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IR - 1933


A Gritibal Analysis of the Operations of
the French 42d Division in the Battle of
Montdidler, 8 August 1918.
(Based primarily on a digest of "Montdidier"
by Colonel A. Grasset.)

Submitted by:


MAY 2 0 1933 The Command and General Staff Sohool

fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

12 May, 1933.


The Direotor Second Year Class,

The Command and General Staff Softool,
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


-A Crltibal ^ a l y s i s of the Operations of '"* ~ * 42d Di vis ion >in the Battle oi^ p!rimariiy on a digest of "Montdidier" by'Colbnel A. Graeset)
^ 8 ^ g u s t 1918. : .%;, .,. ^,%^,\


1. 2. 3. A Bibliography for this study.
Map sketones, numbered 1 to 14, lnolusive.f
Appendioee A, B , C , and D,

Ii; THE^ STUDY PRESENTED:^\A Critioal Analysis of the

Operations of the Frenoh 42d Division in the Battle of Mbnt didier, 8 August 1916. (Based primarily on a digest of
"Montdidier" by Colonel A. Grasset) '
Organization and Armament. 42d Division.

i <

At the end of 1917, 1918,

and during the first half of

tne majority of the Frenoh divisions had three regi

a ments of infantry (9 battalions), three battalions of 75 : m

artillery, and one battalion of 155 howitzers.
. , ' .. . ' ' \ > ' : , T > y "'-' < . : . : ' . / . '"

The organi

zation of the 4d Division differed, in that it had two

regiments of infantry and two battalions of chasaeurs (foot)
(1). Eaoh ohasseur battalion of the 42d Division had five
the battalions

rifle and two maohine gun companies (2), lib lie

of the regiments had three rifle and one maohine gun company.
Eaoh maohine gun company possessed four platoons, eaoh having
three maohine guns. 1) 2) Eaoh regiment had three 37 mm guns and six

Ora, VI, X, 4 and 5; Pet, 12.

Ora, 53; Pet, 12.

Uupt 7 and 8, oombined aap; aapi 9 and 10, combined map.


Stoke0 mortars. Each rifle platoon was equipped with two

automatic rifles. Strength of battalions approximated 700 men. (3) Taotloe The Prenoh "directives of IS July 1918" set forth the
method of rupturing the enemy lines, and specified procedure,
in substanoe as follows:
(a) Strategio surprise by absolute seoreoy in all
(b) Tactical surprise by discretion on the part of
participants of all grades; by the suddenness of the launoh ing of the attack, which required a short, but intense,
artillery preparation; the use of aviation, of heavy rapid-
fire artillery, of gas shells, and of tanks.
(o) A rapid penetration in the enemy lines, as deep
as possible, assuring the immediate exploitation of the
success, and, therefore:
(1) Distant objectives, carrying the infantry
rapidly beyond the enemy artillery positions.
(2) Advancing reserves in order to assure ex ploitation of any suooess.
(3) Infantry required to push forward without
regard to units on its flanks, reduoing looal resistance by
its own means, without artillery support.
(4) Artillery required to assure to the infantry
a support as powerful as possible during its advanoe.
German attaok taotios were ait this time sensibly the
same as the Frcuoh, although the exeoution was different. (4)
At this period German defense procedure consisted essen tially of: Defense, not of the first line trenohes, but of
the first position as a unit; dispositions in depthj partial
3) Ora, VI and IX.
4) Ora, XIII and XIV: Pet, 46 and 50; Hin, 332 and 395;
Bal, 276 and 279; Kow, 250 and 251; Lud, 207.
- 2

counterattacks; and for the Artillery, eoonomy in the use of

ammunition and a oarefully prepared fire, {5)
General Situation. (Maps 1 and 2)

The German offensive of 81 Maroh 1918 and the partial

offensives*bf 9 April on the Lys, of 25 April on the Kemmel,
of 27 May on the Aisne, and of 9 June on the Oise, resulted
In forming two large salients. One of these sailente in (6) Beginning

cluded Chateau-Thierry; the other Montdidier

18 July the salient of Chateau-Thierry was reduoed little by

little. (7), but the salient of Montdidier remained, threaten*

ing Amiens, a railroad oenter essential to both the Frenoh and

' ' . ' * ' - .

(8) Therefore, General Fooh deolded, on 28 July, to

. . ' . . .

follow up a plan for the reduction of the Montdidier salient,

submitted to him by Marshal Haig, Commander-in-Chief of the
British Armies, and General Debeney, commanding the Frenoh
First Army. General Fooh's directive o f 28 July 1916, speoi

fled, in substanoe:
(1) The objeot of the operation is to relieve the
orltioal situation with respect to Amiens and the Pario-
Aaiens railroad, and also to defeat and drive baok the enemy
between the Soanne and Avre Rivers.
(2) The offensive, proteotad on the north by the Somme,
to be pushed as far as possible in the direction of Poye.
(3) The offensive to be executed by the British Fourth
Army and the Frenoh First Army, the former north of the Roye
road. and the latter south of 1t. (9)
Gra, Gra, Gra, Ora, Gra, XV; Trans, 60. 61, 62.
1; How, 262-255, 263-265, 275, 276, 268, 269.
1; How. 349
1 and 2; Trans 7,
2; Trans> 10-13.

- 3

On 28 July the French First Army was placed under the

command of Marshal Haig. 6n 29 July he issued his first
order concerning the offensive, and fixed the objectives to
be attained:
(1) The enemy between the Sorane and Avre Rivers
will be attaoked, in 5ib!d:\direotion of Ham. The line! Merioourt Harbonnieres--Caix-Q,uesnelHangeet will be oooupied as soon

..,-,,^-.,.... .: . Wiv-t<ft!..>,':..:'.:..; '

as possible and organized defensively.

When the line MericourtHangest Is assured,
the British Fourth Army, keeping its left flank on the Somne,
will press the enemy in the direction of Chaulnes. The French
First Army, with its right on the Avre, will press the enemy
in the direction of Roye. (10)
Speolal Situation on the western front
of the Montdldler Salient, prior to the
Offensive of 6 August 1918. (Map 3 ) .
For fronts held by the British Fourth Army and French
First Army, see Map 3. (11)
The XXXI Corps, l,eft oorps of the French First Army,
held the line from Salnt-Ribert Farm (2 kilometers south of
Moreiul) to the Ami ens--Roye road, with the 42d, 37th, and
66th Divisions, from north to south, in first line, and the
153d and 126th Divisions in seoond line. On the night of
1-2 August the 37th Division was withdrawn from the front
line. (12) In front of the Frenoh XXXI Corps was the
German LI Corps, left oorps of the German Seoond Army. The
LI Corps had three divisions In line from north to south,
[10) Ora, 2; Trans 14, 15, 16, 28.
11) Trans, 47, 58-60 t 63, 64} Buo, 319 and 320
12) 0*t 3, 4, and 18; Trans, 48.

- 4

the 225th, the 14th Bavarian, and the 19f/d. (13)

The Frenoh 42d Division
94th Infantry
332d Infantry
8th Battalion of Chasseurs (foot)
16th Battalion of Chasseurs (foot)
61st Artillery (75 mm) (14)
6th Battalion, 132d Artillery '(155 mm)
3 oompanles of engineers
2d Squadron, 20th Chasseurs (mounted)
All the infantry of the division, two regiments and
two battalions of chasseurs (foot), was grouped under one

, ' . . : ' , ' - < v '' , . : . \ . , ..;; . , , . ' ; . ' . ' ' ' ' : ; , ' . <



oommander and the group balled "Division Infantry." There ,


were no brigades. (l4]r)

. The 42d Division was assigned to the First Army on

V . ' '

1 May 1918. About 29 May the division over that portion of

the front from Hangard to Hailles (see Map 4). On 21 July
its front was decreased by that portion of its line west of
the Moreuil road. During the nights of 31 July - 1 August
and 1-2 August that portion of the division front north of
the Amiens road; inoluslve, as taken over by the 4th
Australian Division,
On 1 August one regiment of portie artillery was
attaohed to the 42d Division., (16)
Preparations for the Offensive (Maps 3



On 23 July, 0-3 of the Frenoh XXXI Corps, in speaking

13 Ora, 4; Trans, 63 and 64.
14} Ora, 4 and 5; Trans, 90 and 91
1A\\) Or a. 4 and 5
15} Or a, 5, 6, 10, 14, 18, 19
- 5 - .

of the approaching offensive, stated to the commanding gen eral of the 42d Division: "The affair ie taking quite
another ehap?. The English attack the Bois de Hangard.
For us it i'i a question of preparing the attaok against
Moreuil, but we will not be ready before the 29th. n (16)

