The Response

Charles Wadsworth Camp


Verpel, Nov. 2,1918.
The march was nearing its end. Wearily the battery splashed thru the muddy streets of Verpel, across the brook and up the hill. "Column Right "-"Halt" It was an abandoned gun position. The piles of ammunition and fuses strewn around were evidences of a hasty retirement. The emplacements with trail logs intact were immediately appropriated and the platforms placed. In short order the guns were in position to open up on the retreating Bosche. Meanwhile the picket line and kitchen were being established below the hill. A fire was started and none too soon came the welcome call: " Chow's ready." And this time it was real chow-not corn williy or bully beef-but beans, rice and coffee.

Meanwhile Jerry had started evening serenade in rapid succession shells were dropping on the nearby road but not near enough to distract the hungry men. Suddenly the whine of an approaching shell grew louder, and before one could duck, it exploded. Sudden pandemonium-the air was full of rice, beans and messkits-the diners lay on their faces in the mud. The cry "Anyone hurt" was followed from the picket line by "Medical man! "

The Captain hastened to the picket line and discovered that our Chinese driver, Charlie Wing, was wounded.
" Where are you hurt, Wing? " asked the Captain.
"In the kitchen, " was the surprising answer.


It was outside Fontenoy. The battery was lined up along a hedge behind a low bank. The Germans had hastily vacated the position leaving two 77's behind, but they were now attempting a stand. Shells were dropping in unpleasant proximity and the cannoneers had been ordered to seek what little protection the bank offered. Altho there had been several narrow escapes, the battery had as yet not suffered, altho a six-inch had exacted a large toll from the doughboys who in unbroken stream were filing past.

The phone rang and word came that artillery was needed to clean out several troublesome machine gun nests. The executive, Lt. Stribling, called to the section chiefs: " I want three volunteers from each gun crew to work the guns." Crouching low, the men ran to their posts and when the firing data arrived, not a single man was missing from his post.


WHEN Regimental Hdq. moved forward from Verpel one morning Pvt. Pugh was ordered to take the motorcycle to the next stop, which they told him would be St. Piermont. He started out at 10 A. m. and before he had gone one half a kilo he had had three punctures, which kept him busy for most of the day. He reached St. Piermont at dusk, and was informed by a truck driver that Reg. Hq. had moved to the next town. When he got to the next town an M. P. on a cross road told him they had not stopped and thinking they would surely stop at the next town, he continued for 3 kilo to a fork in the road with no sign boards. He took the right hand road and traveled about 6 kilo passing thru a little shell torn village. There was a field hospital here of the 82nd Div. where he stayed for the night and bummed supper from them. Next morning he refilled his gas & oil tank and asked for directions to the front, knowing that Headquarters would be farther front than a field hospital. He rode until 9 A. M. over a poor road full of shell holes and finally got off his machine and decided to consider himself lost. The gunfire seemed pretty close on both sides of him. It was very desolate and hilly and he sat and waited about a half hour, when a driver with a gun limber came from ahead and told him he should have taken the left hand road at the forks and also showed him a short way to get back to the forks. He took this driver's word altho he had a funny feeling that maybe it wasn't right, and after going over a sort of wagon trail for 5 kilo he hit a good hard road and kept on down it. The firing didn't seem any closer and he saw a lot of aeroplanes and after passing a small village with a big brick wall he came to 3 Germans at work with shovels filling in a shell hole in the road. They stopped work and looked up amazed at him, and he thought at first that they were prisoners, but he saw no provost guard or M. P. and thought that very funny. He went on about 400 meters and in making a big turn saw on the right hand side of the road a village and the main street and saw nothing but Germans and so many that he did not need further proof that he was in German territory. Some of the Germans had packs and rifles and seemed to be ready to move or leave the town. He turned the machine around and went back the road he had come down passing the three road workers who were still staring and talking together excitedly. As he passed with the ma-chine wide open they threw down their shovels and ran across the road and into the brush. He continued as fast as he could make the machine go thru the next village and down the good road, but did not meet a soul until about 6 kilo from the place he had seen the Germans when be was stopped by infantry from the 42nd Division. He was so scared he could hardly talk and as shells were going over head high over he did not stay long and traveled along until be ran out of gas, he built a fire and waited 2 hours for a truck which gave him gas and a loaf of bread. It was nearly dark so he stayed right there and didn't camouflage himself or machine as he was so scared he said he couldn't be more so. Next morning he ran into the 304th ration dump and as they wouldn't feed him on account of divisional orders he got directions and found Reg. Hq. off to the right.



