Diary of Sergeant Jean GrosJean- Company F

Company “F”
307th Infantry Regiment
77th Division
By: Sergeant Jean GrosJean

Transcribed by Mr.Robert von Pentz

Sergeant Benjamin H. Von Pentz (left) and Sgt. Gene Grossjean, Company F. 307th Infantry. Photo from the collection of Mr. Robert von Pentz.

Company “F”
307th Infantry Regiment
77th Division
By: Sergeant Jean GrosJean

The following has been entitled by Sergeant Jean GrosJean as the “History of Company F”; rather, as I interpret, it is a compilation of observations recorded by Sergeant GrosJean in his diary. His diary began when the Company left Camp Upton and concluded with the rescue of the “Lost Battalion.”

The original draft copy is difficult to read as a result of fading, due to age, and the poor quality of the typewriter used. As a result, the following transcription was made. The text was copied exactly as it appears in the original, without any alteration. The question marks and the blank space are as originally recorded.

Robert von Pentz
January 2002

On Saturday, April 6, 1917 at midnight, Company F., 307th Infantry under the command of Captain Dudley Davis#, was served a light lunch in preparation for leaving Camp Upton. At 2:30 a.m. the command was given by Capt. Davis, “fall in, take arms.”. We then marched to the Long Island Railroad station and entrained at 3 a.m. The stillness of the night added to the impression already instilled in the men.

The curtains of the train were drawn and at 7 a.m. we arrived at L. T. ferry. We sailed down the East River and under the Brooklyn Bridge, around the battery and up the North River to Chelsea Piers of the White Star Line. Many ships of the North German Lloyd and Hamburg American lines were also being boarded by American soldiers’ bound on the same mission as ours.

At 10 a.m. we were checked individually and bordered the third-largest steamer afloat, the Justicia # 8261#. At 6 p.m. we were served supper and were shown hammocks that were to be our beds for the crossing. The men really enjoyed the novelty.

April 7, Sunday morning at 7 a.m., the Justicia pulled out to a salvo of whistles. Life preservers were issued with instructions to wear them at all times.

Canada and the mouth of the St. Laurence River were cited at 6 p.m., and at 7 p.m. we cast anchor.

The next morning at daybreak, the ruins of Halifax greeted our eyes, the result of two ships carrying ammunition that collided, and exploded.

The river was coated with ice and we saw ships of all nations at anchored.

The same day we had the boat drill - every man was assigned to one of the approximately 20 lifeboats. They were lowered into the water and the men traversed the rope ladders for practice.

We left Halifax at 7 p.m. in a convoy of 10 ships with one cruiser for protection. Every day thereafter there was a boat drill and inspection by the ship’s officers.

Company K. had the lookout section and also had charge of the ship’s canon. Several practice shots were fired.

The meals were passable except for the soup and the fish that was served. It was so bad that the men will never forget the meal.

The British rations included Marmalade, cheese and tea. This was the first, but not the last time we tasted these luxuries.

April 14, at 4 p.m. everyone on board was startled by a shot. Everyone rushed to the decks thinking we were torpedoed, instead it was a practice shot from our guns. Each shot that was fired threw a geyser like columns of water about 100 feet into the air.

Several men took salt-water baths and found to their astonishment they could not get the soap to lather.

On April 16th a new invention, a smoke bomb, was tested. It looked to us like it would prove to be very effective.

The cruiser protecting our ship left us in the evening and from then in on we noticed that our ship took a zigzag course.

At 1130 a.m. the next morning we cited our convoy of eight submarine chasers. It was a very welcomed sight by all aboard the ship’s canteen did an excellent business selling to the Yanks.

Land was sighted at 5 a.m., April 19, off the British Isles. At 8 p.m. that same day we docked at Liverpool. A number of British torpedo boats busied themselves in these waters.

We boarded a train running from Liverpool to Dover. Each compartment on the train held eight men. We rode all night to our destination passing many large cities on the way. We had dinner consisting of cold roast beef, oatmeal, to coffee and bread. At noon, we march to the dock and boarded the channel steamer for Calais. On sighting Calais we realized its quaint appearance. From Calais we marched to the English rest Camp No. 6. We were quartered in tents and to our great surprise we could purchase beer at the British canteen. This was the first alcoholic drink we had for a long time. We were also issued meals tickets. Without these tickets you were unable to eat and were just plain out of luck.

On our first night in France we were greeted by an air raid from Jerry# - a lot of noise but no casualties. On passing through the streets of Calais, the children, one and All, called out “American souvenirs?” Also, near the camp was a large Chinese labor camp. They were virtually prisoners and dreaded the nightly air raids. They were paid the munificent some of 1 franc a day.

Sunday, April 21st - We marched to a camp where we were issued gas masks and helmets. We later went through a gashouse to test the newly issued masks.

April 22nd - After breakfast we left camp. We marched through Calais to the Fortunette Station where we bordered trains. After about one hour we arrived at Audrick. On our train ride we passed many German prisoners working on railroads. These were the first Germans we had seen. Here we detrained and marched with full packs for about 7 miles to Tourrehem. This was the hardest march we had up to this time, as it was quite hot. We were billeted in all sorts of barns and abandoned houses. The cafes in this part of the country were called “estaininets or estamineta (?).”

