Charles A. (Charles Augustus) Briggs.

History of Three hundred and twenty eighth regiment of Infantry : Eighty-Second Division, American Expeditionary Forces, United States Army online

. (page 1 of 42)
Online LibraryCharles A. (Charles Augustus) BriggsHistory of Three hundred and twenty eighth regiment of Infantry : Eighty-Second Division, American Expeditionary Forces, United States Army → online text (page 1 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


UiMi



^Bg|fii»">*"""



GrEM



.iiil,3e,.

3 1833 01291 3619

History of Three Hundred andTwentyn
Eighth Regiment of Infantry

EigKty-Second Division
American Expeditionary Forces
United States Army



\ry' F






> o



Eighty-Second Division, A. E. F. 9

About the middle of October orders from the War Department brought about
the transfer of practically all these men to other camps to fill to full war strength
National Guard organizations from their States. By October 20th each company
was left only its officers and a nucleus of N. C. O.'s. The previous work was not
lost, however, for the experience gained was of great value to those remaining and
an efficient organization had been evolved. Very soon a new lot of men began to
arrive from various Northern and Eastern camps. These men had had about the
same amount of training as the ones which were transferred and soon the companies
were going along about as before, except that the difficulties of training were aug-
mented by the fact that a large proportion of the new men were of foreign birth and
unable to read English and in a number of cases even speak it, but they were willing
and anxious to learn and did so with surprising quickness.

This condition caused to be organized a system of company schools to teach
the English language. Also other schools were held for instruction in all phases of
military matters, all men being required to attend one of the schools. These schools
were held at night during the entire stay at Camp Gordon. Intensive military train-
ing was taken up in earnest, particular attention being given to the physical develop-
ment of the men. Specialty schools were established by the Division in charge of
British and French instructors fresh from the fields of battle. Representatives from
each company were trained in these schools and soon each company had men capable
of instructing in auto rifle, hand grenade, rifle grenade, bayonet, gas defense and
sniping. Clothing and equipment was being received and issued daily and soon the
percentage of straw hats and tennis shoes at dress parades was on the decline. Saw
mills of the camp were rapidly turning out the "new model" Camp Gordon rifle and
soon each man was busily occupied in mastering the intricacies of the manual of
arms with this bed slat variety of fire arm. Work continued with this makeshift
equipment till about the first of February, 1918. Then we were fully equipped with
the United States Model 1917 Rifle and Bayonet. Up to this time the bulk of the
training had been along the lines of disciplinary exercises, and physical develop-
ment. These were attained through hours of close order drills, manual of arms and
passing in review in the formation known as "Lindsey's Special." Also hours of
setting up exercises and on each Friday a hike. Toward the last of our stay this hike
was taken in full equipment and lasted about five hours. Saturday was the day of in-
spections when a cigarette butt in the yard, or a smudge of soot in the kitchen was
sufficient grounds to cause all Hell to break loose.

It would be unfair to pass on without mentioning the work done during this
period by the Company Supply Officers and Sergeants. We were issued piece-meal
every kind of equipment ever used by Infantry and each article had to be kept
track of under the most rigid system of property responsibility. In addition we ran
an insurance and allotment business which would make the Prudential ashamed of
itself and in spare moments sold and bought blocks of Liberty Bonds. With a drill
schedule and schools lasting from five-thirty A. M., to seven P. M. it is rather diffi-
cult to see just when these side line businesses were operated, but they were.



History of Three Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Infantry




Ruins of church in Rambucourt, France. Town through which the trenches in front of
Mont Sec ran, which were held by the Regiment as its
by Gilbert Strunz, Company D, 328th Infantry.



first battle front. This picture was drawn



Eighty-Second Division, A. E. F. 11

During the entire stay at Camp Gordon the "S. C. D. Board" was kept busy
weeding out the lame, halt, blind and mentally deficient which were sent down by
the Local Draft Boards, whose ideas apparently were that the Army was a conven-
ient dumping ground for the insane and physically incompetent. As a result of this
weeding-out process the men who constituted the Regiment at the time it embarked
were selected men in every sense of the word.

It was about the first of February we took up the specialized arms in earnest and
got a rather confused idea from the British and French instructors as to the most ap-
proved method of winning the war. Up to this time the men thought the war would
be won with "I. D. R." and "Singing" while the officers had a hazy idea that some
sort of fire arm would be used, but these instructors told us no. The French said
the war would be won with chauchots and hand grenades while the British hooted
at the idea, and calmly informed us that the bayonet, trench knife and gas mask
would suffice. Not to be caught napping, we tried learning all methods, and it was
a job, as the French didn't deem it proper to use a grenade unless it was thrown in
five counts and the British were horrified at the idea of simply killing a man with
the bayonet, maintaining that it was an art to "long thrust" and "withdraw" and
the process should be carried out with technique and temperament. This training
tended to relegate the rifle to the position of being merely a handle for the bayonet
which did not at all conform to the inherent American tendencies regarding this
weapon; our own Army instructors still insisting that the Manual of Arms, care of
the rifle and position and aiming drills were paramount.

