U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History
Skip Navigation, go to content

HISTORY OF THE OFFICE OF MEDICAL HISTORY

AMEDD BIOGRAPHIES

AMEDD CORPS HISTORY

BOOKS AND DOCUMENTS

HISTORICAL ART WORK & IMAGES

MEDICAL MEMOIRS

AMEDD MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS External Link, Opens in New Window

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORIES

THE SURGEONS GENERAL

ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE SURGEON GENERAL

AMEDD UNIT PATCHES AND LINEAGE

THE AMEDD HISTORIAN NEWSLETTER

Chapter XXV

Field Operations, Table of Contents

CHAPTER XXV

 SECOND PHAS — Continued

FIRST CORPS

On October 4, an attack was launched by the First Corps with, from left to right, the 77th, 28th, and 1st Divisions, all with four regiments in line. The 82d Division (less Artillery), in the vicinity of Varennes, and the French 5th Cavalry at Le Claon, were held in reserve. With no artillery preparation, the Infantry, accompanied by tanks and preceded by a rolling barrage, left the point of departure at 5.25 a. m. The 1st Division, overcoming strong resistance, captured Montrefagne woods. The 28th Division advanced its right brigade at Chehery on the east bank of the Aire, but its left brigade and the 77th Division, viciously opposed by machine guns, and under a heavy counterbarrage which inflicted serious losses on them, were unable to advance.1

On October 5, the 1st Division, after an advance of 2 km. (1.2 miles) succeeded in taking Ferme d’Arietal and in occupying Hill 240 in force.1

During the night October 6-7, the Bois de Moncy was cleared of the enemy by our troops who had worked around from the west. The 82d Division, with Artillery (which had rejoined the division at Varennes on the afternoon of October 5), had been brought up to the front line during the night.1

On October 7, at 5 a. m., the 82d Division attacked on the 28th Division front, between Fleville, exclusive, and Chatel Chehery. Between Chatel Chehery and Apremont one regiment of the 28th Division was in line and aided in this flank attack on the forest. During the afternoon, Hills 180, 223, 244, and Chatel Chehery were captured, and the enemy was forced to evacuate Le Chene Tondu, but clung with great tenacity to the high ground above Chatel Chehery and Cornay, causing heavy losses among our assaulting troops. At 5 p. m., the 1st Division passed under the temporary command of the Fifth Corps.1

On October 8, the attack was resumed, and resulted in moderate irregular advances.1

Early in the morning of October 9, a brigade of the 82d Division, held in reserve, was brought up, and relieved the 28th Division, which moved to the vicinity of Varennes.1

On October 10, one regiment of the 82d Division relieved elements of the 1st Division east of the Aire on the line Fleville—west edge of Bois de Boyon; and the 78th Division, which had been in the First Corps area for several days, was assigned to the corps and moved up to the front area. During the night October 10-11, the enemy withdrew all but a few units to the north bank of the Aire River, and thence their line ran east to the woods north of Sommerance. During all these operations the advance was greatly hindered by the destruction of roads in the northeastern part of the Argonne.1


638

At this period it was considered probable that the enemy line might be broken, in view of which eventuality the French 5th Cavalry Division and the 78th Division were brought up in close reserve, ready to exploit any such success. However, while the 82d Division advanced their right to Sommerance and to the town of St. Juvin, the 77th met determined resistance from the northern part of Grandpre, and the wooded ridges beyond, which effectually prevented its progress.1

On October 14, at 8.30 a. m. the 77th and 82d Divisions attacked and advanced about 2 km. (1.2 miles) and took Hill 182, occupied Le Ravin-aux-Pierres and the road to St. Georges, at the same time establishing a position north of the Aire. Flanking artillery fire from enemy batteries in the Bois de Bourgogne and wire in the vicinity of St. Juvin caused us losses and considerable delay.1

A continuation of the attack of the First Corps with objectives Imecourt—Alliepont—north edge of Bois des Loges—Haute Batis Ferme, was directed. On October 15, but without success, because the enemy positions in the Bois des Loges and Bois de Bourgogne were too strongly organized and their concentration of artillery too effective, the attack was made. During the night of October 15-16 the 77th Division was relieved by the 78th Division.1

On the morning of October 16 the 78th Division attacked and succeeded in occupying the lower part of Grandpre, but could realize no further progress.1

From now until the end of the month careful preparations were made, including local operations, looking toward the acquisition of positions tactically more advantageous. The 78th Division drove the enemy from the southern ridge of Bois de Bourgogne and occupied Talma Ferme and Bellejoyeuse Ferme. The 82d Division took possession of the northern slope of Ravin-aux-Pierres. The 77th Division was held in reserve. The 80th Division, which had arrived in the First Corps area on October 25, was assigned to the right half of the sector of the 82d Division, the relief of which division by the 80th Division and the 77th Division, except for an outpost screen, was effected during the night October 30-31.1

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

Evacuation from the front was continued by the methods and to the hospitals noted in the history of the First Corps in the first phase of this operation (p. 525).

Evacuation Hospital No. 14 moved forward to Les Islettes on October 7. While this move did not materially alter the situation otherwise on the left flank, it was of considerable value in shortening hauls. Army Red Cross Hospital No. 110, at Villers-Daucourt, never received large numbers of patients owing to its position on the inactive flank. Evacuation Hospital No. 10, at Froidos, and Army Red Cross Hospital No. 114, at Fleury, on the more active eastern flank, received most of the cases.

On October 17 Mobile Hospital No. 6 was established in a field just outside of and north of Varennes, on the main road, where it was rather far back for service to nontransportable wounded but much more accessible than


639

formerly. On the same date the corps rest camp moved to the same point and continued to function as before until the armistice was signed. It was very active, retaining as many cases as possible but sending those needing further care to Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt, and to Evacuation Hospital No. 16 and Base Hospital No. 83, at Revigny.2

On October 24 the following plan of evacuation of sick and wounded was published in annex 8, Field Order 85, First Corps. This continued in effect throughout this and the third phase of the operation.

* * * * * * *

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:

78th Division, vicinity of Marcq.
77th Division, vicinity of St. Juvin.
80th Division, vicinity of St. Georges.

These stations will be provided with cut-out on the traffic route for the purpose of avoiding traffic congestion. Officers will see that such provisions are carried out and that the traffic is free at all times.

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

(c) Evacuation points.—

All troops of First Corps and within its sector

Nontransportable

Mobile Hospital No. 6, 1 km. NE. of Varennes.

Mobile Hospital No. 2, Chateau Salvange.

Mobile Hospital No. 4, La Grange-aux-Bois.

Seriously wounded (lying)

Evacuation Hospital No. 14, Les Islettes.

A. R. C. Hospital No. 110, Villers-Daucourt.

Evacuation Hospital No. 11, Brizeaux.

Evacuation Hospital No. 10, Froidos.

A. R. C. Hospital No. 114, Fleury.

Gassed

Gas Hospital No. 4, Rarecourt.

A. R. C. Hospital No. 110, Villers-Daucourt.

Slightly wounded (sitting)

Evacuation Hospital No. 9, Vaubecourt, by way of First Corps relay station, 1 km. NE. of Varennes.

Sick

To First Corps rest camp and relay station, 1 km. NE. of Varennes.

Base Hospital No. 83, at Revigny.

Neurological cases

Nubecourt.

Contagious diseases

Verrieres.

French

Sick, wounded, and gassed

A. R. C. No. 110, Villers-Daucourt.

(d) Evacuation routes.—

To hospital NE. of Varennes, St. Georges—St. Juvin—Fleville—Baulny—to destination.

Marcq—Cornay—Chatel Chehery—La Forge—Pleinchamp Ferme—thence south via Baulyn to destination.

To hospitals at Les Islettes, La Grange-aux-Bois, Verrieres, Villers-Daucourt, by routes prescribed above to Baulny, thence via Varennes—Neuvilly—Clermont—Les Islettes—La Grange-aux-Bois—Ste. Menehould—Verrieres to destination.


640

To hospitals at Rarecourt, Chateau Salvange, Froidos, Fleury, and Nubecourt, via Baulny—Varennes—Neuvilly—Clermont—Auzeville—Rarecourt—Froidos, and Fleury to destination.

To hospitals at Brizeaux-Forestieres, and Vaubecourt, via Baulny—Varennes—Clermont—Les Islettes—Futeau—Brizeaux-Forestieres to destination.

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

(f) The sanitary units of the Eighty-second Division will be held subject to the call of the corps surgeon for use where needed. If this division reinforces the line, it will use the sanitary organizations 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 Eighty-second Division and those of the corps.

