Campaign History of the 151e Régiment d'Infanterie - IV

~ 1914 ~



Operations in Belgium (11 November - 31 December)



11 November: The weather turns foul, with strong winds and heavy rains. The regiment is reconstituted in the rear into one battalion of three companies, with Capt. Clémendot in command, Sous-Lieut. Bannet commanding 1 Co. (remains of 1, 2, 3 Cos.), Sous-Lieut. Vincent commanding 2 Co. (remains of 4 Co.), and Capt. Pernet commanding 3 Co. (remains of 5 and 6 Cos. with Sous-Lieut Algarron, and 7 and 8 Cos. with Sous-Lieut. Complet). The PC of commanding officer is north of Zuydschote (Zuydschoote), 500 meters from the church. Capt. Gastal, assistant to Clémendot, is wounded by a shell fragment. Orders are given to assure the integral possession of the Yser canal and the Yperlée, and to reinforce the canal facing north and northwest. The total effectives of the 151 amount to barely 700 men in the trenches, which are located 150 meters to the north of the Stenstraate bridge on the left bank of the canal. The trenches themselves are in a deplorable condition, flooded with icy, muddy water a foot or more in depth. In some places, the trenches are waist deep in water.

  • Recorded losses for the regiment on 11 November are 1 killed and 14 wounded.

    Map showing Steenstraet - Lizerne sub-sector.


    12-15 November: The regiment works to fortify its first line, creating a belt of wire-entanglements on the left bank of the Yser canal, and constituting a second line on the Lizerne - Bernardplaats front. The right of the 42 DI has been disengaged because of the actions of the 20 CA. and the left by the actions of the 38 DI. However, the Germans appear to be making preparations to attack again and the regiment remains vigilant along its front. The German artillery keeps up an intense bombardment. The cold rain continues to fall. Though commanders consider relieving the units in the first line, the idea is abandoned due to lack effective reserves and also because the first line shelters are judged strong. Commandant Moisson of the 162 RI is temporarily put in command of the 151 RI.

  • Recorded losses for the regiment on 12 November are 8 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include: Sdts. Sylvain, Frémeaux, Membré, Barral, Torrel, Fourrier, Choplin, Héloin.

    The next day the situation is unchanged. The regiment continues to strengthen its positions under the most trying of circumstances. Mud and rain. The men, utterly exhausted, sleep standing up in the flooded trenches. Losses for the regiment are two men are wounded: Sdt. Mélan and Riéros.

    Commandant Bontin gives up command of the regiment and is evacuated to the rear for "reasons of health (general fatigue)." The horrible truth behing this statement is that, in all likelihood, Bontin was suffering from extreme emotional exhaustion, what today would be labeled as PTSD. Having endured months of physical and mental duress, after seeing so many of his young soldiers killed and maimed, and after supporting the unique pressures of command, Bontin had reached his limit. He left the field just as much of a casualty as any of his men who were evacuated from wounds or exhaustion. On 14 November, Commandant Bontin gives up command of the regiment and is evacuated to the rear for "reasons of health (general fatigue)." [The horrible truth behind this statement is that, in all likelihood, Bontin was suffering from extreme emotional exhaustion, what today would be labeled as PTSD. Having endured months of physical and mental duress, after seeing so many of his young soldiers killed and maimed, and after supporting the unique pressures of command, Bontin had reached his limit. He left the field just as much of a casualty as any of his men who were evacuated from wounds or exhaustion.]

    Bontin is replaced temporarily by Commandant Moisson (162 RI). Orders are given to reinforce the force at the front as undetectable as possible the largest force that could be mustered. A section from the 8 Co., which was resting at Stenstraate is sent back to the front. One man is killed: Cap. Bamblet.

    The following day the colonel commanding the 84 BI decides that the sub-sector will be commanded by the commander of the 151 RI. This sub-sector begins north of the Stenstraate bridge. Additional trenches are begun between the first and second lines during the night. Two men are wounded: Sdts. Defossez and Gareil.

  • The total effective of the regiment reaches the lowest number since the war began with only around 1,160 men and officers remaining.

    16-21 November: work continues on the trenches with the help of a half-section of engineers. Boyaux are traced but must be dug deeper. On 17 November a much-needed (though insufficient) detachment of reinforcements arrives form the 151 RI depot, which includes:
    4 officers and 2 adjudants: Capt. Payen, Lieut. Marngués, Sous-Lieuts. Sutanetti and Royer
    11 sergents
    25 caporaux
    90 veteran soldiers
    355 new recruits
    Total: 487 officers and men.

