Campaign History of the 151e Régiment d'Infanterie - VI
~ 1915 ~
In the Argonne - Part II (1 March - 5 May)
1 March: Around 0700 hrs, after an intense bombardment with artillery and mortars, the Germans explode two mines in front of Blanleuil, hitting the first line with blinding gas and quickly penetrate the works. Capitaine Carré commanding 7 Co. is seriously wounded. Lieutenant Martin of 8 Co. is struck by a bullet in the chest and drops lifeless. The enemy takes advantage of the blow to the 7 Co. and 1 Platoon/8 Co. and looks to penetrate the second line. Capitaine Remy and Lieutenant Barnier (8 Co.) organize the resistance behind the second line, where their company has been reinforced. These two companies resist enemy attacks for the rest of the day.
The 6 Co. in reserve to the right supports the remains of 7 Co. and stands firm all day, while 5 Co. energetically fights back from its positions in Ravin Sec. The 3 Bat. is sent up from La Harazée to assist 2 Bat. The 11 and 12 Cos. are ordered to counter-attack at 1000 hrs, with 12 Co. on the right and 11 Co. on the left. The 9 and 10 Cos. are sent to occupy the third line as a precautionary measure. Foolishly, the lines of 11 and 12 Cos. set off through the undergrowth outside of the trenches and are quickly forced to the ground by German machine-gun fire sweeping the Ravin Sec, the left side of la Sapinière, and Blanleuil. Their second assault lines are forced in echelon behind the first. In the short time of their advance in front of the third line, 11 Co. loses 3 officers wounded and 50% of its effective killed or wounded.
On 1 March, around 0700 hrs, after an intense bombardment with artillery and mortars, the Germans explode two mines in front of Blanleuil, hitting the first line with blinding gas and quickly penetrate the works...[In a counter-attack] the 11 and 12 Cos. foolishly set off through the undergrowth outside of the trenches and are quickly forced to the ground by German machine-gun fire sweeping the Ravin Sec, the left side of la Sapinière, and Blanleuil...In the short time of their advance in front of the third line, 11 Co. loses 3 officers wounded and 50% of its effective killed or wounded. Around 0030 hrs, Commandant Debieuvre, commander of the east sub-sector, learns that the Germans holding the descending slope of Blanleuil and halts the movement of a platoon from 9 Co. (leaving from the third line) and places the other platoon near his PC. 10 Co. remains in the third line. In the meantime, two companies of the 162 RI are sent from La Harazée. One platoon from the first company is sent to the left from where it indicates German inflitrations between the north and east faces of the sub-sector. The other platoon is stopped close to Commandant Debieuvre's PC. The second company sets up in the third line.
The troops remain in this situation, lying prone because of the constant German machine-gun fire, until the moment when a counter-attack will be launched. At nightfall, the entire line moves forward to the crest until is starts to lose its way at the base, where the counter-attack grinds down. Here, the group resolves to create a new line behind Blanleuil.
At 1900 hrs, an intense French artillery barrage opens up on the southern part of the trenches conquered by the Germans earlier. Two companies of the 162 RI attack the German positions in the general direction of northeast, with one company making the principal attack. After encountering a short fusillade from the enemy, the attack progresses quickly and succeeds in retaking the first and second line trenches back. The various units of the 151 RI bordering the position follow in the wake of the assault elements of the 162 RI, moving up on the right and left of it to help in retaking most of the trenches lost earlier in the day. The 6 and 12 Co. play a significant part in this, along with the remains of 7, 8, and 11 Cos.
4 Co. (Sous-Lieut. Vincent), which occupied the second line on the north front, has also had a difficult task. It must protect its left throughout the day against German attacks descending down Blanleuil and threatening it right flank. At the same time, it must pull back its right and install itself in echelon. During the course of the day, numerous remarkable exploits are carried out, particularly by Sergents Taverne (6 Co.), Jauset (7 Co.), Guene (11 Co.) (these men will later receive the Médaille Militaire -- see note below). The following individuals are cited in the Orders of the Army:
Colonel Dillemann, Capitaine Pernet, Lieutenant Bonnet, Sous-Lieutenant Chedal-Bornu, Caporal Grard (2 Co.), Soldats Leberte (2 Co.), Juserey (4 Co.), Husson (4 Co.), Leclercq (3 Co.).
Losses for the regiment on 1 March include 37 killed (including Lieut. Martin of 8 Co.), 220 wounded (including Capt. Henri Carré [7 Co.], Lieut. Charles Népote, Lieut. Wibaux, Sous-Lieut. Bourgat [11 Co.], and Sous-Lieut. Pierre de Riancey [12 Co.]), and 46 missing. Most of the recorded 303 lost are suffered in the companies of 3 Bat., with 11 and 12 Cos. especially hard hit.
A reinforcement of 198 troops arrives from the depot of the 65 RI (Nantes) but are not immediately incorporated into the regiment. They are composed of:
146 veteran soldiers
31 new recruits
2-8 March: At 0400 hrs, 8 and 11 Cos. are ordered to attack against the northern part of the Blanleuil works still occupied by the Germans, led personally by Commandant Vaudescal. 4 Co. (Lieut. Vincent) reports to its right before hand and reoccupies its trench, constructing a strong barricade between it and the Germans. With this operation over, the reconquered portion of Blanleuil is occupied by 1 Bat/94 RI, which places one company in rifle pits facing the portion still held by the enemy. During the day, 5, 6, 7, and 8 Cos. are pulled off the firing line and sent to rest at La Harazée. 10 and 12 Cos. are left in reserve behind Blanleuil. 9 and 11 Cos. are installed in the fourth line on line 'IN'. At 1745 hrs, 2 Bat. passes into reserve and is sent to Florent. Losses on this day inclue 1 killed (Sdt. Lartigue) and 5 wounded (Machine-gunner Haudiquet; Sdts. Collet, Trédent, Flament, Petit.
On 3 March, a liaison trench is created between the second line of Blanleuil held by the 94 RI and the second line of the northern front held by 4 Co/151 RI. At 0230 hrs an attack is ordered by the Lieutenant-Colonel Saintenac of the 94 RI, against the portion of Blanleuil still held by the Germans. 10 Co. (Sous-Lieut. Teisserenc) takes part in the second line of the attack, which goes well at first.
The company is counter-attacked by a superior German force armed with poison gas bombs, losing more than half of its effective between 0300 and 0400 hrs and is forced to give ground.
The 1 Bat. continues to hold the northern part of the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector. The 2 Bat. remains at Florent. In the evening, the four companies of 3 Bat. (Commandant Vaudescal) are successively retired: 9 and 11 Cos. on the line 'IN', 12 Co. in the third line, 10 Co. remains in the position it had fallen back to behind the trench it had attacked. These companies reassemble at La Harazée.
Losses on 3 March include 3 killed, 50 wounded (including Sous-Lieut. Caurendon [12 Co.]), and 29 missing. Most of these losses were suffered in the 10 Co., now reduced to around 70 men.
