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Chronology of WW1 American Operations - 1918

Portait of General March. Library of Congress.

Portrait of General March. Library of Congress. Joining the Great War, April 1917-April 1918, 2017. GGA Image ID # 192a5dfbd0

General March’s Official Record

General March, American Chief of Staff, appended the following chronology to his annual report to Secretary Baker, made public Dec. 5, 1918. It is a complete official summary of the chief operations of the United States Army in France.

1918

  • April 28-29—A sector in the vicinity of Breteuil, northwest of Montdidier, was occupied by the First Division.
  • May 28—Cantigny was captured by the First Division. A detachment of our troops, reinforced by French artillery, successfully attacked the enemy on a front of about 2,200 yards. We occupied Cantigny, captured some 200 prisoners, and inflicted severe losses on the enemy.
  • June 10—The Second Division attacked in Bois de Belleau, advancing the line 900 yards on a front of 1 ½ miles, capturing 300 prisoners, 30 machine guns, 4 trench mortars, and stores of small arms, ammunition, and equipment. Held all of Hill 204 down to the village on the northeast slope, thus preventing the enemy from concentrating his forces in the northern part of Château-Thierry.
  • June 11—The Second Division continued its advance in the Bois de Belleau, capturing more prisoners and machine guns and two  77 mm. fieldpieces. Our aviators executed their first bombing raid, dropping numerous bombs on the railway station at Dommary-Baroncourt, northwest of Metz. All of our planes returned in safety. The artillery of the Second Division shelled the enemy in their areas, preventing concentration near Torcy, Monthiérs, Hill 128, and La Gonetrie farm. It discovered and dispersed a group of 210 machine guns in the wood south of Etrepilly. The Second Division captured the last of the German positions in the Bois de Belleau, taking 50 prisoners, machine guns, and trench mortars.
  • July 18—French and American troops advanced under the cover of a heavy storm on the front between Soissons and Château-Thierry. The greatest advance was in the northern part of the sector, where a depth of 5 miles was attained, and we reached the heights southwest of Soissons, dominating the railroad and highways.
  • July 24—The advance of the Franco-Ameri- can forces continued, and in the evening the line ran east of Buzancy to Tigny, to Hartennes, Grand Rozoy, Ouichy-le-Château, Armentières, Coiney, Courpoil, and then joined the old line at Jaulgonne. West of Rheims Marfaux was retaken, and the line ran from Aubilly, through Mézy, and joined the old line at Coulommes.
  • July 25—The line ran from the Ourcq to the Marne, where the allied troops advanced 6 kilometers in the centre and 3 to 4 kilometers on the flanks. The line in the evening ran from Armentières to Bruyères, the eastern edge of the Bois de la Tournelle, the eastern edge of Beuvardes, the eastern edge of Le Charnel, the crossroads at Gros Chêne, la Boulangère, the northern edge of Treloup, Chassins.
  • July 26—The line ran: Nanteuil, Notre Dames, Hill 123, Hill 118, la Misère, Hill 100, southwestern part of Bois de la Tournelle, Hill 111, Le Charnel. Hard fighting continued all day and the French and Americans steadily advanced on Fère.
  • July 27—The Forty-second Division tried to cross the Ourcq, but was driven back by heavy artillery fire.
  • July 28—The Forty-second Division renewed the assault, crossed the river, and after vigorous fighting took Seringes-et-Nesles, Nesles, and Sergy.  The Twenty-eighth Division held the line about 1 kilometer north of the Ourcq. During the day slow progress was made, the enemy slowly falling back after bitter rearguard action.
  • July 29—Franco-American troops advanced 3 kilometers from Oulchy to Villers Apron, and Bougneux, Saponay, Seringes, Nesles, and Cierges were included within our lines.
  • July 30—Our pressure continued on the right bank of the Ourcq. The railroad station at Fère and Cayenne Farm remained in our possession. We lost Seringes-et-Nesles, but reoccupied Sergy, Hill 312, and the woods 8 kilometers north of Ronchères.
  • July 31—The Twenty-eighth Division retook Seringes-et-Nesles. The Thirty-second Division attacked in Crimpettes Woods with success; the woods were taken, and troops advanced to Cierges. German counterattacks were brilliantly repulsed with the bayonet, and an immense amount of material and equipment was taken from the enemy.
  • Aug. 3—After continuous fighting late in the evening Soissons was taken, and a line extending along the Vesle to between Braisne and Bazoches was being consolidated. South of the Aisne our troops drove back the enemy rear guard. Acting with the Fourth Division, the Thirty- second Division reached a line from Ville Savoye to a point just north of St. Gilles.