IN ORDER to learn the sector that our Battalion was to be called upon to cover, I spent some time at the 0. P. of the 1st Battalion of the 16th F. A. on the hill just North of Les Pres Farm during the day upon which the first two of our guns were to be put into position. As the work was entirely new to me I was directed to remain at the 0. P. for the night so as to familiarize myself with the rocket signals for barrage, and the methods employed in locating the flashes of enemy guns.

The 0. P. had evidently been chosen when the enemy was still on the move back, following the American thrust at Chateau Thierry, for it did not offer sufficient cover, nor did it have an approach hidden from enemy view. With the stabilizing of the lines the Hun had begun to search the area for observation posts and had become convinced that the activity which he noticed along the line of low brush was associated with the gun flashes which were nightly visible over the crest of the hill behind. He had decided that it was well worth while to devote a little attention now and then to discourage the use of this location for the purpose of observation, and the observers were beginning to realize this. When meals or more interesting targets did not occupy him Fritz would drop a few in the vicinity, and with better adjustment as he became more practiced the prospect was not inviting.

From the series of little trenches, extending along at intervals for perhaps a hundred meters, constituting the Battery and Battalion 0. P.'s it was possible to view the terrain immediately to the front for a kilometer and a half. Then came an abrupt drop into the valley of the Vesle with nothing visible till the sharp rise of the far bank with scattering woods and a broad plateau reached back to perles about due north and Blanzey to the northeast. immediately down the slope was a mass of battered masonry -what had once been the town of Mount St. Martin.

Some time after darkness had settled down for good the Hun began an intense artillery fire upon our infantry lines along the Vesle bottom. It was not long before our guns were replying in kind, apparently putting on a greater concentration and continuing some time after the Hun had reduced his rate. While our fire was still going on some gas shelling began on the woods which lay 100 meters to our left and ran down the hillside toward the valley. As the wind was carrying in our direction, we donned our masks. The town was next given a drenching, the fire continuing for some time at irregular intervals.

The lieutenant on duty had been in communication with his Battalion Commander from time to time on the telephone reporting the appearance of rockets and the situation as indicated by the firing. We were suddenly aroused by the beam of a searchlight off to the northwest over in enemy territory. It was almost immediately followed by a terrific artillery fire sweeping the slope between our post and Mount St. Martin and apparently drawing back on the town itself. Just after the initial outburst the phone buzzed, the major reporting that the Battery Commander whose guns were located just over the crest to our rear had seen a figure outlined against the sky and noticed the flash of a light as if a signal were being given the enemy. A hasty consultation followed and Lieutenant Davidson slipped out of the trench and was lost in the night.

It was some five minutes later that a faint report sounded in the distance. Some noise in the fallen branches out in front of us attracted our attention at this moment. I challenged. A dark figure faltered up and between pauses for breath told me that he was an infantryman and that he and four or five comrades had fled from the artillery fire that had just engulfed the town. He had no idea where he was nor what had become of his comrades in the darkness. All that he did know was that his company had been relieved and on the way back from the lines had halted in the town for rest. All at once Hell-fire had been let loose beyond the town and had seemed to be everywhere when they had tried to escape as it drew back on them. I dispatched him at once to the P.C. of the Battalion Commander to report the circumstances.
It was some time before Lt. Davidson returned. He had seen flashes and the outline of a man. At his challenge the man had run. His shot had missed the mark. His search had developed nothing.

