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OPERATION REPORT OCTOBER 2, 1918, to OCTOBER 10, 1918.
FOURTH MACHINE GUN BATTL'N, American, E. F.

Map Reference to "Tahure" 1 to 20,000.
 
October 2, 1918

1. The battalion cleared Suippes at 5:30 hours moving by machine gun trucks to covered position 320 meters due south of NAVARIN Fme. Liaison established with 23d Infantry, 3d Brigade Headquarters and with Division Headquarters. The battalion remained in place during the day.

 
October 3, 1918.

2. At 6.30 hours the Battalion started forward following 4th Brigade with the mission to cover the rear, left and rear of the Division. Liaison had been established with the 4th Brigade Headquarters. Reconnaissance was at all time maintained in front of and to the left of the battalion.

At 10.00 hours it was discovered that the division on our left had not advanced and that the strong point D'ESSEN in trenches near point 266.3-277.9 was not reduced. Company "A" was placed in positions near points 267.3-275.8 and 267.4-276.1 to cover strong point and to fire to left in case enemy attempted to filter in towards SOMME-PY. This company connected with division on the left and established liaison with Headquarters, 6th Marines.

At 11.30 hours Battalion Headquarters established at intersection TR DU PACHA and GRENZ WEG. Patrols sent to north and west. At 13.00 hours patrols reported enemy still occupying strong point D'ESSEN to the left and that rear elements of 4th Brigade has cleared TR D'ESSEN in the Divisional Sector. Company "B" moved forward and took up position as follows: One platoon in TR D'ELBE on the right of PISTE DE RANDINS with field of fire to west of position, northeast toward BLANC MONT and to the north. One platoon in TR DES PRUSSIENS on right of PISTE DE RANDINS with field of fire towards strong point D'ESSEN, and one platoon in reserve south of Bn. Headquarters in TR DE KREFELD. Patrols sent to strong point D'ESSEY at 20:00 hours fired upon by enemy machine guns. This fire continued at intervals on Company "B" positions until after midnight. Outguards established on left during night.

 
October 4, 1918.

3. Reconnaissance at 10.00, 13.00, and 19.00 hours of ground north showed all trenches and cover from two kilometers forward occupied by rear elements of 3d and 4th Brigades.

About 10.00 hours divisions on the left moved a little forward. Company "A" was then brought forward and placed in reserve in covered positions in trenches D'ESSEN and DE L'ELBE east of SOME PY - ST ETIENNE road. The battalion remained in place during the night.

 
October 5, 1918.

4. At 6.00 hours reconnaissance made for positions east and northeast of 3d Brigade P.C., then located near Point 268-75-280.6 to repel counter-attack on right of our division if called upon, and for positions near Point 268.5-279.5 to fire enfilade fire up valley behind rear elements of 4th Brigade.

At 15.00 hours orders received from Divisional Headquarters to report to Commanding General, 3d Brigade. Report with battalions was made at 15.00 hours and the following disposition was made, Company "A" took up positions reconnoitered in the morning east and northeast of P.C., 3d Brigade. Company “B” was sent to report to C. 0., 23d Infantry for assignment.

Company “B” arrived at P.C., 23d Infantry at 19.00 hours and was held in Regimental Reserve. Friendly artillery fell just beyond Company "B"'s position and back of our front lines several times, necessitating the fire of many signals of fire falling short, which brought about considerable enemy shelling near position of lights.

 
October 6, 1918.

5. Company “A” remained in position. Company "B" received orders from 23d Infantry to support the 2d Battalion 23d Infantry in attack at 6.30 hours to straighten our lines. Heavy enemy shelling from 4.30 hours to 6.30 hours.

Two platoons placed in action to support Infantry front line against machine gun fire from woods to right and pill boxes in open field to front along line of pines at 266.5-283.2 to 266.8-283.3 about 7.00 hours. From right, guns fired on woods edge to northeast range 500 meters. Two guns fired on pill boxes directly in front, range 200 meters. Two guns advanced thru woods on left to flank pill boxes in open. Heavy enemy artillery and machine gun fire. At 7.30 hours the two enemy pill boxes directly ahead were put out of action and fire support to right enabled Infantry to advance and exploit ground ahead to distance of about 800 meters. Ammunition expended about 1000 rounds per gun.

During this time guns were gradually shifted to right and front to avoid severe shelling. Ammunition expended about 12,500 rounds. Four guns damaged and two tripods knocked out. Casualties: 6 killed, 14 wounded, and six missing.

It was noted that shells dropped less on the actual front edge of woods and more at breaks in contour of the woods line and in woods. Machine gun fire was so low as to cause casualties, even when machine guns were placed in prone positions. It was also noted that enemy machine gun and snipers fired upon our stretcher bearers when carrying wounded on stretchers placed on their shoulders.