As a result of the foregoing information the command ing general of the 42d Division oalled in his "division
infantry" and division artillery commanders. The "division
infantry" commander had already prepared a plan for the
attaok. This plan was briefly: A sudden attaok, at day light, without artillery preparation, but behind a rolling
barrage, with the 94th Infantry and 8th Battalion of Chas seurs in front line, and the 332d Infantry and 8th Battalion
of Chasseurs in seoond line. Line of departure about 200
meters from tho enemy outpost line of observation. (17)

On 26 July the corps commander informed the commanding

general of the 42d Division that he knew nothing concerning
the attaok, but that if the attaok should take plaoe the
42d Division would have ten battalions of 75s, four batta lions of 155 howitzers, and four battalions of 220 rapid-
fire. Reoonnaisaanoe.of positions and plane for the use of
the artillery were made, and firing data were prepared. (18)

On 2 August the corps oommander outlined to his division

comma* ders en order from the First Army. (10) This order
was, in so far as it affects the 42d Division, in substanoe,
as follows: The British Fourth Army and the French First
Aray, under command of Marshal Haig, to make an unlimited
objeotive attaok on a front of about 30 kilometers. The
XXXI 16 17 (18 (19] Corps, with line of departure along the Luoe and Avre
Gra, 15.
Or a, 15 and 17
Gra, 16 and 17
Ora, 19 and 20
- 6

Rivers, to oapture the heights between Moreuil and Villers aui-Erables, and push rapidly in the direotion of Hangest en-Santerre, Arville^s, and Roye. Having taken the western
part of the plateau of Snnterre, the army to advanoe on its
left, in liaison with the British. (80)

In the XXXI Corps, th*42d Division, left division of

the Corps, to advanoe on Fresrioy-en-Chaus'see, maintaining
liaison with the British Anay on its left. The 37th Divi sioa to operate on the right of the 42d Division. The 153d
Division, in second line, to push in between the 42d and
37th Divisions, in order to assure the continuity of the
advanoe toward Hangest. The 42d Division to be relieved
on D plus 1 day by another division. The Infantry to advance
to its line of departure on D minus 1 day - D day. Artillery
to be put in position the nights of D minus 3 days - D minus ,
2 days and D minus 2 days - D minus 1 day. The 42d Division
to have a total of 10 battalions of 75s, 4 battalions of 155s,
and 4 battalions of 220 rapid-fire. D-day was not yet deter mined. The strictest seoreoy was to be maintained regarding
the attaok, only information found to be necessary being
given out. (21)

On the morning of 4 August an order from the XXXI Corps,

reference the contemplated attaok, was reoeivedby the 42d
Division. (22) This order (Special Order No. 409), in so far
as it oonoerned the 42d Division, was, in substance, as follows;
The attaok to be exeouted by the 37th and 42d Divisions
In first line, 42d Division on the left. The 66th Division
to proteot the attaok on the right and oapture Moreuil*

(20) Ora, 20; Trans, 49 and 50

(21) Ora, 20 and 21
(22) Ora, 23
- 7

Boundaries of the 42d Division roughly as follows:

On the south: road from Berteeucourt to Thennes
north corner of Bois de Moreuil - Petit Bole (1200 meters
southwest of Fresnoy-en-Chaussee), all to the 42d Division.
On the north: existing boundary between the English
and Frenoh armies --. bottom of the ravine southwest of Bois
Dodu north corner of the north park of Villers-aux-Erables
La Maison B l a n o h e the road: Amlens-Roye, ail to the Cana dian division*
The attack of the 42d Division to be in the general
direction: VAlXers-aux-Erables -- Fresnoy-en-Uhaussee.
Objectives of the 42d Division:
1st: Exits of Bois de Moreuil on plateau 104.
(Southeastern exits).
2d : Villers-aux-Erablee -- Mezieres. 3d : Fresnoy-en-Chauasee. (23)

{For extract from Special Order No. 409 of the XXXI

Corps, see Appendix A ) .
Speoial Order No. 412, XXXI Corps, received also on
4 August, attaohed the 60th Artillery (portee) to the 4d
Division, effedtive the night 4-5 August. (24)

As a result of the orders received concerning the

attack, the following deoislon was adopted by the command ing general of the 42d Division on 4 August:
The division, assembled before daylight 300 meters
from the enemy trenches, to advanee behind a rolling barrage
at H-hour minus 45 minutes, that is, at the hour when the
(23) Ora, 23 and 24; Trans. 77-79, 89, 90.
O (24) -ra, 24.
- 8

artillery preparation was to commence for all the rest of

the front* The division to lie low in the German "liagde

bourg" trenoh,

defenders of which, surprised, would offer

no resistance. To wait 45 minutes in the trenoh for the

assault columns of the 37th Division. The enemy artillery
counterproperation would thus pass over and to the rear of
the division.
A project for tha attaok, embodying the decision, was

..;, .'-..'. ;< [ -, ; .'. .'. .. - ''- .. ..'...' . . . i...''-; ' , W : \ - . . ' : . / 1 i /

drawn up at onoe and sent to the corps commander for approval.

(85) /' ''.'. \

The night 4-5 August was spent in bringing up artillery.

At broad daylight the roads were still covered with artillery.
A heavy rain, however, prevented airplanes from flying, and
the artillery was hot, therefore, observed by German avia tors. (26)
The division projeot for the attaok was returned, ap proved, on 5 August. The division attaok order (Special
Order No. 524) and a bulletin of information were Immediately
drawn up.
This order stated the object of the operation, the
successive objectives to be attained by the division, and
the manner of attaining eaoh objective. It prescribed a
short and violent artillery preparation and attaok by sur prise. It outlined the direction of attaok of adjacent .
divisions and their objectives, the manner of maintaining
liaison with adjacent divisions, and assistance to be given,
by them. It prescribed that the advanoe be made with three
battalions in front line, and with rear elementsolosed
olosely on leading elements. The 94th Infantry and 8th
(85) Ora, 85 and 86.
(86) Ora, 87.
- 9

Batt'allon of Chasseurs were to push the attaok es far as the

line JK, where they were to be passed through by the 332d
Infantry and 16th Battalion of Chasseurs* Rates of advance
and phase lines were prescribed. Artillery positions, artil lery fires, and artillery displacement were prescribed in
The bulletin of information accompanying the attaok
order gave Information concerning the terrain, enemy ground
organization, enemy dispositions, and enemy artillery.
" i ' ' ''



(For Special Order No. 524 and Bulletin of Information,


' V

' y


; '


complete, see Appendix B ) .

A corps note of 5 August fixed the zone of action of
the 42d Division, as follows:
North boundary: Intersection of "Carrefour des 5
Chemlns" on the "Tranehee du Faucon (to the British) - foot bridge 49 (to the 42d Division) - - fork of the connect ing trenohes of "La Salamandre" and "Oedipe" (to the British),
South boundary: Central road intersection of Thenues,
at (17-78) - - road intersection (13 - 84) of Berteauoourt)
Berteauoourt cemetery - - intersection (02-84) of route 35 - road intersection 800, to the northeast of the road from
Thezy to Dommartin. Route 35 to be used in common by the
37th and 42d Divisions, the Luce bridge belonging to the
37th, and the 42d having the Berteaucourt street parallel
to the Luoe.
Orders were given to the 42d Division to have all com bat elements evacuate the areas north and south of these
boundaries by 10:30 PM, 6 August. (27) Ora, 28*34.
(28) Ora, 36
- 10 (28)

At a conference of the division commander, on 6 August,

with subordinate commandera to include regimental (and chas aeur battalion) commander8, it was deoided that officers to
include the grade of captain would be advised of the plans
for the attack. In order to maintain seoreoy all others
would leave their cantonments knowing nothing definite. (29)

The same day, 6 August, the irethod of plaolng troops

in position for the attack was announced. During the night
6-7 August units were to learo their cantonmenta and approach
the line of departure, in ordor to be able to reaoh it in
one bound. On the night 7-8 to move to positions on the line
of departure. Ifovemo&tf* during both nights to be under the
protection of outposts remaining in position and relieved
the night 7-6. Movement on night 7-6 to be completed by
3:00 AM. It was also prescribed that the strictest silence
would be observed during the course of all movements, cigar ettes and lights being prohibited. During the day all ele ments were to keep under cover In dug-outs, trenohes, and
woods. (30)

Plans for liaison, by means of liaison offloers &nd

messengers and by prescribed locations for command posts,
were also worked out on 6 August.
Each artillery officer was given a table and a sketch
showing all artillery flp?* and the plan of ammunition
supply. (31)

