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goryldan

Chipilly Ridge/August 9

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goryldan

Hello,

I'm doing research on an American solider (33rd Division, 131st Infantry, 1 battalion) who was killed on August 9, 1918 in the attack on Chipilly Ridge. I'm looking for recommendations for books (or other sources, experts, etc) on the Battle of Amiens that cover this particular attack in detail. I have several accounts and summaries from the American perspective, all of which talk about the confusion, miscommunication, and lack of preparedness that surrounded the hours before they attacked. I'm looking for sources that help me dig deeper into that confusion. Any help and guidance will be greatly appreciated!

Dana

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Waddell

Dana,

Some minor thoughts.

As they were attached to the 58th Division of III Corps that might be the place to start. I have been looking at the Battle from an Australian perspective and the problems encountered on the Chipilly Spur by the British (and Americans) are mentioned briefly in Bean's Official History.

This may be of some interest. Chapter XVI mentions the Americans-

http://www.awm.gov.au/histories/first_world_war/AWMOHWW1/AIF/Vol6/

The British Official History-'Military Operations. France and Belgium, 1918,Volume IV by Brigadier-General Sir James E Edmonds would be worth tracking down.

Scott

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Crunchy

Dana,

The British Official History of the Great War, Military Operations, France and Belgium, 1918, Volume 4 by J.E. Edmonds has an account of the attack on pages 106 -112. I am not sure if it is detailed enough for your research. See also Charles Messenger's The Day We Won the War, Turning Point at Amiens, 8 August 1918 pages 184-186 which has a couple of first hand quotes. The Australian Official History Australia in the War of 1914-1918, Volume VI, The AIF in France 1918 by C.E.W. Bean p 650-652 has a brief description and a map showing the 131st's attack.

Regards

Chris

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Waddell

Dana,

As Chris mentioned Charles Messenger's book does mention the 131st. It also lists amongst the bibliography 'The 131st US Infantry (First Infantry National Guard): Narrative- Operations-Statistics' by Colonel Joseph B Sanborn. Chicago, Illinois,1919.

Thanks to Chris for reminding me that I had this book!

Scott

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goryldan

Thank you so much for the suggestions! I will check into those that are new to me.

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hillgorilla

I think that I may have the history of the 131st somewhere, though only the section that relates to the Somme, will have a look.

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Drew-1918

Hello Dana,

As Scott mentions the Americans being attached to the 58th Division, it reminded me that I have a few war diaries and a regimental history or two. I will try and have a look through and see what I can find. Unless someone gets there before me. I think there are a few maps in some of the War Dairies if that is any help? The 12th London Rgt. was with at least a company of Americans I think, and the Rgt. History (available online), has some mention of the action. These are only snippets though. I hope that is OK.

I always remember that the History of the Queen Victoria's Rifles (9th London Regiment), mentions a little bit about a company of Americans being attached to them. It says at one point,

"We found all the Yanks' packs thrown down near us with no guard over them. I am afraid they lost a lot of their Gillette ration razors and macintoshes that night." I almost feel sorry for the Americans :whistle: . They must have thought they would be safe with their allies!

The 9th London History also talks about the lack of preparedness, ""The Americans, who had been rushed up in motor buses, went straight into the attack without any preparation."

Regards,

Chris

*Edit
For your information I was referring to:

"The History and Records of the Queen Victoria's Rifles, 1792-1922"

"The Rangers" historical records from 1859 to the conclusion of the Great War"

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goryldan

Thank you everyone!

hillgorilla: I have a copy of the 131st's history. It mentions the issues I'm interested in, but being a regimental history it is very positive and gracious, without giving the real scoop! :)

Chris: If you have any war diaries from the 58th Division that may apply to this attack, I would love to see them (if possible). Also will check into those regimental histories you mention.

The best resource I've been able to find, however on a completely different battle, was C.W. Bean's writing on the Battle at Hamel. I wish the Australians would've been in with the 131st and the 58th Division at Chipilly Ridge, because then there would have assuredly been the type of details I'm looking for. Anyway, Bean's account of Hamel was what led to my questions on Chipilly Ridge. Bean did a great job of detailing the 131st's excitement in taking part in the Battle at Hamel, and then the subsequent disappointment at having Pershing insist they be taken out (save the two companies that remained in anyways). I wish there was an account of Pershing's feelings about the haphazard way that the 131st were brought into the attack at Chipilly Ridge. Granted, it was a true emergency, and that usually brings with it lots of chaos regardless.

