The Provisional Squadron In The Meuse-Argonne

From:
ONE HUNDRED YEARS WITH THE SECOND CAVALRY
By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.

WWIVictoryBy Captain Ernest N. Harmon

On the evening of the 23rd we marched to Rarecourt on Argonne and camped in a wood on a hill above the town. The wood was full of dead horses and the ground was muddy and wet from constant rains. Here we learned of an attack soon to be made of which we were to form a part with the 35th Division. Our equipment was looked into. Clothing was procured and everything done possible to make the squadron ready for the coming battle. Troops A and C were not far from us but were not destined to go with the squadron as combatant troops.

While we all knew that in a day or two, possibly the next morning, the attack would begin, yet the uncertainty of it was hard to bear. Each night the men slept with saddles packed and ready to move out in half an hour.

The strength of the squadron on September 26th on entering the Argonne attack was equal to the effective strength of our horses as all men not mounted on well horses had to be left behind. The squadron left the woods with fourteen officers and three hundred and two enlisted men.

Finally at two a.m. September 26th we saddled up and moved out in the darkness from the thick woods in which we had been hidden and proceeded by way of wood roads toward Clermont-en-Argonne. The sky ahead was frequently illuminated by the flashes from our artillery bombardment. The noise grew deafening as we approached nearer. The whole aspect of the heavens was like that of a great electrical storm. Now it was pitch blackness, in an instant it became so light that one could see the white tense faces of the troopers in our column and the distended nostrils and frightened look of the horses.

Our orders were to proceed to Aubreville, to arrive there at six a.m. where we were to get in liaison with the reserve infantry brigade of the division making the attack and to follow them forward at 1000 meters until we crossed the front line trenches and reached Cote 290. The road was choked with moving troops. Infantry, artillery, wagon trains seemed to come from no where and swarm on the highway into Clermont. At five a.m. we reached Aubreville. This town was being shelled by the enemy. Our column moved off the main road into a field on the edge of town. In the St. Mihiel attack we had little artillery fire from the enemy but now we began to experience it for the first time. A shell from a large calibre gun exploded barely seventy-five yards to the right of the head of our column and exploded with a roar and a sheet of flame casting mud and gravel over our leading troopers.

The enemy began to shoot shrapnel. Three shells exploded over our squadron, the bursts being too high but several of the horses toward the rear of the column and two men in B Troop were wounded. Aubreville was about six kilometers from the front lines at the opening of the attack. At six a.m. the infantry went over the top in what was to be the hardest fought and deciding battle of the war. At this time Lt. Colonel Hazzard turned the command over to Captain Harmon with instruction to proceed in rear of the reserve infantry brigade at 1000 meters until we reached Cote 240, a hill some five kilometers in advance. Colonel Hazzard went forward with the P.C. of the infantry brigade with his orderlies. Here we were to remain until further orders. The enemy kept a rain of shrapnel on Aubreville, endeavoring to silence the naval battery drawn up on the railroad track through the town and our 75’s which were engaged on the further edge of town. The squadron passed through the town but miraculously missed being hit although the shells struck several buildings as we passed through. In general the shells burst too high in the air and this fact kept us from having casualties, although the effects on the morale was not of the best. Our road lay right in front of the naval guns and the blast from one salve, fired as we passed nearly proved fatal to some of the men and horses.

The squadron passed around the huge crater in the road where a bridge had been blown up just outside of Neuvilly. We then marched diagonally across No Man’s Land toward Cote 290. The shrapnel fire had ceased, and it was evident that the “Boche” was moving his light artillery to the rear. Occasionally a long-range shell would come over but otherwise our advance was uninterrupted. We had great difficulty in getting through the wire entanglements and over the trenches. Sometimes we jumped our horses into the trenches and then jumped them out, at times we filled in deep ones with our helmets and crossed in column of troopers. It was slow work but we finally crossed and arrived at the prescribed place. Here the squadron camouflaged itself as best as possible among the trees, fed, and made ready to move on any notice. Our long range artillery was firing all about us but as we came up our light 75’s were moving forward so we knew our main attack was making progress. Cote 290 had been the P.C. of an artillery command and was lined with concrete dugouts. No order to advance came as the afternoon wore away so preparations were made to pass the night. One of our wagons got through to our camp and a messenger was sent to direct the others. All night the enemy shelled us with long-range guns. “H.E.” and gas came over, but none dropped close enough to our camp to do any harm except to keep everyone in alarm and readiness to move.

