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ILLINOIS IN THE WORLD WAR VOLUME I

THE

HISTORYOFTHE 33rd DIVISION

A. E. F.

BY

FREDERIC LOUIS HUIDEKOPER

Former Lieutenant Colonel, Adjutant General,

United States Armt, and Division Adjutant,

33rd Division, Author of 'Military Studies/ 'The

Military Unpreparedness of the United States.'

Published by the

ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

1921

188

THE 33RD DIVISION

By contrast, Monday, November 4, 1918, was character-

ized by a number of episodes of importance. Apart from the

daily routine, the division P. C. sent out Confidential Memo-

randum No. 34 prescribing the precautions to be taken against aerial observation and the securing of proper protection by

means of camouflage, and a training circular dealing with the

subject of casualties resulting from mustard gas. Orders were

also dispatched to the commanders of the 66th Brigade and the 122nd Machine Gun Battalion to send certain detachments to the Fort du Camp des Romains and to the Fort des Paroches as reenforcement garrisons. ^^ At 7 :45 P.M. a

"secret, urgent" order was received from the Corps Com-

mander directing that reconnaissances strong enough to pene-

trate the enemy's outposts zone be launched against well- chosen points with a view to securing prisoners. ^^ As a matter

of fact, during that day and the ensuing night^^ numerous patrols were made which scoured most of the plain, especially

between St. Hilaire and Jonville, captured or killed a number

of the enemy, and secured some important identifications.^'^

At 8:30 P.M. the commanding general of the 65th In-

fantry Brigade issued orders for a raid against the Chateau et

Ferme d'Aulnois to be made by two companies of the 130th

Infantry and, in transmitting a copy of this order to G-3 of

the division, announced: "If able to pull it off Wednesday

morning will do so."^^

That Monday a notable contribution to human history was made. At 3 p.m. the Austrian plenipotentiaries signed an

armistice embodying all the terms imposed by the Allies and a cessation of hostilities between the forces of the Allies and

those of the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Govern-

ment on land and sea and in the air was officially announced^^

and on the following day went into actual effect on the various

fronts.

TROYON-SUR-MEUSE

189

On Tuesday, November 5, 1918, at 8:25 A.M. there was

received at the message centre of the 33rd Division at Troyon-

sur-Meuse a communication from General Blondlat, the corps

commander, emphasizing the necessity for maintaining close

contact with the enemy In the event of his withdrawal and

specifying the dispositions which he wished to be taken to insure this desideratum. ^"° Beyond the usual daily routine, there was substantially no event of Importance that day at the

division P. C, except that the complete plan of defense of the

Troyon-Chaillon sector was finished and delivered to the

At 6 P.M. the 33rd

Division passed from the 2nd Colonial Army Corps to the

17th French Army Corps, ^*^- although the actual notification

of this transfer was not received until the following morn-

Corps Headquarters at St. Mihlel.^"^

jj^g 103

Yhe fire of the divisional artillery was reduced to a

minimum owing to the fact that the

front was covered by

patrols, ^"^ but these had scant success in their operations and^''^

nine men belonging to one patrol sent out by the 130th In-

fantry were surrounded by the enemy and captured. ^"^ Thp troops devoted a large part of the day to the training pre-

scribed, ^°" and the raid against the Chateau et Ferme d'AulnoIs

the 130th Infantry was fixed for

5 :45 A.M. on November 6 but was subsequently revoked. Later in the day the commanding general of the 65th Brigade,

by two companies of

having completed the arrangements to his satisfaction, ordered it to be carried out on Thursday, November 7, at 5 :45 A.M.^"^

The 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 132nd Infantry in the front lines were relieved by the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 131st

Infantry during the night of November 5—6,^*^'' when th^

unusual activity of the enemy machine guns and the number of

opposing lines

betokened either nervousness on the part of the foe or the

occupation of the sector by new troops. As a matter of fact,

the great amount of circulation observed tended to establish

the correctness of the latter supposition. ^^*^

flares displayed in various parts

of

the

VIII. IN THE TROYON-SUR-MEUSE SECTOR WITH

THE SECOND AMERCAN ARMY AND THE

17TH FRENCH ARMY CORPS

On Wednesday, November 6, 1918, the principal events

in the P. C. of the 33rd Division were the issuing of Confi-

dential Memorandum No. 36which announced the transfer

of the division to the 17th French Army Corps at 6 p.m. on

November 5 and the arrival of letters for the commanders

of the three brigades and the 108th Field Signal Battalion requesting them to submit the names of men to attend the school of liaison between aviation and line troops which had

