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DIARY OF FOURTH BRIGADE, MARINE CORPS,
AM.E.F. - May 30, 1918 to June 30, 1918.
(Cont'd from last page - to be included)

This web page is incomplete as long as this message is present. Ed.
May 30, 1918
 

May 30, 1918: Memorial Day. No drills. Memorial day exercises as prescribed by General Order from Headquarters, Am. E. F. At 8 p.m. received orders from Division Headquarters to pack up and stand by for an immediate move. Weather clear.

MAY 31: Movement of the Brigade commenced during the night. Brigade Headquarters left at 4:00 a.m. this morning. Regiments embarked in camions during night and morning. Travelling all day. Weather clear and warm.

JUNE 1: Troops arrived at the front during night and morning. Disembarked from camions at different points and are marching toward the line. The rapid advance of the Germans within the past few days and the tired condition of the French troops make it imperative that the Division go into the line immediately. Men are somewhat stiff and tired after a 24 hour camion trip. Division Headquarters established at Montreuil-aux-Lions. Brigade Headquarters temporarily established there also in the automobile of the Commanding General. The accompanying map indicates this town roughly. Covering the area of future operations of the Brigade, the map is plotted in detail and includes the various points mentioned hereinafter. The first contingent of the Brigade reached the line during the afternoon. Brigade Headquarters established at the Issonge Farm-house at about 4:45 p.m.

* * * * * * *

At midnight this date the 6th Regiment and part of the 6th Machine Gun Battalion was in position as indicated above and 5th Regiment is moving up. To our right is the 9th Infantry, and to our left the 23rd Infantry. French troops slightly in rear of Bussiares, Torcy, Hill 133, and south of Bouresches, Hill 138. Weather clear.

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June 2: At 1:05 p.m. Colonel Neville advised the location of his P.C. as "Carrieres", 300 meters N.W. of Marigny. With all organizations of the 4th Brigade at designated positions, General Harbord's report for the Commanding General, 2nd Division, at 6:25 p.m. follows:

* * * * * * *

During the evening the 2nd Bn. of the 5th Regiment moved into line from Bois de Veuilly to Hill 142 inclusive. Our position now is as follows: The 2nd Bn. of the 5th Regiment is in the Bois de Veuilly extending as indicated above. From its right extends the 1st Battalion of the 6th Regiment and then the 2nd Bn. of the 6th Regiment. The 3rd Bn. of the 5th Regiment is Corps Reserve near La Loge Farm and the 3rd Bn. of the 6th Regiment is Brigade Reserve near Marigny. At this date our line is indicated by the black line on the accompanying map. Weather clear.

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June 2, 1918.
(Editor's Note: Copied from original.)
From: C.G. 4th Brigade.
At    : Pyramide.
Date: June 2d. Hour: 6:25 pm No.23.
To   : C.G. 2d Div.

Our communications are in much better shape than at this time yesterday. The Liaison by runners is working regularly and efficiently. I have telephone communication now with both Regt'l Hdqrs. and with the Hdqrs. of my M.G. Bn., and through the latter, with the Bn. nearest it which is the Bn. at the critical point on the line. The Regt'l wireless stations are up and signal Officer sent to establish wireless station at these Hdqrs. reports it will soon be in.

It seems well established that the Germans have been repulsed today along our entire Division front. Two attacks," were made over in front of our right and were stopped principally by the fire of my M.G. Bn. There were also two attacks in the region south of HAUTEVESNES. The French Liaison Officer here informs me the reports are that dead Germans pile the slopes. There is every indication that the French morale has been greatly stiffened by the presence of our men. The line between BOIS de VEUILLY to vicinity of LUCY is that held by our troops; the line from near the TRIANGLE FARM to PARIS Road also coincides with front held by our troops. The 3d Bn. of the 5th Regt. has been moved to point designated as Corps Reserve. The 1st Bn. of the 5th Regt. understood to be under orders to take its place as Brigade Reserve near me has not yet arrived.

G-3.           HARBORD.
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(Editoins'Note: Copied from original).
From: C.G. 4th Brig.
At : Pyramide. Hour: 5:40 pm Date: June 3d. No. 7.
To : C.G. 2d Division.