    On 18 November, Colonel Dillemann returns from being wounded (being nominated to regimental commander on 10 Nov.) and comes to take command of his unit from Commandant Moisson (162 RI). Dillemann takes account of the situation. He finds three companies constituting 1 Bat. (in the trenches north of Stenstraate bridge) and CHR (Compagnie Hors Rangs). There is no functioning machine-gun section. The detachment of reinforcements sent from the depot is stationed in the Fermes Maïs, Veryser, and Vau den Boche (near Lion Belge), which is at the disposition of the division general.

  • Colonel Dillemann rewards the Medaille Militaire to the following:
    Adjudant-Chef Chiarelli
    Adjudant-Chef Rougélorith
    Soldat 1e Classe Ragon

  • Also receiving Belgian decorations:
    Commandant Monphous (Commandant de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Commandant Pascal (Officier de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Capitaine Hameline (Officier de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Capitaine Tison (Chevalier de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Capitaine Ritter (Chevalier de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Adjudant-Chef Chiarelli (Croix de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Adjudant-Chef Rougélorith (Croix de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Sergent-Fourrier Godeau (Croix de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Sergent Baudet (Croix de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Sergent Boon (Croix de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Sodat 1e Classe Ragon (Croix de l'ordre royal de Léopold)
    Sodat 1e Classe Faroux (Croix de l'ordre royal de Léopold)

    The following day, Colonel Dillemann officially takes command of the regiment. One company of the 162 RI is put at the disposition of Dillemann to allow one of the companies of the 151 to pull off the front line and be formed into a newly reconstituted battalion. This company will reconstitute 1 and 4 Cos. The other two companies of the 151 remain in the trenches alone the Yser canal. Losses for this day include 2 wounded (Sdts. Delacroix and Gustave).

    On 20 November, 2 Co. is relieved by 1 Co. (now, 1 and 4 Cos.) and will constitute the new 2 and 5 Cos. The next day, the regiment begins sending out patrols on the right bank of the Yser canal to determine the exact positions of the German lines but are unsuccessful in the endeavor. The company on loan from the 162 RI is returned to its unit. The 3 Co/151 RI is pulled out of the trenches in order to reconstitute 3 and 7 Cos. The units now settle into their sector with two companies in the first line and two in the second line. The relief is carried out between 1630 and 1830 hrs and again the next morning between 0500 and 0700 hrs. Losses on this day include 1 killed (Sdt. Gressier) and 1 wounded (Sdt. Baron).

    The regiment, so ravaged from the fighting in the icy mud of Flanders, remains greatly under strength even despite the recent arrival of replacements. Until additional reinforcements are received on 17 December, the regiment is comprised of only two battalions, 1e Bataillon (1, 2, 3, 4 Cos.) and 2e Bataillon (5, 6, 7, 8 Cos.), and a separate 9e Company. 22-24 November: a large detachment of replacements (487 men, including 339 new recruits) arrives behind the regiment's front. The next day the regiment receives new rest billets further away from the firing line (Ferme Veryser and Ferme Debruque (sp?), where the new replacements are set up. The front of the regiment on the Yser canal is altered to allow for the departure of a squadron of the 8 Chasseurs à cheval. The 5 and 7 Cos. are pulled off the firing line to allow them to form the 6 and 8 Cos. The 1, 2, and 3 Cos. are pulled off the line so as to reform with the reinforcements, consisting of:

    Capitaine Aubert (wounded)
    Sous-Lieut. Riton (evacuated)
    2 adjudants
    92 sergents
    12 caporaux
    90 veterans
    31 marines (transfers)
    339 new recruits
    487 total: the regiment's effective is now around 2,100 officers and men.

  • Recorded losses for the regiment on 23 November are 1 killed (Sous-Lieut. Algarron) and 2 wounded (Cap. Chevalier, Sdt. Pogue).

    The regiments mission meanwhile remains unchanged, to make the front it holds along the Yser canal inviolable. On 24 November, 5 and 7 Cos. form into 6, 8, and 9 Cos. The 9 Co. is constituted with an effective of 205 men, while the other companies are 155 men strong. Losses on this day include two men wounded (Sdts. Chauveau and Pasque).

  • The regiment, so ravaged from the fighting in the icy mud of Flanders, remains greatly under strength even despite the recent arrival of replacements. Until additional reinforcements are received on 17 December, the regiment is comprised of only two battalions, 1e Bataillon (1, 2, 3, 4 Cos.) and 2e Bataillon (5, 6, 7, 8 Cos.), and a separate 9e Company.

