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U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment In World War I; Complete History
Topic Started: Jan 20 2009, 08:14 PM (944 Views)
US 30th Infantry Regiment
Private
World War I

In 1914, the First World War broke out in Europe primarily between the English, French, Italians, Turks, and the Germans. As far as the U.S. 30th Infanry Regiment was concerned, it was time to keep a close eye out for the word to go to Europe. In 1917, the U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment got the word that theyĺd be heading for the European threatre as part of the American Expeditionary Forces.

The U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment in 1918 would become a part of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division's 6th Infantry Brigade with the U.S. 38th Infantry Regiment. The U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment would leave Camp Merritt, New Jersey for Hoboken, New Jersey on March 3rd, 1918 and with a brief stop in Liverpool, England arrived in France on April 4th, 1918.On May 30th, the U.S. 30th Infantry and the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division stepped into history being placed in the line on the river Marne.

During the insuing month after reaching the front at the Marne River all units of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division were hastily busy conducting patrols across the Marne River to their front to gather information on the enemy to their front. On the 14th, of July 1918 the front the U.S. 30th Infantry knew so well would turn into their own personal hell.

The Champagne-Marne Defensive

From June 14th, to July 14th, 1918 the U.S. 30th Infantry's main concern was the building of strong defensive positions along theirfront of the Marne river sector.At midnight on the 14/15th 1918 the bombardment of the U.S. 30th Infantry's positions commenced. At 4 a.m. on the 15th of July, 1918 the German forces began to cross the Marne River under the cover of a smoke screen using a hasitly built pontoon bridge and canvas boats. The men of the U.S. 30th Infantry remained in their dug-out's during the entire preparation fire before the Germans advance commenced against their positions. However, the Germans laid down a barrage on the 30th's position that they thought surely noone could live through and, the moment the german troops crossed the Marne River they encountered heavy resistance the length on the 30th Infantry's lines.

The advancing German troops were attacked from all sides, in some cases, by the 30th Infantry and entire groups were killed or captured. One officer and a handful of men captured over one hundred prisoners. Until he was shot dead. Lt. Kingery literally stood on the banks of the Marne River throwing hand grenades at the enemy boats attempting to cross the river. The enemy were bewildered at such unexpected tactics by 7 a.m. the majority of the fighting was over in the 30th Infantry's sector. There was intermittent fighting throughout the entire day, largely with small groups of Germans that had infiltrated their lines and which were quickly attacked and repulsed. On the night of the 15th/16th of July the 30th Infantry reestablished their line along the Marne River. The French on the right of the 38th Infantry launched a counteroffensive to assist the 38th Infantry. It yielded little results. On the morning of the 18th of July the 30th Infantry received a massive bombardment on their position which rivaled the bombardment of the 15th. On July 19th, the 11th Infantry relieved the 30th on the line facing the Marne River. The losses of the 30th Infantry in officers, men, and animals was very heavy, not from the infantry attack but, from the preparation fire. It was for this stand that the 30th Infantry was decorated on January 3rd, 1919, by the French with the Croix de Guerre with Palm, with the following citation:

"An old regiment of the American Army, which, under the energetic and able command of its chief, Colonel E.L. Butts, showed itself faithful to its traditions in sustaining the principal shock of the German attack of the 15th July 1918 on the front of the Corps to which it was attached. Under a most violent bombardment which caused heavy losses, it held in spite of all the enemy assualt, and reestablished integrally, its positions, taking more than two hundred prisoners."

The casualties sustained by the U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment for the Champagne-Marne Defensive are as follows:

25 officers and 1,400 men

The Aisne-Marne Counteroffensive

On the night of July 22nd, the 30th Infantry after having been resupplied with new men and equipment was ordered to support the 38th Infantry which had crossed the Marne River into Mezy. The French were on the right and the 4th Infantry was on the left. The 30th Infantry arrived in Mezy at 1 p.m. on the 23rd of July. At 6 p.m. on the 23rd were ordered to relieve the 38th Infantry during the night. On the evening of the 23rd, 700 replacements reached Charteves. However, only those assigned to the 3rd battalion (about 250) saw action.

During the night of the 23rd/24th an advance along the lines of the 30th Infantry was ordered to take place in the morning. Six companies advanced Northeast above Jaulgonne, taking Franquate Farm and reaching the Bois de Le Charmel, where they dug in. They suffered heavy casualties during an artillery barrage during their advance and while in the Bois de Le Charmel. The six companies advanced slowly through the Foret de Ris, North of Barzy-Sur-Marne, meeting severe machine gun and artillery fire finally reaching the ravine just South of Le Charmel Chateau on July 25th. During the night of the July 25th/26th the 4th Infantry entered Le Charmel and the established a connection with the French on the right of the 30th Infantry. No further objectives remained for the 30th Infantry. On the evening of July 28th, the 30th Infantry was subsequently withdrawn to the St. Eugene area.

The casualties sustained by the U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment during the Aisne-Marne Offensive are as follows:

12 officers and 700 men

An attack on the 7th of August was conducted to create a bridgehead across the Vesle River between Fismes and Villette. However, the attack on the 7th was unsuccessful due to insufficent artillery preparation. An intense enemy barrage of high explosives and gas shells together with machine gun fire from numerous nests protected by barb wire and natural obstacles of the Vesle River and the swamps adjacent. On the 9th of August the 30th Infantry was to be relieved but, the order was countermanded. The 30th Infantry was to attack across the Vesle to establish a bridgehead on the morning of the 10th of August. During the advance a battalion of the 38th Infantry was to support the 30th Infantry by advancing to the railroad. However, as this was occurring part of the battalion was caught in a violent counter barrage from the Germans which almost annihilated them. Part of the battalion made it through finding only one bridge that was serviceable. The bridge was strongly covered by German machine guns. After repeated attempts to cross the bridge which was so narrow that it only allowed men to cross in singe file only, the venture was given up but not until an 8 to 10 men patrol succeeded in gaining a foothold on the opposite side of the river. The 30th Infantry was relieved on the afternoon of the 10th of August.

