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Chapter XXX

Field Operations, Table of Contents




On November 1 at 5.30 a. m. the First Corps attacked,1 with three divisions in line, arranged from left to right as follows: 78th, 77th, and 80th Divisions. The 42d Division was in reserve. Also the 82d Division occupied the corps position of security and was prepared to advance on two hours’ notice. The attack was to be an enveloping one from the right, to flank the enemy out of the Bois de Bourgogne. On the day of the attack the high ground south of Verpel was to be taken, with the object of driving on to the Boult-aux-Bois, upon further orders. The objectives of the corps were: First objective, Imecourt—Alliepont—north edge of Bois des Loges; second objective, Malmy—Sivry les Buzancy—vicinity of the northern part of Bois des Loges; corps objective, Fontaine des Parades—Cote 278—northern edge of Bois des Loges—Grandpre—Talma; subsequent objective, the ridge west of Fosse—Buzancy—Harricourt—the ridge 2 km. (1.2 miles) north of Briquenay—to connect with the French Fourth Army at Boult-aux-Bois.2

After an artillery concentration on important points, the attack was opened by the 80th Division on the right, one regiment of the 77th Division (with another in close reserve) in the center, and the 78th Division, with three regiments in line, on the left. The right of the 80th Division advanced beyond Imecourt to Malmy. The left was held up by enemy resistance in the woods about 1 km. (0.6 mile) south of Alliepont.3, 4 The 77th and 78th Divisions made little advance, due to enemy machine-gun nests in Bois des Loges and the line east and west of these woods.3, 4

On November 2 the advance of the corps was so rapid that prisoners were captured from a unit not yet in line. By this time the enemy positions had become untenable. A determined and vicious attack had forced the German command to decide upon a general withdrawal, which was effected hastily, in front of our advancing troops. The Bois de Bourgogne was evacuated in conjunction with the retirement, and with the exception of a weak rear guard action, in which machine guns and harassing artillery fire played a prominent part, no halt was made until the enemy reached the right bank of the Meuse River. On the night of November 2 the corps line extended from the vicinity of Ferme des Loges northwardly just east of Grandpre—Briquenay road to Briquenay, thence to a point 1 km. (0.6 mile) northeast of Bois de Thenorgues. Then from a point in the vicinity of Le Puiset des Nonnes generally eastwardly to the vicinity of the northwest corner of Bois de la Folie.3, 4

On the night of November 3 the line ran from southwest of Brieulles-sur-Bar, where there was contact with the 40th Division of the French Ninth


Corps, to Verrieres, thence to a point approximately 2 km. (1.2 miles) northeast of St. Pierremont, thence southeastwardly to a point approximately 1 km. (0.6 mile) northwest of Cote Jean.3, 4

On the night of November 4 the corps held Les Petites Armoises, Bois de Sy, Oches and the Bois de Four. The 80th, 77th, and 79th Divisions each held sectors until this time.3, 4

On the morning of November 5 the 42d Division, which had been in corps reserve, passed through the 78th Division and occupied the left half of the corps sector. The 80th Division advanced and occupied Beaumont. The line now held by the corps ran through the north of the Bois de Mont Dieu, through the southern portion of Bois de Raucourt to just west of Yoncq, thence to Beaumont.3, 4

On the 6th of November the 1st Division of the Fifth Corps passed through the 80th Division. The 80th Division then assembled in the northwest of Sommauthe, thence to move forward upon receipt of orders.5 The 42d and 77th Divisions advanced, the 77th reaching the Meuse River; and the line of the 42d, extending approximately from Cheveuges to Aillicourt, made the corps line approximately as follows: Cheveuges—Thelonne—vicinity of Mouzon. The elements of the 77th Division effected a crossing of the river at Villers-devant-Mouzon.3, 4

On November 9 the 77th Division relieved the 42d Division and was now holding the entire First Corps front. This corps was to be eventually taken over by the French Ninth Corps, which was then holding the sector on the left of the 77th Division.4, 6, 7

On November 10 the left of the First Army, having been limited to Mouzon, the Fifth Corps took over command of the First Corps front until the French should be ready to extend their right.7


The plan of evacuation issued as Annex No. 8 to Field Order No. 85, October 24, 1918, and quoted above in the history of the First Corps during the second phase of the Meuse-Argonne operation, continued in operation. All divisions had their hospitals grouped and work so organized that casualties passed through them without confusion or delay. Triages were well organized and worked smoothly. The consultants had now become well acquainted with their duties so that they were able to promote considerably the professional services throughout the corps. By circulating among the divisions they not only discovered and corrected defects promptly, but were able to keep the corps surgeon apprised of the efficiency and needs of their respective specialties. The Germans were now retreating rapidly, casualties were few, and the problems of the Medical Department were comparatively simple, though the evacuation route was becoming very long. Generally speaking, road conditions were improved except near Brieulles-sur-Bar where the Germans had destroyed an important road by a succession of 15 mine craters. For a time traffic over this route was interrupted here, for the road at this



point traversed a rather swampy area and passage around these craters was very difficult, until a corduroy road was built, replacing that destroyed. Transportation was sufficient to care for all casualties, though it was necessary to continue utilizing trucks to transport the slighter cases.