    25-30 November: On 25 November the regiment's front is slightly modified, being extended to the left up to a little stream that runs perpendicular to the Yser canal, abutting a hamlet called Bernard-Platz (Bernardplaats). Despite the extension, it continues to keep two companies in the first line and two companies in the second line, with two more in reserve. The other companies are at the disposition of the division commander (General Duchêne became commander of 42 DI on 7 November, replacing Grossetti). The wire-entanglement is greatly strengthened on the left bank of the Yser canal. Nothing to note on 26 November except that one man is wounded (Sdts. Prévateau).

    On 27 November, Adjudant Ottavi (4 Co.) leads a night patrol over the Stenstraate bridge to scout the terrain before the regiment's front. It attracts a brisk fire from the Germans but manages to ascertain the exact line of German sentinels. The patrollers are forced to conceal themselves behind tree trunks for 3 hours when a German reconnaissance goes out in search for them. Caught between the German patrol and the river at its back, the situation is precarious for some time. Eventually the patrol is able to make it back to the bridge and reenters their lines without suffering any casualties.

    The next evening a section goes out on reconnaissance, lead by Adjudant Rougélovitch (3 Co.) using the intelligence provided by Adjudant Ottavi and passing over the bridge to the right bank of the river. The patrol is quickly welcomed by a fusillade of German infantry fire, obliging it to fall back across the river. Once again, no losses are suffered. These patrols demonstrated that possibility of having small detachments occupy the right bank of the Yser canal up to around 100 meters and without suffering significant losses. Subsequently, on the night of 29-30 November (between 2000 and 0300 hrs), the regiment sends out a section to hold the right bank during which time a section of engineers erects a wire-entanglement on the right bank. The entanglement covers the 83 BI sector starting at the Stenstraate bridge, 600 meters of entanglements being constructed. The units receive the congratulations of General Duchêne for the reconnaissance performed on the previous two evenings. Losses include one man is killed (Sdt. Roche).

    Construction on the wire-entanglements continue on 30 November. A lively fusillade erupts from the right side of the sector around 2100 hrs, provoked by movements in the neighboring sector. A handful of officers being transferred from other units arrive with the 151. These include:
    Chef de Bataillon Debieuvre (from a bat. of Senegalese Tirailleurs)
    Capitaine Gillet (from the 323 RIR)
    Capitaine d'Avant (from the 257 RIR)
    Capitaine Mortas (from the 234 RIR)

    1-4 December: Normal reliefs are carried out between the companies in the first and second line trenches. A section continues to protect the engineers who continue to organize the entanglements on the right bank of the river, the wire now reaching the sector of the 16 BCP. The following day the same reliefs are conducted. The 151 is no longer responsible for guarding the engineers as they work. The two companies in the first line send out three patrols, which progress up to the line of German sentinels but no further owing to the enemy gunfire. Colonel Dillemann (commanding the 151) studies the organization of a third line of defense that runs to the right of the moulin de Zuydschote and Kammelback (Kemmelbeek), winding between the Kammelback (Kemmelbeek) stream and the village of Pypegaële (Pijpegale), then to the east of the Zuydschote - Pypegaële railway, at a distance varying between 50-100 meters from the road. The regiment receives three more officers from other units: Commandant Frèrejean (from a bat. of Senegalese Tirailleurs)
    Capitaine Remy (from the 235 RIR)
    Adjudant Saint Hillier (from the 235 RIR)

    On 3 December, aside from the normal reliefs, General Duchêne congratulates the patrol leaders of the regiment who had conducted such useful reconnaissance in the previous evenings. That evening patrols are again sent out to the right bank. Losses on this day include one man wounded (Sdt. Charles Lefébvre).

    Throughout the night of 3-4 December, the units in the first line are kept on high-alert as the units to their left conduct an attack the Maison de Passeur. The PC of the colonel is bombarded during this attack, forcing it to relocate to Ferme Hoveck.

  • Recorded losses for the regiment on 4 December are 1 killed and 9 wounded, most from 8 Co. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
    Killed: Sdt. Bidaux.
    Wounded: Sdts. Chardaut, Fresnel, Vanhuyse, Olivier, Caran, Gonyet, Wafflard, Brusselle, Postal (postman) Emile.

