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Chapter XXXII

Field Operations, Table of Contents

    CHAPTER XXXII

THIRD PHASE—Continued

THIRD CORPS

On November 1, at 5.30 a. m., the general attack for which our troops had been preparing during the previous few days was launched. The line of departure was approximately from east to west, a point on the Meuse about 1 km. (0.6 mile) southeast of Brieulles-sur-Meuse, thence along the Meuse to a point opposite Liny-devant-Dun, thence northwestwardly, south of Clery-le-Grand to a point approximately 500 meters (545 yards) north of Aincreville, thence following the ridge just south of Ruisseau de Cheline, including Bourrut, passing just south of La Grande Carre Ferme.1, 2

The 90th Division, on the left, was the attacking division; the 5th Division, on the right, was to hold its front, meanwhile pushing out strong patrols to develop the enemy’s main line of resistance and seize any ground made possible by the advance of the 90th Division. The attack progressed in accordance with the scheduled arrangements. At 7.05 a. m. Clery-le-Grand was captured and troops of the 90th Division entered Bois d’Andevanne. The right regiment of the 90th Division reached its objective, but the left regiment encountered heavy machine-gun and artillery fire in Andevanne and was forced to halt. By the end of the day the corps line was roughly the line of the corps objective; that is, the ridge north and east of Andevanne, thence generally southeast to the position of the right flank of the morning.1

On November 2 the attack again started at 5.30 a. m. Clery-le-Petit was taken at the outset and patrols of the 5th Division, sent out to capture Bois de Babiemont, succeeded. The 90th Division encountered strong resistance at Villers-devant-Dun and in the Bois de Raux. The day’s operations centered around these two points, and it was not until late in the afternoon that they were reported taken. The line for the night was approximately as follows: North edge of Bois de Raux, Hill 321, head of Ravin du Fond de Theisse, thence to the exploitation line to Les Dix Jours, thence to Les Grandes Raies, including Cote 216, Cote 261, thence to the Meuse, including Clery-le-Petit.1

On November 3 the attack continued. The enemy started a rapid retreat and offered resistance only in the form of rear-guard action. By night our troops were occupying the general line of the heights from Halles to Sassey, Ferme de Jupille, Ferme de la Briere, Doulcon, and Clery-le-Petit.1

On November 4 the advance continued with but slight and scattered resistance from the enemy. Our patrols continued active along the west bank of the river, reporting all bridges destroyed along the front and the bridgehead strongly held by detachments who were very alert. For the day, the line


780

 held was approximately as follows: The west bank of the Meuse south of Sassey, the heights Halles—Sassey, with detachments in Wiseppe and strong patrols, in conjunction with patrols of the 89th Division,a pushing forward in the direction of Stenay.1

During the night November 4-5 the 5th Division perfected a crossing of the Meuse and a canal in the vicinity of Brieulles, and by daylight had one brigade east of the Meuse. After a foothold had been gained and the rear guard of the enemy beaten down, advance was ordered. By night of November 5, the corps line included Laneuville, thence south along the west bank of the Meuse. East of the river the corps held Milly-devant-Dun, Dun-sur-Meuse, Cote 292, Limy, Cote 260, and the entire Bois de Chapillon.1, 2

On November 6 the successes of the 5th Division east of the Meuse were continued. Encountering nothing but the usual rear-guard action of machine guns, our troops made rapid advance, and by the close of operations for the day held the line: Lion-devant-Dun, Murvaux, Fontaines, Cote 284, Bois de Sartelles and Vilosnes, with fighting still in progress on Cote St. Germain and in the Bois de Fontaines. The 90th Division, on the left, continued its preparations for a crossing of the Meuse at an early date.1

On November 7 the completion of the capture of the heights east of the Meuse, including Lion-devant-Dun, was continued, and preparations were started to organize defensively those positions in depth. Attacks were made on the 5th Division subsector, resulting in the capture of Cote St. Germain, Cote 350, Bois de Corrol, La Sentinelle, and Cote 378. On November 8 the day was comparatively quiet and was spent by our troops in improving, strengthening, and defensively organizing the positions already gained. In the direction of Brandeville minor advances were made, but on the whole the corps line remained the same as it was at the close of the preceding day’s operations.1

On November 9 pursuit of the enemy, whose retirement still continued, was made. The 32d Division was put in the line on the corps’ right flank. The 5th Division was now in the center, with the 90th Division on the left. The corps sector was increased by the addition of the area of the French 15th Colonial Division, north of Damvillers, where pursuit of the enemy was made by a march of divisional columns preceded by powerful advance guards, who in turn were preceded by strong patrols. The morning was spent in forming the columns, in the starting of patrols and advance guards, and in crossing the troops of the 90th and 32d Divisions to the east of the Meuse. The pursuit continued rapidly throughout the day, and at night the corps line included Mouzay, Louppy, Remoiville, and our patrols were engaged in the hostile rear guard in the outskirts of Jametz; Breheville and Peuvillers were taken over from the French by the 32d Division.1

On November 10 the pursuit continued. At several points the enemy resisted our advance with strong detachments. Baalon and the heights to the north formed his chief center of resistance. Our troops were retarded somewhat by poor roads, especially in the Foret de Woevre, as well as the

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


 781

necessity to permit complete clearing of the enemy from the towns and areas previously taken. For the night the corps line included part of Stenay on the left and Jametz, Bois de Jametz, Bois de Lisson, and part of Bois du Chenois. Practically the whole of the Foret de Woevre was in the hands of the corps.1, 2

On November 11 preparations for a continuation of the pursuit early in the morning were halted by word from the division headquarters, First Army, that an armistice had been signed and would become effective at 11 a. m.1 The line at the hour of the armistice included Stenay and Baalon and extended along the eastern edge of Foret de Woevre; otherwise it was practically the same as of the preceding day.2

