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Chapter XXII

Field Operations, Table of Contents

CHAPTER XXII

FIRST PHASE—Continued

THE FIFTH CORPS (91ST, 37TH, 79TH, AND 3D DIVISIONS, WITH THE 32D DIVISION IN RESERVE)

The Fifth Corps, to the right of the First Corps and to the left of the Third Corps, formed the center of the First Army and comprised the following divisions in line, from left to right: 91st, 37th, and 79th, with the 32d Division in reserve.1

The objectives of the corps were published in Field Order No. 31, September 21, 1918, parts of which read as follows:

(G-3 No. 26-5)

FIFTH ARMY CORPS, AMERICAN E. F.,
21 September, 1918-8.00 o’clock.

Field Orders
    No. 31

PART I

Maps: (Argonne special) 1:50,000.

1.  (a) The enemy holds the front from the Meuse to the Aisne with about five divisions.

(b) The allied armies attack on the front from the Meuse (exclusive) to the Suippe (exclusive).

1. Direction, toward Mezieres.
2. Mission, to force the enemy from the line of the Aisne.
3. Objectives, (first) Dun-sur-Meuse—Grandpre—Challerange; (second) Somme Py—Stenay—Le Chesne—Attigny—Rethel.

* * * * * * *

(e) The 1st American Army attacks from the Meuse (exclusive) to La Harazee (exclusive) in the direction of Buzancy-Stonne.

(f) The 3d Army Corps (U. S.), on the right, from the Meuse (exclusive) to Malancourt (exclusive), protects the right of the American Army, and assists the advance of the 5th Army Corps by turning Montfaucon and later by turning the section of the hostile 2d position within the zone of the 5th Army Corps. It advances in conjunction with the 5th Army Corps.

(g) The 1st Army Corps, on the left, assists the advance of the 5th Army Corps by cutting off hostile artillery fire and observation from the eastern edge of the Foret d’Argonne. It clears up the forest of Argonne and advances to the American Army objective in conjunction with the 5th Army Corps.

2. The 5th Army Corps attacks at "H" hour on "D" day on the front Malancourt (inclusive)—Vauquois (exclusive).

* * * * * * *

(b) Direction: Cierges—Remonville.

* * * * * * *

3. (a) The 79th Division.

* * * * * * *

(2) The 79th Division * * * will advance rapidly to the corps objective (see map). It will seize in succession Malancourt, Montfaucon, and Nantillois. It will assist


582

the 37th Division by turning the Bois de Montfaucon. The 37th Division and the 79th Division will mutually assist each other in the capture of Montfaucon.

(b) The 37th Division.

* * * * * * *

(2) The 37th Division * * * by proper echelonment in depth, will assist the 79th Division in the turning of the Bois de Montfaucon and in the capture of Montfaucon. It will aid the 91st Division in clearing up the group of woods, viz, Bois de Septsarges—Bethincourt—Cheppy— Malancourt—Very and Chehemin. It will seize Hill 261, and the village of Ivoiry, pressing forward without delay to the corps objective.

(c) The 91st Division.

* * * * * * *

(2) The 91st Division will * * * by its advance in conjunction with the 35th Division, it will outflank the Bois de Cheppy and the Bois de Very. By its advance in conjunction with the 37th Division, it will assist the latter in mopping up the group of woods, viz, Bois de Septsarges— Bethincourt—Cheppy—Malancourt—Very—Chehemin. * * *

(d) The divisions will push forward to the "corps objective line" (as shown on map), rendering mutual support, but not delaying their own advance by waiting for each other. After reaching line the corps advance will be continued to the American Army objective without waiting for the advance of the corps on the right and left. The advance will be pushed by all divisions with the greatest vigor. The American Army objective will be reached during the afternoon of "D" day. The penetration thus made in the hostile third line will be exploited during the same night. Reconnaissances of at least one regiment and one battalion of Field Artillery will be sent forward by each division. Further advances will be regulated by Army Headquarters.

* * * * * * *

9. Axis of liaison.

5th Army Corps: Ville-sur-Cousances—Brocourt—Recicourt—Avocourt—Montfaucon—Cierges—Romagne-sous-Montfaucon— Andevanne—Nouart.

79th Division: Cote 309—northeast edge of Bois d’Esnes—crossroad 3998—eastern exit of Esnes—Malancourt—Montfaucon— Nantillois—Cunel—Bantheville—Andevanne—Tailly.

37th Division: Follows 5th Corps axis of liaison to Bantheville; thence Remonville—Barricourt—Nouart.

91st Division: P. C. 91st Division—Cote 290 (coordinates 308.30: 268.30)—Mt. des Allieux—Boyau de Mossoul—La Neuve Grange—Bridge 198—Very—Epinonville—Gesnes—Landres et St. Georges—Bayonville—Fosse.

10 P. C.’s.

79th Division: Near road exit eastern Bois de Lambechamp.

37th Division: Verrieres Ferme.

91st Division: Near Bertrame Ferme.

32d Division: Waly.

5th Corps: Ville-sur-Cousances

* * * * * * *

On September 26, at 5.30 a. m., the infantry advance of the corps was made under the protection of a rolling barrage. The 91st Division progressed steadily, and by noon their left had occupied the left portion of their objective, but their line sagged toward the east on the other flank. The center (37th Division) and the right (79th Division) were checked in their endeavor to reach the corps objective, the advance of the 79th Division being hindered by machine-gun fire during the entire afternoon. The 37th Division progressed very slowly through the Bois de Montfaucon, and at midnight their line ran approximately along the northern edge of Bois de Montfaucon, thence to a point approximately 1.5 km. (0.9 mile) south of Ivoiry. From here the line


583

of the 91st Division extended southwestwardly to about one-half kilometer (0.3 mile) north of Very.2, 3

A renewal of the attack was ordered for 5.30 a. m. on September 27. The divisions were ordered to advance independently of each other, to the combined army first-phase line, no change being made in the zones of action.4 At noon the 91st Division on the left was about 1 km. (0.6 mile) in advance of the left half of their portion of the corps objective; running east, their line skirted south of Epinonville and then bent down in the direction of Ivoiry. The 37th Division held positions, generally speaking, about 1 km. (0.6 mile) south of Ivoiry and running in an irregular line northeast of this point. The 79th Division occupied a line about one-half kilometer (0.3 mile) beyond Montfaucon, which it occupied shortly before noon.2

During the afternoon the forward movement of the 37th and 79th Divisions commenced. The 37th met resistance from the direction of Bois de Beuge and artillery fire from the direction of Cierges.2 At midnight the corps line was practically as follows: From the southwest corner of the Bois de Septsarges—southwest to the Epinonville—Montfaucon road, thence south of Ivoiry and Epinonville, thence southwest across the Epinonville—Eclisfontaine road, thence to a point about 2 km. (1.2 miles) southwest of Epinonville.3, 5

On September 28 the corps attacked at 7 a. m.6Up to noon the town of Eclisfontaine was reported taken by the 91st Division, and the leading elements of the 37th Division were in the Bois de Beuge and the Bois Emont. At 2.55 p. m. the leading elements of the 79th Division were advancing on Bois des Ogons and Bois du Fays, and leading elements of the 37th Division were along the Cierges—Nantillois road. At 7 p. m. the corps line was approximately as follows: From a point about 1.5 km. (0.9 mile) northwest of Eclisfontaine, northeastwardly, to a point about one-half kilometer (0.3 mile) northeast of Nantillois.2, 3

On the morning of September 29 the attack was continued at 7 a.m. Because of strong enemy resistance our troops made slow progress; and except for a slight advance of the 91st Division, the corps line remained practically that of the preceding day.2

