Lost Battalion Article

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Lost Battalion Article - Sun'Hay, November 1,.- 1964. THE FRESNO BEE...
Sun'Hay, November 1,.- 1964. THE FRESNO BEE 'editqr/Vof ··' A me He an Heritage's new History Of World War I, -yie.read about the -d eiq. i s i y e:- blows . struck .by American ; troops,'' and aboiit the f poisoned peace jxzsh- '."' ioned by the'diplomats. '·:. By Joseph L. Gardner ; Only..two weeKs in.Septem- ber,-1918, separated America's^first. America's^first. full scale, independent independent ..battle of World -War I and.the beginning of the offensive offensive which was to lead to victory. . · I t took General John J. Pershing's 1st Army just two days, September 12th and 13th,. to eliminate the Saint- Mihiel salient, held for four American Heritage years by the Germans. The quick victory proved Pershing's Pershing's contention. that American American troops should be used as an independent force rather than as replacements in thinning thinning Allied ranks. But the. ease with which Pershing scored his triumph at Saint-Mihiel deceived him into accepting a new assignment assignment that was to prove immeasurably immeasurably more difficult and costly. ' Just a b o u t this time, Marshal F e r d i n a n d Foch, Allied supreme commander, was planning a massive Western Western Front offensive in which all the armies under his command command -- B e l g i a n , British, French; American -- were to join. The -'·gigantic-'assault, frdnv the: .No'fQi; ; :Se'a -Ibv Lorraine, Lorraine, was; designed : :td. : force the kaiser's legipns from their entrenched., positions in Belgium Belgium -and'.;,northern' France back' irito.Germany. :; !;x ':-' Yet · : riot :· .-!e.y. e n. J ·'Marshal Foch's'' grand', '^'strategy'- envisioned envisioned a conclusion that-autumn that-autumn to the war now entering its fifth year. The most Foch and other Allied.commanders hoped .for was a limited victory* victory* which would force Germany Germany into a negotiated settlement settlement during the spring of 1919.- ' : - . ' - , '..-' -^ Lead Assault Pershing's 1st Army was given the task of leading off the grand assault with an attack attack on S e p t e m b e r . 26th against the German ; line between between the Meuse .River and the Argonne. Forest. French, British, and ; Belgian armies were to follow with subse^ quent attacks to the northwest northwest at daily . i n t e r v a l s through September 29th. If he had not.been, so stubborn stubborn about maintaining the integrity of an independent American army, Pershing no doubt could have had an easier assignment. The sector he accepted as the new American American battle zone was one of the most-difficult on the entire entire Western Front. Pershing's right flank rested rested on the wooded heights overlooking the Meuse River, a few miles downstream from Verdun, scene of the ghastly 1916 battle between Germany and France. Twenty two miles away, the American left flank joined the French in the tangled tangled undergrowth of- the all ^Thinkbig ^ ^ mif** ·* + jA.Hy^fc^*-i^***yWt*--*-"^ .CT^l ij i i»* i\ Germans ;. .with -;b ay o n e ts charged. :Yprit ; got every ^qne 6f;'tKam;;V- ^; ; - ^.-^ffi-ffi The · German ·; unit ·· surrcnd- ered^ '' ^ thef ; tb .r^ipnl' j .the i'^ ' ' whei it:-"-" 'Tv 'Tv therg for . a ^ ;He had :-arid ;qrmpre enians :-ari silenced, ^machine guns^Vi ; e l l t 0 ' e ' r e i m » t a l you .. whole -, "Nossir^r replied ^the \mpd- ?st-. cprppral. ; '''I; OnljAhave ·By. Hud;October; L commahd- ngvtheientire AEF^ahd"/run- sing ajbattle atithe^ame' time ia;d : .b«^;qm0"-tw' big · a. Job. for JIackt'/track,; Pershing,: ( ; wh'6 relinqmslied ^cdrhniah'd pf v the American troops at: the front greet news of the armistice, November 11,1918. USMC National Archives. but impassable. Argonne For- Between the Meuse -River and the Argonne