As the hours dragged on toward dawn and we recalled the incidents of the night we came to very definite conclusions. The enemy was aware that the relief was to take place and had laid down his fire in the valley while the relief was going on. Knowing that the withdrawal would in all probability be made through Mount St. Martin or the woods west of the town he had saturated the woods and the village with gas so that the progress would be held up. The flash signal from the hill immediately to our rear bad announced the arrival of our troops in the town. The searchlight that had swept the sky had been a signal for the delivery of the death dealing fire.

It was toward 5:30 the following afternoon that I made my way from Les Pres Farm up the slope of the hill past the two batteries of 75's which were set side by side on its bare face, only disguised by the flat green nets stretched over them. The hillside was pockmarked with shell holes. A telephone wire wrapped at frequent intervals with taping ran forward toward the woods, mute evidence of the work the linesmen were doing, and telling the story of the hail of splinters that the gunners endured to serve their pieces.

Followed at some distance by Corporal Tucker with the telescope and Shackman who was to operate the tele-phone I moved across the open to the edge of the woods and worked east along the thin brush which ran out to the 0. P. The Lieutenant who had been on duty did not waste any time in gathering up his instruments and turning over the freedom of the little observing trench to us. Hardly bad he left with his men when the slow twist of a "150" brought us to a crouching position in the shallow earthwork. There was a pause of perhaps thirty seconds and another had cleared us by a hundred meters. Corporal Tucker and I did not stand on ceremony but huddled together in the deeper end of the trench under overhead cover consisting of some light branches over which shelter half was stretched. The next ten minutes was succession of deafening crashes which rocked the ground and sent splinters humming overhead, each preceded by the sickening whine of the projectile, and a moment of awful suspense when our hearts sank and asked whether that was to be the last.

At length a pause came and we began to breath more freely with the thought that he had finished the allotment for this time. A call to the adjoining trench assured us that no one had been hurt and we disentangled ourselves and straightened our muscles a bit. I gasped with dismay as I saw one of our linesmen spring out from the next trench to mend a break that the shelling had caused somewhere along the line. Warning was too late, and before he had cleared us by a minute the roar of another explosion rent the air. A second blast not fifteen seconds later told us that the show was on in earnest this time. The shells were now drawing closer and closer and clods of earth began to drop with a thud on the ground about us and to strike the frail cover over our heads. The air seemed to be momentarily compressed giving a sense of friction with the whirling of each shell as it passed. Closer and closer they came. At last one struck with a terrifying crash tearing away sections of the brush and sending a deluge of earth and splinters in all directions. A dash after the next one struck seemed the only hope.

The buzz of the flying fragments was still in the air when we cleared the trench and started madly across the open. A flying leap found me in a shell hole as the whine and blast of another filled the air. Before I realized it, I was up and off again my only thought being to get to the flank. A dash of 100 feet and I landed in another crater huddled against the near edge with my helmet and a little entrenching shovel-goodness knows where I got it-protecting my head and neck. The regular whur and blast continued, now here now there and as the splinters hummed over me, I reflected in a cold sweat upon the probable error of the "150" howitzer, and experienced with bitter irony the practical demonstration of dispersion.

After what seemed an interminable period the bombardment came to an end. For about five minutes I lay still lest a move precipitate another deluge. Not knowing what fate my comrades had met with I began to call and whistle in the hope of determining where they might be before I made a move. Getting no reply, I crept out and started cautiously back in the direction of the 0. P. to find that my telephone operator was at his post and the line again in operation. The scant fringe of brush had been torn and uprooted all about; the ground was gouged up and everywhere were clods of sticky clay that clung to the shoes. Crawling through the tangle of fallen branches, I reached what had been my neighbor's trench. The telescope blown against the side had a hole where a splinter bad cut through and carried away the glass. Blankets and coats which had been lying on the ground were cut into shreds as though an axe had been used, on them.

