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1918 - 77th US Division
(2) Texte en langue anglaise

Voir aussi 1918 - 77th US Division

History of Buffalo and Eric County, 1914-1919
Daniel J. Sweeney
Ed. Buffalo 4 julllet 1919


While the Marines with the Second Division were pressing north through Belleau Wood, and it became apparent that American courage and driving power was taxing the military skill of the enemy, a very extended movement of the American troops on the Continent began. Five of the ten divisions then training in the British area were withdrawn. Among these was the 77th Division which, during the month of May and early in June, had been within earshot of the heavy artillery duel at Ypres and Mount Kemmel. They were subjected nightly to Boche bombing raids, and had suffered some casualties. The Buffalo boys had absorbed British combat methods but balked at British "chow." Jam and tea and lime juice, with meat for dinner and cheese for supper day in and day out was not entirely to their liking. Later on, when they were battling through the Argonne it would have looked like a banquet.
The 42d Division had held a front line trench at Baccarat in the Lorraine Sector for some weeks. And they held it well. It was a quiet sector, apparently by mutual consent, but in a quiet sector the raiding parties, the night prowlers, always establish for one side or the other a conviction of superiority. It is related of the 42d Division that during their period on the Lorraine front they "held the edge" to such an extent that the American doughboys were able to "hang their wash on the barbed wire entanglements" in No-Man's Land.* That may not be entirely accurate, but it serves to indicate that the 42d Division was not playing the subordinate part in No-Man's Land in Lorraine. When the 77th Division was withdrawn from its training area, it was sent to the Lorraine front to relieve the 42d Division. The 42d had suffered some casualties and those places were filled with men from the 77th Division.
On June 19th the change was begun and by the 26th the new Division had moved into place. The Rainbow Division was gone, and the 77th had established the historic fact of being the first draft division to take over a part

An Abandoned German Machine Gun

of the front line. The Rainbow Division pulled out, and went into reserve, presently to take up a position east of Rheims.
Apparently the Germans had knowledge of the lack of training in the new division. If the 42d Division had been masters of No-Man's Land in the Baccarat sector, the Boche apparently saw no immediate necessity of having the dose repeated with the newcomers. They welcomed the 77th at 4.00 A. M. on the 24th of June with a shower of gas, mixing phosgene and mustard with fine discrimination, showing a special favoritism for the densely billeted villages of Migneville, St. Maurice, Neuviller and Badonviller. The front line was not overlooked. If the 77th had anticipated a quiet time in that quiet sector they got over the notion quickly. Their housewarming party was not entirely of the sort they would have chosen if the matter had been left to them, but yet they made no grumble. They were new at the war business and not disposed to be critical about front line ethics. They put their gas masks on with great speed and thereby saved themselves much inconvenience and suffering and many casualties.
The Baccarat sector, a portion of which was held by French troops, was between Luneville and St. Die, southwest of Nancy. The 77th was given the portion of the front extending from Herbeviller on the left to a point east of Badonviller on the right. This territory was divided into four sub-sections which were held by the 305th, 306th, 307th, 308th Infantry respectively; a battalion front of each subdivision with a battalion in reserve. Each week or so, the battalions would alternate in the front line. The 77th remained in Baccarat sector from June 26th to August 4th. About the middle of July when the drive was started at Soissons to break through the Marne salient, the nose of which the Marines and Regulars had turned up at Belleau Wood, the French Division, the 61st, which had shared the Baccarat sector with the 77th was withdrawn, leaving the New York drafted men in charge of the entire front. The New York artillery came into support, and the Baccarat zone had then become for the first time in the war an all-American affair, with nearly 2,000 Buffalo and Erie County boys doing their bit there.

Watching the Enemy from an Old Stone Outhouse

* Yesterday in broad daylight some Alabama troops on our right walked over to the German trenches unmolested and unchallenged. They found a German officer and three men in a dugout. The Alabama party was only five. They killed all four Germans and upon their return found one of their own party missing. They went back and found him caught in the German wire. While rescuing him they heard footsteps on the German duckboard. Lying in wait they caught two other Boche, killed them and stripped all of their victims bringing their clothes back. Their only worry was the dirty socks of the last Hun they caught. The Alabama crowd are the greatest crowd I have ever seen. They wander all over the landscape shooting at everything. - From a letter written by Major William J. Donovan, 165th Regiment (42d Division), to his wife, March 10, 1918.


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