Movement of the army supply park to Les Islettes facilitated greatly the supply to all divisions in the corps.8


In carrying out its part of the mission of the First Corps, in the attack of November 1, to flank the enemy out of the Bois de Bourgogne by envelopment from the right and then to connect with the French at Boult-aux-Boix, the 78th Division, on a front of 8 km. (4.9 miles), was to cover the left flank of the 77th Division by advancing so as always to face the Bois de Bourgogne and make a holding attack west of Grandpre. The objective laid down for the 78th Division in the first day’s attack was the northern edge of the Bois des Loges and a line running from there, west, midway through the Bois de Bourgogne, thence along the existing front to the corps boundary. The subsequent objective was a ridge 2 km. (1.2 miles) north of Briquenay, and the establishment of connection with the French Fourth Army at Boult-aux-Bois. This advance was to be made in such a manner that any resistance coming from Bois de Bourgogne could be met at once. The 155th Infantry Brigade was ordered to take Bois des Loges and to clear it out thoroughly on the first day. The 156th Brigade (less one battalion) was ordered to maintain liaison with the French around Talma, to advance its right flank about 2.5 km. (1.5 miles), and to cover the left flank of the 155th Brigade in its advance. On the second day the 155th Brigade was to take that part of the subsequent objective lying north of Briquenay, and the 156th that to the south.9

The infantry preparations to accomplish these objects were simple. The 155th Brigade made no changes in its positions. The 156th Brigade continued to hold its front with the 311th Infantry. Two battalions of the 312th Infantry were moved up to the vicinity of Grandpre, so as to be able to protect the left of the 155th Brigade. The other battalion of the 312th, with the 307th Machine Gun Battalion, constituted the division reserve.9

For two hours immediately preceding the infantry attack on November 1, the Bois des Loges was swept by divisional artillery fire, together with such heavy army artillery as was not being used for counterbattery work elsewhere. When the infantry attack started, it was preceded by a rolling barrage and by a raking fire on known or suspected enemy positions in the woods and its approaches. A heavy machine-gun barrage was also laid down upon the Bois des Loges and the spurs west of it from the south, southwest, and west, with searching fire on the road to Briquenay from just northwest of Champigneulles to Le Morthomme. Such was the natural strength of the positions in the Bois des Loges, however, that even though only slight shelters had been constructed, this great concentration of artillery and machine guns

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


was unable substantially to affect the machine-gun nests in it. On the right the troops advanced and reached the road from Champigneulles to Ferme des Loges, capturing machine-gun nests along it. The advance was then stopped by more machine guns to the north. The 77th Division, having failed to take Champigneulles, as planned, the 309th Infantry therefore could not attempt a flanking movement from the east. Further attempts to advance through the woods resulted only in losses, and at nightfall the 309th Regiment was still in position on the Champigneulles—Ferme des Loges road. At 6 p. m. the 310th Infantry had advanced slightly from this road, but had not materially weakened the resistance. The 311th Infantry, on the left, reinforced during the day by two companies of the 312th Infantry, established a line in the Bois de Bourgogne late in the afternoon, after fighting hard in the woods and after beating off one serious counterattack. The way was thus cleared to assist the advance of the brigade on the right through the Bois des Loges by flanking the Bois des Loges from the northwest.9

On November 2 it was planned to have the 312th Infantry attack from the west, behind a rolling barrage, at 5.30 a. m. When the 312th advanced, no real opposition was encountered, and its movement was continued to the ridge beyond Briquenay. The 310th Infantry, moving north and northwest, through the Bois des Loges, reached the edge about 8.30 a. m., and shortly thereafter the 309th Infantry arrived. The only resistance to their progress was long-range machine-gun fire. Both regiments now halted to reorganize their units before starting the pursuit. This was taken up at about 10.30 a. m. Pursuing troops encountered a few enemy machine gunners out of Beffu-et-le-Morthomme about noon, and advanced steadily northward with only occasional slight machine-gun resistance until about 5.30 p. m. The town of Briquenay was taken in the afternoon, and at dark the right of the line ran across the Canal des Arches, and to the north of the Bois de Thenorgues. The 311th Infantry extended its line along the subsequent objective, but the yperiting of the Bois de Bourgogne, which had been done by our artillery in preparation for the attack, had been so successful that no resistance was met there at all, and the advance was continued up the Briquenay road unmolested. The 2d and 3d Battalions of the 312th Infantry were assembled after the advance from the Bois des Loges began and were moved to the vicinity of Briquenay before encamping for the night.9

On November 3 the advance was continued all day by the leading units of the division. Boult-aux-Bois was entered at 4 a. m., Belleville-sur-Bar was taken at noon, and Chatillon-sur-Bar was reached before dark. Farther east the 312th Regiment had brushed the enemy out of Germont at about 9.30 a. m., and then advanced its detachments north through Authe toward Brieulles-sur-Bar and west toward Chatillon-sur-Bar. Brieulles-sur-Bar was entered at 4 p. m. by the 312th, whose line for the night ran north of Chatillon-sur-Bar and Brieulles-sur-Bar. The 309th and 310th Regiments of Infantry entered Authe before noon and speedily outflanked machine-gun resistance on the ridge about 1 km. (0.6 mile) north of Authe. These regiments assisted the 77th Division to turn the enemy out of Autruche and


went on toward Verrieres. The town of Verrieres was entered by 4.15 p. m., and a position was taken up for the night on the ridge northeast of that town.9

On November 4, because of the exhaustion of the front-line battalions, the reserve of the 155th Brigade passed through the front-line battalions to take up the pursuit. By noon, the advancing troops reached the north edge of Bois de Sy, where they came under machine-gun fire from Sy and the ridge to the north of that town, and artillery fire from Bois du Fay and from the north of those woods. This fire prevented any farther advance during the day and the night of November 4-5. During the day the 311th Infantry took Les Petites Armoises and advanced to the road between that town and Sy before night.

