Author Topic: German Intelligence Report on Captured US Marines - WW1  (Read 425 times)

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Offline ArizonaTank

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German Intelligence Report on Captured US Marines - WW1
« on: August 03, 2018, 06:06:40 PM »
Found this interesting German report based on interrogations of captured US soldiers during the battle of Belleau Wood.  The US 2nd Division mentioned was a hybrid unit, that contained both US Army and USMC troops.  The report mentions interrogating troops from the US Marine Brigade.

The report is dated June 17, 1918.  But the document was captured, translated and reproduced in the AEF intelligence summary (SUMMARY OF INFORMATION, No. 103, JULY 12, 1918, page 797).

You can find the full document here:

Some interesting points the author makes are:

The 2d American Division may be classified as a very good division, perhaps even as assault troops.
The various attacks of both regiments on Belleau Woods were carried out with dash and recklessness.
The moral effect of our fire arms did not materially check the advance of the infantry, the nerves of the
Americans are. still unshaken.

The individual soldiers are very good. They are healthy, vigorous and physically well developed
men of ages ranging from 18 to 28, who at present lack only necessary training in order to make them
redoubtable opponents. The troops are fresh and full of straightforward confidence. A remark of one
of the prisoners is indicative of their spirit : “We kill or get killed."

In both attacks on Belleau Woods, which were carried out by one or two battalions the following
method of attack was adopted :
Three or four lines of skirmishers at about 30 to 50 paces distance ; rather close behind these, isolated
assault parties in platoon column. Abundant equipment in automatic rifles and hand-grenades. The
assault parties carried forward machine-guns and were ordered to penetrate the German position at a
weak point, to swing laterally and to attack the strong points from the rear.

Total effectives : 5 officers, 250 to 260 men.
Trench effectives : 4 officers, 220 to 230 men.
Leaves of absence were at the time suspended.

The losses of the Marine Brigade were considerable. A prisoner estimates them at 30 to 40 per cent.
The 9th and 23d regiments did not suffer so heavily.

No details are available. The prisoners are hardly able to state where they were in position.
According to their statements it may be assumed that the front line consists only of rifle pits one
meter deep, up to the present not provided with wire entanglements. The organization of the positions
in rear is unknown.

The prisoners in general make an alert and pleasing impression; regarding military matters, however
they do not show the slightest interest. Their superiors keep them purposely without knowledge of military subjects, for example most of them have never seen a map. They were no longer able to describe the villages and roads through which they marched. Their ideas on the organization of their unit are entirely confused. For example, one of them claimed that his brigade had six regiments, his division 24. They still (regard the war from the point of view of the “Big Brother“, who comes to help his hard-pressed brethren and is therefore welcomed everywhere. A certain moral background is not lacking; the majority of the prisoners simply took it as a matter of course that they had to come to Europe in order to defend their country.\

Only a few of the troops are of pure American origin, the majority is of German, Dutch and Italian
parentage, but these semi-Americans, almost all of whom were born in America and never have been to
Europe, fully feel themselves to be true-born sons of their country. '

(Signed) VON BERG,
Lieutenant and Intelligence Officer.

"Baseball's Sad Lexicon" - 1910

These are the saddest of possible words:
      “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
      Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
      Making a Giant hit into a double—
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
      “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

"Tinker to Evers to Chance"
"where doubles go to die"

These three players helped the Cubs win four National League championships and two World Series from 1906 to 1910.