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Chapter XXVII

Field Operations, Table of Contents


 SECOND PHAS — Continued


On October 4 the general attack of the American First Army was resumed. The Third Corps comprised the 80th Division on the left, the 4th in the center, and the 33d on the right. The corps front extended from Forges along the Meuse, skirting the northern edge of the Bois de la Cote Lemont, thence southwestwardly to just north of Nantillois.1, 2

The mission of the 33d Division was to hold its present sector and protect the east flank of the 4th Division. The mission of the 4th Division was to take the Bois du Fays, Bois de Malaumont, and to advance to the north edge of Bois de Foret. It was not to attack across the open space east of the Bois du Fays and Bois de Malaumont. The mission of the 80th Division was to penetrate southwest of Bois du Fays and to continue to the northern edge of the Bois des Rappes and Les Clairs Chenes.1

The attack was launched at 5.25 a. m., behind a heavy rolling barrage. Heavy machine-gun and artillery fire were put down by the enemy on the advancing units, particularly in the Bois des Ogons and Bois du Fays. Despite this, the corps line advanced, the center division pushing forward to a line just south of Cunel—Brieulles road. The left division met particularly stubborn resistance, and its advance was retarded. At the close of the day the corps line was as follows: Just south of the Bois des Ogons—north to include Bois du Fays, thence southeast to the north edge of Bois de Brieulles, and along this edge to the western limits of Bois de la Cote Lemont, thence continuing along the old line generally southeasterly.1, 2

On October 5 the attack was continued against strong enemy resistance, centering chiefly in Bois des Ogons, and Wood 250, which were powerfully held by numerous and well-organized machine-gun nests. During the day the corps did not succeed in gaining any ground,1 except on the left, where the southern portion of Bois des Ogons was taken.

On October 6 the troops advanced farther into Bois des Ogons, despite very powerful enemy resistance. Otherwise the corps line remained the same. Flanking hostile shelling from across the Meuse continued, as well as some harassing fire on the corps rear areas, in addition to heavy shelling of forward areas and front lines. Casualties for the day’s operations were quite heavy.1

On October 7 there was a slight advance in the line of the 80th, but none in that of the 4th Divisions. Positions were consolidated and improved. At 5 p. m., the 33d Division was detached from the Third Corps and attached to the French Seventeenth Corps. Field Order 24, Third Corps, issued on this date, contemplated the action to be taken by the front-line divisions in case


the attack of the French Seventeenth Corps on the right of the Third Corps, across the river, proved successful. This order directed that the divisions of the Third Corps make preparations for an advance and that the corps and divisional artillery assist the attack of the French Seventeenth Corps and of the American Fifth Corps.1

On October 8 there was no change in the front line. The front was now held by the 80th and 4th Divisions, with the 5th Division in reserve. On October 9 at 3.30 p. m., the 80th Division attacked along the front, taking Ville-aux-Bois Ferme. The 4th Division attacked at 5.50 p. m., but was unable to advance because of heavy gas concentration laid down by the enemy artillery on Bois de Malaumont.1

On October 10 the 4th and 80th Divisions attacked along the corps front early in the morning, behind a heavy barrage. The attack was only partially successful because of a severe, heavy artillery flanking fire from across the Meuse and stubborn machine-gun resistance encountered at all points. The line for the night was advanced approximately as follows: From a point about 0.5 km. (0.3 mile) southeast of Cunel, to and along the northern edge of Bois de Malaumont, thence to Cunel—Brieulles road to the west edge of Bois de Peut des Faux, thence along the north edge of this wood to and along the eastern edge of Bois du Fays, along the north edge of Bois de Brieulles to Cote 280, thence northeasterly following along the edge of Bois de la Cote Lemont.1

On October 11 the attack was renewed early in the morning. Only local advances, mainly in the center, were realized, and progress was bitterly contested by heavy machine-gun fire and by flanking artillery support, as on previous days. During the night of October 11-12, the relief of the 80th Division and certain elements of the 4th Division, by the 5th Division, was successfully carried out. The corps front was now held by the 5th Division on the left and the 4th Division on the right.1

On October 12 and 13 no change was made in the front. During the night of October 13-14, the 3d Division passed from command of the Fifth Corps to that of the Third Corps, relieved the 5th Division, by an extension to the right of the front line and elements of the 4th Division as far as the southeast edge of the Bois de Peut de Faux. For the night, the line was held by the 3d Division on the left of the corps from Cierges—Romagne, thence along the north edge of Bois de Foret to the northernmost portion of Bois du Fays. From this point the 4th Division held southeast to the Bois de Brieulles to Cote 280, thence northeast along the edge of the Bois de la Cote Lemont to the Meuse. The 90th Division was relieved from the Fourth Corps and assigned to the Third Corps. The 5th Division was held in the rear of the 3d Division as an attacking division in preparation for the operations of October 14.1, 2

On October 14 at 8.30 a. m. the attack was renewed. The 5th Division, designated as the attacking division, passed through the line held by the 3d Division, which had been designated as support. On the right, the 4th Division executed a holding attack for assistance and was prepared to move upon


receipt of any orders from the corps. Following a heavy barrage and smoke screen, the troops advanced satisfactorily, despite heavy machine-gun and artillery fire direct from the enemy. Cunel was taken by the 5th Division, but their progress was held up in the vicinity of Bantheville and the Bois des Rappes by enfilade machine-gun fire from Bois de Bantheville. The 3d Division advanced 1 km. (0.6 mile) between the Bois de Foret and Bois de la Pultiere, where liaison with the 5th Division on the left was established. These changes represent the advance of the corps during the day, the 4th Division not advancing. The line now ran north of the western part of Bois de Foret, Bois de la Pultiere, and the ridge running southeast from the westernmost corner of Bois de la Pultiere.1

On October 15 the attack was resumed, the 5th Division on the left and the 3d Division in the center being the attacking divisions, the 4th Division on the right holding as previously ordered. Progress, however, was slight because of unusually stubborn enemy resistance. Several counterattacks launched by the enemy were repulsed. The corps line for the night remained unchanged.1

From October 16 to 19 no changes in the line were made. The period was marked by infantry inactivity. Organization and improvement of the positions for future advance were made.1

On October 20 an attack with strong patrols was made at 7 a. m. with a view to developing the enemy Freya Stellung, which he had been organizing along the line Hill 261—Aincreville—Hill 270—Le Grand Carre Ferme, thence west. The attack progressed favorably, the main resistance encountered being the usual heavy machine-gun fire supported by artillery fire, especially from the northern part of the Bois des Rappes. By the close of the day, Bois des Clairs Chenes had been taken and cleaned out, and outposts were established 0.5 km. (0.3 mile) southeast of Bantheville and in the Bois des Rappes.1, 2

On October 21 the action of the corps, to develop the enemy line of resistance, continued. At 11.30 a. m. both divisions made fresh attacks on Bois des Rappes and Hill 299, both of which were taken despite determined hostile opposition. An enemy counterattack projected against our troops was broken up, our advances all being held. All ground gained by the corps was immediately organized and the positions were consolidated. During the night October 21-22, relief of the 5th Division (less its artillery) by the 90th Division (less its artillery) was accomplished.1

On October 22 patrols of the 3d Division were pushed to the outskirts of Brieulles. Troops advanced and succeeded in taking all of Bois de Foret.1

On October 23 the positions of the troops were further improved. The 90th Division on the left attacked Bantheville at 3 p. m. It took this town and the village of Bourrut. The line of the division was pushed along the ridge of Le Grand Carre Ferme. The 3d Division pushed strong patrols through Bois de Foret and seized a small woods 0.5 km. (0.3 mile) north of Hill 299. Other detachments occupied the high ground north of Brieulles.1

On October 24 Grand Carre Ferme was taken, after a heavy artillery concentration had been put upon it, but because of the heavy return fire of the


hostile artillery, our troops withdrew to a point 200 meters (218 yards) to the south. Otherwise our lines remained unchanged, except for minor improvements.1

On October 25, 26, and 27 the days were characterized as being quiet. Our front lines were consolidated and organized during this period, and preparations were made for a new attack on November 1. During the night of October 26-27, the 3d Division was relieved by the 5th Division, the corps front then being held by the 90th Division on the left and the 5th Division on the right.1

On October 28 our patrols maintained contact with the enemy all along our front, and entered Clery-le-Grand and Clery-le-Petit. Along the front of the 5th Division, an outpost line of machine guns was organized along the ridge of the high ground south of Andon Creek, thus dominating Aincreville, Clery-le-Grand and Clery-le-Petit.1

On October 29 the day was quiet, patrolling being the only activity. No change was made in the front line.1

On October 30 troops of the 5th Division entered and captured Aincreville, which was at once organized and consolidated with our outpost line. Other than this there was little activity.1

