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Chapter XXXI

Field Operations, Table of Contents

CHAPTER XXXI

 THIRD PHASE—Continued

FIFTH CORPS

On November 1, after two hours’ artillery preparation, the corps attack started at 5.30 a. m., under an effective barrage, the 2d and 89th Divisions in line and the 1st Division in reserve. The mission of the Fifth Corps was to seize the ridge of the Bois de Barricourt and the heights northeast of Bayonville-et-Chennery. Meeting with but little resistance, both divisions advanced during the day from the line running approximately along the northern edge of Bois de Bantheville—north of the Cote de Chatillon—south of Landres-et-St. Georges, to the third objective, which was the line La Tuileries, north edge of Bois de Barricourt, north of Margenta Ferme, north of Cote 313, southern part of Bois de la Folie, to Ferme des Parades.1, 2

On the morning of November 2 strong detachments were pushed forward, the 89th Division encountering stiff machine-gun resistance. Barricourt was taken by the 89th Division, and the 2d Division made steady progress. Steady progress was likewise made in the afternoon. The front line at the end of the day was somewhat indefinite. It was, however, approximately as follows: From left to right: Tailly, south to Nouart, thence north to the exploitation line, thence along the exploitation line to the corps boundary (the exploitation line being approximately Buzancy—Ferme de Masmes—Barricourt—just west of Villers-devant-Dun).1, 2, 3

On November 3 the advance was continued, the mission of the Fifth Corps for this day being to secure the heights overlooking Vauclaire—Champy Haut—Vaux-en-Dieulet. The 89th Division, after securing a portion of the heights on its front, was to push strong reconnaissances toward Stenay. The 2d Division was ordered to assist the advance of the First Corps by securing the ridge southeast of Vaux-en-Dieulet, and to push strong patrols toward Beaumont. At the end of the day the line reached was approximately from Vaux to Champy Haut, thence along the heights southwest of Vauclaire.2, 4

The mission of the Fifth Corps on November 4 was to advance on Beaumont and Laneuville. The 1st Division (less one regiment of Infantry and one battalion of Field Artillery) was to move at daylight by way of Bayonville—Bauclaire—Laneuville road. The 2d and 89th Divisions were ordered assembled, after the passage of the 1st Division, in their present forward areas, to be ready to march upon receipt of orders. Both columns of the 1st Division were ordered to seize all standing bridges over the Meuse and make the necessary arrangements for suitable crossing of the river. They were to seize and hold the west bank of the Meuse from Laneuville to Beaumont, both inclusive. At the end of the day the line reached was approximately as follows: That of the 2d Division, from just south of Petit Foret Ferme, extending about 1 km. (0.6 mile) east and west of that point, then


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south of Ferme de Bille Tour to the northern edge of the woods. The 89th Division had patrols in Laneuville, then south of the Laneuville—Beaumont road. Because of the progress made by the 2d and 89th Divisions, the orders pertaining to the 1st Division were held up, this division remaining in the vicinity of Bois de Jaulnay and Fosse.2

On November 5 the plans for the Fifth Corps were the seizure of the bridgehead in the vicinity of Beaumont. The 2d Division was to seize this bridgehead and to push strong patrols east and west. The 1st Division was ordered to assemble in the rear of the 2d Division and to await further orders. At the end of the day the line was practically as follows: Laneuville, due north through Cesse—Luzy—to a point on the west bank of the river opposite Inor, with patrols toward Inor and Pouilly; along the heights east of Beaumont and running north of Beaumont.2

On November 6 the Fifth Corps was ordered to seize and hold the heights east of the Meuse, extending its left to include Mouzon. The 1st Division was directed to move through and on the left of the 2d Division and through the 80th Division in the direction of Yoncq—Mouzon; to establish and maintain liaison with the First Corps and with the 2d Division on its right, and to seize a crossing at Mouzon. The 2d Division was to hold the heights east of the Meuse opposite Beaumont and to protect the right flank of the 1st Division. The 89th Division was to hold the heights east of the Meuse on its present front, at the same time to reorganize in preparation for an advance to the north. At the end of the day the 89th Division had entirely cleared the western bank of the Meuse, from Laneuville to Pouilly, and reported patrols in Pouilly. Elements of the 1st Division occupied Villemontry. The 2d Division occupied the west bank of the Meuse within its zone of action.2

On November 7 the Fifth Corps continued its present mission. The 1st Division was to continue its advance north toward Mouzon, the 2d Division was to push forward on the right of the 1st Division and the 89th Division was to cover the front of the Meuse from Stenay northward, protecting the right flank of the advance. Strong reconnaissances were to be pushed across the Meuse, and the 89th Division was to be prepared to follow the advance. During the day, patrols from the 2d and 89th Divisions were active along the river. Crossings were reconnoitered, patrols entered Pouilly, there encountering rifle and machine-gun fire, and were reported to have reached Martincourt. The 1st Division reported that they had taken Autrecourt. This division continued to push ahead in a northwesterly direction west of the Meuse during the night of November 6-7, and, during the 7th, advanced and gained the heights just south of Sedan. At the end of the day the 89th and 2d Divisions held the west bank of the Meuse from Laneuville to Mouzon, with patrols across the river at Pouilly. The 1st Division was continuing its advance toward Sedan.2

On November 8 the mission of the Fifth Corps was to hold the west bank of the Meuse within the corps sector. The 89th Division was ordered to hold the front from Laneuville (inclusive) to Letanne (exclusive). The 2d Division was to hold the front from Letanne (inclusive) to Mouzon (inclusive). Both divisions were to push strong patrols across the Meuse to


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maintain contact with the enemy. The 1st Division was ordered assembled in the area Vaux-en-Dieulet—Chateau de Belval, there to await further orders. At the end of the day the corps front line remained along the west bank of the Meuse from Stenay to Mouzon and was held by the 2d and 89th Divisions. The 1st Division was assembling in the vicinity of Vaux-en-Dieulet.2

On November 9 there was no change in the mission of the Fifth Corps for the day. The 2d and 89th Divisions continued to hold the west bank of the Meuse and to make preparations for effecting a crossing.2

On November 10, at 6 a. m., the Fifth Corps took over the First Corps front. The 77th Division, First Corps, had relieved the 42d Division and was now holding the entire First Corps front. This front was to be eventually taken over by the French Ninth Corps, which was then holding the sector on the left of the 77th Division. The Fifth Corps was ordered to cross the Meuse and seize the heights southeast of Vaux and east of Inor. The 2d Division was ordered to cross the Meuse at places already selected by the division commander, and to seize the heights east of Mouzon and southeast of Vaux. The 89th Division was to cross the Meuse at places already selected and to seize the heights east and northeast of Inor. At the end of the day, the Fifth Corps had three divisions in line, the 89th on the right, the 2d in the center, and the 77th on the left. The line extended along the west bank of the river from Stenay to Pont-Maugis. The 2d and 89th Divisions were making preparation to effect crossings of the river during the night. The 1st and 42d Divisions were awaiting orders for a movement to the Third Corps area. The 77th Division continued to hold its front on the west bank of the Meuse.2

