Thursday, September 27, 2018

August 13-September 27, 1918, Saint Mihiel: “Germany Can’t Hold Out Much Longer”


by Maj. William Carraway
Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

Final resting place of Pvt. Madie Ware, Company B, Macon Volunteers,
151st MGB. Photo by Maj. William Carraway
On August 13, 1918, one week after their unit had been pulled from front line service near Sergy, France, Soldiers of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion received their first opportunity for leave since arriving in France in October 1917. While the battalion rested and trained in the Bourmont Training Area near Champigny, ten percent of the battalion’s Soldiers rotated to Paris on 48-hour leaves of absence.[i]

On August 17, elements of the 151st MGB began movement from La Ferte sur Marne by rail and by road march to Sauville, a commune in the Ardennes Department in northern France. Here, the battalion began what was expected to be five-weeks of training. Rather than their customary field camp locations, the men were comfortably billeted and provided with the opportunity to clean clothing and equipment. The Soldiers fully expected that they would receive the customary seven-day leaves authorized for units that had spent more than four months in France.[ii] Meanwhile the Soldiers conducted a series of battle drills in which the battalion prepared to provide fire support for infantry assaults.

While his comrades in arms were training in the Ardennes, Cpl. Robert Gober Burton was still recovering from the wound he received July 30, near Sergy. Writing to his mother, Burton expressed optimism for the war’s prospects.

France August 25, 1918
Cpl. R. G. Burton's letter of  August 25, 1918. 
Georgia Guard Archives
Dearest mother,
I am well and getting along fine now. The weather here is about as hot as it is at home at this time of the year, so we are not doing much these days.
It certainly does look as if your prayers have been answered when you consider my miraculous escape. You know I even have the bullet that hit me in the arm. I also have the testament and I shall try and keep them. The first chance I get I will send both of these home.
None of the other boys from home have been hurt so far as I know. I certainly do hope that they haven’t.
The war isn’t going to last much longer if I can tell anything about it at all. For Fritz is being pushed back in every quarter and the US is bringing in fresh troops by the thousands every week to keep him on the go. Germany can’t hold out much longer. German power is on the decline while ours is in the ascension all the time. German prisoners even now admit that they are defeated but claim that they shall carry the war till all her men have gone but they won’t do that. They are too cowardly and yellow.
Well mother dear, will write you another letter in a day or so.
Your devoted son,
Gober[iii]

On August 29, just two weeks into the expected five-week training period, the 151st MGB received orders to move out that evening. After scrambling to assemble men and equipment for transport the battalion departed Sauville at 9:30 P.M. in a driving rain. Arriving in Gironcourt September 3, the 151st received more than 200 replacement Soldiers.[iv]

After a series of movements., the battalion arrived in concealed positions in forested terrain near the village of Siecheprey approximately 22 kilometers east of Saint Mihiel. Here, on September 9, battalion leadership received and disseminated orders for the offensive which was scheduled to commence on September 12. In the coming engagement, the 151st would be employed as a battalion under its own command rather than as attachments to the attacking infantry units.

42nd Division in the St. Mihiel Offensive. Americans All: The Rainbow at War 


The attack in which the 151st MGB would participate was the first great offensive of the 1st U.S. Army. The attack would fall upon the Saint Mihiel Salient, a protrusion of the Western Front which was created by successful German advances during the Battle of Flirey in the fall of 1914. In the four years since the creation of the salient, German troops had fortified their positions, emplacing trenches and barbed wire. French assaults in the Saint Mihiel salient had for four years failed to dislodge the Germans from their positions. From the first days they entered the trenches in the Lorraine Sector in March 1918, the Soldiers of the 151st MGB had heard stories of the salient from French Soldiers who had served there.[v]

The Americans would attack the salient with three corps while a French Corps would help to fix German forces near the town of Saint Mihiel. The Fourth Corps, consisting of the 42nd, 89th, 1st and 3rd Divisions would attack the center of the salient with the First Corps, and its 2nd, 5th, 90th and 82nd Divisions to its right. Attacking the western portion of the salient was the Fifth Corps consisting of the 4th and 26th Divisions along with the French 15th Colonial Division.[vi] These Corps would attempt to attack the salient in a pincher maneuver to pierce the salient and trap any German Forces remaining near Saint. Mihiel.

The order for the attack was fifty pages and was augmented by ten annexes covering the use of artillery, tanks, air corps and other combined arms assets.[vii] The term D-Day was first used in this order as a control measure to coordinate the movement of multiple echelons of command across the salient.