    5-9 December: During the night, the regiment is relieved of its sector that it had occupied for the last month by fusiliers-marins commanded by Amiral (Admiral) Ronarc'h. At 2200 hrs, the 151 march to Zuydschote to Boesinghe (Boezinge), where it holds the half-sector of the Moroccan Division, extending from the 3 road marker on the Bixchoote - Langemark Road to a small woods located 500 meters northeast of Het Sas. Three companies are to man the first line trenches, with one company in the second line center of resistance. 2 Bat. goes to billet at Noordschock as 1 Bat. (along with 9 Co.) provides enters the trenches and discovers they are in a deplorable state.

    The situation remains unchanged for the next two days. The men spend all day and all night of 6-7 December bailing out their trenches, which are filled with 12 to 20 inches of water. On the night of 7 December, 1, 2, and 3 Cos. send out patrols to make contact with the German advance-posts. Owing to the slippery ground, the sprinkling of small trees, and the pitch darkness, the patrols are unable to establish contact with the enemy, although managing to attract their gunfire.

    On 8 December, the regiment is informed that it will be changing sectors, shifting to the southeast of Ypres. 2 Bat., which had been at rest and under the disposition of Genereal Duchêne, is ordered by the general to proceed to the area of Vlamerdinghe (Vlamertinge) (excluded) - Ypres - Zillebeke - Ferme Van der Mollen (Verbranden Mollen) - Kruisstraat (Kruisstraathoek). 1 Bat. and 9 Co. must wait to be relieved by units of 20 CA. This relief is effected at 2200 hrs and 1 Bat. and 9 Co. go to billet at Boesinghe. Meanwhile, at 2100 hrs, the Germans launch an attack which is stopped an hour by French artillery.

    On 9 December, 1 Bat. and 9 Co. departs Boesinghe at 0630 hrs passing through Elverdinghe (Elverdinge) bivouac in the Bois d'Oorthock. In the event, due to heavy rains these units would set themselves up in the farms around the woods. At 1500 hrs, the units were back on the march toward Ypres and are then directed onto Zillebeke. Once there, 1 Bat. occupies shelters in the third line alongside other units of 42 DI. The regiment was thus established as follows:

    Left sub-sector:
    1st line: two companies of 2 Bat.
    2nd line: two companies of 2 Bat.
    3rd line: 1 Bat. in reserve

    General-staff at Ferme Bondry northeast of Zillebecke (Zillebeke), 9 Co. sent to 83 BI sector. Losses on this day include one man wounded (Sdt. Eloi).

    Map showing Ypres sector of operations for the 151 RI in December 1914.


    10 December: At 1100 hrs, German forces attacked the right side of the sector (84 BI) being held by 162 RI at the same time as the left side of the sector of 38 DI, which bends back before giving way. The attack extends to the left sub-sector held by the right most company of 2 Bat/151 RI. French artillery and infantry fire succeeded in pushing back the attacking German infantry back to their own trenches.

    Despite this, first one then the other of the two companies (likely 5 and 7 Cos. of 2 Bat/151 RI) in the second line of the left sub-sector (commanded by Capitaine Mortas and Rémy, respectively), followed by 4 Co., are put under Commandant Moisson's (162 RI) orders. Before any of these companies can arrive to assist, the Germans relaunch their attack, causing the neighboring unit of zouaves to give way. German infantry penetrates into the right trenches of the 162 RI and succeed in taking 300 meters of trenches.

    At 1600 hrs, a company from 2 Bat/151 RI arrives followed soon after by 4 Co., which stymies the German advance and allows the commander of 1 Bat/162 RI to organize a defense on his second line. At 2200 hrs, three companies of 1 Bat/151 RI (under command of Commandant Frèrejean) launch a counter-attack, successively striking the enemy's right (3 Co.), center (1 and 2 Cos., under Capitaine Clémendot) and (as it is believed at the time) retaking the trenches previously lost to the enemy.

  • Recorded losses for the regiment on 10 December are 13 killed, 38 wounded (including Capitaine Rémy, Adjudant Hilié, Adjudant Lidove), and 27 missing. Most of the 88 recorded casualties are from 1 and 4 Cos. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
    Killed: Sgt-Major Cudelou, Sgt. Caron, Cap. Cojean, Sdts. Basthe, Gérard, Boutier, Lefevre (Alphonse), Fougny, Charlin, Testard, Herbault, Rambure, Godelet.
    Wounded: Sgts. Lamy, Benoit, Toussaint; Caps. Ségard, Desmous, Verdun; Sdts. Fromeaux, Acquaire, Brumault,Boussac, Charbonnet, Gallois, Piat, Chaviguac, Guilbert, Guiguin, Flanquart, Bouchu, Kusberg, Lemaire, Goffin, Brumet, Gallot, Brigier, Surry, Famot, Ledez, Duval, Lecranand, Baudel.
    Missing: Cap. Menet, Bertin, Leche, Bublous, Pinel, Grenet, Citerne, Lecoq, Pellat, Lefévre, Rémy, Longuchay, Lefévre, Goujou, Duchat, Carpentier, Laurent (Joseph), Laurent (Louis), Flacquetif, Herzeron, Hellart, Harochamps, Lambrecq, Lecontre, Houssoy, Langélus, Bertaux.
    Besides these, Sous-Lieutenant de Sainte Croix is also evacuated for unspecified reasons.

