Category: tbt


“We’re here because we’re here”

“We would have given anything we
owned to have been one of that great delirious mob that surged over Paris on Armistice
and even though we had been sent to the Arctic Circle, we wanted to have
our share in the shouting.
But the days, deadly and monotonous, followed one another with ever gloomy
regularity, and there was no relief, no word, no news of any kind. In the general hilarity over peace,
we were forgotten. After all, who had time in these world stirring days to
think of an insignificant regiment performing in a fantastic Arctic side show?

We could not get information straight from home. We were sore. But why fret?
The best answer was the philosophic "We’re here because we’re here” and he went on building blockhouses  to prepare for
the inevitable winter campaign which began about the time of the Armistice Day,
which in North Russia did not mean cease firing.”

1918, after the Armistice, American soldier, member of the “Polar Bears Expedition” in North Russia – Photo: 1918, North Russia, American soldier’s outpost in a snow-covered forest near the Vologda
Railroad Front. See Map.  Text and photo: “The History of the
American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviki”

Note: @ the
US WW1 Centennial Commission, a great article about the US Army “Polar Bears” in North


                                                           “A certain breathless horror”

“I have seen the wounds of France — the
entrails of Reims and the guts of Verdun, with their bare bones thrown naked
to the insulting skies; villages in dust and ashes—villages that lay so low
that they left no mark beneath the snow-swept landscape; walls that stood in
wrecked and awful silence; rivers flowed and skies gleamed, but the trees, the
land, the people were scarred and broken. Ditches darted hither and thither and
wire twisted, barbed and poled, cloistered in curious, illogical places. Graves
there were—everywhere and a certain breathless horror, broken by plodding
soldiers and fugitive peasants.”

After the WW1 armistice, US
Army Major J. E. Spingarn
writing from Germany where he was serving. Photo: 1918, exploring the snow-swept ruins of Reims, France. La Contemporaine

“With this first snow, gently covering the bar…

“With this first snow, gently covering the barns and sheds, woods and fields,
graves and crosses, along came winter… and silence and peace.”

1918, France
– D’une guerre mondiale à l’autre: (1918 – 1945) – Photo : WW1 – La Contemporaine


                                                                   White Flag

8 1918 – Every one is positive that two German generals came across the lines today with a white flag to demand an
armistice. Foch has given them 72 hours to accept or refuse his terms and
meanwhile preparations for another big attack are being made in this

ambulance driver’s diary in Vive-Saint-Bavon at the Belgium/France Border – The Compensations of War – Photo: November 8
1918, France, German delegation, with a
white flag of truce.  Archives Diocese Quimper 

Note: several interesting images of these German delegations with their white flag: photo1  photo2  photo3  photo4 
photo5   photo6  photo7  photo8


                                                        The only thing in our minds

November 8 1918 – In
front of us we can distinguish the silhouettes of the Lorraine forests; how many machine-guns are hidden in there? The
attack was set for the 6th, then postponed until the 10th. Then we suddenly
learn that Germany is sending envoys to discuss an armistice. Foch has given them seventy-two hours to
sign. This is the only thing in our minds at present. If the armistice is
signed, it’s peace; if not, it’s an immediate
attack, and butchery in all its horror.

A French
Soldier’s War Diary 1914-1918
– Photo: WW1, France, tired and anxious French soldiers –  Ruffineck44,


                                               “Over the top.” St Georges. 11-1-18

“Morning came at last. Our Infantry went over the top. We got
a few shells and laid sort of a barrage and Jerry laid one too. He caught our
Infantry with it. He sure slaughtered them for a while. It looked awful. Men dying
and dead everywhere. Jerry shot all kind of gases in there. I wore a gas mask
all day that day.”

American soldier’s diary in the Meuse Argonne Offensive. Text
and photo: The 80th Division Veterans Association

Note: starting November
1 1918, the US infantry/artillery advanced and captured Landres-et-St.Georges, St. Georges, Landreville, and Bayonville;
continued the advance for several days; captured Fosse, Nouart, Letanne, and and Beaumont. Crossed the Meuse the night of
November 10-11, 1918. See Google Map.


                                            “Please lie down on the table”

Text: Abbreviated list of useful clinical
phrases – Patient Care in Radiography: With an Introduction to Medical Imaging
 – Photo: 1918,  A gostly Xray room – taken by the US Signal Corps
at the American Hospital Camp 7 in Hûmes, Haute Marne, France..  From the awesome Facebook page 100 ans en
  & Twitter

“Some Germans seemed glad to be captured and c…

“Some Germans seemed glad to be captured and could not stop talking
about what being under our artillery fire was like. They said it was like hell.”

Fall 1918, American soldier in the Meuse Argonne sector, France – New York Times Current History: the European war, Volume 17
Photo: 1918, France, a smiling German

‘October 25 1918 – Few shells come over …

‘October 25 1918 – Few shells come over – Get new pants, undershirts,
and leggings – On duty at dressing station – We find hole – Dig it deeper
– Doughnuts for supper – On guard tonight. ′

American ambulance driver in the
Meuse Argonne sector – Diary of Hugo Hap Gruenberg, Ambulance Company serving with the 42nd (Rainbow) Division.

Photo: October 1918 – Encamped
in the mud of Meuse Argonne, France. The industrious ones dug holes to sleep
in, and the holes were filled with water by morning but they had to sleep in
them as the mud on the outside was several inches deep. The National WW1 Museum
and Memorial

“Thursday October 24 1918 – Left for Ess…

“Thursday October 24 1918 – Left for Essey at 8.15am. Nothing
to do. Nous avons bu cet après-midi et ce soir. We had drinks this afternoon and evening.
No action from Jerry.”

American ambulance driver (who likes writing in French) leaving Bouillonville for Essey,
Meurthe et Moselle, France
Franklin & Marshall College – Photo: Fall 1918, somewhere in Eastern France, American ambulance driver enjoying a few drinks.