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July 8-20, 1918.
American E. F.,
15, August, 1918.
FROM: Commanding Officer, Co. "A" 2nd Engineers.
TO    : Commanding Officer, 2nd Engineers.
SUBJECT: Report of operations, May 30 to August 15,'18 inclusive.


1. This report is made in the following form: Paragraphs 4, 7 and 10 describe conditions under which we had to work, while other paragraphs except 14 describe operations. Paragraph 14 recommends changes that it has occured to the writer would be beneficial.

* * * * * * * *

About midnight on July 8,-9 the company left camp with Bn. and marched to woods 1 kilomenter [sic] north of Bezu la Guery where we rested under cover during daylight on the 9th, leaving there about 9 P.M. and arriving in camp where we went into reserve about 2 kilometers south of Montruil [sic] about 10:30 P.M. The company rested during the next three days with only about one hour of drill each day. Began work on Corp lines east of Montreiul on the 14th, of July and worked that day and the next. We then marched with the regiment to Montreiul [sic] July 16th, 18, arriving there at 4 P.M. We then left Montreiul with the regiment on camions on July 16, 18, at 11 P.M., detraining about noon near Piemefonde and marched about 14 kilometers to position in woods 2 kilometers south of Villers Cotteret arriving about 2:30 A.M. The company was detailed the following morning, when the Regiment was following the Marines in their attack, to clear the road thru the woods of the Foret Fleury. This proved to be a very valuable piece of work as the road was filled with obstruction and by noon there was three or four lines of continuous traffic on this road. At 4 P.M. the Company marched down the road to the north east in Platoon Column, and at 5 P.M. went into support for the 23d Inf. in a ravine, 1 kilometer west of Vierzy. This Company went into the front lines at about 11 O'clock July 18, 18 on the extreme right of the divisional sector and assisted the 23d Inf. in consolidating their positions about 1 and one half kilometers east of Vierzy. On the 19th of July about 10 O'clock Company "A" moved forward in two waves in support of the 6th Marines and took up a position about 500 yards northwest of Tigny and about 200 yards from edge of woods to the north of Tigny edge of woods had been occupied by one company of the 6th Marines. The Company "dug in" in this position which was an excellent one in case it should be necessary to place men into the front line and also as a rallying point in case of a counter attack by the enemy. Having received orders to remain there until further instructions the company remained in their pits until releived [sic] July 20, at 6 A.M. The Company aassembled [sic] in woods east of Villers Cotteret and marched back to Regimental Camp 2 kilometers south of Villers Cotteret arriving there about noon July 20, 18, having lost 50 men in Casualties and 4 missing.

* * * * * * * *
(Sgd) Tucker S. Wyche
1st Lt. 2nd Engrs.
— — — — — — — — — —
July 8-20, 1918.
Company "B" 2nd Engineers, American E.F.
* * * * * * * *

At one thirty A.M. July 8th Company "B" left its camp at La Croisette and fearing a bombardment, as the road had been heavily shelled previously, made a forced march to the woods near Montreuil, then to woods at Pessiloup, remaining there 'till July 16th. On July 16th the Company left Pessiloup, marching to Montreuil Aux Lions where it entrained in trucks about 11:00 P.M. and proceeded to Rethruil arriving about 4:00 in the afternoon of July 16th. From there the Company marched Via Tellefontain to the Bois de Retz, halting for a meal when the woods were reached and then continuing the march till past midnight, the last three hours in heavy rain. Early the next morning the Company continued it's march along the Chateau-Thierry - Soisson road to a point near Verte-Feuilles Farm. The day was spent in cleaning the roads and mending shell holes. In the last afternoon the Company advanced stopping in a ravine below Vaux Castille Farm until dark, then climbing the steep sides of the ravine carrying picks and shovels in addition to rifles and heavy packs and marching in a wide circle to the north of Vreizy [sic], occupying a gap between the 9th, and 23rd Infantry, one and a half kilometers east of Vreizy. Trenches were hastily dug to fill the gap, the trenches being located on the reverse slope of a slight hill, in a position which the lightness of our casualties under heavy machine gun fire showed to be exceptionally well selected. The Company "Stood to" from an hour before dawn until danger of a surprise attack from the Germans was past. When the tanks and Marines went over, Company "B" had orders to follow in support. Two waves had been formed and were lying in front of the trenches ready to advance when orders were received, to remain in the trenches as reserves. The Company staid [sic] in the trenches all day, eating what little was left of the reserve rations - rations issued on the way in had consisted largely of evaporated potatoes, flour, lard and other materials requiring cooking had been left in the ravine. During the day Private Wilson of the Medical Corps attached to "B" Company, established initiative an advanced First Aid Post, securing to the wounded care several hours earlier than would other wise have been possible. Lieut. Grover, wounded in the head refused to have his injury dressed until other wounded were cared for. Pvt. Droesbeck, acting as runner was wounded in the head early in the day but insisted on carrying his message to destination, before being relieved. That night the Company was ordered out and at 2:30 A.M. July 20th, the Company left it's trenches - no longer in the first line - and returned to it's camp in the Forest de Retz.