On the night of November 10-11 the 2d and 89th Divisions, under effective artillery and machine-gun fire, successfully completed the crossing of the Meuse. On the morning of November 11, Pouilly was reported captured at 4.30 a. m. Every effort was made to put across two bridges in the vicinity of Mouzon, but this was unsuccessful owing to heavy machine-gun and artillery fire. Attempts made in the vicinity of Bois de l’Hospice were successful, however, and crossings were made here by troops from both the 2d and 89th Divisions. At 8.30 a. m. notification was received from the First Army that the armistice had been signed, effective at 11 a. m. November 11. At 11 a. m. the location of the front-line elements of the divisions in the sector was approximately as follows: From the eastern side of Stenay westward to the first bend of the Meuse north of Stenay, thence west of north to a point approximately 1 km. (0.6 mile) northeast of Autreville, thence westwardly to just southwest of Ferme de Vigneron, thence north and west to southwest of Mouzon, thence along the Meuse to Pont-Maugis.2, 3

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

The following plan of evacuations was published by the corps surgeon on October 25, 1918:5

EVACUATION OF SICK AND WOUNDED

1. Organization.-Field hospitals for triage, gassed and sick: 89th Division now established about 1 k. NE. of Charpentry. This site will be occupied by the field hospitals


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of First Division when the division goes in; if conditions permit, the establishment will be placed at La Grange-aux-Bois Ferme. Second Division will establish triage about 1 k. SW. Exermont. Field hospitals for gassed and sick and for nontransportable cases of 2d and 89th Divisions will be established on road running south from Charpentry, about k. from junction of that road with main road (Baulny—Varennes).

2. Evacuations.-Same as in previous orders, except that Mobile Hospital No. 6, about k. W. of Cheppy, will be used in conjunction with 1st Corps for operable, severely wounded.

At the urgent insistence of the corps surgeon, Field Hospital No. 42 joined the corps train on November 1, and on the next day Field Hospital No. 339. Both of these units were located 1 km. (0.6 mile) south of Very. United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 590 reported for duty with the corps on November 2, and Field Hospital No. 338 on the 3d. The last mentioned was located near Mobile Hospital No. 8, established November 3 1 km. (0.6 mile) southwest of Exermont. As the 2d Division advanced, its triage was moved to Landreville, and later to Beaumont, and its surgical hospital to the former place. The 89th Division advanced its triage to within 1 km. (0.6 mile north of Nouart, where it was joined later by the other hospitals of that division. The 1st Division did not locate at any point for a long period, and no reports of locations were received from it until after the armistice.6

Collecting points were designated at Field Hospital No. 338 and at La Grange-aux-Bois Ferme, to which point Field Hospital No. 339 was moved on November 6. Divisions were directed to send their patients to these points, whence evacuation ambulance companies would transfer them to the rear, but as the haul which this plan required was too long, Evacuation Hospital No. 14 was moved up to Varennes on the 6th. Thereafter one ambulance company of the corps train was sent forward daily to the triages of the 2d and 89th Divisions.7

The Medical Department labored under the great disadvantage, common to all branches of the service, of lack of transportation. No division entered the corps with full quota of ambulances, with anything approaching the allowance of trucks for field hospitals, or with motor cycles or motor cars. The sanitary train (four field hospitals and four ambulance companies) allowed by Tables of Organization to a corps was lacking, except that three field hospitals reported the first part of November, entirely without transportation at first and with no cots, stoves, extra blankets, or tents for officers. The corps surgeon reported as follows:7

Had this sanitary train been available from the beginning it is believed that a number of lives would have been saved. In each regular ambulance company there are from 60 to 80 men available as litter bearers in addition to the drivers and orderlies on the ambulances, while in an evacuation ambulance company there are only 32 men. Further, the four field hospitals could have been drawn upon for personnel and transportation and could have relieved divisions of their sick.

The great defect in the Medical Department organization in the divisions was the lack of litter bearers in the front line.7


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In a supplementary report, dated December 5, 1918, the corps surgeon reported as follows concerning the evacuation service of the corps and its component divisions:7, 8

The battalion aid station was near its battalion command post in a dugout or other sheltered spot, as near the front lines as possible. Here were located all available medical officers with dressing parties and litter bearers. The regimental surgeon with a small force was at the regimental aid station and had general supervision over regimental aid and evacuation. Casualties from battalion aid stations did not necessarily pass through regimental aid stations.

DRESSING STATIONS

Main dressing stations were established at each ambulance company headquarters at convenient, central, sheltered spots. Wounded men passed through these stations, were examined and given hot drinks, but were not unloaded unless it was necessary to do so in order to check hemorrhage or to revive from profound shock. These companies also assisted the regimental personnel to establish advance dressing stations at, or as near as possible to, battalion aid stations, re-dressed or readjusted dressings, administered antitetanic serum when necessary, gave hot drinks and other nourishment. Ambulance company litter bearers were concentrated at these advance stations to assist in bringing in the disabled. Service at these stations was usually satisfactory, but a few cases were reported where tourniquets were too tightly applied or were left too long in place, where splints were not applied, or antitetanic serum was not given.8

The greatest difficulty in the evacuation of the wounded was that of transporting them to an aid station within a reasonable time after their wounds had been received. This condition was due to the lack of litter bearers and the distance to be covered, especially when the advance was rapid and the terrain hilly and wooded. The corps surgeon had foreseen this shortage, but his request to have 200 litter bearers assigned to each division was not approved.8

FIELD HOSPITALS

In general it was found best to have the four field hospitals of a division located together; one to act as a triage and to care for surgical and shock cases, one for gassed patients, one for the sick, and one in reserve. In but few instances was it found necessary to modify this plan.9

The question whether the triage should be operated by an ambulance company or a field hospital came up early in the course of operations and was settled in favor of the latter. This conclusion was deduced from the need that every available man in an ambulance company perform litter-bearer duty and the desirability of having, in conjunction with the triage, facilities for the care of nontransportable and shocked patients. All casualties, with the exception of gassed patients, were passed through the triage and carried from it by litter to tents designated for nontransportables, slightly wounded, severely wounded, or sick. The great majority of the divisions operating in


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 the corps were found to be poorly organized for this class of work, the tendency being to devote an undue amount of energy to surgical interference and to neglect triage service and the treatment of shocked cases. This was controlled by insistence that a medical officer be designated at each triage to have entire charge of sorting and loading patients for evacuation; that only emergency surgery be performed at these locations (this had to be modified in certain cases); and that a shock team be organized and instructed.9

In order to prevent the possibility of other patients becoming gassed from contact with them, gassed patients were delivered by the ambulances directly to the division gas hospital. Their records were made here and were consolidated with those of the triage. All cases of this character were examined and classified by a medical officer, their clothing removed, and baths given. Suspected malingerers and those who were slightly gassed or exhausted were held under observation for 24 hours with a view to their return to duty. In order to make this procedure possible, a supply of clothing was maintained at this hospital. In the early stages of its operations the corps gas hospital was overwhelmed with patients, many of them but slightly gassed, some not at all; but as soon as the foregoing plan could be put into effect this condition was relieved, and a large number of cases were returned to duty from the divisional gas hospitals.9

When the Fifth Corps entered the Argonne sector the 79th Division and, to a less degree, the 37th and 91st were experiencing considerable losses from the epidemic of influenza. Most of the sick were being evacuated to Souilly, where it was reported that many men developed pneumonia, with a high death rate. To care for these patients with as little exposure as possible, the 32d Division, in reserve, was directed to establish at Ville-sur-Cousances a field hospital for the sick of the corps.9 This hospital received several hundred cases during one week, with a decided decrease in the pneumonia and fatality rates. But as the 32d went into line on October 3, it was necessary to discontinue the service of this hospital; and although every effort was made to secure another for this purpose, none became available until Field Hospital No. 42 arrived on November 1.9