A terrible sense of depression seized me as I came to the edge of the trench. Death had claimed one of the number that had been with me but a few moments before. Perhaps Private Silber died thinking he had played but an empty role in the great struggle, yet it was his death that taught me the prime necessity of utmost caution when undertaking observation work and led me to an immediate decision to abandon the place. What the price might have been, had we continued to remain there, one can only conjecture. Certain it is, that the Hun shelled the place unmercifully long after we had left it.

Dusk had now settled, and with the prospects of spending the night amid surroundings so desolate, it was a relief to learn over the telephone that Corporal Tucker had escaped unharmed and would join me again in a short time. I began to bethink myself of where we might move to. It was perfectly evident that to attempt to maintain an 0. P. in the immediate vicinity would be suicidal, but no move could be thought of while we must keep our watch for barrage signals during the night. As the hours wore on the Hun began to deliver gas on the woods to our left and the air was filled with a pungent odor as of mouldly hay. It was two hours before we dared to remove our masks and breathe freely again. The only possibility for reestablishing ourselves, however, seemed to be in the front edge of this, very block of woods. I directed the telephone detail to report before daybreak with wire prepared to lay a line to such a place as I could find there. Before leaving, Corporal Tucker and I rearranged the branch camouflage and improvised a fake telescope and figure out of some white birch branches and the tattered blankets in the hope that Fritz would think the place still occupied.

The thin mist of early morning was beginning to dissipate when we completed the transfer. A shallow dugout about five by seven feet located just inside the wood had been abandoned by one of the regiments that had been relieved and I decided to employ it. The roof offered protection from splinters to be sure, but unfortunately the foot or so of earth was supported upon stringers not more than three or four inches through and could only be expected to cave in with anything like a direct hit. A screen of brush about four feet in height immediately in front of the woods' edge and blending in with the surrounding underbrush allowed the setting up of our telescope. As the observer must sit entirely exposed to fire it was a case of waiting for the first one to strike and trusting that it hit at a respectable distance. After it had struck you made your decision as to whether you had best retire to the dugout, or would try your luck with a few more.

During our stay on the Vesle, this 0. P. was in operation day and night 24 hours every day. Small details of men, when shelling did not prevent, were almost constantly at work in making the place as safe as could be done with the means at hand. Eventually observation was had from a wooden box, about the size of a telephone booth, which was sunk in the ground to a depth of about five feet and had a prow shaped front of I inch steel protruding perhaps eight or ten inches above the earth's surface. From the rear a narrow six foot trench ran back a ways, and, turning squarely, extended on to the dugout in which we slept. Under severe shelling we would leave the dugout and crouch in the bottom of the trench.

Movement visible in German territory was almost nil. Now and then a man might be seen walking about, but seldom more than two were ever together. Our guns were registered almost daily on the dull grey walls of the once peaceful village of Perles, and fired on batteries of the enemy that we picked up under favoring conditions by their smoke. One day I was much interested by observing half a dozen horse drawn ambulances that passed along the roads at intervals during the day. I learned with satisfaction that we had delivered a gas attack on the left. Had I at this time been initiated, as I later was, into some of the methods of waging war that the Hun considered legitimate, I would have called for fire upon these wagons.

Barrage calls by rocket were frequently relayed back from the O.P. to the batteries by Very pistols, fired from behind our hill, a man running back through the woods to do it. This was some times our only means of reaching the guns quickly for wires were cut at all hours of the day and night. Projectors were also set up and used for this purpose.

