~ 1917 ~
Chemin-des-Dames - April 1917
14 April: At 1900 hrs the regimental general-staff, CHR, and 1st Bat. leave Camp de Vaux - Varennes and go up to the first line attack trench assigned to the 151. Transfer: Sous-Lieut. Delot coming from the DD is assigned to the 7 Co.
15 April: German planes fly over the regiment's departure parallels early in the morning and fly very low due to the fog. They come to ascertain whether the parallels are fully occupied, this being signaled to the ID so that measures are taken in order to prevent these recon aircraft from returning when the other two battalions have come up into the sector.
A recon is made during the night by Sous-Lieut. Adam in order to ascertain the state of destruction of the German accessory defenses in front of the 151's front. These are sufficiently wrecked from the side of the Miette but are still intact on the Ferme du Choléra. During the night, 2nd and 3rd Bats, which had marched in the morning to the bivouac of the Grandes Places to the side of Chalons le Vergeur, move up into line. The weather is dreadful, the roads are horrendous, the night is pitch black, the known paths to travel through Blanc woods are obstructed with fallen trees, the entire woods, paths and roads abutting the Aisne are under intense enemy bombardment. The detachment that precedes the 2nd and 3rd Bats. to reconnoiter the positions of the battalions suffers significant losses. Sous-Lieut. Hucliez and de Montcalm are badly wounded and die from their injuries. Sous-Lieut. Launay is wounded. (14)
After a terrible struggle, at 0700 hrs the 2nd Bat. reaches the footbridge which was reserved for the regiment around midnight but the passage is hindered above all by a detachment of the 154 RI carrying large fascines to create passages for the tanks. As there was no one available to police the posts, each wanted to pass the first, consequently creating an indescribable traffic jam as serious as the enemy hitting without let up the footbridges to cut them.
Transfer: Sous-Lieuts. Damon and Launay.
Same attire as the troop. Also with binoculars, compass, after-action reports notebook, sketches made of the director’s map. No sword, cane, revolver or pistol. Rifle or carbine optional. No secret documents.
1) Order shared by all men, save the exceptions for automatic-riflemen (Chauchat gunners) and grenadiers.
- Rifle and bayonet.
- Pack with tent-canvas and blanket, mess-kit, canvas buckets, stew-pots and two days’ rations inside.
- Two 1-liter canteens, two haversacks (one of which containing rations for D-Day), two sandbags slung from the belt, one e-tool per man, two gas masks (one carried in the can, the other in the bag carried in bandolier fashion).
2) Specialists order, aside from the common items above:
- 130 rounds per man
- 5 grenades per man (3 F1 and 2 OF1) carried in second haversack
For every two men: one pair of wire-cutters, one oilskin panel, one Bengal ground flare, one illumination rocket or signal flare
- 56 rounds (7 packets)
- 20 hand grenades (7 OF, 8 F1, 5 incendiary)
- 20 VB grenades per launcher, shared between the firer and the supplier
c) Auto-Rifle Gunners:
- Special equipment in accordance with the new equipment. This likely included the following:
i. Gunner: one CSRG gun, one M1915 special backpack (containing 4 mags), 2 "half-moon" magazine pouches (containing 4 mags each), one gun cleaning kit, one pistol (3 mags), one spade-shovel (carried on belt), one canvas gun case
ii. First Supplier: one pistol (3 mags), one M1915 special backpack (containing 1 kit and 8 mags), one M1915 special haversack (4 mags), one spade-shovel
iii. Second Supplier: one Lebel rifle, one ordinary M1893/14 backpack (containing 5 mags and 1 mag of rounds in packets)
d) Trench Cleaners:
Same as infantrymen plus:
- one Browning
- one knife
- 38 rounds
- 10 grenades (gas or incendiaries)
- 120 rounds
- Signal panels or lantern
- 2 illumination rockets
- 6 signal rockets or flares (one of each signal type)
To be shared: flare pistols with five flares per pistol (5 per company, 2 per battalion, 3 for the colonel)
f) Liaison Agents:
Same as infantrymen plus:
- 25 3-star signal flares
- 25 6-star signal flares
- 10 1-star signal flares
- 10 caterpillar rockets
- 10 flag rockets
Same as infantrymen plus:
- one park tool
- one small pair of wire-cutters
- demolition explosives and incendiary grenades
After incredible efforts, the 2nd Bat. coming into line and positions itself after much difficulty in the departure parallels, nevertheless the Cmtr makes it to the other side of the Aisne. Around 0330 hrs, 3rd Bat. which was held up more than an our on the bank of the Aisne due to the rupturing of the footbridge assigned to the regiment, arrives in its turn into line. It positions itself with great difficulty. The bombardment by the enemy artillery was fairly heavy and precise inflicting notable losses in the battalions, with around fifteen killed and more wounded. Finally around 0530 hrs, the Cmtr No. 2 which follows, finishes taking its movement into line in the parallel. It was the great moment, Jour-J (D-Day). At the 0400 hrs had been fixed on the 16th at 0600 hrs.
