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Organizations and Equipment / Re: Space!
« Last post by GDS_Starfury on Yesterday at 11:36:20 PM »
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Military (and other) History / Re: Prehistoric find at Mount Vernon
« Last post by Sir Slash on April 29, 2012, 10:51:36 PM »
I always wondered where I left that damned axe.  #:-)
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The Last Attack - November 11th, 1918

At 11am, on November 11th, 1918, the guns suddenly went silent, and a long Armistice led to the end of the Great War.

But at 10:59am, Henry Gunther, a private in the US 313th Infantry (79th Division), also called "Baltimore's Own", became the last soldier killed. For reasons that are not known, Gunther attacked a German machine gun position. The Germans and Americans were well aware of the Armistice, and the German gunners apparently tried to wave off Gunther, but he continued his attack and was killed.

The "Last Man" Killed

The Baltimore Sun recently published a nice piece about Henry Gunther and his posible motivations:
https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-henry-gunther-20181009-story.html

This is the Google Street view of the location of Gunther's death. He would have been attacking in the direction of the camera.  Today there is a monument there, but apparetnly the Google Street view was taken several years before it was put in place.
https://www.google.com/maps/@49.3079786,5.4247611,3a,75y,353.05h,90.89t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sUwk9as6Hr11qNr4eDchZvw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656


It is not really true that Gunther was the last man killed in WWI. Technically, that would be one of the German sailors killed while scuttling their ships at Scapa Flow, one week before the peace treaty was signed in June, 1919.

This BBC article covers the Scapa Flow fight: 
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33152438

The Armistice

The 313th Infantry was the same unit that had stumbled trying to take Montfaucon back at the start of the Meuse Argonne Offensive on September 26th. Within 6 weeks, they had become a seasoned fighting force. In early November, the 79th Division attacked Hill 378, La Borne de Cornouiller. It was a textbook attack, against a seasoned enemy, in a well-fortified position, and it showed how far the 79th had come in just a handful of weeks.

By Nov 8th, Austria Hungary had surrendered, and there were riots back in German cities. Supreme Allied Commander Foch notified the US, British and French forces that an Armistice was imminent. On November 9th, the Kaiser abdicated, and the next day, an Armistice was signed to take effect on November 11th, at 11am.

The French and British used this information to scale back offensive efforts and avoid unnecessary loss of life.

The AEF did just the opposite. Undertaking offensives and sending the men "over the top" within hours before the Armistice. With hind-sight, it is easy for us to see this as a waste of life, and maybe even a vain grab for glory.

However, on that day, the soldiers on the ground did not know how long the Armistice would last. It was really just a cease fire. From the AEF commanders' perspective, they wanted to keep pushing, because they were not certain if the Germans would even honor the cease fire.

But many of the troops were ready to end the fighting. In the 33rd Division, one US Infantry officer, whose troops were ordered to attack on the morning of November 11th, wrote in his diary that many of his troops were crying before "going over the top". Nobody wanted to die on the last day of the war. 

The 313th was ordered to attack that morning. At 0930 they went over the top just like any of the days before. The German's resisted, and it does not sound like anyone was "pulling punches."  Many men were killed on both sides that morning.

At 10:59 Gunther was killed. At 11:00, all firing suddenly stopped.

The Silence

In his great book about the 79th Division, With Their Bare Hands: General Pershing, the 79th Division, and the battle for Montfaucon, Gene Fax writes:

Precisely at 11:00 o’clock the guns fell silent. Lieutenant Kress of the 314th described the scene:

One moment, it was an inferno along the line! The next, the line was silent as the grave. It was too unreal; it must surely be a dream. A second of silence ... then, up out of the fog around us rose voices full of heartfelt emotion. Cries came from the German lines; cries of “Gott sei dank,” and other expressions of thanks and rejoicing.

Sergeant Fleming of the 315th recorded a similar experience:

In a minute tin hats were discarded and we were in overseas caps, singing and cheering. Instructions came forbidding fraternizing with the enemy but it went on for several hours between the lines ... In a few hours everyone disappeared. A few must have stayed on the hills until nightfall as we were treated after dark to a remarkable display of rockets, flares and lights of every description, as far as one could see along the line to both horizons. It was better than a Fourth of July show.

Colonel J. Frank Barber, commanding officer of the 304th Engineers and the division’s historian, wrote:

Perhaps the greatest relief was the knowledge that an exposed head would not draw rifle fire, that a man could stand erect without being sprayed by machine gun bullets, that shell holes no longer were necessary as protections against enemy fire, and that real hot food was coming up from the rear ... No night ration parties, no dangerous reliefs, no panting runners, no detailed field orders, no bursting high explosive or shrapnel, no raiding airmen on the open roads, no stifling powder smoke in the air, no litter bearers on the trails, no moaning wounded at the first aid stations, no turmoil, no tragedy—only peace.