 
October 7, 1918.

6. Company “A” remained in position. Company “B” was relieved by machine guns of the 71st Brigade at 1.00 hours. The company was brought back in reserve on ridge about point 268.6279.4. At 20.00 hours by VOCG 3d Brigade the battalion came under the disposition of the C.O. Battalion 9th Infantry to form a liaison battalion with the 71st Brigade and the Division on the right.

 
October 8, 1918.

7. On account of lack of cover in position occupied by 2d Battalion, 9th Infantry, the C.O. ordered one company to be brought up to join the attack, and one company (then only able to man 6 guns due to casualties and stragglers) to be held in reserve.

At 4.15 hours, Company A proceeded to join battalion. Contact with the Infantry Battalion was lost due to three runners losing their way. Contact was gained by one platoon at 9.00 hours. The following disposition for consolidation at 13.00 hours was made. 8 guns in vicinity of 268.5-282.95 backing up junction of division on the right and liaison battalion. Four guns at 268.152821. At that time Company “B” had only four guns, due to two guns having been damaged in the advance.

At about 17.00 hours some infantrymen and machine gunners of 141st Infantry, of the liaison battalion and of the Division on the right, commenced to fall back, due to a supposed counter attack. Some confusion took place, but the platoon commanders of forward positions succeeded in stopping the confusion somewhat, organized a line of defense, and order in that vicinity was soon restored.

At about 18.00 hours, three squads of 2d Engineers were turned over to 4th Machine Gun Battalion to organize a platoon of 4 guns for emergency. Heavy shelling on positions during the night.

 
October 9, 1918.

8. At 6.00 hours four reserve guns with necessary ammunition arrived from rear echelon, 4th Machine Gun Battalion. A platoon was formed from stragglers of the 4th Machine Gun Battalion, and from the three squads of 2d Engineers. At 9.00 hours this platoon was moved for reserve at P. C., C. O. 2d Engineers, and C. O. 4th Machine Gun Battalion at point 267.6 and 281.2.

At 14.00 hours this platoon ordered to report to C. 0. Co. "B" 2d Engineers, for reserve. About 17.00 hours platoon proceeded back by mistake to P. C., by an order from C. O. 4th Machine Gun Battalion, by runner overlapping runner of 2d Engineers.

At 19.00 hours Divisional Machine Gun Officer, 2d Division, brought C. O. of relieving machine gun battalion to effect a relief. Due to heavy shelling at night and newness of battalion, it was decided to effect relief by infiltration the next day.

 
October 10, 1918.

1. The relieving battalion commenced to arrive in trucks brought up at intervals on SOMME-PY-MEDEAH, FARM road at point 268.7-280.6 at 7.30 hours. Relief was made by slow infiltration. Relief completed and liaison established within new battalion at 16.00 hours. The Fourth Machine Gun Battalion at 17.00 hours proceeded by truck to SUIPPES. No casualties during relief.

 
(Sgd) A. D. Bruce
A. D. Bruce
Major, 4th. M. G. Bn.
Commanding.
Distribution:
Chief of Staff, 2d Div. 2 copies.
Div. M.G. Officer, 2d Div. 1 copy.
File 1 copy.
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WAR DIARY OF 4TH MACHINE GUN BATTALION Oct. 11,1918
13500 rds. 8mm., 2000 rds. 45 cal. ammunition in combat train.
1 days reserve, 2 days field with supply train. Good weather.
17 officers, 320 Enlisted men available for duty. Good roads.
1 Major, 5 1st. Lt., 1 1st Lt. M.R.C., 1 1st Lt. Good health.
D.R.C., 8 2nd. Lts. 1 2nd. Lt. Q.M.C.  
(sgd) A. D. Bruce
A. D. Bruce
Major, 4th. M. G. Bn.
Commanding.
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WAR DIARY OF 4TH MACHINE GUN BATTALION Oct. 12,1918
13500 rds. 8mm., 2000 rds. 45 cal. ammunition with combat train.
1 days reserve rations with supply train. Rainy weather.
2 days field rations with supply train. Bad roads.
Pyrotechnics on hand, 5 Very pistols. Good health.
17 officers, 319 Enlisted men available for duty.  
1 Major, 5 1st. Lt., 1 1st Lt. M.R.C., 1 1st Lt. D.R.C., 8 2nd. Lts. 1 2nd. Lt. Q.M.C.
Remarks: Battalion remained in billets at Camp Ouest Suippes.
(sgd) A. D. Bruce
A. D. Bruce
Major, 4th. M. G. Bn.
Commanding.
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Records Of The Second Division (Regular) Volume 8; Operation Reports — War Diaries
Second Division Historical Section, The Army War College, Washington, D. C.
 
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