The Sous-Lieut. Houdin on the front of the company on the left, the Sous-Lieut. Metays on the company on the right go out to reconnoiter the state of the accessory defenses before the attack. These two officers report back their findings. Lieut. Colonel Moisson makes some final recommendations that the regiment should make one bound up to Choléra, so as to avoid the German barrage fire. The enemy lookouts at Choléra were still at their posts since our patrollers had been greeted with some rifle shots and by illumination flares.
The following are the orders of the day for the regiment:
I. Mission of the regiment
Seize the three enemy positions situated in the regiment's zone of attack and the Bois Claque-Dents. Occupy the sunken road from Amifontaine to Prouvais with an advance-guard at the knoll 116 to the north of the Moulin Ferme (800 northeast of Prouvais and a liaison post with the 5 CA toward the Malvar abutment.
II. Departure positions of the battalions and units assigned to them
III. Regiment's zone of action
To the left: Ferme du Choléra, the western extremity of the road trench (ending at route 60), Point 1477 (from the footbridge trench), the eastern corner of the Bois des Béliers, Côte 70.1 (3rd position), the Point from the railway to 100 meters southeast of the river passage from Côte 80, Côte 90.2, the Moulin Ferme (excluded).
To the right: Boyau E4, Passage 7W, Boyau 6E, the western edge of Bois Rouqeot, Poste de Lorient, la Miette River up to the Battery 2499, Côte 69.8 (Juvincourt - Guignicourt road), hillocks 101.6 and 98.9, Côte 112.9, the abutment Malvar, Plesnoy (excluded).
IV. Mission of the neighboring units
To the left: 9 DI (5 CA) must reach the general line of Amifontain - Ferme des Albeaux.
To the right: 162 RI must reach the eastern edge of Prouvais, pushing an advance-guard to knoll 113. North of Proviseux-et-Plesnoy.
V. Prescriptions relative to the attack
a) Plan before departure: The battalions will be arranged successively in the the order of 1st, 2nd, 3rd. The 1st Bat., with the liaison detachment to the 5 CA, will be formed in the following manner:
1/2 Company of CMT
Trench Cleaners               Trench Cleaners
One Co. of the 113       One Co. and 1/2 CM1
1/2 Co. of CM of 113       Section of Engineers 22/63
Trench Cleaners               Trench Cleaners
The two other battalions will have at the head two companies accoladed, and in line the 3 Co. and the CM on the left flank.
a) Plan before departure: Before Heure H ("zero hour") if the footbridges do not exist in order to cross the parallels, stairs will be made by the occupying units. At Heure H, the entire infantry force will move forward in one block, so as to minimize exposure to the enemy's artillery fire. It is only upon leaving the 1st enemy position that it will unroll the mass. Up to this line, the regiment will will hold thus 500 meters from the departure.