During 6 August artillery columns were moved during

daylight* A; heivy rain prevented flying, and thus the move (32)
ments were not observed by the enemy. 89 30 31 38 Gra, Ora, Ora, Ora, 38
39 and 40.
41 and 42.
- 11

One squadron of aviation was put at the disposition

of the 42d Dlrlslon for the attaok on 8 August. The plan
for its use was as follows: Beginning at H-hour one plane
to be in the air at all times until the infantry attaok
passed Fresnoy-en-ChaueseV; a second (lane ready to take the
air for special missions; an officer at the Division C.P.
as liaison offloer. Plans also contemplated using the avia tion to point out the front of combat at the beginning of
each halt scheduled; to have planes signal to the artillery
the looatlon of anti-tank guns, and if conditions permitted
to take under machine gun fire Infantry lines and anti tank guns. (33)

On the afternocn of 6 August a "changes" in the 424

Division attaok order was lsttued. This specified the corps
hour of attaok in terms of H-hour, and corrected H-hour in
other parts of the order to correspond. It stated that the
37th Division would not advance until H-hour plus 45 minutes;
and that a Canadian detachment would assist the 424 Division
in the eapture of Mezleres and Fresnoy-eii-Chaussee. It also
ohanged the length of halt on phase line HI, and oorreoted
information concerning the liaison detachment to operate
between the 424 Division and the Canadian Division. (34)
(For complete "obunges", see Appendix C ) .
94th Infantry attack orders placed two battalions in
first line, and one battalion in regimental reserve. To each
of the front line battalions was attached one section of
Stokes mortars; the battalion on the right received the regi mental 37 mm gun*
The attack order of the 8th Battalion of Chasseurs


(33) Or a, 45

Ore, 47 and 48.

- 18

placed two rifle companies and one machine gun platoon In

first line; one rifle company, one machine gun platoon, and
the 37 mm gun in support; and the remainder of the battalion
in reserve.
The orders of the 332d Infantry plaoed two battalions
in first line and one in reserve for the advance to, and
attack of Mezleres. After the capture of Mezieres the right
battalion, which was given the mission of "mopping up"
llezleres, was to be replaced In first line by the voserre
The orders of the 19th Battalion of Chasseurs directed
an adranee behind and in support of, the 8th Battalion of
Chasseurs until arrival cit line JK. Then, in first line,
attack of Mzi*res and Frecnoy-en-Chaussee on the right of
the 332d infantry. (35)

Artillery plans were drawn up on 6 August. Light

artillery was divided into three sub-groupments of 2 b&tta llons eeeh, charged with execution of tte rolling barrage,
and one jub-groupment of 4 battalions, charged with .special
missions. The heavy artillery was divided into two sub groupments; one groupment consisted of 4 battalions of 155s,
and the other of 4 battalions of 220s (eaob battalion of
BEOs having Z batteries). The missions assigned the heavy
artillery were: to cover the right of the Canadian attack
by concentrations In Andrea ravine; and prepare the terrain
in front of the 42d Division by destruction fire on the suc cessive objectives of the Infantry and by executing the
protective and neutralization fires called for by the cir cumstances.
For artillery Table of Fires, see Itap 5. (35) Ora, 49, 50, 53, 55-58.
(36) Ora, 68, 59; Trans 90-91
- 13 (36)

The 42d Division waa well Informed concerning the

enetiy in its immediate front, both' from prisoners and from
airplane photographs. It was known that the 14th Bavarian
Division consisted of three infantry regiments (4th, 8th
and 85th) and one artillery regiment (23d). Its 4th Infantry,
on the right, would receive the brunt of the attack of the
Frenoh 42d Division. On 4 August one battalion was occupying
a line of observation and the principal line of resistance.
The principal 11rie of resistance, on a line with the "Tranohee
de Breslau" arid "Tranchee de Baden-Baden", was otakeO out but
not completed. The 12 heavy maohine guns of this battalion
were established on the principal line of resistance. The
front held by the battalion was about 400 meters. Behind
this battalion there was another battalion In the vicinity of
Villers-amc-Erables and Bois de Moreull. Strength of com panies of the 14th Bavarian Division approximated 80 men.
The 42d Division was not so well informed concerning
the 18th Infantry (of the German 225th Division), ocoupylng
the trenches: Magdebourg, Flume, Serajewo, and Stettin.
Horever, it was known that the defense of Andrea ravine was
carefully organized, as was the defense of the ravines of
Metz, oeoille, and Gretohen.
Of the German 192d Division practically nothing was
known. (37)

On the late afternoon of 7 August, the commanding

general of the 42d Division received Speoial Order No. 423,
XXXI Corps, which designated D-day as 8 August and H-hour as
4:80 AM (38)

(For Spuoial Order No. 423 complete, see Appendix D ) .

(37) Orf, 59-63
(38) Ora, 70 and 71
- 14

Immediately following receipt of the corps order, the

42d Division issued General Operation Order No. 586 (attack
order). This order was, in substance, as follows:
D-day, 8 August. H-hour, the hour of opening of the
artillery fire. The XXXI Corps to attaok At H-hour plus 45
minutes. At H-hour plus 1 minute all infantry of the divi sion to move forward, behind the rolling barrage, to its
final line of departure CD, where it will close up as much
as possible in order to escape the hostile counterpreparation.
Infantry to halt on line CD from H-hour plus 19 minutes to
H plus 1 hour and 3 minutes, at which time to move forward
for the attaok.
The order specified the following directives to be
adhered to:
Outflank organized taotloal localities.
In so far as the progression of the rolling barrage
permits, do not wait adjaoent units.
The general commanding the division encourages and
Justifies all aots of initiative, however bold they, may be.
Remember that suooess is in great part in liaison
and in the immediate and rapid communication of all ihforma tion to adjaoent units and to commanders.
(For General Operations Order No. 526, oomplete,
see Appendix D ) .
It is to be noted that the division order did not fix
the time of H-hour. (39)

At midnight 7-8 August, H-hour was oommunioated to

infantry and artillery oommanders, down to inolude regiments
and ohasseur battalions. (39) Ora, 71 and 78.
(40) Ora, 80*
- 15 (40)

Before daylight of 8 August, all infantry and artillery

elementswore'in attackpositions as shown on Map No. 6 (41)
The Advance from line AB to line CD.
At H-hour (4:20 AM)i all artillery supporting the 42d
Division, a total of 200 cannon, oommenoed the preparation.

, i
, - , f

At H-hour plus 1 minute (4:21 AM) the infantry, under

protection of the rolling barrage, advanoed from line AB on
line CD (Tranohee de Magdebourg), a distance of about 600
meters. By 4:39 AM the division was Installed on its new
line of departure OD, having captured a German offioer and

. , , ' ( ' '

about 15 men who were completely surprised by the attack and

offered ho resistance. (42)
The Capture of Bois de Moreull. (Map No. 7)

From the line CD to the line HI was a bound of 2 kilo meters, to be executed, aooording to program, betwee. 5:23

' A , '

AM and 6:34 AM. The bound necessitated orossing three steep

and wooded ravines (ravines of Metz, Ceoilie, and Gretchen)
out by the trenches of Flume, Serajewo, and Stettin. (43)
The infantry liaison plane was in the air at 5:00 AM,
but due to haze observation was almost impossible up to
7:00 AM (44).

After a halt of 45 minutes on line CD, the division

advanoed, at 5:23 AMr with two battalions of the 94th Infantry
and the 6th Battalion of Chasseurs, on the right, in first
The left battalion of the 94th Infantry was annoyed by
enemy maohine gun fire coming from the southwest edge of Bois

' ' ' , . ;>":. \ '

(41) Gra, 74-73.

42 43 44)

Or^i 82 -87j Trans, 98. Gra, 92. Gra, 95 and 96 - 16

Dodu (whioh had not yet been oaptured by the Canadian Divi sion). This resistance was reduoed with no difficulty, and
the trenohes of Cecilie and Magdebourg were taken by out flanking them. The right battalion of the 94th Infantry
encountered strong enemy maohine gun resistance In front of
Bois de Moreuil* Thla resistance was also reduoed without
great difficulty.
The 8th Battalion of Chasseurs also enoountered machine
gun, and artillery fire from Bols de Moreuil. Although the
firing caused a great deal of confusion, the resistance, on
the whole, was not great, and by the effective use of machine
guns the battalion suooeeded in:outflanking the north corner
of Bols de Moreuil from the left. (45)

Leading elements finally arrived on the l^ne HI around

7:00 AM, approximately one-half hour late aocordlng to the
The remainder of the division made the advance without
inoldent of any importance. (46)

During the advanoe of the division, the following were

Bois d'Hollan
Eastern portion of Bols de Moreuil.
Around 400 prisoners with some artillery and maohine
guns, (47)


The taking of Vlllers-aux-Erables

(Maps 8,9,10,11)

When the Infantry arrived on the line HI, the enemy was
no longer resisting, and the advanoe could have been pushed
forward had it not been for the fixed artillery barrage 300
Ora, 98-108, 111-119; Trans 92 and 93
Ora, 1C8-111, 119-188.
Gra, 111.
- 17

meters in advance of the line.

