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of the 91st learned that the leading elements of the 35th, on his left, had fallen back from near Exermont, while on the right the Bois Emont had been evacuated by the leading units of the 37th. This left the flanks of the 91st in a perilous position and placed the division in danger of being cut off by the enemy. The 91st sent word to the 37th to move forward far enough to cover the right flank, but received a reply that such a move was impossible. The 35th, on the left of the 91st, was also in a tight place and was retiring to Baulny, having sent out appeals for help on both flanks. There was no other course, therefore, for the 91st except to fall back.
The 79th succeeded finally in reaching the Bois de Beuge and Nantillois, but several attacks on the Bois des Ogons failed.
On the extreme right the 4th and 80th Divisions tried to extend their gains, but failed under heavy fire from the east bank of the Meuse. On Sept. 30 the 37th Division was relieved by the 32d, and the 79th by the 3d. The 91st held desperately to its line until Oct. 4, when it was relieved by the 32d, which four days previously had taken over the 37th's sector. The Germans continued to reinforce their front, rushing up new divisions from the Metz area.
The net results of the first phase of the great battle were these: On the first and second days our troops broke through the first two lines of the enemy's defenses and penetrated the third line—the Volker Stellung—at one point. From then until Oct. 4 there was bitter close quarter fighting all along the front except at the extreme right. The bitterest fighting was on the right of the 1st Corps, as the Germans were bending every effort to hold the salient which the Americans, in conjunction with the French, had driven into the German lines in the Argonne Forest.
SECOND PHASE—OCT. 4 TO NOV. 1 Along the greater part of the front the enemy was now in his positions known as the Kriemhilde Stellung, along the heights north of Beffu, Landres-etSt. Georges, and Bantheville. On Oct. 4 the general American at
tack was resumed. It met strong resistance, but our troops succeeded in capturing the Bois du Fays, Bois des Ogons, Exermont, Chehery, and La Forge. In the centre the 32d Division took Gesnes, but was forced out again. Twice on Oct. 5 troops of the 30th Division attacked the Bois des Ogons with the assistance of tanks, and finally succeeded in reaching the northern edge.
On Oct. 6 a new movement developed which had not been included in the original plans. The German positions in the Argonne Forest were seriously threatened, but in order to force the Germans there to retire it was necessary to capture the heights on the eastern edge of the forest. A brigade of the 82d Division, with the 55th Brigade of the 28th, supported by one regiment of the 56th Brigade, made the attack from Chehery. The 82d Division, which was to extend the front of the attack as far north as Fleville, was unable to get its left regiment, the 327th Infantry, up in time, so that there was a gap in the line.
The 55th Brigade soon took Chatel Chehery, but was held on the slopes of Hill 244. On the right, Hill 223 had not been taken, as the 327th Infantry of the 82d Division did not get up until noon, and the right of the 55th Brigade was suffering severely from machine-gun fire. A battalion, therefore, was sent forward to take Hill 223. Hill 244 was captured only after terrific fighting. The 82d, on the right, took Cornay and Hill 180.
Outflanked by this bold operation, the enemy soon found his salient in the Argonne untenable and hastily retreated. By Oct. 10 the 77th Division had advanced to CheviSres, clearing the forest. The 82d Division now took over the entire sector of the 28th.
This sudden attack to the west was made possible by the brilliant work of the 1st Division, which forced its way northward to the Kriemhildo Stellung and thus was able to protect the right flank of the attack against the Argonne ridges.
On Oct. 2 the first battalion of the 308th Infantry, with about a company of the 307th and elements of the 306th Machine Gun Company, (about seven companies in all,) was cut off in the heart of the forest. The 77th Division, in its advance, had left its left flank in the air. These seven companies, under Major Charles S. Whittlesey of New York, held out for five days under galling fire from all sides. They were finally rescued on Oct. 7, having lost about half their strength in killed and wounded. Far and wide their story has spread, and they have been known as "The Lost Battalion."
Our centre was still a bit south of the Kriemhilde Stellung. It was planned to break through the line of hills on the left of the Bois de Valoup and get through to the Tranche de la Mamelle, thus encircling the village of Romagne. This attack, if successful, would pierce the Kriemhilde line at its strongest point. With the aid of the 42d Division, which had come in on the left of the 32d, our troops advanced under a heavy barrage on the morning of Oct. 9. On the left the 32d Division had great success, penetrating the enemy's lines at one point on the Cote-Dame-Marie. The right of the division got into hand-to-hand fighting in the Mamelle trench and was stopped. Further to the right, the 80th Division reached the Cunel-Brieulles road. Two companies filtered into Cunel itself, surprising and capturing the garrison. Next day the 80th planned to continue the attack, but it was broken up by the enemy's fire. The division was then relieved by the 5th. The 4th Division, on the right of the 80th, was to have followed up the gains of the latter, but, owing to the stiff resistance encountered, these troops were recalled at dark. On Oct. 12, however, the 4th Division got through the Bois de Foret and pushed out patrols to Hill 299.
With the clearing of the Argonne Forest, a new objective was set for the 1st Corps—a line running north of Briquenay and Thenorgues and south of Sivrylez-Buzancy, to flank the Bois de Bourgogne. Elements of the 82d Division crossed the Aire on improvised bridges, and the 77th was able to get patrols across after passing through the Bois de Negromont. The French on our left,
during these two days, had advanced about twelve kilometers (7% miles) west of the Aisne.