On September 10, 1918, Maj. Cooper Winn and his four company commanders moved forward to conduct a leader’s reconnaissance and select firing positions to provide an overhead barrage in support of the 167th and 168th Infantry Regiments of the 84th Infantry Brigade. During a heavy rain on September 11, the battalion moved into the trench positions at the jump-off point for the assault arriving just before midnight.[viii] About this time Cpl. Robert Burton returned to the battalion from his hospital convalescence. He would not reach his battalion until after they had “gone over the top.”[ix]

Cpl. Frank Cramblett
At 1:00 a.m. September 12, the Americans initiated the assault with artillery fire. At 5:00 a.m. infantry assault began. The Doughboys moved forward with tank and air support under cover of an overhead barrage supplied by the 64 Hotchkiss machine guns of the 151st. The gunners maintained a 15-minute barrage on German trenches in the Bois de la Connard. As the first wave of infantry approached their first objective, the 151st displaced forward as a unit in order to establish a second firing position to cover the second wave. From this position Maj. Winn could direct concentrated fire on points in the German line of resistance. During this phase of the attack two Soldiers of Company D were killed as German machine gun fire raked the 151st position. Corporal Frank Cramblett was struck down and Pvt. G. J. Reemsnyder was shot through the temple while putting his machine gun into action.[x]

The German defenders were largely surprised by the assault. Although they expected an attack would be made, they did not expect it to happen until later in the month. Thus, the initial wave caught many unprepared as recalled by Pvt. J. Ambler of Company D, 150th Machine Gun Battalion.

“The day the battle of Saint Mihiel started our division was advancing very rapidly. On the advance we passed thousands of prisoners, many of them wounded and gassed. One of the Germans was crawling towards us with his heel shot off when a doughboy rushed at him with a fixed bayonet.  He was about to run him through when I yelled at the top of my voice ‘You damn fool, give him a chance, he’s wounded.’ The young fellow then felt ashamed of himself and walked away.  I stopped and gave the Hun a drink of water and a few ‘hard tacks.’ He certainly had appreciated what I had done for him, for he said a lot, but his German was Greek to me.”[xi]
By the end of September 12, the Americans had achieved all of the objectives established for the first and second day of the attack.[xii] The assault continued the following day. During the fighting three Soldiers of the Macon Volunteers, Pvt. Madie Ware of Abbeville, Ga; Pvt. Rich Gussie of Union, Ky. and Pvt. Otis Cook of Griffin, Ga. were killed in action.


Final resting place of Pvt. Otis Cook in the St. Mihiel American Cemetery.
Photo by Maj. William Carraway

The 42nd Division resumed the attack at 6:00 am September 13. By noon, the assault had reached its terminus with all objectives gained. The 151st and its supported infantry regiments took up positions in the vicinity of Saint Benoit en Woevre. On September 14, Field Order No. 24 issued by the 42nd Division ordered the units to “promptly organize this sector for defense.”[xiii] This order served as the de facto end of the Saint Mihiel Offensive.


View from Saint Benoit en Woevre looking southeast towards the 42nd Division's axis of approach. 
Photo by Maj. William Carraway


Whereas the 151st MGB had suffered terribly while moving with assaulting infantry units at Croix Rouge Farm and Hill 212 in July, the massed fire concept employed by Maj. Winn greatly reduced the casualties suffered by the battalion while vastly improving its combat effectiveness. In addition to the five Soldiers killed the battalion suffered nine wounded.

The Battalion remained in defensive positions in what came to be called the Essey-Pannes Sector. During the deliberate defensive operations that followed the Soldiers worked to improve their positions and provided supporting fire for raids conducted by 84th Brigade’s infantry regiments. German gas attacks wounded five on September 14 and 15 and a German artillery barrage on September 22 wounded five members of Company A and B. Pvt Thomas Whitaker of Company B, the Macon Volunteers was killed the next day.

On September 27, the 151st MGB and infantry regiments of the 84th Brigade were relieved by the 83rd Brigade. Three days later, the entire 42nd Division was relieved by the 89th Division.[xiv] They would have but a few days rest before entering the Meuse Argonne offensives.