On November 5 the 42d Division was ordered to relieve the 78th by passing through its lines. The relief was made about noon, at which time the 155th Brigade had sent patrols to and through the town of Sy, and had located the enemy on the ridge to the north. The 156th Brigade had taken the town of Tannay at 6.15 in the morning and was 1.5 km. (0.9 mile) to the north of that place along the road to Chemery when it was passed through. Upon completion of the relief, the troops of the division were assembled at Brieulles-sur-Bar and at Germont, where they camped for the night. On November 6 the division marched to the vicinity of Marcq and Chevieres, and on the 7th to the Argonne camps west of Varennes. After two days’ stay in this area, the division marched to the Florent—Les Islettes area, and on November 11 marched to an area south of Ste. Menehould.9


Plans had been made prior to the advance of November 1 to effect as soon as possible union of the two sections in which the sanitary train had been operating during the second phase of the operation; i. e., with two ambulance companies and two field hospitals behind each flank. It was also proposed that these formations follow up the advancing troops by "leapfrogging" as rapidly as the inadequate transportation permitted. The following memorandum, approved by G-1 of the division, was therefore published by the division surgeon to all medical officers of the division:10

It is planned that evacuations and communications in general shall follow two main routes:

One is via Beffu et Le Morthomme, Champigneulle, St. Juvin, Marcq, Cornay, and Apremont. At present, Ambulance Company 311 has a dressing station at Marcq and Triage No. 2 (Field Hospitals Nos. 309 and 312) is at present at Apremont. When conditions permit, the dressing station will move to Champigneulle and the triage to Marcq. Later the gas and sick hospitals will move to Marcq.

The other route is via Bellejoyeuse Ferme, Grandpre, Senue, to Lancon. At present, Ambulance Company 312 has a dressing station at Malassise Ferme and Triage No. 1 (Field Hospitals 310 and 311) is located at Lancon. When conditions permit, the dressing station will move to Grandpre and Bellejoyeuse Ferme in turn, and the triage will move to Grandpre. It is possible that at a later state both triages will be consolidated at Grandpre or at Marcq and all hospitals stationed with the triage.


This plan worked out as follows: (a) The dressing station at Marcq (Ambulance Company No. 311) was moved to Authe, and the triage at Apremont was moved up to replace the dressing station at Marcq. (b) The dressing station at Malassise Ferme (Ambulance Company No. 312) was moved to Authe. (c) The triage at Lancon was moved to Grandpre. (d) Later the triage at Marcq consolidated with that at Grandpre, where it remained until the division was withdrawn.11

By this time the troops were advancing so rapidly that the ambulance companies were simply directed to go ahead as far as they could and to establish wherever possible, the result being that both companies in the forward area established in the church at Authe.

The last casualties of the division occurred in the towns of Brieulles-sur-Bar and Verrieres. An attempt was made to establish an ambulance dressing station at Brieulles-sur-Bar on the night of November 4, but owing to the extremely heavy shell fire at this point it was impossible to enter the town; but a few hours later ambulance service was established between Authe and Brieulles-sur-Bar. In the meantime, owing to the impassable condition of roads, which were mined and blown up for a distance of 500 meters (545 yards), ambulances were unable to get from Brieulles-sur-Bar to Verrieres and Les Petites Armoises, and litter-bearer sections from the ambulance companies were sent to these towns. For 20 hours the wounded were evacuated by them to the ambulance head at Brieulles-sur-Bar, whence they were carried to Authe and Grandpre. In preparation for the large number of wounded expected as a result of the offensive of November 1, the First Corps had established a rest camp near Varennes for the reception of all sitting cases. Establishment of this camp relieved the sanitary train of evacuation to a considerable extent, but, on the other hand, the recumbent wounded were evacuated to evacuation hospitals, in one instance a distance of between 90 and 100 km. (55-62 miles) from the front.10

The triage and hospitals at Apremont had been shelled by long-range guns at intervals during the entire time that they were located at this point, and on one occasion (October 30) as many as 24 large-caliber shells (9-inch or more) fell in the hospital area. Seventeen tents were hit, with but three casualties, patients having been promptly removed to trenches or shell holes. This bombardment was not thought to have been directed at the hospitals but at a road 50 meters (54 yards) north of them, being used at the time by an artillery organization which was on the march.10

The regulating point situated just north of Clermont had been moved forward to the Baulny—Varennes road, 91 meters (100 yards) north of the road leading to Mobile Hospital No. 6 and the First Corps rest camp relay station. Removal of the wounded to army hospitals was regulated at this point. As the evacuation hospitals were filled, nontransportable wounded were sent to Mobile Hospital No. 6.11