The next day Colonel Dillemann on his staff depart the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector and sets up at Florent between 1930 and 2030 hrs. The 1 Bat. is relieved by 2 Bat/94 RI and Lieutenant-Colonel Saintenac (94 RI) takes command of the sub-sector. Losses on this day include 2 wounded (Sdts. Tardy, Danquin).
On 5 March Colonel Dillemann proceeds to incorporate the 107 new recruits form the 151 RI depot who'd arrived on 24 February. The detachment of 198 reinforcement that had arrived at Florent on 1 March is also incorporated. The 2 and 3 Bats. are at rest at Florent, the 1 Bat. at La Harazée.
The following day the regiment receives two captaines from the 61 RI: Capitaine Stéphanopoli to the 7 Co. and Capitaine Le Boulanger to the 11 Co. The 2 and 3 Bats. remain at rest at Florent while 1 Bat. is put on alert at La Harazée and prepares to depart. The following sergents receive the Médaille Militaire: Guene, Taverne, Jogel (Jauset) [sp?].
On 7 March a detachment of reinforcements from the 151 RI depot arrives composed of 100 troops and consisting of:
88 veteran soldiers
6 new recruits
The detachment is immediately incorporated into the regiment. The 2 Bat. is told it must wait for another group of reinforcements to arrive the next morning (0800 hrs) before marching on to La Harazée at 1130 hrs. Two companies of 1 Bat. at La Harazée are put on alert while the other two carry out chores. The next morning (8 March), the group of reinforcements arrives from the 139 RI depot at Aurillac composed of 200 veteran soldiers and consisting of:
179 veterans soldiers
The reinforcements arrives later than expected, at 1100 hrs, and is incorporated into the three battalions (2 and 3 Bats. that day, 1 Bat. the day after). 1 Bat. continues to rest at La Harazée, while 2 Bat. is told to remain in place. Losses for the regiment on 8 March include 2 wounded (Sdts. Perrigault, Deruez, both from 1 Co.).
9-15 March: At 0700 hrs 2 Bat. leaves Florent and goes into reserve at La Harazée. 1 Bat. (commanded by Capitaine Clémendot) goes up to the trenches and occupies the left sub-sector of Fontaine-Madame. Two sections of 3 Co. and two sections of 4 Co. are in the first line; 1 and 2 co.s in the second line. 5 Machine-Gun Section relieves a section of the 162 RI in the third line. Adjudant-Chef Mangin is promoted to Sous-Lieutenant. Capitaine Gillet is transferred from the 46 RI. Losses for the regiment on this day include 3 wounded (Sdts. Clantin, Chantre, Lancelin).
On 10 March, 3 Bat. leaves Florent at 0630 hrs and halts shortly at La Harazée before going up into reserve in the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector. 12 Co. is behind the Ravin Sec, 11 Co. in the third line, 10 Co on the line 'IN', and 9 Co. remains at La Harazée in the chateau shelters. The 2 Bat. goes up at 1800 hrs to relieve 5 Bat/328 RI at Blanleuil and Ravin Sec. From right to left: 5 and 6 Cos. at Ravin Sec, 8 and 7 Cos. at Blanleuil. Two and a half machine-gun sections relieve a similar force of the 94 and 328 RIs.
On 11 March, 12 Co., at Ravin Sec in reserve in the second line goes back down to La Harazée to take up the chateau shelters. 9 Co., which was at La Harazée goes into reserve on the line 'IN'. The movements of 1 Bat. are as follows:
- 1 Co. sends: 2 sections to la Sapinière in the first, 2 sections on the right bank of the fontaine in the third line
- 2 Co. sends: 2 sections to Enfants Perdus in the first line, 2 sections on the left bank of the fontaine in the third line
- 3 Co.: entire unit on the right bank of the fontaine in the second line
- 4 Co.: entire unit on the left bank of the fontaine in the second line
The movements of 2 Bat. are as follows:
At Ravin Sec:
- 5 Co.: 3 sections in the first line, 1 section in the second line
- 6 Co.: 3 sections in the first line, 1 section in the second line
- 7 Co.: 2 sections in the first line, 2 sections in the second line
At Blanleuil: - 8 Co.: 3 sections in the first line, 1 section in the second line
The 15 mm mortar is moved from the right sub-sector to the central sector. Two Hotchkiss machine-gun sections of the 151 RI are provided to the 328 RI, while two sections of St. Etienne (M1907) machine-guns are provided in exchange. The left sub-sector reports enemy laborers across from them at la Sapinière, less than 25 meters from the French first line. Losses for the regiment on 11 March include 4 killed (Sgt. Taverne; Sdts. Dumazet, Combeau, Raynaud) and 5 wounded (Sdts. Doublet, Rion, Faux, Belot, Deramoudt).
On 12 March, 12 Co. is ordered to leave its shelters at La Harazée and to move up in reserve on the line 'IN'. 3 Bat. therefore has three companies on this line. Losses for the regiment on this day include 1 killed (Sdt. Lefrère) and 6 wounded (Adj. Poulet; Cap. Cellariens [sp?] (Camille); Sdts. Brissot, Brun, Saintou, Deloux).
Around 1600 hrs on 13 March, Lieutenant Bonnet's company [2 Bat.], left of Ravin Sec, is attacked on its right by a German platoon. The attack is stopped by infantry fire and an artillery barrage. Commandant Debieuvre being incapacitated, command of the 2 Bat. and the right sub-sector is temporarily given to Commandant Vaudescal. Relief of the 1 Bat. is carried out as follows:
- 3 Co. moves back from the second line to the first and third lines (right bank)BR> - 4 Co. moves to the second line to the first and third lines (left bank)
- 1 Co. moves from the first and third lines to the second line (right bank)
- 2 Co. moves from the first and third lines to the second line (left bank)
Capitaine Tison (previously wounded and evacuated) returns to the unit and assigned to machine-gun company. Sous-Lieutenant Vincent is promoted to lieutenant. Losses for the regiment on 13 March include 3 killed and 14 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sgt. Julienne (Raymond); Cap. Duval (Louis); Sdt. Benzé.
Wounded: Cap. Vévaud; Sdts. Bigot, Bardoux, Gaillard, Larrautec, Leclerq, Vialard, Botel, Bouysson, Leroy, [Henri], Martin (Jean Marie), Guérin, Mazel, Haussin (Charlemagne).
Commandant Debieuvre is evacuated as well.
The next day Commandant Vaudescal remains in command of 1 Bat. while Capitaine Chamaillard takes command of 2 Bat. 9 Co. is ordered to attack a portion of the German trench situated in front of la Sapinière. In the evening, Sous-Lieutenant Teisserenc commanding the company and the section leader leave from the 40 DI sector to reconnoiter the ground to be taken. At 1430 hrs, the right sub-sector commander reports an intense fusillade and bombardment on the first line of Ravin Sec. The units of the 151 in the area respond in turn with a lively rifle fire, artillery barrage, and bombs. In preparation of an attack, 10 Co. is sent as reinforcement to the second line at Ravin Sec, but an attack does not come.
Losses for the regiment on 14 March include 3 killed, 14 wounded, and 1 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdt. Crimompré [sp?], Marchal, Guilbart.