In the centre our troops were still held by the formidable Kriemhilde Stellung. On Oct. 12 one brigade of the 5th Division relieved the 80th south of Cunel and part of the 4th Division, so that the lineup on this date, from left to right, was as follows: 32d, 3d, 5th, 4th.
The 32d was just south of the Kriemhilde Stellung south of Romagne, the 3d along the Kriemhilde line from south of Romagne to south of Cunel, the 5th along the Cunel-Brieulles road, and the 4th north of the road in the Bois de Foret. Only two battalions of the 5th had been put into line when, at 4 P. M., the division was relieved by the 3d. The 3d also relieved, a few days later, what was left of the 4th. The 33d, which had made no move since Oct. 4, when, by an extension to its left, it had taken over the 80th's sector, was turned over to the 17th French Corps occupying the line east of the Meuse.
THROUGH KRIEMHILDE STELLUNG On Oct. 14 the advance was resumed all along the line. The enemy put down a heavy counterbarrage, causing serious losses. The advance continued, however, up the slopes of Hills 260 and 271. The infantry was halted at 10 A. M., after having advanced 1,500 meters, (about one mile.) The 32d Division had been held up in front of Cote-Dame-Marie, but its right finally took Romagne. The 42d got over Hill 288 by noon. Later in the day the right of the 5th Division captured the Bois Pultiere. The Kriemhilde Stellung, as a result of these gains, had been pierced at its strongest point. In spite of the fact that the 5th Division was much depleted as a result of this heavy fighting, a new attack was started on the luorning of Oct. 15. These troops attempted to get into the Bois de Rappes, but were unsuccessful.
Two days later the 32d tried to reach Bantheville, and the 5th made another attempt to take the Bois de Rappes. Every effort to advance was checked by the enemy, although the 32d was able to get through the Bois de Bantheville, where it was relieved by the 89th, Part of the 5th Division was ordered to attack again on Oct. 20, its right regiment to take the Bois de Rappes in connection with an attack by elements of the 3d Division on the Bois Clairs Chenes. This attack again failed.
The fourth and final attack on this position was made Oct. 21, and that evening the 5th sent back the laconic report that the Bois de Rappes had been "taken and riveted." Next day the division was relieved by the 90th.
On the left of our battleline the 77th Division was working slowly around Grand Pre, as it had been found impossible to take that place by direct assault. The 78th relieved the 77th on Oct. 15, but was no more successful in getting forward. In the centre troops of the 42d, which had reached the slopes of the Cote de Chatillon on Oct. 14, were stopped there by the 3d Prussian Guard, which held out to the last man in its advanced positions just below the crest. Finally, on Oct. 16, the 42d Division in a whirlwind attack took the crest of Chatillon Hill as well as Musard Farm. The 78th on the same day took Grand Pre. The right of the 78th then pushed forward into the Bois des Loges. The enemy drenched this wood with gas, so that our men had to withdraw. He then reoccupied it, and three days of furious fighting were needed to retake the positions.
On Oct. 20 our line was everywhere north of the Aire, from Grand Pre to the ridges south of Landres-et-St. Georges, and, with the exception of the salient which included the Bois de Bantheville, it continued in a generally straight line to the Meuse north of Brieulles. The French on our left had stormed the heights opposite Vouziers and had advanced about three kilometers (two miles) east of the Aisne.
On Oct 23 the 78th Division captured Talma Farm. The enemy got back into Grand Pre again, but was driven out. The village of Champigneulles was taken and lost. Next day, on the right, we succeeded in forcing the enemy back over the Andon River. Our line was thus secure all along the front, and we he'd positions from which a new general attack could be launched.
THIRD PHASE—NOV. 1 TO NOV. II
The third phase of the Argonne battle was the natural result of previous operations.
On the morning of Nov. 1 our troops occupied the heights northeast of Grand Pre, the Bois de Bantheville, and Hill 288, as well as the heights south of the Andon. We had been held up in the centre by the remaining portions of the Kriemhilde Stellung, south of the villages of St. Georges and Landres-et-St. Georges. A captured enemy map showed that the Germans had still another line of defense, the Freya Stellung.
The divisions in line on this date, from left to right, were the 78th, 77th, 80th, 2d, 89th, and 5th. On Oct. 30 a patrol of the 5th entered and cleaned up Brieulles, thus straightening the line to the Meuse.
The objective now was to make a salient approximately eight kilometers (five miles) deep, the 5th Corps to form the point. The attack was launched on the morning of Nov. 1. In the centre we progressed deep into the Freya Stellung, capturing St. Georges, Landres-et-St. Georges, Imecourt, Landreville, Chennery, Bayonville, Remonville, Andevanne, and Clery-le-Grand.
For the attack the 5th Division, on the right, was to act as a pivot until the 90th, on its left, reached the Meuse, (which was not until Nov. 3.) In case of a general withdrawal the 5th was to cross the Meuse and advance up the heights on the other side.
The remarkable fact about the second day's operations was that greater gains were made than on the first day, something which had not happened before in an attack on the western front. The 80th Division drove the enemy from Buzancy, the chief German railhead in this region. On the right our troops advanced as far as Fosse, four kilometers (2% miles) beyond the Freya Stellung, which had been pierced at Bayonville.
The attack by the 89th north of Bantheville on Nov. 1 began well, but on the following days slowed up considerably. Barricourt was captured Nov. 3. The 1st Division was ordered to pass through the 89th, but the commander of