Category: ww1 american soldiers

                                        “You s…

                                        “You splendid!” – “Vous bien!”

‘I wish I could find the translation for the French word “épatant”,
because it is the term the French use when they refer to the Americans: “Ils
sont épatants!
”  – They are ripping—topping,
but “épatant” means even more. “You should see them fight! American heroism is even beyond what
we had expected from them.

The Americans are beginning to speak French
and the French to speak English. They are mutual professors to each other.
Everywhere in the streets, lessons are given and received with mutual gratitude
and compliments:

You splendid!

Vous bien!

 And so on.’

Summer 1918, American journalist in France –

New
Outlook, Volume 120

– Photo: Sunday August 11 1918 in the ruins of the church in Montdidier, Somme, France, American & French soldiers & amis.

                                              …

                                                         “Too tired to even try to think”

Summer 1918, American soldier in France – The Diary
of a Soldier
 – Photo: WW1, Meuse sector,
American soldier taking a little nap

                                              …

                                              

PUT ON YOUR MASK, YOU DAMN
FOOL!

“After a while I became aware of a different sound…the
dull thud caused by gas shells. A moment later and I could smell the deadly
poison. I reached for my trusted gas mask and, much as I dreaded to do so,
pulled it on. The mask is safe, but it is the most uncomfortable thing I ever
experienced. If anyone wants to know how a gas mask feels, let him seize his
nose with a pair of fire tongs, bury his face in a hot feather pillow, then
seize a gas pipe with his teeth and breathe through it for a few hours while he
performs routine duties. It is safe, but, like the deadly poison which forced
its invention, it is not sane…”

July 1918, American Medical Officer near
Chateau-Thierry, France – PUT ON YOUR MASK, YOU DAMN FOOL! at NMHM in
Silver Spring. The exhibit is on display through 2018. – National Museum of
Health and Medicine
– Photo: 1918, American soldiers with gas masks – US National
Archives

“Tuesday July 30 1918 – Troops going to …

“Tuesday July 30 1918 – Troops
going to the front by the thousands. Our whole division went thru in camions. Continuous
line of large camions from noon ‘till 2 A.M. Going fast, too.

Things beginning to get
exciting!”

American
ambulance driver traveling from the Marne to the Aisne region

Diaries of Samuel Keplinger – Photo: Summer 1918, American convoy od troops traveling from the Meuse to the Aisne region. Images de 14-18

                                        “It is…

                                        “It is nothing short
of a
thrill to look upon the ruins” 

‘Never before had I seen a town completely demolished. But now I would get to see
demolished Crezancy. A horrible picture, surely, but still it is nothing short
of a
thrill to look upon the ruins. A little hiking alongside the
road and we enter a street filled with stone,
limbs, broken clay shingles, strips of lathing, and in some cases broken
furniture, dish pans, pieces of dishes, etc. Nothing could be more indicative
that the people left in great haste. All the buildings look as if they have been dynamited, scattering their compositions in
all directions. Inside the remaining walls, stones, dust, and debris of all sorts are piled up presenting a devastating,
ragged, and nasty appearance. A bad odor
has developed as a result of rain having fallen on the debris causing
fermentation and rotting of the contents of stores and houses.

Satisfied with our
adventures we return to our quarters where I lie down and rest until chow’

Late July 1918, France – American soldier in Crezancy, Chateau-Thierry & Second battle of the Marne sector –

As I Saw it in the Trenches: Memoir of a Doughboy in
World War

– Photo: Late July 1918, Crezancy, France, American soldiers exploring the ruins.

                                              …

                                                 “It is
really good fun to drive down trenches”

“July 27 1918 – We
are using the little whippet tanks with a crew of a driver and a gunner, the
sort that have been fighting so well in the present Allied offensive. It is
really good fun to drive down trenches and up the rear side, over stone walls,
through woods and shell holes!. A poor driver will give his man in the
turret some mighty hard bumps if he doesn’t know how to ease up the machine
when it reaches the balancing point on the lip of a trench or other obstacle.”

American
ambulance driver who just joined the Tank Corps – Phillips Academy, Andover in the Great War
Photo: summer 1918, France, a soldier in a light tank
Missouri Over There  

“Friday july 26 1918 – Hiked to Chateau-…

“Friday july 26 1918 – Hiked to Chateau-Thierry this morning. Reached there at noon. Passed through Vaux and there’s not a wall standing. I
saw my first dead German soldier there. He was about five days dead then.
Chateau-Thierry was pretty badly shot up, but altogether got out of it
pretty lucky. Saw “beaucoup” Bosche material here; guns, ammunition,
etc. Hiked to Belleau Woods this afternoon and are now camping on a spot that the Marines fought so hard
for.”

On the Western
Front with the Rainbow Division: A World War I Diary
– Summer 1918, The Rainbow
division marching through France – Missouri Over There

“When the Americans fire a s…

“When the Americans fire a shot everybody sticks his
head over the gun pit to see if it hits the mark—if it does, we cheer, and if
it doesn’t, we swear— while the French all duck their heads when firing. Every
American soldier over here comes from “Missouri,” and they all have
to see everything that goes on, even though they could get “picked”
off by some “sniper” when they stick their heads up.”

1918, France, American soldier’s letter home –

The
Wisconsin Magazine Of History

– Photo: 1918, France, American snipers “sticking their heads up”. Library of Congress

“Tuesday, July 23 1918 – This morning on…

“Tuesday, July 23 1918 – This morning one car had a narrow escape. A
shell fell just in front of it and a large éclat passed between the heads of
the driver and the assis seated beside him and entered the small window in the
front panel. The shell struck a wounded doughboy’s head as he lay on the
top stretcher. The driver and the assis were severely shell shocked. They sat huddled up next the wall of the dressing
station. They shuddered and trembled like leaves continually and when a gun shot or someone spoke
sharply to them they jumped as tho pricked with a pin.”

American
ambulance driver in the Chateau-Thierry sector, France – The Compensations of
War
–  Photo: 1918, an American medic
and a shell-shocked soldier at a
first aid station in France @  National Museum of Health and Medicine Archives

                                              …

                                                        “It is a beautiful spot all right”

“This is an old country.  No doubt about it. We are quartered in small
wooden barracks, nestled in a most attractive valley. On the hills trees of
great height and heavily laden with branches and leaves are found. We wash in a
tiny stream which slows along the bottom of one of the hills. It is a beautiful
spot, all right. A rock road leads us to a typical French village, where the
stables open on the main streets, so do the homes. There is no such thing as
hot water, but we have become accustomed to cold water and we do not
mind it.”

July 1918, somewhere in Northeast
France, American soldier’s letter home – National WWI Museum and Memorial – Photo: WW1, American
soldiers in beautiful old France. La Contemporaine