Forest, a - " - -'- ~ who .were responsible for : . it, was almost. totally: successful n deceiving the Germans. Eighteen. German divisions, in smaller woods presented' .any number of obstacles to a swift advance. In addition, the Germans Germans held this territory with ! our defensive lines,, from. 10 to .20 miles in depth. Thin Green Line Taking such strongly held Dositions in such .inhospitable terrain would have been a big order .for seasoned - veterans. As it .was, 'the Americans thrust : into battle at . the Meuse-Argonne were largely inexperienced, called -- only half humorously -- "the thin green line." Four of ..the. nine US. divisions slated '. for the first day's attack had. never- been in battle; the others had been. at Saint-Mihiel, but only as reserves. '. ···' v . . . One 'factor; -1 ·operating ; in America's -. f a-v b r was . the speed and secrecy with which :he 1st Army was shifted : rom the Saint-Mihiel" sector to · the Meuse-Argonne. A good deal of the credit for this ^skillful .movement must istVArmy staff officer named -Marshall, . . . and save regularly! "Open your account whoVwas. Just-, beginning the rise which would 'take him to the, position of army."chief of staff in World.War: IT;- , The logistical problems facing facing , Marshall . ' a n d · others on Pershing's 1st Army ; staff were staggering. ;·" Some 4,000 guns had to he put in place in the two weeks prior to the September 26th d e a ' d l i n e . A stockpile of 40,0.00 shells had to be built up for.the initial shoot; after the firing began, an additional additional 14 trainloads of shells daily would be needed. Massive Movement Moving the troops'was an even bigger project, for a total total .of .30 involved in ft FIRST FEDERAL SAVINGS ' j . A N D LOAN ASSOCIATION ^TM-- ntd Up T« KlfcOOO Br An A£«xy CH Tfc. Frfcr.f C divisions was the shift. N e w divisions were moved into the Saint-Mihiel sector to maintain maintain pressure t h e r e against the Germans and' deceive them as to . the , direction o: the next attack; veterans o: t h e Saint-Mihiel offensive had to be relieved and sent to rest areas; reserves were sen into the front lines; and the nine fresh divisions had to be assembled from various"points for the Meuse- Argonne as sault. All in all some 800,000 troops had to be moved in the two week period. The furious activity, con fusing even to 'the Americans ine L- and 12 ..in reserve.--.were eft in the Saint-Mihiel sector, argely vacated by the Ameri-; cans after the September .12th' and 13th victory- while only "iye 'enemy divisions held the Meuse-Argonne front, where hree US corps w.ere assembling assembling for the grand, assault..-. Despite' their numerical superiority, superiority, however, the Ameri- :ans could . be 'Considered svenly matched with the Germans, Germans, who had the advantage of operating from strong de- 'ensive positions.! Pershing's plan for "the WeuserArgonne, o ,f .f e n s i v, e called' for; a three^'step development: development: ; (1) an i initial -10'inile advance . to overwhelm the firsf three of Germany's : four defensive ' : positions ;'and to force';.the..!;.enemy v ;put of :the (2);'a : ;secbhd 10 mile advance against; the' center, pf.the Gerr man held .line; (3) a final shift to the Bright to drive the Ger- mansVput of the'heights along the Meuse River. The Top three h o u r bombardment bombardment "ih/.th.eT. v pre: dawn hours of September 26th,' the Yanks of the 1st Army went overthe -top at 5:30 Aly!, precisely precisely on ^schedule. Wjiat followed followed Was not acepr^ingx to schedule.' ' ;.'.;·."'