Sgt. GrosJean, in trying to hit a rat that was running over Sgt. von Pentz’s face, missed the rat and hit Ben a healthy wallop in the face. At the same time as we were billeted in these barns, we also exchanged our rifles for British Enfields. We were also introduced to in “Pomme de Terres.”

One of our boys wanted to buy eggs from the natives while trying to make himself understood, hollered “Woofs, Woofs” and flapped his arms like a chicken and described an egg with his thumb and fore finger. Eventually the poor, frightened lady understood and sold him what he wanted. In it was here that we washed our clothes and ourselves in a little creek and found French people very accommodating and congenial.

We also tried to like the Vin Rouge instead of beer, but it never seemed as though it could take the place of the beer we were used to in the states.

We had plenty of rain and fog here. We were living on English rations and the bacon we got was of a much better flavor than our own. As a rule we had jam and cheese and Tea for our supper.

The church in the village was 200 years old and the first church the boys attended in France. Some of the buildings in this town dated as far back as 1739.

From this place we found that our drill grounds would always be on top of a hill, in fact, the highest hill in the surrounding country.

English instructors instructed us in the Bayonet. We also had gas mask instructions. At night we could hear the continual bombardment from the Arras front. It was from here that we held our first trial cloud gas attack and we all got a sniff of Phosgene and Chlorine. Our band played nightly and they always had a very interested audience.

It was here that we left our barracks bags with our personal things, those things that we did not need. It was also here that we learned the game of “O’Grady is on Parade.” On Sunday, May 12th, we received our first pay in French money and many of the boys invested in chocolate and smokes at the English canteen in Benningues. On the evening of May 13, we rolled our packs and had only our over coats as protection against cold of the night as we slept.

At 4 a.m., May 14, the command was given to fall in. We march back to be Audrick station and had dinner. We rode on the train all day to Monticourt. The English gave us a cup of chocolate and a package of Piedmonts and in a short while we were on the march through a town in which many French soldiers were quartered. We passed through Pas and up a long high road through plenty of mud and into an area near the village of Heno. The sites on which our tents were setup and on which we were to sleep were extremely muddy. The English were very hospitable and gave us some of good hot Tea. Heavy cannonading was taking place at this time and everyone thought we were going right into the front-line trenches as we could see the gun flashes.

German airplanes past overhead that night and many following nights. All lights were ordered out and the English Louis Guns started firing to bring down the Hun# planes. Unfortunately they escaped without damage.

From here several non-coms were sent to the Louis Automatic Rifle school - also Lieutenant Felton conducted a school for the instruction of the Louis automatic rifle.

The British Manchester Regiments No. 5 and 6 had a very good drum corps and it was very interesting to listen to their music. Their leader had a style all of his own.

The British were fond of athletic games with soccer being their favorite pastime. The British also like our game of baseball and tried their hand at it

On Sunday there was a ceremony by the British for the distribution of medals to the heroes of battle. The ceremony was very impressive.

At the time of our arrival at this camp the morale of the British was not that which it should have been - after the appearance of the American troops, that changed for the better and it was extremely noticeable.

Our schedule each day included gas mask, bayonet instruction and plenty of target practice.

One night a Jerry plane dropped a bomb very near us and killed 12 horses.

On the morning of May 26, a British plane plummeted downward out of control and crashed, killing both the pilot and the observer.

Observation balloons could be plainly seen on the frontlines and resembled large sausages. Off in the distance we could be seen lights and flashes of artillery fire.

A British theatrical troop performed here and American soldiers were invited to attend.

On May 29 the British held a boxing tournament in Pas in which our Company was well represented and took away the principal honors.

On Decoration Day, the 2nd Battalion put on a show in which some men were dressed as women. A British officer tried unsuccessfully to entice one of our female impersonators (Private Clinton Russell).

On May 31st the Company used the British baths at the brook.

At times during the day and night German shells screeched over our lines to the towns in our rear.

On the 2nd of June, 6:30 a.m., we marched to the famous “La Bissie” farm where we were instructed in trench digging and construction as well as making revetments.

We occupied these trenches one night and our Lieutenants tried to penetrate the sentinels. We were relieved several times. Two Chinamen were captured by Steve Wood and Ed Louis while they were attempting to steal several cans of Bully Beef and were turned over to the British.

After these maneuvers we pitched tents for the night and then next morning we had another maneuver which was inspected by General Johnson. As we marched to this farm we fell out for a brief rest and it was a good thing we did for a stray German shell fell 100 yards ahead of us and killed a British Sergeant.

At 2:30 p.m. we marched back to Henu. We struck tents# Thursday, June 6th and at 3 p.n. we started our journey. We passed through Pas, Ligneville on the Somme. We camped outside town and in the morning continued our march to the Royal Flying Corps grounds at VacQuerie (?). We had our dinner and marched off at 4:30 p.m. to Fammechon (?) near Pont Remey, where we retired. We received our rations for 3 days and at 10 p.m. our Pullmans left “8 cheveau, 40 Hommes.”