Orders were then issued directing that each division establish a field hospital to care for its own sick and retain influenza and pneumonia patients and all slightly ill, evacuating only other cases and those which threatened to become more or less chronic. Because of the frequent movement of divisions this method was not given a thorough test; but whenever it was possible to apply it, especially in the 32d and 42d Divisions, the results were extremely satisfactory, saving a large number of men for the front lines and reducing the number of cases of serious illness.10

At the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne operation there were attached to the corps 4 United States Army Ambulance Service sections and 2 French sections, giving a total of 85 ambulances. Of these there were generally available 90 per cent of the United States Army vehicles and 70 per cent of the French.10


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There was great demand for ambulances for independent organizations of the corps, such as Artillery, Engineer, and pioneer Regiments. Ten ambulances, therefore, were distributed among these organizations; but, considering the shortage of these vehicles, this was a mistake, as experience proved, and later the ambulances were returned to their organizations.10

As ambulances of the United States Ambulance Service were provided with substitute drivers, these organizations were assigned to divisions to evacuate their field hospitals. With the French ambulance units the arrangements made were somewhat different, chiefly because their service allowed but one driver to a vehicle. These ambulances were sent out early in the morning and made one trip daily, which often carried them into the night.10

Had our line remained stationary along the line existing at the commencement of the operation, the allowance of ambulances would have been sufficient for all purposes, as the haul to the nearest evacuation hospital, at Froidos, was not long and roads were excellent; but on the day that the triages moved forward from Brabant to Les Clairs Chenes trouble began. Division surgeons had been informed that they would be held responsible for transporting casualties to their field hospitals and that the corps would evacuate from these points; but during the first few days it was almost impossible to get ambulances through to Malancourt, Vauquois, or beyond Avocourt, on account of the bad condition of roads and the blocking of traffic. Maps which had been furnished the ambulance companies were incorrect in some instances, and there was great confusion in routing. About October 4 (second phase) it was possible to shift the corps evacuation route to the Very—Cheppy—Varennes road, which was in fairly good condition; but the haul was very long—Very to Froidos, 26 km. (16 miles), to Fleury-sur-Aire, 32 km. (19.8 miles), and to Vaubecourt, 46 km. (28.5 miles), and roads were congested so that frequently it required 12 to 24 hours to make the round trip.10 There was also great difficulty in obtaining spare parts for the vehicles, and an ambulance might be laid up for days for the lack of a spark plug or some small part of a motor. An ambulance repair shop was located at Triaucourt, but only the simplest repairs could be made there, and it was necessary to scour the country for spare parts—often unsuccessfully, though quest was made in Souilly, Bar-le-Duc, Sampigny, and even Langres. During operations there were some losses by theft, several tires and rims and two motor cycles complete being taken from corps medical organizations.11

During the early days of the operation considerable confusion existed in the delivery of patients to evacuation hospitals. Officers in charge of triages apparently failed to appreciate the importance of careful sorting and would, for instance, direct a driver to proceed to Froidos with his load of patients, though there might be among them sick who should have been sent to Vaubecourt and gassed who should have gone to Julvecourt. Moreover, drivers did not always report where they were sent; apparently being treated better at some hospitals than at others. Fleury-sur-Aire was the favorite destination, and drivers frequently delivered every class of cases at this point.


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 Also, as the First Corps used the same road as the Fifth, and occasionally evacuated large numbers of patients to Froidos and Fleury-sur-Aire, both of these hospitals sometimes were filled, and orders were received at night that patients be diverted to Villers-Daucourt or Brizeaux or Souilly. Lacking telephone connection with triages, the only course open to the corps evacuation officer was to notify the military police to route ambulances accordingly or to send a representative to do so at the crossroads at Clermont.11

Trucks were used by the divisions for the evacuation of wounded and gassed from the front to triages, and even to the rear of them in many cases. Though section G-1 of the corps staff cooperated constantly with the corps surgeon, he was unable to furnish corps trucks to assist in evacuation, because of the shortage of such vehicles in the corps train, the enormous amounts of ammunition to be hauled by such as were available, and the fact that the corps supply and ammunition dumps invariably were forward of evacuation hospitals.

As the corps was a tactical unit, routine reports from divisions did not necessarily pass through the corps surgeon’s office, but certain information was necessary for that office, and so the reports listed below were required. The requirements were made as simple and brief as possible in order not to overburden the division surgeons, the corps surgeon having had considerable experience in that capacity and appreciating the difficulties of getting out complicated reports during the heat of action. There were many other points of interest which might have been included, such as the number of killed, slightly and severely wounded, number of gassed cases, and sick returned directly to duty from divisional hospitals, etc.11

The daily casualty report was, of course, the most important and was in fact apparently the only reliable report of the corps so far as "Wounded, other injuries, gassed, and sick" were concerned. When complete, as was usually the case, it showed the total number of admissions to medical organizations of the corps.11

Reports required were as follows:

Immediately upon joining the corps—1. Numerical list of medical personnel and transportation. 2. Roster of medical officers, including specialists, dental, sanitary corps, and veterinary officers.

Daily—1. Casualty report.

Weekly—1. Personnel and transportation (copy of Form 9, A. G. O. S. D.). 2. Contagious diseases for the allied commander. 3. Venereal, giving name, rank, organization, and number of each new case.

Reports from nondivisional corps troops:

Daily—Casualties and changes, adding number of cases evacuated directly to evacuation hospitals.12

THE 2D DIVISION

On the night of October 31, the 2d Division, which had been in the Fifth Corps reserve, relieved the 42d Division in line south of St. Georges, and at 5.30 on the morning of November 1, launched its attack on a 4-km. (2.4-mile) front.13


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The plan of action was to attack in a northerly direction within the sector. The reduction of the enemy strong positions in and around Landres-et-St. Georges, the Bois des Hazois, and the Bois de l’Epasse, was made the mission of the 23d Infantry (3d Brigade), which regiment was to attack on a 2-km. (1.2-mile) front on the right. Following the capture of the areas assigned it, the 23d Infantry was to pass to the division reserve. The remainder of the division front, on the left, was given to the 4th Brigade. This brigade, upon arriving at the level of Imecourt, was to be extended so as to cover the entire front of the division, thus replacing the 23d Infantry, on the right.13

The attack advanced in accordance with scheduled arrangements. Upon arrival at the third objective (La Folarde—La Magenta Ferme—Cote 313—Fontaine des Parades), the position was consolidated and patrols were pushed forward to the exploitation line (Nouart—Fosse). The 89th Division, on the right of the 2d Division, reached the corps objective on November 1. The 80th Division (First Corps), on the left of the 2d Division, was unable to advance to its objective. This caused the left flank of the 2d Division to be exposed to attack from the direction of Sivry-les-Buzancy and Buzancy. The 4th Brigade was therefore ordered to seize and hold with its rear elements the woods north and west of Sivry-les-Buzancy, and the 3d Brigade to place itself in position to resist any counterattacks which the enemy might make on the left flank of the division.13

On November 2 the division began a movement which involved a change of its front and an attack in the direction of Buzancy. In the afternoon, however, corps orders changing this plan were received, stopping the movement. This change in plans was caused by the refusal of the First Corps and the 80th Division to change their plans and permit the Fifth Corps to attack diagonally across their front, in the direction of Buzancy. The 4th Brigade was relieved in the front line by the 3d Brigade. Due to the change of orders and the time necessary for the relief of the first line of the division by the 3d Brigade, it was decided to make the advance to the exploitation line, Nouart—Fosse, during the night of November 2-3. This was successfully accomplished, and the exploitation line was occupied during the night by the 3d Brigade.13