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

As the axis of the corps operation during this phase of the Meuse-Argonne was toward the northeast, logical sites for the corps triage, it advancing pari passu with the troops, would have been Bantheville, Aincreville and eventually at Dun-sur-Meuse. On November 3 and 5, elements of the corps triage were moved from Bethincourt to Septsarges, and just before the armistice were advanced again to a point on the main road between Bantheville and Aincreville. The road between Dun-sur-Meuse and Bantheville was in excellent condition, while a standard-gauge railway ran through the former town and a 60-cm. gauge railway through the latter, so that several alternative lines of evacuation were potentially available. Had the railway and roads along the Meuse not been opened to traffic, the road from Dun-sur-Meuse via Bantheville would have provided a route for evacuation.3

All divisions in the Third Corps were provided with operating teams, but the few patients requiring operating in divisional units and the establishment of a corps hospital for surgical cases permitted these teams to meet requirements there by serving in rotation. An adequate and uninterrupted surgical service was thus provided. Similarly, for a short time, there had been alternation by divisions in the corps gas-hospital service, but this did not prove satisfactory and it was discontinued, the number of gas cases in each division being sufficient to keep one of its hospitals fully occupied. Two shock teams were organized in each division, one of which assisted an operating team by caring for preoperative and postoperative cases, while the other was employed in restoring those who had become chilled en route to the hospital, but which were not cases suitable for operation in the division.4

THE 90TH DIVISION

On November 1, at 5.30 a. m., the 90th Division, the left division of the Third Corps, launched its attack from a line of departure approximately as follows: North edge of Bois de Bantheville, Remonville—Bourrut road to Bourrut and the Bourrut—Aincreville road to the western edge of Aincreville. The mission of the 90th Division was to seize the heights, north and east of Andevanne, and the ridge running southeast to the Croix St. Mouclen.


782

The 180th Brigade, comprising the 360th Infantry on the left and the 359th on the right, was the attacking brigade. The 179th Brigade was in reserve. The first day’s attack was divided into two phases. There was an intermediate objective, Hill 300—Hill 278—La Grande Fontaine—southeast along the Ruisseau Cheline, which all troops were scheduled to reach by 8 a. m.; then there was the corps objective, the final objective for the day, which was Les Tuileries (exclusive )—heights north and northeast of Andevanne—ridge southeast from Andevanne to Croix St. Mouclen.5, 6

At 6.30 a. m. the leading battalion of the 360th Infantry was entering the southern edge of the woods north of La Grande Carre Ferme. At 7.30 a. m. the troops of the 359th Infantry were on the intermediate objective. At 10.35 a. m. the 1st Battalion, 359th Infantry, had reached the corps objective. At 10.30 a. m. the right of the assault battalion of the 360th Infantry was on Hill 278. Here, they were held up because of artillery and machine-gun fire from Andevanne and Cote 243. At 4.30 p. m. the 2d Battalion of the 360th Infantry was on the corps objective, and at 8.45 p. m. the 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry, was occupying Cote 243.5

On November 2 the attack again started at 5.30 a. m. The 359th Infantry advanced, without serious resistance, to just south of Villers-devant-Dun, at which place it encountered severe resistance. Likewise, was the 360th Infantry held up just south of Hill 321 and at Bois de Raux. At 12.15 p. m. the 359th Infantry reported its 3d Battalion as occupying Cote 261 in the sector of the 5th Division, and its 2d Battalion was advancing through Villers-devant-Dun. At 2 p. m. the 360th Infantry reported its 2d Battalion entering Bois de Raux, its 1st Battalion occupying Hill 321 and advancing north. At the same hour, the 369th Infantry reported Villers-devant-Dun as having been thoroughly cleared of the enemy. At 7.30 p. m. the front line of the 360th Infantry extended along the northern edge of Bois de Raux, Hill 321, and Villers-devant-Dun. The front line of the 359th Infantry extended from Les Dix Jours, along the original exploitation line to the right boundary of the division, about 2 km. (1.2 miles) northwest of Cote 216.5, 2, 1

On November 3, at 8 a. m., the 179th Brigade passed through the lines of the 180th Brigade to carry on the exploitation. The 180th Brigade went into division reserve. Following the seizure of the bluffs Halles—Sassey, at noon, by the 179th Brigade the 180th Brigade was ordered to move forward to a position on the heights.5

On November 4 a reconnaissance forward was made, the mission of the division for this day being to seize Cote 205, and to secure possession of all territory north of that point in the division sector west of the Meuse to Laneuville. At the end of the day the line extended from the woods southwest of Laneuville to the Bois de Doulcon, with patrols in Laneuville; and included Wiseppe, Villefranche, Saulmory, and Sassey.5, 2, 7

During the period November 5-8 the division line remained practically unchanged.5

On November 9 the 179th Brigade crossed the Meuse at Sassey, its mission being to take the wooded heights west and south of Baalon, to take Stenay and


PLATE XLVII


 783

the heights northeast of that town. The 180th Brigade continued in reserve, the 359th Infantry awaiting orders at Montigny, and the 360th assembled at Sassey.5

On November 10 the 359th Infantry crossed the Meuse at Sassey, the 360th at Dun-sur-Meuse. Both regiments moved in the direction of Mouzay. At 9.50 a. m. one company of the 358th Infantry, 179th Brigade, entered Stenay. Through the remainder of the day efforts were made to complete the capture of Stenay, but these were unsuccessful. At 9.30 p. m. the 108th Brigade was assembled in the area between Baalon and Chatel Charmois, in readiness to attack in the direction of Montmedy.5

On the morning of November 11 patrols from the 179th Brigade entered Stenay and Baalon to complete the capture of these places prior to 11 a. m., when the armistice was to become effective. Both the 357th and 358th Infantry reported prior to 11 a. m. that Stenay and Baalon had been completely cleared of the enemy.5

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

On the morning of October 30 all battalion officers of the 360th Infantry, with a medical officer for each battalion, were sent forward to reconnoiter for sites and to locate and prepare aid stations in positions which the units were to occupy in the region of Bois de Bantheville that night. Each battalion had 2 medical officers, 1 dental officer and his assistant, and 14 enlisted men of the Medical Department. Battalion surgeons were charged with keeping the medical carts with the troops at all times. The medical detachment and sufficient company litter bearers were to march in the rear of each cart.

