déjà vu de nombreux récits américains sur l'occupation du
secteur de Baccarat, et plus précisément sur l'action des
troupes américaines vers Ancerviller (Voir par exemple 1918 -
Premiers prisonniers allemands de la
37ème division américaine, 1918 -
Miamians à Ancerviller, etc).
Si notamment la capture de soldats allemands au hameau
d'Ancerviller est un sujet incontournable des récits de
l'American Expedition Forces, on discerne bien la propagande
systématique qui transforme quelques faits anecdotiques en
apparente action d'envergure (voir ainsi
5 mai 1918 : Hameau d'Ancerviller).
Ce n'est cependant pas le cas dans le récit ci-dessous de
l'aviateur américain Curtis Wheeler, qui participe à une
attaque d'infanterie sur Ancerviller : nous mettons en
caractères gras le passage très ironique sur les moyens employés
et leur résultat.
History of the
class of 1911, Yale College.
Director, The Boys' Club,
Avenue A and Tenth Street, New York City
Residence: 55 East Seventy-sixth Street, New York City
Prior to the war, Wheels was assistant general manager of the
Current Literature Publishing
Company. After the war he took up his present duties.
Here is his complete army record, from the broomstick days in
1917 until the real activities the following year: "Drilled with
a broomstick on GovernorsIsland March and April, 1917;
commissioned Second Lieutenant, F. A., May 1,1917; attended
first Plattsburg Camp June to August, as instructor in bayonet
and artillery driving; ordered overseas September, 1917, on the
Adriatic; assigned to 1st Division, Valdahon, France, for
artillery firing; Supply Officer, later Radio and Reconnaissance
Officer, still later in command Headquarters Company, 5th F. A.;
first trip on the lines October and November at Lorraine in
Luneville Sector; conducted first radio adjustment by airplane
in A. E. F., handling the ground end of it, November, 1917;
horrible Christmas and New Year's at Gondrecourt back of the
lines having manoeuvres; back to the lines in the Toul Sector,
Seicheprey, etc., January; enamoured of airplanes and on my own
fool request in February, detached for a month's course in
airplane observation at Tours; never got out; went through a
mass of schools, including a particularly awful one at Amanty
and a very good one (machine gun) at Cayaux in Gascony, where we
shot at everything with everything from all angles including
upside down; A. W. O. L. twice, once with a British night bomber
down the Rhine, and once with a crazy Frenchman on the Bay of
Biscay looking for submarines.
"After a hectic week at Nice with a drunken major from the
Foreign Legion and a bald-headed colonel of the Strathcona
Horse, ordered back to the lines with a French Observation
Squadron in the Baccarat Sector; during April and May became
a frog and learned to go without breakfast; ran away from the
squadron and took part in an infantry attack on the town of
Ancervillers in which one million dollars' worth of ammunition
was expended and one German was killed out of pure fright by me
with a hand grenade; brought back a wounded boche,
court-martialed for destroying the only possible prisoner; both
canceled, back to the frogs with a clean slate.
"Just beginning to enjoy life when ordered back to the first
American Air Squadron; started operating June 15th with 88th
Squadron (American); just as I thought, hit in the seat of the
pants with an Archie fuse in first flight over the lines; scared
to death at Xivray; chased by six Fokkers and sweat so I
couldn't see through my goggles and put twenty-five bullets in
my own rudder; on June 30, Squadron ordered to Chateau-Thierry
(or rather Coulommiers, near enough, too damn near); boche
shelled the field first night and bombed it the second; third
night we weren't there; July 15, got ready to retreat to
Bordeaux; July 18, ordered to advance on the Vesle; July 20,
Richtofen Circus arrived; learned what scared means; sent to
take pictures of the Aisne; in August, operated with Modon and a
lot of trick French aces who used us for bait; in September,
thought we were going into winter quarters; September 15, went
to St. Mihiel. Hell - no more paper! That's enough.
"Picture taken in Wenssenthurm, Germany (near Coblenz) after
armistice. Observe whiskers grown
to scare simple German peasants."
He is a member of the Yale Club, City Club, Army and Navy Club,
Pelham Manor Country Club, and the 102d Aero Squadron of the New
York National Guard. He is a Republican. During the war he
published, Letters of an American Soldier to his Father.