One of the most glorious exhibitions of the obliterating power of the artillery came on the afternoon preceding the night upon which the Hun withdrew to the Aisne. For two days previous we had picked up movements of troops on the heights across the Aisne, fully fifteen kilometers away, and had seen large numbers of horses grazing. Toward four o'clock our " 155's" opened up on the town of Perles and on the region to the east and west. With the burst of each shell a great cloud of dust would rise up and crawl along westward. At times, the town was lost completely in the blanket which extended for more than five hundred meters, and rose to a height of a couple of hundred. Zone fire over an area west of Blanzey drubbed the ground like heavy rain drops. All at once a great burst of flame shooting skyward recorded a direct hit on an ammunition dump. It was not long before the fire was creeping along the ground and apparently licking up new stores as it went. At least two hours elapsed before the flames subsided and died away. We found later when we moved forward into this region that two Battery positions had been swept by the fire, their camouflage burned away and a great deal of their ammunition destroyed. Over on our left, north of Bazoches another dump went up under a terrific downpour of the "how's."

During the night, the Hun announced his retirement by fires started for the most part toward early morning. It was a strange and uncanny feeling to be able to move about with freedom and to view our infantry in a thin line working across the open the other side of the Vesle in the direction of Perles. Our barrage line was well forward and we adjusted with semi steel shell at a range of 8500 meters. The following morning we picked up our instruments and moved forward. It was really quite a blow to leave our little " Gibraltar " for it had been our home for many a long hour and had protected us from a hail of wicked splinters.

The Battalion P.C. was now located near a sand pit some distance down the valley from Blanzey and I was directed to go forward to reconnoitre a new O.P. which would cover the region between Oeuilly on the west and Cuisy farm on the east. My first effort did not give me the sweep required and Lieutenant Colonel Easterday -then our major-arriving on the scene with his Battery Commanders on reconnaissance of positions forward, started me off in the direction of Serval.

Dusk was coming on when I reached the cross roads 500 meters from the end of the valley in which the town lay. It would have been folly to go out on the bare hill that I expected to get observation from for the Hun was pounding the tar out of the town and the hill itself was receiving a full share. For some time we watched the powdered dust rise from the battered ruins. When the fire had slackened I sent Braun, my telephone man, back to start the laying of a wire to a point which I designated. Michel and I waited a while longer and then began our reconnaissance for a suitable place to establish ourselves. A couple of battery emplacements from which the enemy had retired were in the vicinity but offered no view of our sector. We extended our search over the entire face of the hill only to find it barren of possibilities. It had now become too dark to warrant a continuance of our efforts on unfamiliar ground with our own line only a short distance away. We seated ourselves in a ditch at a road crossing and awaited the arrival of the wiremen. A misunderstanding resulted in our remaining here all night during which time the Hun tried out every form of gas he had in stock and put down a barrage that dropped splinters in the road near us. Expecting the detail to arrive at any time, we fought off sleep, though it required a tremendous effort. When it became light enough for me to make my way about I set out for the town on the chance that I might find some possibility there. Working along the brush that fringed the top of the valley, I reached a point from which I could see a house that was still intact and which stood out from the other buildings like a lighthouse on the nose of the hill. Exercising extreme caution, I dodged from cover to cover until I got within a stone's throw. Then I had to move directly across the open. A hasty examination of the interior developed the fact that we could get excellent observation, that it had good walls and that it had a roof. As the rear door by which we must enter was opposite a window I hung some old clothing, found in the attic, over a wire in such a way as to break the light and prevent our being outlined against the sky as we passed in and out. This done, I began to look for some stairway leading down to a cellar. There was none, and with visibility now sufficiently good to permit the enemy to pick up any movements outside. I did not dare go out the front door and down the flight of steps to carry my investigation further. I wasted no time in retiring from the house and making my way back to the little shelter in which I had left Michel.

Still in doubt as to why the wire had not come we separated and plodded back to Blanzey by different routes so as to meet up with the detail if it were on the way. Arriving at the Battalion P. C. I found orders awaiting me. I was to establish an 0. P. immediately and proceed to the registration of the guns.