On September 30 the attack was not continued during the day. Present lines were held and every effort was made to prepare for a resumption of the attack on the following day.7 During the day the relief of the 37th and 79th Divisions was begun by the 32d and 3d Divisions, respectively. The relief was entirely completed during the night of September 30-October 1.8

During the period October 1-3 no attack was made by the corps.2 The following readjustment of the corps front was directed to be completed by midnight October 3: The 3d Division to occupy the front from Nantillois—Cunel road (exclusive) to Cierges (inclusive); the 32d Division to occupy the front from Cierges (exclusive) to the left boundary of the corps. The 91st Division (less the 58th Field Artillery Brigade) was relieved in the front line by the 32d Division and assembled in reserve in the Bois de Very and Bois de Cheppy.9


584

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

The corps surgeon’s office had been established at Ville-sur-Cousances, on September 18, and, in addition to its authorized force, had attached to it one consultant each in medicine, surgery, psychiatry, urology, and orthopedics. Attached to the corps were United States Army Ambulance Service Sections, Nos. 542, 602, 603, 604, and French sections No. 84 and No. 131. There was no other corps sanitary train or transportation except one touring car from the corps pool, which it was frequently impossible to obtain. About October 17 a touring car was assigned to the corps surgeon’s office.10

Army units serving the corps were as follows: 3 evacuation hospitals, 1 mobile hospital, 1 gas hospital, 1 neurological hospital, 1 contagious disease hospital, 1 medical supply dump, and 1 advanced medical supply depot.10

The following general plan for evacuation of sick and wounded was published by the corps on September 24:11

1. Divisional organizations.

(a) Battalion aid posts, relays of litter bearers, and regimental aid posts will be established by the regimental surgeons under the supervision of the division surgeon.

(b) Station for slightly wounded will be established by the division surgeon of the division in reserve at Jubecourt. Those able to return to duty willbe returned at once to the line. All others will be sent to Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt.

(c) Division hospitals, to which all casualties and sick will be transported by the division service, will be established by division surgeons as follows:

(1) One field hospital for sorting cases (triage) and one for gassed cases:

    37th Division (to be designated later).
    79th Division, Les Clairs Chenes.
    91st Division (to be designated later).

All cases except gassed will pass through triage, where they will be carefully sorted and sent to appropriate hospitals to prevent the necessity for subsequent evacuation by surgical and special hospitals. Gassed cases will not pass through triage hospital. Will receive only preliminary treatment in divisional gas hospital, and will be evacuated as soon as possible to gas hospital at Julvecourt.

(2) One field hospital for ordinary sick (except contagious) will be established at Ville-sur-Cousances by the division surgeon of the division in reserve.

2. Evacuation—all troops:

(a) Severely wounded, Mobile Hospital No. 1, at Les Clairs Chenes; Evacuation Hospital No 10, at Froidos; and No. 3, at Fleury-sur-Aire.

(b) Slightly wounded, Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt.

(c) Gassed, Corps Gas Hospital at Julvecourt.

(d) Psychoneurotic cases, P. N. hospital at Nubecourt.

(e) Contagious, Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt.

(f) Ordinary sick, skin, and venereal, Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt.

(g) All evacuation for corps troops will be to the nearest medical unit.

(h) The evacuation service will evacuate from divisional field hospitals to the rear.

In anticipation of the operation the following preparations had been made: The triage and gas hospitals of the 79th Division were located at Les Clairs Chenes; those of the 37th and 91st Divisions at Brabant. A station for the slightly wounded was located at Jubecourt by the surgeon of the division in reserve. Men who could return to duty were ordered to be returned at once; others were to be sent to Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt. One field hospital of the division in reserve was established at Ville-sur-Cousances for


585

the sick (except contagious cases) of the corps. (A serious epidemic of influenza raged in the 79th Division.) Directions were given that all cases possible be held and treated in division hospitals, but as a matter of fact the majority of patients had to be evacuated to Ville-sur-Cousances or Souilly.10

Casualties among corps troops were to be evacuated to the nearest hospital. Gassed patients, it was ordered, were not to be sent through the triage, but after preliminary treatment in the divisional gas hospital, were to be sent to that of the corps at Julvecourt.12

The following memorandum was issued by the corps on September 24:13

1. G-4 of the 1st Army requires from the corps surgeon a daily telegraphic report from noon to noon of wounded, other injuries, gassed, and sick.

Beginning at "D" day and until further orders from this office, division surgeons will prepare and have ready at 4 p. m. daily at headquarters, field hospitals, for collection by corps surgeon’s courier, the following numerical report in lieu of consolidated daily field report of patients. [This latter report has called for an itemized numerical statement of those wounded, otherwise injured, gassed, or sick, pertaining to the division, or (separately) to other troops.]

Surgeons of nondivisional corps will submit the above report either direct to this office or to nearest field hospital headquarters by 4 p. m. daily of cases in their organization, only, which have been evacuated to an Army hospital without passing through a divisional hospital of the 5th Corps.

2. Division surgeons will report at once present location of field hospitals by number, and any change which may be made in the future.

3. Division surgeons of the 37th, 79th, and 91st Divisions will each designate a medical officer of good judgment who will push forward in rear of advancing troops and report to him as soon as practicable upon a suitable location for triage (to include non-transportable) and gas hospitals, in about the horizontal coordinate of Montfaucon. This report as soon received will be communicated to this office. No field hospital will be moved without the approval of the corps surgeon.

4. The officer in charge of the evacuation of sick and wounded of the corps and commanding officers of evacuation ambulance companies will take orders for movements of ambulances from him or the corps surgeon or his representative. The corps surgeon’s office is at headquarters, 5th Army Corps.

5. The divisional triages of the 37th and 91st Divisions will be prepared to handle nontransportable cases. At the triage of the 79th Division, nontransportable and severely wounded cases will be transferred to Mobile Hospital No. 1.

This memorandum was later amended to read, "Report will be sent by returning ambulance, by motor cycle, or by phone," and the following paragraph was added:13

For division surgeons:

In addition to the above, a second report will accompany it by courier and by phone as follows:

(a) Number of evacuable patients in division field hospitals at time report is made (the hour to be stated).

(b) Approximate number of casualties expected to arrive within following 12 hours. To be based on reports from the front.

After the advance began on September 26, and it was found that it proceeded rapidly, roads, especially in the region of Esnes, Malancourt, Montfaucon, and Avocourt, were almost impassable. In several instances 50 to 60 hours elapsed between the time when a man was wounded and when he arrived at Mobile Hospital No. 1, at Les Clairs Chenes. French Ambulance Section


586

No. 131 was on the road to Montfaucon for 26 hours without reaching its destination.10

On September 28 the triage of the 79th Division moved to Malancourt, that of the 91st to La Neuve Grange Ferme on  September 29, and on the 30th that of the 37th to Avocourt.