    Sous-Lieutenant Bamdelier (sp?) arrives from the 151 RI depot, along with two sergent-fouriers, 1 caporal, 1 sergent-mitrailleur, 1 caporal sergent-mitrailleur, and 5 soldats-mitrailleurs (10 gunners total).

    11 December: At 0330 hrs, Capitaine Clémendot corrects the initial report on ground conquered. In reality, the fire trenches lost the day before remained in enemy hands and that only the trenches located 150-200 meters behind the boyaux had been retaken. A second attack is launched without immediate success. At 0530 hrs, Commandant Moisson reports that at this time it was no longer possible to get reinforcements (sent by the colonel commanding 83 BI [162 RI, 16 BCP]) into place before daylight and retake the lost trenches.

    1 Bat/151 RI is kept in the first line and the two companies of 2 Bat. in second line move back to their positions in the left sub-sector. In the evening, Commandant Moisson will try again to recapture the fire trenches with two companies of 16 BCP but the efforts again prove unsuccessful.

  • Recorded losses for the regiment on 11 December are 2 killed, 8 wounded, and 1 missing. Killed: Capitaine Mortas (5 Co.), SHR Aimand
    Wounded: Sous-Lieutenant Riton; Cap. Luxemburger; Sdts. Lafrogne, Roger, Giraud, Fouquenelle, Boil, Evrard, Godéricure.
    Missing: Sdt. Laporte

    12 December: 1 Bat (Commandant Frèrejean) is relieved and sent to billets at Kruisstraat. 2 Bat. (Commandant Debieuvre) is relieved by 94 RI and sent to billets southeast of Vlamerdinghe. Losses on this day include 17 killed and 26 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include: Killed: Cap.-Fourrier H--, Cap. Schid; Sdts. Flambry, Lefébvre, Grignon, Lallemand, Lagroux, Duisant, Fumere, Lamoir, Fayelle, Foulon (Bénouiex), Boukols, Canel, Daulbot, Herman, Paincelot, Maraille.
    Wounded: Sdts. Blandot, Portemant, Lefebvre (L.), Bantuguire, Guichard, Cochaud, Blangmarque, Bramd, Meignotte, Lancelin, Badarelli, Creur (sp?), Legros, Moulard, Dutort, Coxan, Bulet, Gacquen, Willot, Leclercq, Morizet, Gris, Pierlot, Flanquart, Billet.

    A detachment of reinforcements constituted solely of machine-gunners arrives, allowing the personnel (approx. 30 men) of the two machine-gun sections to be reconstituted though the necessary equipment is still not present.

    13 December: 9 Co. is in reserve at the Tuilerie of Zillebeke. Losses on this day include 4 killed, 2 wounded, and 5 missing. The casualties recorded in the JMO include: Killed: Sgt. Blin; Sdts. Liscot, Grauselle, Fermand, Marq.
    Wounded: Sdts. Roysette, Lefévre (Albert).
    Missing: Sdts. Haussaire, Lecontre, Bonchigny, Dronet.

    14 December: 9 Co. remains in reserve at Zillebeke. 1 Bat. is ordered to be at the railway shelters at 0630 hrs, while 2 Bat. is to be at the charity asylum (asile de bienfaisance) at the same time, both in reserve of 42 DI. The sector is held by the 2 and 3 Bats. of 162 RI, and 2 Bat/94 RI. At this time, the 16 BCP with a battalion of the 94 RI will attack the German trenches on Côte 60 and environs between the railway and the Zillebeke - Kleine Road (Zillebeke included). The results of this attack are summed up in the JMO as simply not successful. No further details are provided yet the 151 suffers significant losses, presumably from German artillery fire.

  • Recorded losses for the regiment on 14 December are 15 killed, 18 wounded, and 8 missing. All of the 41 casualties were sustained in the 3, 4, and 9 Cos. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
    Killed: .
    Wounded: .
    Missing: .