On November 4 all units of the sanitary train at Grandpre experienced a bombing raid by hostile planes, one bomb landing in a yard back of a triage 30 meters (100 feet) from it. The train suffered 1 death and 7 casualties;


those of other organizations in or near the triage numbered 11. Two trucks and one touring car of the train were damaged, one truck being practically destroyed.11

On November 6 orders were received relieving the 78th Division and directing movement back to Argonne camps west of Varennes. Next day preparations for the movement of the sanitary train progressed rapidly. On November 10 all units were reported at Les Islettes, where all property was sorted, excess disposed of by shipment to proper depots, and necessary and serviceable property and equipment retained. On the 12th all units having been moved to Braux-Saint Remy, reached that point where property and equipment were inventoried and troops rested.11


On the night of October 31 the 153d Infantry Brigade (77th Division) took position as the leading brigade of the division, preparatory to relieving the 82d Division in line. The 305th Infantry took position east and south of St. Juvin, leaving a screen of the 82d Division in the front line; the 306th Infantry was placed in a support position in the woods southeast of Marcq.12

On November 1 the 153d Brigade attacked at 5.30 a. m., having relieved the remaining front-line elements of the 82d Division during the previous night. The front-line position was between Champigneulles and St. Juvin, and was practically the same line turned over by the 153d Infantry Brigade of the 77th Division, to the 78th Division, on October 15-16. The attack was preceded by a two hours’ artillery preparation in the division sector. Very heavy resistance was met from enemy machine guns, artillery, and determined local attacks, not only in the front of the division sector but also from the sector of the division on the right flank. Despite this stiff resistance, the front line advanced on the right a distance of 1 km. (0.6 mile) to the right, turning east from Champigneulles to St. Georges. On the left, the line advanced to about 400 meters (436 yards) south of Champigneulles.12

On November 2, after a short artillery preparation, two companies of the 305th Infantry captured Champigneulles, at 7 a. m. At the same time, the 3d Battalion, 305th Infantry, advanced on the right. During the early morning, two battalions of the 306th Infantry had marched to the eastern boundary of the brigade sector, and were attacking in a northwest direction, in liaison with the 80th Division on the right. The 305th Infantry, on the left, and the 306th Infantry, on the right, steadily advanced and before noon Verpel was taken. At 2 p. m., Thenorgues was captured. During the afternoon our troops advanced rapidly in the direction of Buzancy and Harricourt. During the afternoon and evening the troops reached the western outskirts of Buzancy, in liaison with the 80th Division, and Harricourt and Bar were taken, and the division line was established for the night on the road north of Harricourt.12

On November 3, the 306th Infantry continued the advance, followed by the 305th Infantry in support. Little resistance was encountered. Autruche

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


was captured at 9 a. m. and by noon our front-line battalions, in liaison with the 78th Division on the left and the 80th Division on the right, passed through this place. Before 2 p. m. the advancing troops passed through Fontenoy and at 3 p. m., had passed through St. Pierremont in the direction of Oches, which seemed to be a point of resistance of the enemy. For the night the division front line was established on the hills south of Oches.12

On November 4, the 154th Infantry Brigade, which had been supporting the 153d Infantry Brigade since the beginning of the attack on November 1, was ordered to pass through the 153d Brigade and to continue the advance. The 153d Brigade then took a support position and was ordered to follow the attacking brigade at 2.5 km. (1.5 miles). On this day the 154th Infantry Brigade took the town of Oches and entrenched on the north side of the town, having advanced about 1 km. (0.6 mile) beyond where the troops of the 153d Brigade were on the previous night.12

On November 5, both brigades were in line and took up the advance, the 153d on the right of the sector and the 154th on the left. The hour for the advance was 6.30 a. m. The infantry made a quick advance along the woods roads, passing by La Polka Ferme, Le Cendrieres Ferme, toward La Besace. At 10.30 a. m., La Besace was entered. In front of La Besace the enemy was found in force and the town itself was continually subjected to machine-gun fire during the afternoon and evening. For the night the outpost line was established just north of the town.12

On November 6, the advance continued to push forward, the direction of the advance turning sharply to the northeast just north of La Besace. The 305th Infantry executed a passage of the lines of the 306th Infantry, in position north of La Besace. The advance was pushed vigorously, and by 2 p. m., patrols had reached Autrecourt on the west bank of the Meuse. At 4 p. m. the division front-line battalions were established on the heights overlooking the Meuse on the line beyond Chamblage Ferme, with support battalions close in the rear. Two platoons were sent to occupy Autrecourt and Villers-devant-Mouzon, and patrols were sent out to reconnoiter the Meuse in the brigade sector.12

On November 7, the leading elements of the brigade were pushed up to the Meuse, preparatory to its crossing. The river had been found to be very deep and absolutely unfordable, so it was necessary to await the erection of a bridge. Finally, at 3.45 p. m., the bridge was completed and the 1st Battalion of the 305th Infantry started across the river. Two platoons succeeded in crossing, but machine-gun fire made it impossible for more to pass over without incurring heavy losses. The lines were established for the night with two platoons across the river just southeast of Villers-devant-Mouzon, and the remainder of the front line battalion along the river on a general line Villers-devant-Mouzon—Autrecourt.12