Wounded: Sgts. Hebrard, Huande; Cap. Alézard; Sdts. Deleau, Tellier, Dumoulin, Marec, Dervoix, Evin, Higuette, Faidhahe, Boudoux, Herf, Carez.
Missing: Sgt.-Mjr. Deronne (Henri)
On 15 March, 10 Co. remains in reserve at Blanleuil until 1000 hrs, at which time it is relieved by 12 Co. The 10 Co. goes to occupy the line 'IN' in place of 12 Co. The 1 Bat. (Clémendot) is relieved by 1 Bat/162 RI (de Haldat) and goes down to La Harazée. Around 0330 hrs Adjudant-Chef Chiarelli reports that a shelter of the 1 Machine-Gun Section was destroyed by a 105 shell(gun no. 83 is completely buried and seriously damaged).
Colonel Dillemann reports to the colonel commanding the 84 BI regarding the attack:
At 1800 hrs, the colonel commanding the sub-sector received the report from two artillery observers that the preparatory fire for the attack on the covering trench in 'Y' and the blockhouses to the north of the French trench appeared to have destroyed the blockhouses but seems to have hardly touched the covering trench. Hold off especially until the embrasure made for the 65 mm mountain gun, it doesn't allow this gun to fire far enough to the left.Though these details were reported to the colonel commanding the sub-sector, the platoon of the attack company is sent forward all the same, reaching then passing successively the French trench, the different boyaux that separate it from the German trench, and as it approached the German trench it received an intense fusillade and was showered with bombs, quickly suffers heavy losses.
The lieutenant in command of the attack reports that in fact the German covering trench was more or less undamaged. He didn't see any way to approach it and fell back from boyau to boyau until reaching the French trench where he reorganized his men.
This information coming at 1930 hrs was telephoned immediately to the colonel commanding the 84 BI, who telephoned back at 1953 hrs:
Lieutenant Teisserenc will carry out reconnaissance on the enemy trench so as determine the portions destroyed by the canon; he will then carry out a new attack.This order was preceded just before by analogous verbal instructions given by the commander of the sub-sector himself. At 2020 hrs, the colonel commanding the sub-sector having requested from the commander of sub-sector 'H' of the 40 DI [Comm. Buisson], if his movement on the western blockhouse had progressed, received in response that the section reported at 2010 hrs that it was on the move. Moreover, it sent word at 2050 hrs that it had entered the blockhouse.
At the same time, the colonel commanding the sub-sector received from the colonel commanding the 84 BI the following order:
Colonel Dillemann will fix the hour of the attack for Lt. Teisserenc and will inform Commandant Buisson of Sector 'H' so as that the two departures will be simultaneous.This order was transmitted to the commander of 3 Bat., informing him that the attack of the 40 DI had attained it's objective, that he must be sure to coordinate the two attacks, but that he must make known the time which the new operation would be carried out by 9 Co.
At 2235 hrs, a telephone message communicates that the reconnaissance carried out around 2000 hrs that had gone out again to the German covering trench was solidly held everywhere and could not be taken by force and that the platoon that had operated up to present had 35 men out of 60 out of action. This information was immediately reported to the colonel commanding the 84 BI, who at 2240 hrs communicated back:
The colonel commanding the 84 BI makes it known that he's provided a complete report of the situation to the general commanding the  DI and he's responded that the orders on this matter were passed onto the general commanding the  CA.-- PC of Fontaine-Madame - 15 March 1915: Colonel Dillemann
Before these orders arrive, the right sub-sector commander sends notice that the Germans of sent over a number of bombs on the right of Blanleuil, have strongly bombarded our lines starting with the exits of the trenches in front R and R1. The artillery barrage, a vigorous fusillade and the throwing of many grenades ending in front of our trenches.
At 2230 hrs the general commanding the CA makes it known that if Lieutenant Teisserenc's attack has the fortune to succeed, he must push on. If it's not possible, it shouldn't be continued. The colonel commanding the sub-sector after having examined the new question with the commander of 3 Bat., at midnight instructs for the operation to be called off and to rest the 9 Co. on the line 'IN'. He advises the commander of sector H.
He learns five minutes after midnight that the Germans, who to the right of Blanleuil had come almost up to the parapet, had disappeared entirely. The Germans proceeded with this attack as they had between 1300 to 1600 hrs. Although some had covered the left of 6 Co. with bombs, others had approached suddenly on the right. The trench defenses stopped them, especially with the use of grenades, but a number of bracelets are broken during this operation.
At 0010 hrs, the right sub-sector commander reported again that the Germans were throwing bombs onto the positions at Blanleuil, but couldn't learn is they were again leaving their trenches.
Losses for the regiment on this day include at least 2 killed and 11 wounded. The losses suffered in Teisserenc's attack don't appear to have been taken into account (though they may be reflected in the next day's accounting). The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdts. Dufermont (Modeste), Vincent (Victor).
Wounded: Caps. Demartelaere, Vecaux; Sdts. Froye, Lafloque, Brefort, André, Guilleron, Beaupuits, Bourderlique, Lantsogt, Le Floch.
Life in "Slaughter Wood" had settled into a relentless pattern of unprovoked surprise attacks: a seemingly random volley of hand grenades tossed into a trench; a sudden storm of trench mortars and bomb-throwers; an unpredictable cloud of blinding or suffocating gas. On average, during the month of March the 151e lost 10 men a day, and this does not take into account the men evacuated for illness or trench foot. All told, out of the actual two weeks or so in March spent in the trenches, some 575 men are killed, wounded, or missing.
16-22 March: Buhot's machine-gun section is relieved by a machine-gun section of the 162 RI. 3 Bat. is relieved in the first line of the right sub-sector by another battalion. Losses for the regiment on this day include 1 killed and 14 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdt. Chédorge.
Wounded: Sgt. Poragan; Sdts. Hamminche, Bliard, Clément, Pezet, Tesseydre, Le Tareau, Bry, Bordaix, Gay, Ulsoret [sp?], Gavard, Terry (Lament), Lingot.
The following day, 1 Bat. moves from La Harazée to Florent, arriving at 1600 hrs. Commandant Moisson takes command of it. 2 Bat. also marches to Florent after being relieved. Losses for the regiment on 17 March include 13 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Caps. Eve, Brest, Delair; Sdts. Hennedouche, Morvan, Gautier, Brun, Bulottier, Courbeyrie, Henneberg, Lucien, Ruffin.
On 18 March, 1 and 2 Bats. are at rest at Florent and 3 Bat. goes to join them. The next evening at 2000 hrs a detachment of reinforcements arrives from the 151 depot composed of 2 officers and 397 troops. These consist of:
Sous-Lieutenants Gélis and Lique (both transferred from 27 Dragoons)
377 men (of which only 10 are new recruits)
On 20 March, the regiment is still at rest at Florent. Colonel Dillemann instructs that the reinforcements be incorporated into the three battalions. At 0800 hrs the next day, 1 Bat. leaves for La Harazée and then relieves 2 Bat/94 RI in the Fontaine-Madame sector. It remains in reserve of the Fontaine aux Charmes with three companies on the line 'IN' and one company at the chateau shelters. Sergent-Major Barbier (1 Co.) is promoted to Sous-Lieutenant for the management of a worn-out company and directing it to the depot.
