evening of September 28, 743 cases from the 35th Division and 417 from other divisions had been received.51 All four field hospitals were in service here by evening of that date, operating in effect as a unit.52 A section of Field Hospital No. 140, consisting of 2 officers and 20 enlisted men, was sent to Cheppy to operate a rest and medical station in connection with the triage. As German dugouts faced in the wrong direction, tents were pitched in the valley east of Field Hospital No. 138. Near-by batteries drew heavy German artillery fire, but Medical Department units received no direct hits. By evening conditions appeared serious, for losses had been heavy and all the troops were becoming exhausted. Medical work continued throughout the night. Roads were by this time fairly clear, though the average time necessary for


a round trip from Cheppy to Neuvilly, a distance of 8.5 km. (5.2 miles), was 24 hours.52 From this time the demands for supplies were urgent.

On September 29 Ambulance Company No. 137, which continued to operate its dressing station at Charpentry, at one time had 514 patients lying in the open in addition to those being cared for in buildings and dugouts. It was congested, under constant fire, and its personnel almost exhausted. In the afternoon three regimental aid stations having moved back to Charpentry, part of the company was sent back to Varennes for a rest. The division was then withdrawing, and it was thought that the most advanced dressing stations would be at Cheppy and Varennes.53

FIG. 66.-Dressing station operated at Cheppy, France, September 29, 1918

Ambulance Company No. 139 had followed the advancing troops in the morning September 29, establishing an advance station at Chaudron Ferme and another a little in the rear, toward Baulny. When troops returned, these detachments came back to Charpentry and brought most of their wounded with them.54 At 3 p. m. the company was ordered back to Varennes for rest, but at 5 o’clock a detachment of the least exhausted officers and men returned to Charpentry. Ambulance Company No. 140 remained there during the day, moving to Varennes in the evening. Animal-drawn ambulances continued to evacuate from the front, under artillery fire, while the troops were retiring and reached many groups of wounded in places inaccessible to motors.55 Ambulance Company No. 41 continued to operate at Varennes, its litter-bearer section working out of Charpentry and Baulny, while its vehicles,


with those of Ambulance Companies No. 138 and No. 520, worked between Charpentry, Cheppy, Varennes, and Neuvilly.55 Thirty French trucks found at Varennes were used to evacuate the wounded.55

Ambulance Company No. 138 continued to operate the always overflowing triage at Cheppy. Dugouts for 200 cases of psychoneurosis, exhaustion, lightly gassed, and similar cases were prepared by the Engineer regiment. These filled rapidly, and at noon the station had nearly 1,000 patients. All buildings, tents, and dugouts were full, the surrounding ground was covered with litter cases, and three lines of litter cases extended along the road for 109 meters (a hundred yards). Extraordinary efforts were made to get these casualties to the rear. All possible trucks were seized and all available ambulances used. A column of walking wounded, 250 in number, was organized. At least 25 men totally unfit to walk volunteered for this column and had to be taken out. Between 3 and 5 o’clock more than 750 patients were evacuated to Neuvilly, and at the same time upward of 500 were sent from Charpentry to Neuvilly. Congestion was relieved, and thereafter evacuations more than kept pace with admissions. United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 649 continued the use of its light ambulances, taking patients from Charpentry and Baulny to the station at Cheppy.56

During the 24 hours ending at noon of September 29 the field hospital group at Neuvilly received 1,142 casualties from the 35th Division and 353 from other divisions, a total of 1,495 patients.57

On September 30 Ambulance Companies No. 137, No. 139, and No. 140 had detachments of their litter-bearer sections working in front of the dressing station at Charpentry, the remainder of their personnel being at rest in Neuvilly and Boureuilles. Ambulances were kept going night and day, and casualties continued to reach the dressing station in large numbers. It was estimated that more than 3,000 men were fed here and sent back to the line, in addition to some 2,500 casualties received. On the morning of the 30th detachments from Ambulance Company No. 139, served by eight mule-drawn ambulances, went over the open ground to collect the remaining wounded. Those at Charpentry were evacuated to Cheppy and Neuvilly. By 11 p. m. Cheppy was reported cleared, and the only wounded at the front were those collected at Charpentry, about 200 litter cases.58 At 11.30 trucks were available for their removal, while the field in front was reported clear. The field hospitals remained at Neuvilly receiving, during the 24 hours ending at noon of September 30, 1,035 patients from the 35th Division and 288 from other divisions. The church was used for an overflow; at one time when rear roads were blocked more than 1,500 patients accumulated at this town. By midnight the field hospitals were fairly cleared, 16 litter cases remaining, together with 400 cases of exhaustion, neurosis, and gassing, most of them suitable for transfer to the corps rest camp which was to be opened the next day.59