Next Chapter:  Cote de Chatillon



[i] Peavy, Arthur and Miller, White, The 151st Machine Gun Battalion 42d (Rainbow) Division: A Battalion History and Citations of the Rainbow August 13, 1917 to April 26, 1919. J. W. Burke Co., 1919, 13.
[ii] Ibid, 13
[iii] Robert G. Burton to Mrs. R. F. Burton. August 25, 1918
[iv] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 228A
Walter Binford Diary, n.d., 570
[v] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 228A
Walter Binford Diary, n.d., 539
[vi] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 228A
Walter Binford Diary, n.d., 542
[vii] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 228A
Walter Binford Diary, n.d., 544
[viii] Peavy, Arthur and Miller, White, The 151st Machine Gun Battalion 42d (Rainbow) Division: A Battalion History and Citations of the Rainbow August 13, 1917 to April 26, 1919. J. W. Burke Co., 1919, 14
[ix] Robert G. Burton to Frank Burton. December 18, 1918
[x] Parkinson, N. P., and Joel R. Parkinson. Commanding Fire: An Officers Life in the 151st Machine Gun Battalion, 42nd Rainbow Division during World War I. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Pub., 2013, 121
[xi] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 228A
Walter Binford Diary, n.d., 571
[xii] American Battle Monuments Commission. 42D Division Summary of Operations in the World War. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1944, 42.
[xiii] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 228A
Walter Binford Diary, n.d., 575
[xiv] American Battle Monuments Commission. 42D Division Summary of Operations in the World War. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1944, 47.

Friday, September 21, 2018

WWI, POW/MIA Recognition Day and the Ga. ARNG

 by Maj. William Carraway
Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


1st Lt. Vivian Roberts, Prisoner of War, WWI, Georgia Army National Guard. Roberts photo courtesy of Tonie Maxwell.
Recognition Day photo by Maj. William Carraway


The United States observes National Prisoner of War / Missing in Action Recognition Day on the third Friday in September. On this day, Americans remember those who have been held as prisoners of war during our nation’s conflicts and those listed as missing in action. This year’s observance falls within the Georgia National Guard’s centennial of overseas service, which prompts the question: Were any Georgia National Guardsmen captured and held as prisoners of war during World War I? Are any still missing in action?

In the course of compiling the history of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion, the Georgia National Guard History Office reviewed the service records of the Georgia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 151st - the only unit of the Ga. ARNG to enter combat as an organic unit. Review of the records finds that of all of the Georgia Guard Soldiers mobilized for war in France only 1st Lt. Vivian Roberts of Macon, Ga. was captured and held as a prisoner of war.

Prelude
Vivian Hill Roberts Sr. was born September 29, 1888 in Jackson Ga. He enlisted in the Macon Hussars, then Company F of the 2nd Georgia Infantry Regiment as a private July 26, 1906. Roberts served in every enlisted rank, culminating in a stint as first sergeant of Company F. before accepting a commission as a second lieutenant March 1, 1915. He was working as a bookkeeper for Benson Clothing Company in Macon when the Georgia Guard was deployed to the Mexican Border in August 1916.[i][ii] Returning with his regiment in 1917, Roberts company was redesignated Company A, 151st Machine Gun Battalion and assigned to the 42nd Division which sailed to France in October 1917.

As a platoon leader, Roberts led his machine gun sections from the Baccarat Sector near the southern terminus of the Western Front through the fiery Champagne Marne Defensive. He was promoted to first lieutenant May 15, 1918[iii]. On July 28, 1918, Roberts’ Company was heavily engaged while supporting infantry assaults on German positions near Sergy France. The men of the 151st MGB were ordered to move forward with the Infantry Regiments of the 84th Brigade, 42nd Division.[iv] As the machine gunners were already overly burdened with heavy machine guns and ammunition, Roberts ordered the men to remove unnecessary gear – including packs and canteens. In the assault, the men would only carry ammunition and gas masks.

Sergy France and Hill 212, near the site where 1st Lt. Roberts was captured
Photo by Maj. William Carraway

Capture
Roberts recalled moving forward with four machine guns and establishing firing positions for his sections. Unable to proceed due to the presence of enemy machine guns positioned near the crest of the hill upon which he was advancing, Roberts requested infantry support which came in the form of a company from the 167th under command of Capt. Wyatt. Roberts recalls what happened next.

