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July 18, 1918.
Report on Battle of Beaurepaire Farm, (Col. Upton) July 18/18.

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The regiment entrucked at COCHEREL from 4.00 to 9.00 P.M., it taking 5 hours due to poor management on the part of the moving organization. This was on July 16th. The regiment rode all night debarking at 8.30 A.M. July 17th and marching about five miles unnecessarily as the trucks could have gone to destination. The day of July 17th was excessively hot. The regiment camped in a woods but before a warm meal could be cooked was marched 8 Miles to its attack position, arriving at 9.00 P.M., and bivouacking [sic] in position during a heavy rain. There was no opportunity to properly reconnoiter the terrain or to study the plan of attack as it was dark before the order could be issued and lights could not be lit. Orders were given verbally covering the attack and maps and all information obtainable was given out. The 1st Bn. relieved the bn. of 48th French Infantry in line at 10.30 P.M. Notice of zero hour at 4.35 A.M. was received and communicated at midnight. No tanks arrived till zero hour and no plan of artillery was received, and as no artillery fired till zero hour and as we were unsuccessful in obtaining liaison with the 5th Marines on our left I of the opinion that the attack would not take place but promptly at zero the barrage began heavily and the tanks came, altho [sic] late, as they could not accompany our front line but did accompany the reserves. Our men followed the barrage as a rule but at times went ahead and took machine guns with small losses. The principle of lying down and enveloping was applied. Due to the change of direction after the first advance 60 deg. northeast to a general direction about 30 deg. south of east, there resulted a mingling of units and the 23rd Infantry swung to our left with parts of its organization, the 5th Marines became mixed in the same way. This is absolutely unavoidable in such a maneuver and again emphasized the point that straight objectives are best.

The boche artillery became very active but its shells fell mostly behind our lines. Due to congestion of troops on roads in woods it was impossible to run phone lines and phones were forbidden in regiment. The rain made the roads very slippery so liaison was poor by runner, only this prevented artillery liaison and there was absolutely no control on artillery fire by the troops in line or by Commanders, the result was bad for our own artillery shot into our troops. Major Bouton was killed by a boche shell. Due to the haste of the preparations for the attack, no panel signals could be made to aeroplanes [sic] and no flares could be obtained, for the regiment arrived with no supplies except what could be carried on the person and there was no time to secure same. In every possible hindrance in its way due to ignorance of terrain and lack of materiel its great success is all the more remarkable.

Liaison. Only one message was received from brigade headquarters; none from Division. The roads thru the woods were choked with traffic and runners only could get thru the distance between P. C.'s made runners useless.

Two batteries of Field Artillery were captured near BEAU-REPAIRE FARM by the mixed regiments. A great many machine guns and prisoners were taken, - no count can be made now. Three officers were killed; Major A. E. Bouton, Lieut. E. A. Billings and Lieut. Glen G. Hall. A number of officers were wounded.

Our objective was reached at 1.00 P.M., altho [sic] some machine gun nests remained behind to be dealt with. Our losses, considering the machine guns they went up against, were not as heavy as could be expected. At least 12 different boche organizations were identified. This attack against Prussians principally again showed that the American soldier has got the boche's number and can walk thru him at will.

L. S. UPTON,
Colonel, 9th Infantyy,
Commanding.
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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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