The aid stations in question were located in the woods northwest of Bantheville. All litter cases were to be carried to the dressing station at Romagne, but this was found too remote, so ambulances went up the Bantheville road and sent ambulance company bearers to the aid stations.8

On October 31 aid stations of the 359th Infantry were located near Cunel. As troops advanced it was the practice for the battalion aid station to send forward one officer and three men to establish an advance aid station, which the remainder of the personnel joined as soon as they had collected and cleared their patients. Frequently, stations of two battalions were established at the same point, because of narrow frontage, road distribution, and shelter. The advance of troops on November 1 and 2 was so rapid it was found impossible to give the wounded the elementary first aid usually supplied at advance aid stations, as a sufficient supply of dressings and splints could not always be maintained at battalion aid stations.10 The only battalion able to keep its medical cart with its detachment at all times was the 2d, and this was accomplished by its personnel literally putting their shoulders to the wheels. So far as possible the battalion aid stations maintained an even exchange of litters, blankets, and dressings with the more advanced ambulance dressing stations.9

Units of the sanitary train were at first disposed as at the end of the second phase. The triage, Field Hospital 357, was at Bethincourt, Field Hospital No.


784

358 operating a gas hospital at the same place, an advance collecting hospital (Field Hospital No. 360) was at Septsarges, and the hospital for sick (Field Hospital No. 359) at Sivry-la-Perche. Dressing stations were located at Septsarges (Ambulance Company No. 358), Romagne (Ambulance Company No. 357), and Nantillois (Ambulance Company No. 359). Ambulance Company No. 360 (animal drawn) was in the triage at Bethincourt and at Sivry-la-Perche.

On November 1, because of the long distance from the front to field hospitals, the large number of casualties, and the congestion of traffic, only cases requiring immediate attention were sent to the triage from the dressing stations. Ambulance Company No. 359, at Nantillois, during the first 24 hours of this drive, cared for more than 800 cases. All mustard gas patients were stripped and bathed; other gassed patients were required to recline on litters. Nantillois at that time served as the ambulance head, and necessary supplies were kept there to meet not only the needs of dressing stations but those of the more advanced formations as well.10

On November 2 an aid station of the 359th Infantry was advanced to Aincreville and one of the 360th Infantry to within 1.6 km. (1.5 miles) of Andevanne. Ambulances could not reach the latter point because of large shell holes in the road, but light trucks received by the regimental surgeon from regimental headquarters managed to work their way around these obstacles and moved patients back to Aincreville throughout the night. In the 24 hours preceding 8 a. m. of November 2 three motor ambulance companies transported 289 litter and 454 sitting cases. Ambulance Company No. 357 established an advance station at Romagne, while the remainder of the company remained at Nantillois.10 On November 3 aid stations were advanced to Villers-devant-Dun, Montigny, Andevanne, and a point 2 km. (1.2 miles) from that town, on the Villers—Montigny road. Troops coming forward on this road were subjected to heavy shell fire, and casualties were heavy.9 Motor ambulances could not at first go nearer than within 1 km. (0.6 mile) of aid stations, but eventually they were reached by animal-drawn ambulances. Ambulant patients were assisted to collecting points and others were carried to the ambulance head.9

Ambulance Company No. 358 was located at this time at Septsarges. The triage at Bethincourt was now closed, and Field Hospital No. 357, reinforced by 1 officer and 15 enlisted men from Field Hospital No. 358, was moved to a site previously prepared near Septsarges. The nontransportable department did not function at this station, its work being prepared by the 5th Division triage, reinforced by a shock team from the 90th Division.11

The following order was issued on November 3 covering movement of the triage:

Memo

OFFICE OF THE DIVISION SURGEON, 90TH DIVISION,

3 November, 1918.

The triage of the 90th Division will move this date from Bethincourt to Septsarges.

Capt. Van D. Barnes and section of Ambulance Company #360, on duty at triage, will proceed by truck with two ward tents and one-half the gas equipment of the gas section of the 90th Division triage to Septsarges and report to Capt. Jesse W. Ingram for duty.


785

The officers on night duty at triage will also move by truck this afternoon. The above-mentioned personnel will all arrive at Septsarges in time to go on duty as triage force at 6 p. m. this date.

The officers on day duty at the triage will move the night of November 3 and 4 to Septsarges and be prepared to go on duty at 6.30 a. m. November 4. This latter move will not take place until notice has been received from Captain Ingram that he has begun the triage at Septsarges.

Captain Ingram will notify by telephone when he is prepared to function as commanding officer of triage, commanding officer sanitary train, Nantillois, office of the division surgeon, Romagne (Taylor 15).

Office of division surgeon will notify all regimental and battalion surgeons, either by telephone or courier, when triage is ready to function at Septsarges.

He will also notify the officers on duty at the dressing station at Bantheville and Cunel and the division medical supply officer at Sivry-la-Perche and Captain Zook, at the same place.

