Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, September 1, 2018

100 Years Ago: The 32nd "Red Arrow" Division Secures Juvigny

1 September 1918

After a much needed break from the fighting on the Ourcq River during the Second Battle of the Marne, the 32nd Division entered the front line northeast of Soissons, France, as the only American division assigned as part of French General Mangin’s famous 10th French Army.

In the Trenches Before Juvigny
During the fierce Oisne-Aisne Offensive of late August-early September, the 32nd Division advanced about 3 1/2 miles through entrenched German forces made up of five divisions: the 7th, the 7th Reserve, the 223rd, 227th, and 228th. Total casualties amounted to 2,848 including KIAs, wounded, and missing. In capturing the strong German positions on the Juvigny Plateau, the 32nd Division contributed to the French 10th Army outflanking the German line on the Chemin Des Dames, a strategic ridge that runs from east to west.

Signal Corps Installing Telephone Lines at Juvigny

1 comment:

  1. My grandfather, Don Martin, wrote a 2900-word dispatch about the fighting at Juvigny, published on September 2, 1918, by the New York Herald. Here is a taste of his reporting; the whole dispatch can be found in my September 1 posting on
    Today on the outskirts of Juvigny I saw a remarkable panorama of modern war. East of me German machine guns were attempting to hold off the advancing Americans. I was with some of our officers in a shell hole within five hundred yards of the front line, which extends along the edge of the railroad skirting Juvigny. Looking over the slope which extends to the railroad track, not a soldier was visible. With only the distant roar of the guns audible, the very silence seemed weird – uncanny to find here in the very lap of war such seeming tranquility.
    Officers had been advised not to show their heads above the shell hole. The reason for this order soon was understood by all. I glanced through a peephole and for a second I saw acres of the sloping field in front of me transformed suddenly into life when our men there lifted up their heads. Immediately it was the signal for the staccato-like sputter of enemy machine guns on a hill a quarter of a mile distant. Quickly the heads disappeared, but the sputter continued for ten minutes. Then hundreds of heads popped up again, like prairie dogs, and again the machine guns opened on them. These tactics continued, but every time the heads of our men were lifted it meant a short dash forward toward the Huns. When the machine guns would begin firing at them they would spring like foxes into holes which they had burrowed into the side of the hill. To dash up this hillside was certain death. They had dug their holes the night before – methodically, determinedly, for they were after the Huns.