On November 8, the positions were reorganized, one battalion being disposed in front, following the river bank along the general line Villers-devant-Mouzon—Autrecourt to Le Vaubourg. Support battalions were placed


on the hills overlooking Autrecourt in the vicinity of Chamblage Ferme and the 306th Infantry in reserve in the neighborhood of Raucourt.12

From November 8 to November 11, the position of the division line remained unchanged, except that on November 9, the 77th Division extended its left to include the front of the 42d Division, which had been relieved from the line.13

On November 10, the First Army Corps was relieved by the Fifth Army Corps and the 77th Division on that date passed under the command of the commanding general, Fifth Army Corps.14


On October 28, Ambulance Companies No. 305 and No. 307 bivouacked in a ravine 1.5 km. (0.9 mile) southwest of Chatel Chehery, on the road from that town to La Viergette. Both retained this location until October 31, when Ambulance Company No. 305 moved to Pleinchamp Ferme, where it established an advance dressing station on the following day, receiving 50 cases.15 It detailed a sanitary squad to duty at St. Juvin and continued to perform these services until the division withdrew. On November 3, four Ford ambulances of United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 524 joined its advance dressing station and continued permanently assigned to it until the station closed. Ambulance Company No. 306, on October 27, had established a dressing station in cellars at St. Juvin, which began to receive patients on November 1, 450 being admitted on that date. Evacuation to the station was effected by 48 litter bearers belonging to this company, thence to the triage at Chatel Chehery by 12 G. M. C. ambulances. On the 2d, this evacuation service was taken over by six cars of United States Army Ambulance Service Section No. 524 and by six G. M. C. ambulances, and car posts were established at Champigneulles and Verpel. At the latter place an advance dressing station was established on this date by 10 a. m., and later the entire ambulance company moved there, with the exception of the 48 litter bearers who were evacuating front-line formations. On the 4th, this company opened an additional dressing station at Harricourt, where it treated 100 cases, evacuating them to the triage now located at Thenorgues.16 Company car posts were now established at Fontenay and St. Pierremont. Next day the company established an advance dressing station in the village church at St. Pierremont and there cared for 400 patients, many of whom it was obliged to evacuate by truck. This station continued to operate until November 11, treating a large number of wounded civilians and casuals, and giving them food and shelter as well. On November 7, this company also established a small station, staffed by 1 officer and 3 enlisted men, at La Besace, and on the 8th, one at Haraucourt, staffed by 1 officer, 19 men, and an advance triage detachment. Because of poor roads the latter functioned as a temporary hospital, wounded reaching it through car posts established at Remilly, Anzecourt, Autrecourt, and at a point south of the last-mentioned town.17


Ambulance Company No. 307 moved to St. Juvin on November 3, where it took over the dressing station of Ambulance Company No. 30, and operated it until November 9, treating not only casualties of the 77th Division but also some patients from other divisions, and a few German prisoners.16

Ambulance Company No. 308, having experienced several casualties and considerable damage to transportation from shell fire at Martincourt Ferme, on the night of October 28 moved to the vicinity of Chatel Chehery, where part of it occupied billets on the following day.18 This being the animal-drawn company, 50 of its personnel and 5 general service wagons were used to repair roads around the triage located there. On the 3d it moved to St. Juvin, where it was held in reserve until the armistice.15

Field Hospital No. 305 was established in tentage on October 28 as the division medical hospital, at Chatel Chehery, where it remained until November 3. It then moved to Thenorgues, where it operated until the 8th.

Field Hospital No. 306, the division gas hospital, operated at Chatel Chehery from October 28 to November 8, receiving 403 patients.18

Field Hospital No. 307 operated the triage at Chatel Chehery until November 3, admitting 549 patients. At this time it cared for surgical patients only, transferring others to the gas and medical hospitals which were adjacent.18 Field Hospital No. 307 then operated as the divisional medical hospital until November 6, taking over cases of this class from Field Hospital No. 305, when that unit moved, on the 3d, to Thenorgues. On November 7 and 8 Field Hospital No. 307 was en route to Haraucourt to establish a triage.19

Field Hospital No. 308 was established from October 17 to November 3 at Florent, acting as a general hospital for the division and receiving all classes of patients to a total of 1,076. It then moved to Thenorgues, where it operated as a triage.20 While at this location it received 706 patients, of whom 244 belonged to other divisions. Patients admitted here were classified as follows:19 Severely wounded, 144; slightly wounded, 280; gassed, 25; sick, 307.

Throughout its service in the Meuse-Argonne operation the medical supply depot accompanied the triage. On account of lack of transportation the army supply depot from which that of the division drew its supplies did not advance, and this lack resulted eventually in a round trip between them requiring three days. Despite this fact, however, the matériel proved fully adequate; happily the number of casualties in this operation was relatively small.21


For the attack of November 1 the mission of the division was to cover the left of the Fifth Corps, attacking on the right of the First Corps, and to seize the high ground to the north of Sivry-les-Buzancy. On the first day it attacked, the zone of action of the 80th Division was: On the right, Vauquois, Cheppy, Charpentry, Baulny, Exermont, Fleville, Sommauthe, St. Georges, thence along the 300th meridian to a ridge northwest of Imecourt;