  • Aug. 4—A large enemy patrol attacked in the vicinity of Coulées, but was driven off by a combat group of the Fifth Division, which had been reinforced. Our troops were very active in patrolling, having sent out over seven reconnaissance, combat, and ambush patrols.   The Thirty-second Division took Fismes. In an eight-day battle this division forced the passage of the Ourcq, took prisoners from six enemy divisions, met, routed, and decimated a crack division of the Prussian Guards, a Bavarian division, and one other enemy division, and drove the enemy line back for 16 kilometers.
  • Aug. 6—The Twenty-eighth Division launched an attack the objective of which was the north bank of the Vesle. The attack was met by exceedingly heavy machine-gun and artillery fire. On the right our troops succeeded in crossing the river and advancing to the highway which runs from Rheims to Soissons. On the left the advance was held up by the enemy’s fire.
  • Aug. 7—The units on the left advanced across the river and occupied the railroad lines on the north bank. The casualties resulting from this operation were considerable. A violent enemy counterattack was completely repulsed, and a number of prisoners and machine guns were left in our hands.
  • Aug. 8—As a result of successful operations on the evening of Aug. 8, 11 companies of infantry and some machine-gun detachments of the Twenty-eighth Division reached the north bank of the Vesle.
  • Aug. 10 — The Twenty-eighth Division launched an attack in Fismette. A creeping barrage moved ahead of them. They made some progress, but were soon exposed to flanking fire from both the east and the west and were forced to fall back into Fismette. The position here was very difficult. Flanking machine-gun fire came from both sides and heavy casualties were reported. A box barrage was placed around the town and ammunition was sent up. The town was held by one battalion, with one machine-gun platoon, which received orders to hold the position at all cost.
  • Aug. 17—After strong artillery preparation the infantry of the Fifth Division captured the village of Frapelle and consolidated the lines north of the road running into the town from the southeast.
  • Aug. 19—The enemy continued shelling Frapelle positions and the artillery of the Fifth Division replied actively.
  • Aug. 21—The Fifth Division repulsed hostile attack with heavy loss to the enemy and with no casualties to ourselves. The Thirty-second Division, acting with the Tenth French Army, advanced to and held Juvigny. The Seventy-seventh Division cleared the small wood between the Vesle and the railroad west of Château du Diable.
  • Sept. 3—During the five days prior to Sept. 3 the Thirty-second Division made daily advances against the enemy, gaining 6 kilometers through very difficult terrain and against violent opposition. It captured 11 officers and 920 enlisted men. A large amount of guns and munitions was captured. A patrol of the Seventy-seventh Division penetrated to Bazoches.
  • Sept. 5—French and American units advanced in the Oise-Rheims area as fat as Condé. Strong patrols of the Seventy- seventh Division were pushed forward, north of the Vesle and were encountered by machine-gun resistance. Other casualties were slight. The Twenty-eighth Division crossed the Vesle in force and pursued the enemy to the north.
  • Sept. 6—The artillery of the Twenty-eighth Division directed harassing and destructive fire on the Aisne bridges, while the enemy harassed the villages in our rear areas, using a great number of gas shells.
  • Sept, 7—The Twenty-eighth Division repulsed two enemy counterattacks. The Seventy-seventh Division drove the enemy out of La Cendière Farm and passed the Aisne Canal.
  • Sept. 12—After four hours’ bombardment our troops advanced on the south and west flanks of the St. Mihiel salient at 5 A. M. By 7:30 A. M. the forces operating: on the south had reached the southern edge of the Bois Juli, the Quart de Réserve, and the northern edge of the Bois de Mort Mare. By noon they had reached Essey and Vieville and the army operating in the difficult ground in the west had captured Les Eparges. At 6 P.M. the troops had reached a point one kilometer east of Senzey and had taken St. Remy and Combres. During the night, the troops on the western flank of the salient advanced 5 miles in five hours, reaching Vigneulles by 3 A. M.
  • Sept. 14—There was a general advance along the entire line, and the American Army established itself on the following front: Manheulles, Fresnes, Pintheville, St. Hilaire, Doncourt, northeast of Woel, south end of the Etang de La chaussée, Vandières, and across the Moselle at Champey.
  • Sept. 17—American troops advanced along the Moselle within 300 yards of Paguy.
  • Sept. 18—The Twenty-sixth Division made two raids during the night. One against St. Hilaire was without result, as the enemy had retired; the other against the Bois de Warville resulted in the capture of 15 prisoners.
  • Sept. 19—The Ninety-second Division repulsed an attempted enemy raid in the St. Die sector.
  • Sept. 20—The Ninety-second Division repulsed two enemy raids in the region of Lesseux.
  • Sept. 26—The First Army attacked northwest of Verdun on a front of 20 miles and penetrated to an average depth of 7 miles.