The scenery was very beautiful on this trip and the inhabitants welcomed us at every little village along the way. We passed through St. Godiach, Toul, Nancy and many other notable towns. The civilians cheered us all along our way. We detrained at Epinas at 1:30 a.m. and marched to Chavelot. We arrived at 4 a.m. where Major Jay seta fine example for us by bathing in the cool running stream and quickly we followed suit.

After breakfast we were off again. We passed through Thaon (?), Girmont, Villon Court, Padous and finally reached our destination, Bult.

The scenery along this march was very beautiful. It was from here that Lieutenant Jewell and Sergeant von Pentz went to Moyen to ChauChat## School.

From June 22nd, we started on the hike for Vacquerville. We through the long, dense and it rained as hard as I have ever seen. We reached Baccarats (?) and pitched tents in the park, and still it rained.

For some reason the late getting to us. Some French were cooking some savory food under the shelter of the bandstand and gave us as much as they could spare. Supper was finally served and we moved off that same night. We were assigned to billets and this was the reserve line at Vacquerville. The inhabitants still lived here and every front yard was “decorated” by a manure pile, which seems to be a custom in this part of France.

A wind blowing our way brought a note attached to a small balloon bearing the following message: “Good Bye 42nd Division, Welcome 77th Division.”

In the early morning of June 24, Jerry pulled a raid on the first battalion at Neuvillers (?), killing and wounding some of our men. Our enemy here was the famous Prussian Guards. They used liquid fire most cruelly; burning to death 9 men from Company “D.” The fire was so intense that it bent the men’s rifles.

Sergeant Loftus, then Corporal, was on this burying detail and found that some of the victims were his very near friends in his home city.

During the attack, St. Maurice where the advance battalion headquarters was situated was subject to gas and high explosive shellfire. This bombardment lasted 1½ hours and gas masks were worn for three hours by our scouts. We stayed at Vacquerville for eight days during which time two platoons at a time took up our advanced positions in the woods. From here Sgt. GrosJean was sent to ChauChat School at Moyen.

The Company then moved to the front line -the 3rd and 4th platoons holding the front line, the lst and 2nd in reserve. The 3rd Platoon took the position at Newwv1elle. 'This was an outpost position, held by both the French end the American. This position was held for 5 nights and 4 days. It was the first front line position held by us. While we were being relieved we were subject to our first barrage.

While at Neuv1ellers, several patrols were sent out, one led by Lt. #, Sgt. Marks and Sgt. Loftus. Lt. Pope accompanied by Sgt. Cantwell and Sgt. von Pentz led the first raiding party from Co. F., with the French this party numbered about 30 men.

The patrol cut the German wire and reached the 1st line with out incident and returned. The following night a similar raid was pulled off led by the same officer and Sgt. Surfs, Cantrell, von Pentz, McGowen. Shreck, Marks, Loftus and GrosJean. They entered the German 2nd line trenches and as before without incident.

A kitchen belont~1ng to Co. D, first Battalion was left on the- road in nomans1and unknowingly by the supply Company driver. Later on this rolling kitchen was rescued by our men and pulled back to Neuvillers.

During a later bombardment, this same kitchen was buried with some reserve rations belonging to D Company, which were enjoyed by the men of Company. F. The French traded their wine here for our Bull Durham tobacco. A detai1 was sent to the French with a water pail and they came back with the pa11 f1lled with Vin Rouge. Corporal McGarrell had the greatest thirst of any man in the Company

On the 4th of July, in the form of a celebration, our artillery opened a barrage for 1 hour.

Mess Sgt. Zimmerman received a message from the committee demanding
Better rations. Several bullets accompanied this message.

On the night of July 6th, the Company moved back to Saccerat (?) where we marched out at 4 A.M. several mornings to a fine natural rifle range where we threw grenades and fired r1fles and auto. pistols and ChauChat. This was a ten-day rest and .we all enjoyed this Ville as it was the largest place we were quartered at. The beer was good. ln one or two cafes draught beer was sold. The Salvation Arr1y Canteen sold crullers and doughnuts at cost price. The quartermaster Commissary also sold
Chocolates and plenty of cigars and cigarettes and canned preserves.

Sergeants Dosselman, Woods, Brown, Swirt, Kenny, Beckeran were commissioned here and our officers gave them a blowout.

July 18th at 8 p.m. we left Baccaret for Vacquerville. . We marched up a steep hill through the woods and arrived at Vacquerville late that night. At our stay here, one half the Company policed the town (?) and had Battalion Guard in our turn while the other half of the Company
took positions in the woods. . The 4th platoon taking pos1tion No. 17; 3rd platoon, position No. l8, 2nd platoon, position No. 19 and the 1st platoon position No. 20. We dug a line of trenches during the day and took our position behind these trenches at night. Major Jay and Capt. Davis inspected these trenches. One day General Johnson while looking over these trenches ordered Sgt. GrosJean to make a slight change in the line. Sgt. Wenzel and McGowen went to Officer Training. School and Sgt. Powell was made top cutter#.