(Sgd) Allard A. Dederer,
Captain, E.U.S.R.
— — — — — — — — — —
July 8-23, 1918.
May 30, 1918 to July 25, 1918.
* * * * * * *

At dusk (July 8th) the march was resumed. By midnight they reached a wood near St. Aulde where next morning a more permanent camp was made. Here the whole regiment camped until July 16th. The days were spent in swimming in the Marne river and in cleaning clothes and equipment. There was plenty of food and all the men were fairly contented. The company was fitted up with replacements and reorganized in general. Then on the afternoon of July 16th orders came to move once more.

On the night of July 16th, the 2nd Division moved to the Soissons sector and the 2nd Engineers entrained in trucks at Montreuil at 11 P.M. The Regiment detrained on the afternoon of July 17th near Retheuil, and marched to a position in the eastern part of the Foret De Villers Cotterets near the German lines. The offensive in this sector was begun by the Franco-American forces at 4:35 A.M. July 18th and resulted in a gain of territory to a width of 10 kilometers during the day. Company "C" together with the rest of the regiment marched to the newly-established front north of Vierzy, and dug frontline trenches during the night of July 18-19.

The 2nd Engineers held this position as reserves to the Marines and Infantry who took part in the attack of July 19, and were relieved by French troops shortly after midnight July 20. During the day of July 19 the enemy was very active, and in the afternoon registered several direct hits upon the trenches occupied by Company "C", killing and wounding a large portion of two platoons. Many were hit by shrapnel while carrying the wounded to the first aid station in Vierzy.

Upon being relieved, the company marched directly back to a camp in the Forest of Villers-Cotterets, near the Maison Neueve. That night the regiment marched to the western part of the forest, north of Haramont. Here the regiment camped from July 21 to 23, on July 23th it marched to Villers-St-Genest near Nonterul [sic] where it rested a day and continued southward on July 25th to the village of Monthyon, northwest of Meaux, which was occupied as a temporary rest camp preparatory to moving to another front.

(Sgd) D. T. Jerman, Per G.R.R.
1st Lieut. E.0 R.C.
— — — — — — — — — —
July 16-21, 1918.
American E.F.,
14 Aug. 1918.
FROM     : C.O. 2nd Bn. 2nd Engineers.
TO         : Commanding Officer, 2nd Engineers.
SUBJECT: Report of operations, 2nd Bn. 2nd Engineers from
Sommedieu to Voerzy [sic] inclusive.
* * * * * * * * * *

3. At Vierzy the 2nd Bn. was under command of Captain (now Major) Chisholm. The 2nd Bn. moved with the 1st Bn. from the ravine east of Vauxcastille, on the left of the 1st Bn. Co.D on the right and Co.E in the center, the companies in line of platoon columns. The Bn. P.C. was first established in a clump of trees about 200 yards in rear of the right of the position of the 2nd Bn. on the line N.E. of Vierzy, and was later moved to a less conspicuous position in a wheat field, about 200 yards in rear of the center of the Bn. line. Bn. Hdqrs. maintained liaison with tie companies, and advised with the Commanding Officer of the 9th Infantry on the distribution of troops in the line. Orders for the Bn. to move back were received at 3:00 A.M. the 20th of July; the Bn. was in motion within fifteen minuets, and returned to the Foret-de-Retz without being uncler fire on the road.