After the war was over, there were investigations and boards questioning why US commanders pushed against German defenses up to the last minute. Families of those killed on that last day wanted to know why their sons lives had been wasted. But nothing much came from those investigations.

The US moved on, and the Great War and its soldiers were soon forgotten by the public at large.
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Military (and other) History / Prehistoric find at Mount Vernon
« Last post by steve58 on November 06, 2018, 02:01:02 PM »
Probably not the ax George used when he chopped down that cherry tree... :))

Quote
High school students on an archaeology field trip helped discover a 6,000-year-old stone ax head at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

Roughly 7 inches long and 3 inches wide, the ax would have been an important part of the Native American tool kit in the fourth millennia B.C, according to experts. Famous as the home of one of America’s founding fathers, the Virginia estate also offers a fascinating glimpse into the nation’s earlier history.

https://www.foxnews.com/science/high-school-students-find-6000-year-old-stone-axe-at-mount-vernon

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Nov 1st - Nov 3rd, 1918, Breakout at Landres-et-St. Georges

On November 1st, the AEF started the final offensive of WWI. The AEF's First Army began an all-out push to blow through the German defenses that had held the AEF back for two weeks. Using massive artillery, gas and machine gun barrages, the AEF at last pulverized the German positions, and broke through. Leading the charge was the crack US 2nd Division, it went farther, and faster than any of the other US divsions, demonstrating that the German Army was finally breaking.

The Offensive

For nearly two weeks, at the end of October, 1918, the US First Army had struggled to get through German last ditch defensive positions, including the Hindenburg line. The 42nd Division had ground its fighting effectiveness down to almost nothing in front of the Kriemhilde Stellung (the main German defensive band of the Hindenburg Line) at Landres-et-St. Georges. The 42nd's "Fighting Irish" Regiment had taken heavy casualties, but was not able to pierce the line. 

In late October, the AEF took a brief pause in its Meuse-Argonne Offensive, to consolidate and prepare for a final push. There was some talk of a future armistice; the Ottoman's had surrendered, and it looked like the Austro-Hungarians would soon follow. But the guys in the trenches could only see that the Germans were still fighting hard. General Pershing and his staff thought the war would continue into the next spring. So this final push was to get an advantageous position for the spring offensives.

The 2nd Division was placed in line at Landres-et-St. Georges, replacing the 42nd Division.

The AEF had learned a great deal about how to conduct combat since its early battles. They finally understood what the British and French had long ago learned about the importance of logistics, and artillery preparation.  The artillery bombardment for this last push was massive. In the 2nd Division sector alone there were over 360 guns, pounding the Germans at Landres - et - St. Georges.

At 0530 hours, the 2nd Division "went over the top". The bombardment had been so effective, that as the 2nd Division advanced, it found many Germans frozen in  their defensive positions, killed by shrapnel, gas or concussions. By 0800 hours, the Marine Brigade was alreay past Landres - et - St. Georges and advancing fast, with few casualties.

US Army Center for Military History Map showing the beginning of the AEF's final push


By 1100hours the 2nd Division had made unbelievable progress; the town of Bayonville well behind the 2nd's jump-off line had fallen. By the end of the first day, the 2nd Infantry had advanced more than 10km.

A description of the advance is in the History of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Regiment of Marines
edited by Lt. Herbert Akers, 1919


During the night of October 31-November 1, this
battalion moved into its jumping off position North
east of Sommerance, from whence it moved out at
5 :30 a. m. in support of the First Battalion and con
tinued its advance until 8 :00 a. m. when it passed
through First Battalion and halted at the first objec
tive. At 8:14 a. m. the following message was sent:

"From: Commanding Officer Third Battalion.
To. Commanding Officer Sixth Regiment.
My two leading companies are on first objective,
following companies on ridge in position to ad
vance at proper time. Few casualties. Barker is
near me. Have met two companies of Williams
back of St. Georges. Made good time since last
message.
G. K. Shuler, Major, U. S. M. C."

At 9 :00 a. m. it took up the advance as the leading
battalion closely following our own barrage, until
the second objective was reached at 12 :30 p. m. where
the battalion dug in and the Second and First bat
talions passed thru and continued the advance. At
11 :00 a. m. the following message was sent :
"From: Commanding Officer Third Battalion.
To: Commanding Officer Sixth Regiment.
We are in Chennery and Bayonville and passing
up to 2nd objective. Took about 100 prisoners here
by using tank assisted by riflemen. About 100
enemy retreated from their guns to woods south
east of Sivry. The woods north of 2nd objective
should be well shelled. Have taken 6 88s. Scouts
just reported that we hold Chenery and Bayonville.
Enemy are shelling from woods north of Bayonville.
G. K. Shuler, Major, U. S. M. C."