The nontransportable section of the triage at Bethincourt will continue to function until the 5th Division has established a triage at Septsarges. Upon receipt of this information the nontransportable section will cease to function at Bethincourt, will be packed and shipped to Septsarges.

The Emergency Medical Team No. 142 will report to the commanding officer of the 5th Division triage upon closure of the nontransportable section of the 90th Division triage at Bethincourt.

All trucks of the sanitary train employed in moving the night force of the triage this afternoon from Bethincourt to Septsarges will upon being unloaded return at once to the triage at Bethincourt and will report at once to the commanding officer for orders.

One-half of the medical supplies at the medical dump at Bethincourt will be moved this afternoon to Septsarges upon closure of the triage at Bethincourt.

Field Hospital Co. No. 358, now in reserve at Bethincourt, will be moved to Septsarges upon the closure of the nontransportable section of the triage at Bethincourt.

As the division wheeled to the right and approached the Meuse, from near Laneuville-sur-Meuse to Sassey, Medical Department formations moved accordingly.12 Ambulance Company No. 357 established a dressing station in the church at Villers-devant-Dun. Ambulance Company No. 358 was located at Nantillois, and Ambulance Company No. 359 moved from Nantillois to Cunel, sending the dressing and litter-bearer section to Villers-devant-Dun on November 5, where they took over the dressing station previously established there by Ambulance Company No. 357, retaining this site until November 12. A part of Ambulance Company No. 358 had advanced, on the 3d, to Cunel; on the 5th the entire company was there, pitching a ward tent inside the walls of a ruined church. This location was used for four days as an ambulance head. Ambulance Company No. 357, retaining this site until November 12. A part which it operated until November 10. Part of Ambulance Company No. 360 was at Sivry-la-Perche, but 3 of its officers and 90 enlisted men were on duty with Field Hospital No. 357—the triage—at Septsarges.13 On November 5 Field Hospital No. 358 moved to Cunel and Field Hospital No. 360 advanced to Nantillois, while Field Hospital No. 359 remained at Sivry-la-Perche.14

On November 6 Field Hospital No. 358 moved to Bantheville, where it operated the triage until Field Hospital No. 357 arrived on November 8, and resumed this duty. Here the nontransportable department began operating


786

again, assisted by a shock team. Ambulance Company No. 359 moved to Villers-devant-Dun.15

On November 9 the 90th Division crossed the Meuse, on the right, and made a long advance to a point beyond Mouzay, where aid stations were established. No change was made in the locations of units of the sanitary train. The next day, when the division again made a deep advance, passing Meuse near Stenay on the left, while its right approached Baalon, Ambulance Company No. 357 established a dressing station in Mouzay, Ambulance Company No. 358 an advance station at Sassey, and the triage (Field Hospital No. 357) moved to Dun-sur-Meuse, while Field Hospital No. 360 moved to a site 0.25 km. (0.15 mile) west of the latter place, establishing there a rest hospital.16 The corps surgeon directed that Bras, northeast of Verdun and east of Charny, be investigated and a site for a field hospital for the sick be selected there.17

On November 11 Ambulance Company No. 357 was located at Mouzay, Ambulance Company No. 358 moved in its entirety to Sassey-sur-Meuse, and Ambulance Company No. 359 was located at Villers-devant-Dun until the triage was established at Dun-sur-Meuse, when the station at Villers was closed, it being out of the direct line of evacuation. Ambulance Company No. 360 established itself at Dun-sur-Meuse. Field Hospital No. 357 operated the triage at the last-named place until November 14. From October 23 to November 11 it received 3,794 patients from the 90th Division and 1,828 from other organizations, a total of 5,622.18

Field Hospital No. 358 (gas hospital) at Bantheville, evacuated its patients, 42 in number, and was closed. In the interval November 6-11 it had received 130 patients at this point.

Field Hospital No. 359 was still functioning at Sivry-la-Perche and Field Hospital No. 360 had remained at Dun-sur-Meuse.19

Ninety-nine per cent of all wounded arriving at the triage during this operation were found to have been properly splinted and satisfactorily dressed. There were few cases of shock other than some patients who were suffering from abdominal or chest wounds, incurred some hours previously, and cases of fractured femur. Even when well splinted these patients were invariably in profound shock. The average time taken in transporting wounded from the battle field to field hospitals was about 6 hours. Morale of the wounded was always high.20

The proportion of killed to gassed and wounded was 1 to 5.

Casualties of the 315th Sanitary Train were as follows: Killed and died of wounds, 10; wounded and gassed, 40.

The triage reported the following admissions from the 90th Division:

Date

Wounded

Gassed

Sick and injured

Date

Wounded

Gassed

Sick and injured

Nov. 1

81

16

95

Nov. 7

32

13

76

Nov. 2

409

162

53

Nov. 8

19

7

78

Nov. 3

304

120

117

Nov. 9

16

0

35

Nov. 4

110

75

86

Nov. 10

154

36

119

Nov. 5

44

15

61

Nov. 11

21

58

53

Nov. 6

53

20

91


787

The medical supply unit had established a dump in a dilapidated farmhouse at Sivry-la-Perche on October 25, remaining there during the operation. An advance dump was established at the triage at Bethincourt and about seven truckloads of supplies distributed from it. It advanced with the triage to Septsarges and thence to Bantheville, where it was stationed on the day that the armistice was signed.19

The surgeon of the 360th Infantry reported as follows concerning maintenance of contact with that regiment, and its medical supply:21