I think what I really need are diaries or letters from other guys in the 131st's 1st battalion that survived and wrote about this. How on earth do I find these? There was one, a Roman Paterka, that I found on this forum, but he doesn't describe the Chipilly Ridge attack in much detail at all. I have 85 letters from the soldier I'm researching, but he died in the attack. I'm trying to get a firm sense of what was going on immediately prior to the attack. I've read some of the guys had marched anywhere from four to 25 miles (!) to reach the jumping off line and went into the attack on the run, many of them going into the attack with no guns, and having had no rations for up to 24 hours.

I've ordered Charles Messenger's book, "The Day We Won the War," and hope to get some new insight from that, even if it's just the a well-rounded perspective on Amiens from all who participated.

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Waddell

I think what I really need are diaries or letters from other guys in the 131st's 1st battalion that survived and wrote about this. How on earth do I find these? There was one, a Roman Paterka, that I found on this forum, but he doesn't describe the Chipilly Ridge attack in much detail at all. I have 85 letters from the soldier I'm researching, but he died in the attack. I'm trying to get a firm sense of what was going on immediately prior to the attack. I've read some of the guys had marched anywhere from four to 25 miles (!) to reach the jumping off line and went into the attack on the run, many of them going into the attack with no guns, and having had no rations for up to 24 hours.

Dana,

I have been looking through a few sources I have but they don't mention the 131st involvement at Chipilly Ridge. Laurence Stallings book "The Doughboys", an older book I know, only mentions 167th Infantry Regiments involvement with the Australians on August 9th. I suspect you might have to research pretty heavily to find the information you are looking for.

A suggestion might be to try and locate letters or accounts in Illinois newspapers from around the time. Or trawl through some compilation of accounts, like "Make The Kaiser Dance" by Henry Berry.

It might also be worth contacting this site-

http://www.33rdinfantrydivision.org/about.htm

A story worth researching by the sound of it!

Scott

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WhiteStarLine

Dana, the 11th Australian Infantry Brigade were eyewitnesses to the entire operation as they had been held up on the south bank of the Somme by enfilade from Chipilly Spur. They, including my grandfather, were less than a mile away and saw the whole thing. It is mentioned in their unit war diary for August 9th (a free download of AWM4-23-11-21part1 August 1918). Visit http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/AWM4/23/11/21PART2.

This afternoon the 131st Regt of Americans passed through the 174th English Brigade and continued the advance from MALARD WOOD at which point the English were held up yesterday, this operation entailed the capture of the village of Chippilly, a place strongly defended by the enemy machine guns. - Heavy shelling of the roads and approaches to Chipilly & Malard wood by enemy large calibre guns made the attack difficult but the fine spirit of the men prevailed and enemy were driven out of his MG positions and captured objectives gained. A fine view of the operation & battle was obtained by the Bgde situated only a mile away on Southern heights of River Somme.

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goryldan

Scott and WhiteStarLine: Thank you! Great suggestions that I'll check into, and that's fantastic about the 11th Australian. I'll dig around more with that.

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stiletto_33853

The Story Of The Fourth Army In the Battles of the Hundred Days, August 8th to November 11th, by Major General Sir Archibald Montgomery, K.C.M.G., C.B., General Staff, Fourth Army.

This covers a little concerning this battalion and its action.

III Corps operations

During the night of August 8th the situation on the front of III Corps remained unchanged, except on the right, where the advanced parties of the 58th Division were withdrawn to the eastern edge of Malard Wood. The three divisions of III Corps, which had been engaged in the heavy fighting of the 8th, were not considered sufficiently strong to gain the objective without further assistance. Sanction was therefore obtained for the employment of the 131st Regiment of the 33rd American Division, which it had not been intended to employ in offensive operations, and which was in billets near Heilly on the Ancre, some distance behind the battlefield. It had been originally intended to resume operations on the III Corps front early in the morning of August 9th, but, on account of the impossibility of moving up the Americans in time "zero" was postponed until 5.30 p.m. The Etinchem spur was excluded from the objectives of the day.

For the main objective against Gressaire Wood, Tailles Wood, and the Amiens outer defence line extending from Tailles Wood northwards to Dernancourt, the 131st American Regiment, the 175th Brigade (less the 2/10th London) of the 58th Division, reinforced by the 8th London and 5th Royal Berkshires from the 174th and 36th Brigades respectively, and the 37th Brigade of the 12th Division were employed from right to left. Twelve tanks of the 10th Mark V Tank Battalion were allotted to the 58th Division, and eight tanks to the 12th Division. The Americans were placed under the orders of the commander of the 58th Division. In conjunction with this attack, the 174th Brigade, less one battalion, the 173rd Brigade, and the 2/10th London of the 175th Brigade were to attack the Chipilly and the Chipilly Spur, and thereby protect the right flank of the Australians.