    The attack is brought to an abrupt stop before it has a chance to go off when French artillery unleashes a bombardment on their own trenches. The positions held by 2 Bat/151 RI are hit by this fire as well. Nonetheless, General Duchêne orders the attack to proceed as ordered and the attack units must advance through their own artillery fire. The result of the ill-fated attack is not recorded. 15 December: In the evening, 2 Bat/151 RI relieves 2 Bat/162 RI in the second line of the right sector, with one company to the right of the railway. 1 Bat/151 RI relieves 2 Bat/94 RI in the first line of the same sub-sector. 9 Co. is billeted at Zillebeke. The attack on the German fortin and trenches is renewed by the same battalion of 94 RI and two companies of 162 RI. The attack is brought to an abrupt stop before it has a chance to go off when French artillery unleashes a bombardment on their own trenches. The positions held by 2 Bat/151 RI are hit by this fire as well. Nonetheless, General Duchêne orders the attack to proceed as ordered and the attack units must advance through their own artillery fire. The result of the ill-fated attack is not recorded. Losses for the regiment on this day include 30 killed and 32 wounded, most in 1 and 4 Cos.

    16 December: No change except that the 1 Machine-Gun Section receives all new material allowing it to be fully functional and is put at the disposition of the right sub-sector commander. Sous-Lieutenant Bourdelier, commanding the sub-sector, is killed while positioning the gun in the fire trench near the Steenstraet bridge. 9 Co. is sent to the Zillebeke asylum where it meets a reinforcement detachment of men transferred from the 148 RI [ostensibly from the regimental depots at Givet and Rocroi in the Ardennes], which permit the 9 and 10 Cos. of the regiment to be reconstituted. [Author's note: the JMO first records the number of reinforcements as 215 troops constituted as detailed immediately below. However, the next day a nearly identical number will be recorded and then revised later in the day. It is therefore posited here that the true total number and composition of this reinforcement will come to 300 - see notes below]:
    1 adjudant
    6 sergents
    1 fourrier
    9 caporaux
    198 new recruits

    In the morning, a new attack on the German fortin and trenches is launched by a battalion of the 162 RI and another of the 94 RI but ends in only further slaughter. The few survivors crawl back to the lines at nightfall. Losses for the 151 on this day include 4 killed, 8 wounded, and 1 missing. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
    Killed: Lieutenant Mourgués, Sous-Lieutenant Bourdelier; Cap. Delettre, Sdts. Guyot, Hazebrouck.
    Wounded: Capitaine d'Avant, Sdts. Réal, Lefévre (Albert), Leclercq (Urbain), Georges (Léon), Senet, Sonneville, Herbo.
    Missing: Sdt. Bruzard.

    17 December: 1 and 2 Bats. remain in the trenches. Reconnaissance in force are carried out by neighboring units several times towards the German lines to harass them and to assist in a new attack. Advanced listening posts are established along the ground taken on 15-16 December. Losses for the 151 on this day include 4 wounded and 4 missing. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
    Wounded: Sdts. Gallois, Lejeune, Trébeune, Petit.

    As mentioned above, an entry appears here in the JMO noting that a reinforcement detachment had arrived earlier consisting of 214 troops from the 148 RI and constituted as detailed immediately below. [Author's note: the assumption here is that the earlier figure was being amended.]
    Sous-Lieutenant Bérail
    2 sergents-fourriers
    6 sergents
    8 caporaux
    198 soldats

    Finally, at the end of the day the JMO notes that 300 reinforcements had arrived into the unit, permitting 3 Bat. to fully reconstitute itself. [Note: The conclusion then is that this is the actual number of replacement troops that had been received into the regiment. As an aside, if these differing figures (214, 215, 300) are not treated as duplicative and corrective in nature, by January 1915 the theoretical total effective would far exceed the normal effective of a line regiment. This is especially true given that a similar instance would follow a few days later.]

    18 December: 3 Bat. remains at the disposition of the colonel commanding 83 BI and occupies first line trenches in the right sector. 1 and 2 Bats. will depart the sector in the night to go to rest in billets, with 1 Bat. going to Kruistraat (two companies in the farms south of the seminary). Before pulling out, 1 Bat. opens a slow fire at 1730 hrs on the enemy trenches, which it keeps up until 1745 hrs. A section conducts a raid on the German fortin, with three men managing to nearly reach the words before being obliged to fall back under heavy enemy machine-gun fire. Colonel Dillemann is replaced by the Lieutenant-Colonel Moisson of 162 RI. Losses for the 151 on this day include 2 wounded (Sdts. Ygonet and Guillaume).