On October 31 the corps front line was advanced 400 meters (436 yards) north of Aincreville. Otherwise the line remained unchanged. Final preparations were made on this date for the attack ordered for November 1.1


By October 3 the Montzeville—Esnes road was given over to two-way traffic, the Esnes—Malancourt—Cuisy road was limited to northbound traffic, the Esnes—Bethincourt—Cuisy road to southbound traffic, the Cuisy—Septsarges—Nantillois road to northbound traffic, the Cuisy—Montfaucon—Nantillois road to southbound traffic, and the Nantillois—Cunel—Bantheville road was made a two-way road for ambulances only. Examination of the map will show that these traffic rules made Bethincourt the proper place for a triage for all the divisions of the Third Corps in line. After October 3, evacuation was effected in this corps in pursuance of annex 4, Field Orders, No. 22, Headquarters Third Army Corps, October 3, 1918.3

Sorting stations, triages, all divisions, Bethincourt. From front to triage by divisions. From field hospitals to evacuation hospitals by corps. Nontransportable and gas hospitals, Bethincourt. After H hour, the corps surgeon will arrange for changes as the advance progresses. Routes: Divisions—down, Cuisy, to Bethincourt; return, Bethincourt—Malancourt—Cuisy. Corps—up, Esnes—Malancourt—Bethincourt—Esnes.4

The plan outlined in this order, made possible and convenient by the narrowness of the sector and the arrangement of the roads, created in effect a corps triage. This was truly such a formation tactically, although for convenience the divisions maintained administrative control over their respective sections therein. Each division established a field hospital to receive its own casualties for purposes of record, classification, and distribution. One division then established a field hospital for all the nontransportable wounded


of the corps, another division established a hospital for all gas cases in the corps, and the third established a hospital to serve as a corps reserve for overflow. Two of the four field hospitals of each division thus went to compose the corps triage. A third hospital of each division was retained outside the immediate battle zone for the reception of the sick, day by day, and to be used, if necessary, as a relay station for wounded on their long journey to the evacuation hospitals. The fourth field hospital of each division was held as a divisional reserve, to be moved, if necessary, beyond the triage first established, and to be used as a magnified dressing station. Later, when the line had progressed far enough, it was to become the divisional triage. The corps triage at Bethincourt worked very satisfactorily, and several divisions cooperated therein during the Meuse-Argonne operation; the 3d, 4th, 5th, 33d, 80th, and 90th all taking part as they came into battle. It retained this location until November 3.3

The establishment of the corps triage simplified evacuation. Among other advantages it was a medical center whose size and importance made possible procurement of exceptional conveniences. For example, solely because of its importance the engineers were willing to assist in constructing entrances, exits, and parking areas. This proved very valuable, for a motor vehicle which left the road in the Argonne was immediately mired.4

The group of field hospitals near Bethincourt was located on low ground made exceptionally soft by two weeks’ continuous rain. It was necessary to construct a parking space for the use of vehicles. For this purpose 200 truckloads of stone were brought to the site, broken and used to form a parkway and sidings. This road building not only facilitated ambulance service, but it promoted the availability to the wounded of trucks returning to the rear, as with a good road they were not delayed. Personnel of the Medical Department did most of the work involved in this construction.

There never were enough ambulances for evacuation. Divisional ambulances were used for transport of patients to and between the field hospitals. Those of the corps for transport between field and army hospitals, while between and back of the latter evacuations were effected by the army. Until the corps had received a sanitary train it operated with transport loaned it by the army; in turn (in time of stress), the corps was frequently called upon to lend ambulances to its constituent divisions. The Third Corps sanitary train had its headquarters at Sivry-la-Perche during the time the corps triage was at Bethincourt; it was found a great help to have a central point where the transport needs of each and all divisions promptly became manifest. Trucks had to be used extensively for evacuation purposes during the most active periods. As the road to the rear ran past the Bethincourt triage the corps surgeon obtained a corps order for trucks of any unit to stop there on signal and take on wounded. These trucks could not, it is true, be diverted from their established route to permit conveyance of patients to the hospitals at Souilly, where the slightly wounded were to go, but it was possible to require them to stop long enough to unload these wounded at Fromereville or Sivry-la-Perche. For this reason, relay stations grew up at these points.4


When the triage at Bethincourt became thoroughly well organized, the corps surgeon placed a representative there who settled differences between division medical officers concerning the distribution of transportation. This officer maintained at all times a reserve of corps ambulances by communicating with the corps surgeon by telephone, or, when this was not possible, by messenger. He controlled the system of stopping trucks by signal, and through his efforts traffic was impeded as little as possible under the circumstances. The evacuation of large numbers was systematized by coordinating the divisional and corps transport services at the Bethincourt triage, by providing at Sivry-la-Perche a station where the corps sanitary train could rest and do repair work, and by maintaining contact at all times between the corps triage, the corps surgeon, and the chief surgeon of the First Army.4

The last-mentioned officer fully appreciated the difficulties incident to the great length of the haul for wounded, and at the first possible moment he moved the army hospitals forward. However, as our lines were advanced over the nearly impassable terrain, there was an interval when wounded could not be evacuated to such hospitals rapidly enough, and relief had to be given them farther forward. To meet this need, the field hospital in reserve, or least active, in each division was moved past the other field hospitals to the most advanced point tenable. This was not intended as a triage, but as a rest place where hot food, warm blankets, emergency surgical aid, and re-dressings were available. Some classification of patients was possible here, but it was not the formal sorting performed at the triage. The facilities so provided for rest and comfort were especially welcome to wounded coming in during bad nights or when traffic was blocked. When the lines advanced these field hospitals, which had been gradually organized and properly located with this change in view, were transformed into triages by the simple procedure of sending up the trained groups of triage personnel, while the former triage hospitals in the rear went into reserve. This "leapfrogging" in divisions and corps came to be a well-understood maneuver and was accomplished repeatedly without interruption of service.5

At the triage of the corps, specialization grew up; not the result of any preconceived plan but of a natural tendency, for it was found to present great advantages. In preparation for battle, professional teams, especially skilled in the treatment of shock and surgical cases, had been organized and assigned here. These prepared many nontransportable cases for evacuation. Similarly a special service developed in the gas hospitals. The corps and army consultants, moreover, found the corps triage a convenient center for observation of how professional work was being done.5

The difficulty due to the long journey which the wounded had to undergo after they passed the advance stations and the corps triage was mitigated by relay stations established by the various divisions at Sivry-la-Perche and Fromereville. Trucks filled with slightly wounded poured their patients into these stations, where they were given hot food, opportunities for rest, and, if need be, were re-dressed before being transferred to French omnibuses for proper distribution to hospitals in the rear. Each relay station had a depart-


ment for the reception of the sick day by day and for the definitive treatment and return to the lines of slight cases of illness. Errors, though few, in classification at the triage, or subsequent changes in the condition of wounded, sometimes made reclassification at the relay stations advisable. A very great advantage which these stations enjoyed was the fact that they were out of the battle zone and therefore within easy communication by messengers or telephone, so that in them needed changes could be speedily made in the routing of patients. In spite of close cooperation between the army and the corps, the operating facilities of certain evacuation hospitals sometimes became overtaxed, while at the same time in others the surgical teams were not working to capacity. On notification from the army, a message to the proper relay station would correct such a condition, by altering the distribution of patients.5

Though the advance during the second phase of the Meuse-Argonne was relatively slight, the combat was, in general terms, continuous, and though the number of battle casualties on certain days was much greater than on others the stream of wounded never ceased. Many changes in the arrangements for disposition of wounded had to be made to meet the developments of the military situation. Thus, when the 33d Division crossed the Meuse it was lost to the corps, but it continued to use Glorieux as a triage until the site was occupied by Evacuation Hospital No. 15, which arrived on October 13 and began operating the next day. When the 5th Division relieved the 80th as part of the corps its medical department units were located at the corps triage in the places vacated by their predecessors.6

As the corps advanced, the distance between the line and the triage progressively increased. As the right flank continued to rest on the Meuse and there was a constant turning movement which changed the face of the corps from north to east, the corps surgeon anticipated that the direction of evacuation would be to the west toward Varennes, instead of to the south. Mobile Hospital No. 1 was moved to Fromereville on October 9 and to Esnes on October 27, serving the Third Corps as a hospital for the nontransportable wounded. When this unit moved to Esnes, Evacuation Hospital No. 4 moved to Fromereville, receiving severely wounded after October 31. Evacuation Hospitals No. 6 and No. 7, at Souilly, continued to care for the sick and slightly wounded sent by truck, while Evacuation Hospital No. 8 remained at Petit Maujouy for the overflow of wounded who could not be attended by Evacuation Hospital No. 4 and for the moderately and severely wounded who came in from the right flank along the Meuse. Gas cases were retained at the triage at Bethincourt until ready for evacuation to La Morlette, where the corps gas hospital was located. Contagious and mental cases still had to undergo the long haul to Benoite Vaux. Supply parks which had been at Vaubecourt, Fleury, and Souilly were augmented by parks at Les Islettes and Verdun.6

After Mobile Hospital No. 1 was established at Esnes, and Evacuation Hospital No. 4 at Fromereville, the wounded transport problem of the Third Corps was for a time much simplified. While Mobile Hospital No. 1 was at


Fromereville, in order that it might be close to the terminus of a 60-cm. railway leading to Souilly, it established a camp near by instead of using buildings in the village. The little freight cars on this road were ingeniously converted into cars for carrying patients, and many cases were evacuated by this route; but as the roadbed was in bad condition, and derailments were frequent, the use of the railway for this purpose was discontinued.7

The following memorandum was published by the corps surgeon to the division surgeons:

OCTOBER 18, 1918

1. A study of the map will indicate to division surgeons that the sector occupied by each division of this corps is characterized by its narrow front and great depth.

