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

Friday, October 18, 2019

Map Series #10: The 5th Division, AEF, Crosses the Meuse

Very Early and Just-Completed Monument to the 5th Division's Meuse River Crossing
Note Meuse Heights in Distance

As part of the final phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive—launched 1 November 1918—the III Corps of the AEF's First Army, composed of the 90th and 5th Divisions, was given the objective of crossing the Meuse River and seizing the Meuse River Heights to the east. One of the most advantageous points for exploiting the initial crossing and moving promptly upland was at the river town of Dun-sur-Meuse.  The town was in the zone of the 5th Division.

Click on Image to Enlarge

The above map is from the Official History of the 5th Division.  It shows the advance of the division from its starting point on 1 November and pivoting  up to the river, where it arrived on 4 November. Note that the map does not clearly depict that there is both the river and a parallel canal running below the town.

Click on Image to Enlarge

This is a photograph taken by a U.S. Air Service reconnaissance aircraft on 2 November 1918 of the area around Dun-sur-Meuse. The 5th Division successfully forced a crossing of the river and canal at this location over the 4th and 5th of November. Sometime after the action, Cartographer Sergeant Major Willard B. Prince of the 5th Division Intelligence Section made the annotations on the photograph.  The Library of Congress holds Prince's World War I collection.

Sources:  Maps of the First World War: An Illustrated Essay and List of Select Maps in the Library of Congress; Official History of the Fifth Division, AEF; and the Michelin Meuse-Argonne Battlefield Guide.


  1. Which of the 5th Division monuments is shown in the first image in this article? ... the on in Brieulles-sur-Meuse?

  2. oui Brieulles sur Meuse route de Vilosnes, à proximité de la barrière Adeline