Liaison was maintained between battalion aid stations and battalion P. C.’s by runner; from battalion P. C. to regimental surgeon at R. P. C., by phone; between regimental surgeon and ambulance company by ambulance runner. Keeping battalion aid stations near the battalion P. C. was very advantageous, as battalion surgeons were always conversant with the battalion commander’s plans, and access to the field telephone expedited communications to the regimental surgeons. Regimental surgeon had with him at the R. P. C. one clerk, an orderly, and two runners furnished by the ambulance company, who were used to order ambulances to the collecting points; also two men loaned from the pioneer platoon from this regiment, who carried emergency supplies for the treatment of casualties occurring about the R. P. C. It was impossible to tag, administer A. T. S., or give more than first aid to many cases, on account of the darkness and adverse weather conditions, the battalion aid stations operating in the open, no shelter available, and lights tabooed. While dressings, splints, supplies, and service by the ambulance companies left much to be desired, only by almost superhuman effort on the part of the commanding officer of the 357th Ambulance Company, his officers and men, was it possible for them to function at all. The roads were literally torn to pieces by shell fire and continually congested by trucks and artillery. We evacuated approximately 900 cases from October 31 to November 11, and at least 90 per cent of them November 1 and 2.

THE 5TH DIVISION

When the general attack of the First American Army was made, on November 1, the mission of the 5th Division was to stand fast and be the pivot on the west bank of the Meuse for the swing of the Third Army Corps and the corps beyond to the north and northeast, and also to exploit the Bois de Babiemont and Hill 261 north of Clery-le-Grand, after the 90th Division had obtained its objective. In pursuance of the policy to make progress at slight cost, one company of the 60th Infantry, attacking with artillery assistance at the same hour as the general attack of the army, captured Clery-le-Grand, four minutes after "H" hour (5.30 a. m.), and drove the enemy north. At 9.30 a. m. a company of the 61st Infantry and a platoon of machine guns started forward through Aincreville to exploit Bois de Babiemont. These troops, however, were able to advance only 500 yards because of strong enemy machine-gun resistance. Late in the afternoon, patrols from Clery-le-Grand reached Hill 261, despite heavy machine-gun and artillery fire from the north.22

The mission of the 5th Division on November 2 was, in case of withdrawal by the enemy, to cross the Meuse and advance northeasterly. Therefore, to gain a good foothold on the west bank of the Meuse, our troops approached Clery-le-Petit under cover of darkness, two companies of the 60th Infantry taking it at 6 a. m. and driving the enemy in the direction of Doulcon. Dur-


788

ing the day Bois de Babiemont was taken by troops of the 61st Infantry, and Hill 261 by troops of the 60th Infantry, those troops advancing to Bois de Babiemont encountering machine-gun fire on their left flank, since the 90th Division was not maintaining its scheduled advance at this time.22

On November 3 the 5th Division cleared the region west of Dun-sur-Meuse and north of Hill 261 and also took Doulcon, in spite of machine-gun fire from several directions and artillery fire from east of the Meuse. Meanwhile, orders had come from headquarters, Third Corps, that the 5th Division was to turn due east and force across the Meuse and the canal beyond it and seize the heights of the Meuse to the east and thus form a bridgehead for the crossing of the rest of the army. The first attack was made by the 2d Battalion of the 6th Infantry, east of Brieulles-sur-Meuse. Owing to the flooding of the basin of the river north of Brieulles-sur-Meuse and its closing southward to within 100 meters (109 yards) of the ground held by the enemy, the front on which a crossing could be made was limited to a line 1.5 km. (0.9 mile) in extent. To the east of the river lay the canal, about 20 meters (21.8 yards) wide and approximately 10 feet deep. The entire basin of the river and the canal were visible from the high ground to the east thereof, which was manned by the enemy with infantry, direct-fire artillery, and machine guns, all at close range. On the east bank of the Meuse the Bois de Chatillon extended down the edge of the canal, concealing the enemy movements.22

On the night of November 3-4 efforts were made to place footbridges across the Meuse. Between midnight and 1 a. m., November 4, one footbridge was in place and a second nearly finished, when work had to be stopped because the enemy swept all approaches by machine-gun fire. Under the protecting fire of all available men and machine guns, a small column of our troops attempted to rush the bridge at 2 a. m. on November 4, but were forced back. Repeated efforts to cross resulted similarly, and at dawn no one was over. It was impossible to move in the river basin during the day, and the troops who had reached the canal bank lay there and entrenched themselves.22

No less difficult than the crossing east of Brieulles was the crossing east of Clery-le-Petit. Here the river was 110 feet wide and 10 feet deep. At 4 p. m., two battalions, one from the 61st Infantry and one from the 60th Infantry, echeloned in great depth, attempted a crossing, after artillery and machine-gun preparation. Intense enemy artillery and machine-gun fire from the slopes of Hills 292 and 260, east of the river, prevented the crossing. Our forces suffered many casualties, and the light pontoons which our troops constructed were destroyed as quickly as made. On the night of November 4-5, at 6.20 p. m., troops of the 6th Infantry crossed east of Brieulles on the two footbridges already prepared. Firing on both flanks, these troops rapidly silenced the enemy machine gunners which had held the banks, and organized a guard for the bridgehead. In the meantime, protected by these operations, the 3d Battalion of the 6th Infantry, using telegraph poles lashed together, as rafts, silently crossed the river and canal to the west of Bois de Chatillon. During the night all of the 10th Infantry Brigade had crossed the river and canal.3


PLATE XLVIII


789

On the morning of November 5, the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, secured Hill 228, and the 3d Battalion completed the capture of Bois de Chatillon and captured Vilosnes-sur-Meuse, enabling the French on our right to cross the river while the 2d Battalion guarded the bridges. The 11th Infantry captured Liny-devant-Dun, thence, moving southward, captured Hill 260, with the assistance of a battalion of the 60th Infantry. The 3d Battalion of the 61st Infantry advanced over the south slopes of Hill 292, with the 11th Infantry on its right. The 2d Battalion of the 61st Infantry, advancing north of Hill 292, captured Dun-sur-Meuse at 1.45 p. m. The three battalions (2d and 3d of the 61st Infantry and the 3d of the 60th Infantry) reached the first objective, Milly being captured before nightfall by the 2d Battalion of the 61st Infantry.22