During the halt on line HI, 4 battalions of 75s and 2
battalions of 1558} passed from the 42d to the 153d Division,
For dispositions of the division at 7:30 AM, see
Map No. 8.
The departure from line HI was fixed at 7:43 AM. distance from Mezlares.
During the advanoe the 75s had the mission of executing
a rolling barrage to the line 1-m-n-o, and then firing a
fixed barrage on that line for ten minutes. Heavy artillery
was to place concentrations on Bois Bertln, Bois des Mouettes,
the area between Bois des Mouettes and park of Villers-aux-
Erables, Mezieres and trenohes in front of it, oemetery south
of Maison Blanche, and Fresnoy-en-Chauesee,
: / ' . : , . ^ . . ^ : ' :


objective to be attained was Villere-aux-Erables, at assault


. ' .

At 7:43 AM, the division advanced with the 04th Infantry

and 8th Battalion of Chasseurs in first line. The 94th
infantry had two battalions in first line, and its remaining
battalion in support. The attack of Villers-aux-Erabies was
to be assisted by British tanks. The 94th Infantry was to
outflank the village on the north with one battalion, and
assault it frontally with the other, while the 8th Battalion
of Chasseurs outflanked It on the south.
The left (2d) battalion of the 94th had flat and open
terrain to traverse. It outflanked Bois do la Vignette and
Bois Bertln (in the Canadian zone) and then found itself
held up by machine gun fire from Bois des Mouettes and
Mezleres* By a combined flanking and penetrating maneuver

(48) Ora, 126-129, 132.

- 18

Boia des Mouettes was taken! and the left of the battalion
advanced to the line JK, The right of the battalion skirted
the northeastern edge of the park of Viliers-aux-Erabies,
but by 10:00AM had been unable to reach the line JK because
of enemy machine gun fire from Mezieres.
The right (3d) battalion of the 94th advanced with the
mission of making a frontal attaok on Villers-aux-Erables,
assisted by British tanks. Early during Its advance it was,
for some minutes, under artillery fire coming from the rear,
presumably artillery of the 42d Division. With some confu sion, but with very little enemy resistance, the battalion
advanoed to within about 400 meters of Villers-aux-Erables,
where it met stronger/resistance in the form of machine gun
fire from the southwest part of the village and from the
park at the north. By the skillful use of machine guns the
left and center of the battalion were able to gain the eastern
edge of Villers-aux-Erables, where further progress was im possible on aocount of the machine gun fire from Mezieres.
The right of the battalion, caught by maohlne gun fire from
its front and right, was unable to advanoe past the southwest
corner of the village.
On the right of the 94th Infantry the 8th Battalion of
Chasseurs was stopped at about 400 meters from Bois du De by
rifle and machine gun fire coming from that locality* Unable
to advanoe it beoame badly mixed with elements of the 16th
Battalion of Chasseurs, (49)

At 10:00 AM the advanoe of the 42d Division was stopped.

The artilleryi ignorant of the dispositions of the infantry,
oontinued its program ao laid down. At 9:45 AM the prescribed
hour, the rolling barrage, fired by 3 battalions of 75s, ad vanoed on Freanoy-en-Chaussee. The remainder of the 75s, and
(49) Ora, 133-148
- 19

the 1558, had ceased firing, and were either changing posi tlon or preparing to ohange position. The 220s continued
to fire on Fresnoy. Their fire was soon to cease, however,
sinoe they had readied the limit of their range and worn too
heavy to move forward.
Thus, at 10:00 AM *;he division was without artillery
support, since it hed not attained its prescribed objeotive.
(For dispositions of the division at 10-00 AM, sue
Map No. 10).
Between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM, the leading battalion
of the 1st Moroccan Tirailleurs (of the 153d Division),
assisted the 94th Infantry by attacking Villers-aux-Erables
from the south. By about 11:00 AM both the village and the
park to the north were completely in the possession of the
At 11:03 AM, the hour at which the 42d Division was
soheduled to reaoh the line LM, dispositions were as shown
on Map No. 11 (50)

The Capture of Mezleres and Bols du De (Maps 10,

11 and 12)
At 11:03 AM the artillery barrage became fixed in front
of Fresnoy-en-Chaussee, 300 meters in front of the line LM.
Four battalions of 75s and 2 battalions of 155s were soon to
be all that remained of the initial powerful artillery sup port of the 42d Division, since the division commander had
been Informed /chat after 12:45 PM he would no longer have the
other 3 bettalioua of 75s and the 4 battalions of 220s, The
heavy artillery had finished its concentration and was no
longer firing. The 2 battalions of 155s remaining to the
(50) Gra, 149-159
- 20

division were changing, or preparing to ohange, position.

At 11:03 the fixed barrage was ordered to draw baok on the
line 1-m-n-o and recommence the advance. The infantry was
not ready and the barrage advanced again without it. At

::. ; " ' , .






11:30 AM the barrage was ageIn ordered back, held five min utes on the edge of Mezleres, and then fixed, until 12:15
PM on a line 300 meters east of Mezleres. At 12:15 PM, it
again advanoed.
Around noon, one battalion of the 94th Infantry and
the Moroccan battalion of the 153d Division assaulted
Mezleres. They found it deserted by the enemy. (51)

Toward 11:30 AM the enemy machine gunners In the

southern part of Villera-aux- Erables, and also those on
the southern edge of the town, fled. With two sections of
tanks (a total of 10 tanks) from the 153d Division clean ing up enemy machine gun nests between Villers-aux-Erables
and Bole du De, both the right battalion of the 94th Infantry
and the 8th Battalion of Chasseurs were able to advanoe. The
latter battalion passed through and cleaned up Bois du De.
Shortly after noon both battalions had reached the line JK.
By 1:00 PM, elements of the 42d Division were disposed
as shown on Map No, 12. The 16th Battalion of Chasseurs had
passed through the 8th Battalion of Chasseurs, on the right.
On the left, one battalion of the 332d Infantry was in
* The direction of attack of the 42d Division had com pletely surprised the enemy. The zone of operations of the
division had taken in flank, first the outposts of the Ger man 225th Division, whose reserves wero engaged by the Cana dians; then the reserves of the 14th Bavarian Division, whose
(51) Oret 163-166
- 21

outposts were engaged along the Avre River with other troops;
and finally the leat reserves of the German 192d Division,
all available troops of which were fighting toward Moreuil.
Toward noon the remnants of the 4th Bavarian Infantry

. ' . " . . i " ' ' i . '

were regrouping in Freshoy-en-Chaussee, with some units of

the German 8th and 25th Regiments. The defense of Fresnoy en-Chaussee, and of the little woods southwest of it, was
organized hurriedly. The terrain in front was flat, and,
therefore, eary to defend, A quantity of maohine guns and
one regiment of light artillery were available for the de fense. (52)
The advanoe on. and oepture of. Fresnoy-en-Chaussee.
(Maps is, 13 and 14)
At 2:00 PM, the 332d Infantry advanced with 2 batta lions in line. The battalion on the right was directed to
maintain liaison with the 16th Battalion of Chasseurs*
After an advanoe of about 300 meters the right batta lion of the 332d ran into heavy enemy artillery fire, and
shortly thereafter was stopped by small-arms fire after hav ing reaohed a small orest about 600 meters from Fresnoy-eri-
Chaussee. The battalion on the left, on orossing the orpst,
was unable to advanoe against small-arms fire from Fresnoy,
looated about a kilometer to the rlgnV front of the batta lion. The terrain between the orest and Fresnoy was flat
and not out up by shell fire. Offering no shelter whatever,
a direct advance aoross it was out of the question. By 3:30
PM both battalions were dlgeing in in place. Liaison with
the 16th Battalion of Chasseurs on the right had been lost.
The 16th Battalion of Chasseurs had advanoed, by 3:45 PM
(52) Ora, 167-17?., 178-181
- 22

to a slight crest about 2 kilometers from Fresnoy, where it

was 8topped by machine gun fire from Fresnoy on its left
and from Petit Bole on its right. This battalion also began
digging in.
At 4:00 PM the attaok of the 42d Division on Fresnoy-eri-
Chaussee was, for the time being, definitely stopped. Elements

. . . .
.... '''' . > : ' < \ U \ . . .', : . < ' V / : : . - , . ' ! " > . '' ' :





* .