-. :'\^V:i' To tKe .light-, ^ni^-Gdrps ad- vanc ejd ! five : miles'; "to the' Ger- mari second position. In the center, V- Corps, was stpppec a couple of miles forward by the stoutly held fortifications around : the heights of Motit- faucbn; ; The slightest and yel costliest-- advance of the., day was that of I .Corps in 'the Argonne F o r e s t , o n the left flank. There, in the · confus.ee and ugly fighting which/ was to characterize the'.entire pat- tle, I Corps advanced .but one mile. Edmund Allenby was advanc- ng almost unopposed by the Turks. In the Balkans an Alts Alts camp at Salonika, Greece, forced -Bulgaria to .sign an armistice on September 30th. --the first of Germany's Cen- ral Power allies to leave the war. The news , from the Italian Front, where the Aus- :rians were beginning to mckle, was equally bad. On .October v 2nd, General Erich 'Ludendorff, cpmmahd? er of the German armies, np- ified the Reichstag in Berlin he faced defeat on the Western Western Front. -: ·· · · After- a In the next .few days;-"the American right, anil' center continued to make slow : bu steady'progress. Each inch of ground in the Argonne -Forest however, was won at ehor mous cost. Slowly, inevitably the offensive ground to a hal at month's- end. Five days o: intensive fighting, September 26th to 30th, had-failed to win the first day's 'objective. Although the American offensive, offensive, was proceeding much slower than had been anticipated, anticipated, the news reaching Germany Germany from other fronts was far from cheering. · In Palestine, British General talibri'.of the' 308th 1 infantry iegimeht, commanded by a k espectacled lawyer named Charles ;W. Whittlesey-r-- was ' ' - ·- Cables Wilson _: Two days later,'. Prince ;Max of BadenTtbok'bver as German chancellor. Almost ,the_ v fifst news he received was 'a communication communication ; . f r o m ; .Gerrhari army GHQ demanding: that he rriake.-a; peace --«--'--' ti£ --Allies. --Allies. r-.That-:' " division/and ^surrounded, by besieging Germans. , ";;_y. During the next "five days; the drama heightened as - all efforts to. rescue the .Lost Bat- :alion .failed. America' hung reathlessly on every word'bf he 600 trapped men/Twhose only f. link-' with ! the outside world -was via carrier pigeon. 3ier Ami, the last "bird released released by : the surrpiiricUk] men, reached American lities minus an eye and a leg-- and nursed back to health and provided provided a wooden leg, became a national hero. . i -;.. 'i On .October 7th, /.rescue units ; broke ".through ,io- the Lost · Battalion to discpyer f a calm ' Major ' Whittlesey -i- shprtly to be L awarded a Con gressipnal^Medal of Honor .^~ distfibutmg * ^rations,; ,to - his gonne got their stalled-'off en: sive rolling again, "and'Prince Max desperately cabled President President Woodrow'Wilson .asking for 'armistice terms. V' : ,. Unaccpjiiiitably, : W i 1 s v ci ji waited;; fprlthreie days ! -before replying: ; ^ ; His "message '·-· .to Prince' Max asked for clarification clarification ori two points: : Did the new chancellor accept Alison's Alison's Fourteen Points of-January, of-January, 1918, as a basis fdr settlement? settlement? And did Prince Max speak for all the people : of Germany and not'just' the warlords? · . " : On October 12th, Prince Max ..cabled Wilson that he did indeed- accept. the Fourteen Fourteen Points as a basis^for negotiation negotiation and. that ; he spoke for. the .great majority of the German people. By that.time, however; the armies .were once more embroiled; all along the W e s t e r n "Front and thoughts of a. .peace' settlement settlement were temporarily forgotten. forgotten. . . . ·' The Lost Battalion . The, four day. lull in .the Meuse-Argonne fighting, October October : lst to 4th, had been highlighted' by one of the war's, most dramatic incidents, incidents, that of the celebrated Lost Battalion. On October 2nd, the 77th Division was slugging it out with the Germans in the virtually virtually impenetrable thickets of the Argonne Forest--a far cry from the New York City sidewalks most of these draftees draftees knew best. In the confused confused fighting, one-of the division's division's units--the 1st Bat- . -- . , . . WIG -- l-cay woundjd;:Xf;the^6()p odd men originally . trippe'd, ; only .195 were : "able ,to." walk out un The ."