The thought of laying a wire out to Serval over the face of an open hill upon which the enemy had direct observation was a bit flabbergasting. Furthermore, the fact that my observatory was on a point which projected into the enemy line and exposed to view from two sides due to the bow to the southeast that the line took, would simply mean that to carry a wire there in the day time would give the place away at the outset. "Orders is Orders" and in a couple of hours I was leading a procession from Blanzey that was telling out wire behind me. Lt. Hoar, just arrived with the regiment, and Corporal Rice who was to act as telephonist followed me at intervals. We took a course as direct as possible owing to the length of the run and upon reaching the valley we crouched and crawled along, keeping close to the cover afforded by the brush on the very edge of the precipitate side. Reaching a point protected by a heavy growth of tree tops, we set aside our instruments and equipment and waited for the linesmen to come up with us.

Kind circumstance had a surprise in store for me., The run proving longer than was anticipated, it was necessary to send back for more wire. The wire available had suffered under the service at the Vesle and required considerable testing to locate leaks before it carried through. While we were lying there, the Hun began to shell the town below us and to deliver some scattered shots where he had picked up the movements of our linesmen. We were still a couple of hundred meters from the house which we could see from our location, but I did not propose to make the move across the open to it until the line was in operation as far as we had come. It was, to say the least, somewhat disquieting to have the Hun now register a battery of " 105's " on a tree which stood a couple of hundred meters behind our observatory to be. As the rounds whined over we passed judgment as to whether they were going to be "shorts" or "overs. " Some of the fragments sang over our heads and kept us on the anxious seat, but none was labeled for us as it turned out.

At length the line was in operation and the decision must be made as to whether the parade to the house would be staged immediately or delayed till dusk, which was rapidly coming on. I decided upon the latter.

The wire to complete the run proved insufficient, and Corporal Rice with Sergeant Hickey who had come up with rations, went out in the darkness to salvage some German wire. Lt. Hoar and I immediately began to search for some place to which we might retire in the event of shelling. passing down the flight of steps from the front door to the ground level of the front of the house we found that the room under the main house was a cow barn. Feeling our way toward a dark passage in the far wall, we descended a flight of steps to another level. Here I lighted a match and examined our surroundings. The room we found ourselves in had evidently been employed by the Germans as a dugout for there was straw on the ground and a chair or two. A smaller room separated from the main one by a wall had some 20 or 30 unfused " 150's " and " 155's " lying on the floor, but our attention was chiefly taken up with a shell that was lying in the centre of the main room. It was placed in a very suspicious Position, was fused, and had an oblong brown box resting against its nose.

The possibility of having the house blown up from the explosion of this device had no appeal for me and I knew that our work would be doubly taxing if we had this possibility hanging over us. A few minutes later I was outside holding the end of a wire that ran down the passage-way and around the nose of the shell. A moment of suspense, and I returned to find that I had succeeded in pulling the shell away from the brown box without causing it to detonate. I made two trips, throwing the box over the cliff and depositing the shell some distance up the street where it would do us no harm. We cut a hole through the floor the following morning and constructed a ladder which permitted our descending to the cellar without being observed.

I will never understand how this house failed to be hit more than once during the next nine days for shells of all calibers struck all about us and splinters even cut through the roof. We slept, that is the two of us not on duty, within six feet of a window facing the direction of enemy fire, but they never got the grove. Rations came up at night, and water was carried from a water spout down in the town, that was regularly shelled as a likely place by the Hun. No one was permitted to approach or leave during daylight. One night a German dog with a bell on its collar could be heard running along in the street below us. It was possible to see our infantry outposts a few hundred meters way, though they were not aware of our presence.

Perhaps, one of the most amusing experiences I ever had was my night and day with the Italian officer who came up to take over this 0. P. My French consists of the salvaged variety that the average American soldier has to offer, and my efforts to convey information as to where to look for barrage signals and the points that we used to adjust fire on, convulsed him. Thanks to his ready wit and intelligence, most of my attempts ended successfully. I bated to turn over such a Hell-hole to anybody, for the morning of the day upon which he came up, it had been necessary to evacuate one of my men who had been wounded by a gas shell fragment, and this could not fail to result in the 0. P. being spotted and destroyed if the Hun was wide awake. I fled from the place as if a fiend were following me, when the time had arrived for me to go.