The waves will be thoroughly prepared in the departure parallels and after exiting in one block will immediately echelon themselves by a few paces so that they may be distinguished from each other. The last elements of the 3rd Bat. will burn smoke cylinders upon arriving at each of lines of the 1st position so as to provide a screen for our attack. The commandant of the 3rd Bat. will regulate the use of the cylinders after notification from the colonel.
The progression will be straight ahead, the 1st line the head of our shells, each line of the the battalion marching in principle 500 meters behind the proceeding one. Speed of progression: 100 meters every 4 minutes.
The 2nd Bat. will therefore leave Choléra 20 minutes after the 1st Bat. It must maintain remain in liaison, ensuring that it maintains constant contact during the march of the battalion preceding it. Same goes for the 3rd Bat. From start to finish, the march will be guided by compass after the directions provided above.
Direction of march. The angles are obtained by putting the _ mobile on the angle indicated and maintained the blue needle on the North-South line of the compass.
1st Bat. (1st and 2nd positions)
1) the right of the 1st Bat.: 70 degrees East for 1 km. Landmarks: to the left, the Miette and edge of the woods. To the right, passing 50 meters to the right of Choléra intersection, passing in the middle of the footbridge trench, marching next to 150 meters from the edge of the woods, changing direction: when arriving 50 meters to the right of Battery 18.80.
2) The right of the battalion: 48 degrees East up to the eastern corner of Bois des Béliers (point of direction).
To the left: the Miette and the edge of the woods of the Miette, the Battery 25.95. Stop at the Battery 24.99.
To the right: march 200 meters from the edge for 1 km, passing 50 meters to the right, Battery 21.87, passing 60 meters to the left of northwest corner of the Bois des Vestales, p__ on the corner of the Bois de Béliers.
The 1st Bat. is authorized to _ on the 162 RI's trench from 25 meters to the stop line C.D. The 2nd and 3rd Bats. (3rd and 4th positions). Following first in the wake of the 1st Bat., then going on a angle of march of 36 degrees East.
To the left: passing by the Battery 26.04, passing 200 meters to the left of the Battery 31.09.
To the right: marching parallel and 200 meters to the left of the large path to Mauchamp, Bois Claque-Dents, stopping on the Juvincourt - Guignicourt Road, 250 to the left of the woods that cuts across it.
Retake the march by the same angle. Take the Tranchée Vassau: on the left, 300 meters from the edge isolated wood, it will break itself away from the Bois Claque-Dents. To the right, by the Battery 39.11. And of march is 67 degrees East.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12550968/10 CO progressing north of Bois Beliers with shell blast.jpg
15 April: 4 killed, 28 wounded
16 April: 98 killed, 454 wounded, 21 missing
17 April: 13 killed, 51 wounded
18 April: 20 killed, 43 wounded
19 April: 7 killed, 23 wounded
20 April: 9 killed, 55 wounded
21 April: 11 killed, 29 wounded
22 April: 2 killed, 13 wounded, 1 missing
23 April: 1 killed, 9 wounded
24 April: 2 killed, 10 wounded
25 April: 7 wounded
26 April: 3 wounded
27 April: 5 wounded
28 April: 2 killed, 4 wounded
29 April: 2 killed, 12 wounded
30 April: 4 killed, 4 wounded
1 May: 1 killed, 8 wounded
2 May: 1 killed
Total: 177 killed, 758 wounded, 22 missing = 957 (approx. 40% casualties) 29 June - 1 July: Instruction resumes, principally on the work of specialists.
2-3 July: Maneuver of cadres for the entire division in anticipation of a division maneuver, which will take place the next day. On 3 July, division maneuvers are conducted, taking over two fortified positions. Depart from billets at 1530 hrs. After the maneuver, the regiment eats breakfast at the Ferme Valmoi (adjoining zone to Camp de Mailly) and returns to billets at 1600 hrs.
4 July: the 151 is alerted that it will be setting off the next day to parts unknown. Preparations are made for the departure.