2. The circulation order made necessary by the road problem indicates that for the present at least the site now occupied by the divisional triages is the logical one.

3. A recommendation has been made to bring forward to Esnes a mobile surgical hospital, and an effort will be made to establish an evacuation hospital nearer the triages than is now the case.

4. The chief surgeon of the First Army has written as follows:

"The solution brings us face to face with a concrete fact which admits of no digression into the realm of theory, viz, we must accept the conditions imposed, difficult as they are, and make the best use of the facilities at hand with a view to care for the sick and wounded paramount to all else, and the shortening of transport distance for the gravely injured.

"After close study the sole way we may accomplish this is by establishing the divisional field hospitals in a line, one behind the other, to serve as places of reception where a man may be warmed, fed, dressed, treated for shock and hemorrhage, and gradually passed through one to the other until he arrives at the evacuation hospital.

"A slightly wounded man can travel the whole distance without injury, but winter, which is rigorous in this sector, is upon us, and it behooves us to establish points where the exhausted, chilled, and badly injured may be removed from an ambulance and received till such time as they may proceed."

5. In studying the best means of carrying out the desires of the chief surgeon, 1st Army, it will be noted that each division has now established:

1st. A divisional triage.

2d. One hospital devoted to corps purposes as a gas hospital, a nontransportable hospital and a corps reserve hospital.

3d. It is required that each division maintain a hospital for the care of the sick of the division.

6. Therefore, each division has left a field hospital to be used as a rest station for the sick and wounded in a far advanced position.

7. Each division will at once establish such a rest station after obtaining the proper authority from the G-1 of his division.

8. The 5th Division has already established its hospital at Nantillois. It is suggested that the 3d Division select a site near the same place and that the 4th Division take advantage of the shelter said to exist in the southern boundaries of the Bois de Septsarges, northeast of the town of Septsarges.

9. A review of the situation after the establishment of these rest stations will show the first element of the echelon on a level with Nantillois, the second at Bethincourt, and the third on a level with Fromereville and Sivry-la-Perche. If a mobile surgical hospital is established at Esnes, an intervening one will be established between the zone of Bethincourt and that of Fromereville and Sivry-la-Perche.

10. The sick and wounded of any division may be admitted to any of the hospitals established by units of this Corps, but a serious effort should be made to have the casualties of any one division pass through it own triage.

11. The provisions of paragraph 8 are general and apply to divisions relieving those now in line.


The following memorandum concerning triage operations was published by the surgeon, Third Corps, during the Meuse-Argonne operation:

                                                OCTOBER 18, 1918.

Memorandum for division surgeons:

1. Observation shows that correct triage is not being carried out in some of the divisions of this corps.

2. Attention is especially invited to the following requirements of Memorandum No. 4, this office, dated September 19, 1918:

(a) That all casualties, both sick and wounded, will pass through the triage.

(b) That the hospital used as a triage has three chief functions:

1st. Triage or sorting.
2d. Care of nontransportable cases.
3d. Care of gassed cases.

(c) That the triage officer must be one of sound judgment and must be possessed of the power to decide quickly and accurately and that he must be properly advised by representatives of the special divisions or officers carefully selected by the division surgeon as advisers.

3. It has been reported to this office that cases are being sent directly to the gas hospital and nontransportable hospital, ordered established by the corps, without preliminary triage. This practice must be stopped. In each divisional triage there must be maintained the gas department and a nontransportable department.

4. The faults in the organization and functioning of the triage usually reported to this office are:

(a) Lack of training in the triage personnel during times of quiescence.

(b) The lack of distinct departments in the triage for the three chief purposes—triaging, treatment of gassed patients, and the treatment of nontransportables.

(c) Lack of system in the feeding of patients, methods used being incoordinated and inadequate.

(d) Dispersion of the triage function, cases being taken to the various departments of the hospital and elements of the triage group going to the various classes of cases at intervals instead of having all classes of cases going to a well-established centralized triage where records are made and from which patients are distributed to the various departments.

(e) The lack of control of the triage officer himself over the various functions of the triage hospital, it being a common practice for him to delegate his functions to inexperienced junior officers and noncommissioned officers.

The following memorandum, under date of October 27, was addressed by the corps surgeon to all division surgeons:

Subject: Owing to the confusion concerning the definition of "nontransportable," the following is transmitted for the information and guidance of triage officers:

1. Under present conditions all cases, except the following, after inspection of dressing and splints, are transportables:

(a) Cases showing active hemorrhage.
(b) Cases in shock.
(c) Sucking chests (as modified below).
(d) Partial traumatic amputations in which all blood supply below the site of injury has been severed.

2. Modifications, according to situations liable to arise, are as follows:

(a) Under ordinary conditions, evacuation from the time of injury to arrival at the mobile or evacuation hospital should be carried out within from six to ten hours in this sector. Shorter time is desired, and delay in dressing stations and triage will be reduced to the minimum.

(b) Cases arriving at the triage in shock will be evacuated within 15 hours to the hospital designated for severely wounded if the condition warrants it.


(c) Shock cases not showing evidence of sufficient improvement within two hours to indicate that they will become transportable will be operated upon at the triage if condition of patient warrants operation.

(d) The nontransportable department will be cleared as far as possible during the early stages of battle in order to be prepared later to attend to the more severely wounded.

(e) When wounded arrive at the triage after more than 24 hours, cases liable to develop gas infection become nontransportable. They are chiefly wounds of the buttock and the calf.

(f) In addition, all cases which show that they are bearing transportation poorly should be operated upon at the triage, provided they do not arrive in such numbers that they would receive attention as quickly if sent on to the evacuation or mobile hospital.

(g) In cases of delayed transportation between the triage and the rear so that 24 hours or more are required, seemingly slight injuries should be classified as nontransportable and be given first attention. These are the cases that are practically sure to recover if gas infection does not arise.

(h) All wounds arriving late at the triage should be carefully examined and smelt for evidence of gas infection. If gas is evident débridement should be done and the case evacuated so that suitable after-treatment may be given as soon as possible. Notations of such conditions should be made upon the field card.

3. The following remarks concern injuries to special regions:

Head.-These cases usually bear transportation better before operation than after, and should generally be classified as transportable. If operated upon, after proper débridement, removal of foreign body, and control of hemorrhage, they should be closed tight.

Chest - Sucking wounds can usually be made transportable by placing gauze over the wound and strapping tightly. The gauze should not be packed deeply into the wound. If this does not work, the case is nontransportable and should be operated upon. Chests showing evidence of progressive hemorrhage should be operated upon. All others are transportable. Through-and-through machine gun bullet wounds of the chest showing no evidence of hemorrhage will not be operated under any conditions, except for a possible cleaning up, or superficial debridement of wounds of exit and entrance, in case they are dirty.

Abdomen - These wounds should be operated upon within 15 hours. Otherwise leave them alone. It therefore follows that if it appears that such cases can not reach a mobile or evacuation hospital within that time limit, the triage is the place for the operation.

4. Notations will be made on diagnosis tags of the time the wounded man was found, the time of reaching aid station, and the time of arrival at triage.

5. Make the total time as short as possible. Rapid transportation is the best prevention against gas infection.

6. No sutures will be placed in any wounds except for cleansing abdomens, chests, and heads.

The following corps surgeon orders were issued October 27 to the regulating officer:

1. You will proceed during the afternoon of October 27, 1918, to Bethincourt, and act as the representative of this office as regulating officer.

2. It will be your duty to keep this office constantly informed of—

(a) The state of transportation.
(b) Any defect in the triage system which you can not correct on the spot.
(c) Any unusual event.

3. You will supervise the triage system of the divisions and will give such orders as may be necessary to the triage officers or regulating officers direct. [Amended by memo. dated October 31.]