' ,

of the 42d Division! and the two battalions of the 1st Moroo can Tirailleurs which were participating in the attack of the
42d Division,, were grouped as shown on Map No* 13. (53)
At 3:10 PM the commanding general of the 42d Division
had received an order, by telephone, from the XXXI Corps, in
substance, as follows:
"By order of the army commander the XXXI Corps will
push on this evening: - the 42d Division from Fresnoy-en-
Chaussee on Arvillers; the 153d from Hangest on Erchers; the
37th from Plessier on Bois des Corettes and the crest south
of Arvillers. It is absolutely necessary that the XXXI
Corps* reach the front of Arvillers this evening."
"Do not reassemble on successive lines, but push for ward without halting.n
The commander of the 42d Division sent a message at
once to his "division infantry** commander to push on toward '
Arvillere as soon as Fresnoy had been taken. The message
was followed by the following division order, issued at 3:50 PM.
"I. The 42d Division reoelves the order to push for The artillery of the 42d Division will support
the infantry, when the movement on Arviiiere Is resumed*
II. At night-fall the "division infantry" oommander

ward on Arvillers, in conjunction with the 153d Division.

(53) Ore, 185-202.

- 23

will have the outposts placed in position.

General line:the left resting on the road: Roye
Amiens; the rlslit extending to the 153d Division; which has
its left on the line: Hangeat--Arvillers.
III. The "division infantry" oommander will send a
general sketch of the outposts and of the infantry elements
at nightfall.
The 94th Infantry will be in division reserve.
The "division infantry" commander transmitted the in structions of the division commander to regimental and
ohasseur battalion oommander8, and with the instructions, the
following order:
"The 332d Infantry and 16th Battalion of Chasseurs will
capture Fresnoy, then will establish outposts to the southea&t
of this village, in liaison, on the left, with the Canadians,
at the intersection of the highway and the road: Le Quesnel--
Fresnoy; on the right, with the 153d Division, toward the
crossing of the road: FresnoyHangest and the railroad
(at 300-419).
Outpost line of resistance: marked by the fork of the
sunken roads at (04-31) and the crossroads (300-423). Colonel
Hlnaux (commanding 332d Infantry) will command the outpost.
The 94th Infantry, in reserve, to the east of Mezieres, ready
to oooupy the railroad whioh is to the east of that town and
to oounterattaok between Fresnoy-en-Ohausaee and the highway.


The 8th Battalion of Chasseurs In reserve, south of Mezieres,

ready to oooupy the railroad to the southeast of that town or
to oounterattaok between Fresnoy-en-Ghaussee and Petit Bois.
Liaison between 94th Infantry and 8th Battalion of Chasseurs
at railroad intersection (800-411).
- 24

C. P. of "division Infantry" commander at (61-64).

Regimental and chasseur battalion commanders will re port their CPs.
It is a question of holding the terrain captured until
tomorrow morning. We will then be passed through by another
The artillery will establish a barrage in front of us.
At 4:15 PM when the division commander read the order
Issued by the "division infantry" commander, he sent him the
following note:
"I have received your order concerning the attack on
Fresnoy. The outpost line that you lndioate to the south of
Fresnoy, ought to be pushed forward, by order of the army, as
far as possible in the direction of Arvlllers, in liaison
with the 153d Division, which has taken Hangest. (The Cana dian troops have generally pasBed Le tyiesnel). It is a new
effort that is asked of the troops of the 42d Division,
necessitated by the disorganization of the enemy, that must,
at all costs, be exploited. (54)

The immediate problem, before Advancing on Arvlllers,

was to capture Fresnoy-en-Chaussee.
For this attaok, one tank oompany of the 153d Division
was loaned to the 42d Division.
The commanding offloer of the 332d Infantry was placed
in command of the attack. His orders, in substance, were as
(54) Ora, 204-207.
- 25

At 7:30 PM, three Motions of tanks will attack the

north and weat edgea of Fresnoy and Patlt Bole. Two batta lions of the 332d infantry will advance at the same tlce as
the tanks, at the rate of 100 meters In 2 minutes, and will
occupy Fresnoy, one battalion outflanking It on the north.
The 16th Battalion of Chasseurs will outflank It on the south.
Artillery rlll lay down a rolling barrage in front of the
Infantry, at the same rate of advanoe as the Infantry. If
the movement succeeds, the outpost line will be established,
as prescribed, beyond Fresnoy. (55)

At 6:00 py the 75s opened fire on Fresnoy, but failed

to silence enemy machine guns there. At 6:30 Pit, the artil lery opened fire on Petit Bois, causing a perceptible de orease In machine gun fire and silencing artillery fire, and
permitting the 16th Battalion of Chasseurs to capture Petit
Bois with praotleally no resistance being offered.
The 2 battalions of the 1st Moroocan Tirailleurs, In
oontaot with the enemy, were ordered, by their comanding
officer, at attaok at 6:30 PM, one hour earlier than the
42d Division attack. One battalion was to attaok Fresnoy on
the north and the other on the south.
The tanks advanced, by seotion, at 7:15 PM. They were
preceded, however, by the two Moroccan battalions, both of
which gained their objectives, but with heavy losses. As a
result, one battalion of the 332d Infantry was able to advance
to Fresnoy, without firing a shot or losing a single man. At
night-fall furious fighting was taking plaoe In Fresnoy, and
the confusion was great.
Except for soattered fighting in Fresnoy, the operations
(55) Ora, 207-209.
- 26

of the 424 Division on 8 August ceased at cvbout 10:00 PIC.

the losses of the 42d Division during th* day were
light, although

2200 prisoners were taken. (56)


the operations of the French 42d Division on 8 August
1918, nay be considered under the following headings:
(a) Surprise
(b) Taotlos
(o) Liaison
(d) Armament and supporting arms (naohlna guns,
artillery, and tanks.
(e) troop-leading of smaller units.
the last'named heading, troop-leading.of smaller unite,
though ably handled in the primary scirue of this study, is
not considered herein, since a proper appreciation of the
terrain Involved cannot oe gained from maps and sketohes
All the details of the preparation for 8 August were
oarrled out in suoh manner as to obtain the surprise and
power prescribed by the French "directives of 12 July 1918."
(57) Everything which oould be foreseen in preparation for
the attaok was done. (58) there is no doubt, however, that
the heavy rains of 5 and 6 August, and the fog of 7 August,
permitted artillery movements and movements of ammunition
which would have been Impossible to oonoeal In fair weather.
56) 67) 58) 59 Ora, Ora, Ora, Ora, 212, 213, 217-224, 227, 235, 244, 246. *
26, 42, and 70.
- 27

The Germans were completely surprised by the attack on 8 August. (60) However, a fog or haze on the morning of the (61) attaok covered the Initial movements of the division. Tactics; Tactical operations as laid down in the directives of
12 July 1918 were carried out.
It is to be noted-that the outflanking of an obstaole
was the general procedure throughout the day, and that machine
gun fire was constantly being used to overcome resistance
that was holding up the advanoe.
The attaok on the flank of the Moreuil salient took in
flank three German divisions, surprising these divisions by
the direction of the attaok. (62) This would indicate that
a salient may be dangerous unless properly held.
In the attack of woods the procedure of the 42d Division
was to outflank it. This procedure was effective in the case
of woods of small area. Against woods of relatively large
area, it would appear that the woods must, in addition, be
assaulted and penetrated. (63)
Twice during the days operations, units of the 42d Divi sion continued their efforts beyond the objectives assigned.
This prooedure runs the risk of plaoing the higher commander
in the position of being unable to control his units in combat;
on the other hand, it takes advantage of the opportunity to
gain further suooess. (64) Acts of initiative were formally
encouraged by the division oommander. (65)
60] 61 .* * 63 64 (65] Ore., 90; Hiri. 395| Bal, 287
Ora, 95 and 96j Lud, 327; Bal, 287
Ora, 249
Ora, 252
ura, con
fir* a 253
Ora, 2Rft
Ora, 72
- 28

It is believed, however, that if a unit commander, having

attained his objective, is able to gain further success, he
should, on his*own initiative, do so, provided he is further ing the pltn of the higher commander by so doing.
Reserve units were committed to aotion at the initia tive of the oommanders of these units. While this procedure,
in the case of the 42d Division, happened to produce both
good and bad results, the procedure is wrong. Only the
higher commander should commit his reserve, since without it
he has no means of controlling the aotion. (66)
Liaison, in general, left much to be desired. Liaison
betweer infantry and artillery was Insufficient. The artillery
had a fixed program of fire, but in the attack of certain
localities the task of the infantry would have been much easier
had it, by foresight in communications, been able to request
artillery support when and where needed. (67)
Armament!and Supporting Arms (maohine guns, artillery,
ad t n s . n ak)
The maohine gun, in this operation, was the outstanding
weapon in both the offense and defense.