On October 1 the sanitary train of the 1st Division took over the dressing station at Charpentry and the triage at Cheppy, Medical Department units of the 35th Division gradually being relieved and sent for rest to Varennes.


Field hospitals continued to operate and were reported to have received, during the 24 hours ending October 1, 1,296 patients from the 35th Division and 493 from other divisions. Of the total admitted from the 35th Division during this action, about 480 were returned to duty and 250 sent to the rest camp.60

On October 2 the station at Charpentry was bombarded with high-explosive and gas shells, causing 74 casualties and 3 deaths among the personnel of Ambulance Company No. 137. During the afternoon this company, with detachments from the other ambulance companies belonging to the division, was returned to Neuvilly and Varennes, while Ambulance Company No. 41 returned to the First Corps sanitary train.61

The triage report shows total admissions as follows:

35th Division




28th Division




37th Division




91st Division




Miscellaneous units


It was estimated that some 500 wounded from the 35th Division were cared for by other divisions.61

Of the 1,359 patients diagnosed as "gassed," more than 250 were so diagnosed definitely enough to warrant evacuation. Some sent to the triage were slightly gassed, but a number admitted with the diagnosis of gassed were merely exhausted and not actual gas cases.62


After participating in the St. Mihiel operation, the 1st Division was withdrawn to Nonsard as reserve of the Fourth Army Corps. On September 23 it was assembled in the area of Benoite Vaux as a part of the Third Army Corps. While in this area the division was assigned as reserve of the First Army. On the night of September 27-28 the division moved to the region of Blercourt-Nixeville; thence to Neuvilly. On the night of September 30-October 1 it relieved the 35th Division (less artillery and sanitary train) and part of the 327th Infantry, 82d Division, on a front extending from a point near l’Esperance to a point Bois Communal de Baulny. The 1st Division was designated as the right division of the First Army Corps, with the 28th Division on its left and the 91st Division, Fifth Army Corps, on its right.63, 64

The 1st Division did not make a general attack until October 4. However, during the period October 1-4 it was subject to much harassing enemy artillery fire.64


The sanitary train was encamped in the vicinity of Nubecourt until about September 27, when it moved to woods near Julvecourt. It remained at the latter place two days and then advanced to Charpentry.65


The ambulance section of the sanitary train arrived in the divisional sector early on the morning of October 1, and its units were disposed as follows: Ambulance Company No. 3 established a dressing station at Charpentry, where Ambulance Company No. 12 was held in reserve, while Ambulance Companies No. 2 and No. 13 were held in reserve at Varennes, except that the latter company established at that point a dressing station for the slightly wounded. United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 649, which had been attached to the 35th Division, here rejoined the 1st Division. Field Hospitals No. 3 and No. 12 were located in German dugouts at Cheppy, the former conducting the triage and treating gassed patients, while the latter received the sick and nontransportable wounded. Field Hospital No. 3 also treated, after operation, shock patients who were not able to endure transportation.65

FIG. 67.-Ambulance Company No. 13 and Field Hospital No. 3, 1st Division, on the road at Very, Meuse, France, October 3, 1918


On Septemnber 22, 1918, the 92d Division (less the 368th Infantry and an Artillery brigade) constituted the reserve of the First Army Corps in the Meuse-Argonne operation, and was assembled in the woods northwest of Clermont. The 368th Infantry formed a part of the combat liaison between the


French Fourth Army and the American First Army, September 26 to October 4, 1918. On September 29 the 92d Division (less one Infantry brigade, the Artillery, and the Engineers) was placed at the disposal of the French 38th Army Corps, operating in the Argonne Forest, where it formed the reserve of the French 1st Light Infantry Division. On October 3 it was relieved and placed at the disposal of the American First Army and was assigned to the First Corps Reserve. On October 4 it was assigned to the Fourth Corps and proceeded to the vicinity of Toul.66