On 22 March, 1 Bat. occupies the same position while 2 Bat. leaves Florent at 1200 hrs for La Harazée. 3 Bat. remains at Florent. Colonel Dillemann hands out decorations for:
Capitaine Remy: Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
Sergent Carré (10 C0.): Médaille Militaire
Soldat Abgrall (12 Co.): Médaille Militaire (sent to depot as the man is missing)
Commandant Debieuvre: Officier de la Légion d'Honneur
Capitaine Carré: Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
Capitaine Remy: Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
23 March: 1 Bat. is in the first line at Blanleuil. 2 Bat. has one company at Ravin Sec, one company on the left bank of the ravine in the third line, one company on the line 'IN', and one company in the chateau shelters. 3 Bat. leaves Florent at 0730 hrs to relieve 5 Bat/328 RI in the left sub-sector (la Sapinière and Enfants Perdus). Between 1600 and 1800 hrs, the lines are heavily bombarded. Losses for the regiment on this day include 3 wounded (Sgt.-Fourrier Cambray; Sdts. Cannepin, Koehl) and 1 missing (Sdt. Flurbet).
The following individuals are cited in the Orders of the Army (no. 119 and 120, 19-20 March 1915):
Sergent Alexandre (6 Co.), Caporal Gombert (7 Co.), Soldat Dassouville (7 Co.), Soldat Joëssen (7 Co.). Lieuteant Martin, Lieutenant Népote, Lieuteant Wibaux, Sergent-Fourrier Lament (12 Co.), Sergent Meyer (12 Co.), Sergent Contamine (12 Co.), Caporal Rion (12 Co.), Soldat Clairet (12 Co.), Soldat Grave (12), Caporal Lemoy (11 Co.), Brancardier Chailloux, Soldat Hezecques (5 Co.), Soldat Lamouret (12 Co.).
24 March: 1 Bat. is in the first line at Blanleuil pull back in the night all barricades facing the Germans and try to take stock of things. It also receives orders to see if the German trenches of Blanleuil are covered. Two men go out, with one returning on the left and the other one not returning at all. 2 Bat. is in the same positions.
3 Bat. occupies the left sub-sector (la Sapinière and Enfants Perdus). From 0530 to 0630 hrs, the Germans throw bombs on la Sapinière killing one man and wounding 14 from 11 Co. This fire is finally put to an end by a French artillery barrage. Around 1220 hrs, the Germans shower the 4 Co. with bombs, 77 shells, revolver canon shells, as well as machine-gun bullets. In just a few moments, this company loses 6 killed and 22 wounded. One of the regiment's listening posts is completely destroyed.
Fortunately French artillery gives on three successive reprises just as the regiment's machine-guns placed on the right bank of the Fontaine-Madame stream and forces the Germans to seek shelter. At one moment, screams of pain could be heard in their trenches. At 1500 hrs, the alert is over and repairs begin on the destroyed sections of trenches, work that last throughout the night.
A reinforcement arrives composed of 2 officers and 125 troops coming from the 166 Bat. de Marche consisting of:
Capitaine Grisey (assigned to 12 Co.)
Lieutenant Mathieu (assigned to 4 Co.)
38 new recruits
These reinforcements are incorporated into the twelve companies of the regiment. Losses for the regiment on 24 March include 10 killed and 30 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sgt. Bovès; Cap. Simonet; Sdts. Duval (Paul), Guitten, Lelen, Durlicq (Alfred), Duval, Schneider, Scheutten, Pérotin.
Wounded: Sgt.-Fourrier Choplin (Henri); Sgts. Diéart, Franchet, Prénard; Cap. Gorndin, Perchet, Fontaine; Sdts. Coqez, Wonestarrés, Trempel, Vin, Thieffry, Quesqeu, Armand, Tranquard, Breth, Buzreau, Berteau, Cauivez, Legalon, Marandel, Le Moah, Faveux, Réspal, Jaradin, Evau- [illg], Lefévre (Auguste).
25-31 March: Same situation. Adjudant-Chef Giraud (9 Co.) whose company had been in la Sapinière and Enfants Perdus is killed in the morning by a German bullet. Mr. Lair Médecin Aide-Major coming from the detached marching battalion of the 166 RI is assigned to the 151 (3 Bat.). Adjudant-Chefs Chiarelli and Ottavi are breveted as Sous-Lieutenants. Losses for the regiment on this day include 3 killed (Adjudant-Chef Giraud; Sdts. Duval (Paul), Constant Philippe)) and 2 wounded (Sdts. Briault, Boutin).
On 26 March the situation remains the same. Rewarding of Russian decorations is done by Colonel Dillemann at the PC of Fontaine-Madame to the following:
Sous-Lieutenant Ottavi: Croix de Saint Georges (3 Cl.)
Sergent Cavalier: Croix de Saint Georges (4 Cl.)
Brancardier Pire: Médaille de Saint Georges (4 Cl.)
Losses for the regiment on 26 March include 3 killed and 15 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdts. Champion, Le Boue, Laloux.
Wounded: Sgt. Maillet; Sdts. Maréchal, Blaison, Barthélemy, Auclair, Flamand, Laporte, Dufour, Hourdequin, Bon (Maurice), Clavaisse, Laveux, L'Hote, Bravulot, Rouland.
On 27 March the 6/328 RI relieves the 1 Bat/151 RI, which goes to billet at La Harazée. The 5 Co. is relieved by the 8 Co. goes back down to La Harazée. Losses for the regiment on 27 March include 2 killed (Sdts. Dufour, Langrand) and 6 wounded (Sgt. Masson; Sdts. Watrelot, Sylvain, Amblard, Génot, Fovet).
The next day 1 Bat. leaves La Harazée at 1100 hrs and goes to billet at la Croix-Gentin. The 5 Bat/328 RI relieves the 3 Bat/151 RI, which goes to billet at La Harazée. Colonel Vallier of the 328 RI takes command of the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector in the afternoon and Colonel Dillemann goes back to La Harazée with his staff. Losses for the regiment on 28 March include 6 wounded (Sdts. Ramale, Derieux, Amould, Bouzin, Berthélemy, Deregnaucourt).
On 29 March, 2 Bat/151 RI is relieved by 2 Bat/94 RI and goes to billet at La Harazée. 1 Bat. is at rest at la Croix Gentin, while 2 and 3 Bat and regimental staff are at rest at Harazée. The entire regiment remains at rest on 30 March. Losses for the regiment on 30 March include 3 wounded (Sgt. Hébert; Sdts. Lopin, Nioux). The following morning, the 2 and 3 Bats. are put on alert at 0530 hrs, in anticipation of taking part in a counter-attack at Enfants Perdus. In the event, the two battalions won't march until the next evening. Meanwhile 1 Bat. continues its rest at la Croix-Gentin. Losses for the regiment on 31 March include 1 wounded (Sdt. Carlier).
