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1918 - Miamians à Ancerviller Texte en langue anglaise


Ce petit récit, concernant deux compagnies de soldats originaires de Miami, incorporées dans la garde nationale de l'Ohio et déployées dans le secteur Badonviller-Ancerviller début août 1918, contient ce curieux « The division responded by carrying out successfully a gas attack and also destroyed the enemy's ammunition dumps at Cirey and Blamont ». Nous n'avons en effet pas trace de destructions de « dépôts de munitions ennemis à Cirey et Blamont »


Memoirs of the Miami Valley
Vol. I
Ed. Chicago, 1919

While the greater part of Miami's contribution to the great war was widely distributed among different regiments and divisions, the local identity was preserved in the two regularly organized companies which were distinct Miami county companies. We will confine ourselves largely in this instance to the exploits of these contingents as being distinctly representative of the county. The number of men who claimed Miami county as their home and who served in the World war cannot be definitely ascertained, of course. However, the number of those who joined the colors in the army and navy, by draft and enlistment, was approximately 1,100 men. Many of these served in the 83rd and 37th divisions, the latter division embracing the two units regularly organized within the county.
Company C, of Piqua, and Company A, of Covington, were part of the old Third Infantry of the Ohio National Guard, and as such, they were called for service during the Mexican outbreak on the border. At this time the officers of both companies were as follows: Company A, Covington, Ohio. Captain, W. L. Marlin; first lieutenant, W. O. Boggs; second lieutenant, Kenneth Little. Company C, Piqua, Ohio, Captain, James Freshour; first lieutenant, Frank McCullough; second lieutenant, Ray Wolf.
Called for service on the Mexican border, both companies were sent to Camp Willis, Ohio, July 3, 1916. They were assigned to the 11th Provisional Division of the United States Army and were stationed at El Paso, Texas, from September, 1916, to March, 1917.
They entrained for Fort Benjamin Harrison to be mustered out but as the world war was imminent, the order was recalled. After a short stay at Fort Benjamin Harrison, both companies were sent to Ohio on guard duty. They were then ordered to Camp Sherman, August 14, 1917, which was in process of construction, and they later became a part of the 148th Infantry, Thirty-seventh Division, U. S. A. At Camp Sherman they entrained for Camp Sheridan, Montgomery, Ala., where they received intensive training and were sent to Camp Lee at Petersburg, Va. Here they were further trained and equipped for overseas duty and the following June, 1918, embarked for overseas service on the U. S. S. Susquehanna. On July 5, 1918, they disembarked at Brest, France, and were removed to the Napoleon barracks, where they remained for a short time and were then detailed for service on the Alsace-Lorraine front.
As the activities of these two companies were largely merged with the general movements of the Thirty-seventh Division, we will divert to a short history of this division before following it into battle. The Thirty-seventh was a National Guard Division, made up of Ohio National Guard units. This division was formed at Camp Sheridan, Alabama, and was completely organized in October, 1917. New numbers were given the various units and the identity of the old National Guard regiments was lost. On August 4, 1918, the infantry of the division took over the Baccarat sector, on the Alsace-Lorraine front, in the Vosges mountains, which had been comparatively quiet. It extended for a distance of fifteen kilometers from the Bois des Elieux, north of the village of Badonvillier, through the Bois Communal de la Woevre, Bois des Haies, the villages of Merviller and Ancerviller, along the edge of Bois Banal to the southern edge of the Bois des Pretres.
Here the men had their initial training and received their bapism of fire. They were made the special target each night, weather permitting, for enemy airplanes, which constantly raided and harassed them. The division responded by carrying out successfully a gas attack and also destroyed the enemy's ammunition dumps at Cirey and Blamont.
The division soon asserted itself and the night patrols made the enemy contest every foot of front they held. The control of No Man's Land became the sole prerogative of the Thirty-seventh after it was there a short time. This sector passed from a quiet zone into one of decided activity on the arrival of the Americans and in every encounter they maintained their traditional bravery. On being relieved, September, 1918, the French general, Duport, who was in command of the troops in this sector, commended the Thirty-seventh Division. In a special order he paid a tribute to their spirit, discipline and valor. The total casualties while on this sector were 102.

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