At 8 a. m. on November 6 the attack was resumed. The 1st Battalion of the 6th Infantry captured Bois de Sartelle, completely breaking the resistance in front, and consolidated its position. The 11th Infantry swept aside all resistance and, advancing with wonderful speed and dash, captured Bois de Chesnois, Bois du Fayel, Les Fonzy Bois, Murvaux (in cooperation with the 60th Infantry), Fontaines, Hills 343 and 344, and gained a foothold in Bois du Corrol, east of Murvaux. The enemy was driven by the 9th Infantry Brigade from Cote St. Germain and Cote 350, at the northeast end of that hill. Lion-devant-Dun was taken by a company of the 61st Infantry. However, because the enemy was heavily shelling the town, our troops, instead of occupying it, entrenched near at hand.22

On November 7 the attack was resumed. The 11th Infantry captured Bois du Corrol and conquered one-half of Bois de Brandeville. The 6th Infantry consolidated its position. The 128th Infantry attached to the Fifth Corps, effective November 6, advanced its leading battalion to Hill 370, but in progressing toward Brandeville was met by heavy machine-gun fire which it was unable to overcome. The 9th Infantry Brigade completed the capture of Lion-devant-Dun, Cote 350, and the valley southeast of it and the northwest slope of Bois du Corrol.22

On November 8 the 11th Infantry completed the capture of Bois de Brandeville, and pushed patrols forward into Brandeville, which was entered at 6.30 a. m. A battalion of the 128th Infantry entered the town later with little or no opposition, the enemy having withdrawn to Cote 378, which was promptly put under the fire of our artillery. The 1st Battalion of the 6th Infantry, moving by way of Hill 388, captured Cote 378 with but little opposition. The 9th Infantry Brigade pushed outposts into the area to the north of the divisional objective as far as 2 km. (1.2 miles) north of Sassey, to cover the bridgehead of the 90th Division at Sassey.22

On November 9 reconnaissance by the 10th Infantry Brigade demonstrated the enemy had withdrawn. Pursuit was immediately ordered and the 11th Infantry advanced with great vigor. The enemy rear guard, encountered near Bois de Moncel, was attacked and scattered, and Louppy was captured at 4.55 p. m., Remoiville at 7 p. m., and Jametz at about 9 p. m. Companies of the 61st Infantry, with machine guns, proceeded northward from Lion-


790

devant-Dun, despite strong enemy machine-gun resistance all along the route, and captured Chateau Charmois and Mouzay. A bridgehead was then established between Mouzay and Stenay for the 90th Division, and Mouzay was turned over to the 90th Division upon its arrival on the east bank of the Meuse.22

During the night of November 9-10 troops of the 9th Brigade completed the capture of the southwest half of Foret de Woevre, a jungle of trees and heavy undergrowth, whose roads were knee-deep with mud. On the morning of the 10th the 61st Infantry, on the left, was subjected to heavy, enfilading fire from the high hills east of Baalon and north of Juvigny, in the area of the 90th Division. Because the 90th Division was meeting such heavy resistance in the Bois de Chesnois, the 9th Infantry Brigade was advancing with its left flank exposed.22

On November 11, when the armistice became effective, the division held the northeast edge of the Foret de Woevre, with one left flank facing north, connecting with the 90th Division in the Bois de Chesnois, around the edge of the Foret de Woevre, through the eastern edge of the Bois de Juvigny, thence south to north of Louppy, Remoiville, and Jametz.22

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES

Ambulance Companies No. 29 and No. 30 operated the dressing stations. Ambulance Company No. 17 worked with Field Hospital No. 17, and Ambulance Company No. 25 worked with the triage.

Ambulance collecting stations were established in rear of the advancing troops at Septsarges, Nantillois, Ferme de la Madeleine, Cunel, Aincreville, Doulcon, Dun-sur-Meuse, and at Milly-devant-Dun. Those at Nantillois and Ferme de la Madeleine were in use throughout the first part of this phase of the operation, but during the latter part, as the advance was more rapid, collecting stations were changed from day to day as occasion demanded. Ambulances from these stations were sent forward to regimental aid stations or elsewhere as needed.23

During active operations the ambulance companies of the division operated well toward the front and rendered valuable assistance to the regimental medical personnel in carriage of patients by litter. The advance of troops east of the Meuse was exceptionally rapid. There were also many casualties during this time, and it was difficult to maintain liaison between the ambulance companies and the regimental sanitary personnel. It is of interest, however, to note that the second vehicle to cross the Meuse River was an ambulance belonging to Ambulance Company No. 30, at that time attached for duty with the 61st Infantry. The first two vehicles to enter Brandeville were ambulances belonging to the sanitary train of the division.23

On November 1 Field Hospital No. 25 operated the triage at Bethincourt, Field Hospital No. 29 at the same point cared for gassed cases, Field Hospital No. 17, operating as a collecting hospital near the front, was located


791

at Septsarges, and Field Hospital No. 30, as a relay hospital on the long route to the army evacuation area, was established at Sivry-la-Perche.23