(h) The corps surgeon is at present located at No. 89 Rue Basse, Rarecourt, telephone number "Buster 15." Commanding officer, corps sanitary train, is located at No. 60, Rue Basse, Rarecourt, telephone "Buster 36."

2. Army medical supply parks.

Park E at Les Islettes.
Park C at Souilly.
Park D at Vaubecourt.

* * * * * * *

8. Evacuation of animals.

(a) Division collecting stations will be established by each division to which sick and wounded animals will be evacuated within the division. The location of these collecting stations will be reported to the corps veterinarian (Buster 39) immediately.

(b) Corps advance collecting point, in bend of river, one-half km. north of Varennes.

(c) Army evacuation station, Aubreville.

(d) Evacuation routes.

1. From division collecting stations to corps advance collecting point overland, avoiding prescribed traffic routes. By corps unless otherwise ordered.

2. From corps collecting point to army evacuation station—Varennes—Cote des Perrieres—Pte. Boureuilles—Rochamp Ferme—Abancourt Ferme—Cross the Neuvilly—Clermont road south of Neuvilly bridge, thence south two and one-half km. to crossroads on the Neuvilly—Clermont road (keeping to trail on east side of road), thence east to Aubreville. By corps.

(e) Details of evacuation from the division collecting station will be arranged by division veterinarians directly with the corps veterinarians.

(f) In case of necessity, the corps veterinarian may call upon the corps remount officer for seventy-five (75) mounted men to assist in evacuations.

* * * * * * *

The procedure for burials was covered by paragraph 11 of the same order, the only change from previous orders being provisions that two companies of Pioneer Infantry be detailed to each division in line instead of one as heretofore. They worked as before under the division sanitary inspector. Burial of dead during the Meuse-Argonne operation was performed very satisfactorily in the First Corps by this method. Dead horses gave much more trouble, but these also were disposed of with gratifying promptness. Sanitary conditions were very much improved. There were some cases of intestinal diseases, but they were never as numerous or severe as in the Chateau-Thierry region.

The chief surgeon of the corps reported that: Aside from road congestion the other feature giving us most trouble was the scattering of evacuation hospitals over a wide area. The difficulties resulting from this have been


641

previously discussed and need not be repeated. Grouping of evacuation hospitals to the utmost practicable limit is much to be desired. This would probably have been difficult to accomplish in the Argonne, but nevertheless the principle remains the same. In future operations of a similar character every effort should be made to secure this concentration.3

The system for evacuation of wounded prescribed in memorandum dated September 18 and quoted above in the history of the First Corps during the first phase of the Meuse-Argonne operation would have proved very satisfactory had the corps retained the same divisions permanently, or even for a considerable time. Sometimes, however, divisions were not in the corps long enough to familiarize themselves with the order in question.

THE 77TH DIVISION

On October 4, at 5.30 a. m. the Infantry of the division attacked the enemy strong position. Enemy machine guns were still in position and fire from them was encountered immediately. On this occasion the French attacked in conjunction with our left, but their advance was again checked. Because of the location of the enemy machine-gun nests they were difficult to take, and owing to their number, our determined local attacks only resulted in heavy casualties. The aim of the 54th Brigade was to advance to the line held by the "Lost Battalion" at Charlevaux Mill. Recognizing the fact that passage through the enemy wire and trenches, even after a careful artillery preparation, would probably be unsuccessful, one battalion of the 307th Infantry was directed to move well to the right and endeavor to pass by a ravine around the left flank of the enemy wire, flanking him out and cutting his rear in the attempt to reach the "Lost Battalion" by this means. Late in the afternoon two companies of the 307th Infantry succeeded in passing through the wire by the left flank of the enemy position, and by nightfall had found the battalion. With the exception of the changed position of these two companies, the division line was the same as it had been on the previous day.4

On October 5, the attempt to advance was continued. The left of the 154th Brigade simply made a demonstration, as was the case along the front of the 307th Infantry, while to the extreme right of the 307th Infantry the attempt to pass around the flank was resumed. This movement progressed very slightly owing to the resistance met with, and to the fact that from time to time the troops encountered light wire around which they had to work, but the advance progressed steadily, and by nightfall an entire battalion was on the flank of the enemy’s position, working toward the "Lost Battalion." On the left of the position, in front of the 308th Infantry, no progress had been made by 11.30 a. m. An attack with one battalion of the 307th Infantry and a part of the 308th Infantry was then launched. On this occasion the French were to have assisted us, under arrangements made by higher authority. This assistance failed to come, however, and our attack, which lasted from 2.30 to 5 p. m., was unsuccessful.4


642

On October 6 the attempt to break the enemy lines and relieve the "Lost Battalion" was continued. On the part of the 307th Infantry (154th Brigade) there was a demonstration against the enemy front by one battalion and the battalion which had passed by the flank continued its advance toward the "Lost Battalion." This movement was extremely slow because of the determined resistance of the enemy and the difficulties of the terrain over which the advance was being made. In front of the 308th Infantry an attack was again launched by part of the divisional reserve and of the 308th Infantry. This attack again failed and our troops were retired to the position from which they started. Late in the evening of the 6th word was received that the flanking elements of the 307th Infantry were well to the front and were approaching the "Lost Battalion."4

On October 7, while the 307th Infantry was approaching the "Lost Battalion," word was received that the 308th Infantry had penetrated the enemy position and had reached and relieved this battalion. At the end of the day the entire command of the 154th Brigade was on a line which extended generally northeast from the direction of Charlevaux Mill. The 153d Brigade had pursued the withdrawing enemy and had established their line north of the road west of the crossroads at La Viergette, thus making an advance of about 2 km. (1.2 miles).4, 5

On October 8, the right brigade (l53d) continued its advance north of La Viergette and by night had established its line along a narrow-gauge railroad in Bois de Chatel. The brigade on the left (154th) spent the day in reorganizing its forces and in resting.4

On October 9 the advance continued steadily, though slowly, through Foret d’Argonne.4

On October 10, the 153d Infantry Brigade lead the advance of the division, being supported by the 154th Infantry Brigade. The objective for the day's attack was a line of hills south of the Aire River. The 306th Infantry on the left and the 305th Infantry on the right advanced through La Besogne to the Aire River at Chevieres and Marcq, one battalion of the 306th Infantry going northwest of the woods just south of the river at Grandpre. During the night following, the river was crossed by patrols, one of which made its way into the town of Grandpre.4

On the morning of the 11th there was a reorganization of the division front so that again the 154th Brigade was in the front line, the 307th Infantry on the right, and the 308th Infantry on the left. The general line occupied by the command at this time was the edge of the Bois de Negremont, south of Grandpre, to the edge of the woods immediately south of Chevieres, with detachments forward along the line of the railroad and the road immediately south of the Aire River, and in Chevieres.4

On October 12 attempts were made to cross the Aire, which was without bridges or fords other than immediately in front of Grandpre and Chevieres. These attempts were unsuccessful, being repulsed by heavy machine-gun fire and by artillery and rifle fire from the heights north of the Aire River.4


PLATE XXXVI


 643

On October 13 the troops of the 154th Brigade rested and were reorganized. The 153d Brigade, while holding the line along the south bank of the Aire River, was prepared to launch an attack on St. Juvin from the south and east. Accordingly, the 306th Infantry was moved to a position 1 km. (0.6 mile) west of Cornay, preparatory to the attack.4

On October 14, at 8.30 a. m., the 306th Infantry started the attack, its first battalion advancing through Marcq for a frontal attack on St. Juvin. Heavy consolidated barrages were put down on our troops by the enemy and severe losses were sustained. Seven officers of one regiment were killed and as many were wounded in this attack. An additional battalion was sent to execute a flanking movement on the town to the right with the third battalion in close support. The river was crossed by the attacking battalions, and St. Juvin was taken, as well as Hill 182, north of St. Juvin.

