“Almost expressionless, silent, they resign
themselves to the attendants as if these men are the deaf ministers of some
WW1, France, American ambulance writing about the wounded he sees and rescues on the battlefield – A volunteer poilu – Photo: famous and poignant photo taken September 26 1918, in Varennes-en-Argonne, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. This poor soldier of
the 110th Infantry (10th Pa.)
has just been wounded,
and is receiving first-aid treatment from a comrade.
A Million Dollar Barrage
‘At 11 o’clock that night, September 25th, a signal gun barked
fardown the line. The gunners of every battery were at their posts, lanyards in
hand, and on the instant they pulled.
has become known in the army as “the million dollar barrage,” because
enlisted men figured it must have cost at least that much. Whatever it cost, no
man in that great army ever had heard the like. There had been talk in the war
of a bombardment “reaching the intensity of drum fire.” No drums the
world ever has heard could have provided a name for that bombardment. It was
overwhelming in the immensity of its sound, as well as in its effect. There
were 3,000 guns on the whole front.
morning, the twelve ugly, snub-nosed weapons of the 103d Trench Mortar Battery,
added their heavy coughing to the monstrous serenade which rent the night. They
were in position well up to the front, and their great bombs were designed to
cut paths through the enemy barbed wire and other barriers so the infantry
could go forward with as little trouble as possible.’
Sept 25-26 1918, the Meuse-Argonne
Offensive, the final Allied offensive of WW1 – The Iron Division: National Guard of Pennsylvania in the
World War – Photo: Fall 1918, American tir de barrage in the Argonne
Fine YouTube video: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive
“We are living like paleozoic monsters, in a world
of muck and slime”
“September 11 1918 – Our headquarters are at Hamonville, not far from Seicheprey where the
26th Division had played a savage game of give and take with the Germans last Spring.The men are encamped in a forest of low trees,
a most miserable spot. It has been showering and wet all the week and we are
living like paleozoic monsters, in a world of muck and slime. The forest roads
are all plowed by the wagon wheels, and the whole place was really a swamp. I
made my rounds during the afternoon and got the men together for what I call a
silent prayer meeting. I told them how easy it was to set themselves right with
God, suggesting an extra prayer for a serene mind and a stout heart in time of
danger; and then they stood around me in a rough semicircle, caps in hand and
heads bowed, each man saying his prayers in his own way. I find this simple
ceremony much more effective than formal preaching.”
Father Duffy, chaplain attached to the Rainbow division, comforting his men before the Battle of Saint Mihiel.
Father Duffy Father Duffy’s Story: A Tale of Humor and Heroism, of Life
and Death With the Fighting Sixty-Ninth – Photo: 1918, France, Rainbow
Division’s trucks in the mud. Missouri Over There
See National Archives
Video “THE ST. MIHIEL
OFFENSIVE, SEPT. 10-25, 1918”
Vive les Canadiens!
We salute our saviors!
September 5 1918 – ‘Ecourt St. Quentin must ever figure in Canadian
history as the village where Canadian troops first
rescued the unhappy imprisoned French people. “Vive les Canadiens! Vive les
braves Canadiens! We salute our saviors!” — it was a glad cry from the heart soon
to grow familiar to our ears, and it was first heard at this village. Forty-six persons, mostly women and children,
for four years held in slavery, half-starved, emaciated, but very happy that
we found them.’
Ecourt St. Quentin, Pas-de-Calais, France – From
the book “Canada’s Hundred Days; With The Canadian Corps From Amiens To Mons” – Photo:
September 5 1918 – Ecourt St Quentin, group photo of Canadian soldiers and the happy French people they just liberated. Here a nice short French film “Les Délivrés
“When this old world seems drear and dark as jet; When you think of home, sweet home, And the girl across the foam, Your thoughts are rudely shattered by “That Agony Quartette””
The rest of this great poem is here.