Late in the afternoon we witnessed the destruction of three of our captive balloons by a German aviator. In the distance we could see eight balloons up in a line. Suddenly one of them burst into flame. A tiny speck above told of the cause. The daring aviator circled away and before we realized it, came back, and a second balloon burst into flames, meanwhile the air seemed full of white puffs, the exploding shells of the anti-aircraft guns below. As a third victim soon shot onto flames the remaining balloons were seen to be rapidly hauled down. At 4:30 a.m., 27th, Lt. Colonel Hazzard came back and orders were given to saddle up to move forward to Cheppy, the advance P.C. of the 35th Division. We wormed our way through entanglements and now began to see the effects of the attack. Dead were strewn about in groups. At a crossroads just a few hundred yards below Cheppy were the mangled bodies of eight Americans, a corporal and his squad killed by a single well-directed shell hitting the crossroad. The sight was a silent lesson to our men of the danger of standing on a crossroad in enemy territory where he knew the range on every inch of the ground. Here, as we moved on the town, could be seen heaps of American dead while a little further on, a dark-mouthed Pill-box told the reason why. The valley was filled with these defenses and the toll in lives was heaviest in and about Cheppy. The town began to be shelled again and the squadron was hid on the reverse side of a steep slope just south of the town. On top of the slope was a “Pill-box.” The dead Germans lying within and the nine Americans lying on the slope told how desperate the effort had been to take the ridge.

Later in the afternoon B and D Troops moved forward into a draw on the Cheppy-Very road and made their camp, using an apple orchard on a reverse slope as cover for their horses. F and H Troops remained in a deep, wide ditch below Cheppy the first night, September 27th. During the afternoon Lt. Colonel Hazzard and the Commanding Officer of the 35th Division rode up to the support lines. That evening at 7:00 p.m. patrols of an officer and eight men from each of the four troops were sent to the front line. B and D patrols took the left flank, F and H took the right flank of the division. Both groups were to meet at the center. Their mission was to ascertain accurately the position of the Infantry front line and to name the units holding the line, as the division had become confused during the hard attack. The patrols approached to points within two hundred yards, in most cases, of the line, under cover of darkness and proceeded the rest of the way on foot. Considerable gas was thrown over during the night. For the next three nights patrols of an officer and eight men were sent out from each troop. The many officer’s patrols during the day and night, called for, made it very fatiguing for the few officers with the squadron, and due to the exact and technical information required, it was necessary to send officers in many cases instead of non-commissioned officers. For this reason the number of officers in a cavalry troop in the field should be increased to five or six. On September 28th, F and H Troops moved into the valley with B and D. The men and officers found shelter in some filthy German dugouts along the road about fifty yards in rear of the horses. These dugouts were infected with brown fleas which made life very miserable for all.

At three a.m. September 29th, we received through Lt. Colonel Hazzard a battle of order for an attack at 5:30 a.m. B Troop’s mission was to cover the right flank of the division, maintaining liaison with the 91st Division. H Troop covered the center of the line and was to maintain liaison and send back messages of progress. F Troop was to cover the left flank resting on the Aire River, maintaining liaison with the 28th Division on the left bank of the river. D Troop was to follow the center as a reserve. The enemy was supposed to retreat, he actually went back two kilometers in the morning and then drove our line almost to their jumping off position in the late afternoon. The cavalry was sadly out of place. The enemy was holding his ground with machine guns and plenty of artillery, his airplanes hovered over all targets. The 29th of September in the Argonne was one of the most trying days, I believe, a cavalry outfit ever had to go through. The ground was covered with belts of barbed wire, some high, others nearly invisible being barely ten inches high. The ground was rolling, a series of parallel ridges, and to move forward we had to go over the tops and down in the valleys and the artillery of the enemy always saw us go over. The squadron moved out of Cheppy at four a.m. September 29th. It was dark and foggy. As we started up the valley toward Baulney, a town just in rear of our front line, a gas alarm was given. In fact the enemy had thrown gas shells into this valley all night, however the gas was not concentrated enough to require gas masks. One man of F Troop, however, became gassed and later in the day had to be evacuated. Just in rear of Baulney some of our horses became entangled in the invisible wire, causing many bad cuts. At 5:30 the attack began and each troop went on its mission. D Troop remained in reserve near Charpentry. The enemy artillery became very active and our infantry lines were heavily shelled as they advanced. A heavy fire was kept on our reserves with the result of heavy casualties. An airplane hovering low discovered Troop D and at once a hot shell fire was directed upon it. The troop was in the open and there was no place for it to go forward or to the flanks. Only by a very checker-board formation was the troop saved from severe losses. Finally at about 10:00 a.m., seeing its presence there merely drew the fire on the infantry reserves and as it was impossible to advance, the troop retired to Cheppy.

