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Remembered Today:

US 29th Div 116th Inf Advance


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Over the past year I have been researching the soldiers on my local war memorial, all of whom were KIA in the Great War. One of the gentleman was a 2nd Lt in the US 29 Inf Div 116th, who was KIA in the Meuse-Argonne offensive on 16 Oct 1918. Pal Niel Burns (thanks!) lent me his CD of the 29th Inf Div history, which until recently I had only read the text and not the maps. (Silly me, and a sacraledge I know). Anyway I wanted to share what I've found.

Attached is a map of the actions for the particular unit 2nd Lt Lyon was in when he was killed. I have edited the image to highlight his particular units movement over the last week of his life.

The yellow lines are the divisional boundaries.

The red line and black circle is the position of his specific division a particular day. The first day is at the bottom of the map and as the fighting moves the red line positions move north as the Germans retreat.

Between the yellow circle and the next red line (15 - 16 Oct) is where my soldier was killed. As you notice the bubbles all shift dramatically to the right at this point. Also if you notice the other bubble/neighboring division (which were US troops) actually shift right enough to come into the line of fire as 116th advances. I am sure there are a lot of friendly fire casualties on this day. I do know that 2Lt Lyon was killed while trying to bring in a wounded camrade and was post humously awarded the DSC and a promotion in rank.

This area is NW of Verdun and the La Bois Grande Montagne and Molleville Farm on the closest geographical features. This is also only a part of the map, but the unit's advance is detailed from the jumping off on 8 Oct just north of Samogneux.



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Thanks for sharing Andy. Very interesting. I'm glad you could find someone with the Divisional history.


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Here is his story from the local VFW archives...

Lt. John Lyon was a Platoon Leader in the 116th Machine Gun Battalion, 116th Infantry Battalion, 58th Infantry Brigade, 29th Infantry Division, Army Expeditionary Force. The 116th Infantry Battalion lost 255 men KIA and 1005 WIA. John Lyon was killed on 16 October 1918 near the village of Samogneaux, France. The 116th Infantry Battalion had been advancing toward Le Bois de la Grande Montagne, or the Large Mountain Woods. In the early morning on the 16th, under the cover of a thick fog, the 116th Infantry Battalion made a final “push” towards the woods. During the day, Lt. Lyon, along with two enlisted comrades, stopped to aid a fellow soldier who was wounded. They were all killed. The 116th reached their objective at 7 pm on the 16th. Lt. John Lyon was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously for his actions that day.

--- Didier de Roland and George E. Carter

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