    Another reinforcement detachment arrives which the JMO initially records as 289 troops (mostly coming from [the depot of] 147 RI at Sedan in the Ardennes) and consisting of:
    1 adjudant
    1 fourrier
    9 sergents
    10 caporaux
    52 veterans
    140 new recruits
    76 marines

    19-23 December: 1 and 2 Bats. reform at Kruistraat and in the farms south of the seminary, making up the reserve of the 42 DI. Losses for the 151 on 19 December include 2 killed (Sdts. Lasser (Théophile) and Hansoy (Gustave)) and 4 wounded (Sdts. Miel (Emile), Batillot, False, Dorvillers).

    The next day two companies of 2 Bat. billeted at Kruistraat are ordered to change billets to the farms south of the seminary to escape shelling. Losses for the 151 on 20 December include 11 wounded and 1 missing. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
    Wounded: Cap. Poidevin, Sdts. Tauzé (Yves), Droitte, Foveau (Octave), Miel (Emile), Batillot, False, Dorvillers, Fronty (Jules), Delatte (Hector), Coquet, Livermeaux, Koeger (Gaston), Gobert (Adolphe), Lemoin.
    Missing: Sdt. Antoine.

    On 21 December, 3 Bat. departs the trenches of 83 BI and goes to rest in the farms to the north and west of Kruistraat. 2 Bat. is put at the disposition of the Lieutenant-Colonel Moisson (162 RI) in the first line of the left sector of 84 BI. 1 and 3 Bats. remain in place. 5 Co. (commanded by Sous-Lieutenant Sainte-Croix) takes possession of the hamlet of Zwartelen (Zwarte Leen, beside Hill 60) during the night. Losses for the 151 on this day include 1 killed (Sdt. Bourgeois), 4 wounded (Sdts. Beauvillers, Legros, Delgutte, Laguier), 1 missing (Sdt. Lavoix).

    The JMO notes here that two detachments of reinforcements have arrived: the detachment arrived the 18 December of 289 troops and a newly arrived detachment of 295 troops. Both of these groups are divvied up among the 12 companies of the regiment. A final entry then follows shortly thereafter stating that 668 reinforcements had arrived to the regiment. [Author's note: it is therefore assumed here that the actual number of reinforcements received on 20-21 December is 668].

  • The following individuals are cited in the Orders of the Army: Soldats Delplace, Brassart, Calmé, Catton, Cunot.

    On 22 December, 1 Bat. goes back up to the trenches, in the second line on the right of the sub-sector (under the orders of Capitaine Chamaillard). Commandant Frèrejean falls ill and Colonel Dillemann takes command of the infantry forces in the sector, Lieutenant-Colonel Moisson remaining attached. Patrols are sent out at night. Losses for the 151 on this day include 1 killed (Sdt. Rousseau), 4 wounded (Cap. Guillin, Sdts. Conchard, Guellec, Touny), 1 missing (Sdt. Rafidal).

    The situation remains unchanged the next day. 8 Co. is sent to strengthen 5 Co. positions at Zwartelen. Patrols are sent out again at night to make contact with the enemy. Losses for the 151 on this day include 1 killed, 10 wounded, 1 missing. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
    Killed: Sdt. Houssay.
    Wounded: Sdts. Lesne (Ferdinand), Delacourt (Jules), Brodeur, Locquet, Marion, Brisiaux, Hespel, Braumann, Dormoy, Haudoire.
    Missing: Sdt. Bernet.

    24-28 December: 7 Co. goes out on patrol to reconnoiter for a raid at the Bois de Zwartelen. The company runs into numerous abatis, which impede any further progress. The patrol encounters 56 dead Germans, all veteran soldiers from the 78 Infantry Reg. 3 Bat. comes into line to the right of 1 Bat. in the second line, while 1 Bat. moves up to the first line. The sector is organized into three sectors: left, center, right. Losses for the 151 on this day include 1 wounded (Sdt. Drouet (Auguste)).

    The next day, Christmas Day, 2 Bat. departs the first line trenches on the left, being replaced by 162 RI and goes into reserve of the division. Two companies are at the asylum and two at Kruistraat. The evening reliefs of December 26 are greatly harassed by German fire and are subsequently delayed until 0600 hrs. Losses for the 151 on the 26 December include 1 killed (Sgt. Dorleant), 1 wounded (Sdt. Galliat), and 3 missing (Sdts. Luc, Lecontre, Gronillin (sp?)).