The advance of the 174th and 173rd Brigades was strongly opposed by the enemy, and as a result the right American battalion suffered heavy casualties from hostile fire on its right flank. The brigades reached the sunken road running north from Chipilly, but were unable to make any further progress in face of the hostile enfilade machine gun fire from the terraces north of Chipilly. However the 2/10th London succeeded in working its way through Chipilly and along the northern edge, and attacked the enemy machine gun posts on the terraces in flank and rear. The battalion was then held up for a time by machine gun fire from the valley north west of the Chipilly spur, but a company of Americans went to its assistance, and helped to drive the enemy out of the valley. The enveloping movement was eventually successful, and the enmy was driven from the terraces. This success brought about the capture of the whole of the Chipilly spur.

The main attack against Gressaire Wood, Tailles Wood, and the Amiens outer defences, in a north easterly direction was launched on a front of about 7000 yards, and was completely successful. Although the Americans had to double for the last mile in order to reach their assembly positions in time, they advanced in fine style. Led by their commander, Colonel J.B. Samborn, the Americans swept through everything before them, and the German resistance collapsed.

Only little bit extra to add

" The Americans were so impetuous that they outsripped the British on the left, and it was due to them that the objective was so quickly and rapidly gained on the front of the 58th Division."

I am afraid that is the lot covering this regiment for that day, hope that it helps a little.

Andy

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goryldan

Thank you, Andy! This is the most detailed, non-American account I've read about it thus far. It helps a great deal. Much appreciated.

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goryldan

Shot in the dark, but does anyone here own a copy of "The Spirit of the Forty-Second: Narrative of the 42nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division, Australian Imperial Forces, During the Great War, 1914-1918" by Vivian Brahms?

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Drew-1918

A little bit from the Queen Victoria's Rifles History:

"On the 17th [July] a company of Americans was attached to the QVR for instruction, one platoon to each company. Among them was an American dentist and many of the "Queen Vics" availed themselves of the opportunity to get their teeth set right. During one heavy bombardment one American was asked to give his views on the subject said, "Guess I wish President Wilson was still writing notes."

On the day following the arrival of the Americans the battalion was again heavily shelled especially in the neighbourhood of HQ and a few casualties caused... An American "litter Bearer," as they call the stretcher bearers, was killed just outside the dug-out...."

And with reference to the 9th August, "...[there was} a general advance at 5.30. Americans were on the right of the Rangers...The attack proved successful, but owing to heavy casualties sustained by the Rangers and the Americans we [the QVR] were ordered to move forward at 8 pm. "C" coy reinforced the Rangers..."A" formed a defensive flank facing SE, and "B" and "D" were in support..." (near Bn HQ where the Americans had left their packs as mentioned in my earlier post).

Nothing like the detail or overview of the 4th Army Book Andy quoted, but I hope of some small use.

You may get more of an overview from Brigade or Divisional Diaries, but you may not. I was quite happy with detail I found in both Brigade and the Divisional Diaries for September 1918, but please think about it before you purchase as they are 3.30 each (sorry no pound sign on the computer I am using!).

175th Brigade:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C14056092

174th Brigade:

Missing?

173rd Brigade;

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C14056079

58th Division Headquarters branches and services: General Staff

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C4556141

Chris

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WhiteStarLine

Shot in the dark, but does anyone here own a copy of "The Spirit of the Forty-Second: Narrative of the 42nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division, Australian Imperial Forces, During the Great War, 1914-1918" by Vivian Brahms?[/size]

I've got it in front of me now and it is a wonderful read. Vivian Brahms was a Jewish tailor from Brisbane. He joined the battalion at inception and went through all campaigns as a private soldier, unscathed.

Expecting the officers to write a history at war's end, he waited 10 years, then produced his own after consulting with many other veterans. It was finally published in 1938. It is very well written, like an extended diary with anecdotes and insights. The coverage of the late 1918 mutiny (on disbandment) is eye opening and the entire book obviously had the commanding officer's eye over it.

It has a full nominal roll, honours and awards. I am happy to research any individual for you. Or, you can purchase a copy quite cheaply through Naval and Military Press, through the Imperial War Muserum, as I did.

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WhiteStarLine

Dana, here are some references for you. All are from the Third Division AIF, one of its three brigades (11th) and from the four battalions that made up the brigade. Sources are unit war diaries or the official histories of each battalion. Images are from unit war diaries, which shows how close the brigade was to the action.