After the 92d Division arrived at Triaucourt, September 22, the rear echelon of its headquarters, including the division surgeon’s office, remained there, the sanitary train camping in the woods just north of the road from Les Islettes to Clermont. There were but few casualties, as most of the division was in reserve during this phase of the operation. No record is available of the operations of the Medical Department at this time other than the statement that an evacuation plan had been formulated and was utilized. Though the sanitary train had neither ambulances nor trucks assigned to it, it appeared necessary that matériel of the train should be made immediately available in view of the anticipated activity of the division. It was therefore brought up from the railhead to Ste. Menehould, and Field Hospital No. 366 was established there as a triage.67


(1) Operations report, First Corps, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.

(2) Map showing daily positions of front lines, Meuse-Argonne operation, G-3, G. H. Q., A. E. F., May 24, 1919.

(3) Report of Medical Department activities, First Army Corps, by Col. J. W. Grissinger, M. C., corps surgeon, undated. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(4) Ibid., 5.

(5) Ibid., 6.

(6) Ibid., 14.

(7) Ibid., 15.

(8) Ibid., 7.

(9) Ibid., 8.

(10) Ibid., 9.

(11) Ibid., 10.

(12) Ibid., 11.

(13) Ibid., 12.

(14) Operations report, 77th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, December 15, 1918.

(15) Report of Medical Department activities, 77th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, 12. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(16) Ibid., 33.

(17) Ibid., 34.

(18) Ibid., 35.

(19) Ibid., 36.

(20) Ibid., 37.

(21) Operations report, 28th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, January 28, 1919.


(22) F. O. No. 41, September 24, 1918, F. O. No. 42, September 26, 1918, 28th Division.

(23) F. O. No. 44 and No. 45, October 3, 1918, 28th Division.

(24) Reports of messages, 28th Division. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College.

(25) Report of Medical Department activities, 28th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 28th Division (undated), Part I. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(26) Ibid., Part I, 30.

(27) Ibid., Part I, 32.

(28) Ibid., Part II, 4.

(29) Ibid., Part II, 9.

(30) Ibid., Part V, 29.

(31) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared in the Historical Section, the Army War College. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College. 1700 (35th Division).

(32) History of 35th Division, April 2, 1919.

(33) Operations report, 35th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, October 11, 1918.

(34) Report of Medical Department activities, 35th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon (undated), Part II, 3. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(35) Ibid., Part II, 2.

(36) Ibid., Part II, 4.

(37) F. O. No. 66, Headquarters 110th Sanitary Train, 35th Division, A. E. F., September 25, 1918.

(38) Report of Medical Department activities, 35th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon (undated), Part II, 8. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(39) Ibid., Part II, 13.

(40) Ibid., Part II, 14.

(41) Ibid., Part II, 15.

(42) Ibid., Part II, 16.

(43) Ibid., Part II, 19.

(44) Ibid., Part II, 20.

(45) Ibid., Part II, 21.

(46) Ibid., Part II, 22.

(47) Ibid., Part II, 23.

(48) Ibid., Part II, 25.

(49) Ibid., Part II, 26.

(50) Ibid., Part II, 27.

(51) Ibid., Part II, 28

(52) Ibid., Part II, 29.

(53) Ibid., Part II, 33.

(54) Ibid., Part II, 34.

(55) Ibid., Part II, 35.

(56) Ibid., Part II, 36.

(57) Ibid., Part II, 39.

(58) Ibid., Part II, 41.

(59) Ibid., Part II, 50.

(60) Ibid., Part II, 52.

(61) Ibid., Part II, 54.

(62) Ibid., Part II, 56.

(63) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared in the Historical Section, the Army War College. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College, 1700 (First Division).

(64) Operations report, First Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, October 17, 1918.


(65) Report of Medical Department activities, 1st Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon (undated), Part I, 33. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(66) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared in the Historical Section, the Army War College. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College, 1700 (92nd Division).

(67) Report of Medical Department activities, 92nd Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon (undated). On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.