The corps surgeon attempted to push ambulances up to them, but this was an exceedingly difficult operation, because of impassable and blocked roads, and was only partially successful. On September 28 a motor ambulance company of the 32d Division (the corps reserve) was temporarily attached to each of the three divisions in the front line and proved of great assistance. It was recognized that utilizing such reserve units was wrong in principle, generally speaking, but this was considered a great emergency. The division surgeon of the 91st Division was required by his division commander to take station at advance headquarters, from which point it was almost impossible for him to supervise his triage and the evacuation of wounded. The division surgeon of the 79th later moved his triage to Montfaucon, where it was shelled and several patients and some of the enlisted personnel killed or wounded. Fortunately, casualties for this period were relatively light.10

THE 91ST DIVISION

On the night of September 13-14, 1918, the 91st Division moved to the vicinity of Vavincourt (Meuse), and then, on the night of September 16-17, it moved to the vicinity of Autrecourt (Meuse). On September 17, the division was assigned to the Fifth Army Corps. It then moved to the Foret de Hesse, northeast of Neuvilly.14

On September 26, the division attacked on a front extending from Vauquois to a point about 2 km. (1.2 miles) southwest of Avocourt.14 The division occupied the left sector of the Fifth Corps; the 37th Division attacked on its right, and the 35th Division (First Corps) on its left.15

The zone of action of the division was divided approximately into two equal sectors. The 181st Brigade was assigned to the sector on the right, and the 182d to the sector on the left. The 181st Brigade was formed for attack with its two regiments (each less one battalion) side by side, each regiment having one battalion in the assaulting line. The 182d Brigade was formed with its two regiments (each less one battalion) in column, the leading regiment having one battalion in the assaulting line.15

The front-line elements of the division left the line of departure at 5.30 a m., September 26, following closely the rolling barrage when it moved from the hostile front line. A heavy fog lay in the valley of La Baunthe Ruisseau. A smoke screen had been thrown out to cover the advance of the leading elements of the division and to blind the enemy. Both fog and smoke hindered, to some extent, the rapid advance of our troops. In some instances, gaps had not been completely cut by our artillery fire in the enemy wire; this, together with enemy heavy machine-gun fire, checked to some extent the progress of the advance elements of the division. In spite of the obstacles encountered, however, the enemy’s defensive system was penetrated to a


PLATE XXIX


587

depth of about 4 km. (2.4 miles) by noon of September 26. The attack was pressed during the entire day, and by 6 p. m.an advance of over 7 km. (4.3 miles) had been made. Patrols from the 181st Brigade entered the town of Epinonville during the afternoon of September 26. The high ground northeast of Very, extending toward Montfaucon, was organized for defense and was held during the night of September 26-27.15

On the morning of September 27, the attack was renewed. The disposition of troops remained the same as on the previous day, with the exception that the 182d Brigade advanced with both Infantry regiments in line. The 181st Brigade encountered strong machine-gun fire in the vicinity of Epinonville. The town itself was occupied several times during the day by our troops, but each time their withdrawal was forced by the enemy’s machine-gun and artillery fire. The 182d Brigade succeeded in advancing several hundred yards north of the road running northeast and southwest through Eclisfontaine, and this line was organized for defense on the evening of September 27. Because it was later learned that the road running through Eclisfontaine was to be used as a barrage line by the corps artillery, the elements of the 182d Brigade were withdrawn south of it and a defensive line was established in the evening of September 27, running approximately east and west through a point about 500 meters (545 yards) south of Epinonville. Despite this slight withdrawal, the net gain for the day was approximately 1.5 km. (0.9 mile).15

On September 28, the division renewed its attack at 8 a. m.Each brigade was disposed with one regiment of infantry in the front line and one in support. The advance progressed slowly throughout the entire day, and everywhere met with increased artillery and machine-gun resistance. The Bois Communal de Baulny, Les Epinettes Bois, and the southern part of Bois Communal de Cierges were seized and held during the day, in the face of considerable opposition. As during the previous day, hostile airplanes constantly appeared over our lines. Hostile artillery was consequently becoming more and more accurate; our losses correspondingly increased.15

At 7 o’clock on the morning of September 29 the attack was again renewed. The disposition of troops was as on the previous day, with the exception that the supporting regiments passed through the front-line regiments at the hour designated for the attack. The 181st Brigade gained possession of Bois Communal de Cierges and La Grange-aux-Bois Ferme early in the day, but was unable to make further progress on account of the heavy opposition encountered through fire from the village of Cierges. The 182d Brigade progressed as far as the woods immediately north of Tronsol Ferme, where the front-line elements were held up by the enemy’s machine-gun and artillery fire from the north and northwest. In the afternoon the infantry attack was launched at 3.40 p. m.On the right the town of Gesnes was taken, and the American First Army objective was reached at 5.30 p. m.On the left the line was advanced to include the Bois de la Morine and Bois de Chene Sec. This ground was gained by the leading regiment of each brigade. Our losses were heavy, especially in the case of the leading elements of the


588

181st Brigade. At 4 p. m. definite information was received that the front-line elements of the 35th Division had fallen back from the vicinity of Exermont toward Baulny, and that on the right of the 91st Division the Bois Emont had been evacuated by the leading units of the 37th Division. This left both flanks of the 91st Division exposed to attack and made retention of the ground already gained very hazardous. To avoid the possibility of the enemy cutting off our troops by an attack on the front of the salient they occupied, a withdrawal of the elements of the 91st Division already committed to the attack was ordered to be carried out at nightfall. The line running east and west along Bois Communal de Baulny and Bois Communal de Cierges was organized for defense, with advance elements extending as far north as Tronsol Ferme and the woods about 300 meters (327 yards) north of Bois Communal de Cierges.15

On September 30, in compliance with instructions from the Fifth Army Corps, a line of resistance was established extending through the center of Bois Communal de Cierges, Exermont Ferme, and Cote 231, with a line of observation along the northern edge of Bois Communal de Cierges and Bois Communal de Baulny.15

From September 30 to October 3, inclusive, the line which this division organized was held in the face of heavy shell fire and under almost constant enemy aerial observation. Though the morale of the troops remained good under the circumstances, these four days of holding the line of resistance without being able to advance caused more casualties and more discomfort to the troops than would have been the case had they been able to continue the attack, accompanied by other troops on both flanks.15

During the night of October 3-4 the division (less 58th Field Artillery Brigade attached) was relieved from the line by the 66th Brigade of the 32d Division, and it went into bivouac in the Bois de Cheppy and Bois de Very. The last elements (parts of the 363d and 364th Infantry and 348th Machine Gun Battalion) were not relieved until noon, October 4. These last elements held the Bois de Baulny until relieved.15

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

On September 26 the sanitary train established in Brabant field hospitals for the sick, the gassed, and the wounded. Evacuations from that village were conducted by corps ambulance companies. Reserve ambulance and field hospital companies of the sanitary train were camouflaged and parked on the Paris—Vraincourt road, just south of Parois. Trucks were available for the transport of all the field hospital equipment and the medical supply unit.16 First reports of the wounded on that day were received by the division surgeon at 10 a. m., and he at once recommended to G-1 that ambulance transport be sent forward to clear the wounded. Owing to orders governing transportation—requiring that recommendation be submitted to a representative of G-1, as traffic regulating officer, before an order could be issued allowing any special transport on the road—it was not until after 2 o’clock that ambulances could go forward to begin evacuation.16 In accordance with the ad-


589

FIG. 68.-Town of Very, used as a dressing station by the 91st Division


590

ministrative order concerning the action, an advance dressing station had been established in the vicinity of Rendezvous de Chasse, 2 km. (1.2 miles) in the rear of the front line of trenches. Another dressing station for slightly wounded had been established on the left of the divisional sector some distance from the front. Personnel and matériel for these stations were in position on the night of September 24-25. At 12 o’clock, September 26, the division surgeon ordered two additional dressing stations established, one at La Neuve Grange Ferme and the other in the vicinity of Bois de Very.16 At 4 p. m. Ambulance Companies Nos. 361, 363, and 364 were ordered forward to act as litter bearers, to clear the woods, and to assemble the wounded for evacuation at dressing stations or along the roads. The light Ford ambulances of United States Army Ambulance Service Sections No. 593 and No. 640 were energetic and persistent in clearing the wounded.16

FIG. 69.-Wounded walking to dressing stations, Argonne Forest, because roads were impassable to ambulances