The following is a resume of the day's' activities on the front of this Brigade: Forenoon comparatively quiet. Some French artillery activity preparing an offensive in the neighborhood between TORCY and BOURESCHES. The attack, if made, of which I am not informed, failed. Reported during the forenoon that the Germans were massing in the neighborhood of BOURESCHES and at various times during the day that groups were seen near TORCY BUSSIARES. Near the middle of the day, the town of LUCY was shelled with high explosives and the town of MARIGNY has been under shell fire practically all day. The P.C. of my 6th Regiment and the position of the supporting battalion of this regiment have been shelled and there have been a few casualties. The French line has fallen back nearly to our own line, practically on our whole front. In one case a retreating French officer gave an order in writing to an American officer to fall back from the position which we have been holding. The order was not obeyed. I have had orders from the French Divisional Commander to prepare the town of LUCY as a center of resistance. Our line runs now just in front of LUCY and is entrenched, so I did not think further action necessary. French artillery has been changed some during the day and some batteries of our own artillery (155's) are in position. I am strongly of the opinion that our 155's should be industriously employed all night on the back areas and cross roads of routs approaching our front from BUSSIARIES to the PARIS-CHATEAU THIERRY road. The Germans are probably moving on all these important roads every night and the French artillery from motives of economy in ammunition are not registering on these points. The French call attention to the practice of our people of moving on the roads and stopping near important places. This is a practice which I have found great difficulty in repressing in the vicinity of my headquarters. The bombardment on the north portion of my line continues, but there seems no reason to apprehend any further important activity for the day.
HARBORD

Gen. Chamberlains has seen this. J.G.H.
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DIARY 4TH BRIGADE, USMC, May 30, to June 30, 1918. Extract.
* * * * * * *
JUNE 3: Two companies of the 3rd Bn. 6th Marines reinforced the 2nd Bn. of the 5th Marines in the Bois de Veuilly. Two remaining companies remain in woods near Marigny as Brigade Reserve.
Weather clear.
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(Editor's Note: Gen. Harbord states that the reference to "La Langue" Farm in the Par. reading "The 3rd Bn. of the 5th Marines, which has been on duty near "La Langue Farm as Corps Reserve", is undoubtedly in error and that "La Loge Farm" is probably correct.)
From: C.G. 4th Brig. (271) Rec'd 7:15 P.M. 6/4/18
At    : La Loge Farm Date June 4th. Hourl 6:30p.m. C of S.
T0   : C.G. 2d Div.  

1. The following is a resume of the day's happenings. The Brigade Hdqrs. were shifted from the PYRAMIDE to LA LOGE which was effective at noon. The departing Divisional Commander, General Michel, expressed his satisfaction with the conduct Of the 4th Brigade during the time it had been under his command. The 3d Bn. of the 5th Marines, which has been on duty near La Langue Farm as Corps Reserve, was restored to my command and was moved by me to a point in the edge of the woods about 1-1/2 kilometers southwest of MARIGNY. The forenoon passed without much event, but this afternoon there has been considerable shelling on the north front from Y line 170 to include Y line 175. Concentrations of the enemy were seen this morning in the wood south of BUSSIARES and artillery brought to bear upon them. Vehicles and some columns entering COURCHAMPS this afternoon. Stock, probably beef on the hoof, being driven from COURCHAMPS towards LICY about an hour ago and about 6 p.m. columns reported entering BUSSIARES. In all these cases the help of both the French and American artillery has been asked and the response has been prompt and probably effective. Through some method of assignment of the 17th F.A., the sector from the left of the 5th Marines nearly to LUCY-le-BOCAGE has not been in the sector of any of that Regiment. To respond to my request for fire on BUSSIARES given a few minutes ago, I was met with the explanation that it would probably be half an hour before the request could be complied with as the position of the guns would have to be moved. It is not believed that that should be the case.

The Brigade Headouarters were honored this afternoon by a visit from the Commander-in-Chief.

The relief of the French this morning at 4 a.m. passed off without event. Now that the French have removed from our front, I have instructed regimental commanders to have small patrols pushed out to the front tonight in an endeavor to locate the enemy. Report just received that Major Shearer, commanding the 1st Bn. of the 5th Marines, has been gassed but it is presumed to be not serious. The spirit of the men and officers is good. Report just received that the Battalion of the 23rd Inf., next on our left has withdrawn its liaison and is expected to be about to be relieved.

G-3 (Editor's note; This report copied
from original)
HARBORD.
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June 4, 1918.
DIARY OF FOURTH BRIGADE, MARINE CORPS
AM.E.F. - May 30 to June 30 1918.
Extract
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JUNE 4: At 4:00 a.m. The French were relieved and passed through our line toward the rear. During the early hours of the morning the Germans made a violent attack on the portions of the sector held by the 2nd Bn. 5th Regiment and two companies of the 3rd Bn. of the 6th Regiment. This attack was successfully repulsed, inflicting losses on the enemy. Resume of the day as follows:
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JUNE 5: A memorandum from the Commanding General 4th Brigade to the Commanding General, 2nd Division regarding aviation is of interest and is quoted herewith: "1. Subsection (1), Paragraph III, Field Order No. 7, Headquarters, 2nd Division, says Balloon 21 will make its ascension on the Road Courboin-Blesmes. The two towns mention, Courboin-Blesmes, are to the east and southeast of the Chateau Thierry, 12 kilometers distant from any portion of the line held by this Brigade.