4. It is suggested that you require the triage officers to classify their patients and the regulating officers of the triage to load them according to the following classifications:

(a) Very seriously wounded.
(b) Moderately wounded (ambulance cases).
(c) Lightly wounded (truck cases).
(d) Evacuable gas cases.
(e) Evacuable normal sick.
(f) Contagious.
(g) Psychopathic.

If you establish a station near the triages, but beyond both of them, along the outgoing road, and detail from the divisions having triages at Bethincourt personnel to direct ambulances, loaded as stated above, to the proper hospital, it is believed that you will be able to maintain a sufficient hold on the situation.

5. Under the terms of the evacuation order of the 1st Army, you will evacuate patients as follows:

(a) Seriously wounded to Mobile Surgical Hospital No. 1, Esnes.
(b) Moderately wounded to Evacuation Hospital No. 4, at Fontaine Routon.
(c) Slightly wounded to Evacuation Hospitals Nos. 6 and 7, Souilly.
(d) Normal sick to Evacuation Hospitals Nos. 6 and 7, Souilly.
(e) Contagious sick to the French contagious hospital, at Benoite-Vaux.
(f) Psychopathic cases to the Army Psychopathic Hospital No. 1, at Benoite-Vaux.
(g) Gas cases to the gas hospital, at La Morlette.

6. All truck cases are to be evacuated to the relay station established by the divisions at Sivry-la-Perche, and trucks diverting for the purpose should be directed to proceed on their normal course, after unloading patients at that place.

7. Every ambulance leaving with patients for Mobile Hospital No. 1 should be informed that if, on reporting at the hospital, it is found to be full they will be directed to continue to Evacuation Hospital No. 15 at Glorieux; also ambulances proceeding to Evacuation Hospital No. 4 should be prepared, if that hospital is jammed, to receive orders to proceed to Evacuation Hospital No. 8, at Petit Maujouy. Also, ambulances loaded with gas patients proceeding to La Morlette may receive directions to proceed to Rambluzin.

8. Divisional ambulances will evacuate normal and contagious sick from the triage to the sick hospitals, the corps evacuating system being responsible for the evacuation of them farther to the rear.

9. It is the desire that existing orders be carried out rigidly with reference to the sorting and evacuation of gas cases and of psychopathic cases and that every effort be made to carry out the triage orders of the corps as written.

10. You are authorized to act for the corps surgeon in any situation which may arise.

The following corps surgeon memorandum was issued October 30 to division surgeons:

Memoranda from this office dated September 19, 1918, and October 10, 1918, on the subject of triage, are hereby revoked and the following substituted therefor:

The following instructions for the operation of the field hospital used as a sorting station (triage) are sent you for your information and guidance:

I. All casualties, both sick and wounded, will pass through the triage.

II. The functions of a triage are in general:

1. The grouping of casualties into—

(a) Transportable.
(b) Nontransportable.

2. The classification of casualties into—

(a) G. S. W.—severe.
(b) G.S. W.—slight.
(c) Psychoneurosis.


(d) Gassed.
(e) Injured.
(f) Sick.

3. The operative treatment of surgical cases to make those transportable if possible.

4. The revision of splints and dressings.

5. The administration of antitetanic serum when the diagnosis tag, or the characteristic sign on the patient’s forehead, does not show that it has already been administered.

6. The bathing and changing of clothing of slight mustard-gas cases to prepare them for prompt return to duty.

7. The hospitalization of absolutely nontransportable cases (wounded, gassed, and sick), together with the surgical or medical treatment of the same.

8. Contributing to the comfort of all who remain permanently or temporarily in the sorting station by the administration of hot drinks, food, and by other means.

III. The sorting station is not a place for hospitalization, except for the nontransportable, and only then when proper hospitals for nontransportable wounded and gassed are not provided near by.

IV. The commanding officer of the field hospital acting as triage shall himself function as triage officer, or name a medical officer to act as such. The division surgeon will assign, as advisers to the triage officer during periods of activity, either representatives of the special divisions, or medical officers especially qualified in (a) orthopedics; (b) psychiatry; (c) general medicine, including the treatment of shock and gassed cases; and (d) an officer especially skilled in surgery.

V. Since many cases will be evacuated directly from the triage to army hospitals in the rear the triage is the only point where any accurate report of the divisional losses can be obtained. To this end it has proven of great advantage to the statistical department of the division to place clerks at the triage to augment the medical department clerical force in making a nominal check list of all cases passing through. The following procedure is suggested as having been found practicable. A competent clerk will collect the necessary data from each case as admitted. The triage officer, or his representative, will examine the cases, marking the disposition of same on the back of the diagnosis tag with a colored pencil. A clerk will then follow, note the disposition of the case, and indicate on the diagnosis tag that record is complete by marking same with a fixed symbol. Cross in a circle is suggested. The noncommissioned officer in charge of litter detail will assure himself that each tag bears the symbol before evacuating such a case from the triage.

VI. Records will be collected in such a manner that cases from—

(a) Division making report.
(b) All other U. S. divisions. (Each division separately.)
(c) Allied troops.
(d) Enemy.

Will show for each case—

(a) Number.
(b) Name.
(c) Rank.
(d) Organization.
(e) Nature of casualty.
(f) Disposition.

VII. In order that complete record of divisional losses may be maintained, division surgeons will send to each neighboring division surgeon the daily report of those cases belonging to the latter’s division which have passed through the former’s triage. This work is a proper function for the division surgeon’s office, and will not be added to the paper work of the triage group.

The triage group is not a field hospital and does not within itself admit patients. Forms 547 and 648 A. G. O., G. H. Q., need not, therefore, be prepared nor the field medical card started. The same rule applies to sanitary formations which function as


advance dressing stations, rest, or relay stations, so long as the organizations hold patients who are awaiting further evacuation to the rear. If, however, a case is hospitalized—that is, if it is admitted to the gas department or nontransportable department for definitive treatment—or if a case is completed as by return to duty proper, record must be made. Cases dying in triage or enroute to triage will be forwarded and admitted to a hospital where the necessary records will be prepared and proper provision made for burial. Twenty-four hours will be considered the time limit within which sanitary formations can hold patients awaiting evacuation without considering that such cases have been hospitalized.

VIII. A numerical summary, classified as outlined in paragraph 1, corrected Memorandum No. 1, this office, dated October 12, covering the twenty-four hour period from 6 a. m. to 6 p. m. will be in the corps surgeon’s office before 7.30 a. m. daily. Report will be telephoned or sent by special courier from the triage or from the division surgeon’s office, whichever system is considered the quickest.

IX. Nontransportable wounded will be admitted immediately to the nontransportable section of the triage, or transferred at once to the field hospital or other hospital devoted to nontransportable cases. Nontransportable gas cases will also be admitted to the gas section of the triage, or transferred at once to the field hospital or other hospital devoted to the treatment of gassed cases.

X. Every effort will be made to prevent evacuation to the rear and to cause prompt return to duty at the front of men found not to be proper subjects for evacuation.

XI. The personnel of the field hospital acting as a triage should be divided into appropriate groups for the various departments, viz:

A triage group.
A surgical group.
A gas group.

XII. The following personnel is suggested as making a triage group to work under the supervision of the triage officer. There should be two such groups working 12 hours each.

Two medical officers.
Two noncommissioned officers.
Two clerks.
One stenographer.
Twelve litter bearers.
Two men for kitchen detail.
One ward attendant for each tent in which patients are held and two men for dispensary and dressing room.

XIII. The training of triage personnel is important to bring out the proper grouping of cases, correct record, and speedy evacuation. The triage officer must be an officer of sound judgment and must be possessed of power to decide quickly and accurately.

XIV. No radical departure from these instructions will be made, except by order from the corps surgeon.


Prior to the attack of October 4, the division was assembled in the vicinity of Cuisy. On the afternoon of the 3d, preparations were made for an attack in the Nantillois—Cunel sector, then held by the troops of the 79th and 4th Divisions. The eastern limit of the zone of action extended from Septsarges, 400 meters (436 yards) from the western edge of Bois du Fays, thence north through the Bois de Malaumont—Cote 299—Aincreville. The western limit of the zone of action was Montfaucon—Cote 259—Nantillois—Cunel road—Bantheville—Andevanne.8

At 5.25 a. m., October 4, the 159th Brigade (less one battalion, 318th Infantry) attacked under cover of an artillery barrage. Its parallel of de-


parture was Cierges—Nantillois—Brieulles road, north of Nantillois. The 160th Brigade remained in reserve, ready to move one or more of its units forward on 15 minutes’ notice.8

In the initial attack the infantry advanced at a considerable distance behind the barrage because the troops had to reach their unreconnoitered assembly positions in the dark. Upon reaching the line of Hill 274, the first wave was met by very heavy machine-gun fire from the north, northeast, and west and by intense artillery fire from the north, northeast, and east, part of this fire enfilading the attacking line. A few troops reached the edge of Bois des Ogons. No advance could be made beyond this position, however, during the day. A new attack was ordered for the afternoon of October 4. At 5.30 p. m. this attack took place on the whole front, after an artillery preparation. It failed, but troops filtered in through the Bois des Ogons under cover of darkness. However, they were unable to organize and hold this forward ground in the face of enemy machine-gun and artillery fire,8 and the line formed south of Bois des Ogons.