"As we reached the crest of the hill, instead of the five or six Germans I had been firing upon, a solid line of Germans arose stretching all across the hill. Machine guns opened up on us from the woods on the right and from the church steeple and buildings from the little village of La Ferte on our left, pouring a terrific fire into our ranks. Hearing a groan at my side I turned and saw little F. H. Dent from Macon, his shirt on fire; a bullet had struck a clip of cartridges in his belt, exploding them, setting his shirt on fire as well as badly wounding him. I put the fire out, gave him first aid and sending him to the rear took his rifle… A German plane swooped down over our line strafing, mowing down it seemed about every sixth man in our line. A bullet struck me in my right thigh breaking the bone and passing on through the leg and lodging in the lower leg… I asked two infantrymen to carry me back. They tried to do it but as my right leg was dangling giving me so much pain and bullets were singing all around us I asked them to put me in a shell hole and make their escape."[v]
Roberts was found by German Soldiers. One gave him a blanket and told Roberts that they would come back for him that evening. When they returned it was only to leave Roberts once more with the knowledge that the Germans anticipated an American attack to come in the morning. Roberts remained in the shell hole for 30 hours without food or water and with three exposed wounds before a German NCO and three Red Cross men found him and bore him into German lines in a shelter half. His wounds were dressed, and he was taken via stretcher to a horse-drawn ambulance while American artillery shells crashed all around.  Roberts grimly recalled the ambulance ride.

“As my leg had not been put into a splint you can imagine the condition I was in after about a two hours’ ride. We arrived at what I took to be Fismes[vi]; here we were taken to a German Field Hospital. And my leg was set and put in a splint. As the hospital was being evacuated that night due to the advance of the Americans I was soon put into an automobile ambulance with three wounded Germans We travelled all night arriving early in the morning at what I took to be Laon."[vii][viii]

In Laon, Roberts along with wounded French and German Soldiers were loaded onto freight rail cars on pallets of blood-soaked straw and blankets for transport to Formies, France near the Belgian border. Here he was asked by an English-speaking nurse when his wound had last been dressed. As jarring as this was, Roberts soon discovered that he was one of 800 wounded Soldiers being treated at the hospital by one doctor and two nurses.
August 25, 1918 edition of the
Atlanta Constitution

On August 25, 1918, The Atlanta Constitution reported Roberts as missing in action. Roberts’ family endured weeks of uncertainty, then on September 13, the Macon Telegraph reported that the 151st MGB had listed Roberts as killed in action. It was not until the November 1 edition of the Atlanta Constitution that Roberts’ family learned that Lt. Roberts was indeed alive and being held in a prison at Langensalza Thuringen, Germany.

Roberts' Return
Roberts would remain at Langensalza until December 21, 1918 when he began his journey home. Arriving at American Base Hospital Number 45 December 24, 1918, Roberts realized his earnest wish to be free by Christmas. He did not return to the United States until February 25, 1919. Roberts would remain hospitalized due to the effects of his wound until December 22, 1922 when he was released from federal service.[ix] While still a patient at Walter Reed Army Hospital, Roberts married Antoinette Lipgens. For more than 20 years Roberts served as the Clerk of Bibb County Superior Court. He died August 24, 1946 at the age of 57 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Macon, Ga.

Missing in Action
While Lieutenant Roberts ultimately returned home to Macon, Ga. two of his comrades from the 151st Machine Gun Battalion were not so fortunate.

Pfc. James Mason, of Company B, 151st Machine Gun Battalion is listed among the names of American Soldiers missing in action at the chapel of the Aisne Marne Cemetery in Belleau, France. Mason enlisted July 20, 1916 in Company B, 2nd Georgia Infantry Regiment at the age of 20. He was killed in action July 29, 1918 during actions near Sergy, France.

The name of Pfc. James Mason, of Company B, 151st Machine Gun Battalion is recorded among the names of American Soldiers missing in action at the chapel
of the Aisne Marne Cemetery in Belleau, France. Photo by Maj. William Carraway


Also listed among Soldiers missing in action at the chapel of the Aisne Marne Cemetery is Pfc. Jack Taylor of Company A, 151st Machine Gun. Taylor was killed in action July 30, 1918 during actions near Sergy, France.