Troop “F” moved at 5:30 in line of section column with seventy-five yard intervals. It passed over a ridge to the left and descended into the Aire river valley. At once the German artillery from a ridge of hills about 3000 meters to the west opened upon the troop. To proceed up the valley was pure annihilation, to return back over the ridge was nearly as bad. The only course open was to cross the river toward the hostile batteries and get on the reverse slope of the high ground rising from the river bottom. The enemy were bracketing in range. The river was narrow with almost perpendicular sides. The only hope was a narrow bridge some two hundred yards in rear. Captain Harmon gave the signal to go to the rear and cross the river. The Germans at once changed their fire to the bridge. It was only by a miracle that the troop crossed in time. In fact two sections a little detached did not cross, for before they could get over, a salvo struck between them and the bridge cutting them off. The sergeant in charge hid his men and horses down the river further, under a steep bank. The troop having crossed, moved up the steep slope and remained there for an hour unable to move. The shells came over just clearing the top of the ridge and exploding too far from the bottom to hit us. An enemy observation balloon, plainly visible up the valley, evidently was directing the fire. Realizing that so large a force of horsemen would ruin any chance of success with his mission, Captain Harmon and fifteen men left the troop and moved toward the enemy up the valley under the protection of the steep slope that bordered the left side of the Aire River. He left instructions with Lieutenant Burbank to have the remainder of the troop cross the bridge in twos and threes during a lull in the fire and report back the Cheppy. This was accomplished, although so well did the enemy have the troop under observation that it took all morning to get clear, for the instant men crossed the bridge the barrage fell and the detachments had to wait till it lifted.

The Captain rode with his patrol to within five hundred yards of Apremont where he was fired on by machine guns. The town was still in the possession of the enemy although the 28th Division was at that moment attacking it on the plateau above the river bottom. Three prisoners were captured at this point by the patrol. Messages were sent back as to the progress of the 28th Division. One could look across the river valley and on the plateau on the farther side could be seen the attacking line of the 35th Division going into battle. It was an inspiring sight. The men were running forward in successive waves about three hundred yards between the first and second wave. A line of small tanks with wide intervals were on line with the attacking wave. The German artillery was pounding the plateau and the air was filled with the smoke of the bursting H.E. and shrapnel. Now a tank would be hit and disappear from your view in a cloud of dust; now a shell seemed to swallow a line of doughboys in its explosion, and all the while you could faintly hear the incessant tack-tack-tack of the machine guns. Just above where our little patrol was covered, the 28th Division were advancing. By raising your head above the bank you could see down the attacking line as they ran forward. The German batteries on the ridge beyond were pounding the plain unmercifully. Across the river under the steep hill upon which rested the town of Baulny could be seen “H” Troop hugging the reverse slope while above them and below them exploded the H.E. of the enemy.

They could not advance. Our own attacking infantry line was only five hundred yards ahead of Baulny. Surely Cavalry was out of place in a battle where the line moves forward only a kilometer in a whole day and the enemy has the high ground and his aerial observation is perfect. Captain Harmon now moved back down the river from Apremont, recrossed the river and tried to reconnoiter the left flank of the 35th Division attacking line. His patrol was at once the target of the enemy artillery. Many concealed infantry reserves were hit by the shells aimed at the patrol. It was a failure, and the Captain retired below Baulny, having lost two horses and three men badly wounded in his patrol.

On the right flank “B” Troop kept liaison with the 91st Division. They too became cut off by an artillery barrage and were rescued thru the quick action of their troop commander Captain Sands. Several messages were sent in of importance. Among them was one giving the position of a certain German battery which had been inflicting great losses on the right of the 35th Division. Captain Johnson, attached to Troop “B”, was slightly wounded, also one sergeant and several horses this day.

At night fall all the patrols drew back to Cheppy exhausted in nerve as well as in body. However many important messages were delivered by the squadron and practically all of the information from the flanks of the division came from the Cavalry patrols. There were many miraculous escapes by both officers and men, too numerous to mention. One in particular will show the freak of shell fire. A trooper from “H” Troop was holding three horses by their bridles. A shell killed all three horses but never scratched the man. A man in “F” Troop had his horse killed from an exploding shell and was thrown several feet but sustained a dislocated shoulder only. Several horses were killed during the day, many were wounded, the exact number is not known from data now available. The wounds caused by shell fire were fatal to our horses. There seemed to be poison in the metal, for horses having wounds such as deep cuts would have to be shot, as in a few hours the wound would swell and great quantities of pus and matter would come out showing infection of an extremely violent order. We had little or no veterinary supplies, and our forage was usually one third ration of hay and one half ration of oats. The artillery horses suffered during the attacks the worst. The waste of horse flesh was appalling. We passed a battery site where nearly one hundred and fifty dead horses were lying about, the result of a concentrated shelling or bombing by airplanes.

