Doing Scout Duty For the Artillery

Charles Wadsworth Camp



On Aug. 22, after an all night engagement during which no one had slept, Col. F. C. Doyle went to his bunk about 8.00 A. M. for the purpose of laying down for ten or fifteen minutes. He however changed his mind and decided first to talk over some matters in general with the Infty Brigade Comdr. Within 5 minutes after quitting his quarters a 105 shell ripped through the wall, passed through his mattress and dropped on the floor of his room. It failed to explode. Lieuts Willis, Klots and Capt Fox were in an adjoining room through which the projectile had also passed. Had the projectile exploded during its passage through this room all would undoubtedly have been killed.



THE following in a verbatim report submitted by Tailor Smith, Hq. Co., 305 F.A., of an incident at La Tuilerie. A shell passed through two rooms of the officers' quarters above Regimental Headquarters, landing in the second room-a dud. While a fair measure of success was attained in reproducing the pronunciation and accent of the narrator it is with exceeding regret that it is impossible even to indicate the dramatic delivery with which the story was told.


In a nice mornink I don't rember it de day, before Duffy vent aveg, in a nice Mornink standink in the Kroinel's (Colonel's) room vaz located five officers; two rooms ind five officers. One mornink vaz hot German shellinks; ven de shellink landit all vaz in de house and all big excitements. Understand it, all big excitements, 'n I vas in a little house vere de Kroinel's officers' quarters leaves. Ven de big shellink started de Kroinel vent out fon dis house, ind he vent aveg 'n I don't know vere. After ten minutes ago, der comes arahn Capt. Whelpley, ven de big shellink fall near de house, 'n Pvt Smith vaz in de house, ven Capt. Whelpley come in in de house,'n he grabbit his gez mesk 'n helmet; 'n Pvt. Smith vaz in de house ven he qvick he grabbit 'n run out 'n run out. 'N de excitements ven he got out 'n grabbit it, he don't know vat to do; 'n I vas stock in de same house, in de big excitements.

In de moments fon excitements it takes him about tree minutes ind he heard it a shelf vaz comink 'n hit de hill ind soon de shelf hit. De vile I vaz so excited I dug dalm, ~n I gorrup a minute later 'n I start to run; I start to run ~n I vaz tinkink, ind I run to de dughouse, 'n I run in de dughouse, 'n I come in; I come in de dughouse 'n I couldn't speak aus, 'n eferybody tells me: "vat is de matter," 'n I couldn't tell me vat is de matter. After I vaz run in de dughouse ind I could not nobody answer, as de whole Regimental Headquarters, dat's Capt. Gammell, all de cloiks 'n de rest of de officers vot's dere, I couldn't remem-ber, dey run after me in de big excitements. Dey vaz take dahn de telephone in dis dughouse ind it vaz in dis dug-house; de telephone vaz standink for five minutes later. Dey couldn't get any answer from Pvt. Smith vat vaz happink for de big excitement, Pvt. Smith couldn't speak for de last ten minutes.

Ten minutes, you know after de ten minutes, dere come Lt. Mots, Lt. Willis 'n Capt. Fox mit de big excitements vot's happink in dis sleepink quarters. Dat's de same room vere vas Kroinel located in dis two rooms, ind oder officers, ind vaz start to tell it how de shellink landet in dis room. You couldn't believe me; you know in de same moment vat's all vaz big excitement; (here the narrator carried away by his own dramatic delivery of "de big excitements," becomes rather involved), dere vaz very big excitements in de same moment; in de moment ven ve vaz excitement, I vaz you know like some of dem, could not believe it in anytink you know, ind a minute after ve vaz standink dere, ~n all odder officers, I mean it Lt. Mots came it dahn vit all suits covered like tree painters. Dey tell us how de shelf landit in de room.

Vell ve standink few minutes ind vere listenink; ve standink in de room ind listen maybe come more firing aralind here.

