Campaign History of the 151e Régiment d'Infanterie - XXVIV
~ 1918 ~
Saint Mihiel Salient (8 September)
8-19 September: The regiment is at rest in its billets at Boissy-Fresnoy, Villers-Saint Genest, and Betz. Sous-Lieut. Gastin is brevetted to lieutenant. On 10 Sept., a detachment of reinforcements arrives from the Centre d'Instruction Divisionnaire (CID) composed of 1 aspirant, 10 sergents, 17 caporaux, and 139 men. On 12 Sept., Sous-Lieut Foureaux coming from CID is assigned to 5 Co. Sgt. Machu (5 Co.) and Sdt. Gaudiche (2 MG Co.) receive the Médaille Militaire decorated with the Croix de Guerre with palm. Sdts. Caubréa (11 Co.) and Fresnel (5 Co.), Cpl. Pierrat (11 Co.) receive the Médaille Militaire. On 15-16 Sept., the 151 boards four trains at the Nanteuil station and are taken to Ludres. The 1 Bat. billets at Chavigny, 2 Bat. at Ludres, and 3 Bat. at Meissein. On 17 Sept., regiment senior commanders perform a reconnaissance of the regiment's new sub-sector Sainte Geneviève, about 3km north east of Pont-à-Mousson. In the evening the 2 and 3 Bats. march to the forest where the advanced-guard is situated to bivouac for the night. Capt. Pey, previously wounded and evacuated, returns and takes command of 3 Bat., while Capt. Benoit retakes command of 11 Co.
20-22 September: The 2 Bat. relieves a battalion of the US 326 IR (82 ID) in the first line of the center sector, while 3 Bat. goes into support in the Forêt de Facq to relieve another battalion of the same unit. The 1 Bat. and the CHR goes to bivouac at the advanced-guard. On 18 Sept., a detachment of reinforcements arrives from the CID composed of 12 men. The next night 1 Bat. moves to billets at Sainte Geneviève, relieving elements of the US 326 IR. On the night of 21-22 Sept., American tanks will circulate close to the lines to create a diversion and determine the reaction of the enemy artillery. The following individuals receive the Médaille Militaire: Sdt. Joseph Lauchet (5 Co.), Cpl-Four. Henri Laurent (1 Co.), Sgt. Pacifique Perron. Médecin Major 2e Cl. Dreneau coming from the 18 BI Indo-Chinois is assigned to the 151 as Médecin-Chef. Capt. Lefébvre coming from the 94 RI (depot) is assigned as adjudant-major of 3 Bat. The night of 22-23 Sept. the American tanks perform the same operation.
23-24 September: German artillery becomes more active and a great activity of vehicular traffic is heard coming from the enemy rear lines. An operation is planned for the next day with the goal of taking the enemy first line from the Moselle River to the Bois de la Voivrotte. For the operation, the following elements will participate: a groupe-franc of the 151 (composed of 1 officer, 2 NCOs, 3 corporals and 25 men), a groupe-franc of the 162 RI, an American company (200 men) and a company of Senegalese (100 men), and six teams of engineers. Armaments to be employed include: four 37mm guns, eight Stokes mortars, ten machine guns, supported by a group of 155mm court and three groups of 75mm. The detachment will be commanded by Capt. Besth of the 29 BTS. The mission of the groupe-franc of the 151 is to protect the right flank of the Senegalese company and the occupation of Bois de la Voivrotte. In case of counter-attack, the group will protect the withdrawal of the Senegalese company and then return to the lines. On the night of 23-24 Sept. patrols circulate out to establish the best base of departure at Ferme de Bel Aire and the area north of Norroy. At 0400 hrs on 24 Sept. the attack units are to be in position and the attack will begin at 0430 hrs under protection of a rolling barrage (speed: 100 meters every three minutes). Losses on 23 September include 1 killed and 2 wounded.
In the event, the attack is postponed 24 hours. Enemy artillery remains active from 0300 to 0600 hrs, maintaining a harassing fire with HE and poison gas shells on the regiment's first lines in the Bois du Turé, Bois de la Fourasse and Forêt de Facq. Sous-Lieut. Tournier coming from CID returns to the regiment and is assigned to 3 MG Co. A detachment of reinforcements arrives from the CID composed of 1 adjudant, 1 sergent, 3 caporaux and 18 men. Losses on 24 September include 3 wounded.
25 September: At 0500 hrs, the operation is carried out on the Bois de la Voivrotte in liaison with the units facing the 162 RI sector, which must take Bois Frehaut (sp?). The groupe-franc (30 men) of the 151 under the command of Sous-Lieut. Le Ridant. The group takes its objective and establishes listening posts at the northern edge of the woods. At 1000 hrs, an enemy force attempts to infiltrate the regiment's lines but is repulsed. From then until 1300 hrs, a strong bombardment is opened on the Bois de la Voivrotte. At 1715 hrs an intense bombardment is opened between the Moselle and the Seille Rivers seeming to presage an enemy counter-attack. At 1750 hrs, the enemy artillery seems to lengthen its fire and a counter-barrage is requested. At 1800 hrs, the enemy counter-attacks along the entire front of the regiment. The elements in the Bois Frehaut are quickly forced to retreat and regroup. At 1900 hrs orders are given to Sous-Lieut. Le Ridant to fall back with his detachment, who at this time was in contact with the enemy, who was infiltrating the woods, flanking it from the east and west despite the uninterrupted fire from the detachment's rifle and machine-gun fire. Sous-Lieut. Le Ridant and the detachment engage in a savage hand-to-hand fight and at 1930 hrs and is only able to make it back to friendly lines (by way of Narroy) around 2100 hrs. The fight was very hard and the enemy bombardments violent. Chef de Bataillon Caisez is promoted as officier de la Légion d'Honneur, Asp. Albert Béhazue (5 Co.), Sdt. Alphonse Belleculée (2 Co.), Médecin Sous-Aide Major Jean Perlis (1 Bat.) receive the Médaille Militaire. Losses on 25 September include 2 evacuated.