On October 15 the 153d Brigade attacked at 7.30 a. m. Enemy resistance was very strong, and all of our efforts met with terrific barrages and machine-gun fire. The enemy defensive position was so strong that it was impossible for us to advance. The brigade suffered severe casualties, and its effective strength of both officers and men was greatly reduced. Troops of the 154th Brigade succeeded in crossing the Aire and in entering Grandpre.4

On the night of October 15-16 and on the morning of the 16th, the 77th Division was relieved by the 78th Division. The 153d Brigade was then marched to Campe du Bouzon. The 154th Brigade was moved to the vicinity of Chene Tondu and Abri du Crochet.4

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

Owing to terrific machine-gun fire and the shelling of all roads, it was often impossible to remove the wounded before nightfall, but in spite of this the average time required for the transport of wounded to the field hospitals was only from three to eight hours. Difficulties of removal were augmented by congestion of roads, for it had proved impossible to reserve certain of these, which had been attempted, for removal of casualties.6

The sanitary units of the division were disposed as follows at the commencement of the second phase of the operation: Ambulance Company No. 305, at La Harazee; No. 306, at Abri du Crochet; No. 307, at Depot des Machines; No. 308, at La Chalade. The field hospitals were at Florent, except No. 308, which was at La Chalade.6 On the 4th of October, the dressing station of Ambulance Company No. 305 was moved into French-constructed dugouts near La Harazee, this organization working in conjunction with Ambulance Company No. 307. The length of bearer routes at this time was 8 km. (5 miles). By the evening of October 5, Ambulance Company No. 305 was relieved by Ambulance Company No. 307, and went into rest at La Harazee. The next day Ambulance Company No. 306 was in rest at Camp Kopp, having been relieved by Ambulance Company No. 308, which also detailed nine men to each of the Infantry battalions it served.6 On October 8 Ambulance Company No. 305 established a car-post and dressing station at La Harazee, where after suitable treatment, especially of shocked cases,


644

it loaded them on the tramway cars, which, operated by Ambulance Company No. 307, ran to the Depot des Machines. At that place patients were transferred to ambulances and taken to the triage (Field Hospital No. 308 at La Chalade). The same date, October 8, Ambulance Company No. 307 evacuated in some six hours approximately 300 sick and wounded from the "Lost Battalion." The majority were suffering from exhaustion and lack of food, but about 30 per cent were wounded or gassed. The ambulance posts at this time were at Binarville and at the Depot des Machines. Ambulance Company No. 308 evacuated 131 men of the "Lost Battalion" on this date by mule-drawn and Ford ambulances, and established an advanced dressing station 5 km. (3 miles) from the Abri du Crochet.7 On the 10th the personnel of Ambulance Company No. 305 operating the car post at La Harazee was relieved, and the entire company went into reserve except 17 ambulance drivers and orderlies and 2 officers and 20 men, who continued to operate the dressing station there. The next day Ambulance Company No. 307 established a dressing station at Malassise Ferme, and 4 car posts, 2 of them just outside of Grandpre, 1 at La Besogne and 1 on the Grand Ham road.8 During the period October 11-16 it detailed 40 men to regimental aid stations and cared for 365 cases at its dressing station. On the 12th an advanced section of the triage (Field Hospital No. 308) opened at Lancon, where it received 682 cases before it closed on the 15th. The next day the remainder of the triage and Field Hospital No. 305 moved to that point to care for the sick, and Ambulance Company No. 308 established an advance dressing station at La Besogne, where the distance of the litter carriage from battalion posts averaged about 1 km. (0.6 mile) and to the ambulance post about 100 meters (109 yards).9 On the 14th, 1 officer and 16 men of Ambulance Company No. 306 established a dressing station in the western edge of Chatel Chehery, while Ambulance Company No. 308 established a subdressing station and a two-car post near Grandpre. Ambulance Company No. 305 on the 15th discontinued its dressing station at La Harazee and advanced 9.6 km. (6 miles) on the Binarville-Lancon road to near Lancon, and Field Hospital No. 306, for gassed cases, with Field Hospital No. 307, for surgical cases, arrived at Lancon.10 The last-mentioned unit here took over the triage from Field Hospital No. 308, which closed and went into reserve. From September 27 to October 11 it had admitted 3,284 patients, of whom 3,613 were wounded, 47 gassed, and 624 sick.11 On the 16th the stations of the ambulance companies were closed and they began moving for rest to Florent and Camp Kopp, near La Chalade. Field hospitals closed on the 16th and 17th and moved to Florent, where, except Field Hospital No. 308, which acted as the division hospital, they remained in rest until the division reentered the lines.12

The 302d Sanitary Train had organized its surgical service to the highest degree possible. Complete operating rooms were established at La Chalade, with facilities for performing any type of operation, and all appropriate cases admitted to the triage from dressing stations were assumed to be operative unless in a marked degree of shock on arrival. This subject is further discussed in the history of the 77th Division during the third phase of this operation.13


645

The advance medical supply depot was operated with the triage and advanced with that organization, thus securing prompt delivery of supplies to the division medical department formations, but because of lack of transportation the main supply depot remained stationary and did not advance with the troops. This resulted in so lengthening the distance between the two depots that three days were consumed in making a round trip between them; but notwithstanding this fact, full and complete equipment and supplies, except a few drugs, was on hand at forward formations at all times.14

THE 28TH DIVISION

The 28th Division attacked at 5.30 a. m. on October 4, with the 55th Brigade on the right and the 56th on the left. The 55th Brigade was able to drive the enemy approximately 2 km. (1.2 miles) down the Aire Valley until it was held up by severe machine-gun fire from the Abbatiale Ferme—Pleinchamp Ferme—Chatel-Chehery. The 56th Brigade made very little advance, due to the severity of machine-gun fire and heavy shell fire from the northern slope of Le Chene Tondu ridge. At noon, the division line was approximately: Ferme des Granges—La Forge (exclusive)—Le Menil Ferme—south to Le Chene Tondu ridge. Our own Artillery increased its harassing fire on enemy positions, while that of the enemy decreased in the rear areas and increased in the forward areas and front-line positions. The town of Apremont was shelled during the day with mustard gas, and our troops located there suffered considerable losses and were forced to move out of the town. By 7.05 p. m., the leading battalion of the right brigade had reached the Aire River at the foot of Cote 180 and had taken Chehery and Pleinchamp Ferme. At La Forge the situation was reported to be unchanged and as "full of machine guns; a nasty proposition to go near." At 9.25 p. m., the clearing of Le Chene Tondu ridge and the ridge west was reported as being about completed by the left brigade, and all the lines had been extended on the entire crest.15

On October 5, at 6.30 a. m., the 55th Brigade succeeded in pushing forward on the right, in spite of heavy artillery and machine-gun opposition, thus improving their positions in Pleinchamp Ferme, Chehery, Abbatiale Ferme, La Forge. At 2.15 p. m., troops of the 109th Infantry were entering Chatel Chehery; and the 56th Brigade was still advancing slowly along Le Chene Tondu. By nightfall the right of the division line had straightened out westwardly to include La Forge, the rest remaining unchanged. On October 6, there was no material change in the line during the day.15

On October 7, the attack was renewed at 5 a. m. The 82d Division, which had been in corps reserve, was now in the line on the right of the 28th and took over part of the sector of the 28th Division. The objective of the attack was the line occupied by the enemy, including Cornay, Hill 223, Hill 244, and the ridges west of the River Aire. This confined the main attack to the 28th and 82d Divisions. The 112th Infantry attacked Chatel Chehery and Cote 244. Only slight resistance was encountered in entering the village of Chatel Chehery, but heavy machine-gun fire to the west of the village and from Cote 223 was opened on our troops after they had entered the town. Enemy fire


646

from Cote 223 enfiladed the village of Chatel Chehery; and though this hill was in the sector of the 82d Division, it was impossible for troops of the 28th Division to hold Chatel Chehery without our forces holding Cote 223, and as a consequence one company of Infantry and a machine-gun company of the 28th Division captured Cote 223 and occupied it. Cote 224 was occupied after overcoming severe resistance by machine guns. Strong patrols from the 109th Infantry, left brigade, by this time had been working up the ravines north of Bois de Taille l’Abbe and north of Le Chene Tondu, partially overcoming resistance from these points. Six companies of the 111th Infantry had worked around to the west from Le Chene Tondu, and at noon were reported as advancing north from La Viergette, in liaison with the 77th Division, on the left. At nightfall the line of the division was Hill 223 (exclusive), hill west of Chatel Chehery, Hill 244, thence generally south to the western limits of the division sector.