5 July: the regiment boards trucks and is transported to the Bar-le-Duc region. It is now clear to the men that they are heading toward Verdun. The 1st and 2nd Bats. (along with the staff and the CHR) arrive at Laimont, the 3rd Bat. and Neuville-sur-Orne.
6 July: Lieut. Colonel Moisson is promoted to Colonel.
7-11 July: instruction resumes, particularly the work of specialists.
12 July: specialist instruction continues. At the same time, a delegate party selected from the ranks and commanded by Capitaine Bourgoin, Lieutenant Coureaux, Sous-Lieut. Baillat (color-bearer), and 36 NCOs and men, embark at Revigny headed for Paris in order to represent the regiment at the 14 July parade.
13 July: Transfers: Médecin-aide Major (2 cl.) Aubry is assigned to the 151, coming from the 6th region. Médecin-aide Major Colson passes to the 6th region.
14 July: Rest in the billets in the morning. In the evening, regimental competition between all specialists in celebration of the national holiday.
15 July: the regiment is told to take preparation to move out and at 2000 hrs, 1st and 3rd Bats. (with CHR) embark in trucks. 2nd Bat. remain in place.
16 July: 1st and 3rd Bats disembark at Verdun (Faubourg-Pavé) around 0400 hrs. The units rest all day at its old barracks, Caserne Miribel. At 1900 hrs, the battalions depart the barracks and go to relieve the 8 BCP in the [Bois des] Caurières sector 2.5 km north of Fort Douaumont, specifically the [Ferme de] Chambrettes and Hermitage quarters. This is carried out with incident. The 2nd Bat. board trucks at Laimont to follow the other battalions up into line.
17 July: quiet day for the two battalion already in line. The 2nd Bat. arrives at Verdun in the morning and likewise rests at Miribel until the evening. At 1900 hrs it sets off up to the line where it relieves a battalion from the 94 RI.
18 July: After a definitive relief, the Caurières zone (sub-sector Marguerite) is occupied in the following way: 2nd Bat. in Deux Bois quarter having two companies in the first line (5 Co. on the right, 7 Co. on the left), 6 Co. in reserve. The 1st Bat. in Chambrettes quarter having two companies in the first line (1 Co. on the right, 2 Co. on the left, 3 Co. in reserve. 3rd Bat. in Hermitage quarter is in reserve. The day passes quietly, although interrupted by a "Minens" (mortars) duel. At night the Germans conduct a raid on the 1 Co. but are repulsed by grenades. At 1945 hrs, the enemy renews its attempt without success.
Losses: 3 wounded, 1 missing.
19-29 July: The Sector is quiet, cut by intermittent but intense salvos of howitzer artillery fire. All units are busy with maintaining the sector and repairing the critical sections of trenches. The next day, the morning and afternoon are quiet. In the evening, the 2nd Bat. sector (on the right) is hit by numerous minens. The Hermitage quarter is bombarded intensely. During the night, salvos of 77s and 105s come down along the entire sector in unpredictable intervals. On 21 July, the sector quiet. During the course of the day, the sector is bombarded from one end to the other.
On 22 July, at 0525 hrs the Germans unleash a bombardment of extreme violence along the entire sector, but principally on the Deux Bois and especially on the front of the regiment to the right (129 RI). After a bombardment of a quarter of an hour, the Germans carry out a raid on the first line of this regiment but make no headway. The rest of the day and night remained quiet. The next day, there's an exchange of rifle-grenades on the first lines. All units remain in place spending all day and night working on the trenches and boyaux, especially in the Chambrettes quarter, which will contain the departure parallels. On 24 July, the day remains quiet day but there's much activity by the artillery of both sides during the night. At night, 3rd Bat. relieves the 1st Bat. without incident in the Chambrettes quarter. The 11 Co. is installed on the left in liaison with the 267 RI, 10 Co. to the right, 9 Co. in support. The 1st Bat. goes into reserve in the Hermitage quarter.