On October 5 the attack was resumed at 6 p. m., and the line was advanced to the southern portion of Bois des Ogons, without heavy casualties.8

On October 6 the position obtained was held during the day, and defensive organization was begun.8

During the night of October 6-7 the entire 159th Brigade withdrew to a position south of Cuisy.8

On October 9, in the general advance, the 80th Division reached and held the Cunel—Brieulles road.8

On October 11, at 7 a. m., the hour set for the resumption of the advance, our troops formed in the rear of a barrage. Just prior to "H" hour, however, the enemy laid annihilating artillery fire on the left of the lines and decimated two companies of the attacking troops and made many ineffectives in two others. Despite this, however, the right of the line and the reorganized left went forward to the attack and made slight gains.8 At the end of the day, though, they had not been able to maintain a position north of the Cunel—Brieulles road.8

On October 11, at nightfall, the front line was held by one battalion of the 319th Infantry on the left and one battalion of the 320th Infantry on the right, echeloned in depth; one battalion of the 320th Infantry in the southern portion of the Bois de Malaumont; one battalion of the 320th Infantry west of La Ville aux Bois Ferme, echeloned in depth. The reserve battalion of the 319th Infantry was in the northern part of the Bois des Ogons. During the night of October 11-12 the division (less the Artillery brigade) was relieved by the 5th Division. It then moved to the vicinity of Thiaucourt in the army reserve.8


Ambulance Company No. 317 was functioning at St. Nazaire and did not rejoin the 80th Division until after the division was withdrawn. Ambulance Company No. 318 assisted in the operation of a dressing station at Nantillois and litter-bearer evacuations in front of it, and performed various services



for Ambulance Companies No. 319 and No. 320. Ambulance Company No. 319 established a dressing station at Nantillois on October 4 which was taken over by Ambulance Company No. 320 on the 5th and 6th. Ambulance Company No. 319 then resumed operations until the 8th, when Ambulance Company No. 320 took the dressing station over and maintained it until the division withdrew. This station cleared about 400 patients a day, though both ambulance companies suffered casualties from shell fire while on duty here. As stated above, they were assisted here and in advance of it by Ambulance Company No. 318.9

Field Hospital No. 317 continued to operate a hospital for gassed and sick at Fromereville, where from September 26 to October 12 it cared for 1,762 patients. At the same point Field Hospital No. 318 operated the triage, receiving 5,915 patients during the same time, this number including 1,226 patients belonging to the 4th Division. The triage reports showed that it had received 1,610 gassed patients, of whom 679 came from the 80th Division. Two per cent of these cases were serious, while 20 per cent of the patients admitted as gas casualties showed no symptoms of that condition. Of the total number received, diagnosed as gassed, 525 were returned to duty.10

Field Hospital No. 319 at Bethincourt, in conjunction with Field Hospital No. 320, cared for 3,176 surgical cases. Approximately 20 per cent of the wounded were classed as seriously wounded, 10 per cent as having wounds of moderate severity, and 70 per cent as slightly wounded. About 10 per cent of wounds were caused by high-explosive shells, 10 per cent by shrapnel, and 80 per cent by machine-gun or rifle bullets. About 10 per cent of the sick were seriously ill, suffering chiefly from pulmonary or intestinal diseases.11


On October 4 the 4th Division, which had been holding a rather long sector from near the Meuse to a point north of Nantillois, attacked at 5.30 a. m. The attack was made northwestwardly from the Nantillois—Brieulles road, the objective being Cote 299, and the north edge of Bois de Foret. The attack progressed favorably, meeting little resistance except from machine-gun nests, which, however, were very active in opposition. The Bois du Fays was taken and our troops crossed the Cunel—Brieulles road, advanced through the woods on the north, and approached the Bois de Foret.12

Again the advance was delayed by exposure of the left flank, for the Bois des Ogons had not been taken at this time. Consequently our troops were compelled to fall back and to organize a temporary line of defense along the Fond de Ville-aux-Bois, fully 1 km. (0.6 mile) south of the points taken in the attack. The 59th Infantry protected both flanks of the salient thus formed, and the 47th Infantry held the line on the right along the north edge of the Bois de Brieulles. The line thus formed (western edge of Bois du Fays—Fond de Ville-aux-Bois—eastern edge of Bois du Fays—northern edge of

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


Bois de Brieulles) remained the same until October 9. The 4th Division had occupied the western edge of Bois du Fays on the 5th, in order to maintain contact with the 80th Division and to assist in its progression. The Bois des Ogons, on the left of the 4th Division, was taken by the 80th Division on the night of October 5, but the line of the 80th Division remained nearly 1 km. (0.6 mile) less advanced than the line of the 8th Brigade, 4th Division, making it necessary to protect the left of the Bois du Fays. Several counterattacks and attempts at infiltration on both sides of the Bois du Fays were made by the enemy and were repulsed. After the early morning counterattack on October 6, activity in the 4th Division sector was limited to patrolling, occasional machine-gun fire, and to continued harassing shell fire.12

On October 9 in the evening, an attack on Bois de Malaumont was made. It was planned that the attack should be made in line with the 80th Division, on the left. It was learned through liaison with the 80th Division that this attack would begin at 4 p. m. The advance of the 4th Division was accordingly scheduled at 5.40 p. m. The 39th Infantry, having taken up a position in the Bois du Fays, attacked northward from Bois Fond de Ville-aux-Bois. The 47th Infantry continued to hold the line along the northern portion of the Bois de Brieulles. The first attack was not successful, and the troops suffered considerably from artillery fire from the right rear. Furthermore, a heavy gas concentration necessitated the wearing of masks, which made progress very slow in the thick underbrush and in the approaching darkness. Units, in consequence, became separated, so the advance was halted and the troops were withdrawn for reorganization, to the starting point. The right of the 80th Division likewise had failed to progress.12

On October 10, at 7 a. m., the attack was resumed. Owing to the heavy resistance from shell and machine-gun fire, and to the dense undergrowth, the troops were unable to keep up with the barrage in the morning, and the advance got no farther than the northern edge of Bois de Peut de Faux.12

In the afternoon the southern portion of the Bois de Foret was penetrated, but machine-gun resistance rendered a consolidation of the positions impossible before nightfall, and all troops were withdrawn to the northern edge of Bois de Peut de Faux for the night.12

Again on October 11, at 7 a. m., the attack was renewed. At 8.30 a. m. the troops had reached the railroad in the Bois de Foret and were pressing on, though meeting considerable resistance on the right. During the day the advance was pushed to the northern edge of the Bois de Foret, and at 6 p. m. division patrols were on Cote 299.12

No attack was made on October 12 because it was anticipated that units of the 5th Division would relieve the 4th Division. This relief did not take place as planned, but during the night of October 12-13 and the morning of the 13th the 39th Infantry and part of the 11th Machine Gun Battalion were relieved by the 4th Infantry of the 3d Division.12

From October 13 to 19 the period was characterized as a holding action, for the division was not called upon to make any attack. On the contrary, it


concentrated its efforts upon the defense of the division sector. The divisional front now extended from the northernmost point of Bois du Fays down the northeast edge of Bois du Fays, thence to Trench de Teton, thence to the northern corner of Bois de la Cote Lemont, on the Meuse. This was the situation when the division was relieved from the line on October 20th and became a part of the American Second Army.12


The evacuation service of the 4th Division in this (the second) phase of the operation was a continuation of that already described for the first phase. As there was not much movement of the line, Medical Department formations were not moved frequently. On October 15 the field hospitals were advanced to Bethincourt, where they remained until the division was relieved. There Field Hospital No. 19 performed triage duty, and, in connection with the 3d and 5th Divisions, a hospital for nontransportable wounded was operated. Field Hospital No. 33, at Sivry-la-Perche, received the divisional sick.13


As has been stated at the beginning of this chapter, the mission of the 33d Division, when the second phase of the Meuse-Argonne operation began, was to hold its present sector and to protect the east flank of the 4th Division. Also it has been seen that the 33d ceased to be a part of the Third Corps on October 7 and was attached to the French Seventeenth Corps, then a part of the American First Army. During the period October 4-7, the 33d had no engagement of major importance.1

In view of the fact that from October 7 forward the greater activities of the 33d Division during the second phase of the Meuse-Argonne operation occurred east of the Meuse, further discussion of the operations is given at the end of this section with that of other troops so serving.