On September 29 the division commander gave orders that field hospitals be established in Very, and Field Hospitals No. 361 and No. 363 were moved from Brabant to the crossroads 1 km. (0.6 mile) southeast of Very, which at that time was being shelled by the enemy.16 Shells were falling also in the vicinity of sanitary train trucks standing near these crossroads. On representation of the division surgeon that the proposed location was too near the front line for the establishment of field hospitals, the chief of staff ordered their establishment at another point. Field Hospital No. 361, as triage, with a


591

surgical operating unit attached, and Field Hospital No. 363, acting as medical and gas hospital, were established on the afternoon of September 29 in Bois de Cheppy, near La Neuve Grange Ferme on the Avocourt—Very road, 3 km. (1.8 miles) from Avocourt. During the night of September 29-30 about 200 patients were admitted to this hospital—about 6 km. (3.7 miles) from the front line.16

Evacuation of wounded was seriously hampered by road conditions. During the nights of September 30 and October 1, because of slow evacuation, the field hospitals in Bois de Cheppy were taxed to their utmost to care for the wounded. Evacuation from field hospitals on those two dates was difficult. Many patients were evacuated directly from dressing stations, on returning ammunition trucks of the 91st Division, through Avocourt and the areas of neighboring divisions, to evacuation hospitals in Froidos and Fleury. In addition, many wounded of the division were sent to field hospitals of the 35th Division, on the left, in Cheppy.17 The axial road of the 91st Division from Very through the Bois de Cheppy to Avocourt was congested at all times, for traffic of three divisions of the Fifth Corps went through Avocourt on a one-way road, with resulting delay. Ambulances were held within this congested section for 12 hours and longer before being permitted to pass with their patients to the rear, despite the protests of division surgeon and commanding officer of the sanitary train made to G-1 and to the motor transport officer of the 91st Division, who controlled traffic of the division over the axial road. To make the trip from field hospitals in Bois de Cheppy to the evacuation hospital in Froidos and return took in some instances 24 hours for a round trip of 50 km. (31 miles).17

On October 1 the division surgeon moved to the advance division post of command at Epinonville from the rear echelon at Cote 290 in Foret de Hesse. Here the assistant division surgeon was wounded and the automobile assigned to the division surgeon destroyed by enemy shell fire, with loss of some office records and property.17

The location of ambulance company dressing stations on October 1 was as follows:

    No. 361, held in reserve at Epinonville.
    No. 362, 1˝ km. (0.9 mile) from Very on Very—Epinonville, 3 km. (1.8 miles) from front line.
    No. 363, at Epinonville, on road leading to Eclisfontaine, 1˝ km. (0.9 mile) from front line.
    No. 364, in Very, 6 km. (3.7 miles) from front line.17

On October 2, Field Hospital No. 364 was established in Very and remained there until the 4th, when the division was relieved by the 32d Division.17

On being relieved, while the troops were tired, their morale was excellent, though practically all were suffering from diarrhea. During the offensive about 700 cases were evacuated for this cause out of a total of 4,800 men tagged by surgeons attached to line organizations of the division. To a small extent the disease had been present from the time that the troops were in the training area. During the movement toward the battle front, sanitary conditions were


592

never satisfactory, and with decrease in safeguards incident to the advance there was a marked tendency to the spread of diarrhea.17

Under road conditions existing during the first four days of the advance the removal of the wounded had been as good as was possible. It is believed that in an advance of this sort field hospitals should be established on the enemy side of the natural line of resistance (in this case No Man’s Land) as soon as it is possible to place them. This natural line of resistance is the site of subsequent traffic jams, and facilities should be available here for treatment of the majority of the wounded. Many evacuations were accomplished by returning trucks direct from ambulance dressing stations through Cheppy to the evacuation hospitals in Froidos and Fleury. Neither time nor men were available to put 6 inches of earth in these trucks, and statements of wounded men were unanimous that truck transportation was extremely uncomfortable.18 Examination of the reports shows that divisional hospital units cared for three-fourths of the divisional casualties and also for many coming to them from adjoining divisions. Evacuation work fell mainly to United States Army Ambulance Service Sections No. 593 and No. 640, which transported about 3,700 patients.18

Summary of work of the field hospital section19

 

91st Division

Others

French

Germans

Brabant, Sept. 25-28:

 

 

 

 

Wounded

342

254

2

25

Gassed

85

34

0

0

Sick

45

127

8

1

Bois de Cheppy, Sept. 29-Oct. 2:

 

 

 

 

Wounded

865

224

3

20

Gassed

229

43

0

0

Sick

439

49

1

0

Near Very, Oct. 3:

 

 

 

 

Wounded

67

14

1

2

Gassed

12

3

0

0

Sick

46

12

0

0

THE 37TH DIVISION

On September 16 the 37th Division was relieved from the Baccarat sector, and moved to the new area around the town of Robert-Espagne. After a rest of four days it proceeded to Recicourt. Two days later the first elements of the division moved north to participate in the Meuse-Argonne operation, which was then about to be launched. Division headquarters were established at Verrieres-en-Hesse farm, 4 km. (2.4 miles) south of Avocourt.20

On the night of September 24-25 the division took its position for the initial attack on a front of a little over 3 km. (1.8 miles), extending east and west, just north of Avocourt.20

On September 26 the attack formation was right to left: 73d Brigade (less headquarters and 2d and 3d Battalions, 146th Infantry); 74th Brigade (less 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry).21

The 146th Infantry, less one battalion, and one battalion of the 148th Infantry and the 134th Machine Gun Battalion constituted the divisional reserve, following on the axis of liaison.21


PLATE XXX


593

The division moved forward from the parallel of departure at 5.30 p. m., September 26, following a rolling barrage, and with comparatively little opposition from the enemy infantry but much machine-gun opposition. The 73d Brigade reached the ridge beyond the north edge of Bois de Montfaucon, and the 74th Brigade penetrated a point of the enemy position about 1 km. (0.6 mile) south of Ivoiry that evening.21

On September 27 the attack commenced at 5.30 a. m., and the success of the preceding day was continued to a general line about 500 meters (545 yards) south of Ivoiry. At about 9 a. m. the advance was temporarily stopped by an enemy counterattack against the 73d Brigade. With the aid of the brigade reserve, this counterattack was driven back and the brigade again moved forward at about 9.30 a. m. At 10.30 a. m. elements of the 74th Brigade entered the town of Ivoiry, in the face of direct enemy artillery and machine-gun fire, and by 11.28 a. m.the 74th Brigade had taken Hill 256, southwest of Ivoiry. The 148th Infantry, under artillery and machine-gun pressure, withdrew from Hill 256 during the afternoon. At 10.30 a. m. patrols of the 73d Brigade were entering Montfaucon, which was still occupied by hostile machine guns. At 11.28 a. m. the enemy from in or near the Bois de Beuge and north of the town of Cierges commenced shelling troops of the division along the entire front, the 145th Infantry receiving fire of direct range. At 12.07 p. m.the intense, heavy enemy artillery and machine-gun fire drove the leading elements of the 147th Infantry back on the Second element. At 1.15 p. m. the division commander directed the 74th Brigade to move forward and occupy the enemy’s second-line position, to organize the position, and to prepare to resist a counterattack. At 1.33 p. m. the 73d Brigade had occupied Montfaucon and cleared it of the enemy. At 5.43 p. m. the 73d Brigade had succeeded in occupying the enemy’s second-line position, and with the aid of captured enemy artillery were able to hold but not advance. At dark, the line halted approximately along the Ivoiry—Montfaucon road.21