The towering oak that served as the 0. P. at the outset of the Argonne Show September 26, was only necessary for a day. My next move was to the 307th Infantry which was cleaning up the Fontainaux Charmes above La Harazee and starting into the heavily wooded region in the area back of the German trench system. Observation of fire was practically impossible, and although I went forward to the infantry front line, and even beyond it, in an effort to obtain information that would enable us to fire more effectively, it proved almost useless. On one occasion when Lieuts. Bullen and Burden and I made up the party, we worked well out in advance of our own line in hopes of being able to observe the effectiveness of a rolling barrage which they were to follow up. Sniping fire from enemy machine guns stopped us and for a quarter of an hour during which time we had to work back across a twenty foot band of barbed wire and dodge across a wood road that he had covered with a machine gun, it was a toss up as to whether or not we wouldn't be picked off by our own people as they came up.

Although I extended my search over all of the high ground in the vicinity and did manage to find a couple of places from which some view could be bad, observation of fire in the Argonne Forest proved a failure. The first real sweep I obtained, was from a beech tree which was located on the summit of the hill north of the Moulin de Charlevaux near where Major Whittlesey's battalion had been cut off. Although this was out some two or three hundred meters beyond our outposts and offered an excellent target for snipers, Fritz either was not in the vicinity or else thought he would wait until I established myself. For 15 or 20 minutes, I looked off to the northwest to where the woods ended and I could see German guns along fences in open fields firing upon the French Division upon our left. Before I was able to get a wire laid to this point, our infantry was on the move again, and I was trudging along behind them.

Our infantry was now roughly drawn up along a line before Grand Pre on the west and St. Juvin on the east. I was directed to go forward to Chevieres for the purpose of ascertaining the condition of the roads and bridges for the passage of artillery across the River Aire. In order to obtain a view of the crossing, it was necessary to work down toward the river in advance of our line, but as was so often the case, Fritz did not prevent an individual reconnaissance, though he probably would have shot up a squad of men if they had attempted to show themselves anywhere near there a few minutes later.

The attack on Grand Pre, on the 15th of October, 1918, found me leading a string of 8 runners down across the open toward our infantry line which was dug in along the railroad embankment. Machine gun bullets striking in the grass around us brought us to the ground, and a burst of shell fire drove us back into the woods we had just emerged from. I later succeeded in reaching the embankment with two of my men, but it was only at dusk that a crossing of the river was effected and the companies began to feed over in single file. During the night, while the 307th was engaged in house to house fighting in the town and we could hear machine gun fire rattling intermittently, the officers of the 312th Infantry of the 78th Division arrived at the shelter by the railroad which was the first Battalion P. C. and preparations for relieving were begun. In the morning, I made my way across while the 312th was attacking and reported to their Major who had taken for his P. C. a cellar which had been similarly employed by one of the Company commanders of the 307th, the night before.

Owing to the relief taking place before the 307th had been able to clean up the nose of high ground in the northeastern section of the town, the Run was able to snipe and harass from here most effectively. This, together with the splendid observation he had on the whole region from the heights to the north, made it possible for him to employ his artillery to cover the river crossings and the flatland of the broad valley so thoroughly that it was well nigh impossible for anyone to get across, much less evacuate the wounded, When I pulled out late the following afternoon, the town was receiving a terrific shelling from the north-east and I couldn't help recalling my departure from the house in Serval and experiencing much the same feeling of foreboding for the fine fellows I had just left.

After ten days out of the line our guns took up positions near Cornay and I went forward to St. Juvin to reconnoiter a forward 0. P. for the attack staged Nov. 1. The place was reeking with gas and the bridges thrown over the river were under heavy fire, particularly that which must be used for the passage of our guns. Our infantry had not yet relieved, and the 82nd Division which was in the line had a Battalion P. C. in a building down the street running east from the church. The Major informed me that observation could best be obtained from the church steeple but as I evinced no enthusiasm for the project he added that it was possible to see a bit from the trenches their line occupied some 200 meters from the church. Going out with a runner I found the men occupying an old German system, shallow and pretty mussy. It was getting hazy and as I couldn't get the view I wanted, I went out about a hundred meters beyond some loose wire that had been put out. Fortunately, the Run was some distance away, could not see very distinctly, and his aim was a trifle short, so I made my way back to the town, and after investigating the church decided it met my requirements.

