View Full Version : Wounded At Blanc Mont

04-02-03, 01:35 PM

C.A. Brannen, USMC

...The American attack in the Argonne would begin on September 26, a scant ten days after the 2nd Division had been relieved in the St. Mihiel sector. In order to bolster the battered French Army, Pershing offered Petain the use of the U.S. 2nd and 36th Divisions. As the Franco-American offensive commenced on September 26, these two formations were in the general reserve of the French Army. There was little doubt that the American 2nd would move up to a tight spot soon, once again under French...General Gourand, the commander of the Fourth French Army....His own army [in the Champagne] had stalled a scant dozen miles to the west in front of a series of high areas known as "Les Monts." The key to the German defense hinged on Blanc Mont; if it fell into French hands, the Germans would have no choice but to fall back on the next natural defensive barrier thirty kilometers to the north. The capture of Blanc Mont Ridge would rejuvenate the French offensive and relieve pressure on the Americans in the Argonne.

...Two or three hours before daylight [on October 3rd], the word was passed along to get ready for the attack. Everyone checked his bayonet to see that it was fastened on good with the latch. Ammunition was inspected, and the flaps of the belt unhooked so that a fresh clip could be gotten into the rifle quickly. Each man had two extra bandoleers of ammunition around his shoulders. I made sure the bandoleers of ammunition were in front of my chest. The issued razor was in the right-hand pocket of my blouse and the YMCA-issued Bible was in the left-hand pocket. I was using all of the protection that I could think of.

Just as it was breaking day (zero hour), we came out of our trench and began the ascent in combat formation. The rows of men moved forward unhesitatingly but fell like ten pins before the deadly machine-gun fire. I was a runner to carry messages from flank to flank of my company and the one adjoining, trying to keep the units in contact with each other as the now thin lines swept over the crest.


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