Ve passed de time by ten minutes ind he is gettink quiet. Den de excitement vaz over dey vent out lookink on dis excitement, ind dis is vat vaz happink mit our excitements. Comink near de house, de door vaz opink ind laining up vaz bik 155 shelfs ind not esplozhit (exploded), Den, de whole Regimental Headquarters togedder in dey come togedder look on it, how de shelf vaz comink in de house. (Here follows description of course of shell) De shelf hits first de vall outside; den de shelf vas hittink in de first room vere vaz Lt. Willis shavink 'n Lt. Mots vaz shavink. 'N Capt. Fox vaz sleepink on his rolling bed on de gralind ind de shelf vaz hittink, ind hit tru de vall near his facet, ind hit Kroinel's bed in de odder room, ind smashed de bet, 'n turned aralind de bet; ind de shelf hit in de end of de vall fon de bet; de shelf hit ind of de vall fon de bet ind jumped back; de shelf jumped back , n he landit in de gramid tree feet aveg fon de door (very dramatically) 'n Pvt Smith vaz standink by de door; dat's only tree feet, one yard American langvage; tree feet aveg vaz Pvt. Smith. You can immeasure how happink he vaz de shelf vaz not esplozhit.

'N de same time Sgt. Gruber came up to see Capt. Whelpley, ind he started to tell vat a shelf landet in de room; in de same moment he couldn't believe it for big excitements; de von tink, he goes over vit me 'n dere vaz de bik long shelf vaz laining in dere in de room. In de big excitements fon de officers, dey vaz afrait to touch it; even to get five feet nearer. den dey order Lt. Willis take de shelf fon dis house. Sgt. Gruber take, how you say it, grabs dat's courage, 'n a vire 'n a pail, I meam to say he's not afrait, for it fealressle, you know fealressle, like he vaz not afrait you know; he take de vire ind hook it dahn in de shelf, in de bik Germish shelf, 'n he pull it out fon dis room. 'N dey make a bik whole'n dey bury it him.

Ven de Kroinel comes back he vas bik excitements, very bik excitements. You immeasure how he happink he vaz, he vaz not dere. Sure he vaz glat he didn't hit him. Capt Whelpley come back in an hour later, 'n dey tell him de whole story 'n he couldn't believe it till he's going see it. Ven de saw it, he believe it. Dis Kroinel ind dis Captain dey vaz not afrait, 'n de same day ven de shelf hit, dey vaz sleepink in de same house. For de last veek, till ve left dis place, dey vasn't afrait to leave in dis house in de same room in de same spot.



Headquarters 154th Inf. Brigade,
American E. F., October 18th, 1918. From: Commanding General 154th Infantry Brigade. To: Commanding General 152nd Field Artillery Brigade. (Thru Division Commander) Subject: Use of Artillery during recent operations.

1. 1 desire to express to you and through you to the officers of your command, my appreciation of the assistance which was rendered during the recent operations of this brigade by your artillery, particularly during the last few days, where there was possibility of observation and where artillery assistance was of the highest value. I may say in fact that had it not been for the effective and efficient support which was given to me by both the heavy and light artillery, placed at my disposition by the Division Commander, the taking of Grand Pre by the troops of my command, under the conditions as they existed, would have been an impossibility, and that the success of the operation was due in large measure to the effective artillery support.
(signed) EVAN M. JOHNSON, Brigadier General, N. A. Commanding Brigade.

1st Ind. Hq. 305 F. A., American Ex. Forces, 23rd Oct. 1918.-
To Organization Commanders.
1. The foregoing letter is published to the command for the information of all concerned.
2. Each officer must feel a sense of gratification to learn that the efforts of this command during the past operations have been successful and effective and will inspire all to further continued efforts and sacrifices with the same aims in view.
3. It is directed that this letter be read to all members of this command.
By order of Major Easterday:
C. VONE. MITCHELL Captain, 305 F. A.,
Acting Adjutant

Headquarters, 305 F. A. N. A., 1st Bn.
American Ex. Forces,
July 29, 1918. MEMORANDUM: For Organization Commanders.

The Regtl. Commander, after the past 3 weeks observation of the work of this regiment, desires to call the attention of all concerned to the point that the entire command, from the most newly arrived private, to include all officers, must realize the stern obligations imposed on all by our present calling. Initiative, that means grabbing any and all situations by the scruff of the neck and jamming it forcefully through to a quick and successful conclusion is the first duty of all; this means putting a punch into your work, and applies to enlisted men as well as officers. If officers, for any reason, are not present, and N. C. O.s understand the idea to be carried out, let us make it an artillery standard to get the work done, in all cases of emergency, and done quickly.

