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Two American Engineers Perform Daring Exploit and Gain Valuable Information.
Hide Seventeen Hours and Then Explore Positions Before Returning to Their Own Lines.
By EDWIN L. JAMES. Copyright, 1918. by The New York Times Company. Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.

AMERICAN FRONT ON THE MARNE, June 11.—The world war has brought stories of men escaping from German Prison camps and making their way back to the allied lines in isolated spots, but here is the story of two Americans who spent thirty-six hours in a strongly held German position and came back to tell all about it. An incident of the exploit was the killing of three men on a German supply train on which the two Americans were about to beg a ride. The Yankees thought it an American train, but it proved to be German.

The trip of these two Americans—engineers—was not planned beforehand. The Americans had been fighting four days to gain complete possession of the Bois de Belleau. The two engineers were sent out on a mission on Sunday night, the nature of which cannot be stated. On the way back they took the wrong trail through the woods without knowing it. They were walking, they thought, toward the American lines, when along came a supply train drawn by horses. Thinking to get a ride, they walked down the road directly in front of the train until they suddenly saw it was German. Believing that they were lost, they determined to give the Germans the best they had. Squatting in the road with their automatics, they killed three Germans on the first wagon. The Germans on the other wagons shouted, but as the Americans started forward, turned their wagons and made off in wild retreat.

The two engineers, finding it was getting light, started toward a wheat field. On the way they saw scores of Germans who did not see them, and found the positions of a large number of machine gun nests. Reaching the wheat field, they lay down, covering themselves with grass, and stayed there for seventeen hours, until it got dark again.

Then, instead of returning at once to the American lines, they went back through the woods and explored the German positions nearly all night. Early this morning they again reached the American lines, and, going to headquarters, made a valuable report on what they had seen.

This is one of the most daring war exploits of which I have heard on the part of the soldiers of any army. It must be borne in mind that engineers are not really supposed to be combatant troops, although they have proved since their experience with the British in the battle at Cambrai that they are versatile fellows, and either building bridges or killing Germans is right in their line.

The New York Times
Published: June 12, 1918
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