Friday, August 2nd at 9:30 p.m.: the 37th Division relieved us. Lieutenant Jewell led us out while Captain Davis and Sergeant Marks secured billets at Glezentahne (?). We marched through Vacquerville, through Baccarat, crossed the bridge that was damaged by shellfire and later required repair and into Bad Minal, where we pitched tents in the woods outside the village. During the march, it rained so hard and it was so dark that every man had to keep hold of the man in front of him to guide him. During this relief, Jerry opened up his artillery and after a half-hour, our big guns returned the compliment.

The Paxon road was shelled heavily and our troops used the St. Paul and St. Maurice roads. The villages of St. Paul and St. Maurice were shelled so much that all that remained were a few walls -- all the roofs were blown off and the church was demolished. We left the woods at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, marching through the ruined towns of Menarmont (?) and Offevillers (?).
Early Monday morning we arrived at Glesentane (?). Here we practiced battalion maneuvers and our battalion scouts did K.P. duty.

Major Jay called all the battalion Sergeants into the village schoolhouse and after explaining the filtration system, we were told that we were going into the greatest battle of the war. Where or when, we were did not know.

We left Clozentaine at 10:00 a.m., August 6th, marching through Haillsinville and Danas Bois to Charms Boiz, where we encamped for the night. The next morning, we marched to the station passing a British Red Cross Hospital, arriving at 10:00 a.m....Here we had a hurried lunch of a sandwich and coffee and at noon, pulled out. The route was along the Mosell River and the scenery was beautiful.

We passed thought the towns of Chetel, Wirecoint, Neufchalean (?) where Joan of Arc was born. We passed the French Colonial troops with uniforms in all colors. This was a two-day and three-night ride in the Schevesux or 40 Hommes Pullmans, arriving at LePert at 7a.m. August 9. We detrained and marched to LaMinil where we stayed one night. Corporal McGarrel, our huntsman, after a few hours in the field, returned with two Rabbits.

We marched to St. Simon where we boarded auto Lories driven by Ceylon Chinamen in French uniforms. This was a nine-hour ride and these Chinks proved to be good chauffeurs. We passed through the towns of Colombiar, Chanly, Chateau Thierry and stopped at Feren Tardenois. Chateau Thierry and Feren Tardenois where badly damaged by shellfire. These were the worst ruins we had seen up to this time.

We stopped outside of Fere En Tardenois the first night. The next morning we moved into Ballou Woods.

A dead horse and German were found and one grave was dug. The two were thrown in and a sign placed over the grave, “1 Hun - 1Horse.”

The Railroad station was wrecked and papers of all descriptions strewn all over the floor. Plenty of German gas masks and helmets littered the surrounding territory and the retreating Germans left thousands of bullets here. Piles of heavy ammunition which was enough to cover a city blocks was also left. Thousands of shovels, boxes of “Potato Mashers”#, trench mortars, and several heavy pieces of artillery were damaged so badly that they were useless. There was a little “dummy engine” literally riddled with bullets. He also left tons of rations including dried potatoes, onions and cabbage. - - - - It is said that the Crown Prince and staff were quartered here and some of the billets and dugouts were nothing less than gorgeous, probably furnished from the best mansions of Fare En Tardenois.

To the left was a valley of white that was probably the bed of a lake from many years ago.

On Wednesday, August 14th, at 9:30 p.m., we started for the front. At 2:30 a.m., we camped in the woods of Dravegney (?) - called “Pinard Woods.” We practiced battalion maneuvers on a daily basis and on occasion our band would play. Several men from our Company were instructed in the use of the rifle grenade using the V.B. grenade. Captain Goodwin, then a second Lieutenant, was loaned to our Company for a few days. Sergeant von Pentz was promoted to “top cutter” and Sergeant Powell left for the states.

Monday, August 10th a Bosche# over in an allied plane and flew over the top of our aviators and shot them both to the ground. Both our aviators were killed instantly.

Good water was scarce here and had to be obtained at the brook or on the farm on the hill.

From here we marched to the “red line”, dug in and pitched tents in the woods and also dug a line of trenches. It was here that we were again paid.

Lieutenant Jewell left us here fir the states. Cherry Chateau could be plainly seen from here and it was shelled continuously day and night. There was a Y.M.C.A. and a Red Cross Station. We found that the Red Cross was giving chocolates, cigarettes, sox and underwear.

Jack Fraiser, who always disliked digging trenches, offered to go to these stations and get whatever they would give him. After his going through a heavy bombardment, he returned safely with a large box filled with chocolates and cigarettes.

From here we marched in the fields and through the woods to another line. All the while under constant shellfire. When we arrived, we were assigned individual dugouts.

Sergeant GrosJean had Battalion Guard here and his main orders were to keep the men off the road. Lieutenant Dias was assigned to the Company at this time.

Eight stretcher-bearers were detailed to carry ammunition for the ________ Battalion as an urgent appeal was sent for ammunition. Private Pat Petit was wounded on this detail. From here we marched one night to advanced positions on which the 1st and 4th platoons were in dugouts to the left of a cave, the 3rd platoon occupying the cave and the 2nd platoon to the right of the Tannery on the railroad tracks. Lieutenant Goggin was with the 2nd platoon. From this point the 3rd platoon was ordered to cover the woods to the left of the Tannery. In preparation for an attack we were to make, a reconnoitering party made up of Lieutenant Dias, Sergeant GrosJean, Corporal McGarrell (now Sergeant) and Private Oggonni.