-fpllb wing' 'day, the ex ploit of a sigle rifleman; oper atingJeisewHere - -iiiL-ithe : Ar ne;^ Forest, ^ gave '· renewgt S's tp:the r * offensive; . ' ' " aution^ then 1 mPuhting excite- meht.: Allied i capitals erupted n riotpus yictp'ry celebrations. ^o;*.; ^Tnigte^Tredy.-^^ ::.. st ''. the : Meuse-Ar- officer 'who · was fond, of .say 1 hg, "Fat's' sill "right prpvidec t's hot from"the/heck up/'.'''' up/'.'''' ' ' " ' Under punter. ,'Liggettj'' the JS .1st -Army r finally; "clearejt the Germans ? put of the Air jonne Forest .and prepared for he. thirdVphase of .the- offen sive. 'adjivje against, the cente to : be launched;ori Novembe . - . -. ^ -. -vi.-'..-- . -. ^ . f · 1 1st:-,:... ·*'.:..:..: ''..^·.·. ! : - -· MeahwhUe,- · clbuds , were gatrlering "^oyer the ; German President-Wilson in an October, -23rd message . to ?ririce Max*declined to riegb jate \vith %hat he called the 'military ..and ; mbriarchica masters ,of, Germany." .Tlire days later ? Prince Max 'callet for and got the resignation o Srich Ljudenj^iff/whqfor the sast twb years, had been Ge? iiany's! virtual dictator, v civil ;an as well as. military,, Th' fallen hejro- donned a disguisli and made'for, neutral Sweden ./Fhen, one by one, , earn* lews pf the collapse ; of Ger rhany's Central Power allies Turkey ' gave up on bctobe 30th and four days later Aus tria asked for an armistice. On November 3rd, the Ger man high'.;.seas; fl£et, pretty much:bpttled-up; since the in conclusive.- : battie.of Jutlanc m mid^l916i ·wasiordered' pu to sea'ih a' desperate,' last mih ute bid-.for command of, s tn seas." The crews mutineedant returned to port, i: In Berlin left.-wing igrbu'ps threatened revolution.' - , . ' ; . . - , ' . ' On the : Western. Front dur these, fiarly^days ,.of No veniber 'V- . aid At; dawn ; on - .'October : 8th Company .'G, · 328th' Infaiitry 82nd Division": was" given·'. the task 'of ,adyaricing '.'on; a . rail road, two miles in f ront pf "the villajge 'of -' Chattel Cheliery Cpncealed German ; machine guns; ;wijped put '.a' part of "the company in the initial'! 'ad vahce, - leaving .17 .men 'com manded by a sergeant to com plete the mission. ' Corporal York . A second burst of enemy fire wounded 10 more men, including including the sergeant, and^eft in charge of the decimated detail detail a Tennessee backswoods- man who had originally been a conscientious objector' ^but who later enlisted'for combat -- Corporal Alvin C York. Six of the remaining men ducked for cover;, Corporal York assumed assumed a firing position. . "I .sat right where. I was, and it seemed to me that every machine gun the Germans had was shooting at.me," he later recalled. "All this .; time, though, I was using my rifle, and : they was beginning to feel the effect;of it, because'! was shootin' pretty good." . York was indeed shooting pretty good: in 18 shots he got 18 Germans. "Every time one of them 'raised his head, I .jes' varicihg'at Hreakneck f 'speec Inlffont.qf. Hunter* Liggett' US 1st Arrny Jn the Meuse Argonne, -opposition had al but vanished: .Tw.6."US/ divi sions -- one theV;4:2nd Rain bow Jed .by^ypjmg'^Brigadie General I)pugla^ KfcicArthur-: race^ ' ohe/^anbtiier,'. tb Vst which; wpiiid be first into :tl historic.· French city of Se dan ; before' hostilities- were ended. teched him off,"- he explained. Seeing that they were op- Defiant ^ .J-B_y : |, rtp^ Uie ' kaiser.- wa alone .in; thinking "somethin might ble '/salvaged. ' "1 wil wait here;- for the armistice, the "defiant Wilhelmi state' from the safety of GHQ a Spa,- "and then "return horn at the'head of my army." : Sire, you no longer hav an army," said the man sen to ask for his-abdication. At dawn on November 10th a' train pulled out .of Spa bound.for the Dutch frontie At the. border. the kaise transferred.to a private auto mobile for the drive to th chateau of Count Gpdard Ben tinck. ; .