On October 8, the attack was again resumed at daybreak. During the morning there was very little change in the line. At 1.10 p. m. an attack was started, which developed strong infantry, artillery, and machine-gun resistance. At 5.55 p. m., one battalion of the right brigade was on Hill 244. One battalion was between Hills 223 and 244. Two battalions were in the skirmish line, 1,200 meters (1,308 yards) in advance of the crest of Hill 244. Two small battalions were at a crossroads 600 meters (654 yards) south of Drachen.15

On October 9, the 28th Division was relieved by the 82d Division.15

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

Unfortunately no official record is available of the operations of the ambulance companies of this division during the second phase of this operation. Field hospitals were in the locations which they held in the first phase; i. e., Field Hospital No. 109 (triage), at Locheres; Field Hospital No. 110 (gas and psychic cases), at Croix de Pierre; Field Hospital No. 111 (sick), at Les Islettes; Field Hospital No. 112 (surgical), at Croix de Pierre, except that the last-named was moved, October 4, to Neuvilly. Field Hospital No. 109, the divisional triage, at Locheres, was closed October 4, and on October 11 followed the rest of the division to the rear for a brief rest at Bouvron. The total number of patients it had admitted while at Locheres was 3,428. The divisional supply unit was also located at this point.16

Field Hospital No. 111, at Les Islettes, receiving the divisional sick, noted a large increase in the number of influenza cases. It moved on the 13th to Ferme Boyer, thence to a French hospital near Minorville, and on October 30 to Buxerulles. One feature of the operation of this organization was provision of a dispensary which was maintained for the use of any troops in the vicinity which were without medical officers. During its existence this dispensary gave assistance to at least 10,000 patients.17

Field Hospital No. 112, located at Croix de Pierre, during the first phase was relatively inaccessible to the seriously wounded, a fact which necessitated that they be cared for at first by Field Hospital No. 109 and that Field Hospital No. 112 be moved to Neuvilly on October 4. Here this hospital used


647

a barn to excellent advantage, and in the period October 5-10 (inclusive) admitted 1,624 patients, with six deaths. After the division was withdrawn it moved to Bouvron, about 8 km. (5 miles) north of Toul, whence it moved to Essay, on the 18th.18

THE 1ST DIVISION

On October 4, at 5.25 a. m., the division launched its attack, preceded by a rolling barrage at 200 meters (218 yards). Considerable resistance was encountered from machine-gun nests in the Bois de Montrebeau and along the road running northeast of La Neuville le Comte Ferme. The enemy was strongly entrenched in wire positions in the woods north of Hill 212. The 1st Brigade reached its objective at approximately 7 a. m.; the left regiment of the 2d Brigade, 30 minutes later. The right regiment was delayed by fire from the road northeast of La Neuville le Comte Ferme and from its flank. At approximately 1 p. m., the 16th Infantry had reached the third objective.19 The 18th Infantry was delayed on the southern slopes of Hill 240; the 2d Brigade was delayed by strong machine-gun resistance and artillery fire both from the front and flanks.19 At the end of the day the line extended from just south of Fleville, southeastwardly to just south of Exermont, then slightly northeastwardly to a point about 2.5 km. (1.5 miles) beyond Exermont.5

FIG. 75.-Location of Field Hospital No. 111, at Les Islettes, October 5, 1918

On October 5 the 2d Brigade (right) and 18th Infantry, on the right of the 1st brigade, were ordered to advance to the first objective.19 Following it


648

they were directed to proceed to the second objective (midway between first and third objective). After taking the second objective the infantry was next ordered to advance to the third objective (corps objective), there to organize and await further orders. In its advance the 26th Infantry captured Ferme d’Arietal, meeting with stubborn resistance from the enemy.19

On October 6 in conformity with corps orders, troops remained on the line reached the previous day. During the afternoon, the 26th Infantry (on the right) advanced their line by pushing out patrols to the southern slope of the hill northwest of Ferme d’Arietal.19

On October 7 the entire line was slightly advanced by pushing out patrols to the front and holding the ground gained. On this date, the 362d Infantry Regiment (91st Division) was attached to the 1st Division. On the 8th, the entire 181st Brigade (91st Division) was attached and the sector of the 1st Division was extended to the line Cote 269—La Tuilerie Ferme. The 1st Division was temporarily attached to the Fifth Corps.19

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

The regimental aid stations were located in the vicinity of regimental posts of command, and, like them, were at first in cellars or first-floor rooms of partially destroyed buildings in the towns of Cheppy, Very, Charpentry, Baulny, and of villages of the area. As the attack developed, however, and the line moved forward, the regimental posts of command and regimental aid stations were located in dugouts with the line of advance. Battalion stations were located in less favorable positions, the majority in shallow ditches or holes hastily dug into a hillside or in the shelter of woods. Because of insistent enemy artillery fire and the fact that approaches to the aid stations were frequently swept by machine guns, great difficulty was experienced in evacuating the wounded from these points. In many instances the only mode of evacuation was by hand-carry for about 1 km. (0.6 mile) to the nearest point where wounded could be picked up by ambulances. Searching parties continued to go out constantly from battalion aid stations, despite exposure to shell and machine gun fire, and in this work a number of Medical Department enlisted men were wounded or killed. The character of the terrain made rescue work both difficult and hazardous. When the wounded reached the battalion stations they were given such emergency first aid as was possible and were then sent promptly to the rear.20 It was almost impossible to get supplies up to these stations in adequate quantities, for everything had to be carried forward either on the person or in improvised sacks. First aid administered, therefore, was of necessity both crude and limited, intensifying the need that patients be evacuated with all possible speed to positions farther back, where more adequate treatment could be given them. In some places it was possible to evacuate the wounded from battalion to regimental aid stations, but in the majority it was found more practical for each station to convey its own wounded to the nearest collecting point accessible to ambu-


PLATE XXXVII.


649

lances. From these points the wounded were taken to the nearest dressing station, where they were furnished hot drinks, dressings were applied or changed, stimulants were given, and antitetanic serum was administered.21

AMBULANCE COMPANIES

Ambulance companies were utilized to their utmost capacity, evacuating from the front to field hospitals and to the rear from them. Unfortunately, the evacuation ambulance companies belonging to the corps were unable to evacuate the field hospitals, and it was necessary to divert part of the divisional ambulances to that service. Whenever possible, returning ammunition and supply trucks were used for transporting the slighter cases. The haul from Cheppy to the hospitals at Clermont, Les Islettes, Ste. Menehould, etc., was long and difficult, over badly congested and shell-torn roads. Most of the evacuation from the farthest advanced positions to the advanced dressing stations was done by the personnel and Ford ambulances of United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 649. After United States Army Ambulance Section No. 593 joined, which was when the 181st Infantry Brigade was temporarily assigned to the division (October 6), it lessened greatly the difficulties of evacuation from the field hospitals.22

On the night of October 3-4, Ambulance Company No. 12 established an advance dressing station in some ruined buildings at Charpentry, but during the following day moved to L’Esperance Ferme, near Apremont, establishing a dressing station which remained at that point until the division withdrew. Wounded men to the number of 3,486 passed through this station. Ten of its enlisted personnel were wounded and one was killed.22

Ambulance Company No. 3 had taken over the dressing station at Charpentry and remained there until October 12, caring for and evacuating some 5,000 cases. During part of this time the station was under shell fire. It suffered 49 casualties, with 5 deaths.22

Ambulance Company No. 13 had reached Varennes on October 1, and there established a station for slightly wounded and walking patients. While its ambulances evacuated suitable cases, its litter bearers and officers reinforced regimental stations. Eight hundred casualties passed through the stations of this organization.23

Ambulance Company No. 2 operated an advance dressing station at Chaudron Ferme, in some partially destroyed buildings, from October 3 to 12, giving first aid and evacuating 2,500 wounded. The animal-drawn ambulances of this company proved very valuable during the drive, as they could operate under road conditions impossible to motor vehicles.23

The triage and surgical hospitals being located together, the dressing stations were not concerned with the sorting of cases except to direct walking wounded to the station at Varennes. The other wounded were transported by ambulance to Cheppy and there delivered to the triage. Experience in this sector demonstrated the impossibility of carrying antigas medical equipment to battalion aid stations and also the impossibility of administering antigas treatment to patients in these exposed positions. The nearest point at which


650

such treatment could be given effectively was the dressing station, and there relief of the most pressing conditions was all that could be attempted. Yet, in many cases it was found that the clothing could be removed at a dressing station and the gassed patient prepared so that he might be sent as quickly as possible to the field hospital, where more elaborate equipment had been installed. Surgical cases were given such emergency treatment as their condition demanded before being started on their trip to field hospitals.21

FIELD HOSPITALS

Flanked as it was by hills on all sides, the devastated village of Cheppy offered the most protected and convenient site for a field hospital, and Field Hospital No. 3 there exchanged tents and some equipment with medical units of the 35th Division, already installed, took over their site, and was ready to function immediately. It operated as a triage and also received slightly wounded, shocked, and gassed patients.24 During the operations it cared for 6,066 patients at this site. Of gassed cases admitted, about 100 were severe, but the majority were minor burns or irritated eyes.25