On November 3 the 3d Brigade leading, with its regiments abreast, attacked from the line of departure, Nouart—Fosse. At 6 a. m. they advanced to and occupied the ridge southeast of Vaux-en-Dieulet by 8.30 a. m. In this advance the troops were subject to heavy artillery and machine-gun fire and suffered many casualties. In the position gained it was discovered that the line was confronted by strong enemy positions along the southern edge of Bois de Belval. Division orders were then issued, directing the division to advance, the 3d Brigade being ordered to attack and dislodge the enemy from his position in its front, and to move up through the woods, during the night, and occupy a commanding position in the vicinity of Beaumont. The advance was made as directed. The division, after an artillery preparation of about one hour, advanced and occupied, late in the afternoon, the enemy position above referred to. This being a night operation, the 3d Brigade, supported


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by accompanying artillery, pushed forward by a single road and passed through the Bois de Belval, Bois de Four, and Bois du Port Gerache, and debouched into the open. The heights north of La Tuilerie Ferme, south of Beaumont, 6 km. (3.7 miles) behind the enemy’s main line of resistance, in front of the divisions on the flanks of the 2d Division, were reached by 11.30 p. m. on November 3. By the morning of November 4 a strong position had been built up north and east of La Tuilerie Ferme. This advance through the woods was made by a single road and with the troops in column of twos.13

November 4 was spent in building up, with the 3d Brigade and 15th Field Artillery, a strong position northeast of La Tuilerie Ferme, and preparations were made to advance to the bank of the Meuse on the night of November 4-5.13

After darkness on the night of November 4-5, the 3d Brigade again advanced and, passing by the outskirts of Beaumont, reached by daybreak, November 5, the town of Letanne, and the Bois de la Vache, which places were occupied, together with the trenches between them. The bank of the Meuse, within the elements of the division, was cleared of the enemy. After daybreak, a detachment from the 23d Infantry was sent into Beaumont to complete the capture of that place and to occupy it.13

On November 5 the 5th Regiment of Marines completed the capture of Foret de Jaulnay and reconnoitered the destroyed bridges at Pouilly and Inor. One battalion of the 89th Division assisted in these operations.13

During the night of November 5-6, information was received that the 1st Division was to pass through the 80th Division, which, at that time, occupied the line Beaumont—La Thibaudine Ferme, and was to march on Mouzon. The Fifth Corps directed the 2d Division to assist in these operations and to protect the right flank of the 1st Division during its march toward Mouzon. In the 2d Division, the 3d Brigade was given this mission.13

On November 6 corps orders were issued directing the assembly of the 2d Division, preparatory to marching on Sedan. However, early in the morning of November 7, these orders to march northward were countermanded and the 2d Division was directed to hold the line of the Meuse on the front Letanne—Mouzon. The 3d Brigade organized and occupied the front line and continued reconnoitering the river crossings. The 4th Brigade was moved up and was bivouacked along Beaumont—Sommauthe road, about 3 km. (1.8 miles) southwest of Beaumont.13

November 8 was spent in improving positions and in searching for bridge material.13

On November 9 the division was directed to cross the river at 6 p. m., that day, but owing to the difficulty experienced in securing bridge material the orders were changed and the crossings postponed.13

After dark, on November 10, the 2d Engineers threw two improvised footbridges across the Meuse near Bois de l’Hospice, and the 4th Brigade, in the face of very heavy machine-gun and artillery fire, succeeded in putting two battalions of the 5th Marines, plus two machine-gun companies, across the river. A battalion of the 89th Division, which had been placed under the command of the commanding general, 4th Brigade, for combat liaison with


PLATE XLVI


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the 89th Division, crossed at the same time, following the 5th Marines. The crossing north of Mouzon was abandoned because of the success which attended the crossing at the other place. The 3d Brigade and all the division machine guns assisted in this operation, and one battalion of the 9th Infantry was, about dawn, November 11, pushed over in support of the 5th Marines.13

During the early morning hours of November 11, the enemy was driven from Bois des Flaviers and a bridgehead was established which included Warmonterne Ferme, Bellefontaine Ferme, and Senegal Ferme. Liaison with the 89th Division was established near Vigneron Ferme. This operation lasted until 11 a. m. November 11, at which time the armistice with the enemy went into effect.13

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

About October 27 all the units of the sanitary train were in place and ready for the operation. The triage (Field Hospital No. 1) and the medical supply unit was located behind camouflaged screens in a field 1.5 km. (0.9 mile) southwest of Exermont and 6.5 km. (4 miles) from the lines, as the ground here was soft, stone roads had to be built to prevent miring of transportation.14 Tentage was not erected until the night of the attack, for the location was within sight of enemy observation balloons. Field Hospital No. 16 for sick and gassed patients, and Field Hospitals No. 15 and No. 23 (combined), for nontransportable wounded, were located 0.5 km. (0.3 mile) south of Charpentry. Ambulance Companies No. 1, No. 16, and No. 23 occupied shelter tents in a small valley near the triage. Casualties from the division were to be removed to Evacuation Hospital No. 10, at Froidos; Red Cross Hospital No. 114, at Fleury; Evacuation Hospital No. 14, at Les Islettes; and Mobile Hospital No. 6, near Varennes. The distance from front lines to these units varied from 11.5 km. (7.1 miles) to 39.6 km. (24.5 miles).14

By the night of October 31, officers and men of the litter-bearer sections of the ambulance companies had joined the battalions they were to serve, and a dressing station, well stocked with supplies, had been established by Ambulance Company No. 15, at Sommerance, with United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 556, standing by in readiness for service.14

Because of the rapid advance, the dressing stations moved forward almost daily. Two were operating at Sommerance and one at Landres-et-St. Georges on the night of November 1, one at Bayonville on the afternoon of November 2, two at Nouart November 3, one at Fosse on November 4, two at Sommauthe on November 7, and all four dressing stations were located at Beaumont November 8 to 10, functioning as a triage and as a hospital for minor cases of sickness.14 The field hospitals moved in echelon formation, leaving when they moved forward a group in the rear to care for sick and wounded left behind until they were evacuated. Field Hospital No. 1 was at Exermont November 1-2; at Landres-et-St. Georges, 8 km. (4.9 miles) from the front line, November 2-3; Nouart 6 km. (3.7 miles) November 4 to 7; Sommauthe 9 km. (5.5 miles) November 8-9; Beaumont 2 km. (1.2 miles) November 10.