By 6 a. m., on October 12, the relief of the 80th Division by the 5th Division had been completed. There had been a modification in the orders. The original order required the holding of a line in advance of that actually held. At 1.30 a. m. on October 12, arrangement was made with the commanding general, 160th Infantry Brigade of the 80th Division, that no forward movement would be attempted until the relief had been completed. Finally it was ordered that four battalions of the 9th Infantry Brigade should remain south of the east and west line from La Ville aux Bois and that the 4th Division would occupy position on their left flank, previously outlined as part of the 5th Division sector. At 6.30 a. m., having completed the relief, troops of the 9th Infantry Brigade went forward on strong reconnaissance patrols along the 60-cm. railroad cut east of Cunel and into the Bois de la Pultiere.14

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


On October 13 an attack by this division in the direction of Le Grand Carre Ferme, in conjunction with one of the 42d Division through Sommerance, to form a junction at the farm, had been set unofficially for the day, to be made by the 10th Infantry Brigade for this division. Owing to their distance from the line and to the distribution of the troops, a postponement of 24 hours was made. By the order the line of attack was west of north instead of north, as the frontage of the division had previously been. Due to the fact that, as planned, the line of attack placed the right flank of the troops of this division within 400 meters (436 yards) of the Bois de la Pultiere and the Bois des Rappes, which the enemy still held, and to the fact that the smoke barrage which our artillery could place could last for only one hour, orders of the division provided that the 9th Infantry Brigade should attack from the south the Bois de la Pultiere and the Bois des Rappes. At 10.30 p. m. the commanding general of the 10th Infantry Brigade, which was to make the attack, received a copy of the attack order of the 64th Brigade, 32d Division, Fifth Corps, which was to attack on the west and to protect his left flank. This order contemplated an attack on Romagne-sous-Montfaucon at "H" plus 6 hours, instead of "H" hour. Romagne was occupied by the enemy. A change of the hour of attack of the 64th Brigade was requested and the hour was changed from "H" plus 6 hours to "H" plus 3 hours, "H" hour being fixed at 5.30 a. m. on the 14th. Despite this effort at cooperation, Romagne was not taken until after 2 p. m. on the 14th. On October 14 the 10th Infantry Brigade attacked at 8.30 a. m. The enemy put down a strong counteroffensive barrage from 6 to 8 a. m. This produced losses and some confusion. Machine-gun fire was encountered almost immediately, indicating that our destructive fire and barrage had not been sufficient to hold down the enemy. Our attack passed through an effective barrage put down by the enemy at 8.33 a. m. with heavy losses. None the less, the advance steadily progressed. Upon mounting the slopes to the north of the Romagne—Cunel road, our troops met a concentration of machine-gun fire from the Bois des Rappes, Bois de la Pultiere, Romagne, and the direction of Bantheville, and the attack was brought to a halt in attempting to pass into the valley of the Andon. The 9th Infantry Brigade was stopped in the Bois de la Pultiere, after having passed Cunel. At 4 p. m. the attack was made on Bois de la Pultiere and the Bois des Rappes. This attack was successful in taking the Bois de la Pultiere, and the troops held their positions and entrenched themselves for the night.14

On the 15th the attack was resumed at 8 a. m. Stubborn resistance was encountered on the northeast edge of the Bois de la Pultiere and the southern edge of the Bois des Rappes. The 61st Infantry was placed in and about Cunel, and the 60th Infantry in the Bois de Cunel.14

On the 16th, at 7.30 a. m., strong combat patrols set forth to reconnoiter the Bois des Rappes. At 10.30 a. m. the first word was received that on the 15th our troops had gained the north edge and were still holding it. At 11 a. m. the commander of the 9th Infantry Brigade asked whether, in view of orders given on the previous day to hold the northern edge of the Bois de la Pultiere


as the line of observation, troops of that brigade at the north edge of the Bois des Rappes should be withdrawn. Instructions were given to hold the northern edge of the Bois des Rappes by all means. In the meantime, however, the troops had reached the north edge of the Bois des Rappes, had returned to the north edge of the Bois de la Pultiere, pursuant to an order given the previous evening which they had received instead of a countermanded order later issued and which they had not received. During the afternoon orders were issued for the relief of the 9th Infantry Brigade in the Bois de la Pultiere by the 10th Infantry Brigade. The lateness of the hour and the impossibility of making the relief when there would be no definite line resulted in the decision not to attempt a reconquest of the Bois des Rappes at that time. Remnants of the 61st Infantry were directed to hold what they had until relieved by the 10th Infantry Brigade.14

On the night of October 16-17 the 9th Infantry Brigade was relieved by the 10th Infantry Brigade, which extended its line to the right, covering the entire divisional sector front, the 11th Infantry taking the sector previously occupied by the 9th Infantry Brigade. The 9th Infantry Brigade returned to the Nantillois—Montfaucon area to reorganize its units and the area for defense.14

On October 17 the Bois de la Pultiere was cleared of the enemy, and the division advanced to its northern edge; contact was established with the 3d Division on the right, and the defensive position was entrenched and wired.15

On October 20 the attack was made on the Bois des Rappes. Despite the fact that the troops were exhausted and arrangements for the attack were made in haste, about 200 meters (218 yards) were gained. Again, on October 21, an attack was made on the Bois des Rappes. This attack succeeded in completely capturing the woods. That night the position was consolidated, and the combat troops were partially wired in.14

On October 22 the 10th Infantry Brigade, having been relieved the previous night by the 90th Division, withdrew to the zone east of Montfaucon. The 9th Infantry Brigade was then in the Bois Malancourt.14

During the period October 23-26 the division continued in the areas mentioned. The troops were in bivouac, still under shell fire, mostly from east of the Meuse, and were subject to airplane bombing and shelling at night.15

On the night of October 26-27 the division relieved the 3d Division in line. The front line at that time extended from the northeast corner of the Bois des Rappes, along the northeast edge of Clairs Les Chenes, Hill 299, and the northern and eastern edges of the Bois de Foret. The 9th Infantry Brigade held the north front of the 61st Infantry on the left and the 60th Infantry on the right. The 10th Infantry Brigade was to the right rear, holding as its front the northern edges of the Fond de la Cote Lemont, Cote 280, and Bois de Brieulles.14

On October 28 a system of small but persistent advances, at slight cost, was instituted, which steadily encroached upon the enemy and ultimately gained a starting point for the next major operation. On October 29, by means of strong combat patrols, the division advanced its outpost line to


FIG. 81.-Field Hospitals No. 25 and No. 29, 5th Division, consolidated at Bethincourt, October 22, 1918


within 400 meters (436 yards) south of Andon Creek and extended outposts and listening posts well down toward the western bank of the Meuse. On October 30, Brieulles was cleared of any enemy, and on the 31st Andon Creek was forded and Aincreville was taken.14


It was only with considerable difficulty that ambulance companies maintained contact with regimental and battalion medical formations so they might effect removal of the wounded by litter bearers or, in some cases, by ambulances. Dressing stations were operated at Septsarges and Nantillois, the capacity of that at Nantillois being greatly increased on October 15, when Field Hospital No. 17 opened at that point.15 Other such stations were established at such times as the military situation in this phase of the operation warranted, at Cunel, Madeleine Ferme, and Aincreville. The stations at Nantillois and Madeleine Ferme were in use during the entire period of the division’s operations during this phase.16 An important service of the dressing station was the provision of hot food, for many men who had become exhausted were able, after eating and enjoying a short rest, to return to the front. One station reported having served over 3,000 hot meals in 48 hours. From these stations ambulances were sent forward as required to regimental aid stations and to other localities. Casualties from the front lines were removed by division ambulances, while from the field hospitals at Bethincourt they were removed both by ambulances and trucks.17

For the shelter and care of patients awaiting transfer to the triage, Field Hospital No. 17 was used as a collecting hospital in advance areas in connection with dressing stations. It served in this manner from October 15 to 21 at Nantillois, and at Septsarges from October 27 to November 4. At times it was operated in two or more sections, furnishing personnel and tentage to several dressing stations.18

Field Hospital No. 25 operated the divisional triage at Bethincourt from October 12 to 22, when it closed for three days while the division was not in action. It reopened at this site on October 25 and continued to perform this service until November 5. Similarly, Field Hospital No. 29 operated as a gas hospital at Bethincourt from October 12 to 22 and from October 25 to November 5.18

Field Hospital No. 30 opened on October 11 at Sivry-la-Perche, where it operated a relay hospital until November 1. Such a formation was necessitated by the length of the route to evacuation hospitals and the time required to travel it. This unit also received sick and exhausted which were sent to it directly from the triage.18