The balance of our stay at Gordon was devoted to intensive practical training in
the various uses of our arms and equipment. Elaborate bayonet and grenade courses
were quickly constructed and at Norcross, Ga., an enormous rifle range was built.
Each day was divided into periods for practice on each course, except the rifle range,
which was several miles away and our practice there was for days at a time doing
nothing but shooting. Also each battalion was at intervals placed under French en-
gineers and actually dug systems of trenches and built barbed wire entanglements.
Five hundred gas masks were issued to the Regiment and instruction given in their
care and use and each man was required to pass through the gas house.

Parades and reviews were held weekly, culminating in the Division being re-
viewed on April 4th, 1918, by Mrs. John B. Gordon, wife of Gen. John B. Gordon,
C. S. A., for whom the camp was named. The officer personnel while at Camp Gor-
don had undergone many changes — some of the original officers being transferred
to other branches of the Service and others lost by promotion, while new officers
from the Second Training Camp were assigned to the Regiment. Rumors had been
rampant for weeks, gradually assuming a more official tone till the middle of April,
when the Regimental advance party was ordered to a port of embarkation and then
we knew that our time of departure was close at hand.

All drills had been suspended and everything was orderly confusion during the
last two weeks of our stay at Gordon. Property was boxed and marked, as per regu-
lations, clothing and equipment issued and stenciled, passenger and baggage lists
typed and show down inspections held at all hours of the day and night to determine
any shortages. Entraining orders were received and on April 19th, 1918, Headquar-



12 History of Three Hundred a.nd Twenty-Eighth Infantry




t



-So|



n


§"

^


^


CO "


i


?3 g


,:h


■~ ^


^V


1!



Eighty-Second Division, A. E. F. 13

ters, Machine Gun and Supply Companies left for Camp Upton, followed shortly there-
after by the balance of the Regiment. This move was made in standard Pullmans
on a good time schedule, but the soldiers were practicing their inherent privilege of
kicking, complaining because they had to sleep two to a berth.

Beginning several days prior to our departure relatives and friends flocked to
the Camp in all kinds of conveyances for farewells. Our hike down to the railroad
yards at Chamblee, Ga., was made wearing overcoats and heavy woolen underwear
and the biggest packs in captivity on a hot April day and with an inner feeling of
martyrism, all of which conspired to concoct emotions which still linger in our
memories. A motley crew of S. C. D., Depot Brigade men, tear stained wives, moth-
ers, sisters, sweethearts and others of varying relationship, waved us and embraced
us till the old troop train pulled out.



14 History of Three Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Infantry




'. i ■ 'A


■'!' '«


u


• « ■ < « ■




- .I


:-^vf




M J


' 1 '


,^'.


Z "s


'' 'i'


^'


i 1




v^


S '§


^


v-^


4 ^




.^


1 s




c* ■


■^ -s




^■


<



Eighty-Second Division, A. E. F.



CHAPTER II.



The trains were given a rousing welcome at every station on our way North,
which culminated in a bedlam of noise upon arrival at New York from shouting,
blowing whistles and tooting horns. The Regiment arrived at Upton by sections
from April 21st to 24th inclusive.

Our time at Upton was spent in more inspections and issuing of articles to com-
plete our overseas equipment. The Quartermaster who devised the overseas equip-
ment list must have thought we were pack mules instead of soldiers. Incidentally,
practically all this equipment was dumped on our arrival at Le Havre.

Upton was the camp made famous by A. W. 0. L.'s. Our Regiment, both men
and officers, were confined to camp till every company was inspected and found to
have all equipment called for and for a time it seemed that we would be allowed no
time off at all. It will be remembered that a large number of our men were from
New York and vicinity and had not been home since the first of October and we
had no sooner arrived than whole families besieged the Camp, begging and implor-
ing passes for their friends and relatives. The strain was too much for some who
went home any way. Finally, however, passes were granted for 24 and 36 hours, de-
pending on the distance to be traveled. Some very pitiful cases came up where men
went home suddenly to find on arrival that their whole family had left the day be-
fore for Upton to see them. It is not to be wondered at that a lot of the men did not
show up the minute the pass expired and on the afternoon of April 30, we were or-
dered to entrain for Boston harbor, and roll call still showed a number absent. Prac-
tically all these, however, were put on the next transport and joined us shortly after
our arrival in France.