On November 5 the triage (Field Hospital No. 25) was moved to Septsarges, on the 8th to Bantheville, and on November 10 to Dun-sur-Meuse. Field Hospital No. 29, the gas hospital, left Bethincourt on November 5 and operated at Bantheville November 8-10. Field Hospital No. 17 operated at Septsarges until November 4, when it moved to Madeleine Ferme and operated there as a collecting hospital until November 10. Personnel and tentage from this hospital also were used at dressing stations at Cunel, Aincreville, Doulcon, Dun-sur-Meuse, and Milly-devant-Dun. Field Hospital No. 30 closed, on November 1, at Sivry-la-Perche.24

Division medical supply dumps were located successively at Bethincourt, Septsarges, and Dun-sur-Meuse.23

Evacuation routes remained the same as at the beginning of the attack until November 8, when a new route was opened, railway communication having been established to Varennes. Evacuations were then made through the triage hospital at Bantheville and later through the evacuation hospital established at that place. Roads on the right bank of the Meuse were not completely cleared of the enemy until after cessation of hostilities, but thereafter patients were evacuated from Dun-sur-Meuse direct to hospitals in the vicinity of Verdun.23

The triage reported the following admissions from the 5th Division during this phase:

Date

Wounded

Neuropsychosis

Gassed

Sick

Injured

Nov. 1

49

0

22

21

2

Nov. 2

32

---

9

47

6

Nov. 3

19

---

4

64

2

Nov. 4

80

---

1

38

10

Nov. 5

302

1

1

41

7

Nov. 6

328

---

6

41

12

Nov. 7

83

3

12

57

12

Nov. 8

58

1

1

40

4

Nov. 9

29

---

2

57

4

Nov. 10

236

1

2

57

12

Nov. 11

104

---

2

53

1

Nov. 12

9

0

0

18

2

The following is abstracted from the Medical Department report of the 5th Division and from answers to a questionnaire addressed to the division surgeon after the armistice:

Mere recital of the fact that certain hospitals operated at certain times and at certain places and that they cared for a specified number of cases, gives little account of the immense amount of work done and the difficulties encountered and overcome. Obstructions which appeared insurmountable were everyday matters. Frequently, for example, it appeared impossible to clear a field and to transport the sick and wounded to hospitals where they could be given suitable treatment; but with each new emergency a solution was found or was made. Throughout the entire period of operations in this offensive the flow of wounded to evacuation and base hospitals was uninterrupted.25


792

The efficiency of service rendered was the result of support given by army and corps surgeons, cooperation given by associated divisions, cooperation of other divisional staff departments, study of the military situation, with anticipation of probable emergencies, and hearty cooperation and untiring energy shown by each individual officer and enlisted man belonging to the Medical Department. An immense amount of hard labor was required, and men remained on duty night and day continuously throughout periods of greatest activity. Wagoners, ambulance and truck drivers at times worked continuously for 48 hours transporting the wounded under most trying circumstances.25 At no time was there sufficient truck transportation to provide for rapid movement of the sanitary train in case of emergency, and efficiency was sometimes hampered because of this. Under such circumstances, however, it was possible to "carry on," though often extremely difficult. Often it was necessary to nurse and coax along motors which under ordinary circumstances would have been given up as hopelessly out of repair. Throughout the entire period the sanitary train was operated with from one-fourth to one-half its authorized truck tonnage, and much of what was used was in bad condition. This shortage of truck transportation was general. Other trains of the division labored under the same handicap.26

Of 9,435 patients transported to field hospitals of this division during this operation, 200 were carried in animal-drawn ambulances. During the first phase there was no opportunity whatever for the use of these vehicles, for roads to the front were in full view of the enemy and were subject to shell and machine-gun fire. Motor ambulances, which ran at high speed and thus diminished the time of exposure to enemy fire, therefore were used exclusively at this time, but after the division crossed the Meuse, animal-drawn vehicles were used to move patients from several places in the woods at a distance over routes impassable for motors.27

During the comparatively short time in which mule-drawn ambulances were used, 16 animals were killed. During the entire operations only two motor ambulances were put out of operation by enemy fire, and one of these was subsequently repaired. The high percentage of losses in animal-drawn transportation was attributed to slow speed, long exposure to enemy fire, the large target presented by an ambulance and its double team, and the vulnerability of animals.27

Throughout the period of the engagement, hot meals were served from ambulance dressing stations. From the kitchen of one such station 3,000 meals were served in 48 hours. Many men exhausted in combat were able to return to the front after having been given nourishment and a short rest.28

Forty-nine cases of psychoneuroses were received in hospitals of the 5th Division. That the number of these was so small was due chiefly to the fact that a trained psychiatrist was on duty at the advance collecting hospital and also to the fact that fear was differentiated from "shell shock." Individuals simulating neuroses or psychoses were returned at once to duty.29

During this operation, October 12 to November 12, 2,330 cases of sickness were passed through the triage. Almost all of these were cases of serious


793

illness resulting from exposure, exhaustion, malnutrition, and the use of contaminated water. Everyone had bronchitis and nearly everyone has gastroenteritis with diarrhea; but only those who were absolutely unable to go forward were sent to hospital. Many patients received at hospital were completely exhausted, their resistance was lowered, and a number of patients admitted for influenza or bronchitis subsequently developed pneumonia.29

Wounds of the upper extremities were operated only when the injury was so severe as to necessitate amputation or when hemorrhage demanded ligation of vessel.30

As the vast majority of patients with wounds of the lower extremities presented a profound degree of shock, especially in all compound fractures of the femur in severe injuries of the knee joint, it became necessary to hold them for several hours, unoperated. Such patients were ordinarily given normal saline solution intravenously, though several were given citrated blood. Gas gangrene developed in four cases. The only patients operated at the triage were those who could not possibly be transported within the time limit required by orders (15 hours) or whose wounds were so severe that immediate operation was imperative.30