All work of the gun crews must be done with life and perfect team work. The crews have had sufficient drill by now to make this possible, It is earnestly advised that every enlisted man think carefully of his particular work. Run over your work in your mind, when not at drill, and fully master same. All cannoneers by now should know all the duties of other cannoneers. Slowness on part of gun crews is the greatest crime they can commit. It means the loss of lives by our infantry, and what is worse, the loss of standing of the artillery in the eyes of all, and loss of confidence to attack by the infantry. Officers will make a special propaganda of this issue with the men.

The New York papers, in front page letters, are spreading broadcast to the country the pride taken by the City of New York in the 77 Division. The city is thrilled to the depths by the information that we are on the front line. The articles fairly glitter with comments of our highly trained condition. All papers exult in stating that the 77 Division has earned the distinction of being the first N. A. Division to appear on the front. We have done this, because we were the most proficient and highly trained. This fact will go down in American History, and you cannot realize the pride our friends, relatives and families must have in us to know that we, each one of us, earned our place of distinction by hard, patriotic work.

It is now up to each member of this command to maintain this high standard. Let every one of us get the jump into our work to such an extent as to give our families additional cause to be proud of us. They are proud of you, you will never know how pathetically proud.
Every regiment on the battlefront is striving to outdo others. Remember we are doing the same.
Col., 305 F. A. N. A.


AROUND noon hour, a call came in from Headquarters for Battery E to send a scout as guard for an advanced gun position. It happened at Perles and I have the honor of being selected to pack my duds, stow away a day's rations and report to the P. C. in fifteen minutes notice. When a pirate hammers away at your position, it's immediately decided upon to bring the bandit to a lamb like disposition. This particular "kiss thrower" was annoying us when the time came for my departure for a night's sojourn to unknown parts. Being on familiar terms with the cook (mess was always attractive to me) I told him of my intentions to locate the siesta disturber and also to remain as a squatter for the battery's future rendezvous. He, la chef des armes, broiled me a steak, evidently deciding I was dead already. (I'll admit I thought I must have been in heaven as " cornwilly, " predominated my digestive organs for weeks). As a farewell gift, I was allowed a can of " gold fish " and a litter of beans, accompanied by a half-loaf of bread. I was soon on my way and by evening, located the claim and prepared to guard. The location selected was just beyond a slope and must have been an old French gun position. It had two dugouts with a trench leading between, scantily camouflaged and muddy. After striking a few matches, I saw a German helmet protruding through sort of a barricade that "made up" the dug out. To be sure, I fired two shots at the "intruder." Satisfying myself it was finis, I sheepishly advanced rather ashamed of my cowardice. But being a New Yorker you soon learn that "Safety First" is a pretty good motto to follow. On close inspection, I noticed one hole clear through the top of the "cranium protector" but to my disgust, blood trickled through the aperture. I was certain I had little intention of sleeping in that particular dugout so moved to what must have been some Hun generals'. All conveniences were to be had, such as straw for a bed, half empty cans of solidified alcohol, two chairs, and in the evening, rats for company "It's only for a night" I said, so prepared for a sleep. I believe I slept for an hour or so, but that was brought to an abrupt end by a shell falling uncomfortably close to my private residence. I said shell but can easily make that plural. At that moment I thought I was the whole American Army consolidated, as I swore enough for a regiment. Even that was cut short, by a shower of dirt thrown rudely in my direction by an insulting direct hit. Our artillery must have heard my mixture of prayers and slaughter of the English language because a barrage began that continued for a good five hours. I smiled contentedly and continued to show my appreciation to "Morpheus." When the daylight came, I awoke lazy and hungry (as usual) Partaking of beans and bread, isn't very encouraging for one who has slept uneasily but eating is essential, regardless of the condition of your feelings. After saving half a can of "fruit" for dinner, I pulled in a hitch on my belt and prepared for the day. A half hour later found me in the infantry trenches with machine gunners. They had heard the pirate German gun but couldn't locate it. When I saw coffee coming down the narrow lane, I decided then and there, that if they couldn't find an enemy gun-neither could I. After a gulp of "java" I felt better and went to my home to await my relief. When it became night again, I figured they had either forgotten me, or left me for "the army of occupation." I still had a can of salmon to take out my vengeance on but discovered on opening same it was ancient and beyond eating. The next best thing to do was to impose upon my soldier brothers a kilo away. Arrived with greetings and after explaining my predicament, was rewarded with a whole box of hard tack and a canteen of water. On my way back rejoicing, I was cut off from my "home" by a succession of one-pounders coming in close proximity to my person. Lying flat in a shell hole with a foot of dirt higher than your head, is much more comforting than being the same distance, above. Figuring, they -the Huns, had discontinued the barricading barrage, I "rabbited " to my hovel with enough prayers said and saying, to save my soul from hades twenty times over. The question of slumber was far away so I layed counting shell bursts until I finally "passed out of the picture of light." I received word next day to return, as our battery had decided to move to another front. Two days later the Italians, who took the same positions, were driven back. The dugout, forty eight hours ago my shelter, was now in the hands of the Bosche. And to think how fussy I am about having a German " P. G. " on my spinal column.