  • Sept. 27—The One Hundred and Seventh Regiment of the Twenty-seventh Division attacked east of Bellicourt and attained its objectives.
  • Sept. 29—In the Argonne, the Americans met with furious resistance. Their losses were heavy, and they were unable to do more than hold their own.
  • Sept. 30—The Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth Divisions took prisoners north of St. Quentin totaling 210 officers and more than 1,200 men.
  • Oct. 1—The Twenty-eighth Division repulsed a hostile counterattack on the entire divisional front in the Aire Valley, with very heavy losses to the enemy.
  • Oct. 8—-The Second Division, operating with the Fourth French Army, made an advance of 2 kilometers, reaching Medéah Farm in the afternoon. In the evening, the Second Division advanced about 5 kilometers, and their line ran from Medéah Farm southwest along the road to Blanc Mont. They captured 1,000 prisoners, and casualties were estimated at 500.
  • Oct. 4—The First Division attacked on both sides of Exermont, and made progress in spite of strong opposition from the enemy, who resisted with machine guns in organized opposition. Approximately 300 prisoners were taken, and our casualties were 1,500.
  • Oct. 5—The First Division captured Ariétal Farm, and the line was advanced 400 yards beyond. The Sixth Division repulsed a large enemy raid on Sondernach.
  • Oct. 7—A brigade of the Eighty-second Division advanced 7 kilometers, occupying Hill 223, north of Chatel Chéhéry; 46 prisoners were captured, including 1 officer. Our casualties were light. Later the enemy counterattacked and occupied Hill 223, north of Chatel Chéhéry.
  • Oct. 8—The Sixty-ninth Brigade of the Thirtieth Division attacked at 5 A. M. over a front of 5,000 yards, gained all first objectives by 9 A. M., and second objectives by noon. Fifty officers, 1,500 men, and four 301-millimeter guns were taken.
  • Oct. 8-9—The Second Corps advanced about 7 miles on a front of 4,000 yards and captured about 2,000 prisoners and 30 guns.
  • Oct. 9—In spite of strong resistance the First Division advanced in the sector east of Fléville and captured 230 prisoners. The Thirty-third Division, operating with the Seventeenth French Army Corps, attacked early in the morning north of Consenoye and reached Its final objective about 9 A. M. About 650 prisoners were taken.
  • Oct. 10—The First Corps reached Cornay-La Besogne Ridge and passed Malassise Farm, east of Grand Ham. The Sixtieth Brigade of the Thirtieth Division advanced 6 kilometers, reaching the Selle River, and held the St. Benin-St. Souplet- La Haie-Menneresse line. Up to the evening of the 9th, 50 officers, 1,800 men, and 32 guns were captured.
  • Oct. 12—The Fourth Division repulsed two counterattacks by machine-gun fire, with severe loss to the enemy.
  • Oct. 13—An attack on Grandpré this morning met very heavy machine-gun fire, and troops of the Second Corps were finally forced to retire south of the Aire. A hostile counterattack at 8 P. M. south of Landres-et-St. Georges was repulsed. The Eighty-first Division repulsed an enemy raid in St. Die sector. The Seventy-seventh Division took Grandpré.
  • Oct. 17—The Twenty-ninth Division advanced to the summit of Bois de la Grande Montagne, east of the Meuse. The Forty-second Division took Côte de Châtillon. The Second Battalion of the Seventy- sixth Division reached the northern edge of Bois des Loges, west of Champigneulle. In an attack on a 4,000-yard front from St. Souplet to Molain our troops advanced 3,000 yards against very stiff resistance. All counterattacks repulsed. Prisoners taken were estimated at 2,500.
  • Oct. 19—The Thirtieth Division attacked with the British at dawn and advanced 2,000 yards. Prisoners captured since the morning of the 17th totaled 44 officers and over 1,500 men. The Seventy-eighth Division pushed its lines forward to Bellejoyeuse Farm and began to mop up the Bois des Loges.
  • Oct. 21—In attacks on the Bois des Rappes the Fifth Division met with stubborn resistance by machine guns, supported by artillery and infantry fire. It captured the entire position, with 170 prisoners, including 5 officers. An enemy counterattack, supported by heavy artillery fire, was repulsed with heavy losses. The Fifth and Third Divisions took Hill 297 and Bois des Rappes. Attacking in the evening, the Eighty- ninth Division occupied the northern and eastern edge of the Bois de Banthéville.
  • Oct. 23—Troops of the Third Corps reached the north ridge of the village of Banthéville, taking 171 prisoners. The Twenty-ninth Division captured the ridge of the Bois d’Etrayes and Hill 361.
  • Oct. 27—The Seventy-eighth Division entered Bellejoyeuse Farm, northeast of Grand-pré, and found it unoccupied. The occupation of the right of way north and northwest of Grandpré was completed.
  • Oct. 30—Patrols were active along the entire front of the Twenty-eighth Division. The Thirty-third Division, in the face of heavy artillery and machine-gun fire, north of Grandpré advanced its lines and occupied the Bellejoyeuse Farm. On Oct. 30, 2,000 high explosive and gun shells fell in the vicinity of Fresnes. One of the divisional patrols captured five prisoners.