August 1918, France – That Agony
Quartet – Doughboy Verse – Photo: WW1, William Davis Listening to music. Private Davis, the first soldiers in the Kansas National
Guard to die, in August 1918, from injuries suffered in the trenches of Alsace, France. As part of a federal program that enabled
families to repatriate the remains of their fallen soldiers, Private Davis was
brought back from France, on June 5, 1921, to Winchester for burial. His
funeral was depicted by high school friend and painter John Steuart
Curry in the painting “The Return of Private Davis from Argonne”.
Private Davis’ story
August 15, 1918 – “Mopping-up” the enemy’s trenches
White phosphorus spontaneously ignites in the presence of atmospheric
moisture. If it touches the skin it can cause serious burns, very
painful and difficult to treat.
used to attack the machine gunners and drive them away from
their guns, to “mop-up” trenches and dug-outs by forcing the enemy into the open, or forcing him to wear a gas mask during the advance. This very successful method was used by the allies from July 1918 until the armistice.
Photo: night attack with phosphorus bombs in maneuvers.
First Corps School. Gondrecourt, France. August 15, 1918. Library of Congress
‘These men’s spirit never seemed to be dampened’
‘As the black soldiers marched, winter and
summer, rain or shine, night or day, they were always whistling or singing, to the wonderment of French and English alike. These men’s spirit
never seemed to be dampened. They always marched to music of their own making. There was a baseball game when an entire company of black soldiers watched
their team play a white team. At the climax of the game, when a black player
knocked a home run, his entire company ran around the bases with him – more than
two hundred laughing, shouting, singing soldiers, helping to bring in the score
that won the game!’
1918, American journalist in France – New Outlook Vol 120 Sept-Dec 1918 – Photos: WW1 American soldiers in France. La Contemporaine.
day before Memorial Day of this year, (1918), Marshal Petain wrote General
“I have invited French troops stationed near American cemeteries
to go and salute their brothers-in-arms fallen for the safety of their Land and
the Liberty of the world. Later, when you have left Europe, rest assured that
the same rites will be rendered them and with the same fervor. The remembrance
of these valorous men will endure in our hearts.”
It did and still does. See here, Memorial Day 2018 celebrated in Chaumont, France.
Source: A Machine Gunner’s Notes – Photo: WW1, Memorial Day French soldiers, ladies & children paying tribute to the fallen American soldiers. Ministere de la Culture, France.
Memorial Day 1918 in France, Masevaux, Chaumont, Romagne
“Everything was dead“
‘On May 27 1918, the
attack began at 12:55 am with “a terrific crash that rocked the entire sector… Hundreds of bulking missiles, wobbling through the
air with a sickening rush, exploded in their midst, and terrified shouts of
‘Gas!’ warned us that we were in for the greatest of horrors, a night gas
attack. The barrage ceased at 2.00 am. Later that day, we saw that the deadly
fumes not only affected the soldiers but also the flora and fauna.
Everything was dead. Messenger pigeons lay in their baskets; rats,
swollen and distended, were stretched out in the trenches and dugouts … The whole area looked as if it had been visited by a killing frost.’
gas attack coincided with a large German offensive
that occurred near Chemin des Dames to the northwest. The final report from this attack stated that
236 Americans were gassed, 36 were killed.
Somewhere in Northeast France,
soldiers, members of the Rainbow Division – Somewhere
Over There: The Letters, Diary, and Artwork of a World War I Corporal – An
American Soldier in World War 1 – Photo: 1918, France, No Man’s Land
“A long, straight-armed, overhand swing”
French instructors, privates, corporals and
sergeants, the champion grenadiers of the French Army,
our men put in hours every day, standing with their toes to a line, learning to
throw hand grenades with a long, straight-armed,
overhand swing, beginning near the ground behind, like an outfielder throwing to the plate, and ending with a carry through
like a golf stroke. Some of the best French grenadiers
can throw a hand grenade close to 50 yards—which is
French grenadier-instructor talking about his American students: “We can feel that they respect
and like us. It’s actually a pleasure to teach them, because they learn fast
and are such good students.”
Our Paper, Volume 34 – Les poilus ont la parole: dans les tranchées : lettres du
front, 1917-1918 – Photo: WW1, Meuse, France, American soldiers learning to throw hand-grenades from the
French experts. La Contemporaine.