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Operations Report, 5th Regt. Marines, Sept. 29th to Oct. 10th, 1918.

Headquarters Fifth Regiment, U.S.. Marines,
October 11, 1918.
 
From: Regimental Commander.
To: Commanding General, Second Division.
Subject:Report of operations of September 29th to October 10,1918.
 
Enclosures: 1.
September 29th

1. The regiment boarded camIons at COURTISOLS at 5:30 p.m. and arrived at the southern edge of SUIPPES at 11:00 p.m. Disem- barking at this point, the regiment marched to the BOIS DE COTE and bivouaced for the night.

September 30th

1. The Regiment was bivouaced in the BOIS DE COTE.

October 1st

1. The regiment left the BOIS DE COTE at 7:00 p.m. and proceeded to the SOMME PY Sector via SUIPPES-SOUAINE Road to SOUAINE, thence northeast from the middle of SOUAINE on the SOUAINE-TAHURE Road, to a point north of 91, thence north on PISTE DE HIMES Road, relieving the 61st French Division. Disposition of the regiment as follows:-

1st Battalion occupied trench ESSEN, Company A on the left of sector with Companies B, C, and D on its right.

2nd Battalion occupied trenches to the east of SOMME PY, to the right of the SOMME PY Road in the following order: E, G, H and F.

3rd Battalion took a reserve position at BARAQUE, relieving a battalion of the 219th French Infantry and one battalion of the 255th French Infantry.

October 2nd

1. The relief Was completed at 4:00 a.m. The delay was due to the lack of proper guides and the small amount of time alloted for reconnaissance.

2. The regiment remained in these positions.

October 3rd

1. At 5:00 a.m., battalions were in positions to move in support of the 6th Marines, who attacked at 6:30 a.m. Limits of the Brigade Sector:- Eastern limit. Road leading generally north (and inclining to west) from ESSEN trench at 268.1-278.05 to 267.2-281.05. Western limit. Line from point 266.9-276.7 to point 265.6-280.5 (BLANC MONT).

2. At 6:55 a.m., the last battalion of the 6th Marines cleared the parallel of departure, the 2nd Battalion followed 500 yards in rear. E and G companies in the first line, H and F companies in the second line and the 23rd machine gun company in rear of the center of these companies. When the 6th Marines reached their objective, the 2nd Battalion moved to the left flank of the 2nd Battalion of the 6th Marines and entrenched along line 265.75-280.6—265.95-280.1, joining with a company of the French. The advance was difficult because of the French not advancing on the left, and that flank was constantly harassed by machine gun fire.

The 3rd Battalion followed the 2nd Battalion at a distance of 500 yards, moving forward in platoon columns. I and K companies in the front line and L and M companies in the second line. This formation was found very suitable for protection against artillery resistance which the enemy was offering, but owing to the constant machine gun fire from the left flank, companies took formation in the communicating trenches, which afforded the best cover during the advance. This battalion found no mopping-up necessary.

The 1st Battalion followed the 3rd Battalion, being detailed as Brigade Combat Liaison on the left and Flank Guard. Company A, was detailed to clean out the strong point, known as the "Hook" in the ESSEN and ELBE trenches. After considerable resistance, enemy machine guns were cleaned out of this place. The battalion, then took position as flank guard on the western limit of the Brigade Sector, A and B companies in the first line and D and C companies in the second line. Constant flanking fire from the enemy's machine guns was encountered. A line was formed to the northwest by A and B companies, about one kilometer north of the ESSEN trench. Patrols sent out reported presence of the enemy in considerable force on the left flank.

3. Orders were received to continue the attack, the division having attained the objective, the front of the brigade extending from cross-roads at 265.6-280.75 to 267.3-281.0.

October 4th

1. Owing to the difficulty in organizing the battalions, this regiment did not pass through the positions occupied by the 6th Marines, until 6:00 a.m.

2. The attack began at that hour without any artillery preparation, the 3rd Battalion leading, with M and I companies in one line of skirmishers, and L and K companies in support, taking position in column of half platoons for cover-up flanks. Owing to the wide front to be covered in the advance, and also the fact that our flanks were exposed, this formation was most feasible. The advance was made with little resistance from the front, but terrible machine gun fire from both flanks. This battalion advanced to position approximately 266.4-282.5 265.1-282.2, where liaison was established with the 1st Battalion of the 23rd Infantry on the right. Captain Larsen, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, personally visited the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry, and was informed by him that he (C.O.1st Bn.23rd) was under the impression that his objective had been gained, and that the 23rd Infantry would not advance further without orders to do so. The P.C. of the 1st Battalion of the 23rd Infantry was approximately 266.4-282.5, almost 600 yards west of the eastern limit of our sector.

3. The 1st and 2nd Battalions followed the 3rd Battalion, in the order named, at a distance of about 500 yards between battalions. Their right and left flanks were continually harassed by heavy machine gun fire.

4. The advance continued under machine gun fire from front and flanks to a position approximately 266.2-283. and 264.7-282.8, when about 2:30 p.m. heavy machine gun fire from flanks, both of which were entirely exposed, and direct artillery barrage from the heights north of ST. ETIENNE, made further advance impossible, the front line was withdrawn to a position occupied by the 1st and 2nd Battalions, who formed a line extending across the ST. ETIENNE Road from about 265.0-282.15 to 266.2-282.4. In this position the three battalions dug in under heavy fire, K company facing to the west, in order to protect the left flank which was exposed. The 23rd Infantry occupied a position on the right.

5. During the afternoon about 350 enemy attempted a counter attack from the left front and were repulsed. Later it was verified that a hundred dead Boches lay in position of their first wave. At about 8:00 p.m. 300 enemy were reported at about 265.7-281.5—265.3-281.4, approaching in waves, generally in a north-easterly direction from our rear. Our front lines were reversed and the enemy was repulsed. Next morning much enemy equipment and some machine guns were found as deserted by the enemy.

6. About 6:00 p.m. the 74th Company of the Sixth Marines arrived on our left flank and took position on that flank.

October 5th

1. About 10:00 a.m., the French advanced on our left flank. Later in the afternoon, the Sixth Marines passed through out [sic] positions and continued the attack, leaving the regiment in support position.

October 6th

1. The regiment remained in position until about 7:30 p.m., when the battalions were moved back to the trenches east of MONT BLANC. 1st and 2nd Battalions in trenches west and south of cross-roads at 267.2-281.1. 3rd Battalion in trenches at 265.9-280.4

October 7th

1. The regiment remained in the same position.

October 8th

1. The regiment remained in the same position.

October 9th

1. Shortly after dusk, the regiment was marched to a point about two kilometers south of SOUIANE [sic] and troops bivouaced for the night in the woods on the east of the road.

October 10th

1. In the morning the battalions marched to the following named camps and were billeted.

1st Battalion to Camp des TRACTEURS
2nd Battalion to Camp NORMANDS and SUIPPE EST.
3rd Battalion to Camp COURTES.
 
(Sgd) Logan Feland.
LOGAN FELAND.
Colonel, U.S. Marines.
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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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