Field Hospital No. 12, designated to receive the severely wounded, set up four ward tents in a depression on the side of the road running from Cheppy to Very and also made use of the extensive, electric-lighted galleries and rooms which the enemy had constructed in the sides of hills. The most severely wounded patients and the operating unit were placed in these bombproof shelters. While at this place Field Hospital No. 12 cared for 818 patients. With its mobile surgical unit it was prepared to handle all kinds of emergency surgical cases, but corps orders forbade any operative procedures in field units. Later, however, these orders were modified to permit operations on nontransportable patients whose only hope lay in immediate surgical intervention. The wisdom of this modification was demonstrated in a number of desperate cases operated on by the surgical unit in the operating room improvised by this hospital.25

Field Hospital No. 13 was held in reserve in the vicinity of Charpentry, the Field Hospital No. 2 at Varennes. The only time that the latter unit functioned in this operation was on October 4, when the Cheppy hospital sites and roads leading to them were so severely shelled that they had to be abandoned temporarily. On the morning of that day nine enemy observation planes flew, unopposed, low over this location, returning safely to the German lines. At 9 o’clock a remarkably accurate bombardment began. Tents were hastily evacuated, all patients being removed to the dugouts close by. Though considerable damage was done to tents and equipment, no casualties occurred. As soon as the first shell fell, the division surgeon sent a courier to Varennes—about 1.5 km. (0.9 mile) to the west—with orders to Field Hospital No. 2 to establish and operate there as a triage until further notice.24 Other messengers were dispatched to notify ambulance companies of the change in location, and military police along the routes of evacuation were instructed to direct ambulances and walking wounded to Varennes. By 10 a. m. on October 4 Field Hospital No. 2 was ready to function and had received, treated, and


651

evacuated its first wounded. Up to 5 p. m. of the same day, when it closed, it had received and disposed of approximately 1,500 patients. Records were made of 1,003, and in addition some 500 patients for whom no record was made were received, examined, and given appropriate treatment.22

MEDICAL SUPPLY UNIT

The medical supply unit of the division was moved to Cheppy and, with the large supply of American matériel found in the area, furnished ample equipment for the entire operation. The great difficulty found in distributing this to forward stations has already been discussed.26

THE 82D DIVISION

On October 6 the 82d Division, less the 163d Infantry Brigade, relieved the Infantry units of the 28th Division on the north of La Forge. The division boundaries were as follows: Right, Fleville (exclusive)—elevation 151; left, Ferme des Granges—La Forge—Chateau of Chatel Chehery—meridian 79.8.27

On October 7 the division, less the 163d Infantry Brigade (still in corps reserve), attacked at 5 a. m., the position of the brigade being the west bank of the Aire River between the Chateau of Chatel Chehery and the southwest outskirts of Fleville. The first objective included Fleville (exclusive)—Cornay (inclusive)—Hill 223 (inclusive). Hill 180 was promptly captured at 5 a. m. Hill 223 was captured at 1 p. m. At 5 p. m., while the hill was in process of organization, a determined counterattack on Hill 223 was repulsed with heavy losses to the enemy.27

On October 8 the flank attack of the preceding day was continued. At 7 a. m. the front line had advanced 700 meters (763 yards), and at 9 a. m. an advance between 900 and 1,000 meters (981-1,090 yards) had been made against heavy machine-gun fire. At 4 p. m. the attack was made on the crest of the hill running west of Cornay, the sector being gained at approximately 6 p. m. Enemy machine gunners on the heights east and west of Cornay swept with deadly fire the valley over which our troops had to advance. Of the two companies which started, but 40 members reached the objective.27

On October 9 the 163d Infantry Brigade, which had been released from corps reserve the day previously, relieved the 28th Division on the left, which had been holding the line, Hill 223 (exclusive)—La Viergette (inclusive). The relief was effected at 4 a. m. The division boundaries now were: Eastern, Fleville—Baulny road; western, La Viergette—La Besogne—Chevieres (inclusive). The 163d Infantry Brigade executed a turning movement on a large scale. With little enemy resistance they had reached at the end of the day a position along parallel 81, the right of the brigade refusing slightly to connect with the left of the 164th Brigade on the Decauville railroad. A battalion of the 328th Infantry, advancing, crossed the Decauville railroad and the Pylone—Cornay road. A battalion of the 327th Infantry captured Cornay at 11 a. m., after fighting of the severest nature. At dusk the counter-


652

attack was launched from Fleville to Cornay, inclusive, and the battalion was obliged to withdraw to the edge of the woods south of Cornay.27

On October 10 the elements of the 1st Division east of the Aire River, within the boundaries of the 82d Division, were relieved by the 164th Infantry Brigade by an extension across the river of the line of the 327th Infantry. The attack was resumed at 7 a. m., the advance being made through Hill 180 and from the ridge west of Hill 223. Cornay and the ridge north of it were captured.27 At the end of the day the line extended approximately from a point 750 meters (817 yards) south of Sommerance southwestwardly to the Aire 0.5 km. (0.3 mile) above Fleville, thence generally northwestwardly to Marcq (inclusive).27, 5

On October 11, at 7 a. m., the attack was resumed, the first objective of the division being the line Imecourt—Champigneulle. The direction of the attack was due north. On the left an effort was made to cross the Aire and attack the town of St. Juvin. Troops advanced east of Marcq to the Aire River, but as passage of the river proved impossible the companies engaged were withdrawn to the hills east of Marcq for the night. On the right the troops crossed the river at Fleville. A battalion of the 327th Infantry reached, for the first time, the Kriemhilde Stellung at 8 a. m., but finding the position untenable withdrew to a line running east and west through the center of St. Juvin. At the conclusion of the day the brigade line ran south of this line.27, 5

On October 14 the attack was resumed at 8.30 a. m. Neither division flank was able to advance because of the fact that the flank on the right and left of the division remained practically stationary. The center of the division, however, advanced through the Kriemhilde Stellung line at 11.15 a. m., but was obliged to withdraw to the St. Juvin—St. Georges road, this position being held for the night.27

On October 15 the division continued the attack at 8.30 a. m. Its particular mission in this instance was to protect the left flank of the 42d Division. No advance was made.27

On October 16 the attack continued at 6 a. m. St. Juvin was entered at 9 a. m., and the whole of Hill 182 was secured at 9.30 a. m. Troops advanced up the valley to the Agron River to about 0.5 km. (0.3 mile) south of Champigneulles, where they were compelled to seek shelter, without possibility of advancing or retiring for the day. During the night these troops were withdrawn.27

No change was made in the line on October 17.27

On October 18 the western boundary of the division battle line was altered to the following line: Chatel Chehery—Marcq—Champigneulles—Resille Ferme. The remainder of the line remained unchanged.27

On October 21 the 163d Infantry Brigade advanced its line along the slope north of Ravin aux Pierres. The 164th Infantry Brigade pushed forward in liaison with the 163d. The division line ran as follows: Hill 182—Ravin aux Pierres, thence to and along St. Georges—St. Juvin road.27


PLATE XXXVIII


653

During the period October 22 to October 30 no advance was either ordered or attempted. On October 31 the division, less the 157th Field Artillery Brigade, attached to the 80th Division, was relieved by the 77th and 80th Divisions at 6 a. m. The division was then assembled in the Argonne Forest south of Marcq.27

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

Ambulance Company No. 327 established a dressing station, on the night of October 3, at a convenient crossroads near Neuvilly, the remaining companies moving, October 6, to Clermont-en-Argonne. The same night Ambulance Companies No. 325 and No. 326 and a large detail from Ambulance Company No. 328 moved to Varennes, where they arrived at 7 a. m. on the 7th. Ambulance Company No. 325 then established a station at Montblainville and Ambulance Company No. 326 one at l’Esperance. Two officers and 120 men were sent as litter bearers to serve the four Infantry regiments, and other officers and noncommissioned officers were sent as liaison personnel to brigade and regimental headquarters. The litter-bearer detail continued to function as such until the 18th. The dressing station of Ambulance Company No. 325 was moved to Apremont on the night of the 8th, for most of the wounded coming to Montblainville were being cared for by a station of the 28th Division there. Moreover, most of the wounded were being sent down the right bank of the Aire. At this time the station of Ambulance Company No. 326 at l’Esperance was the most active, cooperating with similar stations of the 1st and 28th Divisions, also established there; but immediately after the dressing station of Ambulance Company No. 325 was established at Apremont it began to receive a large number of wounded from the aid station of the 328th Infantry at Chatel Chehery. Throughout the service of this station at this point its work continued heavy, though the site was frequently shelled and some casualties occurred. As ambulances were inadequate for the large numbers of wounded, it evacuated a number of patients by truck.28

On October 18 the station of Ambulance Company No. 327 was also moved, going to La Viergette, where it remained three days, though it evacuated practically no patients from this point. It moved to Pylone on the 12th. On the same date the divisional triage moved to an old German hospital about 1 km. (0.6 mile) southwest of Apremont, and Ambulance Company No. 325 moved its dressing station from Apremont to Chatel Chehery, relieving the regimental aid station of the 328th Infantry. Most of the divisional wounded on the west bank of the Aire were collected at Pylone, as the road between that place and Cornay was impassable. From this point they were sent to the dressing station of Ambulance Company No. 326, at l‘Esperance.28

On the night of the 14th, as all combat troops of the division had moved to the right of the Aire, this dressing station moved to Fleville, where it took over the regimental aid station of the 327th Infantry. Most of its patients were sent out by truck, for ambulances were too few to carry them; but on the station becoming overcrowded, it sent its evacuables to the dressing station which Ambulance Company No. 326 was now operating at Pleinchamp Ferme.