1 April: 1 Bat. (Comm. Moisson) leaves the shelters at la Croix-Gentin and arrives at La Harazée at 1700 hrs. It relieves the 6 Bat/328 RI in the first line at Blanleuil. The 2 Bat. (Capt. Clémendot) relieves the 2 Bat/94 RI in reserve in the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector in the evening. The 3 Bat. remains at rest at La Harazée.
2 April: 3 Bat/151 RI relieves 5 Bat/328 RI in the left sub-sector (la Sapinière and Enfants Perdus). Only a few German bombs are fired down on the lines. Four officers arrive to the regiment
Commandant Brugiere - coming from the 94 RI, given command of 2 Bat.
Sous-Lieutenant Poisson - coming from the 31 Dragoons, assigned to 4 Co.
Sous-Lieutenant Clément - coming from the 31 Dragoons, assigned to 5 Co.
Sous-Lieutenant Antoine - coming from the 31 Dragoons, assigned to 6 Co.
3 April: 1 Bat. remains at Blanleuil, 3 Bat. at la Sapinière, 2 Bat. in reserve. The 6 Co., which was at La Harazée at the disposition of brigade, relieves 5 Co. in the evening. At 0630 hrs, the Germans detonate a mine at la Sapinière, where 12 Co. is located. This work had been discovered by sappers of the engineer company, who set up a counter-explosive directed at the German sap. Immediately after the explosion, the crater that is produced is occupied by 12 Co. and a strong French artillery barrage impeded a German assault.
On 3 April, at 0630 hrs, the Germans detonate a mine at la Sapinière, where 12 Co. is located. This work had been discovered by sappers of the engineer company, who set up a counter-explosive directed at the German sap. Immediately after the explosion, the crater that is produced is occupied by 12 Co. and a strong French artillery barrage impeded a German assault.
At 1900 hrs, the Germans attack Blanleuil, throwing many bombs onto 4 Co., by a strong French artillery barrage stops the attack. Throughout the night, repairs are made to the trenches to repair the day's damages. Losses for the regiment on 3 April include 5 killed and 13 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdts. Cruchet, Amon, Castenas, Bellec, Feillec.
Wounded: Cpls. Liétant, Lefebvre (Francois); Sdts. Fricount, Devos, Hoyaux, Alphonse, Pancriach, Lemaire, Seret (Georges), Lannoy, Rozière (Eugène), Gouteux, Denis.
4 April: Situation remains the same. The colonel commanding the Fontaine-Madame subsector receives orders to prepare an attack on Blanleuil. 3 Co. must take a branch of the inverted 'V' of Blanleuil and to establish a solid barricade between the German and French trenches. This operation must be preceded by an artillery barrage on the entire area of the inverted 'V'. 8 co. will be put in close support.
At 0930 hrs, the artillery barrage begins but is severely hampered by fog and provides only mediocre results. Despite the ineffectiveness of the fire, at 1030 hrs the existing (French) barricade is taken down by some bombers with the assistance of sapper engineers. The small detachment attempts to take the German barricade but immediately encounters a number of bombs. The detachment reposts itself and for two hours, both sides send over more than 500 bombs, pétards, hand grenades, etc. At night, a new French barricade is erected about 7 meters from the previous one. The French artillery fire had ceased at 1900 hrs but rifle fire and bomb throwing continued until 0030 hrs. Losses for the regiment on 4 April include 2 wounded (Sdts. Hesdin and Lefèvre (5517)).
5 April: The regiment is ordered to actively carry out operations on Blanleuil. Bombs are to be used to progress forward to point 'f' or towards the points 'a' and 'b'. Losses for the regiment on 5 April include 2 killed and 20 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdts. Combier, Perrot.
Wounded: Cap. Salmon (Eugène); Sdts. Mathias (Raoul) who would die of his wounds, Legrand, Demester, Montemin, Robin, Hubentz, Hoff, Delisle, Francois, Lamont, Mous, Delbar, Lemarie (J.), Croix (Pierre), Crohent, David (Auguste), Gadaud, Bayet, Potin.
6 April: Situation and mission remain unchanged. At 2200 hrs, the Germans explode a mine at la Sapinière. Three soldiers of 10 Co. are killed, 26 are wounded including 2 officers (Sous-Lieut. Antonetti commanding the company and Sous-Lieut. Ottavi). The men work to repair the damaged trenches. Capitaine Grisey, commanding 12 Co. at Enfants Perdus, takes command of 10 Co. as well. The 1 Bat/151 RI is relieved by 6 Bat/328 RI and goes to billet at La Harazée where it is placed at the disposition of the brigade general. Losses for the regiment on 6 April include 3 killed and 29 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Cap. Lecocq (Eugène); Sdts. Ducoulombier (Xavier) and Goazigo (Onsime) who would die of their wounds, Sdts. Chapelle (Antoine).
Wounded: Sous-Lieuts. Antonetti, Ottavi; Sgts. Lenoble (Charles); Caps. Sergent (Edmond), Mézard (Pierre); Sdts. Francois (Achille), Honoré (Léonce), Le Gallon (Louis), Fievet (Jules), Delatte, Brax, St. Quéret, Dondurand [sp?], Follemin [sp?], Le Jau, Dupré (Jean), St. Carel, Bois, Laval (Gaston), Merrien, Pétot, Mignot, Plessis (Balthazard), Demailly (Léon), Le Bihan, Schlim, Guerdain (Dartagnan), St. Adam (Léon).
7-10 April: the situation and mission remain unchanged. Bombs are launched against the Germans, notably at St. Hubert and Blanleuil. The 3 Bat/151 RI is relieved by 5 Bat/328 RI and goes to billet at Florent along with 1 Bat. Colonel Vallier relieves Colonel Dillemann in the afternoon and takes command of the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector. Dillemann and his staff travel to Florest to rest. Losses for the regiment on 7 April include 2 killed and 9 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdts. Demetene [sp?], Bourbotte (Emile).
Wounded: Sgt.-Fourrier Taragnat; Sdts. Magisson, Dubois (Lucien), Brassart, Le Bras, Demailly, Baer, Bertagnant, Jutel.
The following day, 1 and 3 Bats. remain at rest at Florent and 2 Bat/151 RI is relieved by 3 Bat/94 RI, joining the other battalions at Florent. Sous-Lieutenant Léglantier arrives from the 31 Dragoons. Losses for the regiment on 8 April include 2 killed (Sdts. Busson and Auder) and 8 wounded (Sanliner, Heruien [sp?], Berranger, Carrette, Ponchon, Bouillard, Herf, Lefebvre (Pierre)).
The three battalions will remain at rest until 11 April. On 9 April, Médecin Auxilaire Jannot is promoted to Médecin Aide-Major 2e Classe. One man is wounded (Sdt. Auger). On the same day, the following officers arrive to the regiment, all from the 151 RI depot
Sous-Lieutenant de la Férrière
Sous-Lieutenant de Bracq
11-13 April: On 11 April, 1 Bat. leaves Florent for La Harazée before moving up the first line to relieve 6 Bat/328 RI at Blanleuil. 2 Bat. will follow the next morning and relieving 3 Bat/94 RI in reserve of the Fontain-Madame sector, while 3 Bat. relieves 5 Bat/328 RI in the evening at Enfants Perdus. Colonel Dillemann takes command of the sub-sector, relieving Colonel Vallier of the 328 RI. Around 2200 hrs, a German reconn party advances close to the regiment's lines and throws some bombs on it. An intense artillery barrage forces it to immediately withdraw. Losses for the regiment on 12 April include 5 wounded (Sdts. Pahol, Bonamy, Villenave, St. Gest, St. Debierre).