The morale of our organization was low at this point of the battle. The infantry received many losses from fire drawn on our account and we were not a welcome addition to the reserves or attacking lines. In the evening four officers patrols were sent out again and after a hard, dangerous reconnoiter returned with information as to the locality and units of our front lines during the night.

On the morning of September 30th the attack was renewed. “B” Troop covering the right flank again, “F” Troop covering the left with “D” and “H” in the center as reserve. “D” and “H” Troops remained in the vicinity of Charpentry until about one p.m. when “D” Troop was ordered detached from the squadron and reported to the 5th Army Corps for duty at Avocourt as military police and regulating of traffic in rear of the 5th Corps which was attacking on the right of the 1st Corps thru Montfaucon.

Before “D” Troop left Captain Taylor of “D” Troop took a patrol up to the center of the division front line and returned with a very valuable message as to the effect of our artillery fire and the lack of liaison. While in the line this officer found himself the only officer present among three mixed regiments in the line and took command until a colonel was rushed forward to handle the situation as a result of the Captain’s report. Troop “B” hovered on the right flank all day, keeping liaison with the division headquarters and the right flank. The main body of the troops were left under cover this day, having learned from the previous day’s work that as much could be accomplished, under the conditions, with a few small patrols intelligently led. All patrols sent out this day were led by the troop officers. “F” Troop covered itself behind the reverse slope of Baulny ridge. Lt. Burbank, with ten men, crossed the Aire river and patrolled beyond Apremont. While passing through Apremont his patrol was badly shot up by shell fire, wounding the Lieutenant and four of his men. However two important messages as to the progress of the 28th Division on our left were sent by the Lieutenant. The Captain of “F” Troop was directed by the Division Commander in person to get information of the attacking line as the Headquarters had not received any message for two hours that morning. Captain Harmon and four men moved up the Aire river to a small town opposite Apremont. Leaving the horses there, the Captain accompanied by Sergeant Lamond, went into the line. Our artillery was firing too short in range and our line on this flank, due to losses, was thinly and weakly held.

After getting his information and returning to his horse, he found his patrol had left. As the Captain and sergeant were searching for their horses they were fired upon by snipers and barely escaped to deliver the message. The led horses had been fired on, two killed and the remainder of the horses and men had sought safety in flight down the road.

The squadron retired to a position near Charpentry about three p.m. on September 30th. That evening our lines retreated and dug in on Baulny ridge. The morale was by this time very poor in the hard driven 35th Division. Due to severe losses and the four days of continuous attack, the division was badly disorganized. The engineer regiment of the division reinforced the line at Baulny. Captain Harmon patrolled the line in the evening and assisted one of the division staff officers in restoring cohesion in the line. The officers were very few and whole companies were commanded by non-coms. Later in the afternoon the squadron patrolled the roads in rear of the front line for stragglers of the 35th Division. Many were found hiding in dugouts in rear. To justify them it must be said there was great confusion of orders, and some men were told by their officers to assemble in rear as it was believed that the division was to be relieved.

The 1st Division, which relieved the 35th Division, presented a fine appearance as they marched up the valley late in the evening of September 30th. It was evident they had organization and spirit. The squadron was attached to the 1st Division and were not relieved as many expected. A greater part of October 1st was spent in rounding up stragglers of the 35th Division by the squadron.