The greater part of the personnel of a Supply Company being "mule skinners, " this story will necessarily-if the real work of the company is to be described-have to centre around mules, horses and wagons, not forgetting the men who handle them and who, in the army, are officially known and rank as " wagoners. " As is probably known, the Supply Company escort wagon is the means of bringing rations and ammunition to the Batteries at the front. Since this is true, it can readily be appreciated that the escort wagon to the Supply Company is as important as the gun is to the Battery.

Of what use is a gun unless you have the animals to pull it into position for you; on the same basis of what good is an escort wagon unless your animals stand up and help you? It follows, therefore, that you must be good to your mule if you want her to be good to you. Nearly all our "mule skinners" named their mules and the names ran from "Jennie" to the names of Queens. One man in particular named his mule after his intended wife; THEIR name was Nora Bayes. This particular mule had the distinction of driving the water cart.

It is also interesting to note that one entire battery might be wiped out and yet the regiment would be able to hold its ground while, if the Supply Company was destroyed the entire regiment would cease functioning.

The task of feeding and supplying an Artillery regiment is not an easy one, and as for the Commanding Officer of the Supply Company who is also the Regimental Supply Officer he is responsible that the men and officers are fed, supplied with clothing and otherwise equipped. In a sense, he is father and mother to nearly 1,500 officers and men always worrying about the condition of the men's shoes, clothing and other equipment. So is he always concerned about the rations of the men, being on the alert to see that the components of the ration, are such as to give the men the necessary variety. Of course, this is the most difficult part of the Supply Officer's task since the army menu is so limited. If bacon happens to be issued one day the entire regiment wants to know why hash wasn't issued instead, and if hash should be in order the cry is "why can't we get bacon?"

The Supply Company had its first casualties at Fismes. While at Chery, 2 men were killed and 3 were gassed. Wagoner Jackob Jackson was one of the men killed. About five minutes before he was hit he was cleaning his harness in front of his wagon. The Company Clerk who was passing was stopped and shown a letter which Jackson had just received from his wife. The glad tidings that he was the father of a little boy was conveyed in the letter. Jackson asked the clerk to get him the additional allowance from the Government because of the birth of the child, adding 49 my wife says that things are very high in the States and she needs the money." The clerk promised to attend to it immediately and then jumped into Jackson's wagon to look for some candy that the K of C had distributed the day before. It wasn't a minute after that that the Hun commenced shelling again, the second one hitting and breaking within five feet of the wagon. On investigation it was found that Jackson was hit in the back of the head. He died on his way to the hospital.

In the last months of the campaign, the rout of the Hun having been so complete, they were forced to retreat so fast that our Infantry and Artillery experienced difficulty in keeping up with them, the roads and bridges being destroyed after the enemy had vacated. We were hot on the trail always keeping within a few hours of the Batteries.

In addition, the roads were almost impassable, the heavy traffic and the continued rain having helped to make matters worse. Not only were these conditions to be met with; at several places between Thenorgues and Raucourt the road was mined by the retreating enemy each explosion having torn up the road for about 25 yards and each excavation being 40 feet deep. This, of course, prevented the movement of the long supply trains and even the guns. Troops on foot had only to walk around these holes but vehicles could not do this. The engineers were early on the job and built roads around the torn up places; to attempt to fill in the roads would require days of hard work, the holes being so large. These were not the only troubles of a Supply Company. We could only move at night. The mules were exhausted after the continuous advance and it was not unusual for 10 or 15 of us, with heavy packs on our backs, to help the mules out of a bad spot. Some of the men would get on the wheels while others would push from the rear. Of course the men were just as tired and exhausted as the mules but the difference was that American soldiers can understand why they must go on while the mules had not the intelligence to know. It does seem strange for the very same mules always knew when it was time for them to be fed, watered or groomed and if by chance they were not fed on time every men within a radius of miles knew what the trouble was.