On 13 April, the day is relatively calm. The 2 Bat. relieves the 1 Bat. in the first line at Blanleuil. The 4 Co. is put at the disposition of the Lieut-Colonel Clandon commanding the central sub-sector (reserve of the St. Hubert sub-sector). The other three companies of the 1 Bat. are in reserve of the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector. The 9 and 10 Cos. relieve 11 and 12 Cos. in the first line at Enfants Perdus, the latter moving to the second line. Losses for the regiment on 13 April include 4 killed and 25 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdts. Honoré (Auguste), Palerne, Pasquier, Bataille (Auguste).
Wounded: Sgt. Foreaux; Caps. Allais, Berchebin; Sdts. Molay, Wattem (Edouard), Villegent (Abel), Garandet, Lefebvre (Albert), Bontin, Pagaunnzi [sp?], Sergent, Gest, Pochon, Descampe, Saurez, Gayot, Nouvion, Lallement, Herbant, Girand, Hespel, Marion, Rigant, Rabut, Lefebvre (Théophile).
14-17 April: violent shelling from one end of the line to the other. At 1700 hrs, Commandant Vaudescal (3 Bat.) is killed while carrying out a reconnaissance at Enfants Perdus with the colonel commanding the 84 BI. He is the second commandant of the regiment to be killed in the Bois de la Gruerie. Since the start of the war, the regiment had already lost seven commandants from death, injuries, or illness. Capitaine Remy takes command of 3 Bat. Losses for the regiment on 14 April include 2 killed and 19 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Commandant Vaudescal; Deloismont (Henri).
Sgt. Riving; Cap. Huguet; Heuslin, Hutean, Drouet, Legrand (Jean), Richon, Delhaye, Pezel, Desmonlin, Latapie, Payard, David, Galles, Carnet, Gouzerh, Decock, Dezitter.
On 15 April, it's the same situation as the previous evening. The day relatively calm and is spent improving the trenches. The 3 Co. relieves in the second line at Ravin Sec the 2 Co. which moves to the third line. Médecin Aide-Major 2e Classe Serre arrives to the regiment. Losses for the regiment on 15 April include 8 wounded (Caps. Pollet, Beat; Su-- [il], Barbe, Henry (Francois), Gobert, Foncault, Stonmbe [sp?], Lemae [sp?].
On 16 April, the colonel commanding the 84 BI orders that the listening posts at 'T' be changed so that there are at least four loopholes per listening post. The work takes the entire night to complete. Losses for the regiment on 16 April include 1 killed Sdt. Lambert (Camille) and 11 wounded (Cap. Besse (Bernard); Sdts. Lavisse, Fute, Hayene, Baret, Brun (Claude), Bretel, Lecomte (Jean), Epèche, Thoby, La Personne).
The situation remains unchanged on 17 April. The Germans appear to be digging a mind toward Blanleuil at one part of the line. 1 and 3 Bats. are relieved by the 6 and 5 Bats. of the 328 RI and go to rest at La Harazée. Lieut-Colonel Vallier of the 328 RI takes command of the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector. Colonel Dillemann moves back down to La Harazée with his staff. The 2 Bat. remains in the first line at Blanleuil. Médecin Auxiliare Coste arrives to the regiment. Losses for the regiment on 17 April include 2 killed and 19 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Adjt. Lamy (Jules); Sgt. Bandoin; Cap. Michel; Sdts. Gosse, Bissand, Le Coant, Groslay, Fillon, Viseur, Berton, Langlet, Chacun [sp?], Hancean [sp?], Robin, Garmes [sp?], Amidieux [sp?].
18-22 April: 1 and 3 Bats. remain at rest at La Harazée. The 2 Bat. is relieved by 6 Bat/328 RI and goes into reserve of the sector with two companies in line and two companies at La Harazée. At 0700 hrs Sous-Lieutenant Antoine (6 Co.) is seriously wounded. Losses for the regiment on 18 April include 4 wounded (Sous-Lieut. Antoine; Sgt. Duranton; Sdt. Bouvrian [sp?], Sdt. Grieslain). At 1030hrs, a detachment of reinforcements that had arrived at Florent a few days earlier is incorporated into the regiment. It consists of 398 troops coming from the 151 RI depot (relocated to Quimper) and is composed of
365 soldiers of whom 105 are veteran soldiers
The situation remains the same on 19 April. Sous-Lieutenant Mangin is assigned to be an instructor and is sent to the depot in Quimper. The 1 and 4 Cos. are in reserve in the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector. The 2 Bat. is relieved and goes to billet at la Croix Gentin. Losses for the regiment on 19 April include 4 wounded (Cap. Hermet; Sdt. Capiaux, Decroës, Leclercq (Alexis)).
On 20 April, the entire regiment is at rest, save 1 and 4 Cos. that remain in reserve of the sector under Commandant Moisson. Losses for the regiment on this day include 1 wounded (Sdt. Delourme). A second detachment of reinforcements arrives from the 151 depot consisting of 160 troops. They are immediately incorporate into the regiment and are composed of:
Arriving with the latest group of reinforcements was Caporal Henri Laporte. Read his first hand account here.
Capitaine Remy is made a chef de bataillon of 3 Bat. to replace the fallen Commandant Vaudescal. Both Vaudescal and Sous-Lieutenant Antonetti are cited in the Orders of the Army.
On 21 April, the 2 Bat. (Commandant Brugiere) departs la Croix Gentin at 1800 hrs and arrives at La Harazée at 2100 hrs. The 3 Bat. (Commandant Remy) relieves 5 Bat/328 RI at Enfants Perdus and la Sapinière. Monsieur Missery, Médecin Aide-Major 2e classe coming from 63 Reg. Territorial arrives to the regiment. The next day, 2 Bat/151 RI relieves 6 Bat/328 RI at Blanleuil. The 1 and 4 Cos. (Commandant Moisson) still in reserve of the sector are relieved at 1700 hrs by 2 and 3 Cos. Colonel Dillemann takes command of the sub-sector from Lieut.-Colonel Vallier (328 RI). At 1800 hrs, the Germans launch many bombs against Blanleuil and the 151 responds with Celleriers mortars. Adjudant-Chef Ottavi and Sergent Cavalier are cited in the Orders of the Army. Losses for the regiment on 22 April include 5 wounded (Sgt.-Fourrier Broussin; Sgt. Hiolet; Sdts. Francis, Berdal, Florent).
