Documents sur Blâmont (54) et le Blâmontois





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1918 - Ancerviller - Un million de dollars de munitions ? Texte en langue anglaise

Nous avons déjà vu de nombreux récits américains sur l'occupation du secteur de Baccarat, et plus précisément sur l'action des troupes américaines vers Ancerviller (Voir par exemple 1918 - Premiers prisonniers allemands de la 37ème division américaine, 1918 - Miamians à Ancerviller, etc).

Si notamment la capture de soldats allemands au hameau d'Ancerviller est un sujet incontournable des récits de l'American Expedition Forces, on discerne bien la propagande systématique qui transforme quelques faits anecdotiques en apparente action d'envergure (voir ainsi 5 mai 1918 : Hameau d'Ancerviller).

Ce n'est cependant pas le cas dans le récit ci-dessous de l'aviateur américain Curtis Wheeler, qui  participe à une attaque d'infanterie sur Ancerviller : nous mettons en caractères gras le passage très ironique sur les moyens employés et leur résultat.

History of the class of 1911, Yale College.
Yale University.
Vol. III

Curtis Wheeler

Director, The Boys' Club, Avenue A and Tenth Street, New York City
Residence: 55 East Seventy-sixth Street, New York City
Prior to the war, Wheels was assistant general manager of the Current Literature Publishing
Company. After the war he took up his present duties.
Here is his complete army record, from the broomstick days in 1917 until the real activities the following year: "Drilled with a broomstick on GovernorsIsland March and April, 1917; commissioned Second Lieutenant, F. A., May 1,1917; attended first Plattsburg Camp June to August, as instructor in bayonet and artillery driving; ordered overseas September, 1917, on the Adriatic; assigned to 1st Division, Valdahon, France, for artillery firing; Supply Officer, later Radio and Reconnaissance Officer, still later in command Headquarters Company, 5th F. A.; first trip on the lines October and November at Lorraine in Luneville Sector; conducted first radio adjustment by airplane in A. E. F., handling the ground end of it, November, 1917; horrible Christmas and New Year's at Gondrecourt back of the lines having manoeuvres; back to the lines in the Toul Sector, Seicheprey, etc., January; enamoured of airplanes and on my own fool request in February, detached for a month's course in airplane observation at Tours; never got out; went through a mass of schools, including a particularly awful one at Amanty and a very good one (machine gun) at Cayaux in Gascony, where we shot at everything with everything from all angles including upside down; A. W. O. L. twice, once with a British night bomber down the Rhine, and once with a crazy Frenchman on the Bay of
Biscay looking for submarines.
"After a hectic week at Nice with a drunken major from the Foreign Legion and a bald-headed colonel of the Strathcona Horse, ordered back to the lines with a French Observation Squadron in the Baccarat Sector; during April and May became a frog and learned to go without breakfast; ran away from the squadron and took part in an infantry attack on the town of Ancervillers in which one million dollars' worth of ammunition was expended and one German was killed out of pure fright by me with a hand grenade; brought back a wounded boche, court-martialed for destroying the only possible prisoner; both canceled, back to the frogs with a clean slate.
"Just beginning to enjoy life when ordered back to the first American Air Squadron; started operating June 15th with 88th Squadron (American); just as I thought, hit in the seat of the pants with an Archie fuse in first flight over the lines; scared to death at Xivray; chased by six Fokkers and sweat so I couldn't see through my goggles and put twenty-five bullets in my own rudder; on June 30, Squadron ordered to Chateau-Thierry (or rather Coulommiers, near enough, too damn near); boche shelled the field first night and bombed it the second; third night we weren't there; July 15, got ready to retreat to Bordeaux; July 18, ordered to advance on the Vesle; July 20, Richtofen Circus arrived; learned what scared means; sent to take pictures of the Aisne; in August, operated with Modon and a lot of trick French aces who used us for bait; in September, thought we were going into winter quarters; September 15, went to St. Mihiel. Hell - no more paper! That's enough.
"Picture taken in Wenssenthurm, Germany (near Coblenz) after armistice. Observe whiskers grown
to scare simple German peasants."
He is a member of the Yale Club, City Club, Army and Navy Club, Pelham Manor Country Club, and the 102d Aero Squadron of the New York National Guard. He is a Republican. During the war he published, Letters of an American Soldier to his Father.


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