For a short time the different divisions of the corps alternated in maintaining a corps gas hospital, but this arrangement did not prove very satisfactory. There were enough gas casualties in each division to keep one of its hospitals fully occupied, and the attempt to treat at one field hospital of one division all the gassed cases of the corps resulted in confusion both


in respect to patients and to their records. After this became apparent the 5th Division operated its own gas hospital.19

This division, like all others in the Third Corps, was provided with operating teams, but as there were comparatively few wounded requiring operation in the field hospitals at Bethincourt, one team at a time was sufficient for the needs of the corps at this point. Rotation was therefore practiced by the teams belonging to the three divisions in the corps, and constant attention to patients was thus made feasible. The surgical work of the field hospitals was limited by the fact that a mobile hospital was readily accessible to the wounded of the corps, first at Fromereville and later at Esnes. Some of the shock teams organized in the divisions gave preoperative and postoperative treatment in the field hospital where surgery was performed, while others at other field hospitals restored such patients as had been chilled while en route.20

Under supervision of the corps regulating officer the evacuation service from the field hospitals at Bethincourt was effected by French and American ambulance sections (especially by Sections No. 566 and No. 571) and by trucks which passed this point on their way to the rear.21 Trucks were used for the slightly wounded and the sick; they carried approximately 50 per cent of the patients evacuated. The routes of evacuation from divisional hospitals remained as at the beginning of the attack until November 8, casualties going to the triage at Bethincourt and thence as follows: Seriously wounded to Mobile Hospital No. 1, at Fromereville, and to Mobile Hospital No. 5, at Les Placys, respectively 20 and 26 km. (12.4 and 16 miles) from the front; transportable wounded and sick to Evacuation Hospitals No. 6 and No. 7, at Souilly, 34 km. (21 miles) from the front; and gassed psychoneurotic patients to Evacuation Hospital No. 3 and the neurological unit at Benoite Vaux, 30 km. (18.6 miles) from the front. The distance to these hospitals gradually increased and the difficulties of evacuation became progressively greater, but at this time the army hospitals could not be advanced, as there were no railway facilities for their evacuation farther forward.22

Medical supply dumps were established at Bethincourt and at Septsarges.

Triage reports 5th Division22

[Admissions from 5th Division only]







Oct. 13






Oct. 14






Oct. 15






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Oct. 17






Oct. 18






Oct. 19






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Oct. 21






Oct. 22






Oct. 23






Oct. 27






Oct. 28






Oct. 29






Oct. 30






Oct. 31








On October 17 the 90th Division passed to the reserve of the Third Corps, and on the night of October 21-22 it relieved the 5th Division, remaining in the attacking line until the armistice, November 11.23

On October 22, the division was ordered to insure its position in the Bois des Rappes and to push out strong patrols to take possession of Bantheville and the high ground north and northwest of that town, and to establish a line from the northwest corner of the Bois des Rappes, over the high ground north of Bourrut, to the northeast corner of the Bois de Bantheville.23

On October 23, the 357th Infantry attacked at 3 p. m., and took all objectives, with only slight casualties. The 3d Battalion, 358th Infantry, in the Bois des Rappes, extended its left to connect with the 357th Infantry, north of Bourrut.23

On the night of October 23, it was reported by the Third Corps that indications pointed to a withdrawal of the enemy. The 179th Infantry was ordered to gain and keep contact with him. Pursuant to these instructions, a portion of the 358th Infantry crossed the Brook Andon. A position was then held from a point about 500 meters (545 yards) southwest of Aincreville along the Aincreville—Bantheville road, to the north of Bourrut, thence along Hill 270 to the western boundary of the division. The establishment of this line, gave an excellent position for the attack of November 1, and it was held despite continuous, severe shelling and severe, small counterattacks.23

The 179th Brigade was relieved in line by the 180th Brigade on the night of October 30-31.23


The office of the division surgeon moved on October 19 to Cuisy, the division post control, but his subordinate office personnel was soon sent to Sivry-la-Perche, in the rear. On the same date the division surgeon issued an order concerning evacuation routes, disposition of medical department formations, and other cognate matters. In the attack of October 23 the units of the sanitary train were disposed and operated as follows:24 On October 22 Ambulance Companies No. 357 and No. 359 had established the main dressing station of the division at Nantillois. Ambulance Company No. 358 established a dressing station at Septsarges and furnished details to regimental detachments. Ambulance Company No. 360, in conjunction with Field Hospital No. 357, had established a triage at Bethincourt on October 19.25 Field Hospital No. 358, at Bethincourt, was the corps gas hospital, while Field Hospital No. 359 received corps sick and slightly wounded, at Sivry-la-Perche.26 Field Hospital No. 360, the divisional collecting hospital, was located 0.5 km. (0.3 mile) south of Nantillois.27 All motor ambulances (38 in number) were pooled and operated from Nantillois under the direction of Ambulance Company No. 359. At Bethincourt were located the triages of the three divisions attacking on the corps front. Here also was one hospital from each division, designated to receive a certain class of patients from all divisions in the corps.


Under this arrangement the hospital of the 90th Division (Field Hospital No. 358), designated for communal service of the corps, was at first in reserve at this point, but was soon called upon to supplement the gas hospital, operated for the corps by the 5th Division. At the same place a field hospital of the 3d Division received all nontransportable wounded in the corps. The supply dump of the 90th Division was located at Sivry-la-Perche.24

Division consultants and chaplains were assigned to duty at the triage, which was augmented further by personnel of Ambulance Company No. 360, to operate it at night. The commanding officer of the sanitary train was ordered to make any other assignments to this formation necessary for its efficient service.24

FIG. 82.-Aid station, 358th Infantry, at Cunel, Meuse, October 27, 1918

Though the medical supply dump was ordered to remain at Sivry-la-Perche, an advance dump was established at the triage, whence supplies could be sent by ambulance on request of medical officers farther forward.28

A medical officer was designated to control evacuations from the front to the field hospitals, while another, under the corps surgeon, was charged with evacuations from the hospitals to the rear. It was directed that divisional officers make arrangements concerning evacuations either with him di-



rect or with the corps surgeon by telephone or by courier. Wounded were distributed from the division units as follows:24

Seriously wounded: Evacuation Hospital No. 8, Petit Maujouy, and Mobile Hospital No. 5, Les Placys.

Slightly wounded:

Ambulance cases—Evacuation Hospital No. 4, Fontaine Routon.
Truck cases—Evacuation Hospitals No. 6 and No. 7, at Souilly.

Gassed cases: Gas Hospital, La Morlette.

Nervous cases: Psychopathic Hospital No. 1, Benoite-Vaux.

Contagious cases: French hospital, Benoite-Vaux.

Normal sick (in trucks if practicable): Evacuation Hospitals No. 6 and No. 7, Souilly.

On October 24, Ambulance Company No. 357 established an advance dressing station which included facilities for the treatment of gassed patients. This was at Romagne, where it operated until November 4.27

On the 27th an advance rest hospital was established at Septsarges where walking patients and those with minor injuries were received and forwarded to the triage by truck.27

Cases received at the triage were reported to have been as follows:29

To 6 a. m.-



Sick and injured


Oct. 23





Oct. 24





Oct. 25





Oct. 26





Oct. 27





Oct. 28





Oct. 29





Oct. 30





Oct. 31










The greatest number received on any one day was 213, but the average was 130.4 per day. Of the 297 gassed cases, none proved fatal.29

In addition to the above, 838 cases belonging to other divisions were admitted during this period, making a true total of 2,012.29


On October 14 the 3d Division attacked at 8.30 a. m. Its mission was to hold that part of its line through which the 5th Division had passed, from the Cierges—Romagne road to within 1 km. (0.6 mile) of the Meuse, and to advance to the army first phase objective on the right.30 The 30th Infantry was assigned the special task of clearing the Bois de la Pultiere and the Bois des Rappes, in cooperation with the 5th Division, which was attacking these woods from the southwest. The attack developed slowly, meeting with stubborn resistance; and night found the division in possession of the Bois de la Pultiere, and with its line well advanced into the Bois de Foret.30

cFor map of activities of this division for this period, see Plate XI.