23 April: 11 and 12 Cos. relieve 9 and 10 Cos. in the first line at la Sapinière, the latter moving back to the second line. During the night, the Germans launch a number of bombs against the new connecting trench with the Marie Thérèse sub-sector and makes working almost impossible. At 1700 hrs, set off two mines at Blanleuil. There's no enemy attack but a heavy barrage of bombs. The mine explodes 10-15 meters from the 151 first line position wound 4 or 5 men.
At 1800 hrs, Commandant Brugiere is evacuated and Commandant Moisson temporarily takes command of 2 Bat. Capitaine Chamaillard takes command of the reserve companies at La Harazée. Sous-Lieutenant Boutin coming from 4 RI arrives at the regiment. Losses for the regiment on 23 April include 3 killed and 19 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdts. Dehant, Delisle, Herriet.
Wounded: Sdts. Nogré, Trigotet, Happiette, Damart, Tellier, Carpentier (Aristide), Négret, Delamosontiere, Libeau, Lepaitre, Lebailly, Loiret, Duval, Gendron, Leboulanger, Desort, Vaudenhenden.
24 April: at 0400 hrs a patrol sent to Ravin Sec encounters a German one leaving their trenches. At 0630 hrs, the Germans set off another mind in front the small listening post 'b', destroying it and wounding 15 men.
At 1700 hrs, all men are under arms in anticipation of an attack to be launched at 1900 hrs by a battalion of the 162 RI to the right of the 151. The machine-gun section of the 151 commanded by Adjudant-Chef Loyau will also take part. The attack is preceded by an artillery bombardment and at midnight the troops of the 162 managed to take about 200 meters of German trench. They also take 1 officer, 4 NCOs and 10 German soldiers prisoner, and one machine-gun.
The success of the 162 RI comes at a cost to the 151 though. Losses for the regiment on 24 April include 6 killed and 50 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sgt. Certoux (Louis); Cap. Bertrand (Leon); Sdts. Ligne (Emile), Nordé, Galmard, Clouet.
Wounded: Sgts. Dert (Joseph), Guerre; Caps. Boulanger, Hellot, Denisse; Sdts. Boulanger, Cauzette, Fourrier, Lallir, Demarthe, Giraud, Fichel, Pervieux, Lardi, Chuvel, Bonnard, Houzet, Aubry, Husson, Hourdeau, Gillet, Lefevre (Arsine), Lalon, Charmot, Madou, Morn, Lorrain, Lemarier (Gaston), Labitté, Cormau, Thonière, Perrois, Cambon, Bonhommes, Charlin, Ducampe, Boulanger, Desmaitre, Cruau, Tanibourin [sp?], Hurlin, Couyfort, Tusene [sp?], Violo, Lelen, Valette, Brigot.
25 April: At 0500 hrs, Colonel Dillemann learns the Germans have executed a strong counter-attack at 0430 hrs and have retaken the trenches taken the night before in the central sector. The work on the connecting trench between Ravin Sec and the central sector is significantly effected by German 77 fire. The enemy actively works on a listening post across from the regiment's lines to the left of la Sapinière, with objective of creating a placed to throw grenades on the French positions.
A German digging party can also be heard digging a mine under the listening post R2. The 1 Co. at La Harazée goes to relieve 2 Co. in the second line at Ravin Sec, and 4 Co. at La Harazée relieves 3 Co. in the third line and line 'IN'. The 5 Co. relieves 8 Co. in the first line at Blanleuil, while the latter passes back to the second line at Blanleuil and Ravin Sec. Capitaine Coltat receives the Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (decreed 10 April). Losses for the regiment on 25 April include 2 killed (Sdts. Ranveron, Desoblin) and 6 wounded (Cap. Pascal; Sdts. Colin, Godin, Gobier, Bestel, Lemaitre).
26 April: The night is calm. Work continues undisturbed on the connecting trench. Two patrols are sent out, the first finding the German listening post overlooking the unoccupied connecting trench. The patrols wrecks this one but further on, encounters another listening post with loop-holes. The second patrol sent to the bottom of the Ravin Sec reports that that Germans aren't working in the area.
At 1400 hrs at Blanleuil, 5 Co. sends over some bombs to the German lines, where they had been digging oppostiote barricade 'f'. The Germans retaliate with their own fire at 1600 hrs and the regiment's second line is damaged at several points. At 1800 hrs, the Germans send over some asphixiation bombs onto la Sapinière. The 9 Co. relieves 11 Co. in the first line at la Sapinière, which moves back into the second line. Losses for the regiment on 26 April include 2 killed (Sdts. Lebreton, Germain) and 8 wounded (Sdts. Lambart, Boullard, Georget, Duburcq, Vergier, Gefflot, Lesterlin).
27 April: The Germans send over bombs and greatly hamper the work on the connecting trench with the central sector. There's an exchange of bombs from one end of the line to the other. At 1500 hrs, Lieut-Colonel Vallier (328 RI) takes command of the Fontaine-Madame sub-sector and Colonel Dillemann and his staff go to billet at Florent. The 3 Bat/151 RI (Commandant Remy) at Enfants Perdus is relieved by 5 Bat/328 RI, with 3 Bat. going to billet at La Harazée. The 2 Bat. remains in the first line at Blanleuil, while 1 and 4 Cos. are in reserve of the sector (third and second line at Ravin Sec). Losses for the regiment on 27 April include 2 killed and 13 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdts. Hubert, Audries.
Wounded: Caps. Jurdy, Leblanc (Albert); Sdts. Esteffe, Tourneaux (Maurice), Carette, Chantard, Lenazin, Lefetz, Charpentier, Puységur, Helligoarch, Canet, Vandame.
28 April - 3 May: The 3 Bat. goes to rest at Florent, arriving at 2000 hrs. The 2 Bat. is relieved at Blanleuil by 6 Bat/328 RI and goes to rest at La Harazée. The 3 Co. relieves 1 Co. at Ravin Sec, while 2 Co. relieves 4 Co. in the third line and line 'IN'. Two officers and 4 aspirants arrived from the 151 depot to the regiment. The officers were Sous-Lieutenant Campana (previously evacuated), who's assigned to 4 Co., and Sous-Lieutenant Caurdeon (previously wounded and evacuated), assigned to 1 Co. Among the aspirants is Raymond Jubert. Out of curiosity, Campana visits his former company (5 Co.), to see if there are any old comrades still in the company, only to find that none of the men he'd previously served with remain.
"I learned that the Regiment had been decimated twice, the February 15th and the March 1st. I no longer recognize the Argonne as it's so beautiful. No more mud, no more clouds, no more cold. Small log paths wind their way through the woods and branches hide their black ugliness in tiny leaves of a very soft green. In the gardens, fruit trees, at least those that have not been shredded by the shells, are covered with white or pink flowers. Nature is in full bloom, but the white puffs of shrapnel shells which, in the deep blue sky chase the sun-gilded planes, bring us back to reality."
Losses for the regiment on 28 April include 3 killed and 10 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Caps. Bonhonnuet [sp?], Deburs [sp?]; Sdt. Herbant.
Wounded: Sdts. Geoffroy, Desvigeres, Besançon, Marmous), Andois.