On his way to the third platoon, Lieutenant Dias ran into a high explosive shell that rendered him unconscious and unfit to continue.

Lieutenant Gilbert took his place and with the above men started out at 11a.m. led by Oggonni. No sooner had the four men started when the enemy sighted them and not only used machine-guns but also 77m. The enemy followed this down to the Vesle River bridge at Fismes, where one by one they darted across the Fismes where they followed a stone wall through the ruins to the position held by the other platoon to the right of the Tannery. The party met Lieutenant Goggin and conversed with him.

After observing the surrounding country and getting a good idea of their job for the night and obtaining all the information possible, the party started back. The return was just as perilous. Instead of crossing the bridge, they forged the river and returned safely. Lieutenant Gilbert was cited for this.# Sergeant GrosJean got his men in readiness for the attack. They loaded down with grenades and plenty of rifle ammunition. The zero hour was to be sent to Sergeant GrosJean a little later. Later, as luck turned out, the order was changed due partly to the observations of Lieutenant’s observations and information. The attack was changed from a platoon attack to one of battalion size. The Company was quickly assembled in the nearby woods and overcoats were shed and piled. Company F started in single file led by Captain Davis. When he reached the first railroad track after crossing the river, we occupied funk# holes along the track. A ration detail was hit and our Chaplain, Father Welsh, called for stretcher-bearers. Up to this time, not a shot was fired. From here we moved through the swamp to the next railroad track. No sooner had we arrived than our machine guns barrage began. Captain Davis stood up on the track and shouted, “come on F Company boys; here’s where you get your popcorn, cigars, cigarettes, chewing gum and candy.” It fairly rained bullets. Major Jay walked calmly along the track swinging his cane and was later wounded in the arm. The first and fourth platoons were caught in the artillery barrage and could not come up to this position. At this time (because Major Jay was wounded) Captain Davis took charge of the Battalion and Battalion headquarters were then located along the track. Early in the battle, Sergeant Dunn was killed as well as Private Amdur and Alford at the position held by 2nd platoon. Many were killed and wounded in this battle.

Adjutant Lieutenant Reid was killed and Captain Adams, from Erie country, was reported missing, but later learned that he was taken prisoner.

To describe this battle would be a hard task. Vary Lights#, artillery of all descriptions, machine guns and rifle fire were constant. The smoke of the battle with the smell of human blood and the groans of the wounded c related the most vivid impression of the horrors of war.

In the morning German airplanes driven by nervy pilots swooped down almost as low as the tops of the trees and played his machine gun at will, and the boys of the Battalion gave him volley after volley in trying to bring him down. After fulfilling his task,

About 10 o’clock when things settled down a little, Captain Davis placed Corporal Gold, Sergeant Turbes (?) - then a private, and Private Gaddis and McConney in a position to the extreme right of Company G. After digging in here, Sergeant Turbee placed his automatic rifle on a parapet. A shell exploded nearby demolishing his rifle. When the day dawned, these men noticed they were under direct observation of the enemy and casualties resulted. Private Gaddis being one of the unfortunates. Stretchers and bearers were very scarce makeshift stretcher made of two rifles and a blanket, which probably saved Caddie’s life. Several hours later and order was give to withdraw and these men were temporarily attached to the 4th platoon. This position was shelled steadily that night.

Company H called for reinforcements as they suffered heavily during the attack.

Captain Davis designated Sergeant GrosJean and 15 men of the 3rd platoon as a reinforcing party. Lieutenant Cychig led three men under the track to the position held by Company H. While over here Sergeant GrosJean established a listening post and three night stationed himself with two other100 yards in front of his position. On the third morning Jerry came over with rifle grenades and Sergeant GrosJean ordered his men to hold fire until grenades fell within 6 feet in front of Corporal Schmidlins bay. At this position we salvaged about 6 ChauChut rifles. Corporal Liefart (?) was in charge of the rifle grenades. We opened up with everything we had for about ten minutes of continual fire causing Jerry to retire.

On the evening of August 28th, we were relieved by the 3rd Battalion. We marched back to Pisard Bois and there a roll call of the Company was made. The Company relieving H Company was late necessitating Captain Grant to execute his relief in daylight. We diligently timed each group so as to make as small a target as possible. The third platoon men of Company F were among those of Company H on relief. Captain Grant, Sergeant GrosJean and Corporal McGarrel were the last three men to leave. They got back to Pisard Bois in time for supper.

At 3:30 p.m. we left here for the woods near Sergy and arrived there at 9:30. Here we again practiced Battalion maneuvers and Sergeant Loftus, McGarrell, Lenahan and Corporal Peters attended the school where they were instructed in the gang system. This system was finally adopted by the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Force) This system is as follows: Each platoon comprised of 12 to 16 men; each gang had an automatic rifle, rifle grenadier, hand grenades and riflemen.

