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

~ 1917 ~

Second Battle of Verdun

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.

  • Losses for the regiment between 19-29 July 1917 are 5 killed and 26 wounded. Per day these break down as follows:

    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.

  • Losses for the regiment between 6-17 August 1917 are 3 killed and 8 wounded. Per day these break down as follows:

    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.

  • Losses for the regiment on 19 August 1917 include 5 wounded.

    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.

  • Losses for the regiment on 21 August 1917 include 15 killed and 54 wounded.

    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.

  • Losses for the regiment on 22 August 1917 include 4 killed and 29 wounded.

    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.

  • Losses for the regiment on 23 August 1917 include 5 killed and 20 wounded.

    24 August: The regiment continues to suffer under intense German bombardment.

  • Losses for the regiment on 24 August 1917 include 7 killed and 30 wounded.

    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.

  • Losses for the regiment on 25 August 1917 include 12 killed and 45 wounded.

    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.

  • Losses for the regiment on 26 August 1917 include 21 killed, 38 wounded, and 10 missing. Capitaine Moracchini and Sous-Lieut. Jubert are killed. Sous-Lieut. Lumeau is wounded and Sous-Lieut. Collinet is missing.

    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.

  • Losses for the regiment on 27 August 1917 include 7 killed, 31 wounded, and 1 missing. Lieut. Drapeau and Sous-Lieut. Meunier are wounded.

    28 August: During the day there is no enemy infantry action but a heavy bombardment all along the line. At night, 3 Bat. is relieved by elements of the 162 RI with the battalion going back to the rest at the shelters of Caillette and Ravin du Bazil. The 2 Bat. moves up into the sector in support with 6 and 7 Cos. at Fort Douaumont and 5 Co. in the shelters close to PC Nice (south of Cote 347). The 2 MG Co., which was in position in the Tranchée Gabarre to carry out an indirect fire, went back in support in the shelters of Helly. No change for 1 Bat, in the Hassoule quarter. Losses for the regiment on 28 August include 3 killed and 17 wounded.

    29-31 August: At night the Germans mount a strong raid on the front of 1 Bat. in the Hassoule quarter but in the face of a grenade barrage, are quickly forced to fall back to their lines. Losses for the regiment on 28 August include 2 killed and 15 wounded. On 30 August, the 3 Bat. goes back to rest at Faubourg Pavé. Losses for the regiment on this day include 4 killed and 4 wounded. The following day, the 3 Bat. marches to Senoncourt to be reconstituted. Losses for the regiment on 31 August include 1 killed and 9 wounded.

    1-2 September: At night, 1 Bat. is relieved in the Hassoule quarter by a battlaion of the 142 RI with the latter going to rest at Haudainville. The 2 Bat. goes back to join the 3 Bat. at Senoncourt to rest. Losses for the regiment on 1 September include 1 killed and 4 wounded. The next day there is no change but there was 1 killed and 2 missing.

    3-7 September: Transfers: Lieut. Ganot coming from the DD is assigned to 11 Co. and Sous-Lieut. Hergott coming from the DD is assigned to 10 Co. Losses for the regiment on 3 September include 1 killed and 2 missing. On 5 September the units are reorganized in view of an impending attack to be carried out by the regiment. Losses for the regiment include 2 wounded. The next day the regiment receives reinforcements. After these are incorporated, the 2 Bat. is transported back to Faubourg Pavé. That night, the 2 Bat. marches up the attack zone assigned to it -- the trench south of Ouvrage du Lama -- where it relieves elements of the 267 RI. During the afternoon of 7 September, the 1 and 3 Bats. are transported to Faubourg Pavé and at night, make the same march up to their assigned sector. The 1 Bat. relieves elements of the 267 RI in the first-line to the west of and in liaison with 2 Bat/151. The 3 Bat. is in support in the Tranchées du Chaume, Salonée, du Dauphiné, and Ridolphi. Losses for the regiment on 7 September include 5 killed and 7 wounded.

    Effectives 14-16 September (per regimental records):
    1 Bat. (Bourgoin) 12 officers, 483 men
    2 Bat. (Martin) 20 officers, 775 men
    3 Bat. (Le Boulanger) 8 officers, 480

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