Officers’ patrols were sent forward during the evening of October 1st. The remainder of the squadron camped at Cheppy. Many of the men, due to their exposure in the St. Mihiel attack and the subsequent marches became sick. Stomach trouble prevailed. The weather was cold and rainy, the service had been nerve racking under the constant shell fire. Great care had to be taken in the preparation of the food. Greasy food was the cause of much stomach trouble and dysentery among the entire command. Our wagon train arrived at Cheppy October 1st. Rations for the men and animals were received. Some very necessary clothing arrived. During this lull in our activities for a few days, our blacksmiths reshod the horses. Our horses were very poor in flesh. Many had to be shot on account of wounds. There was no opportunity for grazing. The saddling up and moving out in the darkness caused many saddle sores on account of improper adjustment of equipment. Many horses had been ridden all day and night. All the care possible was given our mounts as it was evident as the days passed that no mounts could be replaced and our strength was the number of our serviceable horses. As the horses became unserviceable or died, the troopers were sent back to our Regimental Headquarters, about twenty kilometers in rear. Our horses were diminishing faster than our men. The squadron spent the time from October 1st to October 3rd inclusive at Cheppy under orders to be ready to move at thirty minutes notice. On October 2nd Cheppy was shelled by a hidden gun at close range during the afternoon. Our squadron escaped without any casualties. During this period we were shelled during the nights with long range gas shells but not enough gas reached our bivouac to cause damage more than to break up the night’s rest with constant gas alarms.

On October 4th the following order was received:

G-3
Headquarters First Division,
American Expeditionary Forces,
France, October 4, 1918.

Memorandum for C.O. Provisional Squadron, 2nd Cavalry.

1. Send mounted detachment to establish liaison between this P.C. and the P.C. of the 32nd Division at crossroads in the BOIS de MONTFAUCON at coords. 5212.

2. Send detachment to establish liaison between 2nd Brigade P.C. at Very and the left Brigade of the 32nd Division.

3. These detachments need only be large enough to establish liaison.

4. Reports indicate that the leading battalion of the 26th Infantry on our right flank is in liaison with assault battalion of the left regiment of the 32nd Division.

By command of Major General Summerall:
J. N. GREELY,
Chief of Staff.

In compliance with this order, an officers patrol of one officer and seven men from “B” Troop reported to the 2nd Brigade P.C. at Very. Another patrol maintained liaison between division headquarters of the 1st Division and the P.C. of the 32nd Division. This patrol also came from Troop “B”. It was evident that the Division Commander of the 1st Division realized the impossibility of using Cavalry at this stage as combat troops and found use for us as liaison agents. Later in the morning we received the following order:

G-3
Headquarters First Division,
American Expeditionary Forces,
France, October 4, 1918.

Memorandum for C.O. Provisional Squadron, 2nd Cavalry.

Have small patrols report to Commanding Generals, Infantry Brigades to establish liaison between Brigades and advanced elements and on the flanks.

P.C. of the 1st Brigade is 300 meters S.E. of CHARPENTRY on the CHARPENTRY-VERY Road. P.C. of the 2nd Brigade is at VERY.

You will use your discretion as to the size of these patrols.

By command of Major General Summerall:
J. N. GREELY,
Chief of Staff.

C.G. 1st Brigade
C.G. 2nd Brigade

In compliance with this order officers patrols from Troops “F” and “H” were sent out with instructions to remain out until relieved. From October 4th to the 9th inclusive the squadron remained at Cheppy sending out the patrols for liaison as ordered, the horses being changed from day to day as well as the officers and men of the patrols. The patrols at the Brigade P.C.’s were constantly under fire as they carried messages to the regiments on the line and to the rear. Our work in this duty seemed very satisfactory to the division commander. It gave both men and horses a rest. Thirty-two of our horses were evacuated by our regimental veterinarian during this period. Our wagon trains supplied us with forage, rations, and clothing so our morale increased. Lieut. Burbank, who had been wounded, returned to Troop “F” although his wound had not ceased to give him considerable pain.

On October 9th the 1st Division continued the attack, the duty of our squadron was covered in the attack orders as follows:

(9) Cavalry
The Commanding Officer, Provisional Squadron, 2nd Cavalry, will send suitable mounted patrols, each commanded by an officer, to report to the commanding general 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades for liaison work to the front and rear laterally.

On the 10th of October the squadron moved out of Cheppy and advanced to Montrebeau woods just in rear of Exermont. From here in addition to the officer patrols already engaged since the 4th, three additional strong officer patrols were sent out each commanded by a Captain. Captain Sands of Troop “B” maintained liaison with the 28th Division on our left all during the day. Captain Lambert, Troop “H”, left Montrebeau woods at 1:30 p.m., with a mixed patrol consisting of thirty men from Troop “H” and Lieut. Breitinger of Troop “B” with twenty men, reporting to the P.C. of the 2nd Infantry Brigade. The brigade commander said there was little he could use Cavalry for in that sort of fighting, but finally ordered the Captain to select a position of cover for his horses near Cote de Chatillon and to proceed dismounted and hold a position in advance of our infantry line, sending out patrols to reconnoiter and keep contact with the enemy. Lieutenant Breitinger took a patrol of four men in the direction of Sommerance with the understanding that this town was held by our forces. However such was not the case the patrol being fired upon by the enemy in the town. One man was captured but later escaped and found his way back to the line held by the 16th Infantry giving the location of some of the enemy positions. That night the Germans shelled all areas just in rear of the front lines. Captain Lambert’s group escaped annihilation by a miracle. Their position was concentrated upon by H.E. shells and gas with the result of one man fatally wounded, another slightly, six horses were killed and fifteen so badly gassed and wounded that they had to be evacuated to the rear the next day. It was realized that the time for Cavalry to be used had not yet arrived.