At the Sergy Woods, Lieutenant Gilbert read an order from G.H.Q.# announcing a shortage of officers in the division, thereby making platoon leaders Sergeant von Pentz, Veal, Oaklay, Marks and GrosJean acting Lieutenants. Later on that order was rescinded.

On Sunday, September 1, at 5:30 p.m., we started back up to the line with full packs with Captain Grant leading the Battalion. We marched past the Pisard Woods to a position and held here for three days. Here we discarded most of our equipment and marched away with battle packs. Our artillery had positions in these woods and kept up continual fire. Dinner was ready to be served but a hurried order prevented us from eating. We marched on the road through the woods in platoon formation up to a position on the crest of a hill within the woods. Our planes stopped German aerial activity. We occupied funk holes. Great fires and large clouds of smoke `

The supporting unit on our left could be plainly seen in the distance. They were advancing. We marched up the St. Martin road crossing the Vesle River Bridge over the Piames.

We rested along the walls for about twenty-minutes with Jerry lobbing over one shot every now and then. Here the men were placed in deep cellars and at 8 o’clock Captain Davis called a meeting of all Officers and Sergeants of the Company. He laid out our plans for attack showing us on the map where our objective was. Lieutenant was to lead us out of the city, over a bridge and about 600 yards beyond the bridge. In this attack, the fourth platoon was to support the first, the third platoon supporting the second. Just as this meeting was disassembled, a shell cracked over our heads tearing down a corner of a building nearby.

The Company fell out at 11 o’clock p.m. and started down the road to the bridge. This bridge was blown to hell and Lieutenant Goggin tried to patch it up. Later, Captain Grant and Sergeant von Pentz made it passable for one man at a time. While waiting for this repair, Jerry shelled the river but all of the shots were long. A man had to be an acrobat to cross this bridge and a few fell into the river. After crossing the bridge we passed through about 100yards of barbed wire and it took some time to reorganize the platoon. From here we marched up the road to funk holes which we occupied until daybreak.

Corporal Bridgeworth’s detail brought up a mess of sour tomatoes that were served for breakfast.

We started up the valley in squad column without incident until about noon. When we reached the crest of the hill North of Fismas. The 29th Division was on our right - we were under direct enemy observation at this time, and the fighting began. At first he opened up with his artillery - we deployed and the Jerry opened up his machine guns with deadly effect. The 3rd platoon suffered the most casualties. Corporal Schmidlin was mortally wounded here and Private Koeffer, Jack Freiser, _____Couney, Gold, and Miller. A shell burst burying Corporal Ditty. Engelback and for the second time Private Turbee’s ChauChut rifle was smashed up. Corporal Ditty received a severe wound in the arm. Private Love was killed and his brother was wounded. ` While carrying a message from the 4th platoon to the Company Headquarters, Private Doyle was also killed.#

After seeing the casualties that resulted in this position, Sergeant GrosJean advanced his men about 100 yards to be out of the artillery fire.

Sergeant von Pentz held a liaison post between F Company and the 28th Division. Later Company F advanced its position while he maintained between the 307th Battalion and the 28th Division.# Later that afternoon, Sergeants Lenehan, Loftus McGurrel and Corporal Peters joined the Company after returning from “gang system school.” Later in the afternoon while waiting for orders to advance, and order to withdraw# was brought to us by Private Fischer. We assembled in the woods under the cover of darkness and started down the road to the Ravine Marion.

We marched in single file on each side of the road and at 8 pace intervals. We halted and stood motionless when Jerry sent over vary lights. The men did not realize it at the time but this was a large flank movement. We must have walked at least an hour and a half. Our destination was the crest of a hill along the road where there was a continuous line of natural caves. The center cave, nearest the road, was to be used as a Battalion headquarters with Captain Blagdon, acting as major#.

When we came up to this place before entering the caves a complete investigation of the interior was made. Four large gas shells were found wired up.#

One German prisoner was caught here and he promised to bring his comrade if we let him go to get him. A wire was attached to his person and he was allowed to go back into the cave. He brought out another prisoner. The prisoners gave good information and we did not advance any further.

The first and second platoons took up positions and dug in to the right of the cave. The fourth platoon was on the left and Company G connecting up with the fourth along the road. The third platoon took up position to the left of G Company along the road and dug in under a natural solid rock. As long as we did not move about, it was quiet - after about a 1/2-hour, the men grew careless and would show themselves. Jerry was observing all the time and would send high explosive and flammable shells.

A Private of Company E was hit by a shell right above the 3rd Platoon position and tumbled down in front of the men. Three men from his Company came down and started to dig a grave - another shell broke and these men took shelter in the newly dug grave. If they hadn’t, they would have been blown up. Ignoring the danger, they calmly buried their comrade and one of the parties said a prayer over his bier and set up a Jewish Cross over the grave. The whole job was completed twenty-minutes after he died.

On the third night Sergeant GrosJean was sent on a patrol to obtain liaison with the 308th Regiment. . After obtaining the directions and what information he was supposed to get, he set out with fourteen men from the third Platoon.

