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Remembered Today:

French equipment superior?


PhilB

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The extract below is from Eisenhower`s book "Yanks". It`s a claim I haven`t seen before and I`ve no idea whether it`s true. Any ideas? Phil B

PS And the bit about the most difficult tasks?

post-2329-1114250491.jpg

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I think this statement to be rather innaccurate. America made quite a lot of the allied kit and supplied hundreds of vehicles ,rifles and artillery pieces. So far as the divisions mentioned as having crossed the Atlantic and being employed as early as April 1917 I think is wistful thinking. I shall check my books and see what numbers I can find.

Roop

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Yes, The first American division arrived in France around 25th June and by the end of September numbered 4406 officers and 57125 men. They first went into the line on the 21st October 1917 in a quiet sector. This division was mainly equipped with borrowed kit of both French and British origin albeit possibly manufactured in the US.

By Decemebr 31st 1917 the AEF numbered 9804 officers and 165080 men.This included an additional 4 divs under training. Only the one div was in the line at this time.

Eisenhowers comments depend greatly upon which year he speaks of?? Certainly 1918.

Roop

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I would have thought the French Light Renault tank would be O.K, the 75mm was a damn good field gun, but the French infantry rifle and their peronal equipment was little short of a joke.

How the ordinary French soldier did so well with what they were given beats me.

Oh and by the way the famous American Sgt York used a British designed P17 "Enfield" rifle in .30" -06, not a Springfield as depicted on the film.

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Roop,

I think the reference was that the American Army was opnly 200000 strong in April 1917 not that they started to deploy in that month.

"Oh and by the way the famous American Sgt York used a British designed P17 "Enfield" rifle in .30" -06, not a Springfield as depicted on the film."

This actually still has a bit of controversy. I don't know either way, but York's son has said that his father clearly stated he carried a Springfield. There is also other circumstancial evidence like this. Unfortunetely, in York's own writings he doesn't explicitly state what type rifle he carried. The only rifle he does mention is being issued a British rifle he did not like when he arrived in France. This reference is 100% to being issued an SMLE. His division was one of the 10 Division scheme. The 82nd was training by the 66th Division Cadre in the St-Valery area. The 82nd was issued SMLE's temporarily until training was coomplete. What I don't know is what the 82nd was issued before or after.

Joe Sweeney

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The French 75 was considered a superior fieldpiece as was the Renault tank. I can't speak for aircraft as I don't know much about them.

As far as the US troops being 'given' the most difficult tasks I disagree. Pershing insisted on attacking in the Argonne knowing it would be difficult, he pushed for a US attack there against the advice of the Allies.

It's not an accurate statement.

Take care,

Neil

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This reference is 100% to being issued an SMLE. His division was one of the 10 Division scheme. The 82nd was training by the 66th Division Cadre in the St-Valery area. The 82nd was issued SMLE's temporarily until training was coomplete. What I don't know is what the 82nd was issued before or after.

Joe.

To quote from The Official History of 82nd Division ,American Expeditionary Force by "Divisional Officers designated by the Divisional Commander"....

Page 12 (June 1918)... "The Lee-Enfield rifles ,to which the troops had just become accustomed, and the Lewis automatic rifles and Vickers machine guns were turned back to the British, and the U.S.1917 Rifle (Eddystone) was reissued...".

Dave.

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Was the Chauchat MG included in those "superior French arms"? Probably the worst machine gun ever issued to any army in history. And the Renault tank was only effective because the Germans never did field a viable tank to oppose it. They were reliable, but would have been useless against any real opposition. Then, too, the French foisted off the Nieuport 28 on the Americans when their own forces rejected it. With friends like that, you hardly need enemies.

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As a matter of interest one of the first US soldiers toland in France is buried in the Thiaucourt - St. Mihiel cemetery.

Unfortunately, the reason for his deat is unknown. His record merely states, 'other causes'.

Anyone who would like the details, please get in touch.

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