The name of Pfc. Jack Taylor, of Company A, 151st Machine Gun Battalion is recorded among the names of American Soldiers missing in action at the chapel
of the Aisne Marne Cemetery in Belleau, France. Photo by Maj. William Carraway





[i] Report of the Adjutant General, State of Georgia for the Year 1916. Atlanta, GA: Byrd Printing Company, 1917, 43
[ii] Carraway, William M. "‘Loaded Down with Glory’: Robert Gober Burton and the 151st Machine Gun Battalion." History of the Georgia National Guard. March 23, 2017. Accessed September 21, 2018. http://www.georgiaguardhistory.com/2017/02/loadeddown-with-glory-introduction-to.html.
[iii] Roberts, Vivian H. Ancestry.com. Georgia, World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:
[iv] Roberts’ Company A and Company B moved out in support of the 167th Infantry Regiment, Alabama National Guard while Company C and D supported the Iowa National Guard’s 168th Infantry Regiment.
[v] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 437
[vi] Fismes is a village located on the Vesle river approximately 20 kilometers north of Sergy where Roberts was captured.
[vii] Laon is 35 kilometers by road north of Fismes.
[viii] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 440
[ix] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 442



Thursday, September 20, 2018

July 29-August 6 1918: “I Have Been Wounded”

by Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard 

Envelope received by Cpl. Burton's mother informing her that her son had been wounded in action.  Georgia Guard Archives

After suffering severe casualties during the July 28, 1918 assault on Hill 212, the 151st Machine Gun Battalion continued to support infantry assaults to dislodge German positions on July 29 and 30. Rather than employing the machine guns in support by fire positions, the Soldiers of the 151st MGB were compelled to move forward with the onrushing infantry, a situation lamented by Maj. Cooper Winn, commander of the 151st MGB and machine gun officer of the 84th Brigade.


“In our attack on this hill above Sergy we overlooked again an ideal opportunity to effectively use concentrated machine gun fire.”[i]
 In this Signal Corps image, Maj. Cooper Winn, commander of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion stands
second from the left with officers of the 84th Brigade and 42nd Infantry Division. - Georgia Guard Archives

Winn had the opportunity to personally explain the advantage of concentrated fire positions utilizing the favorable terrain to Col. Douglas MacArthur, chief of staff of the 42nd Division who had moved forward to personally inspect the terrain. As Winn noted further:

“As it was, during the five days we were fighting on the Ourcq River, the only used made of a machine gun was in the defense of the line against counter-attacks attempted by the Germans… It greatly aggravated me not to have been able to take advantage of such a perfect opportunity to employ machine guns with decisive effect.  All the more so when the guns of the battalion actually accomplished so little, we suffered a loss of 27 men killed, five died of wounds, 23 gassed and 147 wounded by machine gun fire or shell fire.”[ii]

Top Left: Cpl. Clarence Fordham, Company C, 151st MGB of Dublin Ga.  Killed July 30, 1918
Top Right: Pvt James Mason, Company B, 151st MGB of Dublin Ga. Killed July 29, 1918.
Bottom Left: Sgt. Bernard Green, Company A, 151st MGB of  Gray, Ga. Killed July 29, 1918.
Bottom Right: Pvt. Jesse Bridges, Company A, 151st MGB of Sylvester, Ga. Killed July 30, 1918.
The casualties of July 29, 1918 are as follows:
·       Pfc. Wiley Aids, Company A, wounded
·       Bugler William M. Cleveland, Company A, wounded
·       Pvt. Robert D. Collins, Company A, killed
·       Pvt. Herman K. Davis, Company A, killed
·       Pvt. Henry W. Dickerson, Company A, slightly wounded
·       Cpl. Frank Enters, Company A, killed
·       Pfc. Wesley Johnson, Company A, wounded
·       Pvt. Clifford Phillips, Company A, killed
·       Cpl. Calvin C. Climer, Company B, killed
·       Pvt. Emmett L. Martin, Company B killed
·       Pvt. James G. Mason, Company C, killed
·       Pfc. Joe Phillips, Company C, slightly wounded
·       Pfc. William C. Pope, Company C, slightly wounded
·       Pfc. Ira A. Wilkinson, Company C, killed
·       Pvt. John T. Williams, Company C, slightly wounded
·       Pvt. John Harkcom, Company D, killed


Cpl. Robert Gober Burton, Company A,
151st MGB.  Georgia Guard Archives
On July 30, Cpl. Robert Burton was leading his squad forward in the vicinity of Sergy. It had been nearly a month since his last letter home to his brother Frank after arriving in the defensive sector near Suippes, France. Fate finally availed Burton of the opportunity of writing home.