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The surgical unit, composed of Field Hospitals No. 15 and No. 23 and Mobile Surgical Unit No. 3, moved to Landreville, 15 km. (9.3 miles) from the line on November 4. Field Hospital No. 16 moved to Sommauthe on November 8 and to Beaumont on the 12th.15

The problem of evacuating casualties soon became a very serious one. Roads, which at first were fairly good, were soon almost impassable. The G. M. C. ambulances of the sanitary train were reduced to 25, and the train was further hampered at first by the temporary loss of 12 drivers who had been sent to Marseille on November 1 to bring up 12 new G. M. C. ambulances. Twenty additional Ford ambulances belonging to a United States Army Ambulance Service section reinforced the train, but these machines, formerly considered equal to almost any road condition, were unable to endure the strain imposed by deep, sticky mud. In the first five days much travel at low gears had so worn their transmissions that the section in question was practically out of service, except that a few vehicles were kept in condition for evacuating patients to the rear. The G. M. C. ambulances, with chains, and the "Commerce" machine-gun trucks which came to the assistance of the Medical Department, were the only cars that could operate under the road conditions in the forward area. Arrival of the convoy of 12 G. M. C. ambulances from Marseille on November 7 aided greatly in the work of evacuation.15

In short hauls from the forward area mule-drawn ambulances were very useful, but the two-mule teams were soon exhausted. It was considered doubtful whether four-mule teams could have held out much longer. Sanitary and supply train trucks assisted greatly in rear evacuation. Those of the supply train reported at the triage after leaving their rations and supplies: but, because of extremely bad roads and the long hauls back to the hospitals at Fleury and Froidos, could not make a round trip inside of 24 hours. It became necessary therefore to forbid by orders their going farther than to evacuation hospitals. These, however, were unable to keep up with the advance, and often, after extremely long hauls, the trucks found them overflowing, and so were obliged to proceed still farther to the rear.15

At Nouart, the 1st Division supplied several ambulances for rear evacuation, when not actually needed for use in the forward area. The establishment of Mobile Hospital No. 8 at Exermont shortened the haul for nontransportable patients for whom the surgical units of Field Hospitals No. 15 and No. 23 could not care; but much of the time it was filled to its utmost capacity. The extremely bad weather, fatigue, and lack of food in the lines conspired to cause much sickness. At one time the 16th Field Hospital, at Sommauthe, had 1,100 patients under canvas and in billets in that town, most of them suffering from influenza or diarrhea.16

With the establishment of one-way routes, patrolled by caterpillar tractors day and night to pull mired trucks and ambulances onto the road, traffic was kept moving; slowly, it is true, but under road conditions that ordinarily would have been impossible.16

In this engagement, as in a previous one, a supply officer was given the special task of keeping dressing stations supplied and rationed with hot food until kitchens could be brought up. The plan worked well.16


767

In addition to the transportation problems, already difficult enough, when Sommauthe was reached about 1,600 refugees, some seriously wounded, had to be evacuated to Harricourt, near Buzancy. Trucks of the sanitary train (some were temporarily out of commission) were unable to meet the needs of the ever-increasing number of arrivals. In this emergency the returning supply train trucks of the 1st Division were put at the disposal of the division surgeon, 2d Division, and soon all these unfortunates were sent safely to the rear.16

When the armistice went into effect the sanitary train was disposed as follows: Headquarters and headquarters of its hospital section with Field Hospitals No. 15 and No. 23, to which Mobile Surgical Unit No. 3 was attached, were at Landreville; Field Hospital No. 1, the triage, medical supply unit, and all the ambulance companies, with their dressing stations in operation, were at Beaumont; while Field Hospital No. 16 was at Sommauthe caring for some 800 sick patients.16

Throughout this operation the triage had been advanced frequently, with a view to reducing the time of admission after receipt of wounded—a procedure which the division surgeon reported had doubtless saved many lives. On the morning of November 1, when 6.5 km. (4 miles) from the line, it received 316 cases within an average of 1 hour and 33 minutes from the moment a patient’s diagnosis tag was affixed.

THE 89TH DIVISIONa

On November 1, at 5.30 a. m., the 89th Division attacked, with the 177th Infantry Brigade assaulting, the 178th Brigade being in reserve. The advance progressed on schedule time, the third objective, Les Tuileries—Cote la Folarde, being reached at about 11.30 a. m. In the afternoon a heavy fog arose, making it difficult for the advancing infantry to be certain of its location. The position of the line was checked by field officers and it was reported as on the third objective, Cote la Folarde—northern edge of Bois de Barricourt to just east of Les Tuileries.17, 18

On November 2 the attack was slow and uncertain.17 The attack of the assaulting battalions was directed to move forward and follow the barrage. This attack failed to get started, because the barrage was about one-third as dense as the preceding day and was not recognized as a barrage by the attacking troops. Successive attacks were ordered and started during the day, but did not succeed because the infantry was instructed to follow the barrage instead of having orders to move forward at definite hours, regardless of the barrage. The enemy’s resistance was severe, both with artillery and machine guns. Moreover, liaison was not satisfactory during the day. It was late in the afternoon before the attack really progressed, bit by bit, on the left and on the right under covering fire of all available artillery. At about 9 p. m., the right regiment entered Tailly and placed itself on its objective for the

aFor map of activities of this division for this period, see Plate XLVI.


768

day, and the left regiment, although not having taken Barricourt, which was held by enemy machine guns, had practically encircled the town. The reserve Infantry brigade moved after placing its leading element in Bois de Barricourt, preparatory to the relief of the advance brigade.17

On November 3 the 178th Brigade passed through the 177th Brigade and attacked at about 6 a. m. The mission of the division was now to attack and carry the heights overlooking Le Champy Haut and Beauclair, and to push strong reconnaissances toward Stenay. The Infantry started satisfactorily, and at 7.30 a. m. a report was received that Barricourt had been taken as well as the heights east and west. At 9.30 a. m. the advance brigade commander reported his troops were on the objective for the day and were entrenching on the heights. He was then ordered to press forward at once with his reconnaissances toward Stenay and to the north. Reports in the latter part of the morning indicated enemy resistance developing on the right and left. At 12.05 p. m. the leading battalion of the right regiment was reported clear of the woods beyond the heights. Through the officer in charge of the message center, liaison was accomplished with the advance battalion of the right regiment, which was held up before Beauclair. Artillery fire was then adjusted on the southern edge of Beauclair. At dusk all the remaining artillery ammunition was fired in support of the Infantry attack, which moved up to the town. Full possession of the town of Beauclair was gained and patrols were put in Halles, but the Infantry did not enter Beaufort until the following morning. On the left the exploiting column had passed Le Champy Bas and had entered Bois des Dames.17

On November 4 the mission of the division was to advance and seize the town of Laneuville, the north edge of Foret de Dieulet, and to push reconnaissances forward to the Meuse and reconnoiter for river crossings. The operations for the day were slow and on the whole unsatisfactory, although the division gained its objective. Just before 8 a. m. word was received from the advance brigade that the commander of the right assaulting battalion reported a successful flanking move, but that unless an artillery fire could be put down immediately, instructions planned for the barrage at 8.30 a. m. should be countermanded. This was done. Further reports were meager and unsatisfactory. The division commander accordingly went forward to the heights north of Tailly, overlooking the operation. The inactivity of our Infantry was apparent. Beyond the river, large convoys of Germans could be seen leaving Stenay. South of the Foret de Dieulet small numbers of the enemy, apparently machine gunners, could be seen moving about. Our troops north of Beaufort were receiving fire and were not advancing; our artillery was practically silent. The division commander therefore directed the advance brigade commander to drive forward his attack and take Laneuville. More favorable progress was then reported on the left, where the attacking battalion had entered the woods, although experiencing steady resistance, and was followed by the support battalion. The center battalion made little progress. The battalion on the right could not advance until the artillery support


769

was obtained. The assaulting battalion on the left reported itself on its objective about an hour before dark. On the right the town of Laneuville was entered by an officers’ patrol and a reconnaissance was made of the destroyed bridge and railroad in the vicinity before midnight.17

On November 5 the mission of the division was to continue the advance and drive the enemy across the Meuse, including in this operation the Foret de Jaulnay, and seize and hold the bridges in the front of the division. The leading brigade was given the mission of the division. About noon the corps commander issued instructions that the 89th Division would hold the heights east of the Meuse on its present front. This meant obtaining a river crossing. The advance brigade commander was then given definite orders to drive in behind Foret de Jaulnay and seize and hold the Pouilly bridge. However, later reconnaissances proved the Pouilly bridge had been badly damaged and men could cross to the town only singly. Inor bridge was found to be intact by an engineer reconnoitering officer, but it was destroyed on the night of November 5 by the enemy.17