3 Div HQ
In Appendix 104, mention of an Australian and US mixed force in August 1918 - see attached JPEG
During the afternoon, the III Corps, plus American troops, attacked again North of the SOMME and captured the CHIPILLY Spur, thus freeing the North flank of the Fourth Australian Division and enabling their left flank to push forward.
post-66620-0-16094500-1407758441_thumb.j
Recommendation: Download 4th Division AIF unit war diary to see as it has additional detail. Pages 5 and 6 mention the 131st attack and how they took over its command on 10 August until 19th August (http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/bundled/RCDIG1010816.pdf). Then, try the 13th Brigade unit war diary page 10 and appendices (http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/bundled/RCDIG1004610.pdf)
Note that the 11th Brigade relieved the 131st on 19th August at Chipilly.
11th Brigade, AIF
This afternoon the 131st Regt of Americans passed through the 174th English Brigade and continued the advance from MALARD WOOD at which point the English were held up yesterday, this operation entailed the capture of the village of Chippilly, a place strongly defended by the enemy machine guns. - Heavy shelling of the roads and approaches to Chipilly & Malard wood by enemy large calibre guns made the attack difficult but the fine spirit of the men prevailed and enemy were driven out of his MG positions and captured objectives gained. A fine view of the operation & battle was obtained by the Bgde situated only a mile away on Southern heights of River Somme.
41 Battalion
The Forty-First p 113.
In the afternoon the fight north of the Somme was viewed by us with more than passing interest, as our friends of the 4th July, the 131st U.S. Regiment, were engaged. We learnt afterwards that the stunt was fairly successful, but, as we had expected, their objective was obtained at terrible cost. During this fight our men, only too keen to assist their "Yank" friends, wheeled round the captured guns in the Cerisy Valley, and, under an artillery officer, put up a strafe on the enemy's back areas.
Unit War Diary
In the afternoon we had a good view of the attack by the Londoners and our old friends 131st U.S. Regiment, who were attached to us on the 4th July. The attack was North of the River and appeared to progress fairly well. later on we were advised it succeeded but our losses were heavy. ... An amusing incident during the attack North of the River was, our "diggers" only too willing to help our friends, under an artillery officer ran out the boche captured Field guns and fired on his back areas.
A Company, 41st Battalion: The Tommies were held up on the North of the "Somme" with the result that we were subject to some Whizz-bang fire over "open sights" for a few hours.
42 Battalion
No mention in 'The Spirit of the Forty-Second' or Unit War Diary
43 Battalion
While consolidating in Q18a, [map reference] considerable hostile shelling was coming from CHIPILLY district where guns had not been disturbed; this continued until 9 AM.
The Forty-Third
On the afternoon of the 9th the position north of the Somme was improved by an attack that the 131st Regiment of American troops launched, resulting in the capture of Malaard and Gressaird Woods, and the Chipilly Spur, overlooking Etinehem, the Battalion witnessing it from their trenches.
Unit War Diary
No mention, except for artillery fire from Chipilly Ridge.
"Eggs-a-Cook" Story of the Forty-Fourth
During the afternoon, American troops were pushed into action, and they cleared Marlard Wood, but only at the cost of very heavy losses.
post-66620-0-44067500-1407758443_thumb.j

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WhiteStarLine

Dana, this is of little relevance to you, but as my grandfather Eric was there and had a camera, I couldn't resist posting his picture of the railway bridge across the Somme, connecting the 1th Brigade and the 131st Regiment. We still treasure the album, the camera and his memory:

post-66620-0-36334900-1407759917_thumb.j

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supercooper

Stealth Raiders book.https://www.tracesmagazine.com.au/2017/08/stealth-raiders-the-forgotten-world-war-i-story/ Such a case was the capture of Chipilly Spur during the Allied August offensive. Monash claimed that Chipilly Spur was captured on his orders by an Australian brigade and the American 131st Regiment, after a British division had failed to take it. But the spur was actually captured by six Australians — two NCOs (non-commissioned officers) and four privates, using stealth raid tactics. Its capture on 9 August was the decisive moment of that battle. These types of scenarios are the crux of the book

IMG-20181111-WA0001.jpg

IMG-20181111-WA0003.jpg

IMG-20181111-WA0005.jpg

Edited by supercooper

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Peter Andrews
Posted (edited)

Sgt H.D.Andrews, my grandfather's hand written report on the raid carried out by 6 Australians on the 9th August 1918 which he submitted to the AWM Canberra

29/12/1929.

 

1985530651_Chipilly1.jpg.88a14d239ec198cc69bdb9814a103205.jpg

 

Chipilly 2.jpg

Chipilly 3.jpg

Chipilly 4.jpg

Chipilly 5.jpg

 

Chipilly 6.jpg

Chipilly 7.jpg

Harold Dudley Andrews Lt. orig WHS 3003-m008[5900].jpg

Sgt H.D. Andrews DCM 23 August 1918.jpg

Sgt H.D.Andrews DCM 23 August 1918.jpg

Edited by Peter Andrews

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Peter Andrews
Posted (edited)

Report on Chipilly.png

Pa's Medals.jpg

Sgt H.D.Andrews DCM. This is the DCM he was awarded for the capture of Chipilly August 9 1918

Edited by Peter Andrews

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