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


on the left, Apremont, Chatel Chehery, Cornay, meridian 298, from the Aire River to the western edge of Buzancy, thence north to St. Pierremont. The parallel of departure was south and west of St. Georges. The 160th Brigade was the attacking brigade in line of regiments, the 319th Infantry on the right and the 320th Infantry on the left, formed in columns of battalions.22

After a two hours’ artillery preparation, on November 1 the first wave of the attacking troops formed behind the barrage and began its advance in liaison with the 2d Division on the right (Fifth Corps) and the 77th Division on the left. Enemy machine guns had taken position in the front of the line of departure of the division, and upon the advance of our troops opened a heavy fire. The attack on the right progressed rapidly, but the 320th Infantry on the left was checked by heavy enemy machine gun fire from the north end of Ravin aux Pierres. Enemy artillery fire at this time was very heavy. By nightfall troops had reached in general the following line: About 2 km. (1.2 miles) east of Champigneulles—Imecourt—Malmy. The woods north and east of Hill 214 were strongly held with machine guns. However, the troops of the 320th Infantry, after rifle fire delivered by a flanking company from the direction of Ruisseau de St. Georges, filtered through these woods, and during the night advanced through them and along an east and west line, 300 meters (327 yards) south of Alliepont.5, 3

At 6 a. m. on November 2 the attack through the woods north of Imecourt and east of Verpel was successfully executed by the 319th Infantry. Practically no resistance was met, and there was but little artillery fire. Patrols of the division reached Verpel and Thenorgues, in advance of the 77th Division troops. The attack of the 317th Infantry, which had been placed at the disposal of the commanding general, 160th Brigade, and two battalions of the 320th Infantry in support, was delayed until 10.15 a. m., due to the fact that these troops were unable to get into position before this time. Shortly after noon the lines were reported north of Buzancy. The enemy was apparently retreating along the whole front. The 159th Brigade was ordered to move its remaining regiment (318th Infantry) to Sivry-les-Buzancy, where it arrived on the night of November 2-3, preparatory to a continuance of the advance by that brigade on the morning of November 3. The 160th Brigade, less two battalion of the 320th Infantry, after making certain that the left of the sector was secure, through the advance of the 77th Division, was assembled in the vicinity of Imecourt. By night the line of the attacking troops was approximately as follows: Midway between Buzancy and Bar on the Buzancy—Bar road, generally eastwardly to the vicinity of Ferme de Masmes.5, 3

On November 3, the advance was continued, the 317th Infantry on the right of the sector. The 318th Infantry returned to Imecourt. The leading battalions advanced rapidly, encountering machine-gun fire, which was speedily overcome. At 2.30 p. m. the left battalion of the 317th Infantry was held up temporarily by heavy machine-gun fire from the woods southeast of Vaux-en-Dieulet and Cote 314. At the end of the day the division held the


line approximately as follows: From a point about 1 km. (0.6 mile) southeast of St. Pierremont to a point approximately 2 km. (1.2 miles) north of Fosse.5, 3

On November 4 the advance continued at daybreak, with the left battalion of the 317th Infantry pushing vigorously forward, and at 10 a. m. had occupied Sommauthe, where it encountered some enemy resistance; this resistance increased to the north of the village. The 160th Brigade and 314th Machine Gun Battalions were moved to the vicinity of Buzancy. Throughout the remainder of the afternoon, strong enemy resistance was encountered. The right battalion of the 317th Infantry also advanced rapidly, and at 7 a. m. occupied Vaux-en-Dieulet. After being held up temporarily on the high ground just north of Vaux-en-Dieulet, the advance was continued to the northern edge of Bois de Four, where the battalion halted and reformed. The 318th Infantry, on the left, continued its advance over the open ground between Sommauthe and Oches. By night the general line of the division extended over a front of 6 km. (3.7 miles), approximately as follows: From a point about 3 km. (1.8 miles) east of Oches, just north of east for 6 km. (3.7 miles) into the southern portion of Bois du Port Gerache.5, 3

On November 5 at 2.30 a. m. the right of the line was advanced rapidly, occupying Beaumont at 4.30 a. m., and the left battalion advanced at dawn after a short artillery preparation, and pushed rapidly forward to Thibaudine Ferme—Beaumont road, which it reached at 9 a. m. At 5 p. m. both battalions again advanced toward the Yoncq—Beaumont road, meeting heavy resistance. The 318th Infantry throughout the night of November 4-5 fought its way through Bois de St. Pierremont—Bois de la Berliere and Bois du Grand Dieulet, and by 9 a. m. had reached the Stonne—Beaumont road, just northwest of Warni Foret. By 6 p. m. the 318th Infantry had extended its line east, in liaison with the left of the 317th Infantry. Instructions for the relief of this division by the 1st Division were issued, and the objective to be reached during the night of November 5-6 was given as the Yoncq—Beaumont road, with patrols extending north into Bois d’Yoncq, on the left, and to the Meuse River, on the right. During the night of November 5-6, the four battalions continued to improve their lines north of the Stonne—Beaumont road, and early in the morning of the 6th, prior to the relief by the 1st Division, the objective as given was reached.5

On November 6 at 6.30 a. m. the 1st Division "leapfrogged" the forward elements of the 80th Division along the Yoncq—Beaumont road. After the relief of all units of the 80th Division, it was assembled in the vicinity of Sommauthe.5