The composition of the personnel of the Supply Company was quite varied. It ranged from cobblers to poets. It can truly be called a melting pot. The following was written by the company poet one afternoon while all traffic was held up for about an hour due to breaks in the road:

The old Supply is lumbering,
Along the muddy road;
The Guns up there are slumbering,
They want this heavy load.

No glory in this hovering,
In shell-torn village streets,
No glory in the covering,
From hostile airship fleets.

The boys up there are hungering,
We must push on-that's all;
There's no use in our buggering,
We've got to heed their call.

The drivers now are whispering,
They urge and cuss the mules,
The hubs are all ablistering,
But who cares for the rules.

This is no time for faltering,
The boys must have their chow;
Drive on, though all are sweltering,
We must get there somehow.

You may not call this soldiering,
I know they have the stuff.
Within no fear is smouldering,
They all are brave but gruff.

And when there is a reckoning,
Back home where all is fair,
From those who do the beckoning,
I know they'll get their share.


Don't ask me the date, for when we were at the front, and we were seldom away from it, that was the last thing we thought of. I remember it was a Sunday and sometime in August. Sunday I am sure, for Mike, who was our cook, said, "Boys, a good Sunday dinner and no Corned Willy."

The place where we were to have this feast, was near Chery Chartreuve, and anyone who was in that sector knew how Jerry would shell it, especially around meal times. But for the benefit of those who were not there, let me say that there was hardly a square yard of open country that did not bear evidence of Hun artillery.

Well, the rations had come up and Mike and his able assistants were busy preparing, what we thought, was to be a good meal. Not that our meals were bad, but after eating corned beef straight, camouflaged and otherwise for almost a week, I assure you that Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes and Rice Pudding was a feast. They were progressing wonderfully well, when about 5 P.m. Jerry started his customary shelling. One hit near the kitchen, which by the way was in a direct line of fire, which caused Mike and the K. P's to "Partee tout de suite." Not that I blame them the least bit for doing that, for the farther you were away from the shells, the better you felt. They were about to go back and get the meal ready for serving, when Zowie, along comes a Hun 150, crashes right through the wall in back of the stove, and spreads dinner, in fact our next two meals, all over the walls.

Our Major came running out of the P. C., which was in the same building, to see what had happened, and the first one he should meet was Mike. All Mike could say, was, "Major, they shoota de hell out of the kitch."
That's all there is to it, except that it was Corned Willy again for supper and, well I guess you imagine what we wished the Hun.


The First shot fired by the 305th Regiment, F. A., was, (1) July 1 1th 1918, 3:10 P. m. (2) Battery "A" 305th F. A. (3) One kilo. east of Neuf Maisons (4) Gun Crew:
Sgt. Wallace
Corp. Anselowicz Pvts. Elsnik Lundy Berg
Christy Zuccola (5) Remarks: The gun was laid for registration on an angle of a German communicating trench. The first shot was lost. The change was then made from high explosive to shrapnel and the second round, with the same data, showed the burst about three mils off the target. Not only was this the first shot of the Brigade, but it also was the first shot fired by any National Army Artillery in the war.
The last shot fired by the 305th Regiment, F. A. was (i) November 10th, 1918 Sunday 4:10 P. m.
(91) Battery "B " 305th F. A.
(3) Harraveourt Dept. Ardennes
Approximately 19. kilometers south of Sedan dept. of Ardennes; 4 kilometers north of Raucourt dept. of Ar-dennes and 27 kilometers northwest of Montmedy dept. of Meuse.
Battery position on a high hill to the east of the town of Haraucourt at a distance of y' Km. from the center of the town and the main road to Sedan.

Co-ordinates of the Battery position:
(4) Gun Crew:
Sgt Geo. Foose, Chief of Section
Acting Corp. Hunt, Gunner
Pvts. Burgeron, No. I
J. Stavish, No. 9.
Tom Moore, No. 3
E. A. Olsen, No. 4
J. Brennen, No. 5
(5) Remarks: Fire for registration.
Target, Farm house to the north.
Total number of rounds, 38.
Last shell, cleaned by No. 5, Pvt. Brennen. fused by No. 4, Pvt. Olsen. fuse set by No. 3, Pvt. Moore. loaded by No. 2, Pvt. Stavish. fired by No. 1, Pvt. Burgeron.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2021 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.