4. The present Commanding Officer not having been with Bn. Hdqrs at any of the time reported on, and there being no officers now present with the Bn. who were with Bn. Hdqrs except Major Snow, who was present for a short time only, it is not possible to give any incidents.

(Sgd) M. H. Peck
M. H. Peck,
Captain, Engineers, R.C.
— — — — — — — — — —
American E.F., 25 July, 18.
From: W. A. Mitchell, Colonel, 2nd Engineers, Division Engineer.
To    : Commanding General, 2nd Division.
Subject: Report of Operations, July 16-21 inclusive, 1918.
   1. This report is submitted in the following form:
Pars. 2 - 7 Operations
Pars. 8 - 10 Engineer Supplies
Pars. 11 Recommendations.

2. July 16. The 2nd Engineers was to leave Montreuil at 4:00 PM. but the last of them did not leave until midnight. I waited until 6:30 P.M., then followed other camions, slept on the road, and finally reached Corps Headquarters at Taillefontaine at 6:30 A.M., July 17th, where I obtained a copy of your division Field Order No.15 which had been issued about 4:00 This placed the 2nd Engineers nearly last in the column; as they formed the Division Reserve with the 4th Machine Gun Battalion.

3. July 17. At 7:30 A.M. I sent back a regimental staff officer with maps showing the camping places for the Engineers, and spent the rest of the day looking for the extra ammunition ordered, but was not very successful. The troops left the camions at Retheuil at about 2:00 P.M. July 17, and started for their camp. They did not reach there by dark, and were so much confused by the various cross roads and illegible signs that they camped after midnight in the woods about a mile from their proper camp. The artillery was in position before the movement commenced, so it had no trouble. The Infantry and Marines moved in the first camions and nearly all except 2 companies of the 5th Machine Gun Battalion were in position; the 4th Machine Gun Battalion also had to camp for the night in the woods, not in their assigned positions.

4. July 18. At 4:35 A.M. the artillery opened and the Infantry and Marines moved forward. (see map No.1 for situation at 5:00 AM). At 5:30 A.M. the first Engineer troops began to arrive at their proper camp and all had arrived by about 9:00 A.M. The first 3 companies intrenched on arrival. At 6:00 A.M. a division staff officer arrived with orders for the 4th M.G. Bn. to report to 5th Marines to take place of two of the M.G. Companies which had not arrived. At 6:32 A.M. the 4th M.G. Bn. arrived, but their guns had not yet arrived, at 7:32 A.M., I sent the battalion with guns ahead and sent a message to that effect to the Division Chief of Staff. At 10:23 A.M. the regiment received written orders to go to Verte Feuille Farm; at 10:45AM it started, at 12:20 P.M. it arrived. I sent a message to the Division Chief of Staff; and while waiting started two companies to clearing the roads which were in very bad shape because of fallen trees and shell holes. At 1:20 P.M. the 4th Machine Gun Battalion reported at Verte Feuille Farm, as the 2 lost machine gun companies had joined the 5th Marines and the 4th Machine Gun Battalion had not been needed. The Major of the Machine Gun Battalion had previously reported that the 5th Marines had captured the greater part of Vierzy. At 2:40 P.M. General Bowley at Verte Feuille Farm ordered the 4th Machine Gun Battalion to report to the 23rd Infantry or the 9th Infantry at Vauxcastille or further on. At 3:45 P.M. a captain from the 4th Machine Gun Battalion told me at Verte Feuille that he had later orders not to move forward until night. At about 4:50 P.M. I received written orders to proceed to the ravine east of Vauxcastille as Division Reserve. The Chief of Staff explained the situation, and told me that it might be necessary for me to use my own judgement after arriving there because messages were not being properly delivered at their destination.

I called in the working companies and the entire regiment arrived at Vauxcastille at about 8:30 P.M. by marching partly over the fields and partly over the roads. (see map No.2 for situation at 7:30 P.M.). At this time some ration details arrived, which had been sent out in the morning and most of the men were given some rations. At 9:00 P.M., Major Zane of the 4th Machine Gun Battalion arrived accompanied by his adjutant and stated that his 2 companies were in the fight. We agreed that he should establish his P.C. in this ravine for the present and the next day I received a message from him showing that he was still at that point picking up stragglers and using all efforts to send men forward.

