1-119 To Commanding General, Thirty-Second Army Corps, March 12, 1918

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 12, 1918

To Commanding General, Thirty-Second

Army Corps [s. Bullard]1

March 12, 1918 [Menil-la-Tour], France


Special Operations Report.

1. Raid on Remieres Salient.

(a) At 5:50 A.M., March 11th, a detachment of 5 officers and 87 men of the 18th Infantry and 1st Regiment of Engineers, commanded by Captain Quesenberry, 18th Infantry, carried out a raid on the salient north of the western edge of the BOIS REMIERES. Twelve Engineer soldiers of the party formed a reserve with long torpedo charges to be used in case the breach in the wire made by the artillery on March 10th was not found to be satisfactory. As the breach was satisfactory, they were not required to go forward from our lines.

(b) The raiding party carried out their operation as planned. Not more than 11 Germans were found in the position raided. 1 was found killed by shell fire and 3 were killed by revolver or rifle fire. 7 retreated into our box fire, pursued by members of the raiding party. They were probably casualties. The condition of the trenches and dugouts was such that no estimate could be formed of other losses suffered by the enemy as a result of the artillery fire. All dugouts were caved in and the trenches were practically demolished and holding a great deal of water.

The raiding party remained in the enemy’s position 20 minutes without suffering any casualties. 2 men were wounded by machine gun fire during the return across No Man’s Land and 1 man was wounded by shell fire within our lines. He died later.

(c) It was apparent that the enemy had withdrawn the usual garrison of the salient as soon as the breaches were cut in the wire.

2. Raid on Eastern Flank of RlCHECOURT salient.

(a) At 7:40 P.M. on March 11th, a detachment of 4 officers and 70 men of the 16th Infantry and 1 Engineer officer, commanded by Captain Graves, 16th Infantry, carried out a raid on the eastern flank of the RICHECOURT salient, a gap in the wire having been cut by artillery fire on March 10th.

(b) The raiding party carried out the operations as planned. About ten Germans were seen, of whom four were killed by a Stokes Mortar bomb thrown into the shell hole they had established themselves in and one or possibly two more were killed by grenades. No deep dugouts were found, only light shelters and these had been badly damaged. The trenches were found to be in a miserable state of repair, filled with water in many places and generally caved in.

2 officers and 3 men of the raiding party were lightly wounded by grenade fragments. No other casualties.

3. General remarks.

(a) The work of the French and American artillery was excellent, the enemy’s reaction in each raid being practically negligible. The fact that our infantry was able to penetrate from 150 to 250 yards within the enemy’s lines twice in one day without the loss of a man has served to inspire them with great confidence in our artillery. Their observation of the German trenches has also served to give them greater confidence in the strength of their own positions, as well as a poorer opinion of the strength of the enemy’s.

Both raiding parties went into action in high spirits and came out with increased morale, though much disappointed in not taking any prisoners.

(b) This Division is greatly indebted to the 69th D.I. on our right and the 10th Colonial Division on our left for the strong support given during these two operations.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I) (RG 120), Records of the First Division, Historical File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed report.

1. At this time the First Division was part of the French Thirty-second Corps, which was commanded by General Passaga, whom General Bullard later praised for his aggressiveness and for his abilities to inspire confidence and to “win the American heart.” (Bullard, Personalities and Reminiscences of the War, p. 289.)

Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 134-136.

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