The trip to Boston was uneventful except that it is rumored that large quanti-
ties of Uncle Sam's coin changed hands to the tune of the craps. We made Boston
by daybreak of May 1st and immediately embarked. The 1st Battalion, Headquar-
ters, Machine Gun and Supply Companies were loaded on H. M. S. Grampian and
the 2nd and 3rd Battalions on H. M. S. Scandinavian. We got under way about
noon and cruised to New York harbor, arriving there in the late afternoon of May
2nd. The convoy was here assembled, consisting of sixteen transports and one
cruiser — the San Diego, later sunk — and departed during the afternoon of May 3rd.
Say, but didn't it make little chills go up your spine when you watched the old
Statue of Liberty begin fading out of view and you realized that we were really leav-
ing? One thought came to all — the speculation of who were the ones who would
never see the old Girl again.

The trip across was uneventful. We learned lots though, in that we became in-
timately acquainted with our life preserver, which at all times must decorate our
bosoms, also we learned considerable about British sea rations and crews, and we
didn't like either. Our time on board was taken up with physical exercise and boat
drills. These boat drills were held at odd times every day and consisted in prac-
ticing every one in going to his appointed station or life boat in case an emergency
should arise. It was on this trip that we got our first taste of censorship. The bud-



16 History of Three Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Infantry




Eighty-Second Division, A. E. F. 17

ding censors applied the blue pencil copiously to the blood curdling copy destined
for the Folks at Home. Tales of subs, torpedoes and fish as big as transports were
ruthlessly butchered and incidentally many a censoring officer was sadly disillusioned
regarding the place he was till now sure he held in his men's esteem.

It has been constantly circulated that when we were about two days from Eng-
land a torpedo passed through our convoy, luckily striking nothing.

Early on the morning of May 15th we picked up our destroyer patrol. These
efficient little craft certainly add to one"s feeling of security in the danger zone.
Those who have never seen them work have missed a great deal. They remind one
of a bunch of well-trained bird dogs trying to get wind of birds. The ship's officers
were old heads at the game and while in the danger zone would not leave their posts.
When we arrived at the entrance to Liverpool harbor the tide was out and we were
told we would have to wait till morning and go in with the tide. We were also told
that this waiting place was a regular ships' graveyard. Nothing unusual happened,
however, and we docked at Liverpool on the morning of May 16th and details were
at once put to work unloading the ships. The entire day was spent in unloading and
it was twilight before the last troops had debarked. The 1st Battalion, Headquarters,
Machine Gun and Supply Companies marched direct to the station and entrained for
Southampton, while the 2nd and 3rd Battalions went to Knotty Ash Rest Camp,
on the outskirts of Liverpool. The sensation of again marching on land was a good
one, after our long sea voyage and the rousing welcome accorded us by the inhabi-
tants of Liverpool did much to make us forget the weight of the super-packs that
we were all carrying. At these rest camps we were introduced to the famous British
Army ration and although the jam was appreciated by all, the average doughboy
didn't approve of the change from fresh beef and coffee to cheese and tea.

On May 17th the troops who had gone direct to Southampton embarked on a
channel boat and landed at Le Havre early the next morning. The two battalions
at Liverpool rested until the morning of the 18th and then entrained for South-
ampton.

The trip across England was very refreshing, after so many days on the water.
The country was one beautiful picturesque garden. The hills and valleys were every-
where clothed in the verdant beauty of spring and every town through which we
passed was spotlessly clean. The red tile roofs and paving appeared to have just
been scrubbed and polished. The beauty of the country was greatly enhanced by
the absence of fences, stone terraces and close-cropped hedges being used instead.
During our stay at Southampton each organization was officially "welcomed over-
seas" by a British officer on behalf of King George V, and each man was given an
autographed letter of welcome from the King. The citizens here, especially the
women, seemed greatly interested in us and did everything possible to add to our
pleasure and enjoyment.

On May 20th Col. Lindsey received his promotion to Brigadier General and was
assigned to command of the 164th Brigade, Major Jewett being placed in command
of the Regiment. On this date the last of our regiment embarked for France and
the next morning found us winding our weary way up the hill to rest camps Nos.
1 and 2, about five miles from Le Havre. Here we learned that our division was to



History of Three Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Infantry



-Q O



iJl

^ 2 -



i



i(



i' i-K






Online LibraryCharles A. (Charles Augustus) BriggsHistory of Three hundred and twenty eighth regiment of Infantry : Eighty-Second Division, American Expeditionary Forces, United States Army → online text (page 1 of 42)