"2. There are visible from these Headquarters four German balloons and no French balloons. The hum of German airplanes is almost constant over our front lines. It is recommended that the French authorities be called upon to show some of that superiority in the air which is referred to in almost every French and British paper recently.

"3. The undersigned has been over his front line this morning from Lucy to the Paris Metz Road and there is hardly a turn in the line or a portion of the road from which one or more German balloons is not plainly visible. Any activity or appearance of people along that line in sight of these balloons is followed within a very few minutes by shell fire.

Harbord."
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During the night the 167th French relieved our line West of Champillon. The 1st Bn. of the 5th occupies the line exclusive of the road Bussiares-Champillon, east to 142 to unimproved road running S.W. of Percy. 3rd Bn. of 5th joins this line to Lucy taking the place of the 1st Bn. of the 6th Regiment which went into Corps Reserve. The 2nd Bn. of the 6th is connecting the 3rd Bn. of the 5th to the Lucy-Bouresches road and the 3rd of the 6th extends from that point to the Triangle Farm. The French are on our left and the 3rd Brigade on our right. P.C. of the Brigade at La Loge. P.C. of the 5th Regiment at La Voie du Chatel. P.C. of the 6th Regiment at the Mon Blanche Farm on the Paris Metz Road. Weather clear.

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(Editor's Note: Copied from original) June 6, 1918
From: C.G. 4th Brigade Rec. 10:00 AM June 6/18
At    : P.C. 4.31
To   : C.G. 2d Div.  
Date: 6th June. Hour 8:40 a.m. No.1
 

The following resume of action this morning submitted: The French did not relieve elements on left of my line until 3 a.m., this morning instead of 9 o'clock last night as expected. Our attack between brooks on either side of Hill 142 started with two companies and half machine gun company in the first line. At 6:30 our line was considerable distance ahead of French and had to be halted to wait for them. 7:10 report was received that both 1st and 3d Bns., 5th Regiment, had reached their objectives. There had been some heavy shell fire, rifle and machine gun fire. Several men killed and quite a number wounded. Figures as to casualties will be hurried as soon as received. 16 prisoners, including 1 officer, were reported captured by 5:48 a.m. All young, ragged and badly fed. 3 deserters from the Germans surrendered. Of the foregoing, 9 prisoners, including the officer, reached Brig. Hq. and have been forwarded to Div. Hdqrs. At 7:10 reported that our position was being consolidated as rapidly as possible and that our front line had thrown out strong posts in front of the position. Incident to the attack, the villages of LUCY - CHAMPILLON - MONTGIVRAULT have been under heavy shell fire.

(Sgd) Harbord
HARBORD.
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DIARY OF FOURTH BRIGADE, MARINE CORPS, AM.E.F.
May 30 to June 30, 1918. EXTRACT.
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JUNE 6: Battle line at 3:00 o'clock this morning, following the arrival of the French troops, left to right, is: the 1st Bn. of the 5th; 3rd Bn. of the 5th; 2nd Bn. of the 6th and the 3rd Bn. of the 6th. The 2nd Bn. of the 5th Regiment is Brigade Reserve and is located in woods N. W. of Lucy. The 1st Bn. of the 6th Regiment is Corps Reserve and located at point 170.0 - 259.0. The companies of the Machine Gun Battalion are distributed among the units of the Brigade holding the line.

In accordance with Field Order No. 1 quoted under date of June 5, the 1st Battalion of the 5th Regiment, in conjunction with the French 167th on their left, attacked in direction of Torcy. The progress of the attack in its various stages can best be described by extracts from notes and telephonic communications received during the period of the attack, beginning at 3:45 a.m. when the attack was launched. Major Julius S. Turrill commanding the 1st Battalion of the 5th.