On November 1 the 317th Ambulance Company, at Baulny, assisted in the evacuation of divisional patients, its ambulances serving in front of the field hospitals and its two trucks evacuating the sitting wounded from them. On the 2d the company moved to Imecourt, on the 4th to Vaux, on the 8th to Buzancy, and on the l0th to Alveville, where it was again employed in removal of patients.22


Ambulance Company No. 318 assisted the triage (Field Hospital No. 318) at Baulny from November 1 to 3, and thereafter until November 11 operated a dressing station at Buzancy.23

Ambulance Company No. 319 moved to Fleville on the night of October 30 and established a dressing station preparatory to the operation of November 1. Here approximately 350 casualties were cared for, and at Imecourt, where a dressing station was established by this company on November 2, 150 casualties were cared for. As the advance was very rapid, the next station opened on November 4, was located at Vaux, and on the 6th, others were established at Beaumont and Sommauthe. The company closed its stations on the 7th and followed the division to Aubreville. There is no record available of the movements of Ambulance Company No. 320 other than that it participated in this operation.24

FIG. 84.-Ambulance Companies No. 317 and No. 318, 80th Division, at Vaux, Ardennes, November 6, 1918

Field Hospital No. 317 established a gas hospital at Baulny on November 1, working in conjunction with the gas hospital of the 2d Division. On the 3d it established a branch hospital for gassed cases at Imecourt, which continued in operation until the 6th. On that date it moved to Buzancy, where, until the 11th, it cared for gassed and sick, then moving to Aubreville.25

Field Hospital No. 318 operated the divisional triage at Baulny from November 1 to 3 and from the 6th to the l0th at Buzancy, receiving 674 casualties at its former site and 841 at the latter.25


Field Hospital No. 319, at first in reserve at Baulny, was in operation at Imecourt from November 3 to 6. While there it received 553 patients, then moved with other units of the train to Aubreville.26 Field Hospital No. 320, at Baulny on November 1, received the sick, but moved next day to Imecourt, where it operated until November 5. The unit then moved to Buzancy, but did not establish its hospital, and on the 9th was withdrawn to Aubreville, after treating 285 patients in this phase of the operation.22


On November 1 the 2d Division of the Fifth Corps attacked through the lines of the 42d Division. The 42d Division, less the 67th Field Artillery Brigade, was then assembled in the vicinity of Sommerance, and passed to command of the Fifth Corps.27

On November 2 the division moved to the vicinity of St. Juvin, in the First Corps reserve.28

On November 3 the movement of the division was continued, and for the night it halted in the vicinity of Buzancy.27

On November 4 the march was continued to the vicinity of Authe-Fontenoy. At midnight on the night of November 4-5, the division commenced to move forward to pass through the 78th Division and to take up the pursuit. At this time the enemy was in retreat and was fighting a rear-guard action. This action consisted mainly of machine-gun resistance which fell back from ridge to ridge, and of long-range artillery fire.25

On November 5, at noon, the assaulting troops of the 42d Division passed through the 78th Division, on an east and west line, through the northern edge of Oches, and took up pursuit. At 9 p. m. the division front was along the northern edge of the Bois de Montdieu.25

On November 6-7 the pursuit was continued. On the night of November 6, the line ran from east of Cheveuges to just north of Thelonne, thence to the vicinity of Aillicourt. Patrols of the division had reached the river to the northeast of Thelonne and the vicinity of Aillicourt and Remilly-sur-Meuse. At this time telephone and radio instructions were received from the First Army Corps to advance and capture Sedan, regardless of boundaries. The advance was attempted, but was held up by heavy machine-gun and artillery fire from across the river. A patrol of the 156th Infantry penetrated the southern edge of Wadelincourt, but was driven back by machine-gun fire. The 83d Brigade, on the left, was "pinched out" by the advance of the French, the 84th Brigade holding the division sector, in accordance with division orders. The line held on November 7 was approximately Pont-Mangis—Aillicourt.27, 3

On November 8 the defensive organization of the line, as given above, was begun. Strong patrols were pushed well forward, and they determined that the enemy had withdrawn across the river and was holding the eastern bank of the Meuse in force.27, 3

dFor map of activities of this division for this period, see Plate XLV.


On November 9 the 42d Division was relieved by the 77th Division, and was assembled in the area: Artaise-le-Vivier—La Besace—St. Pierremont—Tannay.27


The rapid advance to the lines had severely taxed men and animals, while ruined roads and destroyed bridges obstructed traffic. The battalion medical carts, still remaining, had to be abandoned, and the personnel had to carry on their persons the equipment necessary to open stations. Fortunately, casualties were few until November 7.28

On November 4 the ambulance section entered Authe, and there Field Hospital No. 168 established a triage, Field Hospital No. 167 a gas hospital, and Field Hospital No. 165 was held in reserve. Field Hospital No. 168 opened at Briquenay.28 The ambulance companies sent 16 litter bearers to each regiment and established contact with them through the liaison officers. The ambulance companies were now confronted by the most difficult problem they had been called upon to solve. The distance to army hospitals was very long, and between the battle line and Authe lay 0.25 km. (0.15 mile) of road so thoroughly mined by the enemy that it was necessary to make a detour over low, water-soaked ground which apparently was impassable to motor vehicles. An alternate route by St. Pierremont required a wide detour blocked by traffic.29 Six animal-drawn ambulances dispatched at once to each Infantry brigade proved most valuable. On the morning of November 5, five motor ambulances were dragged across the swamp by horse-and-man power and then moved forward under their own power, making contact with the troops the same day. A station with a small personnel was established at each end of the destroyed stretch of road, and 20 men were detailed to carry patients across it to the rearward station where motor ambulances were parked. In advance of this bad break in the road there were a number of other less formidable obstructions encountered, chiefly those resulting from the destruction of numerous small bridges. On November 7 a relay station was established at Tanney and a collecting station at Chemery, to which the ambulances first gained access by running for some distance along a railroad track.30