. . i.


- \ A



Up to 7:00 A the; powerful artillery support of the M division had conquered the terrain, and the infantry had l i t t l e to do but march. (68) However, the plan of artillery The rolling barrage con This might have been support was lacking in flexibility.

tinued to advance regardless of the looation of the Infantry, leaving the artillery without support. avoided by 66) Ora, 67 Ora, 68) Ora, having some light artillery in direct support of 265
251 and 862

infantry units, or by making the plan of fire more flexible

and insuring close liaison between infantry and artillery.
Tanks were used very successfully, when available, to
overcome maohine gun resistance and to break down small walls
and obstructions offering defensive positions to the enemy.
The attaok of the 42d Division complied with the prin oiple of ourprise both strategically and tactically. Strategio
surprise was obtained by oareful secret preparation. Taotioal
surprise was obtained by the suddenness, power, and direction
of the attaok.
By rapid penetration of enemy lines, immediate exploi tation of suooess, distant objectives, and the rapid advanoe
of each unit without regard to the unit on its flanks, the
maximum value from fire and movement was obtained.
Liaison is essential, not only between adjaoent units,
but especially, in a rapidly moving situation, between infantry
and artillery. In the operations of the 42d Division, as long
as the infantry and artillery programs were oarried out aooord ing to sohedule, the artillery paved the way for the infantry
and permitted it to advanoe with little difficulty. When the
infantry program could no longer be oarried but aooording to
the time sohedule, it was without artillery support and its
advanoe beoame difficult &nd sometimes impossible. Proper
liaison would have permitted the infantry to call for artillery
fire when and where needed.
The primary function of artillery is to support the
(69) Ora, 258
- 30

infantry," and any plan of artillery fire not based on this

funotion lai faulty. Artillery alone cannot defeat the
enemy nor capture important objectives. Infantry, when not
supported by artillery, can advance against hostile fire
only with great difficulty or cannot advance at all. The
artillery plan of the 42d Division was too rigid/and did
not permit of rapid adjustments based on the dispositions
of the infantry./


B I D L I O b U f H T

KEY: (Ora, 100) - No. 1 Text (below), page 100.

1. Grasaet, A: "La Guerre en Action - Le 8 aout 1918 a la 42e
Division - Montdidler", Berger-Levrault, Paris,
Franoe, 1930.
2. Buehan, John: "A History of the Oreai War11, Vol. IV, Houghton
Uifflin Company, Boston and New York, 1923*
3. Balek, Wiliian: "Development of Taotios - World .Tar?, The General Service Schools Press, Fort Leavenwort'n
Kansas, 1922.
4. Hindenburg, Paul von: "Out of My Life", Harper and Brothers, New.
York and London,'1921, Voluat 2.
5. Howland, C.R.: "A Unitary History of the World War", The General
Service Sohools Press, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
6. Ludendorff, Srich von: "Ludendorff's Own Story, August 1914 November 1918", Harper and Brothers, New
York and London, 1919, Volume 2.
7. Daille, U: "La Bataille de Uontdidier1*, translation by Uajor
W. R. Wheeler, Coa-aand and General Staff School Library,
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
8. Petain: "Petain't Report", Volume 7, translation, Command and
General Staff School Library, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

T. G/FrpthinghanV "A Guide to the Military History of the World War",

Littlei Brown, and Company, Boston, 1920, was also ooneulted.
Where only'one source is indicated, no other source waB found. Text No
7 (above) corroborates in part some of the narrative of historical
facts found in this study, but unless the oorroboration was found
to be reasonably exact it was not cited.


R g rB ag N 0g

A, ,B B R g V I A T I 0 N 3

1. Ora * Qrasset, A: "La Ouerre en Action - Le 8 aout 1918 a la

42e Division - Mont didier\
2. Bue - Buehan, John:

A History of the Great War**

3. Bal - Balck, Williaa: "Development of Taotios - World War''*

4. Hin - Hindenburg, Paul ron:; "Out of Uj Lift".
5. How - Howland, C.R.: "A Military History of the World Var",
6. I/id - Ludendorff, grieh Ton: Ludendorff' Own Story, August 1014

7. Trant - Daillt U: "La Dataille d Uontdiiier n , translation by Major W. R. Wheeler, 8, Pet - Petaln'e Report,


A P P E N D I C E S Appendix A.


XXXI Army Corps 2534 5/3 Speolal Order No. 409


4 August 1918

VI. Mission of the divisions; The attaok will be

exeouted In first line by 2 divisions abreast (37th on the
right, 4Sd on the left). It will be proteoted on the right
by the 66th Division, which will surround Moreuil from the
north, west, and southwest*
Delimitation of zones of aotlon;
Between 37th and 4Sd: The road: Berteauoourt
Thennes (to the 42d), and the line, beginning at its junc tion with the "fratoon'ee du Coqn, traoed by: battery 33.59
(north corner of BoIs de Moreuil) of Bolft de Moreuil) all to the 42d.
Between 48d and British divisions: Present boundary
between the English and French Armies bottom of the ravine
between Bois Dodu and 110 the earth road ending at 100

Roys (to the
north corner of the north park of Vlllers - auz - Erables La Maison Blanohe the road: Amiens Canadians)*
42.51 (southeast edge
brossroads 101
battery 57,40 -

Petit Bois (1S00 metors southwest of Fresnoy-en-Chaussee),

- '64

Successive objectives of divisions:

* * * *

42d Division: Attack in general direction: Villers aux-Erables Fresnoy-en-Chaussee.

First objective: Exits of Bois de Moreull on plateau
104, covered on the left by the British division which will
hold Bols Dodu and Bols d HoiIan. The 42d Division will
outflank the Bois de Moreuil on the north edge and rapidly
gain the eastern edge.
.Second objeotlve: Villers-eux-Erablee Me'zieres.
The general commanding the 42d Division, after agree ment with the general commanding the British division on.his
left, will determine the oooperatlon of the British troop
for the attack in flank and rear of those localities.
Third objeotive: Frearioy-en-Chaussee.
Liaison with the British division through agreement
between the generals commanding the divisions concerned,
and with the 37th Division at points indicated above.
Rate of advanoe: To the first objeotive, 100 meters
in 3 minutes.
Length of halt on the first objeotive: 45 minutes.
Rate of advanoe and length of halts on following ob-
Jeotives: divisions, to be determined by the generals commanding the

* *

(1) Ora, S3 and 4

- 35

Appendix B
A. ATTACK ORDER OF FRENCH 42d DIVISION: XXXI Corps 42d Infantry Division
3d Section.
Speoial Order No. 524
(Only Speoial Orders copied by officers
to be sent to lower echelons)
I. Information of the enemy: See special bulletin.
II. ObjeoV of the operation:
1. The XXXI Army Corps will attaok on D-day in
order to capture the heights of Bois de Moreuil. It will
carry on its attack on Kezieres and the Bois de Genouville
and continue Its offensive in the direction of Hangest-en-
Santerre. Moreuil will be reduced by being outflanked.
The XXI Corps will be flanked:
(a) On the left, by a British division which
will attaok north of the road: Amlens-Roye.
(b) On the right, by the IX Corps which will
attaok against Saint-Ribert and Braches. General direotion:
2* Suooessive intermediate objectives:
"First Intermediate objeotive: Exit of Bois
de Moreuil on plateau 104, the capture of the woods being

' . . ' : ,
l i ; : ;

C. P., 5 August 1918




















effected by outflanking it on the northeast and southwest

edges. |
Seoond intermediate objeotive: Bois de
- 36

Genouville, Bois Touffu, Vlllers-aux-Erables, Mezleres.

Third intermediate objective: piessiere-
RozainviHers, Fresnoy-en-Chaussee.
3. General conditions of execution:
Short; and violent artillery preparation. ,
Avoid adjustment and ranging fires before D-day.
' Attack by surprise.
Speoial instructions will regulate the
placing in position of the troops.
III. Adjacent Divisions:
The 42d Division will attack in first line with
a Canadian Division on its left, and with the 37th Division
on its righV. The 153d Division will stand by at first in
rear and will push in later between the 42d and 37th Divi sions. (See further on)
37th Division: Attack in general direction Bois
de Moreuil, Bois'de Genouville, Bois Touffu, Plessiers -
Rozainvi H e r s.