At 9:20 P.M. I had received no instructions and learned that Vierzy had just been taken; so I ordered the regiment to go forward to the firing line to consolidate the positions or to help the infantry. Every man had been carrying, since he left Montreuil, a large and heavy intrenching tool, in addition to his regular equipment, so they were prepared for this movement. The 2 battalions were sent over the hill through the wheat fields in line of platoon columns. A message was sent to the Chief of Staff telling him what had been done. The food and tool wagons were ordered to this position about the same time and regimental headquarters was moved to Vierzy, arriving there at 10:10 P.M. Three truck loads of tools were ordered to Vierzy and arrived there at 10:30 P.M. (See map No.3 for situation at 11:00 P.M.).

5. July 19. At 12:10 A.M. I found the Commanding General of the 3rd Brigade at his headquarters and took charge of the 3rd Brigade from 12:30 A.M. until 2:30 A.M., during his absence at Division Headquarters. During this time 2 machine gun companies reported for orders and they were assembled in the eastern entrance of Vierzy, with orders to be prepared to defend the town but also with orders to rest as much as possible. One of the trucks unloaded its supplies in Vierzy and was sent back to Verte Feuille Farm to get a load of German wire which had been found there. At about 5:30 A.M. Field Order No.16 was received, directing the 1st Battalion to report to the 6th Marines as reserve in their attack, Lieutenant Colonel Brown to command the 1st Battalion. Lieutenant Colonel Brown having been sent back to bring up tools and the rolling kitchens and water wagons, Major Fox was given the necessary orders. Lieut. Colonel Brown returned about 8:30 A.M. and was sent out to take command. As both battalions had already been turned over to the infantry I sent a message to the Chief of Staff, suggesting that the 2nd Battalion be relieved from this reserve but was told that the orders would not be changed. It soon appeared that the engineer battalions had not been committed to the fight and it was entirely practicable to withdraw them from the lines, as the first battalion was in support of the 23rd Infantry, having dug its own trenches and the 2nd Battalion was in support of the 9th Infantry, having dug its own trenches and those of the 9th Infantry. (see map No.4 for situation at 7:00 A.M.). During all of this day the battalions were beyond my control so it appeared that nothing very important could be done; but the regimental surgeon established a dressing station and the regimental headquarters established a cooking station with some supplies which were found in Vierzy, having been left there by some Quartermaster wagon which unloaded at that point. It is estimated that at this Dressing Station at least 1200 patients were treated and that probably as many patients and also 500 men going forward were given coffee and bread and some potatoes. As the situation was developing favorably, permission was obtained from the brigade commander to unload a truck of tools at the eastern entrance of Vierzy, so that patients could be evacuated, in order to prevent congestion at this dressing station. This was risky business; but the field hospitals seemed unable to send any ambulances to Vierzy so that patients could be evacuated and about 300 patients were gathered there at this dressing station at one time, probably 100 of whom were exposed to shell fire.

At 5:00 P. M. I was told that we would entrench where we were and I prepared the order (copy herewith) to consolidate the position. At 7:45 P.M. I was told that we might be pulled out of the line that night so I suspended the execution of the order. At about 11:40 P.M. I received the order to pull out of the line. (See map No.5 for situation at 11:00 P.M.).

6. July 20. At 12:01 A.M. the order had been issued; but the runner got lost and it was nearly 2:00 A.M. before the 2 battalions left their trenches. They returned over the fields in the same formation in which they went forward. A portion of "A" Company was in the firing line and did not start until about 3:30 A.M., Regimental Headquarters left Vierzy and at about 10:00 A.M. the whole regiment was assembled in the old camp in the woods near Puiseux. At 3:00 P.M. I was told by the Chief of Staff that the regimental headquarters should be at Vivieres, so I sent men to occupy billets that night. At 11:40 P.M. I received Field Order No.17 to move the Engineer Regiment and Engineer Train to the woods south of Taillefontaine.

7. July 21. At 12:20 A.M. the first small party started for the woods south of Taillefontaine and by 4:00 A.M. both battalions were in the woods south of Taillefontaine. The trains were not so fortunate, as the roads were bad and there were several accidents but they had practically all arrived by about 10:30 A.M. except two or three which had to be sent for.

7a. Casualties: 5 Officers, 188 Men.


