The Regiment arrived at Champigneulles on the early
morning of August 1st, 1918, and was given a much-needed rest and a chance
to clean up again.
The necessary replacements arrived and short periods
of Infantry drill and Engineer work were given to the men. On August 5th
the Regiment moved by marching to its new station in the woods one kilometer
north of Belleville and pitched camp in the middle of a dark, rainy night.
At this place Engineer and Infantry work was resumed by Companies "A", "B", "D" and "E",
while Companies "C" and "F" relieved the French Engineers
on the work in the front line trenches. Detachments were sent out for work
on Groups de Combat, wire entanglements, abris, trenches, dugouts, machine
gun positions and other fortifications in this sector. This was a continuation
of the work the French Engineers had been doing several years and the Second
Engineers were highly commended for the progress they made.
On August 15th, the Second Division was relieved by the
Eighty-Second Division, and the four Companies of the Second Engineers
which had not been actively engaged in the sector were marched to
their new station in the Bois de l'Eveque, near Toul. Companies "C" and "F" continued
on their work on the front line fortifications until August 18th,
at which time they were relieved by the 307th Engineers and rejoined
the Regiment at the new camp on the beautiful Moselle.
During the period from August 18th to September 3rd, the Regiment engaged itself in Infantry and Engineer training — special emphasis being made on wire cutting and the use of Bangalore
torpedoes — preparatory to the offensive, which was soon to take place.
While the Regiment was in this camp the men got their
first opportunity for leaves
to the regular leave centers, and each
Company sent several men away for two weeks of real enjoyment. Those
who stayed with their Companies were given plenty of opportunities
to swim in the Moselle, which flowed at the foot of the hill on which
the Regiment lived.
On the evening of September 3rd, the Regiment left Camp
Bois de l'Eveque for La Cumejie Woods, making an intermediate stop
in the woods near Aingeray, September 4th. The following night, the
march was resumed and the destination reached just before dawn, September
5th. "A" Company
and "D" Company were sent to Domevre and
Bouvron, respectively, on the night of September 6th, where they split
into detachments, which were to accompany various Infantry Units. For
the next three days, September 7th, 8th and 9th, the remaining Companies
were given Infantry drill and instructions by the various specialists
of the Regiment. On September 9th, Companies "B", "C" "E" and "F" marched
to the Bois des Hayes along muddy roads that were congested with the
traffic of war, and arriving at the destination in the middle of a
dark rainy night, each man fell down to sleep regardless of the falling
Companies "A" and "D" were
broken up and sent to the Infantry, Marines, Tanks and Artillery.
|Herley's Notes: I went with
The detachments that were used as wire-cutters accompanied
the assaulting waves over the top. Others worked with the Tanks,
some with the Artillery, and still others in every place in the Second
Division area where Engineers were expected to be used. About 6 o'clock
that morning, Companies "B", "C', "E" and "F" started
towards the jumping off place just outside of Limey. The work assigned
to these companies was mostly technical. It consisted of building and
repairing roads and bridges, the location and destruction of traps
and the location and examination of water sources. Following closely
behind the Infantry, the Second Engineers upheld their "work all
night and fight all day" slogan by building and repairing roads
for the movement of our big guns and ammunition, as well as consolidating
new positions under heavy shell fire from the enemy.
The groups of Engineers who accompanied the Infantry
over the top were especially commended for their bravery and good work.
Armed with bangalore torpedoes and wire-cutters, they went through
the successive bands of barbed-wire that protected the enemy's front
lines, making it possible for the Infantry which was following, to
dash through in irresistible waves on scheduled time. The enemy, who
was already demoralized by our artillery fire, was completely routed
in this engagement by the sudden appearance of the Americans out of
After a wonderful Artillery barrage of four hours, the
Infantry went over the top at 5:00 A.M. on September 12th, followed
closely by the Marines as support. They swept everything in front
of them and reached their final objectives several hours ahead of time.
The detachments of "A" Company went with the assaulting
those of "D" Company with the support waves.
In the capture of Jaulny, Corporal Thomas D. Saunders of Company "A" and
Private Alfred Wilkerson of Company "B" displayed extraordinary
heroism by entering the town ahead of the Infantry and each were later
awarded the D.S.C. An outstanding feature of the Engineers' work during
this battle was the capture, repair and operation of a German light
railway. Tracks that had been torn to bits by the American barrage,
and engines that had been damaged and abandoned were repaired. In twenty-four
hours, the new front lines were connected with the rear and ammunition
and stakes were being rushed to the Artillery and Infantry.
On the night of September 15th-16th, after the detachments
of Companies "A" and "D"' had
been assembled and the Companies reformed, the Regiment was relieved
and placed in reserve. It then marched to the woods near Ansauville
where it pitched camp and rested for three days. On September 19th,
the Corps Engineer ordered the Second Engineers to work on the road
between Limey and Euvezin, in the section it had just left. That night,
the Regiment moved up to this area, but had worked only one day on
the roads when it was ordered to move with the Division to its new
area near Toul. On this hike
the men all had very heavy packs and the
day was hot. The hike was thirty-two kilometers long, and finished
with a long, steep climb up the hill to
Fort d' Ecrouves. The Regiment
remained in this area for six days, during which time clothes were
issued and everyone was given an opportunity to readjust himself. A
drill schedule was carried out for eight hours a day, and a large percent
of the men were given passes to visit Toul in the evenings. Infantry
drill consisted of close order drills, and parades, which were especially
emphasized, and some Engineer drill. Several problems in the location
and organization of positions were worked out, with a view to the method
of hasty fortifications.
These maneuvers were subsequently of great practical value.
|United States, and John Archer Lejeune. 1919.
A History Of The Second Regiment Of Engineers, United States Army:
From Its Organization In Mexico, 1916, To Its Watch On The Rhine, 1919.
[Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not identified].