IntroductionThe History of the 103rd Regiment
of the 26th Division of the U.S. Army
during World War I
Table of Contents
CHAPTER VI CH .\TEAU—TH I ERRY A VVORLD of memories comes to mind with these two words,—Ch:iteau- Thierry, And rightly, for there the tide was turned, and with ever-increas- ing force to the very end, on November ll, that tide rolled back the German armies and brought victory to the Allies. The eyes of the world were first focusetl on Chateau-Thierry when, those last days of May and the month of June, disaster seemed to face us and the 2nd Division so nobly played its part in blocking the threatened breach and regain- ing some of the ground lost. But there a still greater significance for men of the 25th Division and the 103rd Infantry, and that is that they launched the counter attack of July 18, which electrified the world, which, thanks to Foch’s genius, turned an enemy victory to a rout, broke down the morale of Germany, and was the beginning of a fairer day. VVhat was the general situation? Quoting from an article in Harpcfs of December, 1918 ("l\/Iarshall Foch and thc Second Victory of the Marnc" by Raymond Recouly): "The German army, mightily strengthened in morale as well as materially through the defcction of Russia, and in full possession of all its resources and means of offense, fell upon the English with terrific force on the 21st of March, 1918, and upon the French on the 27th of May, "The third German onslaught was on the 15th of July, when Ludendorff threw all his forces against the Allied lines, from Chftteau—Thierry as far as the Main de Massiges, to the east of Rhcims. But this time the furious assault was stopped short; advance was impossible except at one point of our center, and almost at once Foch delivered a thrust in return which was irresistible and 0ver— whelming. The French and American troops counter-attacked on the 18th of July, and from the first this counter·oFfensive, which took the Germans corn- pletely by surprise, was a brilliant success. The enemy, jostled and confused, abandoned a wide stretch of territory, losing many thousands of prisoners; and as their communications were threatened they made all haste to retreat, falling back from the Marne, which they had so irnprudently crossed, as far as the Aisne. Thus they lost nearly all the ground which they had wrestcd from us, and the great railway from Paris to Nancy was ours again. "It would be in vain to search the pages of military history for another ex— ample of such a sudden change, for none can be found. It is this reversal of con- ditions which we call, and with full justification, The Second Victory of the Marne, To the same extent as in the first victory of 1914 the situation of the Allies, from seeming almost desperate, became favorable materially and also as to morale; the pressure of the German power was broken and the liberty and the civihzation of the world were saved." \Vhat was this regiment’s share in this wonderful event? Before answering this directly it will be well to see briefly just what took place upon leaving Toul. Entraining the twenty—seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth from the city of Toul, the regiment moved to La Ferte northeast of Meaux, from which place the several battalions marched to temporary des- tinations: Regimental Headquarters to Saacy; the lst Battalion to Lizy·sur- Over to Torcy, July 18, the beginning of the great counter offensive Ourcq; the 2nd Battalion to Citry; thc 3rd Battalion to Saacy, all villages on or in thc immediate vivinity of the Marne and not more than ton kilomctcrs from the front. But their rest was short for Rt-·giynt-intal moved to Montrenil the fifth; the- lst Battalion niovvtl into Bois dt- (iros Joan, —the support position for Belleau Wootls. ’l`lur 2nd lint talion rcliovvtl tho Marinas in Bvllt-au \\`oods on tho fifth, and thc 3rd liitttalion, tho Marines in rost—rvo in thc woods northwest of Montrvuil. Things moved fast those days. Tho lst Battalion took over thc front line July 12, relieving thc- 2nd. wliirh wont into reservv in woods ncnr \`oie—du-Cliatel, the 3rd Battalion moving into support in the woods northwest of Lucy. The very atmosphere see·m<··w.ix·rnr, 27 July 1918. REPORT OF .»\C'l`lONS 1<`ltOM JU1.Y 18 TO JULY 24, 1918, [Both dates inclusive On 17th July 1918, this regiment was holding the front line in the Zone Torey- Belleau. The 1st Battalion (Hanson) was holding the line of Out osts with its left joining the French at about 74.1-63.5 and its right adjoining tlie 104th U.S. Infantry at the Northwestern corner of the Bois de la Brigade Marines. The 3d Battalion (Southard) was holding the Line of Principal Resistance which ran through the woods Northwest of Lucy-le-Bocagc, and also was joined with the French on the left and the 104th U.S. Infantry on the right. The 2d Battalion (Hosford) was brigade Reserve and was stationed in the woods North of La Voie du Chatel. Regimental Headquarters were at La Voic du Chatel. At eight o'clock, 17 July 1918, Colonel Hume, Major Southard, Ca t. Hos- ford, together with Capt. Shumway and Lieutenants Kramer, Bliss, li/lcGre*w and Hahnel reported to the Commanding General, 52d Brigade for orders. Theyl roturned at about 18.00 o’clock, with F.O. No. 90, 52d Brigade. The objective of this order was to attack on "D" day, at "H" hour, Torcy and the railroad embankment in the rear of Torcy, and to or anize and hold these positions. The 3d Battalion (Southard) only was to attacic. At 20.00 o’clock, Capt. Hos- ford was ordered to Bri ade Head uarters and returned at about 24.00 o’clcck with F.O. 91 52d Brigacfe which orcdered the 2d Battalion, plus one company of the lst Battalion to attack on the same day and hour with as an objective the railroad northeast of Belleau Woods running from Givry to Bouresches, between coordinates 76.0-61.35 to 76.6-63.3. The 3d Battalion (Southard) moved into osition for attack in the ravine south of Torcy at about 24.00 o'clock. The 2d-|Battalion (Hosford) immediately began to move towards its jumping off position which was along the north- eastern edge of the Bois do la Brigade Marines. At 1.00 o'clock, "D" day and "H" hour were specified over the phone from 52d Brigade Headquarters as 18th 1918, and 4.35 o'elock respectively. The 3d Battalion, 104th In- fantry (McDade) was to attack simultaneously with an objective between the 2d and 3d Battalions of this regiment. At 4.35 the 3d Battalion (Southard) was in position and went over to the assault. It carried all before it and reached its objective at 5.00 o‘clock, eag- turing 25 prisoners. Major Southard reported that he had liaison with t o French on his left but that he could not establish liaison with the 104th In- fantry on his right. Casualties were few, One man being killed and live wounded by enemy shell fire. Capt. Hosford was not able to leave the headquarters 52d Brigade until 23.00 0’clock on the return to his Battalion. The motorcycle which was carry- ing him broke down and he was compelled to walk the remainder of the distance.
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