3:45 a.m. French did not relieve our elements which were to be relieved at 9 o'clock last night, until 3:00 a.m. Neville reports that all elements, minus 2 platoons were held up until that time.
4:25 a.m. Adjutant of the 5th Regiment telephones that no word yet received. Attack started with two companies and half a machine gun company in the first line. At 4:20 Captain Veder, 167th French Division telephoned from Dhuisy 1st; that the French had attacked; 2nd: that they occupied wood northwest of Le Mares; 3rd: that they occupied the south of the wood southwest of Bussiares; 4th: that they occupied Triangle Wood, 500 meters southwest of the Wood.
5:05 a.m. All phones out of commission.
5:30 a.m. 5th Regiment telephones that Captain Rockey reports we have taken all the high ground in sight; that Major Berry (3d Bn. of 5th) in the town of Lucy reports very heavy shelling. Gas masks worn.
  * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
5:48 a.m. Captain Veder, French Army, reports that aviation located the French on Hill south of Eloup wood and also that the Americans are north of Hill 142 and that we should establish liaison as soon as possible if we have not done so already.
5:50 a.m. Colonel Neville reports that 15 prisoners and one officer captured by his men are coming to the rear. All are young, ragged and looked badly fed. 3 deserters from the Boche surrendered. The prisoners have no morale.
6:30 a.m. Feland (2d in command, 5th) reports through Neville that Turrill is forging ahead and is ahead of the French, well north of 142 and requests that a reserve company be thrown in between him and the French to establish contact and fill up the gap. Feland reports that everything is going well.
7:00 a.m. Captain Curtis reports from M.G. P.C. that Captain Kingman came in wounded and he (Kingman) reported that he saw our men gain the objective.
7:01 a.m. Neville telephones that both Turrill and Berry have reached their objectives; that there was heavy shell fire, rifle and mitrailleuses and some rifle firing; that a few men were killed and quite a number wounded but only lightly. Turrill advanced faster than the French and had to halt to gain touch. Our front line has thrown strong points in front of the line and are consolidating their position as rapidly as possible. Champillon is being shelled heavily.
7:15 a.m. Telephoned Division Headquarters that dressings are needed. Had ambulances sent to 5th Regiment P.C.
  * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
5:00 p.m. Weather clear and slightly warm. Artillery starting with raking fire on Bois de Belleau and on the northern and eastern slopes. 2nd, interdiction fire on the ravine, railroad, and road between Bouresches and Belleau and on the railroad, the stream lines and the roads connecting Belleau-Torcy-Lucy-Clignon and Bussiares, with the 75's. The Chateau
Monthiers-Givry-le Brusses Ferme-Pavillon 500 meters south of Belleau.
5:10 p.m. P.C. of the 3rd Bn. 5th moved to 261.5 - 174.8.
  * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
5:21 p.m. Captain Gill (Liaison Officer, 5th Marines) reported nothing to report. Everything in line set and the communications working well up and down.
5:24 p.m. Message from Chief of Staff, 2nd Division, wishing good luck and wants to know if he can do anything.
5:26 p.m. Good luck from 23rd Infantry.
5:38 p.m. Colonel Neville has nothing to report. Has sent messengers to the 1st and 3d Bns. but has received no word from them.
5:39 p.m. Major Cole reports troops started out in beautiful deployment in beautiful line and entered into woods to the attack as far as he could see with absolutely no loss. One casualty at the dressing station. Things are going fine.
5:47 p.m. Major Evans (Adjt.6th Reg.) reports that Regimental Intelligence Officer reports that at 5:00 p.m. heavy barrage on right of Bouresches. Several platoons on line edge of woods 261.0 - 175.3. Went in between 4:45 and 5:00 p.m. At 5:40 all four waves of the 5th entered Bois de Belleau. The last company 3rd Bn. 6th entered wood at 5:40 p.m. point 262.0 - 175.6.
5:50 p.m. Intelligence Officer 6th reports enemy machine gun fire in Bois de Belleau from point 262.2 - 175.7. Colonel Neville reports Catlin's orderly just came in on motorcycle and said Catlin wounded: I have ordered ambulance to be guided by his orderly to go over and get him. Understand he is wounded in right shoulder.
5:54 p.m. From Lt. Moore. Word just received Catlin has been wounded. Also German reserves advancing into Bouresches 50 strong along road at point 262.2 - 177.3.
6:00 p.m. Orders given by General to have Lieutenant Colonel Lee take charge if Colonel Catlin too badly wounded to continue.
6:03 p.m. Captain Gill reports still in communication with the 1st and 3rd Bns. and has nothing to report to date.
6:.05 p.m. Regimental Intelligence reports at 6:05 that German reserve standing by, estimated strength two platoons at a point 261.7-177.6, lying down in two lines. No report on our own line yet.
  * * * * * * * * * *
6:22 p.m. French liaison officer reports Americans on road from Bouresches to Belleau.
  * * * * * * * * * *
6:44 p.m. Captain Gill reports that Major Berry reports by runner that he has crossed into the Bois de Belleau from the woods where he was on the left. The runner left as soon as he entered these woods and does not know how far into these woods he has gone. Colonel Neville thinks this message was prior to the message reported to me by telephone about 15 minutes ago.
  * * * * * * * * * *
6:50 p.m. French liaison Officer reports that neighboring Division reports that the Marines have taken Torcy.
6:53 p.m. The French are moving the batteries forward so as to protect our advance and hit the Boches hard.
7:08 p.m. Captain Gill: Nothing to report..
  * * * * * * * * * *
7:22 p.m. Captain Gill: Major Berry reports the German position in the edge of the Bois de Belleau captured. The Colonel has asked for an approximate position of his men in these woods. Major Berry also reports that he thinks his casualties are heavy although he has not had direct word from his company commanders. He asks the Colonel that if his casualties are very heavy if reserves will come up to help hold his position. The Colonel has asked for an approximate estimate of his losses. Will give you this report as soon as we get it.
  * * * * * * * * * *
7:55 p.m. Major Berry wants to know whether the 16th Co. which was held in reserve is to reorganize the position they hold now for any counter-attack.
  * * * * * * * * * *
8:05 p.m. Colonel Neville. The French are now occupying Triangle Farm south of Bussiares. They failed to take the rectangular woods this afternoon. He said he thought it would be advisable to take the small square woods to the left of Turrill's position southeast of Bussiares about 300 yards. Apparently the French have not carried out their portion of the mission.
  * * * * * * * * * *
10:10 p.m. From Evans: Message was sent from Messersmith 78th Co. to Holcomb but he could not find him and brought it back here. Lt. Sellers wounded in groin. Relief of platoon is necessary. Adams platoon also has a good deal of gassed. Let me know what can be done; that is the 78th Co. From Lee at 261.4-175.2 9:15 p.m. by runner: Sibley reports unable to advance Infantry because of strong M.G. positions and artillery. He has heavy losses. Ordered him hold position at far edge Bois de Belleau, 47th Co. 3d Bn. 5th reorganizing at this point. Seems impossible to attack hostile gun positions without artillery. Request instructions. Lee.
11:50 p.m. Captain Gill reports nothing more to report.
  * * * * * * * * * *
 