On 25-26 July, repair work on the boyaux is pushed forward, principally the Boyaux Tirailleurs, Mayeure, and Paderborn (Chambrettes quarter). On 27 July, the day starts off quietly then the artillery of both sides becomes highly active, especially the heavy artillery. The next day remains quiet but at 1600 hrs an intense bombardment on the Deux Bois quarter. Transfers: Médecin-aide Major Vincens rejoins the Colonial troops. M. Judet de la Combe, Médecin Major 1st Class arrives from RPS. On July 29, the units remain in the same positions and continue working on the lines.
Transfers: Lieut. Leroux arrives from the general-staff from the V Army assigned as intelligence information. Sous-Lieut. Philippot is returns from convalescence and is assigned to the 9 Co. Sous-Lieut. Delannay arrives from the DD and is assigned to 7 Co.
19 July - 7 wounded.
20 July - 1 wounded.
21 July - 1 killed, 4 wounded.
22 July - 3 killed, 7 wounded, including Lieut. Maillard (mortally wounded).
25 July - 2 wounded.
27 July - 1 killed, 7 wounded.
30 July: in the morning, both sides aviation active. During the night, both sides artillery fairly active on hitting the lines to the rear. At night 1 Bat/162 RI relieves the 2 Bat/151 RI in the Deux Bois quarter, which goes to billet at Haudainville. The 3 Bat/162 RI relieves the 1 Bat/151 RI in the Hermitage, which goes to billet at Camp Driant (west of Belrupt). The relief is carried out without incident.
31 July: the day is quiet. Some rifle-grenades bombard the first line trenches of the 3rd Bat. At night, 3rd Bat. is relieved by 2 Bat/162 RI and does to billet at Camp de la Bouvoir (east of Belrupt). The relief is carried out without incident.
Transfers: Lieut. Pautet arrives from the DD and is assigned to 1 Co. Sous-Lieut. Collinet arrives from the DD and is assigned to the 10 Co.
1-6 August: the battalions rest and bathe, cleaning arms and equipment. Then from 2-6 August, the men are put to work performing various work and chores around the billets.
Transfers: Capitaine Gelly is detached from the general-staff from Seulis.
7-17 August: various detachments are sent into line to transport bombs and to work in the sector Caurières.
6 August - 1 wounded.
9 August - 3 killed, 3 wounded.
10 August - 1 wounded.
11 August - 1 wounded.
15 August - 1 wounded.
17 August - 1 wounded.
18 August: In view of the regiment's participation in operations which must take place non-stop on both banks of the Meuse, 1 and 2 Bats. leave their billets at nightfall and move up to occupy assigned emplacements. 1 Bat. shelters in the Ravin de la Caillette and 2 Bat. in the shelters MD of Fleury. The 3 Bat. remain at Camp de la Bouvoir (Belrupt) with Colonel Moisson and the general-staff, and the CHR at Haudainville.
19 August: At night, the CHR and 3 Bat. move up to the front, sheltering in the Ravin du Helly-Est. Colonel Moisson sets up his PC at the Ravin du Helly. The 151 is the head regiment of the 69 DI, which is in support behind the 42 DI. The next day, 42 DI must attack enemy positions along the front of Ouvrage des Fosses (north of the Ferme des Chambrettes) up to Saillant 2942 to the east. The division is in liaison to the west with the 125 DI, which must attack enemy positions in front of Beaumont.
20 August: The attack begins at 0440 hrs. The 151 remains in support. At 0600 hrs, 42 DI reaches all of its objectives but the Germans make great use of their new gas shells, which inflict deep burns on the flesh. The 332 RI suffer particularly badly from the gas. At 0600 hrs, General Delville, the 42 DI and the attack commander, alerts the 1 and 3 Bats. of the 151. The 1st Bat. is told that it will counter-attack in Hassoule quarter, hinging on the attack in case the enemy reacts and attempts from this side a right flank attack on the 42 DI. The 3rd Bat. will move in support of a battalion of the 332 RI which has suffered heavy losses. Ultimately though, Delville does not need to call on these two battalions, which are stood down at 0900 hrs. At nightfall, General Delville orders 3 Bat/151 RI to relieve the 6 Bat/332 RI in its emplacements.