been newly established at Saizerais.^

Preparatory to the raid on the morning of November 7

two companies of the reserve battalion of the 130th Infantry were moved up to reenforce the 1st Battalion, which occupied

the positions of the two companies destined for the raid- and,

similarly, Company D, 123rd Machine Gun Battalion, pro-

ceeded from its reserve position to Fresnes-en-Woevre, where

all its guns were in readiness before daylight.^ A patrol from

the 130th Infantry narrowly escaped being ambushed in the copse at the extremity of the Tranchee du Moulin de Saulx, but took revenge by killing twelve and capturing one of the

enemy, luckily without suffering any loss itself.^ On the right

a patrol from the 131st Infantry penetrated the plain almost

to Butgneville but met no resistance anywhere.^

Such infor-

mation as had been obtained at that time indicated that the

troops immediately in front of the 33rd Division were prin-

cipally machine gunners but all signs pointed to the fact that

190

TROYON-SUR-MEUSE

191

the enemy had no intention of withdrawing at that time.^

The Machine Gun Company, 131st Infantry, occupied the

Longeau Ferme and the 1st Battalion relieved the 2nd Bat-

talion of the 132nd Infantry''^ which rejoined its regiment in

the rest arca.^

Thursday, November 7, was ushered in to the accompani-

ment of considerable activity. From 11 :30 P.M. on the sixth until 2 A.M. on the following day the enemy artillery gassed a large area around St. Remy and thus greatly hampered the bringing up of ammunition for the 55th Field Artillery Bri-

gade. The 113th Field Artillery was the principal sufferer, since the gassing of the terrain in its immediate vicinity pre-

vented three batteries from obtaining the smoke shells needed

for the raid and Battery C was completely neutralized by gas

shells making direct hits on its casemates.^

At 2;40 that morning the "T. S. F." at the P. C. of the

33rd Division picked up the following wireless message from

Marshal Foch to the German High Command:

The German plenipotentiaries desire to meet Marshal

Foch to ask him for an armistice.

They will have to present themselves at the French

outposts coming by the road Chimay-Formies-La Capelle-

Guise.

Orders have been given to receive them and to direct

them to the point of rendezvous.^®

At 5 :45 A.M. occurred the raid against the Chateau et Ferme d'Aulnois, in which Companies A and C, 130th In-

fantry, participated. Starting from the trenches east of Fres-

nes-en-Woevre under cover of a heavy fire from seven batteries

of 75s and four of 155s under the immediate command of Col-

onel Lea^^ and supported by the guns of Company D, 123rd

Machine Gun Battalion, ^^ Company A on the right and Com-

pany C on the left of the road running north to Ville-en-

Woevre advanced rapidly against the chateau, which is situ-

192

THE 33RD DIVISION

ated in the midst of the farm of the same name, east of the

road just mentioned and about three hundred yards south of

the highroad from Verdun through Haudiomont, Pintheville,

and Harville to Metz. The Chateau d'Aulnois was occupied

by a force of approximately a platoon from the 60th Land-

13th German Division, and these

wehr Regiment of the

defenders were quickly overpowered, nine were killed, one

officer and twenty-one men were made prisoners, and two

heavy and four light machine guns were captured. ^^

At

6 :25 A.M. the raiding companies were safely back in their own

trenches, after an operation crowned with successdoubtless

due to the fact that the carefully prepared plan for this affair

had been carried out with extraordinary precision.^"* In this

raid only one man was slightly wounded; indeed the principal

losses fell upon the artillery, which suffered seventeen casual-

ties from gas shelling.^^

That same morning two patrols from the

131st In-

fantry^^ scoured the plain northeast of Doncourt-aux-Tem-

pliers but, although one remained out until nightfall, neither

^'^

was successful in locating the enemy. Aside from the issuance of Training Circular No. 193

announcing the establishment of a course of training in liaison

between aviation and line troops at Saizerais, the P. C. of the

33rd Division sent out two very important instructions.^^ Field

Order No. 32 announced:

Pursuant to orders from the Second Army, the IV Corps

will develop the situation by reconnaissances in force by attack-

ing on D day at H hour, with 2 Brigades of Infantry, in the

direction of Bois de Warville.

The 65th Brigade was accordingly directed to attack

Marcheville at the appointed time with one battalion, having

another battalion in support, and the 66th Brigade was to

attack the Bois d'Harville in like manner, while the division

BRIDGE, ST. HILAIRE, TROVOX SECTOR

BRIDGE BETWEEN ST. HILAIRE AND BUTGNEVILLE