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Report of Lieut. Jumper, 17th Field Artillery, operations at Chateau-Thierry and Soissons.

July 15 - 26, 1918.
OPERATIONS OF CHATEAU THIERRY AND SOISSONS:
Dictated by Captains R. J. McIntosh, 1st Bn. 15th F, A. and
E. Cummings, 2nd Bn. 15th,F.A.
EXTRACT
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On the morning of July 15, the entire regiment began a march of 60 kilometers to a point in the woods 2 kilometers south of TAILLEFONTAINE (Aisne), and went into bivouac. The duration of this march was materially lengthened due to the great traffic on all roads. On July 17th, firing batteries and posts of commands were established in position one kilometer east of Puiseux.

On July 18, the regiment participated in the attack of the Allied troops which began at 4:35 A.M., that date. The regiment supported the 3rd Infantry Brigade; the 1st Bn supporting the 23rd; the 2nd Bn. supporting the 9th Infantry, by firing a rolling barrage in front of their advance. During the day the positions were continually advanced behind the advancing infantry, and in the evening the regiment took position near VAUXCASTILLE.

The attack of July 19 was supported by a rolling barrage and fire in support of the advancing infantry was continued throughout the day. On the night of July 19-20, when the division was relieved, the entire regiment returned to echelons in the Villers Cotterets Forest. At 6 o'clock P.M., July 20, orders were received for all batteries to return immediately to the line. Batteries took up positions in the vicinity of VIERZY on the early morning of July 21, and supported the attack of the MOROCCAN division at 4:30 A.M. In order to fire a rolling barrage in support of this attack, it was necessary to move the 2nd battalion forward while the first battalion was firing. Due to poor liaison, with the infantry and failure of the attack, the 2nd battalion reached a point about 800 meters from the German counter-attacking troops and came under heavy fire of the German artillery. The retirement was effected in good order, with small losses and the position of the 2nd battalion was established on the left of the 1st battalion at the head of ravine, one kilometer north of VIERZY. All batteries remained in this position until the night of July 25 - 26.

During the period from July 21 to July 26, the firing batteries remained in their positions supporting daily attacks by the French Infantry on VILLEMONTOIRE. During the period, batteries of captured German 77 mm and 105 m/m guns were operated by organizations of this regiment for harassing and interdiction fire on the enemy lines, - a quantity of Yellow Cross gas shell being fired.

During this operation, lasting one week, the regiment fired approximately 50,000 rounds. The concentration of artillery was very great, the battalions were placed in adjacent positions, guns being separated by intervals of only ten meters. In addition, there were many French artillery regiments in the sector. In all, there were four lines of field artillery echeloned, so that they were firing over each other. The fire was so intense and continuous that at the end of the week all the cannoneers were deafened. It was almost impossible to deliver orders by word of mouth.

There were a considerable number of French tanks which had been destroyed in the first stages of the attack, and these were made use of as observation posts. The enemy's resistance was very stubborn throughout, as he was attempting to retain the Chateau Thierry-Soissons road, which was the main avenue of retreat from the threatened salient. After repeated a±tacks, the French Infantry succeeded in taking the village of VILLEMONTOIRE. It was at this time that the regiment was relieved.

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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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