8. Each man of the 2nd Engineer Battalions carried a large in-trenching tool in addition to his other equipment; consequently there was no lack of engineer tools on the line.

9. Two loads of tools were unloaded in Vierzy and at the eastern entrance and one pile was labeled to "take any tool wanted".

10. A German engineer dump containing supplies of all sorts was found in Vierzy and one truck load of selected engineer supplies were taken from this dump and brought back. It was impossible tc get more with the trucks available.


11. All things considered, it is believed that the division orders covering the Engineer regiment were such as to make the most effective use of this regiment.

12. The following recommendations are submitted:

(a) That officers and men be decorated as stated in another letter which is submitted.

(b) That some arrangement be made by the division and the staff of the whole command whereby orders can be received by the division so they can be transmitted to the division units in time for the movement to be carried out at the times ordered. In one or two instances the orders were received after the time at which the order stated the movement should commence.

(c) That the camions arrive on time. If the camions had been on time and made the movement on time, the troops would have been in position and all rested when the attack began; and I have no doubt that they would have advanced at least a mile further with less difficulty than was experienced. Many of the infantry and engineers had no food for 24 hours.

(d) That each outfit be furnished with more maps. It is very easy for the whole staff department to provide a large number of maps and have them on hand. If each regiment had been furnished maps about half of the straggling could have been eliminated. Luckily I had 8 maps, obtained from G-2 before I left Chamigny, and I guessed that they might cover the territory in question, so took them with me. Also G-2 gave me at Carrefour de Nemours, a few maps of the Villers Cotterets section, and one of the Oulchy le Chateau section. Yet, I had to make some maps at Vierzy on a hectograph and finally had to give my last map to the Commanding General of the 3rd Brigade. Maps are cheap and plentiful; and there is no reason why anybody should not have maps at all times, even down to the company commanders. I have no doubt that G-2 tried to get the maps but could not do so.

(e) That the supply officer who unloaded the truck load of supplies used by me at Vierzy be found and especially commended for his foresight.

(f) That a better system of guides be devised so that units will not lose their way. I am sure that many of the units did not go into the battle at full strength, and I personally sent forward in proper directions various units comprising some 800 men.

(g) That each engineer company be given 16 automatic rifles. My men were attacked by aeroplanes which swept their trenches. It is thought that with automatic rifles, they would have brought down one or two of them.

2 Inclo, 5 maps W. A. MITCHELL.
           1 order  
Copy to C.E.O. A.E.F. (THIS through C.E. 1st Army)
— — — — — — — — — —
Order No.6 2nd Engrs.
Map: Oulchy-Le Chateau, 1:20,000. 7/19/18.      5:00 P.M.

1. Our troops on right and left have now caught up to this division. It is thought that the woods north of Tigny are in our possession, but that Tigny itself has not yet been captured. Attack ceases for present and position now held will be consolidated to night.

2. The 2nd Engineers will advance at dark to the front line and consolidate the positions in connection with the troops on the firing line, and remain in front line until relieved.

3.(a) The 1st Bn. will consolidate the lines from the connection with the troops on our right to an east and west line through the north edge of the woods north of Tigny. Two runners will be sent to Rgt. Hqrs. upon receipt of this order to guide chow, water, and tool wagons to positions assigned in par.4.

(b) The 2nd Bn. will consolidate the lines from an east and west line through the north edge of woods north of Tigny to the connection with the troops on our left. Two runners will be sent to Rgt. Hqrs. upon receipt of this order to guide chow, water and tool wagons to positions assigned in par.4.

(x) Trenches will be dug first; wire will be strung if time is available.

(y) Machine gunners will dig their emplacements, and Infantry and Marines will dig their own trenches as much as possible.

(z) Special attention will be given to camouflaging the positions, as it is much exposed

4.(a) Chow and water wagons will leave Camp at 8:30 P.M. and go to the front. Those for 1st Bn. will go to cross-roads 1100 meters west of Tigny; those for 2nd Bn. will go to double cross roads 1000 meters west of LA NAPERIE and distribute to details which will be sent from the companies without stopping work.

5. Horse and motor drawn will deposit tools, especially picks, shovels, and barbed wire near these two places. These tools can be taken by anyone without receipt.

(a) Camouflage material will be sent, if any is available, but very little need be expected.