September 28, at 7 a. m. the attack was resumed, and 35 minutes later troops of the division entered Bois de Beuge and Bois Emont. The infantry of both brigades continued slowly, and at 10.45 a. m. was approaching Cierges. At 2.55 p. m. the 73d Brigade was holding a line paralleling the Cierges—Nantillois road, and about 200 meters (219 yards) to the south thereof. The 74th Brigade had been counterattacked by infantry, supported by machine guns and artillery, and at 5.25 p. m. it again attacked through and around Bois Emont, which was practically cleared of the enemy, and the troops rested for the night on a line approximately from a point 1.5 km. (0.8 mile) east of Cierges to the eastern edge of Bois de Beuge.3 The men were now much exhausted from being continually wet and from the constant exposure of two days to artillery fire, which at times was very intense for periods of from half an hour to one and one-half hours.21

On September 29, at 7.25 a. m.,the 74th Infantry Brigade moved forward and reached the open ground east of Bois Emont and then reached a line joining the closest points of Bois Emont and Bois de Beuge. Tanks, which


594

accompanied the infantry, turned back from the southeast corner of Bois Emont where they came under a direct, as well as indirect, laying of artillery fire. When the tanks turned, the infantry took shelter in the hills southeast of Bois Emont and remained there. A battalion of the divisional reserve, having got out of place in a move to join the divisional reserve during the night of September 28-29, and having halted in the rear of the extreme left of the 74th Brigade, was then directed by the division commander to proceed forward through the opening of Bois Emont and Bois Communal de Cierges, or through the edges of these woods, to reduce the machine guns west and northwest of Cierges. Leading patrols of the 74th Brigade had succeeded in entering Cierges. The increased artillery fire, only lightly replied to by our artillery, due to lack of ammunition, and the intense machine-gun fire, coming apparently from every elevation north, northeast, and northwest of Cierges, completely stopped the advance of both brigades. The greater part of the 74th Brigade was still on the ridge south of Bois Emont, where it had spent the previous night. Near noon, a counterattack by the enemy, starting apparently from the ridge 2 km. (1.2 miles) north of Cierges, advanced in the direction of Cierges, but was halted by our machine-gun and rifle fire as it came down the south slope of the ridge 1 km. (0.6 mile) north of that place, and turned back. The Bois Emont, Bois de Beuge, and Bois Communal de Cierges were now filled with phosgene and mustard gas, rendering them impassable. This limited the forward passage to the spaces between these woods. Attempts to advance farther at this time were deemed inadvisable, and at 2.12 p. m.the division commander directed that the lines be well dug in and held. This was done on approximately the same line that was held in the morning, the most advanced position.21

Pursuant to Field Orders No. 49, Fifth Corps, September 29, the attack was not continued on September 30, and the day was given over to organization and consolidation of the position then held.21

In the afternoon of October 1 the relief of the 37th Division by the 32d Division was started and was completed at 8.30 p. m.,the same night, the division starting its movement to the new area in the neighborhood of Recicourt.21

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

By September 1 the Medical Department of the 37th Division had been furnished with all the required personnel, matériel, and other supplies. No horse ambulances and no wheel litters were available till some time later, after the Meuse-Argonne operation and when the division was serving in Belgium. Shortage in transportation had an important bearing on its activities.22

On September 25 arrangements for the evacuation of wounded were made as follows: The triage was located at Brabant, a small town about 2 km. (1.2 miles) south of Recicourt. Two field hospitals and the medical supply depot were established in one half of this town, and the two other field hospitals were held here in reserve. The other half of the town was


595

occupied by two field hospitals of the 91st Division. One ambulance company was detailed to the 73d Brigade and another to the 74th. The two other ambulance companies were held in reserve.23

In view of the necessity that artillery and ammunition have right of way, the evacuation of wounded by vehicles was minimized as much as possible for the first 24 hours of the conflict. Regimental surgeons were advised of the conditions and instructed to use such litter bearers as they had, as little ambulance service was to be expected for the first 24 hours.24

FIG. 70.-Advanced dressing station near Avocourt, September 26, 1918

On the 26th the two reserve ambulance companies were ordered to Avocourt, where a dressing station was opened. Bearer sections accompanied the advance and were deployed across the entire division sector, with instructions to collect all wounded and bring them to the dressing station at Avocourt.24

The road from Avocourt leading through enemy trenches was absolutely blocked and impassable for motor transport. This necessitated a long and difficult carry for the bearers and retarded evacuation considerably. During the 26th and the succeeding night about 300 wounded were collected at Avocourt, and were evacuated with difficulty, on account of congested road conditions, to the triage at Brabant. During the night many of the wounded


596

were missed by bearer parties, and dugouts all over the field began to fill with walking wounded from the various regimental and battalion dressing stations.24

By the morning of September 27, when the advance was resumed, it was found that most of the battalion and regimental stations which had accompanied the advance through the forest had collected many casualties which they had been unable to evacuate, as the road remained blocked and ambulances had been unable to come forward. Many wounded had been carried great distances on litters. While the troops had advanced from the Ravin de Chambronne past Montfaucon and had reached the vicinity of Ivoiry, many of the battalion dressing stations, delayed as they were by many wounded, were unable to keep up with them. The situation grew worse hourly, for there developed a great stiffening of the German defense, which increased greatly the number of casualties.25

FIG. 71.-Entrance to dressing station operated by Ambulance Company No. 148, 37th Division, near Cierges, September 26, 1918

A number of the ambulant wounded and bearer parties proceeding to the rear came to a crossroads where the division command post was located, and wounded began to congregate at this point, though there was no medical formation established there to care for them. A forward dressing station was hurriedly established at this point by the medical detachment on duty


597

with the 112th Field Signal Battalion and such other medical officers and men as were in the vicinity, and orders were sent to an ambulance company to proceed to this crossroads and locate a station there immediately. By this time the horse transport of the division (nonmedical) had managed to get through from Avocourt, and upon unloading their supplies of ammunition they were sent to this dressing station and the wounded evacuated in their wagons, then the only available means of transport from this point. The patients were thus carried to Avocourt and from the dressing station there were sent in to Brabant.25

Meanwhile the two reserve ambulance companies had been brought forward. One of these operated two stations, one at crossroads in Bois de Montfaucon and the other on Montfaucon ridge, about 2 km. (1.2 miles) west of the ruined village of that name. The other motor ambulance company occupied some abandoned German dugouts in Ravin de Chambronne. The third ambulance company also established a dressing station in Bois de Chehemin. A number of stations were thus scattered on the field because of lack of transport and the necessity for reducing to the minimum the work of carrying patients by litter, lest bearers, for whom there were no replacements, be exhausted.26

By this time the regimental and battalion dressing stations of the 74th Brigade had advanced, and most of them had taken station in the town of Ivoiry and in a near-by orchard. Regimental and battalion dressing stations of the 73d Brigade advanced and took position in a railroad quarry not far from Bois de Beuge. They were in this position about the time of the withdrawal of the division on October 1.27

On September 28 so many casualties were scattered over the field, notwithstanding the fact that every wagon in the division was carrying wounded to the rear, that the situation became very serious, and strong efforts were made to break through with ambulances from Avocourt on any road leading to the front through other division or corps roads. Two ambulances managed to get through from Avocourt, and six ambulances from the 32d Division appeared and reported to the 37th for duty. These six ambulances had managed to come through on the road leading from Varennes, which was in much better condition than any road which the 37th Division was using. They were loaded with wounded and were dispatched to the rear; it was learned later that they were 72 hours in getting back to Brabant, a distance of about 20 km. (12 miles), over difficult and congested roads and by a roundabout way.26

The advisability that a division be equipped with a limited number of animal-drawn ambulances and wheeled litters became apparent from this experience.26

Orders were now issued that no more motor ambulances be sent to the rear, but be retained at the front. The two reserve field hospitals were ordered from Avocourt, one reaching the ambulance company position in the Ravin de Chambronne and establishing there. This hospital was very close to the front, but no other suitable place presented which had as much protection as


