IntroductionThe History of the 103rd Regiment
of the 26th Division of the U.S. Army
during World War I
Table of Contents
CHAPTER VIII THE LAST DAYS OF THE WAR ITS relief having been completed October 7, the regiment then took up the move for the next front, which was to be our last. Mu.r·hing by night the entire regiment had, by October 9, arrived in the vicinity of Fromereville with the Ist Battalion stationed in Bois Ohana, the 2nd Battalion in Bois la Ville, and the 3rd Battalion in Bois Delobine, with Regimental Headquarters at Moulin Brule. This movement was a diH·icult one due to the bad conditions of the road, and to the fact that there were, at this time, tremendous movements of troops along the entire line. The several battalions did, however, remain at the stations above indicated until the fourteenth of October, when the regiment was assembled as a unit at Cumiercs, preparatory to taking over a sector of the front. Beginning the night of October fifteenth and sixteenth, the division com- menced the relief of the French 18th Division in Neptune sector, which em- braced a most difficult area extending from Ormont, on the left, to Beaumont on the right. The 104th Infantry was the first regiment of our brigade to go into the lines, and was relieved by the 103rd on the nights of October twenty- second aud twenty-third; two battalions, the 2nd and the feral, taking over the front line, the lst Battalion also went into the front line. Later, the fronts were reorganized so that only two battalions were in line, and one in support. This was a most difliciilt sertor; in a sense it wins the hinge for the entire Meuse-Argonne offensive and one of the last positions to fall. From Bois Bel- leu, on the left, down to Bois de Ville, on the right, the enemy was holding strongly in an endeavor to check the turning movement which was being de- veloped to the north. When this regiment took over, it occupied old German positions which had previously fallen, and which were in a had state of repair. The terrain was most difficult; hills, ravines, woods, badly shot up, to be sure, presented a problem of organization not only for the holding of the lines, but for the preparation of the attack to follow, such as we had never inet before. Ou.r artillery had moved up close, with the result that there were no positions for support and reserve troops which gave satisfactory shelter and protection. The batteries were eonstantly gassed and shelled, and from the moment of the regi- ment/s arrival in the area, it was subjected until to the very end to severe artil- lery Hrc. It inust be borne in mind that along the entire front, not only of this division but to our left, attacks were being made every clay to weaken the enemy lines, and take away from him the commanding positions which he held. The 102nd Infantry had suffered particularly heavily during these days. By the first of November the situation to the north having developed favorably, it became a question of zi. very few days, i.f not of hours, before the thrust would be made from our own positions to break through on the drive towards Azannes. There lay to our front the strong positions east of Bois d’Haumont, Bois De Caures, Bois de Ville, La “`avrille, and Herberbois. On the left Belleu Bois had put up a stubborn resistanre and continued to make our position a most iineoinfortahle one; but reports from the north gave strength to the belief that the enemy would have to withdraw very shortly. On November 3, in com- . pliancc with orders from the division, a coup-de-main was executed by Com- pany L on this regin1ent’s front against the enerny’s position just east of Bois d'Haumont. Orders for this raid were not received until late in thc evening, but nevertheless it was made, its purpose being to test out whether or not the enemy were still holding in force. Events proved that they were. A simultaneous raid was to have been made by the elements on our right, but for some reason was not. Lieutenant McConnell, coinmanding Company I., with his eompany, which at that time had been reduced to about one hundred effeetives, executed the raid. The following report is incorporated: llicaneunnrnns, 103rd U. S. INFANTRY, 4 Nov. 1918. Rnronr or RAID 3/4/Nov. 1918. In compliance with Field Orders No. 76, a raid was carried out against the enemy line in C.R. Marncllc night of Nev. 3 and 4, 1918: 1. Strength: 3 officers and 90 men from Co. L. 103rd Infantry. 2. Assisting Elements: (ii) Artillery, 102nd F.A. at 20:35 opened a diversion tire in the vicinity of Bois Meirey on a general line to 28.9-80.4. to 29.2-79.5. This was continued until 21 :05. (b) Machine Gun, Stokes Mortars and 37 in/in were held on the alert, but their assistance was not called for. 3. Jlission: To gain infnrinar- tion of enemy disposition and bring buck prisoners. 4. Formation: 4 columns of an- snult cmd 2 groups proteeting flanks und for the urpose of covering witlidniwaili were or- ganized. Men were equip ed with grenades, rifles und) 8 uutoinu.tic rides. 5. Point of Departure: From point 28.8-78.5 to 28.85- 78.45. Direction of March: 60 degrees magnetic. G. Time of Departure: 21:00 o’eleek. Time 0/ Return.: Around 24:00. 7. Eareeitttmt: The com muy wes i`er1ned on point of ilepxirture ut 21:00 oeloek, but mine- whut delayed in jumping oil hecnuse of shell iire in 1.lieir aren. (This was reported to be our own Batteries felling short, but us there is it iliili-r· _ ence of opinion end us we me suhjeet to Hunk fire from the enemy, it would be difficult to rmike n leFmitc xtnteinent en this point.) Assztulting eolumns finally nimle out through the weeds to the enemy wire 75 ynrmls distant. The eneiny l`rent line is zi series of shell hulvs nlmut 20 yards apart, and em-li hnln evidently eenliiins :1 light M.G. with heavy M. guns in support. Seine distance in the rear. r'[`he front line is pro- tected by ztlight bnml of spiral wire 20 yards in front. The enemy him 2 or 3 listening posts in front cf the wire that withdrew on the approach of our men. A eoinmnnxl in (lerxnon was passed down the line and innnelint¤·ly fire whs :onnncnccl with Machine Guns and Bombs. Our men rm-tm·m-rl thc tire with rifles, bombs and automatic rifles. The right column ¢·nt.¤·i··d the cncmy front line but found nothing. The right center column nlsu pnssccl through the wire, into the enemy line but werc thrown buck. 'l`he other two columns (lid not get through the wire, on nccount of henvy l\l.G. mul grnnznlr- fire. All finally withdrew into our covering pnrtim, mul then i·etnrnu¤l to our lines. Pntrols were ut. once organized nnd sent out lo get in the wounh·aI,
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