. . , , . . , " " . . . < : . . (

First objective: southeast edge of Bole

de Moreuil, to be flanked on the southeast, liaison with
the 42d Division at battery 42.51.
Second objective: Bois Touffu, Bois de
Genouville; liaison with the 42d Division toward 6840.
Third objeotive: Pleseier - RozainviHers.
3d Canadian Division: Will seize Bois Dodu and
Bois d'Hollan before the definite departure of the 42d
Division for the attack.
The 153d Division will advance, from the beginning,
- 37

behind the two divisions in first line, will follow behind

the junction between these two divisions, end then, debouch ing on plateau 104, will push in between these two divisions
and attaok squarely in the direction: hill 101 en-Santerre, going beyond the divisions.
When the 37th and 42d Divisions advance to the attaok
of their second objectives, the 153d Division will gain the
eastern edge of Bois de Moreuil. Advanolng from there it
will attaok in the direction of plateau 104, hill 101, Petit
Bois (1200 meters southwest of Fresnoy-en-Chaussee), and
Hangest, pushing in between the two divisions. It will push
straight forward, without delaying, so as to overcome, by
outflanking them, the resistenoes that the two adjacent divi sions probably will encounter.
IV. 42d Division:
(a) Formation for advanoe: Division in square
formation (note: approximately equal in frontage and depth),
three battalion fronts In first line. Dispositions in de tail following the covering forces. Close as much as possible
on leading elements before beginning the advanoe.
(b) At H-hour minus X (T a duration of artillery
preparation), the entire division advances, in one mass,
from the front AB, and gains, uader the protection of the
rolling barrage, at the rate of 100 meters in 3 minutes, the
final line of departure at H-hour, maintaining its initial
formation and olosing as muo'n as possible on the leading
elements, in order to avoid the eventual enemy artillery
(c) The 04th Infantry and 8th Battalion of
ohasseurs will push the attaok to JK, in front of Uezleres,
where they will be passed through by the 33fid Infantry and
- 38 Hangest

the 16th Battalion of Chasseurs, which will finish the

(d) Suooessive objectives:
First objective: Exit of Bois de Moreuil
on plateau 104. Covered on the left by the 3d Canadian
Division, which will hold Bois Dodu and Bois dHoiIan, the
eastern edges of which this division outflanks.
Halt of 20 minutes on FG, on the north edge of Bois
de Moreuil, for the two right battalions. The loft batta lion outflanks Bois de Moreuil on the northeast and rapidly
gains, in Its zone, the phase line HI, where it is joined,
in due time, by the two other leading battalions.
Halt of 45 minutes on the line HI in liaison with the
adjacent divisions (reforming infantry, preparation of at tack of Villers-aux-Erablee with tanks. Artillery movements).
Seoond objective: villers-aux-Erables Mezleres.
Attaok of Tillers in cooperation with a groupment of
British tanks. (The groupment Is authorized to move, before
H-hour, via the bridge of the Berteauoourt Thenne road
to its positions toward the north branch of "Pintado" trench.
The 94th Infantry will outflank Vlllers on the north.
The 8th Battalion of Chasseurs will outflank Vlllers
on the south.
For artillery preparation, see paragraph VI (artillery).
Halt of 40 minutes In front of Mezleres, at assault
and artillery preparation distance on the general line JK.
Rear units pass through leading unite, which reforia and folio*
in support*
Attaok of Kezieres by outflanking by the 33fed Infantry
- 39

on the north and the 16th Battalion of Chasseurs on the

Kelt of 20 minutes on line UL, before the attack of
Third objective: Fresnoy-en-Chaussee.

Outflanking of Fresnoy, the 332d Infantry on the north,

the 16th Battalion of Chasseurs on the south.
(e) Rate of advance: uniformly.
V. Liaison with adjacent divisions:
Mixed detachments will march, from the beginning .
of the advance, on the junctions of the division with adja cent divisions.
Between the 37th and 42d Divisions: a platoon of
each division under the orders of an officer of the 42d
Division (to be designated by the division infantry commander).
Between the Canadian Division and the 42d Division,
a section of each division under orders of an officer of the
42d Division will initially advanoe with the 3d Canadian
Division at H-hour and will follow the movement of that divi sion to the south corner of Bois d'Hollan where junction
will be established between the two divisions.
VI. Artillery:
(a) Means: Organic artillery.

A ' \

100 meters in 3 minutes,

In addition:

7 battalions of 75 mm
3 battalions of 155 howitzers
4 battalions of 220 rapid-fire
Special artillery: 1 battalion

(b) Positions:
Initial Situation:

- 40

Berteaucourt Ravin Titus Ravin Hlppolyte 75 155 How 820 Rapid Fire 8 bns 1 bn 1 bn 5 bns 8 bns 8 bns 3 bns 1 bn 1 bn

In addition a battalion of 880 rapid fire in the

valley of the Arre (toward 7684)
(o) Preparation:
75s, raking fire on trenches, shell holes,
155s, fire for destruction on organized


destroy shelters in ravines "Cecllie"

and "Oretenen".

The left flank (thus) of the 3d Canadian Division is

covered, until the arrival of the rolling barrage of the
48d Division, by a lateral barrage on the northeast edge of
Bois Longuet, from the woods between Ceoilie and Gretchen,
prolonged to 4758.
(d) Attack up to the east edge of Bois de Koreuil.
75s: 6 bns: rolling barrage, 100 meters
in 3 minutes. missions.
155s: protective fire.
880s: continuation of fire for destruc tion: Vlllers-aux-Erables.
A battery of 75s at the disposition of each leading
battalion, for the reduotlon of unforeseen obstacles (liaison
to be established between units concerned).
(e) Displacement. The 75 and 155 battalions displace from
Hlppolyte ravine to the east of Thennes.
- 41 *
4 bns: 'stationary barrage. Special

(f) Preparation of the attaok of Villers-aux-Erables.

Fires for destruction by 155s and 220s on
Villera, the battalions of heavy artillery firing the prepara tion from iheir first positions (lels the battalion of 155s
displaced from Hippolyte ravine to the east of Thennes.)
(g) Execution of the attaok on Villers-aux-Erables:
75s: 6 batteries (from Berteaucourt and
Titus ravine), rolling barrage. The battalions displaced to
the east of Thennes take under their fire the objectives of
opportunity and put themselves in readiness to prepare the
attaok on Mezieres.
155s: protective fireA.
220s: fire for destruction on Villers-aux-
Erables and Mezieres.
(h) Attaok of Mezieres and Fresnoy-en-Chauasee.
Artillery at Titus ravine and Berteauoourt
14 bns of 75s and about Z bns of 155s) move toward the road:
Moreuil-Demuin, in order to be able to support the attaok
Three battalions previously selected from
the artillery of the 42d Division will pass to control' of
the general commanding the 153d Division, beginning with the
entry of that division into action against Hangest.
711. Engineers:
The division Infantry commander will hold under
hia order's one division engineer company (the commanding
officer of the company in person at the division infantry CP).
1 3 section at Berteauoourt.
sections with "She company at the disposition

of the division commander (see below).

A division company at the disposition of the
division jomraander on the line of resistance west of command
- 42

post Victor (the company commander at OP Victor).