598

had this. On September 29 the two motor ambulances that had succeeded in getting through from Avocourt were used to evacuate the wounded from battalion aid stations through the dressing station at the crossroads. To add to the difficulties, a heavy rain had fallen the day before, and many neighboring dugouts were filled with wounded. A number of these had to lie all night in the rain with only such shelter as could be obtained from tarpaulins, none of which stood up through the night in the storm.27

Before daylight on September 30, the division commander ordered all wagons of the division assembled and concentrated for the evacuation of the wounded. By this means the problem was fully solved. The road through Varennes was relieved of its congestion on the 30th, ambulances managed to get through, and evacuation ran more smoothly, with the result that by October 1 most of the wounded had been evacuated. The sanitary train remained on the field through October 2, reaching all dugouts and shelters and collecting the remaining wounded. It was relieved on that day by the sanitary train of the 32d Division and proceeded to Brabant.27

THE 79TH DIVISION

Beginning on the night of September 16-17, 1918, the 79th Division took over the Montfaucon sector, extending from west of Avocourt to southeast of Haucourt, relieving the French 157th Division.28

On September 25 the original front occupied by the 79th Division was contracted so that the western boundary was the western edge of Bois d’Avocourt.29

On September 26 the infantry attack commenced promptly at 5.30 a. m.The 313th Infantry effected the necessary openings and went forward without much difficulty, except for the fact that the nature of the terrain over which the troops of this regiment had to pass made it impossible to keep up with the barrage, and the regiment soon lost its protection. The advance progressed satisfactorily until about 8 a. m.,when it was temporarily retarded by enemy machine-gun fire and high-explosive shelling. At 1 p. m.the advance was held up in front of the western edge of the Bois de Cuisy by heavy machine-gun fire and high-explosive shell fire. Reorganization was soon made, however, and the western edge of the Bois de Cuisy was taken at 4 p. m.,with the aid of tanks which had come up at that time. The advance was continued, and at 6 p. m.the northern edge of the woods was gained. Darkness was coming on, but in compliance with instructions from the corps headquarters the regiment took the enemy’s strong position near Montfaucon, with the assistance of two tanks. After suffering heavy casualties, the regiment withdrew to the edge of the woods, at which point it bivouacked for the night.29

The 314th Infantry, on the right, had difficulty from the beginning of the attack. In some places the troops were unable to get through the wire in the time allotted; also the unusually rough condition of the ground in the immediate front of the regiment caused the men to fall behind the barrage at the


PLATE XXXI


599

outset, and as a result they obtained no protection therefrom at all. The advance continued, during which clouds of thick fog and heavy smoke in the ravines and drawheads caused many enemy machine-gun nests to be passed unnoticed. When, at 10 a. m.,the fog lifted, the regiment was subjected to enemy machine-gun fire from all points of the compass. The remainder of the day was occupied in clearing out these nests by the rear elements of the regiment, though at the same time the advance was continued. At 6 to 7 p. m.the regiment was organized for further advance, but because of impending darkness a halt was ordered and the regiment bivouacked for the night.29

The road conditions made traffic extremely difficult. Apparently no reconnaissance had been made in advance to examine the road situation, and the one road previously allotted to this division was entirely inadequate for the program the division had to carry out. A very bad traffic block ensued as a result, and the division roads were continually blocked throughout the operation.29

On September 27 the 313th and 314th Regiments of Infantry had begun anew the advance of the previous day. From 5 a. m.on it was raining, and the road situation was becoming worse. Roads had to be constructed over shell holes which were practically contiguous, and it was not possible for the horse artillery to get through. In addition, the road situation at Malancourt was such, due to the use of the Malancourt—Montfaucon road by both the 79th and the 4th Divisions, that when the accompanying artillery did arrive there it could not get through, and the attack proceeded without any effective artillery support until about noon, when the two battalions of the 147th Field Artillery were able to pass and take up an advance position. Nevertheless, the 313th Infantry moved out of the woods and began its attack on Montfaucon at 7 a. m.and at 11.50 a. m.Montfaucon was in its possession. At 3.30 p. m.the attack was renewed. The advance continued under heavy fire from Bois de Beuge to the north until 6 p. m.,when the enemy fire became so severe and the losses so heavy that, because of this and the exhausted condition of the troops, the regiment was halted in position for the night.29

The 314th Infantry was directed to push ahead at an earlier hour than that ordered for the attack of the 313th Infantry, and accordingly began its advance at 4 a. m.on the 27th. Good progress was made before dawn, but because of the darkness, as had happened the day before, enemy machine-gun nests were passed unnoticed necessitating their being silenced subsequently by rear elements of the regiment. On the regiment’s right flank near Cuisy severe machine-gun fire was encountered, but was overcome without much artillery assistance. North of Montfaucon strong resistance was encountered, so the regiment was reorganized to attack Nantillois from the right flank and to come in by the north of the town. Attempts all during the afternoon failed to take Nantillois, chiefly because of the very heavy shell fire coming from all over the front and because of the exhaustion of the troops, who had obtained no supplies of any kind since the advance


600

began. Bivouac for the night of September 27-28 was made about one-half kilometer (0.3 mile) north of Montfaucon.29

On the night of September 27-28 the troops of the 313th and 314th Infantry were relieved to enable them to obtain food and rest, neither of which had they had since the beginning of the advance. The 315th Infantry relieved the 314th on the right and the 316th relieved the 313th on the left of the division sector.29

On September 28 the attack was begun at 7 a. m., after artillery preparation. The 316th Infantry, on the left, moved out against the Bois de Beuge, and the 315th Infantry, on the right, against Nantillois. The advance of both regiments was over open ground, raked by shrapnel and high-explosive shell fire. The 316th Infantry was also under heavy machine-gun fire from the Bois de Beuge, as well. The advance nevertheless continued, and at 2 p. m. the 316th Infantry had progressed through the Bois de Beuge, over an open valley beyond, and to the woods north of Hill 268.29

The 315th Infantry, on the right, had entered Nantillois by 10.50 a. m.,and after being re-formed and given a short rest on the high ground north of the town, it advanced on Madeleine Ferme, to the north. Heavy enfilade artillery fire was met throughout, especially to the south edge of the woods to the north of Nantillois. The regiment was unable to get through and retired to the southern slope of Hill 274, bivouacking there for the night.29

On September 29 the attack was again renewed, with the 316th Infantry on the left and the 315th Infantry on the right. The artillery fire was very intense over the entire front, especially on the right sector. The troops began to attack at 7 a. m.The right battalion of the 316th Infantry succeeded in reaching the western edge of the Bois des Ogons and in clearing it of machine guns. The 315th Infantry, on the right, advancing also at 7 a. m.,was able to get into the Bois des Ogons but was unable to hold it, owing to the enemy fire, and it withdrew again to Hill 274, entrenching on its reverse slope.29

At 12.30 p. m.the 316th Infantry effectives had been so reduced that it had not many more than 1,000 men, who had become somewhat disorganized during the advance. In consequence, the 313th Infantry replaced it, and the 316th Infantry was reorganized into one battalion to follow the 313th at 800 meters (872 yards). This arrangement was completed, but because of the physical condition of the troops the division commander ordered a withdrawal to a line running along the northern edge of Bois de Beuge, there to take a halting position. This was done at about 4 p. m.29

On September 30 the 79th Division was assigned to the Third Corps. It was relieved by the 3d Division and was assembled in the region south of Montfaucon, thereafter being withdrawn to a concentration point south of the Avocourt—Esnes road.8, 29

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

The 304th Sanitary Train, less Field Hospitals No. 314 and No. 315, had encamped at Gedeon about 12.30 a. m.on the night of September 16. On September 25, 40 litter bearers from each of the 4 ambulance companies were