· ; . .- . .The kalsef and Coun Bentinck 'were both Knights of the Order of Saint John bound under the order's vow to receive-: a brother; knigh seeking sanctuary. ( Entering the chateau, Wi: helm turned to his surprise host and said, "Now 4 1 mus have .a : cup o f . good, ho strong English tear Yes, mak it English." The German armistice com mission had already met Mar shal Foch'-'In a railway ca near Compiegne, France, an vj^cK : amdimtied. ;tp.a yiriual urrehder.tbn^th%r?part^^iV tl%r^rt^^ v , nplfresjch "''furndd ie,railway, carvinto^a 4 ' national ^ne^nd/rwidTbr^tiiis actbf ride^22iyears .'.later-l in:1$40 ^hen K Ad6lpV:HiUer,fpfc^l|an- ^ n V : e i r t h s igh^art even,more Mmiliating ' f F r sbmfe un ;Along'-.tfie; trehch; Ijiies/there was ;· ;it;, ; f irst'^ - the unawas tp;hp.ve 2\^«i_illio'K' A«VA r l |£ of a Greek The yictbnpus:ppwera m^et- ng:'at'yfirsaiires' in "the spring of 11919. fp rged "a peace v iDif vengeance, vengeance, which-^crested ^jQDipre rbblenis, than-, it r splyed. % *;The j'rily hope bf^preservii%^such a peace; it: appeare^,;lwas in he ' creation of ; a League of Nations, Ibng-the direain pf : the peace loving WobdrbwAj Wilson. Wilson. ' '·· :- '·'-'·: ··:'-" : '$ ,;'-S^;: ,;'-S^;: " " But;the :US, ;disillusiphe'd with war, was in no mbod^fpr entangling alliances.: Late .in 1919 Wilson, trying the league to the American eople, ; suffered a. . stroke Torn which he never fully recovered. The US Senate re- ected the Treaty; of Versailles an'd the League of Nations, and .the. electorate, in 1920, turned tb Warren G. Harding and his promise of : "npr- ipaicy". - · . ,,; _ ; In : J)urope, Adolf Hitler, an "in--uic ~vjciinait Army, was already plotting revenge. ^ CopvrlBhf, 19M . American Heritage .Magazine Trojan Alumni Will Hear Talk By Dr. Topping · A' progress report on t h master plan for the University University of Southern Calif prriia.: will be. presented by Dr.yNofman Topping, president: of:USC, Wednesday at a 'meeting' .of the Central San JdaquinyVal- ley Trojan Alumni Club in'the A social; hour at "GiS will be^followed by dinner at 7:30 PM.:- : ; -.". V - ; , O t h e r s on the program withuDr. Topping.will be.MuI- yey White, .USC vice:president vice:president for student and alumni affairs; Thomas P. Nickell, Jr., vice president for university university planning; Dr." Albert S. Rautoenheimer, former,USC vicef.presiderit for ^'academfc affairs^and now.a consultant on alumni affairs; .-and- Francis Francis McGinley,- executive direc- tiar of -USC's. General Alumni Association. ';..- ··..-· Heads Valley Group .-Vernon Selland is the president president of'the San Joaquin Valley Valley .USC alumni organization. Dr. Topping, will describe the effort expended in matching matching $3i'-' for each $1.- of the Ford; Foundation's conditional conditional $6.5;million- grant, which is more "than a year ahead^of schedule. He also will explain USC's broad goals for enterprise and excellence in education. . The dinner cost .is $4.50. Reservations .' may" be made with Mrs. H e l e n Smades Klein at 2812 North Blackstone" Blackstone" Avenue. Loans Buy Wives NAIROBI, Kenya -^- AP -Government -Government loans to African farmers in Kenya's Embu. district, district, have been used to buy wives rather than for intended ?. land improvement. Assistant minister of · agricultufer Julius Osbgo said a-number of farm- ers have been, unable to repay their loans. . *

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  1. The Fresno Bee The Republican,
  2. 01 Nov 1964, Sun,
  3. Page 62

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  • Lost Battalion Article

    wsw39183 – 10 Apr 2013

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