August 2, 1918
Mother Dearest,
I know that you have been worried because you haven’t heard from me, but Mother I have been a pretty busy man the last month and a half. But I am still in one piece.
Now listen, I have been wounded but not seriously, so when you see my name in the casualty list don’t think anything about it for I am all OK. I am in the hospital now and well cared for and well fed and am not feeling the least bit bad.
Listen and I will tell you all about it. We were over the top and I was advancing my squad and I was just going to advance again when something picked me up and sat me down about 3 feet from where I was. I didn’t feel any special pain right at the time, so I advanced my squad about 150 yards farther along. I then began to feel a sharp pain in my right arm, but I looked down and I didn’t see any blood and then I began to feel, and I found a hole in my coat sleeve and looking inside my coat I saw a bullet sticking about halfway through my coat. It had gone through the fleshy part of my arm and thru the bible that Auntie sent me and had stopped there. The bible was all that kept it from going all the way thru. No mama, don’t you worry the least bit about me for I shall be ready to go back to the company in a few days. Just keep sending my mail to the old address.
The testament of Cpl. Robert Gober Burton. Burton's Bible absorbed the impact of a German bullet July 30, 1918.
This is just a note to let you know that I am OK and for you not to worry.
I don’t know how the other boys from home are. I haven’t seen any of them in two or three days. I think tho that they are OK. Write often.
Your devoted son,
Gober[iii]

Burton had been wounded in action while moving in support of the 167th Infantry Regiment during an advance near Sergy, France. Eleven other Soldiers of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion became casualties on the same day:
Pfc. James Guerry, killed in action July 31,
1918. Georgia Guard Archives

·       W. G. Crapps, Company A, wounded
·       William Ira Pittman, Company A, wounded
·       Jesse D. Bridges, Company A, killed
·       Charles Ernest, Company A, slightly wounded
·       Bernard F. Greene, Company A, killed
·       Raleigh Poole, Company A, slightly wounded
·       Robert Foster, Company B, slightly wounded
·       Boyce Miller, Company B, wounded
·       Daniel Dunwoody, Company C, slightly wounded
·       Cecil Joiner, Company C, slightly wounded
·       James H. Wooden, Company C, slightly wounded


While Burton chafed in a hospital writing of his desire to return to the 151st, his comrades continued to press the attack. As they did so, they were unable to receive food and resupply through their battalion supply chains as they were dependent upon their supported infantry units. Nevertheless, Pfc. James Guerry heroically volunteered to deliver food to Soldiers at the front lines. While engaged in one such resupply trip on July 31, 1918, Guerry was killed.

Other casualties of July 31, 1918:
·       Pvt. Edgar Bateman, Company A slightly wounded
·       Cpl. Robert H, Farkas, Company A, slightly wounded
·       Pvt. Thomas Hollis, Company A, killed
·       Pfc. John Tinker, Company. A wounded
·       Cpl. James T. Whittlesey, Company A, slightly wounded
·       Pvt. Fred Ligon, Company C, wounded
·       Pfc. William A. Marion, Company A, slightly wounded

Casualties of August 1, 1918:

·       Pfc. John T. Ozburn, Company A, slightly wounded.
·       Capt. James Palmer, Company A, wounded (gassed)
·       Pvt. Hoke S. Palmer, Company A, slightly wounded
·       Cpl. James C. Dismuke, Company C, slightly wounded

Casualties of August 3, 1918:

·       Sgt. Willie G. Dickson, Company C, wounded


In addition to Pvt. Harkcom and Soldiers killed on July 28, 1918, Company D of the 151st MGB reported 33 Soldiers wounded in action.[iv]

Hill 212 and the 13th-century Church of Saint Brice dominate the landscape near Sergy, France. These hills and environs encompassed nearly one week of desperate combat in July and August 1918. Georgia National Guard photo by Maj. William Carraway 


As Burton’s letter was making its way from the hospital to his anxious family in Monroe, the 151st was pulled out of front-line positions for the first time in nearly a week of constant combat. On August 6, 1918, Col. Douglas MacArthur was given command of the 84th Brigade becoming the youngest general officer in the army. In the coming campaign he would heed Winn’s advice and deploy the 151st MGB as a battalion rather than parceling them off to individual infantry battalions. Winn’s theories would be put to the test during the St. Mihiel offensive.

Next Chapter:  St. Mihiel





[i] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 228A
Walter Binford Diary, n.d., 433-434
[ii] Henry J. Reilly, Brig. Gen., O.R.C., Americans All: The Rainbow at War. F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1936, 228A
Walter Binford Diary, n.d., 434-435
[iii] Robert G. Burton to Mrs. R. F. Burton. August 2, 1918
[iv] Parkinson, N. P., and Joel R. Parkinson. Commanding Fire: An Officers Life in the 151st Machine Gun Battalion, 42nd Rainbow Division during World War I. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Pub., 2013, 104