601

assigned to report to the four Infantry regiments to facilitate liaison and evacuation. Ambulance Company No. 313 located an advance dressing station at Morigny. Ambulance Company No. 315 established a dressing station at Cesar, where United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 506 was also stationed. Ambulance Company No. 316 operated at Gedeon a station for the slightly wounded. A group consisting of 1 officer and 10 enlisted men was placed at Camp Seiville by Ambulance Company No. 316 to transfer any wounded from the 40-cm. railroad to the 60-cm. line. Animal-drawn ambulances of this company were stationed at Dombasle to receive the slightly wounded who were expected to come down on the narrow-gauge railroad. United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 502 was operating at Gedeon, where the dressing station of Ambulance Company No. 314 was held in reserve.30 Field Hospitals No. 314 and No. 315 were stationed at Les Clairs Chenes, the former operating as a gas hospital and the latter as a triage. Field Hospital No. 313 was at Gedeon, its equipment loaded on trucks and ready to move. The personnel and officers of Field Hospital No. 316 were held in readiness at camp "A," at Gedeon. Although several sick were evacuated, there were no casualties or missing prior to the operation.30

On September 26 Ambulance Company No. 313 and United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 502 moved to a point south of the Esnes—Avocourt road where, for 30 hours, they operated and evacuated a dressing station. Ambulance Company No. 314 moved its dressing station to the post of command at Zouave and operated there for 24 hours, assisted by United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 506. The position of the 316th Ambulance Company’s advance dressing station was not changed. Field hospitals made no change in station or capacity.30

On September 27 the dressing station of Ambulance Company No. 315 and United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 506 were moved to a point on the Malancourt—Montfaucon road close to the lines. Ambulances of the 316th Company (animal-drawn) were also brought to this point. In the afternoon Ambulance Company No. 314 opened a dressing station between Montfaucon and Nantillois, where it operated until the following morning, when shelling was so heavy that patients were endangered. The company was then moved back to Montfaucon, where it operated a station on the southern edge of the town, having left a detail to complete evacuation from the former location. Ambulance Company No. 313 operated as before in conjunction with United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 502.31

On September 28, as an accumulation of wounded was reported at Fayel Ferme, the dressing stations of Ambulance Companies No. 313 and No. 315 were ordered there to assist in the care and removal of the wounded, and later in the morning the whole of Ambulance Company No. 316 joined them at this place. United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 506 moved with them, its vehicle being used to evacuate wounded by Ambulance Company No. 314, and established a dressing station on the southern edge of Montfaucon.31 Field Hospital No. 314 operated at Les Clairs Chenes as on previous days. Field Hospital No. 315 (triage) also operated at this place until


602

FIG. 72.-Field Hospitals No. 314 and No. 315, 79th Division, at Les Clairs Chenes


603

2.30 p. m.,when verbal orders were given for its personnel to move to the vicinity of Malancourt to establish and operate a triage with the equipment of Field Hospital No. 313. Officers and enlisted personnel of the latter and of Field Hospital No. 316 assisted in the operation of this triage, established the same afternoon at Fayel Ferme.31 As road congestion was such that great difficulty was experienced in evacuating patients, field hospitals were overflowing, and there were no satisfactory means of clearing them. Many patients, however, were loaded on ambulances and trucks, after being given food and hot drinks, and were started rearward.31

On September 29 the dressing station personnel of Ambulance Company No. 314 operated as heretofore, while dressing station personnel of Ambulance Companies Nos. 313, 315, and 316 worked in conjunction with the field hospitals at Fayel Ferme. United States Army Ambulance Service Sections No. 502 and No. 506 were based at this point, to which they evacuated patients.31 Field Hospital No. 314 operated as formerly. Assisted by officers and enlisted personnel of Field Hospitals No. 313 and No. 316, Field Hospital No. 315 operated the triage at Fayel Ferme until about 3 p. m.,at which time the area was shelled. After 8 or 10 shells had fallen, orders were given for the evacuation of patients to points of safety. Until this time the hospitals had been greatly congested, for slightly wounded men had walked in from all directions. This congestion was due chiefly to lack of transportation, attributable, in turn, to the blocking of ambulances on crowded roads. So far as possible, patients were loaded on vehicles, but Ambulance Companies Nos. 313, 315, and 316, as well as hospital personnel, now carried patients by litter practically day and night until this site was evacuated. Field Hospitals No. 313 and No. 316 were then ordered to evacuate to Malancourt and there to open a triage, while Field Hospital No. 315, with its personnel and officers, was ordered to return to Les Clairs Chenes to reestablish the triage formerly operated there.32

On September 30 Ambulance Companies Nos. 313, 315, and 316 moved with the triage from Malancourt toward Avocourt at a point on the Malancourt—Avocourt road. Ambulance Company No. 314 operated as on the preceding day. United States Army Ambulance Service Sections No. 502 and No. 506 were stalled on the road with all other transportation, the road being blocked for more than 24 hours. Field Hospital No. 314 operated as on the previous day. Field Hospital No. 315 was en route from Malancourt to Les Clairs Chenes. Field Hospitals No. 313 and No. 316, which operated the triage at Malancourt until about 2.30 p. m.,were then ordered to Avocourt. A considerable number of patients had been cared for before that hour, though it had been necessary to bring them in by litter the entire distance from Montfaucon to Malancourt. At the latter station patients were loaded on every available means of transportation of whatever character, and litter bearers were sent in all directions to bring into this triage all patients found between Montfaucon and Malancourt.33


604

On October 1 Ambulance Companies Nos. 313, 314, 315, and 316 were ordered to camp "A," at Gedeon, and United States Army Ambulance Service Sections No. 502 and No. 506, after unloading patients at evacuation hospitals, were ordered to join them there. Field Hospital No. 314 operated as on the preceding day, while Field Hospital No. 315 conducted the triage at Les Clairs Chenes. Field Hospitals No. 313 and No. 316 were ordered to camp "A," at Gedeon.34

The following notes are copied from the Medical Department report of the 79th Division:34

When action began in this sector on September 26 the divisional triage was about 16 km. (10 miles) behind the lines at les Clairs Chenes, with ambulance dressing stations as already indicated. Regimental medical units were apportioned equally to battalions, or as necessity required, usually in the proportion of two medical officers and as many enlisted men as were needed. Regimental detachments followed up the infantry, often going over with it, from one cover to another, so that as soon as a man was injured he was given first aid, including the application of splints.34

Road conditions were very bad, the only available evacuation route being the axial road of the corps, so that with supply trains, ammunition trains, artillery, etc., ambulances had great difficulty in getting to and from the front. Dressing stations were located in dugouts or wherever other cover could be found. Because of congestion on the only available evacuation route, motor ambulances were held up for 36 and, on one occasion, for 48 hours. When word was received that a road block was delaying ambulances, animal-drawn vehicles were rushed to the scene and, by driving out of the road through mud, bushes, and shell holes, they expedited to a great extent the removal of wounded. Because of their ability to go where motor vehicles could not, these animal-drawn vehicles were instrumental in saving many lives.35

All vehicles going to the rear were loaded with the wounded to be taken to the triage, which had a bed capacity of about 800. A 30-cm. railroad was also used successfully in evacuating the wounded to this point, where they were given prompt but sufficient attention and were supplied with hot drinks, cakes, cigarettes, etc., by the Red Cross representative stationed there.35

When the division was withdrawn it left one field hospital at les Clairs Chenes for two days to care for the wounded who might still be brought in. Of the 40 original ambulances, only 12 were in condition to make the trip to the divisional rest area without undergoing preliminary repairs.36