  • Nov. 1—The troops of the First Army captured Clery-le-Grand. North of Ancreville they took 53 additional prisoners and continued their advance into the Bois de Banthéville. During the night of Nov. 1-2 the troops of the Thirty-seventh Division consolidated their positions and effected a crossing of the River Scheldt, confronted by enemy machine-gun and rifle fire. The Ninety-first Division, supported by artillery and machine-gun fire, rapidly advanced over 6 kilometers in spite of enemy artillery and machine-gun fire. The enemy was driven from the west bank of the Scheldt and at noon the heights northwest of Audenarde were taken.
  • Nov. 2—In the evening, the troops of the Seventy-eighth Division drove the enemy from the Bois des Loges and closely followed his retreat. The Ninety- second Division, in spite of machine-gun resistance, pushed forward and advanced the line 3 kilometers.
  • Nov. 3—The Ninety-first Division, in spite of active machine-gun resistance, forced its way toward the bank of the Scheldt in the vicinity of Eyne.
  • Nov. 4—A brigade of the Seventy-ninth Division attacked an enemy sector, taking 81 prisoners and 8 machine guns, encountering strong resistance and repulsing several counterattacks.
  • Nov. 5—The troops of the Seventy-seventh Division engaged in severe fighting, and overcame strong enemy resistance along the entire line. The artillery was active, firing on the enemy's retreating columns. Harassing artillery fire was returned by the enemy. Aviation was active on both sides. The enemy flew over our front lines and delivered machine-gun fire on our advancing troops. Two enemy planes were brought down.
  • Nov. 6—Our troops of the First Corps continued their successful advance, forcing the enemy to retire. The towns of Flabas, Raucourt, Haraucourt, and Autrecourt were taken, and patrols pushed on as far as the Meuse. Large quantities of matériel were captured during the advance. Following heavy bombardment on the enemy’s divisions the troops of the Fifth Division attacked, rapidly overcoming the enemy's resistance, capturing Lion-devant-Dun, Murvaux, Fontaine, and Vilosnes-sur-Meuse, taking more than 250 prisoners.
  • Nov. 7—The troops of the Second Division cleared the west bank of the Meuse of the remaining machine guns and snipers in the vicinity of Mouzon. The Fifth Division, supported by artillery fire, continued its advance despite the enemy’s continued resistance, principally with machine guns. Most of the artillery crossed to the east bank of the Meuse, following in support of the infantry. Additional prisoners were taken, including 2 officers and 132 men.
  • Nov. 8—The patrols of me Second Division crossed the Meuse south of Mouzon. The troops of the Thirty-third Division, aided by barrage fire, carried out a successful raid on Château Aulnois, capturing 1 officer and 22 men. Strong combat patrols were sent out from the lines of the Ninety-second Division (colored.) Prisoners were captured and casualties inflicted on the enemy.
  • Nov. 9—Du ring midnight the patrols of the Fifth Division drove back the enemy, inflicting many casualties and capturing 6 prisoners. The troops consolidated, and, despite stubborn resistance, principally from machine guns, drove the enemy from Bois du Canal and La Sentinelle and captured Brandeville. In these operations 47 prisoners, 125 machine guns, and other matériel were captured. A strong combat patrol was active along the entire front of the Thirty-third Division, meeting with heavy machine-gun resistance from the enemy, and a patrol of one company captured 8 prisoners in the Bois de Warville. The troops of the Seventy- ninth Division advanced in a generally northeasterly direction, with the right flank in Bois de Damvillers. The Forty- second and units of the First seized the heights south of Sedan.
  • Nov. 10—The Thirty-third Division carried out a successful raid on Marcheville, occupying the town and taking 80 prisoners, including 3 officers. Strong patrols from the line engaged in sharp fighting. The Thirty-seventh Division, operating with the Thirty-fourth French Army Corps, attacked in order to force a crossing of the Scheldt. Violent enfilading machine-gun fire, heavy artillery, and the flooded condition of the terrain delayed the construction of bridges and crossings. In the face of continuous heavy artillery fire, supported by machine guns, the troops advanced about 2 kilometers. The Ninetieth Division advanced toward Sudlon, encountering no resistance. The Ninety-second Division reached Bois Trehaut and captured 710 prisoners.
  • Nov. 11—The Third Division advanced 3 kilometers east of Bréhéville. Despite increased resistance by machine-gun and artillery fire, the Fifth Division continued to advance, capturing 18 prisoners, 3 large-caliber guns, 6 minenwerfers, and considerable matériel. In accordance with the terms of the armistice, hostilities on the front of the American armies ceased at 11 A. M.