6. Messages VIERZY.

Colonel, 2nd Engineers,
Division Engineers
Copy to Div. Comdr.
  C.O. 3rd Brigade,
         4th Brigade.
  1st Bn. 2nd Engrs. (who will confer with C.O. of his half of line.)
  2nd Bn. 2nd Engrs.           ditto "
  C.O. Engineer Train
  C.O. Regimental Field Train.
— — — — — — — — — —
American E.F., 22 July, 18.
From: Commanding Officer, 2nd Engineers.
To   : Commanding General, 3rd Brigade.
Subject: Operations of 2nd Engineers under your command.

1. I submit below a short statement, as directed by you, of the operations of the 2nd Engineers under your command.

2. At 9:20 P.M., July 18th, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 2nd Engineers went over the eastern edge of the ravine east of Vauxcastille in order to reinforce the 9th and 23rd Infantry or organize their positions and help them dig in as might be necessary.

3. The 2nd Battalion dug the, trenches for the 9th Infantry and itself, the 1st Battalion dug the trenches only for itself as the 23rd Infantry had already dug its own trenches. Both battalions dug their trenches in support positions in rear of these regiments (see map showing positions at 4:00 A.M., July 19th).

4. At 7:00 A.M., July 19th, the 1st Battalion was ordered to support the attack of the 6th Marines; it was organized as the Marines passed through the line and took position in support of the attack all that day. It remained in position that night until the withdrawal movement of the 3rd Brigade and 2nd Engineers was orderd [sic] (see map herewith showing positions at 11:00 P.M., July 19th).

5. The regiment was withdrawn about 1:00 A.M. July 20th and marched to camp grounds in the woods near Puiseux where it remained until 12:20 July 21st, at which time the first elements left camp and started for the woods south of Tallefontaine at which place the whole regiment is now located, except the regimental headquarters which is in Tallefontaine.

(Sgd) W. A. Mitchell
W. A. Mitchell,
Colonel, Engineers.
incl (map in triplicate)
— — — — — — — — — —
War Diary of Second Engineer Train (see par.35,FSR)
State of Supply 11:59 P.M.     Date July 22, '18.
1 days Field )      
2 Reserve    ) Rations) With    
1 days )   2 Officers) Available for
2 Reserve ) Forage ) Troops 72 Men   ) all duty.
Weather: Clear. Roads: Good. Health: Good. Camp: Croix de Marret.
— — — — — — — — — —
War Diary of 2d Engineers (see par.35,FSR)   Date 22 July 18.
State of Supply 11:59 P.M.        
1 Day Reg. Rations ) With 37 Officers) Available for
1 Day Reg. Forage ) Troops. 1271 Men ) all duty.
1 Day Reserve Rations ) In Regt'l.    
1 Day Res. Grain ) Train    
Weather: Fair. Roads: Good. Health: Good. Camp: Good.
Remarks: Hqrs. Supply & Administration of Regt. Companies engaged in usual camp duties.
(Sgd) W. A. Mitchell
W. A. Mitchell,
Colonel 2d Engineers,
— — — — — — — — — —
War Diary of Second Engineer Train (see par.35,FSR)    
State of Supply 11:59 P.M.       Date July 23, '18.
1 days Field )        
2 Reserve    ) Rations) With 2 Officers) Available for
1 days )     72 Men ) all duty
2 Reserve ) Forage ) Troops    
Weather: Fair. Roads: Fair. Health: Good. Camp: Croix de Marret.
— — — — — — — — — —
War Diary of 2d Engineers (see par.35,FSR)   Date 23 July 18.
State of Supply 11:59 P.M.        
1 Day Regular Rations ) With 38   Officers) Available for
1 Day Regular Forage ) Troops 1272   Men     ) all duty.
1 Day Reserve Rations ) In Supply    
2 Day Res. Grain Forage ) Train    
Weather: Fair. Roads: Good. Health: Good. Camp: Good.
Remarks: Headquarters engaged in Supply & Administration of Regt.
Companies engaged in usual camp duties.
(Sgd) W. A. Mitchell
W. A. Mitchell,
Colonel 2d Engineers,
— — — — — — — — — —
Records Of The Second Division (Regular) Volume 7; Operation Reports — War Diaries — Patrol Reports
Second Division Historical Section, The Army War College, Washington, D. C.
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