The platoon was lead into “No Man’s Land”, down the valley through the woods and up through vineyards to the road leading to Revillon. The road was under constant shellfire so the patrol kept about three hundred yards off the road. ---- They met Captain McNeal of the 307th Machine Gun Company who gave them the information they were seeking. The patrol then started back and returned without incident. Sergeant McGarrel’s good sense of direction came into good advantage guiding the patrol without hesitation back to their position. After reporting the information to acting Major Blagdon, the men slept, as it was 4 o’clock. The next night Sergeant GrosJean was called upon to establish an outpost guard for the_________Machine Gun Company. When making the disposition, the rain fell in torrents. The patrol returned to the position in daylight.

September________about 7 o’clock, we started a battery attack with F Company supporting H Company and E Company supporting G Company. After we deployed, Jerry, observing us opened up. First with artillery, then with machine guns which had a deadly effect.

An order was given to retire after being here for a half-hour amidst a heavy bombardment.

The retirement was not what it should have been as Major Blagdon ordered a resumption of the attack with Company F taking the lead on the extreme right with Company B in support. Sergeants’ Marks, Schreck, GrosJean and Oakly were in charge of their platoons.

Lieutenant Goggin and Sergeant Marks being instrumental in the fine way in which Company F advanced. Every man was full of fighting spirit that night.

An order was received to retire and it was done in the best military manner.

It was here on our first time out that Lieutenant Gilbert, while standing on the roof of a house, a shell exploded dropping him. About 12:00 (midnight) our relief came in and we were damn glad of it. Lieutenant Goggin getting us out of here as quick as possible and marched to Fimet where we occupied dugouts and stayed here for about four hours. Sergeant GrosJean was sent to the Army Candidate School at Langres.#

After relieving Company ______ whose position was in the front line controlling the Ravine Marion, North of Glennes having established an outpost and making Company Headquarters on the East hill of Ravine Marion, Sergeant Jack Schreck, in command of the 4th Platoon holding the West hill, an outpost in the Ravine Marion, with a front of the first Platoon, the balance of the 1st Platoon with the 2nd and 3rd Platoons with Company Headquarters holding the West hill of the Ravine, with Lieutenant Goggin in command of the Company, 1st Sergeant von Pentz, Sergeant Marks commanding the 1st Platoon; Sergeant _______ commanding the 2nd Platoon. During the relief and all through the night, the enemy artillery was giving us considerable trouble during which time the enemy sent over many _______ gas shells into the ravine and the hills surrounding it. During the night it was possible to keep up liaison between the 4th Platoon outpost and Company Headquarters - Runners Private Oggonni and Private ________. During the early morning hours, although under observation, enemy machine gun and artillery fire, liaison was still kept up. During the night, due to heavy gas shelling, it was necessary to move parts of the 4th Platoon to a better position. In order to find out its new position, a patrol was sent out to locate it. Several Privates were wounded on this patrol. Private Kanna showing courageous conduct in crossing the Ravine Marion and returning with the information regarding the new position. Although under constant machine gun fire, during the morning, there appeared three men crossing the ravine and trying to get to Company headquarters. The enemy opened machine gun fire upon them and it could be seen they were trying their hardest to get to headquarters. I watched for hours through field glasses but was unable to make out who the men were. The men no lay still and no longer moved. They were given up for dead.

After a few hours, Corporal Losser reported to company headquarters and said that he was one of the men who was crossing the ravine but was unable to give the names of the men who were following him. He thought that they were men other than they turned out to be. He had been gassed in crossing the Ravine and reported that the enemy had sent over considerable gas during the night. He was sent back to first aid.

It was now getting towards evening and looking through his glasses, Lieutenant Goggin said, “He’s Alive!” I gave one look and said, “He’s moving,” and sure enough he was. The soldier was crawling toward us, but very slowly, as in great pain. We shouted directions to him, but he could not see us as he was also gassed. I waited until I could stand it no longer. I took one look and made for him. After my first dash of fifty yards, I dropped for rest and saw that right at my side was Lieutenant Goggin. We then made for the soldier, picked him up and ran back to headquarters with him. The soldier was Corporal Fred Peters, who was wounded in the crossing of the ravine. Before sending him back to the hospital we questioned him as to who the other soldier was that was behind him. He said it was _______, but expressed his belief that he was dead. It was now getting dark and as a relief was expected that night, I asked for volunteers to dig a grave for _________, and make a cross. While this was being done, Lieutenant Goggin and I started across the ravine to find the other soldier. Lieutenant Goggin came upon him first and said, “My God it’s Sergeant Crawley.”

We now made for the 4th Platoon and directed the gassed and wounded out to the first aid. Privates________ and ________, being gassed, were lead back to Company Headquarters. Sergeant von Pentz, with stretcher and a covering party went out to bring back Sergeant Crawley (E.J.). He was buried facing the enemy. This is a case where we dug a grave for one soldier and buried another. We were relieved by the Italians that night. Lieutenant Goggin# left us here for Siaticenfe Hospital and wished us all well. He had tears in his eyes as large as marbles.