    On 27 December, 1 Bat/151 RI is relieved at 0600 hrs by 3 Bat/162 RI excepting 1 Machine-Gun Section (1 Bat/151 RI), which remains in place. 9 co, which was to the right of the railway, goes into reserve in the little woods in the sector. 1 Bat. sends two companies to the Tuilerie of Zillebeke and two to the asylum. the other units of the regiment remain in place, opening a heavy fire at 0645 hrs. The two companies at Zillebeke carry out numerous chores between Zillebeke and the first lines of the right and center sub-sectors in preparation for a new attack on the German fortin, which the engineers are busy mining. Losses for the 151 on the 27 December include 2 killed (Sdts. Harmand (Eugene), Blanchet (Maurice)) and 5 wounded (Sdts. Jandin (Edouard), Cochard (Julien), Bégin (Ylisse), Tordeux (Lucien), Lebrun (Henri)).

    The following day, 2 Bat. relieves 3 Bat. in the second line in the right sub-sector. Commandant Debieuvre is put in command of the sub-sector as the battalion of the 162 RI in the first line is only commanded by a lieutenant. Losses for the 151 on the 27 December include 3 killed (Adj. Vermont; Cap. Bertin; Sdts. Pournin (Abel), Hengesck (Camille)), 6 wounded (Sdts. Peureux, Beaucé, Hubert, Van de Ville, Semail) and 5 missing (Sdts. Danérin, Gillet, Haussaire (Cyrille), Piette, Hayard).

    29-31 December: 1 Bat/151 RI relieves 1 Bat/162 RI in the center sub-sector. 4 Co. suffers losses from a German minenwerfer. The German fortin is to be attacked by a mine, artillery fire, and an infantry assault. Counter-orders are given but the mine goes off at 1330 hrs. The 151 is told to prepare to depart the sector during the night. The battalions make their way off the line, 3 Bat. at 1530 hrs and 1 and 2 Bats. at 2200 hrs. after being relieved by 2 BCP and 4 BCP. Losses for the 151 on the 29 December are 2 wounded (Sdts. Donnaint, Dejoie).

    By the early morning of 30 December, the entire regiment is billeted to the south of the Vlamerdinghe - Poperinghe road within Ferme Billon - Busseboom (excluded) - Hagebaert Saint Jean (excluded). Losses for the 151 on the 30 December are 1 killed (Sdt. Perrini) and 1 wounded (Sdt. Bennet).

    The next morning, 31 December, the regiment being completely reconstituted sets off in column of division to Wemaers-Cappel by way of Abele and Cassel (France), crossing the Belgian-French border at 0600 hrs and arrives at it billets at 1300 hrs.

  • The JMO notes the execution of an unnamed NCO for abandoning his post in the face of the enemy. The soldier in question was Sergent-Fourrier Ernest Camus (8 Co.), class of 1900, from Buironfosse (Aisne) and recruited at St. Quentin. Camus was "Fusillé pour l'exemple" at Poperinghe on 31 December 1914. His full dossier, including personal papers, soldier booklet, photos, and the official documentation of his court martial can be found here and death certificate here).



    In the 17 weeks of fighting in 1914, the 151 RI has suffered about 4,000 casualties, a loss of 130%. The deadliest period was the 3 weeks from 24 October to 12 November when 1,800 men were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner (600/week). The regiment was sustained by the over 4,000 replacements that had circulated into the unit starting from the end of August. These reinforcements included reservists who'd served in the 151 during the active duty prior to the war, new recruits of the class of 1914, and recuperated active soldiers and reservists who'd been wounded but were fit enough to return to service. In 1914, only 834 of the 4,000 replacements were noted as being "jeunes soldats," new recruits, from the class of '14 (arriving on 17 and 23 Nov. and 18 Dec.), though this number could potentially be higher.

    Table showing casualties suffered, replacements received, and number of effectives in the regiment for 1914. The fixed black line represents the approximate total effective of a line regiment at full strength. These figures are drawn from the JMO and cannot be taken as exact. Official casualty reports are not available to the author at this time. The number effectives in the ranks is determined solely based on the losses recorded in the JMO, so the actual number may vary somewhat from what is shown. Nonetheless, the chart serves to show the overall trends in losses and the strength of the regiment during this period.


    This chart shows the source where replacement troops (reinforcements) were drawn from in 1914. In cases where the originating unit was not specified in the JMO, it has been assumed here that the replacements had come from the home unit, the 151 RI.


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