Inasmuch as Field Orders No. 118 of the Fifth Corps required that, in addition to holding its front, the 89th Division would organize in preparation for an advance to the north, special inspections and conferences were held to obtain the exact status of the division. In part this was reported as follows:

Division holds position to guard bridges from Pouilly to Stenay, inclusive. * * * Bridges at Pouilly, Inor, Luzy, Cesse, and Stenay, with intermediate crossings, have been demolished by the enemy. Demolition at Pouilly was incomplete, and small infantry detachments have crossed and are holding the far side, supported by strong infantry detachments and machine guns on its side. It is believed that a similar operation is possible at Inor. At Pouilly it would take a week’s time to put bridge and road in condition for heavy vehicles. Infantry and light trains could probably be put over in four days. Roads leading to bridges between Stenay and Pouilly are bad except road to Inor, which is reported as in fair condition. Road along northwest corner of Foret de Jaulnay is practicable for first movement of artillery and trains, but it has not yet been determined if it can bear sustained traffic. * * * This division has forces in Pouilly and Foret de Jaulnay, which area is also covered by the 2d Division. * * *

In the afternoon orders were received from the corps that the 89th Division would cover the front of the Meuse from Stenay northward, protecting the right flank of the advance, and that strong reconnaissances would be pushed across the Meuse and that this division should be prepared to follow the advance. Accordingly orders were issued bringing the reserve brigade into the line.17

On the 7th, no change in the line was made. During the morning word was received from corps headquarters revoking the order to extend to the northwest.17

On the morning of November 8 corps orders were received directing the 89th Division to push strong patrols across the Meuse and to maintain contact with the enemy. Accordingly, the 178th Brigade was directed to carry on aggressively the mission of the division and to force a crossing of the river at Pouilly on the night of November 8-9. The advance brigade com-


770

mander asked for further delay, and on the recommendation of the division engineer this was granted. However, instructions were given to push patrols across the river. Some six or seven attempts were made at night, by various expeditions, including several patrols, which tried to swim, regardless of the low temperature of the water. Two crossings were actually effected, but no information was obtained other than that the enemy was holding the east bank of the river all along the front.17

On November 9 the division maintained its position, with the 178th Brigade in the line patrolling the river, with a view to detecting enemy activity. During the night our patrols met with success. Using bridge equipment, detachments crossed west of Pouilly and gained important data in regard to the character of the banks on the east side of the river.17

On November 10 the 89th Division was directed to cross the Meuse at places already selected by the division commander, and to seize the heights east and northeast of Inor. The corps order directed that the best possible use be made of machine guns and artillery and that the hour of beginning the operation be 4 p. m. Dividing lines and boundaries were given: Letanne to the 2d Division and Autreville to the 89th Division. On the south the boundary was Stenay, exclusive. The plan was to force a crossing near Pouilly, drive eastward to the heights back of Inor, then exploit to the south and connect with the other brigade, which was to work north through Stenay, in liaison with the 90th Division. The 178th Brigade was given the mission of crossing at Pouilly, maintaining liaison with the 2d Division and furnishing the combat liaison troops on that flank. The 177th was given the task of maintaining combat liaison with the 90th Division, sending troops by the footbridge at Villefranche, as well as by a reported footbridge at Stenay, to push northward to the far side of the river, clearing the woods and maintaining contact with the 178th Brigade north of Inor.17

On the night of November 10-11 the operation developed on the left practically as planned. The hour of starting was coordinate with that of the 2d Division; and although our troops began the operation of moving boats from their camouflaged park near the main road about 4 p. m., the crossing of the river was not under way until 9.30 p. m. Two battalions of Infantry crossed the creek running from Ferme de la Wamme down the river, proceeded north circling Pouilly, and did not disturb the inhabitants or garrisons until our position was well secured on the heights beyond. The capture of the town was then completed and our Infantry pressed on and took Autreville after daylight, and reached the heights to the east. The combat liaison battalion, and the machine-gun company, which was under the orders of the 2d Division, did not fare so well. Just as they were preparing to cross the river they were subjected to a very heavy concentration of enemy artillery fire, and suffered heavy casualties. Their operation was delayed, but they accomplished their mission with the 2d Division. To the south, the 177th Brigade sent one regiment, less one battalion, by way of the footbridge at Villefranche, following the elements of the 90th Division. One battalion was directed to


771

cross directly opposite Stenay as soon as opportunity afforded. The regimental commander with the Villefranche column moved up on the east side of the river just in rear of the 90th Division and on the left flank. He was told that the town was strongly held by the Germans and that since operations were to cease later in the day the 90th Division would not take the town. The engineers of the division, in Laneuville, again reconnoitered the crossing there during the night and commenced work which resulted in placing a platoon of our troops in Stenay at about 10 a. m., November 11.17

At 8.30 a. m., November 11, word was received from the corps that the armistice would go into effect at 11 a. m., and that firing would cease at that time. Since the division had been in the line a considerable time without proper bathing facilities, and since it was realized that if the enemy were permitted to remain in position our troops would be deprived of the billets and probable bathing facilities there, instructions were sent to the Infantry commander at Laneuville to push forward directly and take Stenay, not waiting for any assistance or support of the 90th Division. It was intended to complete the operation by capturing the heights east of the river between Stenay and Moulins. The enemy, however, was found to be in Inor and Cervisy. Moreover, orders were later received not to advance, and the line held at 11 a. m. The line of the division, when the armistice became effective, was approximately as follows: From the north side of Stenay westward to the first bend of the Meuse, north of Stenay, thence west of north to a point approximately 1 km. (0.6 mile) northeast of Autreville.17, 19

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

As the division went into action with a shortage of 16 medical officers, presently increased by casualties to 23, dental surgeons reinforced the battalion medical service, performing the duties of medical officers.20

The scarcity of stretcher bearers was keenly felt, for no provision had been made to replace bandsmen, who had ceased to be used, and the regimental evacuation service was handicapped by lack of sufficient personnel to conduct the heavy and exhausting work incident to litter bearing. Whenever possible, prisoners were used for the purpose.20

Before each attack packages containing sterile needles and silkworm gut were distributed to regimental and battalion surgeons, and through this provision many aspirating chest wounds were closed by suturing. Some of this work was done in positions as far forward as battalion and regimental aid stations; other cases were treated at the ambulance dressing stations, and none was allowed to go beyond the triage without suturing. It was noticed that patients when treated in this way suffered less, were transported more easily, and reached the hospital in much better condition than in previous engagements, when only gauze and adhesive plaster were used to control aspiration.21


772

On November 1 Ambulance Company No. 356, with seven horse-drawn ambulances and a horse-drawn ambulance company from the 2d Division, attached for temporary duty, left La Grange-aux-Bois Ferme at 5.30 a. m. Ambulance Company No. 354 left this farm at 6.30 a. m., all companies en route for a point near the eastern edge of the woods on the road south of Bantheville, where at 7.30 a. m. a dressing station was established. The animal-drawn companies operated north to the Remonville-Bantheville road, returning over a dirt road through the woods to the dressing station, where patients received treatment and were evacuated thence to La Grange-aux-Bois Ferme by motor ambulances. Ambulances of Ambulance Company No. 353 were called into service about 9 a. m. The dressing station was under shell fire several times during the day, occasioning some casualties among the personnel.22