Casualties were now beginning to accumulate at Bulson and Chehery. With the animal-drawn ambulances and the few motor ambulances available, every effort was made to free the stations at these places. This work was promoted by the arrival of additional motor ambulances shortly after dark, which had finally been able to cross at Brieulles via the partially completed corduroy road then being constructed by the Engineers. At Chemery, by 10 p. m., two buildings, previously used by the enemy as hospitals, were filled to overflowing by approximately 400 wounded, with but a small detail of 1 officer and 6 men to care for them. Meanwhile, the slightly wounded were being relayed back to Tannay with what ambulances could be spared from the front. Later a few empty ration trucks were obtained and somewhat relieved the congestion of wounded. Meanwhile Field Hospital No. 166 had moved forward to Tannay and was taking under its care the patients assembled


there.30 At midnight an urgent call for help brought part of the personnel from this hospital to Chemery, and a few hours later, after Field Hospital No. 165 had reached Tannay, the remainder of the personnel belonging to Field Hospital No. 166 was released and went forward to Chemery. By daylight (November 8), operations had been begun on the more urgent cases. As soon as congestion at the front had been relieved, ambulances were immediately set to work on rearward evacuation, and by noon, November 8, the situation was well in hand. By the time the 42d Division was relieved, clearing of the field had been accomplished, not only for the division in question but also for those elements of the 1st Division which had been ordered up to participate in the capture of Sedan. When the 42d was directed to leave the area, there followed another 48 hours of continuous work for the ambulances evacuating from the field hospitals to Cheppy.31

In this action, the ambulance section accomplished the stupendous task of transporting 1,422 casualties, an average of 60 km. (37 miles), to mobile hospitals in the rear over many stretches of well-nigh impassable road and through difficult traffic blocks. Yet the average time required to transport wounded to a place where surgical intervention could be obtained far exceeded the "eight-hour rule."31

As the division moved forward into the lines, the field hospitals were ordered to Authe, but Field Hospital No. 168, delayed by road congestion, was later ordered to establish itself in an old German hospital at Briquenay. At Authe, Field Hospital No. 166 opened a temporary triage, and Field Hospital No. 167 prepared to receive gassed cases, but as the line advanced rapidly and but few casualties were received, the Field Hospitals No. 166 and No. 165 moved to Tannay. The unit which arrived there first (No. 166) then moved, during the night of November 7-8, by sections up to the ambulance collecting station at Chemery as has been described above. Here many wounded were operated throughout the 9th, and relayed back through the other field hospitals at Tannay, Authe, and Briquenay, to the mobile hospital at Cheppy. The divisional units continued to operate at these points until all patients had been evacuated, though not without great difficulty. Coincident with the cessation of hostilities the field hospital section assembled at Authe. While on a number of previous occasions they had served much more easily a larger number of patients, it was only because of the rapidity with which they had followed up the advance that they were able to meet the demands imposed.32


(1) Operations report, First Army, January 5, 1919.

(2) F. O. No. 85, First Corps, October 28, 1918.

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

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

(5) Report on operations of the 80th Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, undated.

(6) F. O. No. 94, First Corps, November 8, 1918.

(7) Operation reports, Fifth Corps, Meuse-Argonne operation.

(8) Report of Medical Department activities, First Army Corps, by Co1. J. W. Grissinger, M. C., corps surgeon, undated. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.


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

(10) Report of Medical Department activities, 78th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 78th Division, undated, Part II, 5. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(11) Ibid., Part II, 28.

(12) Report of operations, 153d Infantry Brigade, Meuse-Argonne operation, November 19, 1918.

(13) F. O. No. 68, 77th Division, November 8, 1918.

(14) F. O. No. 69, 77th Division, November 9, 1918.

(15)Report of Medical Department activities, 77th Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 77th Division, undated, 46. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(16) Ibid., 47.

(17) Ibid., 49.

(18) Ibid., 45.

(19) Ibid., 48.

(20) Ibid., 43.

(21) Ibid., 7.

(22) Report of Medical Department activities, 80th Division, prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 80th Division, undated, Part I, 13. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(23) Ibid., Part I, 14.

(24) Ibid., Part I, 15.

(25) Ibid., Part I, 11.

(26) Ibid., Part I, 12.

(27) Reports on operations, 42d Division, Meuse-Argonne operation, November 22, 1918.

(28) Report of Medical Department activities, 42d Division, A. E. F., prepared under the direction of the division surgeon, 42d Division, undated, Part I, 81. On file, Historical Division, S. G. O.

(29) Ibid., Part I, 60.

(30) Ibid., Part I, 61.

(31) Ibid., Part I, 62.

(32) Ibid., Part I, 82.