A veteran of the U.S. First Division, Sixteenth Infantry, tells the chilling story of that rainy night in November, 1917, when the first German raid upon the American trenches took place:
"It was on that night that Company F took over its first front line position, received its baptism of fire, bore the brunt of the first German raid and lost the first American troops killed and captured in the World War."
"...two hundred and forty Bavarians, the widely advertised cut-throats of the German Army, hopped down on us. The first raid on American troops was in full swing. They had crawled up to our wire under cover of their artillery barrage and the moment it lifted were right on top of us."
The U.S. Army would not launch their own trench raid for another four months.
The three articles attached herein were printed five years apart and collectively recall three different events by three different arms of the American military, each claiming to have fired the opening salvo that served notice to Kaiser Bill and his boys that the U.S.A. meant business:
• The first article chuckles at the Army for insisting that the First Division fired the premiere shot on October 23, 1917 in the Luneville sector of the French front;
• The second article recalls the U.S. Merchant Marine freighter MONGOLIA that sank a German U-Boat on April 19, 1917 while cruising off the coast of England.
• following up with the absolute earliest date of American aggression being April 6, 1917 - the same day that Congress declared war - when Marine Corporal Michael Chockie fired his 1903 Springfield across the bow of the German merchant raider S.M.S COMORAN on the island of Guam.
An article by the admired British war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett (1881 - 1931) concerning those aspects of the 1914 war that combined to make the entire catastrophe something unique in human history:
"Everything has changed; uniforms, weapons, methods, tactics. Cavalry had been rendered obsolete by trenches, machine guns and modern artillery; untrained soldiers proved useless, special battalions were needed on both sides to fight this particular kind of war that, in no way, resembled the battles your father or grand-fathers had once fought."
A good read.
Click here to read about the fashion legacy of W.W. I...
To read about one of the fashion legacies of W.W. II, click here...
In this article, the famous chaplain of the 165th Infantry (formerly the NY "Fighting 69th") Father Francis Duffy (1874 - 1932) describes how the regiment was ripped to shreds in two offensives - hinting all the while that "somebody blundered":
"Since 1915 no commanders in the older armies would dream of opposing too strongly wired and entrenched positions [with] the naked breast of their infantry. They take care that the wire, or part of it at least, is knocked down by artillery or laid flat by tanks before they ask unprotected riflemen to [breach the line]. When the wire is deep and still intact and strongly defended, the infantry can do little but hang their bodies upon it."
More about Father Duffy can be read here...
- from Amazon:
"Statistics of the World War prove, however, that war was, from the standpoint of mortality, not vastly different from other wars. In spite of the improvements in methods of killing by machinery,Nature managed to runup a higher score than the enemy's bullets and shells. The Surgeon General of the Army, at the request of The American Legion Weekly, has prepared the following figures for the period of the war, from April 1, 1917 to December 31, 1919."
This 1915 article goes into great length listing the names of all the assorted European noblemen and plutocrats who fell during the first year and a half of the First World War.
"The great world conflict which broke out soon after [the murder of Archduke Ferdinand] has placed the pall of mourning over every third home in the belligerent countries of Europe... The dreadful slaughter has fallen with especial heaviness on the upper and wealthy classes..."
The writer, Charles Stolberg, also included the names of the most admired European athletes who gave their lives for king and country.