During the entire bombardment, with no cover available, the Cavalrymen not being equipped with entrenching tools, the traditional discipline and courage of the regulars came to its own as the outfit stuck to its mission through it without a murmur.

The Captain of “H” Troop was directed to leave an officer and eight men at the Brigade P.C. and retire to Cheppy with the rest of his patrol the following afternoon. Captain Harmon of “F” Troop reported to the P.C. of the 1st Infantry Brigade and received orders to take a patrol of twenty men and reconnoiter the condition of our front line between Fleville and Sommerance. It had been reported that one battalion of the 28th Division had swung over across the river and covered a part of our Division sector; also that there existed a gap in echelon between this battalion and the left regiment of the 1st Brigade.

The Captain moved out at 1:25 p.m. on arriving at Fleville, held by our supporting lines he found it being shelled by gas. It was still daylight and not daring to expose his men, beyond the protecting ridge, to the machine gun fire, he drew them off about a thousand meters to the right of Fleville and concealed them in a small apple orchard. Proceeding with two NCO’s and three selected privates the Captain proceeded on foot to perform his mission. Our lines were found to be intact and liaison had been fully restored. The patrol passed thru the front line and entered Sommerance. This town was held by the enemy. The patrol succeeded in locating three machine gun positions before discovered and fired upon by the enemy. The patrol escaped to our lines and Captain Harmon passed down the line and informed the company and battalion commanders of the sector of his information. Although subjected all the time to a heavy harassing fire from the enemy artillery the mission was performed and report was made to the Brigade Commander who expressed his satisfaction of the thorough manner in which the mission was performed.

The squadron assembled on the 11th in Montrebeau woods, Captain Lambert of “H” Troop, who had retired to Cheppy, joined, also our wagon train arrived with wagons and forage. During the day the woods were subjected to long range artillery fire, due to the advance of the 42nd Division in broad daylight to relieve the 1st Division. The squadron moved about six times during the day to avoid being shelled. The weather was rainy and cold. Our men were very miserable for they had been campaigning since the 9th of September and had been well shaken by terrific artillery fire at times. There were many batteries situated near our camp and all night the enemy threw over a searching artillery fire trying to locate them. The fire caused everyone to be awake ready to move if our camp became the target. This alertness did not help our exhaustion. The men were forced to lie in the mud and many became sick and had to be evacuated.

On October 12th Lieut. Colonel Hazzard was relieved and directed to report to the 4th Division for new assignment to a higher command. Our regimental veterinarian arrived and condemned twenty-six more horses. We were reduced now to about one hundred and fifty effective horses and men. The division commander of the 42nd Division still had hopes, as the other division had entertained that a break would come in the line and we could be used to furnish several officer patrols and get back good information. However that time was not to arrive until the last big push on November 1st and then we were too far away to be used. Finally on the night of October 16th-17th the squadron was ordered to retire twenty kilometers to the rear to Camp Mallery near Rarecourt, having been in the Argonne from September 26th to October 16th inclusive, during which time they had been constantly on duty as patrols under fire.

The squadron arrived at Camp Mallery at 3:00 p.m., October 17th and was reported to the C.O., 2nd Cavalry. Due to the impossibility of procuring remounts, the squadron was disbanded. “B” Troop proceeding to St. Menehould for military police duty; “H” proceeded to Fleury and did duty collecting stragglers and as military police. Troop “F” reported to Avocourt and did duty as military police and traffic control in rear of Montfaucon. On November 1st Lieutenant Burbank and fifteen men of Troop “F” were sent to the 1st Division P.C. near Beaumont and performed some excellent patrol duty during the big German retreat just before the Armistice. This patrol went to within three kilometers of Sedan on November 9th. It was during this last push that our squadron could have done some excellent combat patrolling but unfortunately, for us, we had been worn out in an attempt to be used where lines were moving about a kilometer a day and when an opportunity came we had been separated.

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