Execution of demolitions on the bridges in the
seotor occupied for H-hour on D-day.

i \ '


The division squadron (returned to Bois Jeanne

d Aro for H-hour) will there await orders of the division

IX. Traffic:
The 37th and 42d Divisions use, in ooramon, road.
35 to Berteauoourt (bridge of the road on the Luce River to
the 42d Division).
X. Command Posts:
(1) Division:
Initial CP: Salnt-Cyr
Successive CPe: Pompee, Berteauoourt.
Displacement during halt
on HI.
Gretohen ravine, during
attack of Mezieres.
Villers-aux-Erables, dur ingattaok of Fresnoy.
(2) Division Infantry:
Initial OP: Victor
Successive CPs: Gretohen

General D e v i l l e , commanding 42d Division DEVILLE (2) Ora, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33 / - 43 (S)


, 5 AUGUST 1018:
Speoial Bulletin No. 1
Information on the terrain included between
the road: Amiens-Roye, the Luce, and the Avre.
(Annex to Speoial Order No. 524 of the 42d Division)
I. Aspeot of the terrain:
The terrain studied constitutes a part of the
plateau of Santerre*
From the Luoe and the Avre (about 40 meters alti tude) one reaohes the plateau (mean altitude 100 meters).
The military crest of the plateau toward the north
and west is wooded: Bole Dodu, Bo is de Moreuil, Bois
d'Anquetil, Bole de Genouvllle.
To the west of the line: Plessier-Rozainvillers
Beauoourt, the plateau ie out by a few ravines, of about 20
meters depth. Slopes quite eteep, but always accessible.
Some small woods or clumps of trees dot this portion of the
To the east of the line Pleasier-Boaucourt, the
terrain becomes uniformly flat.
The woods are generally quite thlok, aooordlng to
the inhabitants: some trees, but especially thickets, briers.
Route through diffioult woods, exoept in Bois Oenouville
where the thlokete are young.
II. Organization of works:
A* On the south bank of the Luoe, the enemy front
faoing the Luoe is relatively well organized.
/Rifle pits, sometimes Joined together, consti tute a line of observation*
- 44

Forward of Bois de Moreuil, some elements of

trenbties form a line of resistance.
To the north of the woods (Bois de Moreuil) and
toward its eastern edge, a line of artillery protection.
B, On the east bank of the Avra and faoing that
river, no important work appears on photographs. Prisoners .
declare they know of no position.
C. In addition, on the plateau, there exist, in
places, numerous English and Frenoh works.
1st: 'Aline: Pleeaier-Rozainvillers- Demuin,
situated on the west counter-slope, and, therefore, easily
taken under our fire.
2d: 3d: second line. A line: Solohoy-sur-Davenescourt
A line: Erohes-Bouohoir, old Frenoh
. . 4th: A line: L'Eohelle Saint-Aurih Le
Quesnoy, old Frenoh first line, which the old German posi tions faoe.
According to the refugee inhabitants in the
region, the trenohes have been filled in, the wire taken up
at several plaoes, in order to permit resumption of cultiva tion. However, there probably still remain many trenohes
and dug-outs.
III. Enemy dispositions:
On 4 August the order of battle appeared to be
the following, from the road: to south of Moreuil:
The 825th Division in seotor sinoe 21 May with 2
regiments. The 373d and the 18th Reserve Infantry Regiments
up to the road: Therittes V-Villers-aux-Erables.
\ ' '

ArviHers, old French third line.

Thennes -- Villers-aux-ttrables

The 3d regiment

of this division is in front of Hangard.

- 45

The' 14th Bavarian Division, in seo'tor since 24 July with the 4th, 8th, and 25th Bavarian regiments, extends to Moreuii, inoiusiveV according to declarations of prisoners.
" . ' .

The 192d Division, in sector sinoe 20 May, has,

. . , , : . ' . '.. . '


' '

j > v : ' -


" '


/ .

. . ' ' . ' ; . ; . .

' . . . .





. . . . "


. , '


. ' .

. ' / V / . .

probably, only some elements of its regiment. The farthest

north, the 183d, in front the Corps front.
The enemy appears to have b.een reinforoed in
depth south of the Luce, by the entry in line of the 14th
Bavarian Division.
On the other hand, the bulk of the battalions
which oocupied the left (west) bank of the Avre has evacuated
it, leaving on that bank only advanced elements with light
machine guns.
The 14th Bavarian Division has just passed about
three weeks in rest billets; it is a unit of average quality,
below strength.
The 192d offered a quite lively resistance at the
time of the last French attaok; it suffered quite heavy losses.
IV. Artillery:
Only about 50 batteries have been spotted in the
area studied, from 15 July to 1 August. Several oocupy new
emplacements, taken following the falling baok of the German
artillery to the right (east) bank of the Avre.
Enemy artillery does not appear to be numerous.
At the time of bur recent actions, the barrages were quite
lacking in density. The reaotion to our fire was feeble. (3)

(3) Gra, 3 33, 34

- 46

Appendix C
XXXI Corps 42d Division Staff, 3d Seotion Changes In Speolel Order No. 524. C.P., 6 August 1918, 6:00 PM

I. Paragraph II, first indention.

To read: The XXI Army Corps attack on D-day
(at H-hour plus 45 minutes, H being the hour of conmenoenent

artillery preparation) in order to oapture the heights

of Bo is de Moreull.

II. Par.llV.

Replaoe sub-paragraph (b) by the following:

At H-hour, the entire division advanoes in one mass,
from the front AB, and gains, under the protection of the roll ing barrage, at the rate of 100 meters In three minutes, the
final line of departure CD, maintaining its formation and
dosing as muoh as possible on the leading elements, in order
to avoid the eventual enemy artillery oounterpreparation.
The 37th Division, whion haa not exeouted a similar
bound, does not debouoh from its line of departure Until
H-hour plus 45 minutes, protected by a rolling barrage whioh
leaves a margin of seourlty of 300 meters on our right. At
the moment when the infantry of the 37th Division arrives
abreast our right (that is, at H-hour plus 57 minutes), the
42d Division advanoes again behind the rolling barrage*
III. Par. IV, sub-paragraph (d)i
Replaoe: Halt of 45 minutes on the line HI by.
halt of 65 minutes on the line HI.

- 47

IV. Add the following sub-paragraph (to par. IV):

(f) A Canadian detachment (Independent Canadian
Foroe), composed of auto-machine guns, 6 inoh oannons, and a
cyol1st battalion, will precede the 4th Canadian Division
when that division shall have overtaken, abreast Waieon
Blanche, the 3d Canadian Division (to the left of the 42d
Division). This detaohment will probably be held, between
H plus 5 hours and H plus 6 hours, on the Amiens-Roye highway,
abreast of the left of the elements of the 42d Division, and
ready to aid successively the capture of Mezieres and Fresnoy en-Chaussee.
General Brutinei, commanding the aforementioned detaoh ment, will assist our attacks and will attempt to destroy the
strong points and machine guns opposing our advanoe.
The 94th and 332d Infantry will get in contact as
rapidly as possible with this detaohment, which, on its part,
will seek liaison with us*
V. In paragraph V:
To read: Between the Canadian Division and 42d
Division, a seotlon of eaoh division, under the orders of an
offloor of the 42d Division (to be designated by the oolonel
commanding the division infantry, 42d Div.), will advanoe with
the Canadian Division at H-hour.
The general commanding the 42d Division.

(4) Ora, 47 and 48

- 48

Appendix D

XXXI Corps,

Hqs.t 7 August, 5:30 PM

Speoial Order No. 423.


8 August

H-hour= 4^20 AM
The advanoed CP of the XXXI Corps (general, staff, 2d
and 3d seotiona) will function at Bel Air farm today, be ginning at 10:00 PM. Easerteaux.
Acknowledge reoeipt by telephone, on reoeipt of present
By order: JOYBKRT (5)
The staff (1st seotlon) remains at

B. GENERAL OPERATIONS ORDER NO. 526 (attaek order), of

48d Division* 7 August 1916.

General Operations Order No. 526.

(attaok order)
I. For the projeoted operation, D-day will be 6 August.
II. H-hour is the hour of opening of the artillery fire.
III. The XXXI Corps will attack, in prinolple, at H-hour
plus 45 minutes*
IV. Nevertheless, at H-hour plus 1 minute, all the
(5) Ora, 71
- 49

infeiiiry of the 42d Division will move forward In order to/

escape the eventual counterpreparation, and so as to gain,'
behind the rolling!barrage, its final line of departure CD,
abreast of Magdebourg tVench, where it will olose up as much
as possible, still in order to avoid the offensive counter-
preparation. It will stop on this final line of departure
from H-hour plus 19 minutes to H plus 1 hour and 3 minutes,
at which time the rolling barrage which is to precede it in
its attack, will be positively under way.
At H plus 1 hour and 3 minutes, it will finally move
forward for the attack, under the general conditions of Pre paratory Order No, 534 and Changes and in oonformity with
the Time Table of the Plan of Action of the Artillery,
V. On the right the 37th Division advanoes only at
H-hour plus 45 minutes; on the Left the 3d Canadian Division
advanoes at H-hour,
VI. The following directives to be oonformed to:
Outflank organized taotloal localities.
In so far as the progression of the rolling
barrage permits, do not wait for adjacent units.
The general commanding the division enoourages
and justifies all acts of initiative, however bold they may be.
Remember that success is in great paj/t in liaison
and in the immediate and rapid communication of all Informa tion to adjacent units and to oommandere.
Remember likewise that we are assisted on our
flanks and rear by powerful elements, the essential mission
of whloh is to h'xp us and to oarry us forward,
VII. It is recommended to not enter abandoned enemy

shelters and to not seek to destroy ammunition dumps, It

- 50

1B too "dangerous.
The general commanding the 42d Division

(6) Ora, 71 and 73

- 51