The Rainbow Division in the Great War, 1917-1919

By James J. Cooke | Go to book overview

3
IN THE TRENCHES AT LUNÉVILLE

Al Ettinger and his comrades moved to Lundville on a 40-and-8 train that did not stop for anything. Consequently, a number of men from the Irish regiment were seen hanging from a boxcar by one hand to relieve themselves as the train moved rapidly along. The wind whistled through the old boxcars while the soldiers made do with unheated Comed Willie and hardtack for meals. Once in Lunéville, the whole regiment was marched to the château that would be their headquarters for a few days prior to moving into the line. The men actually had time in the evening to see Lunéville, where "we encountered our first ladies of the night since landing in France, and some of us had an introduction to sex with a capital S." 1

Martin Hogan would have little to divulge in Father Duffy's confessional, however: "For the first time we took a regular, old-fashioned interest in life again. Discipline was easy. We went to picture shows and restaurants. Some of us promenaded dumbly up and down with French girls. Some of us became engaged. Some of us, even, set about learning French."2

The Alabama troops had just as uncomfortable a ride on the French boxcars, and their greatest problem was taking care of the calls of nature. For once, the New York Irish and the Alabama Southerners had something in common: "As these troop trains sped through the French towns and countryside the undraped posteriors of soldiers usually shone protruding from open doors with shirttails flapping in the breeze."3

Private Lawrence O. Stewart, a medic of the Iowa 168th Infantry's Sanitary Detachment, was sorry to leave the Rolampont training area. His billets were in the home of a congenial family with a black-haired, flirtatious daughter named Annette. But when the regiment moved, Stewart left his pleasant surroundings, boarded the 40-and-8, and traveled to Lundville with only memories of Annette. There were only forty-eight medics to serve a regiment of nearly 4,000 doughboys. Ten medics went to each of three combat infantry battalions, with eighteen assigned to keep supplies moving and to maintain what would become

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The Rainbow Division in the Great War, 1917-1919
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • INTRODUCTION BIRTH OF THE RAINBOW 1
  • 1 - From Camp Mills to France 7
  • Notes 24
  • 2 - Training for the Fight: Rolampont 29
  • Notes 48
  • 3 - In the Trenches at Lunéville 53
  • Notes 71
  • 4 - From Baccarat to Champagne 75
  • Notes 94
  • From Champagne to the Marne 97
  • Notes 113
  • 6 - Crossing the Ourcq River 117
  • Notes 135
  • 7 - The St. Mihiel Offensive 139
  • Notes 159
  • 8 - The Meuse-Argonne Campaign 163
  • Notes 182
  • 9 - From Sedan to Belgium and Luxembourg 187
  • Notes 205
  • 10 - Rainbow on the Rhine 209
  • Notes 228
  • 11 - The End of the Rainbow 233
  • Notes 245
  • APPENDIX A ORGANIZATION OF THE 42ND DIVISION, 1917 247
  • APPENDIX B EQUIPMENT TAKEN INTO TRENCHES, FEBRUARY 1918 251
  • Bibliography 253
  • Index 261
  • About the Author 272
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