654

On the 17th Ambulance Company No. 325 was relieved at Fleville by Ambulance Company No. 327 and returned to Apremont. The almost continuous shell fire caused Ambulance Company No. 327 to abandon its station at Fleville on the 22d, the station which Ambulance Company No. 326 conducted from October 10 to November 1 at Pleinchamp Ferme now being capable of caring for all the wounded.29

During this period all the ambulance company personnel available had been concentrated at Apremont to assist the triage. On October 30 Ambulance Company No. 325 again established a dressing station at Pylone to care for casualties in the division as it moved from the front lines. For a period of 36 hours and before medical department units of the 78th Division were in position to function, the ambulance companies of the 77th Division evacuated casualties developing in the relieving division.29

During this engagement the ambulance transportation of the 77th Division was limited to 2 salvaged cars, 8 G. M. C., and 20 Ford ambulances, the latter belonging to United States Army Ambulance Service Station No. 647, which had joined the division. The lighter ambulances operated near the front, the heavier to the rear. These vehicles were supplemented by the trucks and ambulances of the corps sanitary train as required.29

The total number of patients cared for by the three motorized ambulance companies (Nos. 325, 326, 327) from June 25, 1918, to February 15, 1919, was 13,500, but this figure does not include those carried by United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 647 (number not known). The total distance traveled was 206,663 km. (128,337 miles), and the total casualties in the companies were 4 killed and 20 wounded.29

On October 5 Field Hospital No. 325 was moved from Waly, where it had been functioning as a divisional triage and evacuating direct to army hospitals, to a point south of Clermont, where it was joined by Field Hospital No. 328 and the next day by Field Hospital No. 327. On the 6th Field Hospital No. 328 moved on to Varennes, with orders to establish the divisional triage there before daylight of the 7th. Here it was joined by Field Hospital No. 326, which cared for the gassed, and many gassed and wounded men were cared for under shell fire. On the 12th the last-mentioned hospitals moved to a point 1 km. (0.6 mile) southeast of Apremont, while Field Hospitals No. 325 and No. 327 moved to Varennes. On the 13th Field Hospital No. 327 moved to the location of the other hospitals near Apremont, and on the 23d Field Hospital No. 325, heretofore in reserve, advanced to the same point. Thereafter, until the division was relieved, the four hospitals retained this site, functioning in conjunction. All field hospitals were relieved on November 2 and moved to Les Islettes.30

Field hospitals had reached the Argonne sector with very few supplies. They had left behind in the Toul area as complete an equipment as it was possible to secure for such units. Because of lack of transportation before going into action in this sector, they were able to secure only some blankets, litters, dressings, and some other most essential items, including tentage. By October 12, however, the medical supply officer had replenished the stock of


655

supplies to a considerable extent, for a truck train was sent back to Millery to bring up what had been left behind, and these, with the new supplies, furnished a full equipment, with the exception of sterilizing and X-ray apparatus. When the division was relieved, all this equipment was turned over to another division in exchange for that which it had brought into the field.30

Except during the last 10 days at Apremont, field hospitals did only triage, gas, and medical work. After the worst of the fighting was over (about October 20) the hospitals were immobilized, tents were floored, and a rest camp of 30 wards was organized, where all cases of diarrhea and exhaustion were cared for. The largest number of these cases at any one time was about 700, all being well cared for and well fed.31

The commanding officer of Field Hospital No. 328 gave the following description of his establishment at Apremont:32

The hospital in the forest 1 km. southwest of Apremont was situated back about 200 yards from the main highway and connected with it by an excellent road. It occupied nine wooden buildings, a large dugout, and an abandoned ward tent. All, in excellent condition, were wired for electricity and provided with many modern conveniences. A complete laboratory and dispensary were found intact. The immediate vicinity of the hospital was strewn with equipment, dead horses, and a few dead men. During the first 24 hours 480 patients were admitted and evacuated.

On October 13 Field Hospital 326 joined to act as a gas hospital, operating under canvas. With the exception of a lull of three days, the two following weeks saw an endless procession of wounded. The great majority of these were only slightly wounded and able to walk, with the result that the two wards set apart for these cases were exceptionally busy. The heaviest days were October 15-18, when the admissions and evacuations averaged one patient every one and a half minutes.

During this operation a large number of men in the front line suffered from diarrhea, colds, and exhaustion. At the direction of the division commander, the hospitals at Apremont were made ready to care for the sick and exhausted and, if possible, return them to duty. The men came back from the front, received food, baths, and medical attention, and in from two to seven days were again ready for service. By this means the hospitals returned to duty a large number of men who, had the usual procedure of evacuating the sick been followed, would have been lost to the division. The total number of cases of all kinds cared for by the divisional triage in this sector was 9,964. Some of these cases were from other divisions, and it is to be presumed that other triages handled cases belonging to this division.33

THE 78TH DIVISION

On the night of October 15-16 the 78th Division relieved the 77th Division in line. The regiments went into line from east to west in numerical order, 309, 310, 311, and 312. The attack of October 16 was scheduled to be launched at 6 a. m., simultaneously with the scheduled plan of the relief of the 77th Division. The lack of time to make any reconnaissance of the line to be taken over, the ignorance and mistakes of guides, and the complete darkness of a rainy night delayed the relief of the sector of the 310th Infantry until about 11.30 a. m. on the 16th. A coordinated, simultaneous attack with the 309th


656

Infantry was therefore impossible, and this fact greatly hampered the success of the subsequent operations. Operations in the division sector involved the reduction of two natural strongholds: Bois des Loges and Grandpre. The former lay in the sector of the 155th Brigade and the latter in that of the 156th.34

The 309th Infantry opened the attack on Bois des Loges by advancing its 2d and 3d battalions from the ridge northwest of Sommerance. The advance was made through mud, at times knee deep, across Cote 182 and the Agron River, entirely without artillery support. A halt was then made until 11.45 a. m., when, in conjunction with the 310th Infantry, which had come up on the left, a further advance was made to a line roughly on the parallel passing about 500 meters (545 yards) south of Champigneulle.34, 5

The 311th Infantry (156th Brigade) got into position in time to attack through the mist at 6.35 a. m., without any definite information as to the enemy line, his position, or the topography in front. After capturing Chevieres, the advance reached the Aire. Only two platoons succeeded in crossing the river before the mist lifted, permitting the enemy to sweep the river with artillery and with machine guns located in the woods north of St. Juvin road. This checked all further advances for the day.34

On the morning of the 17th the 310th Infantry had pushed forward to a line on the parallel passing through the center of Champigneulle, on the eastern edge of the Bois des Loges, before an order reached its front line directing that it withdraw and move so as to attack Bois des Loges from the west side. The 309th Infantry advanced and took over this sector and pushed patrols forward to the third east and west road of Bois des Loges. Before night, counterattacks forced the line back in this part of the woods to the crossroads in its southern part. The 310th Infantry, meanwhile, had executed the dangerous maneuver of withdrawing from a position on the eastern side of the Bois des Loges and attacking again toward the west, across the open ground of Hill 180. By night, the 310th Infantry was entrenched on the western side of the woods, its left flank running north and south from the southwestern tip of the woods toward the woods about 2.5 km. (1.5 miles) east of Grandpre. The line held temporarily in this position until a gap which had developed between the 309th and 310th Regiments was closed. Information from corps headquarters indicated that the success of the whole military situation depended upon reaching the north edge of Bois des Loges before the morning of the 18th, and immediate resumption of the attack was ordered.34

During the night of October 16-17 more troops of the 156th Brigade had been pushed across the Aire, and at 6.30 a. m., October 17, this brigade, aided by artillery fire, advanced to the line extending from about 2 km. (1.2 miles) west of Grandpre, skirting the south tip of Grandpre, northeast to the Grandpre—St. Juvin road. There the line was held up temporarily by machine guns to the north, but before the following morning its left had advanced about 0.75 of a km. (0.46 mile). On the right, liaison was also secured with the Infantry of the troops of the l55th Brigade in Bois des Loges.34, 5


