OCR Interpretation

The Rio Grande rattler. ([McAllen], Hidalgo County, Tex.) 1916-1917, March 01, 1919, Image 60

Image and text provided by New York State Military History Museum

Persistent link: http://www.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn87030234/1919-03-01/ed-1/seq-60/

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THE GAS A TTACK A FTER spending its alloted six weeks in the training area of Camp de Souge, the 106th Field Artillery arrived in the Verdun sector on Sept. 9, 1918, and was attached to the 33d Division. Three batteries were rushed forward immediately to Charney and Germonville just in time to participate in a demonstration in support of the attack against the St. Mihiel salient on Sept. 12, while the rest of the regiment dragged itself and its impedimenta through the rain and mud, and finally took up its position at Bethlainville. With regimental headquarters established at Fromerville and the eschelon placed at Baileycourt, the regi­ ment had a few quiet days in which to accustom itself to the manners and customs of the front. But all this changed suddenly when the preparations for the big attack were undertaken. A continual rain rendered the roads almost im­ passable, but despite this the regiment was concentrated on a knoll north of Chattancourt and succeeded in pulling its guns and sufficient ammunition forward to be in shape to accomplish its mission of the 26th. On this date, 2550 rounds were fired between 5.30 and 9.15 a. m., the objectives being points in the rear areas such as enemy second line trenches, ammunition dumps, cross roads and trench intersections. The success with which the attack was pushed put the guns out of range on the left bank of the Meuse, but they were still effective for harassing fire on the right. On Oct. 6 the regiment was called on to destroy a machine gun stronghold in the enemy’s lines, known as the Trench de Teton, which had been an effective element in holding up the advance. The adjustment was undertaken by Balloon Company No. 9, and completed despite the fact that the balloon was forced to descend four times and was finallly shot down in flames by a Boche plane. The concentration put down on the basis of this observation proved entirely effective, the trench was captured, and the regiment won a compliment from General Bullard. Two days later the regiment supported an attack by the 29th Division against Brabant and a crossing of the Meuse by a detachment of the 33d Division, with the heaviest day’s fire delivered during its tour at the front—1573 rounds in the morning and 1674 in the afternoon, weighing a total of about 150 tons. The regiment was now again out of range, and moved for­ ward to positions to the east of Gercourt. Those days, Oct. 13 to 15, were a weary succession of rain, mud and hills. Twelve, fourteen and even eighteen horses were necessary to pull the guns up the crest above Bethin Court, and once over the Boche had an excellent view of the road. Fortunately he seemed to have run into a bad lot of ammunition, for he was guilty of an astonishing proportion of duds at this time. But little more than a few rounds of harassing fire had been undertaken when the regiment was relieved and spent three quiet days of washing and cleaning up in the pleasant, safe rear area of Bois la Ville and Chene Gossin. On Oct. 27, the brigade was attached to the 79th Division. This division held the hilly sector of the Bois de la Grand Montagne on the right bank of the Meuse, the positions of the 106th being along the Samogneaux-Brabant road. The fighting in this sector was open w arfare, the positions being uncomfortably exposed and the enemy, who held all of the heights, having uncommonly good observation down the val­ leys. Camouflage was sacrificed to the end of keeping the Boche under pressure, so that engineer depots, supply dumps and picket lines were interspersed between the battery posi­ tions. Hostile shelling, therefore, was continuous, though luckily not resulting in many casualties. Firing was heavy during the entire period, a total of 10,611 rounds, whose weight was in the neighborhood of a million pounds, being shot off in thirteen days. The first days of firing were demonstrations in support of an attack on Brieulles by the Fourth Division on our left, and occasional harassing and concentration fire when called for by our own infantry. On Nov. 4 began the hammering of the 79th Division through the heavy woods and steep hills that lay in front of them, which finally resulted in the capture of Reville, Etraye and Crepion. The regiment was repeatedly called on for barrages; on one occasion breaking up an enemy counter attack with great losses and at another time obtaining a direct hit on an enemy gun position. Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot? — 58 —

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