21 August: Despite a very heavy bombardment by shells of very large caliber and the barrages of gunfire, the relief is carried out successfully. The CM3 [3rd MG Co.] is not able to relieve the CM4/332 RI before daylight comes. After the relief is completed by 3 Bat/151 RI, the battalion is positioned as follows: 9 Co. to the left in liaison with 94 RI, 11 Co. to the right in liaison with 6 Bat/332 RI, 10 Co. in support in the Tranchée Ridolphi. The line occupied is a line of shell-holes, very heavily bombarded. The 2 Bat., which was at the shelters of MD Fleury, go to occupy the emplacements left open by 3 Bat/332 RI, knowing that 5 and 7 Cos. at Fort Douaumont, 6 Co. at the Ravin du Helly, the CM2 positioned north of Côte 347 and opening an indirect fire on the enemy's rear. No change for 1 Bat/151 RI. At 1945 hrs, the Germans launch a large counter-attack on the front of the 3 Bat. but does not reach the regiment's lines. After violent fighting, the integrity of the front lines is maintained.
22 August: During the day, enemy infantry and artillery is very active. The units of the 3 Bat. remains in position [in the Bois de Chaume], which work under fire to excavate a continuous trench line. At night, 1 Bat. in reserve at the Caillette shelters and the Ravin du Bazil, is ordered to move in support of the sub-sector of Bezonaux, Chamy quarter. The 1 Bat. is relieves the 1 Bat/7 RI, despite the very heavy poison gas shelling. Same situation for the 2 Bat.
23 August: Situation unchanged for 3 Bat, it's units working relentlessly to improve the organization of the first line and to dig a support line. The Germans heavily bombard all of the regiment's positions. At night the 1 Bat., which was in reserve, relieves in the first line the 2 Bat/129 RI in the Hassoule quarter. Situation unchanged for 2 Bat. except for CM2, which moves to the Tranchée Dalzau to open an indirect fire on the rear of the enemy.
24 August: The regiment continues to suffer under intense German bombardment.
25 August: The German bombardment intensifies to an even more intense level and continues all day. At 1930 hrs, the Germans counter-attack along the front of the 3 Bat. and are able to penetrate into the first line. Yet a vigorous counter-attack by the battalion immediately throws the Germans back again. Along the front of the 1 Bat. in the Hassoule quarter, the Germans carry out a raid on the barricade but are repulsed with grenades without being able to reach the French lines.
26 August: At 0450 hrs, 42 DI launches an attack on the German positions with the assistance of 3 Bat/151 RI along its front (Tranchée du Chaume and Ouvrage du Lama). Though exhausted from the tremendous efforts already expended, the men throw themselves into the attack with great energy. 3 Bat. quickly takes all of its objectives and even surpasses some. In so doing, they take 66 prisoners, including an officer. The Germans counter-attack immediately, trying to retake the foot of the Ouvrage du Lama, launching several assaults to take back the lost positions, in particular Tranchée du Chaume. Each time, the Germans are beaten back and are unable to make any gains here. But 3 Bat. has suffered heavy losses during the course of the fighting.
On the front of the 1 Bat. in the Hassoule quarter, the enemy hammers the battalion's first line positions with heavy artillery. At 2345 hrs, the Germans launch a raid on the petit poste (advanced post) of the barricade but are repulsed, leaving many dead on the ground. At night, 2 Bat. is ordered to move to the Ravin de Neuville in support of the 8 BCP, 16 BCP, and 94 RI. Despite the curtain of artillery fire, which includes gas shells, the movement is carried out successfully.
27 August: 3 Bat. remains in place working actively to organize their conquered positions under continued heavy bombardment. 1st Bat. is also heavily shelled in the Hassoule quarter. At night, 2 Bat. leaves its supporting positions and goes to rest at the shelters of the Blancharderie firing range.