We marched about 15 kilometers where we rested two days and one night. General Alexander gave us to understand we were to have a 30-day rest. The next night we rode all night in lorries driven by the French to La Chateier. We stayed two night and two days. We marched with battle packs to Florence, about 30 kilometers, where we were placed in French billets and no one was allowed on the streets. Mess being carried to us. Lieutenant W.E. Kidd was assigned to the Company. After dark we marched 3 kilometers to French dugouts where we stayed one week.

We left these French billets on the night of September 22 - marched about 5 kilometers to a place outside Florence - pitched tents and stayed here for three nights and three days. Our kitchen was lost here and we did not fare very well.

We sent two guides to Sergeant Menhour to bring in replacements from the 40th Division of which Company F got 70 men. They arrived on September 24. These men were instructed as to how to wear gas masks and Sergeant Turber instructed some of them in Chauchat gunnery and grenades while Sergeants Marks, Shreck, Lenahan taught Phosphorous Grenades.

September 25th at 5:00 a.m. we started up to the battle of Argonne Woods. We advanced to within the front line and we occupied dugouts. While the Germans threw over a heavy high explosive artillery barrage, our artillery returned the compliment.

September 26th at 4:00 a.m. we started our attack. First and second platoons were led by Lieutenant _______, third and forth by Lieutenant Kidd in single file. We marched up a steep hill through a barbed wire entanglement and through demolished trenches. We marched up to an old German trench where we held up and stayed for two nights. Our wounded were taken out at night.

The following day we continued around this trench taking up a section leading into a large basin and we arranged the men around the basin at 8-yard intervals. Continued up the hill on the _________ side until we reached the crest and dug in and placed out sentries. We remained for only one night. Starting the next morning at daybreak Lenehan and Engelhard took patrol to gain liaison with the men who were to our left and did make contact. with necessary results. German ordinance, wine and cigars were left in houses and summer gardens were still in tact, which indicated a hasty retreat of the Hun.

The control returned to the Company and continued to advance N.E., due North#. We passed several machine gun pillboxes and dugouts that had been demolished by our artillery.

Several men of our Company, in cleaning out these dugouts, found German officers revolvers with belts, shotguns (?) left by the hastily retreat.

We advanced over several hills meeting only rear guard resistance until we reached a German cemetery where we held up by German artillery and machine gun fire that wounded Abuan (?), Simmiths (?). We dug in for the night and threw out outposts (?).

In the morning Lieutenant Gilbert called all noncoms and informed them of an attack to take place with T Company. No sooner had we left than T Company on our left was subject to intense High Explosive and trench mortar fire, holding them in.

On the side of this hill Sergeant Jack Shreck, while receiving a message from Oggonni, was killed. Sergeant Lenehan taking charge of the left flank. T Company was forced to withdraw. We changed our course and kept going until held up by machine gun fire.

#Riker with other men were crossing a ravine and fired on by machine guns, killing Riker and wounding Corporal Engelback, Dilato and seven other others. We dug in for the night at this location.

The following morning Lieutenant Gilbert reported back to Battalion Headquarters to get orders. All this while Jerry threw over a heavy Mustard Gas barrage on our back area. Lieutenant Gilbert was gassed and sent back to the hospital.

Because of this the Company consolidated with T Company under command of Lieutenant Lord and Perry.

K Company then took over our position and we went to the left as a Liaison Company. We again advanced crossing the ravine to join up with T Company and took a Hun prisoner. We dug in for the night on the crest of the hill.

Sergeant Lenehan was sent out that night to obtain liaison with K Company that was long in advance. He located them and returned. A last breakfast was dished out at daybreak and away we went. We continued until noon when we were held up by machine gun fire wounding several men. We dug in at this point and remained until the next morning. That morning we resumed our advance up the hill until dusk when again we were held up by machine gin fire on the very hill where the Lost Battalion was. It was here we were sent our first hot meal. We were informed to place outposts _________ position. After receiving a mess and filling our canteens, we started back to our position a 3:30 a.m.

By taking the wrong fork in the narrow gauge track, we did not reach the hill where our positions were until after daybreak. We then started up the hill meeting fierce resistance and forced to withdraw to the defiladed side of the hill and dug in. We discovered the 1st Battalion 308th was surrounded. Lieutenant Kidd complained of a sprained leg and left us for three days. The company was then in command of Sergeant Marks. We held this position for four days, tacking alternately with other Companies in the 3rd Battalion to rescue the “Lost Battalion.”

The morning of the fifth day we were ordered to attack with M Company supporting us. We advanced up the South side of the hill reaching the crest. While cutting wire we were subject to severe machine gun and artillery fire forcing us to retire about 50 yards where we dug in.

Lieutenant Currier led this attack. Lieutenants’ Lord and Perry were both wounded and sent back. We were then order to withdraw to our position on the South side of the hill. Sergeant Marks was sent back to the hospital.

Sergeant von Pentz then left us here.#
He was sent back to the hospital

That evening we finally succeeded in getting through and establishing liaison posts along the road. Instructions were given not to take any German prisoners. After receiving this message we met and killed some Germans.

At daybreak we move to a road where we left a detail of forty men to carry the wounded of the Lost Battalion. At noon, Major Whittlesey arrived in his automobile, visited the boys, and congratulated them for their pluck and courage. Incidentally, we received the DSC# for this trip.
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