Our P. C. was established in Bayonville. The fol
lowing prisoners and materials were captured by this
battalion during its advance:

Prisoners 250
Cannon 27 (including one 8 inch gun)
Machine Guns 30
Rifles 100
Horses 12
Ambulances 3
Signal Outfit
Ammunition
Dynamo

The following losses were sustained
Officers/Men
Killed 0 / 21
Wounded 2 / 57
Missing 2 / 12

Three tanks reported after the first objective had
been obtained and were assigned to the 83rd Com
pany and placed under the command of Captain
Noble. These tanks moved forward when we ad
vanced and kept up with the leading elements. Upon
reaching the outskirts of Chennery and while under
cover of the crest of a hill it was found possible to
maneuver the 83rd Company and tanks to flank ai
battery of four enemy 77mm guns. This battery was
firing direct fire into the left of our sector and was
taken completely by surprise from their left flank.
One tank approached and covered the advance of
a squad of riflemen and skillful use of its one-pound
er and riflemens' weapons compelled the surrender
of one officer and 75 artillerymen, who were man
ning the battery. As a result of this operation over
200 of the enemy from different points of the ravine
were observed retreating on the run to the woods
Northeast of Sivry. The three tanks upon the at
tainment of the second objective went forward with
the Second Battalion when that battalion passed
through. The work of the tanks was most commend
able. The officers in charge co-operated in every way
possible.
It is desired to make special mention of the matter
in which Bayonville was taken and organized. Capt.
Noble of the 83rd Company cleaned the town thor
oughly of the enemy. He was able to do this because
of the thorough manner in which his preparation
had been made. By a careful study of maps of the
town and by assignment of units to do certain work
the capture of the town was affected in a systematic
and business like manner. With no losses in his Com
pany 100 prisoners were taken and the town taken.
Captain Jacobsen and 84th Company following the
83rd were assigned the task of cleaning up and hold
ing the town. This was done thoroughly and syste
matically. Before the arrival of Battalion Headquar
ters Captain Jacobsen had organized an evacuation
hospital under charge of Major Schultz of the Ger
man Medical Corps; had three German ambulances
in operation and was caring for and evacuating
both our own and German wounded. Patrols were
mounted on captured German horses and doing effec
tive work between the front line and rear. All dug
outs had been located so that upon arrival of the
various Hdq. all units were properly housed without
confusion. The efforts of Captain Jacobsen in this
town which was constantly under shell fire were most
commendable.
The rolling kitchens arrived in Bayonville at 10 :30
a. m., November 2, and went to the positions near
their respective companies.


This is a streetmap view of the 6th Marines approach to Bayonville.
https://www.google.com/maps/@49.393692,5.0042066,3a,75y,332.69h,82.07t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1suBe3v4lPbFQ-rKpk99IZcw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

US 2nd Infantry Divsion, “Indianhead” Division

In the AEF, the US 2nd Infantry Division was a  hybrid division, made up of Regular US Army and US Marine Corps units; the US Army's 9th and 23rd Infantry Regiments, and the US Marine Corps' 5th and 6th Marine Regiments. It was also unique in that it was commanded by a USMC commander, Major General John Lejeune.

Link for more information on Major General Lejeune
https://www.lejeune.marines.mil/About/About-LtGen-Lejeune/

By November, 1918, the 2nd Division was one of the most battle-hardened and capable of all US divisions. It had fought several major battles before Meuse Argonne. In June, it had helped to hold back the last major Geraman offensive by its tanacity at Belleau Wood and Chateu Thierry. In July, it was loaned to the French XX Corps, along with the US 1st Division, for the attack to retake Soissons. In September, it fought next to the 89th and 5th Divisions at the St. Mihiel salient. In October, the 2nd Division, along with the US 36th Division, were again loaned to the French for the bloody battle of Blanc Mont Ridge.

The division stayed active during the interwar period, fighting in the European Theater during WWII, and in many campaigns during the Korean War. Today the 2nd Infantry Division is still an active US Army unit, and is stationed in the defense of South Korea.

2nd Division Helmet







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References and Research / Re: Large Scale Combat Ops
« Last post by Iconoclast on October 25, 2018, 09:23:07 PM »
Thank you very much, great sources.
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References and Research / Re: Large Scale Combat Ops
« Last post by DoctorQuest on October 25, 2018, 07:58:25 PM »
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References and Research / Re: Large Scale Combat Ops
« Last post by ArizonaTank on October 25, 2018, 07:21:24 PM »
Great find!!
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References and Research / Re: Large Scale Combat Ops
« Last post by Pete Dero on October 25, 2018, 01:56:11 AM »
Thank you for posting.
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