PLATE XXXIX


657

At daybreak on October 18 two companies of the 310th Infantry Regiment were in position between Ferme des Loges and the westernmost tip of Bois des Loges. Here they were held up by a line of enemy machine guns on their front, were under heavy fire, and suffered severe casualties. Inside the woods two companies of the 310th had advanced to within 30 yards (27 meters) of the northern edge, and the 309th on their right had also advanced considerably. Desperate, confused fighting followed all day. The enemy counterattacks were too strong, however, and at nightfall the line in the woods was once more along the crossroads at its southern part. The companies between Ferme des Loges and the westernmost tip of Bois des Loges were still in their position, and all attempts to make a strong connection with these units were broken up by enemy fire. The left flank was more than 1 km. (0.6 mile) north of the 311th Infantry. In between, the enemy was in the Ferme des Loges. Operations planned to take place farther to the west were necessarily hampered so long as the enemy occupied his position at Ferme des Loges. Our troops between Ferme des Loges and the westernmost tip of Bois des Loges were therefore withdrawn to the southern edge of Bois des Loges.34

At midnight on October 18 a heavy bombardment was opened on the citadel of Grandpre, to prepare for attack by the 156th Brigade at 2 a. m., on the 19th. This attack was ordered to advance along the tongue of land toward the edge of the woods to the west of Bellejoyeuse Ferme. There it was to be joined by the 311th Infantry attacking at 3 a. m., and to press on into the Bois de Bourgogne. The 311th was also to secure liaison with the 310th on the ridge north of Ferme des Loges. The 312th was unable to carry out its part of the program, and the 311th Regiment, after taking Ferme des Loges, was held up 300 meters (327 yards) east of Bellejoyeuse Ferme, under the shelter of a ridge. It also secured a foothold in the orchard on the ridge north of Ferme des Loges, but was unable to make connections with the 310th. The line was maintained under heavy machine-gun and artillery fire until late in the afternoon, when a hostile barrage forced that part of the line in the orchard to drop back about 200 meters (218 yards) to the shelter of the ridge.34

At 3 a. m., on the 19th, an effort was made to take Bellejoyeuse Ferme. This attack was partially successful in the west, but was stopped when in the Bois des Loges. The 311th Infantry took Ferme des Loges and gained a footing in the orchard on the ridge north of it. It was also able to reach the foot of the slope on which Bellejoyeuse Ferme was located, but the troops were not able to take that place. The 319th Infantry found that the artillery concentration had not silenced the machine guns in Bois des Loges, and all attempts during the night and day of the 19th to establish liaison with the 311th Infantry failed. An enemy artillery barrage in the afternoon drove the 310th back about 200 yards (182 meters) from the orchard, between Bois des Loges and Bellejoyeuse Ferme.34

Our troops in Bois des Loges were becoming exhausted, and neither the brigade nor the division had reserves available to relieve them. A request


658

was made to the corps for replacements to continue the attack, but this could not be granted. In consequence the line was withdrawn from Bois des Loges and was established along the Grandpre—St. Juvin road. The withdrawal was successfully accomplished by all troops before 9.30 a. m., October 20. The line now established ran along the Grandpre—St. Juvin road from Ferme des Greves to Moulin d’en Bas.34

Conforming to the withdrawal of the 155th Brigade from Bois des Loges on the morning of the 20th, the line of the 311th Infantry was established from Ferme des Greves, where liaison was gained with the 310th Infantry, to the railroad cut about 1 km. (0.6 mile) a little south of east of Grandpre. Operations in the sector from Chevieres to Ferme des Greves, after this withdrawal, consisted mainly of reciprocal bombardments and patrols.34

When the 2d Battalion of the 312th Infantry advanced to relieve the 77th Division units in the town of Grandpre, the enemy was found to be occupying the whole town in force, except for a half dozen houses at the western exit on the south side of Grandpre—Echaude Ferme road. It required almost two days of house-to-house fighting to complete the latter part of the capture of the town. Farther west the 1st Battalion of the 312th Regiment and a machine-gun company had forded the river in the morning under heavy machine-gun and artillery fire, seeking liaison with the French entrenched along the Grandpre—Termes road.34

A pause in the operations around Grandpre followed from the 20th to the 23d, during which careful reconnaissance and study of the situation were made for the attack planned for the 23d. After a heavy destructive bombardment and a concentration of nonpersistent gas on some of the points to be attacked, a smoke screen was to be laid down and two converging attacks from Grandpre and Talma Hill were to be delivered. One assault was to follow a rolling barrage of artillery and a machine-gun barrage, and was to take the citadel of Grandpre, advance up the tongue of land to a point just west of Bellejoyeuse Ferme, along the eastern edge of the Bois de Bourgogne to a point about one-half kilometer (0.3 mile) north, thence west about one-third kilometer (0.2 mile) to a road fork. A second assault by a similar force was to follow the first at 1 km. (0.6 mile) and extend the line from the road fork southwest to the edge of the woods about seven-eighths of a kilometer (0.5 mile) distant. When this objective had been reached, a battalion of the 311th Infantry, supported by machine guns, was to advance to the north edge of Bois de Negremont and pass through the line established by the 312th. The 1st Battalion, 312th Infantry, was to attack Talma Hill and after capturing it throw out patrols through the woods toward the east.34

A small group of troops scaled the wall of the citadel and reached Bellejoyeuse Ferme, but because of their insignificant numbers they could not take the place and were obliged to fall back to our lines in the northern edge of Grandpre. The attack on Talma was successful. While the full objective set for this attack was not reached, two of the three points which made up the stronghold of Grandpre were taken and the way was open for the success which followed.34


659

An attempted surprise attack on October 24 by the troops on Talma Hill did not get started because of the enemy fire, and the day was quiet on the whole front. On the next morning, however, a battalion of the 311th Infantry attacked from the top of Talma Hill. This battalion easily gained the edge of Bois de Bourgogne and then fought its way along to a line running roughly along the objective set for the attack of October 23. The connection with the troops in Grandpre was made just before the relief of the 312th Infantry by the 311th had been completed, and by the establishment of this liaison the reduction of the stronghold of Grandpre was ended. The 155th Brigade extended its line to Ferme des Greves, and the gap from there to Grandpre was covered by strong machine-gun posts. The 312th Infantry went into the division reserve, and the 311th Infantry, supported by machine-gun units, organized the 156th Brigade front in Bois de Bourgogne, in preparation for the major operation of November 1. Further serious exploitation of the success in reducing Grandpre was not attempted, upon corps orders. Local rectification of the front, including the occupation of Talma Village, on October 28 and Bellejoyeuse Ferme on the 29th, was easily accomplished while making ready for the great attack.34

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

After the division had moved to the Argonne and before it entered the lines, 11,000 men were put through the corps baths at Rarecourt and the division baths and given clean clothing.35

During the march to this area and while the division was in the corps reserve, the Medical Department maintained liaison by assigning 4 ambulances and 1 officer with 4 enlisted men from an ambulance company to each brigade.

On October 15 the sanitary units of the division were disposed of as follows: Ambulance Company No. 311 operated a dressing station at La Besogne, and Ambulance Company No. 312 another at Malassise Ferme. Ambulance Company No. 310 and United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 569, at Lancon, established the divisional triage (Ambulance Company No. 309 had not yet arrived from base ports). Field Hospitals No. 310 and No. 311, at Lancon, were prepared to receive gassed and sick, respectively. Field Hospital No. 309 was at Apremont and Field Hospital No. 312 at Clermont. Seriously wounded were to be evacuated through the triage to Evacuation Hospital No. 11, at Brizeau Forestieres, and nontransportable wounded to Mobile Hospital No. 4, at La Grange-aux-Bois; Mobile Hospital No. 2, at Chateau Salvange; and Army Red Cross Hospital No. 114, at Fleury. The medical supply unit was located at Clermont throughout the division’s activities, supplying forward units through subdepots at the triages and assisting a number of organizations which did not belong to its division.36

Medical organizations of the 78th Division, after a conference between the division surgeons concerned, took over sites which had been held by the similar organizations of the 77th, but difficulty in evacuation was experienced for the following reasons: The entire corps attacked before the


660

Medical Department could complete a reconnaissance, and it was then found that the sector of the 78th did not exactly coincide with that of the 77th. The road conditions were extremely bad. For example, mud was over 2 feet deep in some places between La Besogne and Lancon; liaison between regiments and ambulance companies was not satisfactory, telephone communication was not fully established, and it was not until the 17th of October that the ambulance companies could locate some of the troops they served.37

