IN THEIR OWN WORDS ...
Time Frame: Air War thru Meuse-Argonne,
LT. STUART EDGAR, 103rd AERO SQUADRON (Prev. Lafayette Escadrille)
KILLED DURING TRAINING, AUGUST 1918
OVERHEAD AN AIR WAR WAS RAGING
... Saw a German plane come right over our heads and go thru a machine
gun barrage and shoot down an observation balloon nearby. When the
balloon was in flames, he circled around and emptied his machine gun
into the parachute which was drifting slowly to the ground with the
observer. Don't know if observer was killed or not. Boche plane got
Sgt. Edwin Gerth, 51st Artillery
... Eddie Rickenbacker came up to see if he could get confirmation from
us for a plane he brought down. Luckily it was one our ground
observer had seen fall. So we wrote out a confirmation, and I signed
it. They don't get any credit for the German planes they shoot down,
unless it is confirmed by two other planes or some ground observation
post sees it actually hit the ground.
Lt. Birge Clark, Balloon Observation Corps
Unpublished manuscript, WORLD WAR I MEMOIRS
Dearest, Sweetest, Bravest Mother:
First let me tell you of the fight. I was leading a large patrol
of our machines on July 31st, and gave battle to an equal number of
German aeroplanes at an altitude of 18,000 feet. I picked out one
man who hovered above the rest for my adversary. We fought for 15
minutes without touching each other with our machine guns. Suddenly a
third machine swooped up from below, and before I could turn fully
upon him he had opened fire and unluckily wounded me severely in the
left arm. My engine was also put out of commission. Nevertheless, I
had plenty of altitude to make France and started to glide. But my
opponent wanted to make sure of [success] and followed, firing all the
while. This caused me to zigzag and lose distance, in order to avoid
Finally, I landed safely, Lord knows how, in a shell shot field,
crawled out of my machine, saw strange uniforms on soldiers, and
fainted. I was a lucky man to get down alive - [from] 18,000 ft. with
I don't remember much that passed in the next three days, until I
found myself being well cared for in a German hospital. A little later
I was moved further into Germany to this hospital. Here I am
excellently cared for ... [Lt. Winslow's arm was later amputated.]
Lt. Alan Winslow, 94th Aero Squadron
Lt. Alan Winslow, 94th Aero Squadron
[In] Oct. I was lucky enough to bring down a Boche plane. We just received official confirmation today and will get the French War Cross, the 'Croix de Guerre.'
"We were over the German lines and had finished our mission and had started for home when 13 Boche jumped us. There were three planes in our flight, separated by several hundred yards. Five came after me. When one got in range, we put a stream of lead through his plane and he went down and burst into flames. A balloon observer saw it and sent in the confirmation.
1st. Lt. W. J. Chamberlain, 91st Aero Squadron
... It is very dreadful to see the young stricken down in their golden
Theodore Roosevelt on the death of his aviator son,
Roosevelt, KIA July 1918,
THE ROOSEVELT FAMILY OF SAGAMORE HILL
BY FALL OF 1918 THE US AIR SERVICE INCLUDED 740 PLANES IN 49 SQUADRONS
THE ALLIES RECONSIDER THE YANKS
"[The Americans] former enthusiasm, somewhat curbed, has given
way to a calm attentive serious attitude as they seek to perfect
themselves in the tactics of modern war."
"The true qualities are emerging: intelligence, judgment,
reflection, energy and tenacity."
"They've got what it takes to finish the war."
Official records and the article, THE AEF THROUGH FRENCH EYES, by Lee
INTO THE ARGONNE FOREST
On the very day the St. Mihiel salient fell, trucks driven by
Indo-Chinese soldiers picked us up and drove us to a wooded area in
the center of the [Verdun] salient, which was bounded by the Argonne
Forest and the Meuse River ... I had never before heard of the town that
would be one of OUR principal targets, but within a week the whole world
was to hear of it. It was called Montfaucon.
Dr. William Hanson, 79th Division
Memoir, I WAS THERE
... After a tiresome, weary march through shelled road, devastated
villages and destroyed forests, we advanced to the Argonne Forest,
arriving and relieving the French at about three in the morning of
September 26, 1918.
... Boy! Oh boy! What a beautiful sight just about dawn. It was
light enough so that you could see for a hundred yards or so and
stretched along was our first wave as straight as possible, skirmish
formation advancing steadily as if we were on parade. Sergeants led
about 10 paces ahead and spaced every 20 feet, lieutenants and
captains a few paces more advanced with their automatic pistols in one
hand and pistols in the other.