The length of time that wounded remained in field hospitals varied from 1 to 48 hours, depending usually upon the length of time before transportation to the rear became available. At a rough estimate this averaged about 4 hours. Field hospital bed capacity varied from 200 to 300.31

During the first week of the Meuse-Argonne operation the division surgeon permitted the operating team at the triage to operate only two definite types of cases, namely, the so-called "sucking chest" cases and all cases of hemorrhage. Later, owing to the length of time elapsing between the receipt of wound and arrival at triage, all cases were operated which for any reason could not be transported to the nearest evacuation hospital within 15 hours after being wounded. The number operated on at the triage during this period was 75, which were classified as follows: Abdominal, 20 per cent; chest, 27 per cent; head, face, and neck, 9 per cent; upper extremity, 18 per cent; lower extremity, 26 per cent.32 The abdominal cases comprising those presenting intestinal perforations, hemorrhage, or extensive lacerations of the liver. Three cases with the intestines presenting through ventral wounds and one case of laceration of left external iliac vein were received.32 The chest cases operated were the "sucking chest wounds," and two cases of hemorrhage. Head, neck, and face cases included only those with severe hemorrhage, necessitating ligation of the principal blood vessels. No brain cases were operated at the triage.32

THE 32D DIVISIONb

On November 1, the 32d Division passed from the reserve of the Fifth Corps to that of the Third Corps, serving in that capacity until November 10. On November 6, however, the 128th Infantry reentered the line as a unit of the 5th Division, operating east of the Meuse in the vicinity of Dun-

bFor map of activities of this division for this period, see Plate XLVIII.


794

sur-Meuse. On the night of November 9-10 the remainder of the division crossed the Meuse and entered the line, attacking on the morning of the 10th, east of Breheville and northeast of Peuvillers; on the morning of the 11th a continuation of the attack was halted by the signing of the armistice.33

MEDICAL DEPARMENT ACTIVITIES

On November 8, the sanitary train was disposed as follows: Ambulance Company No. 125, Bois Chehemin, near Montfaucon; Ambulance Company No. 126, Septsarges, with ambulance head at Cunel; Ambulance Company No. 127, on Avocourt—Very road, near Cheppy road; Ambulance Company No. 128, distributed to Infantry regiments, with three ambulances assigned to the 158th Artillery Brigade; Field Hospital No. 125, Septsarges, in reserve; Field Hospital No. 126, Bois Chehemin, in reserve; Field Hospital No. 127, Ivoiry; Field Hospital No. 128, Sivry-la-Perche, for the sick; medical supply unit, Bois Chehemin.34

The surgeon of the Third Corps directed that the train should not function until its triage could be established on the east bank of the Meuse, and that meanwhile its casualties should be cared for in triages of the 5th and 90th Divisions, at Septsarges.34

Next day, November 9, sanitary train units were disposed as follows: Ambulance Companies No. 125 and No. 126 were ordered to Dun-sur-Meuse, where the former was held in reserve, the latter moving from that point to Vilosnes to establish an ambulance head. Field Hospitals No. 125 and No. 126 were also ordered to Dun-sur-Meuse, the former to establish, by 4.30 p. m. of the 10th, a triage for nontransportable wounded; No. 126 to care for gassed patients. Other units retained their former locations for a short time, but were soon moved forward. A dressing station was established at Haraumont November 10, with ambulance heads at Ecurey and Breheville, whence evacuations were rapid and satisfactory. At Dun-sur-Meuse the triage was operated by Field Hospital No. 127. Field Hospital No. 125 cared for nontransportable patients and No. 126 for the gassed. The units here used tents, semipermanent barracks, and other buildings, facilities being superior to any enjoyed by them heretofore during this offensive.34

During this time the triage of the 5th Division admitted the following casualties:34 Wounded, 212; neurosis, 1; gassed, 26; injured, 1; sick 111; total, 351.

REFERENCES

(1) Report of operations, Third Corps, Meuse-Argonne operation, December 1, 1918.

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

(3) Report of Medical Department activities, Third Army Corps, by Col. J. L. Bevans, M. C., corps surgeon, Third Army Corps, undated, 38. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(4) Report of Medical Department activities, 5th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 5th Division, undated, Part I, 48. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.


795

(5) Report of operations, 90th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.

(6) F. O. No. 13, 90th Division, October 29, 1918

(7) F. O. No. 18, 90th Division, November 4, 1918

(8) Report of Medical Department activities, 90th Division, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 90th Division, undated, Part I, 46. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(9) Ibid., Part I, 60

(10) Ibid., Part I, 57

(11) Ibid., Part I, 61

(12) Ibid., Part I, 65

(13) Ibid., Part I, 68

(14) Ibid., Part I, 69

(15) Ibid., Part I, 72

(16) Ibid., Part I, 80

(17) Ibid., Part I, 81

(18) Ibid., Part I, 85

(19) Ibid., Part I, 86

(20) Ibid., Part II, 31

(21) Ibid., Part I, 82

(22) Report of operations, 5th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, November 21, 1923.

(23) Report of Medical Department activities, 5th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 5th Division, undated, Part I, 46. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(24) Ibid., Part I, 45

(25) Ibid., Part I, 47

(26) Ibid., Part I, 49

(27) Ibid., Part I, 50

(28) Ibid., Part I, 51

(29) Ibid., Part I, 52

(30) Ibid., Part IV, 27

(31) Ibid., Part IV, 31

(32) Ibid., Part IV, 26

(33) Outlines of Histories of Divisions, U. S. Army, 1917-1919, prepared in the Historical Section, the Army War College. On file, Historical Section, the Army War College, 1700 (32d Division).

(34) Report of Medical Department activities, 32d Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 32d Division, undated, Part I, 12. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.