The direction of roads was such that the wounded on the 78th Division in the eastern half of the sector, north of the Aire River, naturally drained into St. Juvin, where several hundred of its casualties were cared for by the 82d Division during the first 36 hours. It is true this half of the sector was heavily drenched with gas by the enemy, but from the considerable number of walking gas cases it was concluded that there was a large mental element in the condition of many such patients.38

On October 17 the evacuation system was radically changed; the sanitary train was split in half and two evacuation routes established, each with its dressing station or stations, triage, and two hospitals. The train was then disposed as follows: Ambulance Company No. 311 established dressing stations at La Besogne and Marcq, Ambulance Company No. 312 operated a station at Malassise Ferme. Headquarters of the train was located at Lancon, with Field Hospital No. 310 for gassed cases and Field Hospital No. 311 for sick, and there headquarters of the ambulance section and Ambulance Company No. 310, with United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 569, operated Triage No. 1. A section of Ambulance Company No. 310 established Triage No. 2 at Apremont, where Field Hospitals No. 309 and No. 312 received gassed and sick, respectively.39 The triages, augmented by whatever personnel was available, cared for surgical patients. These were not treated at any other divisional formation (though admitted to hospital wards if necessary to await transportation), but were sent direct from the triages to mobile or evacuation hospitals. After the division medical formations were located as above described, one section of the sanitary train evacuated up the valley of the Aisne through the medical establishments at Malassise Ferme and Lancon, while the other evacuated up the valley of the Aire through those located at Marcq and Apremont. The station at La Besogne was discontinued, except that 1 officer and 8 men were left there to care for casualties in the divisional reserve.38

Certain changes in assignment were made during this period. On October 17 a detachment which reported with an ambulance convoy reinforced the sanitary train, and on October 19 and 20 detachments of Ambulance Company No. 309 arrived and were assigned to the triage at Apremont. On the 23d that triage was further strengthened by assignment to it of the headquarters of the ambulance section. On October 29 United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 569 was relieved from duty with the division.40

Liaison was maintained at first by a runner attached to each battalion aid station, but later this system was modified by assigning to each regiment in the line 1 officer and 4 men from the ambulance companies. This officer not only


661

FIG. 76.-Dressing station operated by Ambulance Company No. 311, 78th Division, at Marcq, Ardennes, October 17, 1918


662

maintained contact between the battalion and ambulance stations, but he also inspected daily each of the former which he served, to assure himself that the wounded were being evacuated promptly and that supplies were properly maintained. He submitted a daily report concerning his activities. Each medical department organization, whatever its character, made a daily report of its location to the division surgeon. The chief difficulties which the Medical Department experienced were in maintaining contact.41

FIG. 77.-First-aid station, 312th Infantry, Grandpre, Ardennes, October 18, 1918

The evacuation system in its relation to individual infantry regiments during the most stable periods was as follows: All battalion aid stations were provided with runners from the ambulance companies, and contact was maintained by them. Under the liaison officer mentioned above, ambulances were habitually parked in the vicinity of the dressing station; but when a battalion station enjoyed ample protection because of steep hills or sunken roads, an ambulance was parked near it. There was very little transportation by bearers back of these stations, except in the vicinity of Grandpre, where the character of the roads made access to their station by motor ambulance utterly impossible.42 Relays of litter bearers carried patients from the station at Grandpre to a point on the road west of La Folie Ferme, accessible by horse-drawn vehicles, viz, general service wagons and British limbers.


663

These vehicles then carried wounded to the motor ambulance head, at the point where the road began to descend into the Aisne Valley, near Malassise Ferme. At all other places, ambulances were sent up on call, by runner, to the battalion aid station.43 Later, ambulances were sent up experimentally, via Senuc, through territory occupied by the French 35th Division, to the battalion aid station at Grandpre. As they were not fired upon, a regular service was established from that point, over this route, and another was operated via Termes to Talma Ferme. At a point about 200 meters (218 yards) east of Chevieres the 312th Infantry maintained a battalion aid station, and ambulance service was established between this point and Marcq. At a point about 1 km. (0.6 mile) west of St. Juvin, on the high road between St. Juvin and Grandpre, battalion aid stations were established by the 309th and 310th Infantry Regiments, and evacuations were carried on from this point to Marcq, crossing the Aire River at St. Juvin, over bridges built by the Engineers of the 78th Division.44

The regimental aid station of the 309th Infantry was located at Marcq and its battalion stations in St. Juvin, and about 1 km. (0.6 mile) west of that point in the shelter of a hill. In this regiment all the medical officers but one and most of the Medical Department enlisted men were gassed and evacuated. The regiment itself was so reduced in strength that line stretcher bearers could not be furnished, and the regimental band was sent to perform this duty.44

As a routine procedure, patients were given antitetanic serum at the aid stations, but in about 10 per cent of the wounds, incurred in rear of them, it was given at the dressing station. At the triages, where all patients were examined, it was given to such as did not show evidence of its prior administration, unless they were in profound shock, when its need was noted on the diagnosis tag. Casualties which had not passed through a battalion aid station were reported daily by the dressing station to the surgeon of the battalion concerned, with appropriate data for his reports of sick and wounded. About 80 per cent of fractures were splinted at battalion stations. At the dressing stations, splints were rectified if necessary and applied to all needing that attention. At the dressing station also, splints were applied to very severe wounds of the soft parts in order to allay pain in transit over rough roads.43 During this action the average time which elapsed after a patient was wounded before he was admitted to a field hospital was approximately two hours.45

It was necessary at times to use not only ambulances but all the trucks of the sanitary train as well, and many trucks of the motor supply train, for evacuation. Regular use was made of returning ration trucks, which had to pass either the triage at Lancon or that at Apremont on their way to the rear. To obviate delay, they were marked by broad white streamers across the radiators, and thus being recognized were flagged on their return from the front. At Lancon a waiting station, subsidiary to the triage, was established on the main street down which the trucks had to pass. No figures are available of the number of wounded men evacuated by truck, but it was considerably


664

larger than the number evacuated by ambulance. Ambulances in the division proved entirely inadequate in number to carry out evacuation in addition to the necessary transport in front of the triage, for the distance to evacuation hospitals at this time varied from 25 to 45 km. (15 to 27 miles). Owing to road congestion and the necessity for slow travel because of the condition of the wounded, the round trip for ambulances averaged from 12 to 14 hours and for trucks 24 hours. This alone deprived the division of the normal use of its transportation, both ambulances and trucks.46

REFERENCES

(1) Report of operations, First Corps, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.

(2) Report of Medical Department Units, First Army, from chief surgeon, First Army, to the assistant chief of staff, G-3, First Army, February 6, 1919. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(3) Plan of evacuation of sick and wounded, by Col. J. W. Grissinger, M. C., surgeon, First Army Corps, October 21, 1918. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(4) Special operations report, 153d and 154th Infantry Brigades, 77th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.

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

(6) Report of Medical Department activities, 77th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 77th Division, undated, 37. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(7) Ibid., 38.

(8) Ibid., 39.

(9) Ibid., 40.

(10) Ibid., 41.

(11) Ibid., 33.

(12) Ibid., 42.

(13) Ibid., 19.

(14) Ibid., 7.

(15) Report on operations, Meuse-Argonne offensive, 28th Division, January 28, 1919.

(16) Report of Medical Department activities, 28th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 28th Division, undated, Part I, 33. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(17) Ibid., Part II, 11.

(18) Ibid., Part II, 20.

(19) Report on operations of the First Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, October 17, 1918.

(20) Report of Medical Department activities, 1st Division, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 1st Division (undated), Part II, 44. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(21) Ibid., 45.

(22) Ibid., 42.

(23) Ibid., 43.

(24) Ibid., 41.

(25) Ibid., 46.

(26) Ibid., 47.

(27) Report of the operations of the 82d Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.

(28) Report of Medical Department activities, 82d Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 82d Division, undated, 10. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.


665

(29) Ibid., 11.

(30) Ibid., 17.

(31) Ibid., 18.

(32) Ibid., 34.

(33) Ibid., 4.

(34) Report on operations of the 78th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, December 10, 1918.

(35) Report of Medical Department activities, 78th Division, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 78th Division (undated), Part I, 7. On file. Historical Division, S. G. O.

(36) Ibid., Part I, 39.

(37) Ibid., Part I, 9.

(38) Ibid., Part I, 10.

(39) Ibid., Part I, 40.

(40) Ibid., Part I, 41.

(41) Ibid., Part I, 17.

(42) Ibid., Part I, 66.

(43) Ibid., Part I, 67.

(44) Ibid., Part I, 11.

(45) Ibid., Part I, 64.

(46) Ibid., Part I, 14.