The extended number of casualties sustained by the U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment during the Aisne-Marne Offensive are as follows:

3 officers and 500 men

The St. Mihiel Offensive

The U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment was held in reserve during the the St. Mihiel Offensive therefore sustaining no casualties.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive

On the 26th of September the big allied offensive started, with the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division in 3rd Corps reserve. At 2 a.m. on September 29th, the 30th Infantry moved to the Bois de Montfaucon. On the morning of October 3rd, the 30th Infantry rushed the Southern edge of the Bois de Beuge in support of the 4th Infantry, which occupied the Northern edge of the same woods. When the regiment moved into this position, the woods and area for a kilometer in the rear of it, were being heavily shelled, which resulted in heavy casualties to the regiment. The Regiment was quickly placed into position in a trench along the Southern edge of the woods. The men quickly dug in and were comparatively safe. The 30th Infantry Regiment would remain in this position for next five days and each day suffered a number of casualties. On October 8th, the 30th Infantry Regiment relieved the 4th Infantry in he front line position. Once in position the 30th Infantry established their lines with the U.S. 80th Infantry Division on their right and the 38th Infantry on their left. On the morning of October 9th at 9:12 a.m. the 30th Infantry attacked the Bois de Cunel. All the preparations were made to have a smoke screen obsure the view of the enemy to conceal the 30th Infantry's attack between the Bois de Cunel and a small patch of woods just South of it. However, on the morning of the 9th a heavy fog hung over the engagement area.

Under the cover of smoke and fog the 30th Infantry commenced its attack. The 30th Infantry wasn't discovered until they were almost to the Bois de Cunel. When they were discovered by the Germans their machine gunners poured heavy fire into their ranks. The 30th's advance progressed steadily in spite of heavy resistance and continuous artillery bombardment. The Madeleine Farm was a German strongpoint not in the 30th's sector, however, the machine gunners from the farm were inflicting heavy casualties on the 30th's advance. "E" and "F" Companies were assigned immediately to reduce the farm. "E" and "F" Companies did so quickly with heavy losses and capturing a large number of prisoners in the process. The same day the entire Bois de Cunel was taken and the 30th's line were reestablished in the Northern edge of the woods.

On the 10th of October, the 30th Infantry attacked the trench lines just North of Bois de Cunel. The 30th Infantry encounterd heavy artillery fire and stubborn resistance from machine gunners. The 30th Infantry in this attack sustained heavy losses ,but took and held the trenches. The Germans on the morning of the 11th of October launched a mild counter-attack which was easily repulsed. In this action the Regiment was assisted by the 7th Infantry, which had been attached to the 6th Brigade and had been assigned by the brigade commander to the 30th Infantry sector. The 7th Infantry would remain in this sector with the 30th Infantry and cooperate with the 30th Infantry until the brigade was withdrawn. It was also during this time on the line for the 30th and 7th Infantry's that artillery fire was almost incessant.

On October 14th, assisted by the 7th Infantry the 30th Infantry made its attack on the Bois de Pultiere and some of the 30th and 7th Infantry's units advanced to it's Northern edge. It was also here that the 30th Infantry encountered once again heavy resistance and sustained heavy casualties. On the afternoon of the 15th of October the German artillery placed a heavy rolling barrage on the Bois de Pultiere, but no counter-attack was launched. On the night of the 15th/16th of October the Regiment numbering some 400 men, was relieved by part of the 5th Brigade and marched from its position in the immediate vicinity of Cunel to just South of Montfaucon. When a muster of the Regiment was held on the morning of the 16th, it was found that a mere skeleton of the Unit remained. "E" Company was in command of a Corporal, while a Sergeant commanded "F" Company. There were no majors, no captains and only two 1st lieutenants. Ten companies were in command of 2nd lieutenants. On October 16th/17th and 18th, the men slept...etc. and got what rest they could.

On the night of the 18th/19th of October the Regiment took up a front line position along the Eastern front of Bois de Le Cote Lemont, relieveing part of the 4th Infantry Division. Two battalions of the 30th Infantry were assigned to assist the 38th Infantry to help cleaning out the Western half of the Bois de Foret. The two detached battalion of the 30th would remain in that area patrolling and mopping up until the night of the 26th/27 of October when they rejoined the other Units of the Regiment just South of Septsarges. From the 22nd to the 27th of October the 1st battalion of the 30th Infantry maintained the original position of the Regiment in the Bois de Le Cote Lemont in direct connecion with the 105th Colonial(French Intantry on the Meuse River holding the right flank and the 38th Infantry on the left flank. On the 26th of October the 1st battalion was relieved and sent to Sptsarges to rejoin the rest of the Regiment. On November 2nd the 30th Infantry Regiment embarked on trucks for Stainville, France thus ending their combat actions in the First World War, the war would end nine days later on the 11th of November 1918.

The casualties sustained by the U.S. 30th Infantry Regiment during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive are as follows:

48 officers and 1,438 men

In 1919, the U.S. 30th Infantry would conclude its occupation duties in Germany and be sent home to the Presidio.
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"ROCK OF THE MARNE!"
Sgt. J. F. Dunigan, III
"A" Company, U.S. 30th Infantry
U.S. 6th Infantry Brigade
U.S. 3rd Division(Reenacted)
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