On 29 April, the 3 Bat. remains at rest at Florent, while the 2 Bat. remains in reserve of La Harazée sector. 1 Bat. still has two companies in line and two in reserve at La Harazée. One of these is 4 Co., to which Sous-Lieutenant Campana had just joined. He quickly came to realize how dangerous a place La Harazée could be. He had just missed being killed by a lone German 77 shell, which came crashing down without warning into a dining hall in the village a short time before he entered. Not all were so luck though: "The steeple of the church suffered the full force [of a shell and] collapsed like a glass toy; unfortunate territorials, the poor old "pépères," were crushed in their shelters." Around 0900 hrs, 3 Bat. is put on alert and told to be ready to depart soon. Losses for the regiment on this day include 1 killed (Sdt. Desombre) and 4 wounded (Sdts. Viart, Basteau, Delephine).
The next day, the 3 Bat. continues to be at rest at Florent. The 2 Bat., which was supposed to have gone to rest is instead told to remain in reserve at La Harazée. Losses for the regiment on 30 April include 1 wounded (Sdt. Dauby).
On 1 May, 3 Bat. is still at rest at Florent, the 2 Bat. at rest at la Croix Gentin. For 1 Bat., 1 Co. is in liaison with the 40 DI, 2 Co. has two sections in the second line at Blanleuil and two sections in the third line (left-bank) and 3 Co. is in reserve of the 84 BI at La Harazée on alert. The 4 Co. is sent up in the evening to the second line at Ravin Sec. Sous-Lieut. Campana records: "77s and 105s fall with a fury in the woods that we must pass through. They make an infernal racket: explosions reverberate ad infinitum, whistling of shell-fragments, rustling of branches, sinister cracking of giant trees struck by the fragments."
At Florent, 3 Bat. participates in a review for the general commanding 32 CA who has come to decorate Colonel Diébold (Légion d'Honneur) commanding 84 BI. During this review, Adjudant-Chef Loya receives the Médaille Militaire. Losses for the regiment on 1 May include 1 killed (Sdt. Chopin (Jean)) and 2 wounded (Sdts. Frémeaux, Draithe).
On 2 May, the 2 Bat. remains at rest at la Croix Gentin. In the evening, 3 Bat. relieves 5 Bat/328 RI at Enfants Perdus and la Sapinière. Colonel Dillemann relieves Lieut-Colonel Valloir (328) as sub-sector commander at 1500 hrs. Half an hour later, the Germans start sending over numerous bombs onto R2 and the 151 responds with Celleriers. 3 Bat.'s companies are arranged as follows: 9 and 12 Cos. in the first line, 10 and 11 Cos. in the second line. Losses for the regiment on 2 May include 1 killed (Sdt. Bavy) and 3 wounded (Sdts. Delplanque, Cordier, Humel).
During the night of 2-3 May, the Germans send over a great number of bombs and grenades onto Ravin Sec, along with illumination flares. Patrols sent out in Ravin Sec and Blanleuil report no enemy work parties. It's on 3 May that Sous-Lieutenant Campana is sent up with 4 Co. to the position called the 'Queue de Cochon' ("pig-tail") -- a trench located on the southern crest of Ravin Sec, facing Blanleuil. Campana recorded:
"We're 10 meters from the enemy here at this spot. Every now and then we throw some boîtes de singe [corned beef cans] or some petards. On this day we bring up two crates of grenades and I copiously provision the four men in the listening post, which located in an old boyau and is only separated from the Boche post by a barricade of sandbags...[The next morning] a note wrapped around a stone lands in the post. I unfolded it and read the following inscription... 'Frenchmen, you're screwed, but we're fed up. Don't throw any more bombs, we won't throw any more.' I wrote under this inscription and in my handwriting the 'mot de Cambronne' [merde] spoken in the evening at Waterloo, carefully refolded the paper, wrapped it back around the stone, and threw this new type of projectile back into the enemy trench. I then distributed to the four men near me 50 grenades and we threw them without let up on the Boches to show them simply that we weren't screwed and that we weren't fed up."Meanwhile, at 1600 hrs, 40 DI launches an attack on the left to retake the trench it lost at Bagatelle and at Bonnet d'Evêque (west of Fontaine-Madame sub-sector). The attack is supported by a battalion of 162 RI and three companies of the 151 RI.
The attack proves unsuccessful and 40 DI is only able to retake a miniscule portion of ground, around 20 meters of trench. All troops in the Fontaine-Madame sector are under arms but not enemy counter-attack comes. Losses for the regiment on 3 May include 1 killed (Sdt. Verbrugghe) and 3 wounded (Cap. Gilmin; Sdts. Chastau, Lachater, Bulteel).
4 May: At 0300 hrs, 40 DI resumes its attack but again is unable to make any progress. A section of 3 Co. commanded by Adjudant Lestienne participates in the attack and loses 2 sergents and 25 men killed or wounded, or half it's effective. The 2 Bat. (Capitaine Clémendot) leaves la Croix Gentin at 1400 hrs, arriving at La Harazée at 1700 hrs. In the evening it goes up to the trenches and relieves 6 Bat/328 RI at Blanleuil and the first line at Ravin Sec. The 3 Bat. remains in the first line at Enfants Perdus. The disposition of 1 Bat. is as follows:
1 Co.: one section in liaison with 40 DI, two sections in the third line, one section at the disposition of 40 DI;
2 Co.: two section in the second line at Ravin Sec, two sections in the third line;
3 Co.: at the disposition of 40 DI;
4 Co.: at Ravin Sec
While the relief is being carried out, a lively fusillade breaks out in the central sector and extends up to the 40 DI positions but there's no enemy attack. French artillery opens up a heavy barrage. Losses for the regiment on 4 May include 1 killed, 15 wounded, and 12 missing. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdt. Portugal.
Wounded: Sgts. Labois, Ancel; Sdts. Pargnerel, Brumelle, Flactif, Declercq, Fourdinier, Sarrazin, Douay, Hagen, Fiot, Lochard, Degransard, Carpentier, Gourdin.
Missing: Sgt. Herody; Caps. Anclan, Blas; Sdts. Desmonlins, Gobillot, Caron, Bruardel, Labbé, Moullard, Déramondé, Maffre, Brillard.
5 May: The 3 Co. remains in the 40 DI sector, and the other companies of 1 Bat. remain in the same positions. The 2 Bat. is at Blanleuil. For 3 Bat., 9 and 12 Cos. are relieved by 10 and 11 Cos. at Enfants Perdus, the latter passing to the second line. The day is calm and is spent repairing the trenches. Colonel Dillemann receives a report that German train movements have been detected on the Challerange-Bazancourt and Challerange-Autry lines. Consequently, he is told have his troops remain extra vigilant and ready to take arms at 0300 hrs. Sous-Lieut. de Mondian is wounded by a bullet in the head. Losses for the regiment on 5 May include 2 killed and 9 wounded. The casualties recorded in the JMO include:
Killed: Sdts. Diendonné, Guiset.
Wounded: Sous-Lieut. de Mondian; Sgt. Morelle; Caps. Noyer, de Coninck; Sdts. Pienon, Fultin, Baret, Delombre, Hachet.