OCR Interpretation


The Rio Grande rattler. ([McAllen], Hidalgo County, Tex.) 1916-1917, December 25, 1918, Image 6

Image and text provided by New York State Military History Museum

Persistent link: http://www.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn87030234/1918-12-25/ed-1/seq-6/


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The GAS ATTACK field tactics, co-operating’ with the infantry. For several days the division simulated the attack it was scheduled to make against the Hindenburg line. In the held and woods about Beauquesne, and in a reserve system of trenches forward of that town the units worked until they were ordered to proceed to the line with the un­ derstanding that the division had been given the task of breaking- through Germany’s strongest defense system. It was a courageous body of men that moved up to that Boche stronghold. No one understood the magni­ tude of the operations better than the men themselves. No grimmer problem ever confronted a fighting force. There were hundreds of those brave lads who would never come out of that inferno. Other hundreds would come out in such condition as to preclude further parti­ cipation in the war. The odds were overwhelmingly against the division. Yet the man who was not prepar­ ed to hazard the slim chance was nowhere to be found. The night and the hour and the minute for the struggle came. A veritable cataract of steel and fire and gas roared from the muzzles of the artillery pieces into the enemy’s lines. Over went the dough boys, fighting like mad men every inch of the way. Snarling, growling, frenzied Huns, forced into the most desperate battle of their lives — the battle to hold the Hindenburg Line — fought fiercely, and held tenaciously to their posts until the onslaught of the 27th Division became so violent that the line was made untenable. The tanks ploughed forward, but were put out of action early in the battle, New York’s engineers rushed in with closely woven wire netting which they laid over the top of the wire entanglement not already cleared by artillery, and the infantry pushed on through and over the barbed wire and into the “ impregnable 55 line, taking hundreds of prisoners and innumerable machine guns. The Allied barrage continued until the division had made its new position secure. W h e n the barrage lifted the enemy was well out of the position in which he had planned to winter and prepare for another spring push. Next day came a division of Australian troops who telescoped the 27th, then holding the line, went 011 through and carried an objective several hundred yards beyond, many of our men fighting with them. The world had heard little of the division from the time it departed the shores of thai seat of democracy, for which it was to battle unto death it need be, until the press and official wires carried the burning message that the 27th Division had gallantly attacked, broken and crashed through the Hindenburg line. The 27th and 3 oth American divisions were the first troops to drive the Boche from his concrete stronghold. And the task was performed in such an admirable man­ ner that the Commanding General’s office was subse- quenty besieged with laudatory statements and com­ mendations eminating from the commanders of the troops wTho fought with the Twenty-Seventh. Following a four-day rest back of the lines, the divi­ sion re-entered the fight with the vigor and dash such as would be expected only from fresh troops, and in the St. Souplet sector took every objective and hundreds of prisoners. The close of October found the division far back of the lines, near Amiens, enjoying a hard-earned rest, and being augmented by replacements from other units in preparation for a resumption of its fight for Freedom. There the news that an armistice had been signed with Germany reached the New Yorkers. OUT OF THE LINE W e ’re on the hike again, boys, Our travelling circus moves. The French turnpikes grow level, boys, From contact with our shoes. Our nightly stands are varied — An orchard, field or towm. In pup-tents, barns and billets, boys, W e ’ve flopped our bodies donm. And w e ’ve been in the ditches, too — In mud and rain and damp; Kept awake by “ cooties ” And thirst and cold and cramp. W e ’ve leaned against our owm barrage T o smash the Hun line thru, And taken “ Jerry w prisoners, Some hundred score or twro. Cor p i . R o b e r t W a d d e l l . — 5 —

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