General Wood to His Men at Camp Funston

Major Gen. Leonard Wood, whose lot it was to train young soldiers in a cantonment at home instead of winning glory in France, gave this memorable message to each man mustered out at Camp Funston, Kansas:

In the performance of military duty to one’s country in time of war it is not for the citizen called to the colors to select the kind of service to be done by him. One who has willingly and loyally responded to the call to arms, and who has put his best efforts, mental and physical, into the training, and performed all military duties required of him to the best of his ability, standing ready always to make the supreme sacrifice of life itself, if need be, has done all that a good citizen and soldier could do to insure the successful prosecution of the war.

Although I appreciate how keenly you feel the disappointment of your failure to secure duty overseas in the actual battle area, I know you rejoice together with all Americans in the prospect of a righteous and just peace imposed upon the enemy and the termination of the terrible conflict which has involved the whole civilized world.

You have done your best. You have cheerfully and loyally discharged the clear duty of every citizen in time of war and your work has been a part of the great national effort which has aided in securing a victorious peace.

You are discharged from the army because your services are no longer required in the present emergency. You will return to your place in civil life all the better for the training you have had, and I feel sure you will take with you a better and higher appreciation of the obligations of citizenship, including the obligation of every man to be trained, prepared, and ready to render service to the nation in War as well as in peace.”

The New York Times Co., "Chronology of American Operations - 1918," in The New York Times Current History: The European War, New York: The New York Times Co., Jan - Mar 1919, pp. 139-145

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