On November 2 the director of ambulance companies, with ambulances from Ambulance Company No. 354 and Ambulance Company No. 356, moved to Remonville, where Ambulance Company No. 353 later established a dressing station. Because of heavy shell fire the vehicles of Ambulance Company No. 354 were parked behind a hill south of that town, while the horse-drawn ambulances worked forward evacuating the wounded from Barricourt Wood. At 3 p. m. of the same day, after reconnaissance by the director of ambulance companies, a dressing station was established on the Remonville—Barricourt road, at the south edge of Barricourt Wood; but this location was found to be too dangerous and was abandoned. Because of road conditions it was particularly difficult to evacuate the 353d Infantry.23

At 9 a. m., on November 3, three motor ambulances were sent to Tailly, where a few patients were found. After reconnaissance, Ambulance Company No. 354 established a dressing station at that point and Ambulance Company No. 353 another at Barricourt, the latter advancing to Nouart on the morning of November 4. Evacuation was very slow on account of road conditions, a round trip to the field hospitals at La Grange-aux-Bois Ferme requiring 16 hours.24

Two days later the ambulance section was given 42 mules, using from that time 4 mules per ambulance; but roads were so bad that even this number could not pull a loaded ambulance, and several times doubletrees were broken.24

On November 6 Ambulance Company No. 355 moved its station to Beaufort, establishing its headquarters at Barricourt, and Ambulance Company No. 353 moved its station to Beauclair, employing its ambulances to evacuate from the field hospitals now established near Nouart. The towns of Beauclair and Beaufort were under heavy shell fire at various times.24

On November 10 Ambulance Company No. 355 moved its dressing station from Beaufort to Gaudron Ferme, and the next day Ambulance Company No. 354 established a station at Laneuville. These were the final movements of these two formations.25


773

There were evacuated through the dressing stations the following litter and sitting patients—wounded, gassed, and sick—of the 89th and other divisions. The activity of these stations from day to day is indicated by the following statement of the number of patients they received:25

Nov. 1

1,196

Nov. 8

94

Nov. 2

652

Nov. 9

105

Nov. 3

188

Nov. 10

37

Nov. 4

231

Nov. 11

57

Nov. 5

315

Total

3,332

Nov. 6

276

Nov. 7

185

Patients received at ambulance dressing stations were examined, their wounds were re-dressed when necessary, splints were reapplied, morphine and antitoxin serum were administered, hot drinks and food were furnished, and shock cases were treated. In a number of instances patients had to be held in these stations for a rather long time; for instance, during the night of November 6, 230 patients were held at Tailly and Nouart because traffic conditions made it impossible for ambulances to get through to the rear. A good shock ward, therefore, was improvised in each station in a vacant building, and in these patients were made comfortable.26

The horse-drawn ambulances proved invaluable in this sector, for in Bois de Bantheville, Bois de Barricourt, and Foret Dieulet they operated successfully on roads impassable for motors. Four animals were absolutely necessary for each vehicle.27

A station for slightly wounded which had opened at La Grange-aux-Bois Ferme on October 23 moved to Remonville on November 1 and to Beauclair on November 5. All walking wounded were directed to this station, which relieved the ambulance section of much work and was a great factor in preventing wastage. Wounds were dressed, antitoxin serum administered to such as had not received it, and men able to carry on were returned to the front. A large number of men who were slightly ill and others suffering from over-fatigue were sent to this station. After being given a few hours’ rest, hot drinks, food, and cigarettes, the majority of them were ready to return to their organizations, generally of their own free will. A small minority had to be put in charge of the military police, stationed there for that purpose.21

On October 30 Field Hospital No. 356 moved to La Grange-aux-Bois Ferme to function as a triage, and Field Hospital No. 354 came up during the night of October 31 to care for shock and nontransportable cases. Field Hospital No. 353 was moved up in reserve and set up on the following day. Field Hospital No. 355 remained in its old location, 2 km. (1.2 miles) south of Eclisfontaine, on the road to Charpentry, where it continued to care for gas cases and the divisional sick. On November 5 the field hospitals began moving, one each day, to a new location northeast of Nouart.28

The first casualties incurred in this phase of the operation reached hospital on the morning of November 1. Fracture cases were examined by the


774

division orthopedist, and splints readjusted when needed. Shock cases, sent to designated wards for appropriate treatment, were held in hospital as long as was necessary, the length of patients’ stay varying from 20 minutes to 5 days. Severely wounded patients—who, unless in shock, were evacuated as rapidly as possible—were given preference in evacuation over all others.29

Though pain and hemorrhage were usually the most evident essential factors in shock, many cases were admitted in profound shock for which the injury alone could not have been responsible. These had been exposed to cold and wet for varied lengths of time. Medical officers were impressed by the benefit which followed the use of morphine in large doses, and battalion surgeons were encouraged to use it liberally. In many a case of severe injury very little shock was present if the patient was not in pain. It was appreciated that heat was the most important factor in the treatment of these cases, for which reason shock beds and hot-water bottles were provided. Hot drinks were given whenever it was possible for the patients to take them, and gum-salt solution was used intravenously when indicated.20

All gassed patients were cared for at Field Hospital No. 355, which treated 415 cases between October 28 and November 11. Of these, 15 per cent were returned to duty within a few days. Patients were stripped immediately after admission, thoroughly bathed in soap and water and then with a solution of bicarbonate of soda. Surface burns were dressed with a saturated solution of the same drug, and the patient’s eyes were washed in a 2 per cent solution of bicarbonate of soda and covered with a dressing kept wet with the same solution. Gassed patients were then dressed in pajamas and kept in a ward tent under observation, except that severe cases were evacuated to the rear as soon as possible.26

During the period from November 1 to 11, 3,285 cases passed through the triage, of whom 1,133 were from other divisions, 15 were French, and 191 were prisoners of war.

Those admitted from the 89th Division were classified as follows: Wounded, 43 officers, 1,311 men; sick, 25 officers, 565 men; totals, 68 officers, 1,876 men.31

Evacuation to the rear—a long and tedious journey—was effected partly by division ambulances and partly by trucks, with the help of 29 trucks from the corps supply train, ambulances from United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 590, and by two ambulances from Ambulance Company No. 355, which made short hauls. The length of time required for making these trips varied; at best it was too long, and was dependent upon the distance to the rear, upon road conditions and police regulations concerning one-way roads, and upon whether the journey was made during daylight or darkness. Mobile Hospital No. 4, near Cheppy, which received nontransportable wounded, 7 km. (4.3 miles) from the triage, was the nearest army unit to which the divisional hospitals evacuated.29

The 89th Division had been in forward areas since August 6, but had shown a very small pneumonia rate despite the fact that the troops had lived


775

under conditions which are considered ordinarily to predispose to that disease—exposure to wet, cold, fatigue, and an almost universal epidemic of influenza. There were but 20 suspected and 2 positive cases of pneumonia. Freedom from this disease was attributed by the division surgeon to the fact that up to November 20 the men lived out of billets in small groups in the open air.32

The following casualties occurred in the Medical Department personnel with the division:

Wounded—Officers, 5, men, 24; gassed—officers, 2, men, 8; killed—officers, 1, men, 9.32

THE 1ST DIVISION

During the period November 1-5 the 1st Division advanced forward behind the Fifth Corps, in the reserve of that corps. On November 5 the march was directed to be continued to the line then held by the 80th Division (First Corps). Elements of the 1st Division were to pass through the front-line elements of the 80th Division.33