Sgt. Joe Rizzi, 110th Engineers
Memoir, JOE'S WAR - MEMOIRS OF A DOUGHBOY
Advancing in the Argonne Forest
"Which way is the 157th Brigade PC?" I says. "General
Nicholson's PC?" But they never said nothing [back] at all. Because
they was -- doughboys going up in the lines, and when you hear
somebody talk about doughboys singing when they're going to fight, you
can tell him he's a damn liar and say I said so. Doughboys when
they're going up in the lines they look straight in front of them and
they swaller every third step and they don't say nothing.
PFC James M. Cain, 79th Division
Short story, THE TAKING OF MONTFAUCON
That evening, about dusk I saw an unforgettable sight ... I am
lying down in the field ... In front of me to my left I see the Hill and
the battered town and fortress of Montfaucon. An attack is in
progress. Soldiers are advancing up the hill with rifles and fixed
bayonets in hand. They are filtering through the ruins, slowly but
steadily. Shells are falling and crashing among them. Smoke and
flying debris dot the hill. It is a gripping scene, a dramatic war
picture, and here I am actually seeing it.
Sgt. Maximilian Boll, 79th Division
Unpublished manuscript, FIRST JOURNEY
Fighting in Argonne Village
Yesterday evening I started out with Captain Driscoll & Lt. Evans
to set up an advance post -- but we found the former no man's land
absolutely impassible except for foot and horseback, -- so we couldn't
carry our equipment up. Roads were filled with supply and munitions
trains which had the right of way.
Sgt. Sidney Adams, 91st Division
Unpublished manuscript, LETTERS TO MY FATHER, EPHRAIM D. ADAMS
Terrain in the Argonne
AS THE MEUSE-ARGONNE CAMPAIGN BOGS DOWN TEMPORARILY, OTHER AMERICAN UNITS ADVANCE WITH THE ALLIES IN FLANDERS WITH KING ALBERT AND IN THE SOMME SECTOR WITH THE BRITISH ARMY. IN THE CHAMPAGNE, ALONGSIDE THE FRENCH ARMY,
THE 2ND AND 36TH AEF DIVISIONS WIN A DESPERATE, BUT FORGOTTEN BATTLE
BLANC MONT RIDGE
..The greatest achievement of the 1918 Campaign.
The morning of October 3  came gray and misty. From
midnight until dawn the front had been quiet at that point--
comparatively. Then all the French and American guns opened with one
world-shaking crash. From the Essen Trench the ground fell away
gently, then rose in a long slope, along which could be made out the
zigzags of the German trenches. The Bois de Vipre was a bluish
mangled wood, two kilometers north. Peering from their shelters, the
battalion saw all this ground swept by a hurricane of
shellfire ... [and] Red and green flames ...
Typical Advance Trench
Four infantry regiments [2 Army, 2 Marine] were thrust saw-wise
northwest to northeast of Blanc Mont; all were isolated from each
other and from the French, who had lagged behind the flanks ... The
second-in-command was conscious of a strangely mounting sense of the
unreality of the whole thing ... There was Lieutenant Connor, who took a
shrapnel dud in his loins, and was opened horribly ... Then there was,
oddly audible through the din, the unmistakable sound that a bullet
makes when it strikes human flesh ... I saw a long, crumpled, formless
thing on the ground turned to the sky [with] blind eyes in a crawling
mask of red.
View From German Position Atop Blanc Mont
THE 2ND DIVISION, DECIMATED AND NEARLY SURROUNDED, SURVIVES
... After certain days, the division was relieved. The battalion
marched out at night. The drumming thunder of the guns fell behind
them and no man turned his face to look again on the baleful lights of
the front. On the road they passed a regiment of the relieving
division--full, strong companies of National Guardsmen [of the 36th
Division]. They went up one side of the road; and in ragged column of
twos, unsightly even in the dim and fitful light, the Marines plodded
down the other side. They were utterly weary, with shuffling feet and
hanging heads ... .And they were spent. If there was any idea in those
hanging heads it was food and rest ...
Capt. John W. Thomason, USMC, 2nd Division
From semi-fictional memoir, FIX BAYONETS
... A hundred and thirty-four of us had come back from Blanc Mont
ridge. We had gone up a full-strength battalion, a thousand strong.
Pvt. Elton Mackin, USMC, 2nd Division
Memoir, SUDDENLY WE DIDN'T WANT TO DIE
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