JUNE 7:
* * * * * * * * * *
2:05 a.m. 3 trucks with ammunition arrived.
   
5:00 a.m. Feland not in touch with Wise.
  * * * * * * * * * *
5:40 a.m. Wise and Feland in touch. From Neville.
8:10 a.rn. Colonel Feland started to give situation report at his end of wire but General Harbord told him to remain where he was and would be out there immediately with map.
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(Editors note: Copied from original) June 7, 1918
550 G-3
From C.G. 4th Brigade.
At: P.C.
Date: June 7th. Hour 8:30 am No. 1.
 

The following resume of operations of yesterday and last night submitted: Attack of yesterday morning in carrying ground between the two streams that enclose Hill 142 was successful as far as this Brigade is concerned. The French advanced to the Triangle Wood south of BUSSIARES and at one time held the little square wood 500 meters S.E. of BUSSIARES. There was not satisfactory liaison from them after the middle of the day. They failed to come forward to protect my left although repeatedly requested to do so and ordered to do so by their own I.D.colonel. At 5 p.m. after a continuous fire for some time on the BOIS DE BELLEAU, the attack started on that wood. The 3d Bn.6th Marines on the right; 3d Bn.5th Marines (less 1 co) on the left. The 2d Bn. 6th Marines, whose right was at Triangle Farm, was instructed to conform to the movement of the attack by advancing its left. Various conflicting reports from French sources indicated our men on the TORCY-BOURESCHES Road and in the town of TORCY. These reports were not correct. 3 companies of the 3d Bn. 5th Marines under Major Berry appears to have encountered machine gun fire in crossing open country west of the north half of the BOIS DE BELLEAU and has suffered very severely. The 3d Bn.of the 6th Marines made its way through the lower end of BOIS de BELLEAU coming out on the east side. Lieutenant Robertson of the 6th Regiment with 2 1/2 platoons of his company took the town of BOURESCHES last night. Colonel Catlin who was commanding the attack which included the BOIS DE BELLEAU was wounded early in the afternoon and was evacuated. I put Lt.Col. Lee of the 6th Marines in charge of that portion of the line. Lt.Col. Feland of the 5th Regiment was sent to take command of the 1st Bn. of the 5th at Hill 142, which had with it also a company each of the 2nd and 3rd Bns. 5th Marines and two machine gun companies. The attack

 
 
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Records Of The Second Division (Regular) Volume 6; Operation Reports — War Diaries — Journal of Operations
Second Division Historical Section, The Army War College, Washington, D. C.
 
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