During the day of the attack, it was possible to see Hun activity to the southeast of Champigneulle, which our infantry was working on, but due to the fact that the exact location of our line was in doubt, fire was not permitted upon one nest that raked the bare slopes of the approach and put a withering fire on our men when they attempted to advance. When the break came the following morning, there was a rapid forward movement , to Thenorgues and the next day to the crest south of Oches. It was here for the first time that I noticed white flags flying from the towns. Activity on the roads leading into Stonne, which stood on a crest 8 kilos to the north, and some smoke now and then from buildings led me to believe that we were close on the enemy's tail, and I called for fire from the heavies. Fortunately, they had not yet pulled into position, due to the heavy going and the congestion on the roads, for, as I learned the next day from a French civilian, the white flags indicated the presence of civilians.

Machine gun pits hastily dug in the face of the hill opposite us, allowed of our " 75s " executing some telling fire, and I took especial delight in directing the fire of one of our own machine guns upon some of the Bosches as they retired under the shelling. The fun was not all for me, however, for later on when I endeavored to adjust our fire on the Polka Farm lying out on the forward slope under a couple of low fir trees, Fritz got the range pretty well with a sniping "77" and spanked the ground just above me quite successfully with machine gun fire.

Stonne was being shelled when I entered the town. It was a pathetic sight to see the wretched old men and women with the little barefoot children just evacuated by the Huns from around Sedan, all crowded together in the church in a frenzy of fear as they experienced for the first time the crashing horror of shell fire. By good fortune one of my men was of French descent and we succeeded in persuading the people to scatter through the buildings of the town in the hope of reducing the casualties. One direct hit on the church might have precipitated a terrible catastrophe.

Raucourt welcomed us with open heart, and it was almost impossible to persuade the people to take money for the heavy German black bread that they doled out to us with a layer of plum-colored apple butter. Only to keep as a souvenir of the arrival of the Americans could they be brought to the point of accepting it.

Our guns went into position east of Haracourt and we set up a telescope on a commanding hill overlooking Remilly and the far side of the Meuse, after an attempt to establish an 0. P. in the church there had resulted in two hits. Something was in the air, for we didn't receive the usual orders to pick up targets and fire on them, but rather instructions were to record all information of this nature for future information if called for. When, at night, I heard the rumbling of heavy traffic on the roads across the River, but was told that we were not to fire upon it, I became an optimist myself, and joined in the specu-lations of the hour.

As the hands of my watch crept on toward 11 A.M., that memorable morning of November 11th, I could not help but look back over the vista of the past months and marvel at the enduring loyalty to The Cause that had characterized every man with whom I had come in contact. If it had not been for the pluck and spirit that thought nothing of the cost, so long as it was a job to be done, I doubt if lots of us would be here today, for there is nothing like knowing the other fellow is absolutely sure to deliver, to stiffen a bowing back.

A word for the fellow who carries the rifle-though perhaps I was something of a doughboy myself. After sitting in on the going up through the Argonne Forest with its machine gun nests and barbed wire placed with all the craft of the evil one himself, I am proud to take off my hat to the men who could "carry on" through all of it and then with a black night and rain to boot, had the drive to " carry through" and snatch Grand Pre from a very unwilling Hun.

As for the fellows who rode the barking guns,-perhaps Fritz is the best man to apply to-for I only saw them as they went and didn't see them as they came, We'll let it go at that, for we of the artillery will stand on the record of our infantry well realizing that there's nothing like the crackle of your own guns to put pep in the old carcass when the going's rough.

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