On November 6 the division attacked at 5.30 a. m., the line of departure being approximately the Beaumont—Yoncq road. The mission of the division was to advance in the direction of Yoncq—Mouzon and to seize a crossing of the Meuse at Mouzon. During the operations but slight resistance was encountered. The enemy had apparently withdrawn across the Meuse, leaving only isolated machine guns to delay the advance.34 Yoncq was occupied at 7.30 a. m., and the heights overlooking the Meuse were reached at 11.45 a. m. Patrols were sent out. These exploited Villemontry, Givodeau Ferme, Mouzon, Autrecourt, and the general line of the Meuze River. At noon, two companies of the 18th Infantry were pushed forward to seize and hold the crossing of the Meuse at Mouzon. Rush orders now were received for the division to assemble and march with all haste to the heights south and southwest of Sedan.33 The movement was to be made in five columns, from east to west.35

At daylight on November 7 the 16th Infantry was in position and began the attack. The operation was carried out in three phases, the final objective being Hill 202. At 4.30 p. m. the regiment had reached its final objective—that is, a line running from east to west just north of Hill 202. Here it consolidated its position and prepared for defense in depth. At 7.40 a. m. the 28th Infantry reached the town of Chehery. The advance from here was made against severe machine-gun and artillery fire coming from the heights north of Cheveuges. The 26th Infantry marched by way of Malme—Omicourt. After leaving, column 4 encountering resistance from the woods north of Omicourt, these woods were attacked and captured. St. Aignan was captured, and strong patrols were pushed out to the north of this village. At 2 p. m., in accordance with instructions from the Fifth Corps, the division was withdrawn to a position south of the line La Besace—Autrecourt. By 5.30 p. m. all units of the division had severed contact with the enemy and were on the march back to the designated area.33


776

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

By November 5 the division surgeon, with the commanding officer of the sanitary train and the director of ambulance companies, had reached Nouart, around which town the division was encamped. The field hospitals, somewhat to the rear, were packed on trucks ready to move forward at a moment’s notice. The advance began on the 6th was accomplished with but relatively few casualties, the number killed or dying of wounds being 98, including 3 officers. The number of wounded was 738, including 22 officers.36


FIG. 85.-Field Hospital No. 13, 1st Division, at Vaux, Ardennes, November 6, 1918

Movement of troops was so rapid that it was impossible for the ration trucks to supply them, officers and men appeared to ignore hunger as well as discomfort and fatigue, and the number who failed to keep up with the advance was very small indeed. Though it was effective, service of battalion aid stations was especially difficult; for while these formations cared for patients, at the same time they had to keep up with their commands. From the Medical Department standpoint then the advance partook more of the nature of a rapid and difficult march than of an attack. It was practically impossible from time to time to establish and operate satisfactorily either dressing stations or field hospitals. As a matter of fact, conditions were such that they


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were not required largely, for hospitals of the 89th and 42d Divisions received some of the casualties of the 1st Division, and sufficient transportation was available to remove others to the mobile hospitals at Bantheville and Exermont or to the evacuation hospital at St. Juvin.37

On the morning of November 6 dressing stations were established near the crossroads at La Bagnolle by Ambulance Company No. 12, and at La Thibaudine Ferme by Ambulance Company No. 3, which a few hours later moved to Yoncq. United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 649 was also stationed at La Thibaudine Ferme, while Ambulance Company No. 13 evacuated Field Hospital No. 13, at Vaux, and Ambulance Companies No. 2 and No. 3, and Field Hospital No. 3 remained at Nouart. On this date Field Hospital No. 13 was joined by Field Hospital No. 12; but as the latter unit received no patients it moved the same day to Sommauthe in reserve.38 At this time evacuation was from the advancing front to the dressing stations at La Bagnolle and at La Thibaudine Ferme (replaced later by the station at Yoncq) and then to Field Hospital No. 13 at Vaux, where nontransportable cases were received and whence others were transferred to the hospitals of the 89th Division.39 This evacuation circuit was extremely difficult, for roads were not only very muddy and congested but they had been destroyed to a certain extent by mines and became progressively worse under heavy traffic. In order to remedy matters it was decided, after reconnaissance, to establish a field hospital near La Bagnolle. Then, on the evening of the 6th, the division’s sector and mission were suddenly changed and the division was ordered to advance toward Sedan.39 As the sanitary train received instructions concerning this movement about 9 p. m. there was no opportunity for it to make reconnaissance of roads or area, but tentative plans were made (based on information of the enemy position) to locate dressing stations at Chaumont and Cheveuges by Ambulance Companies No. 12 and No. 13, respectively, to be served also by United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 649, and to advance Field Hospital No. 12 to Chemery.40 The last-named unit, however, while en route was directed to camp at Le Grose Faux and to await further orders. Ambulance Company No. 13 found that the enemy still occupied Cheveuges and therefore located in the vicinity of Chemery. The medical supply unit, attempting to reach the same point, was held up by a block in road traffic until withdrawal of the division was ordered.40 A skeletonized hospital, Field Hospital No. 2, sent from Nouart on the only truck available, likewise was unable to reach its destination. There existed, therefore, in this area only a fragmentary evacuation system at the time that withdrawal was ordered, though a few ambulances had been able to work their way forward. Patients in the most advanced position were received by a small field hospital established by an organization of the 42d Division at Chemery.41 All roads through the forest south of the Beaumont-Stonne road were almost impassable. United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 649 worked its way south after the division began to withdraw, but Field Hospital No. 12, with the medical supply unit, was stalled for several days near La Forge Ferme, even tractors failing to pull it through. Field


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Hospital No. 13, at Vaux, continued to function until November 12, receiving 637 patients.42

REFERENCES

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

(2) Chronological statement, Fifth Corps, Meuse-Argonne operation.

(3) Position map, Fifth Corps, Meuse-Argonne operation.

(4) F. O. No. 112, Fifth Corps, November 2, 1918.

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

(6) Ibid., 6

(7) Ibid., 7

(8) Ibid., 32

(9) Ibid., 33

(10) Ibid., 34

(11) Ibid., 35

(12) Ibid., 41

(13) Operations report of the 2d Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, December 31, 1918.

(14) Report of Medical Department activities, 2d Division. A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 2d Division, undated, Part I, 46. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(15) Ibid., Part I, 47

(16) Ibid., Part I, 48

(17) Report on operations, 89th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, November 11, 1918.

(18) F. O. No. 45, 89th Division, October 28, 1918.

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

(20) Report of Medical Department activities, 89th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 89th Division, undated, 41. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(21) Ibid., 37

(22) Ibid., 31

(23) Ibid., 32

(24) Ibid., 34

(25) Ibid., 35

(26) Ibid., 36

(27) Ibid., 40

(28) Ibid., 26

(29) Ibid., 27

(30) Ibid., 29

(31) Ibid., 28

(32) Ibid., 42

(33) Report on recent operations of the 1st Division, November 25, 1918.

(34) Report of operations in Mouzon Area, 1st Division, November 26, 1918. F. O. No. 61, 1st Division, November 5, 1918.

(35) F. O. No. 62, 1st Division, November 6, 1918.

(36) Report of Medical Department activities, 1st Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 1st Division, undated, Part II, 52. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(37) Ibid., Part II, 53

(38) Ibid., Part I, 63

(39) Ibid., Part I, 64

(40) Ibid., Part I, 65

(41) Ibid., Part I, 66

(42) Ibid., Part I, 67