On October 15 at 7.30 a. m. the attack was continued, but except for a general local improvement of the lines no advance was made.30

On October 17 the division occupied the front line, approximately as follows: East edge of the Bois de la Pultiere, thence southeastwardly along the border of the Bois de Peut-de-Faux, to a point on the Cunel—Brieulles road west of Brieulles.30

On October 20, at 7 a. m. the 3d Division attacked in close cooperation with the 5th Division, the mission of the 3d Division being to clear and hold the Bois des Clairs Chenes and Hill 299. At 2.30 p. m. the Bois des Clairs Chenes had been completely cleared of the enemy. However, a counterattack by the enemy drove the elements holding the front line back to the point of departure at the northern boundary of the Bois de la Pultiere. At 6 p. m. the 7th Infantry counterattacked and gained Bois des Clairs Chenes.30

Hills 297 and 299 were attacked at noon, October 21. At 2.30 p. m. these hills were occupied.30

At 1.45 p. m. October 22 the whole of the Bois de Foret was held by our troops, and that night Hill 281 was gained.30

On October 23 the 3d Division, in cooperation with the 90th Division, which had relieved the 5th Division on October 21-22 on the left bank of the 3d Division, made a successful attempt and captured Bantheville.30

During the days of October 24-25, the troops of the 3d Division remained in position, reorganizing positions which were unobservable by the enemy. On October 25, orders were received from the Third Corps for the relief of the 3d Division by the 5th Division, to be effected on the night of October 26-27. The 3d Division then passed into the corps reserve.30


Battalion aid stations with troops were frequently under fire, though located, if possible, at points giving some protection. By order of the regimental commander, one such station of the 7th Infantry was located in the trenches (October 21), but casualties were so great that it had to be withdrawn to Cunel. Some protection was obtainable in a quarry 1 km. (0.6 mile) east of that town, and the aid stations of two regiments were located there. Such good shelter as this was not usually to be found. Whenever possible, both regimental infirmaries and battalion aid stations were placed near a road—for example, those at Madeleine Ferme, Nantillois, Cunel, Cierges, etc.—in order that they might be accessible to ambulances and thus reduce carriage by litter. Exhaustion of litter carriers rendered very difficult the bringing in of the wounded from the front, though German prisoners were used and some voluntary details of line troops were made available.31 The aid station of one regiment sometimes worked in conjunction with that of another. Thus, at Madeleine Ferme, where the 30th Infantry maintained a consolidated station for the entire regiment, caring for some 800 cases, there were at one time, working in conjunction with it, aid stations of the 4th and 7th Regiments, and at other times those of the 38th, 60th, and 61st Regiments and of the 8th Machine Gun Battalion. Such combinations were occasioned


by the narrowness of the divisional sector and the scarcity of desirable locations for aid stations.32 Psychoneurotic cases received at these stations were small in numbers in comparison with those in the battle of the Marne. Also the percentage of seriously wounded was higher than in that engagement, more casualties being the result of high explosive shells. Rest and food provided at aid stations enabled many exhausted men to return to the front, but the resources were not sufficient for the refreshment of all. In one regiment (the 4th Infantry) 70 per cent of the men evacuated during the last five days of this action had become incapacitated because of extreme exhaustion. To clear the aid stations, ambulances came forward as lulls in the firing or darkness permitted, and many patients were sent from them on returning trucks.33


Ambulance Company No. 7, with station at Montfaucon, was engaged in removing wounded from the front until withdrawn October 31, 1918.34 Ambulance Company No. 5 established a station in the vicinity of Septsarges on October 19, with its vehicles in operation between the front and the field hospitals. While there it cared for 851 patients, of whom approximately 250 came from other divisions. In the period October 1-31, the company evacuated 3,295 casualties, of which 2,488 were members of the 3d Division.35

Ambulance Company No. 27 operated the dressing station at Montfaucon from October 15-31, and its ambulances removed patients from that point to the rear. After taking over this station it evacuated its patients to Bethincourt, for when the 3d Division was transferred to the Third Corps its field hospitals were moved to that location (October 14-15) in order that they might be placed on the axial road of the corps in which the division was then operating. During the time the station at Montfaucon was open, October 31, its personnel consisted of alternating day and night shifts of 2 medical officers, 2 noncommissioned officers, and 21 other enlisted men.36 Ambulance Company No. 26 conducted a shock ward in conjunction with the dressing station at Montfaucon, and throughout the entire period furnished bearer details to the Infantry, Machine Gun Battalions, and to the dressing station at Montfaucon, at the time also evacuating 66 patients to the field hospitals in Bethincourt.36

Headquarters of the field hospital section arrived at Bethincourt on October 14-15, functioning there until the 31st.37

Field Hospital No. 5 assisted Field Hospital No. 27 at Bethincourt in caring for sick and gassed patients and also in triage service. Here it admitted 77 sick and gassed cases. On October 25 it moved to Bethelainville, and there cared for sick until the 28th, moving then to Sivry-la-Perche.37

Field Hospital No. 7 cooperated with Field Hospital No. 26 at Bethincourt in road construction and in the care of shocked and nontransportable cases. After October 19, on which date Field Hospital No. 26 was moved, Field Hospital No. 7 cared for all nontransportable cases here (admitting a total of 148), until October 28, when it withdrew to Sivry-la-Perche.37

Field Hospital No. 26 conducted a shock hospital at Bethincourt until the 19th, when it moved to Septsarges. At this point Ambulance Companies


No. 5 and No. 7 were engaged in removing casualties from battalion aid station, and here Field Hospital No. 26 gave them food and treatment, evacuating to the triage at Bethincourt those needing further care.38 After suffering six casualties from shell fire at this place, it moved about 200 meters (218 yards) north, where it remained until October 28, then moving to Sivry-la-Perche. In the interval, October 19-27, the shock and rest station which it had operated at Septsarges evacuated 616 patients. During the month it had cared for 1,259 patients and suffered 12 battle casualties.38

Field Hospital No. 27, assisted by Field Hospital No. 5, opened on the 17th at Bethincourt as the divisional triage. There it received 2,344 patients, including gassed, among whom there were three deaths. Of the cases received here larger numbers were due to illness than to battle casualties. On the 27th the hospital closed and went into reserve until the 30th.39

During the period October 15-30, sickness caused considerable loss to the division, more cases of disease than wounds being received at the triage. This was due largely to the influenza epidemic, but diarrhea also caused a large number of temporary disabilities.39

The following pertinent report concerning orthopedic service is quoted from the Medical Department report of the Third Division:40

The aim of the orthopedic section was to have every casualty involving injury to the bones or joints properly splinted at the earliest possible moment after injury, thus avoiding a great amount of unnecessary pain to the patient and unnecessary damage to the soft parts at the site of the injury. Instruction of the Medical Department enlisted personnel on the proper application of various types of splints, especially the Thomas arm and leg splints, and first aid treatment of fractures was encouraged.

During activity, the orthopedist operated from either the main ambulance dressing station or the triage hospital. During the last offensive, until the 16th of October, all fractures were examined at the main ambulance dressing station at Montfaucon. It was made certain that these cases were properly splinted, that there was no frank hemorrhage, that the patient was as comfortable as possible under the circumstances, and that antitetanic serum had been administered. Injuries to bones and joints were found to cause a surprisingly large percentage of all battle casualties. The main dressing station was operated by Ambulance Company No. 7; later on by Ambulance Company No. 27. Here patients could usually find a warm fire, hot coffee, food, and cigarettes before being evacuated to the field hospitals.

It was found that all cases of fracture did not go through this station. Fractures were subsequently treated from October 16 to November 1 at the triage hospital at Bethincourt, operated by Field Hospital No. 28, and promptly evacuated to the evacuation hospitals.


(1) Operations of the Third Corps, Meuse-Argonne operation, November 25, 1918.

(2) Map showing daily position, 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, undated, 33. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(4) Ibid., 34.

(5) Ibid., 35.

(6) Ibid., 36.

(7)Ibid., 37.

(8) Special operations report, 80th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.


(9) Report of Medical Department activities, 80th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 80th Division, undated, Part I, 14. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(10) Ibid., 11.

(11) Ibid., 12.

(12) Operation report, 4th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, December 10, 1918.

(13) Report of Medical Department activities, 4th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 4th Division, undated, 8. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(14) Report of operations, 5th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, November 21, 1918.

(15) Report of Medical Department activities, 5th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 5th Division, undated, Part I, 42. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(16) Ibid., Part I, 46.

(17) Ibid., Part I, 51.

(18) Ibid., Part I, 45.

(19) Ibid., Part I, 50.

(20) Ibid., Part I, 49.

(21) Ibid., Part I, 47.

(22) Ibid., Part I, 41.

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

(24) Report of Medical Department activities, 90th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 90th Division, undated, Part I, 26. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(25) Ibid., Part II, 22.

(26) Ibid., Part I, 33.

(27) Ibid., Part I, 36.

(28) Ibid., Part I, 40.

(29) Daily report of the triage, 90th Division. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(30) Report of operations, 3d Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.

(31) Report of Medical Department activities, 3d Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, undated, Part IV, 95. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(32) Ibid., Part IV, 107.

(33) Ibid., Part IV, 83.

(34) Ibid., Part IV, 47.

(35) Ibid., Part IV, 46.

(36) Ibid., Part IV, 49.

(37) Ibid., Part IV, 50.

(38) Ibid., Part IV, 51.

(39) Ibid., Part IV, 53.

(40) Ibid., Part V, 78.