THE 3D DIVISION

On the night of September 25-26, the 3d Division took position in the northeast corner of the Foret de Hesse, constituting a portion of the corps reserve of the Third Corps.37

On September 29, the division was placed at the disposal of the Fifth Corps and on the 30th moved into the front line, relieving the 79th Division


605

and taking over its sector. This relief was completed at 6 p. m.,on the 30th, with the 5th Brigade in the front line and the 6th Brigade still in reserve. The 57th Artillery Brigade and the 304th Engineers were attached to the 3d Division. On completion of the relief of the 79th Division, the 3d Division occupied the sector bounded on the east by Nantillois—Cunel (inclusive), and on the west by Bois de Beuge (inclusive)—Romagne (exclusive).37

On September 30, the division front extended approximately from Cierges to Nantillois.38 During the remainder of this phase of the Meuse-Argonne operation, there was considerable enemy artillery fire while the division held this sector, and but little movement of the line, except on the right, where an advance of 800 meters (872 yards) was made.37

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

From September 18 to 26 the sanitary train of the division remained in Bois de la Cote, 2 km. (1.2 miles) southwest of Vadelaincourt.38 Thence it moved to Bois des Placys and on the 27th to Bethelainville. Train headquarters remained at the latter place until October 5, but the ambulance section headquarters moved on October 1 to a position 1.6 km. (1 mile) southeast of Montfaucon, where it remained until October 4 awaiting further orders.39 On October 1 Ambulance Company No. 5 moved to a point the same distance south of that town and camped about 500 meters (545 yards) from the road, evacuating until October 4 a few patients from regimental stations to the hospitals at Souilly.40 Ambulance Company No. 7 bivouacked on the Malancourt—Montfaucon road, about 1 km (0.6 mile) east of the latter place.40 Ambulance Company No. 26 camped at a point 1 km. (0.6 mile) north of Malancourt, and Ambulance Company No. 27 took position in abandoned trenches south of Montfaucon. All these units remained in these locations until October 4, when the second phase of the operation began. Field hospitals had moved to Malancourt and were parked there until the 4th.41

THE 32D DIVISION

On September 26, the 32d Division was in the Fifth Corps Reserve, and on that date the plan was to have the division garrison the original front of the Fifth Army Corps; that is, the old line passing through No Man’s Land. Divisional troops were distributed generally convenient for fulfilling their missions. The division command post was removed to Verrieres Farm.42

During the night of September 29-30, the movement was begun for this division to relieve the 37th Division in the vicinity of Ivoiry. During the day of the 30th and the night of September 30-October 1, all the elements of the 37th Division were relieved by the 32d Division, so that on the morning of October 1, the 32d Division occupied the sector, the front line of which extended about 0.5 km. (0.3 mile) south of the village of Cierges.42 This line exposed our troops in the open, and in consequence, on October 1, the front line


606

was advanced to a point about 0.5 km. (0.3 mile) north of the village of Cierges.42

On October 3, the 32d Division relieved the 91st Division on the left, and it was relieved, in part, by the 3d Division on the right.42

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

Pursuant to corps orders, Field Hospital No. 128 was established September 25 for corps sick in the vicinity of Ville-sur-Cousances, and a station for the slightly wounded was opened at Jubecourt by personnel of Field Hospital No. 128 on the following day. On September 27, Ambulance Company No. 125 was assigned to temporary duty with the 79th Division, Ambulance Company No. 126 to the 37th Division, and Ambulance Company No. 127 to the 91st Division, continuing with these divisions until the 32d entered the line, when they rejoined it.43 Horse-drawn ambulances were distributed to Infantry regiments. On September 29, Field Hospital No. 125 was established near Recicourt, for slightly wounded and sick. On October 2, Field Hospitals No. 126 and No. 127, which had moved to the vicinity of Varennes, were established at the southern edge of Bois de Chehemin, southwest of Montfaucon, the former receiving gassed and sick and the latter functioning as triage and advance surgical hospital for nontransportable wounded. These hospitals were kept in juxtaposition throughout this action. Field Hospital No. 128, for divisional sick, was advanced to Recicourt. On October 4, Field Hospital No. 125 was ordered to establish in the vicinity of Very, where it acted both as a hospital for the sick and wounded and as an auxiliary triage for that part of the division sector. Meanwhile Ambulance Company No. 125 had established a dressing station at Montfaucon, Ambulance Company No. 126 another at Very, and Ambulance Company No. 127 still another at Ivoiry. A station for slightly wounded, operated by personnel of Ambulance Company No. 128, was located near the divisional post control, and later another was opened near the intersection of the Cheppy—Montfaucon and Very—Avocourt roads. Subsequently, dressing stations were advanced to La Grange-aux-Bois Ferme.43 Though the wounded who were unable to walk were usually removed by litter from regimental and battalion aid stations, in many instances they were brought out by ambulances penetrating to these formations.44 Evacuation from the front lines was usually prompt and satisfactory. In some cases evacuation from divisional to corps and army hospitals was delayed by traffic conditions and at times by the lack of sufficient ambulances, but no unusual or extraordinary delay occurred.

Patients received refreshment and were given opportunity to rest at battalion and regimental aid stations whenever possible.44

REFERENCES

(1) F. O. No. 31, Fifth Army Corps, September 21, 1918.

(2) Daily operations reports, Fifth Corps, Meuse-Argonne operation.

(3) Map showing daily position of front line, Meuse-Argonne operation, G-3, G. H. Q., May 24, 1919.


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(4) F. O. No. 44 (a), Fifth Corps, September 27, 1918.

(5) Chronological statement of events, Fifth Corps, Meuse-Argonne operation.

(6) F. O. No. 45, Fifth Corps, September 28, 1918.

(7) F. O. No. 49, Fifth Corps, September 29, 1918.

(8) F. O. No. 50, Fifth Corps, September 30, 1918.

(9) F. O. No. 55, Fifth Corps, October 3, 1918.

(10) Report of Medical Department activities, Fifth Army Corps, A. E. F., by Col. W. R. Eastman, M. C., corps surgeon, December 10, 1918, 5. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(11) Plan of Evacuation of sick and wounded, Fifth Army Corps, September 24, 1918. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(12) Report of Medical Department activities, Fifth Army Corps, A. E. F., by Col. W. R. Eastman, M. C., corps surgeon, December 10, 1918, 8. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(13) Memorandum No. 18, Hdqrs., Fifth Army Corps, A. E. F., corps surgeon’s office, September 24, 1918. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(14) 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 (91st Division).

(15) Report of operations, 91st Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, October 16, 1918.

(16) Report of Medical Department activities, 91st Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, 4. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(17) Ibid., 5.

(18) Ibid., 6.

(19) Ibid., 20.

(20) 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 (37th Division).

(21) Report of operations, 37th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, October 24, 1918.

(22) Report of Medical Department activities, 37th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part II, 1. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(23) Ibid., Part II, 2.

(24) Ibid., Part II, 3.

(25) Ibid., Part II, 4.

(26) Ibid., Part II, 5.

(27) Ibid., Part II, 6.

(28) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared by the Historical Section, the Army War College. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College, 1700 (79th Division).

(29) Report of operations, 79th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, November 20, 1918.

(30) Report of Medical Department activities, 79th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, 24. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(31) Ibid., 25.

(32) Ibid., 26.

(33) Ibid., 27.

(34) Ibid., 10.

(35) Ibid., 11.

(36) Ibid., 12.

(37) Special operations report, 3d Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.

(38) Report of Medical Department activities, 3d Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part II, 11. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.


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(39) Ibid., 17.

(40) Ibid., 18.

(41) Ibid., 20.

(42) Report on operations of the 32d Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.

(43) Report of Medical Department activities, 32d Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part II, 14. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(44) Ibid., Part II, 15.