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Report of 2nd Battalion, Attack of July 18, 1918.

July 18, 1918
P. C., 2nd Bn., 5th Marines,
France, July 22nd, 1918.

From:    Commanding Officer, 2nd Batt. 5th Marines.
To :       Commanding Officer, 5th Marines.
Subject: Report of attack of July 18 - 1918.

1. This Battalion took up the march with the other two Battalions of the Regiment from Regimental P.C. at 8:30 P.M. 17 July 1918 to take up its position for the attack which was as indicated on attached sketch. The march was a most trying one, as the night was pitch dark and rainy and road badly congested. As a result it was 4:00 A.M. before we reached the forward Ammunition dump and picked up our guides. The information furnished us by Brigade Adjutant as to location of French guides was not where they were found. It was 4:30 before my last company got its guide and left the dump for its position.

The disposition of this Battalion in its sector from right to left was as follows: 51st Co. (Capt. Corbin) as liaison with 9th Infantry, 18th Co. (Capt. Wass), 43rd Co. (Capt. Murray), 55th Co. (Lt. Cooke). Capt. Wass and Murray and Lt. Cooke are casualties so the information I have is from their Lieutenants. Captain Corbin was the last in and his company came under heavy artillery fire shortly after leaving ammunition dump and went off to right of road in woods and failed to get contact with 23th Infantry. I feel sure the French guides took my two left companies (43rd and 55th) too far to the north as they were both on north side of Paris-Marburgh Highway. Captain Murray discovered this and changed direction in time to practically cover his sector. The 55th Company advanced along North of highway. The 66th Company (1st Battalion) seems to have been in rear of my left and advanced thru it. This is explained by my left companies being too far to the left of my sector. There was some opposition encountered in the woods but after the tanks had been along the edge of woods opposition ceased and most of the enemy surrendered from out their dugouts as my men advanced. The VERTE FEUILLE Farm was taken by this Battalion and the advance continued to the first objective which all of the companies rached [sic] except the 51st (liaison company on right). The attached sketch will show about the route of each company after getting into position.

In the case of 43rd Co. the red line shows their route. A is where the French guide left them and B is the position to which Captain Murray changed to start his attack. C is point they got touch with 55th Co. on their left. D is location of airdo..es [?] where they came under fire of our artillery. At E they were held up by machine guns on opposite side of ravine and had to wait until tanks worked around and cleared the way. F is where Capt. Murray was wounded and where they met up with Captain Wass & 18th Co. Capt. Wass collected both companies in ravine at H and reorganized. It was here that I found them at 6:00 P.M. Route of 55th Co. in blue. At a Cooke was stopped by machine guns across road on his right, he sent men across road to clear this and get contact with 43rd Co. Here also the 66th Co. came by them. At C liaison was made with French on left. It was about here somewhere that the company ran into artillery fire and badly scattered. Lt. Cooke and some of his company going N.E. toward MAISON NEUVE FARM and remainder going S.E.

The route of 18th Co. is as shown in green. As all of the officers of this company are casualties the information regarding is meager.

To high praise cannot be given the work of the tanks. The way they assisted the advance and kept liaison with the troops was remarkable.

The removal of wounded and supply of hot food and water could be greatly improved. This Battalion was the only one that had a kitchen anywhere near the troops and it did valuable service, not only to this Battalion but to the wounded and men from other organizations. It was moved forward into the ravine north-west of VIERZY on the evening of 18th, it could have gone forward that afternoon.

The large number of recruits and the exhausted condition of the men accounted for the large number of stragglers that in previous activities have been conspicuous by their absence.

(Sgd) R. S. Keyser
R. S. KEYSER, Major, Marines, Commanding.
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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