The Rainbow Division in the Great War, 1917-1919

By James J. Cooke | Go to book overview

10
RAINBOW ON THE RHINE

Leslie Langille was not sure about Luxembourg's welcome for the doughboys of the Rainbow. On 23 November the 149th Field Artillery arrived in the Grand Duchy town of Bushdorf, where the population seemed indifferent, if not openly hostile to the doughboys. The day before had been very different. The population of Arlon, Belgium, had turned out in a riotous welcome--liquor flowed free, and many a rugged soldier was kissed more than he had ever dared to dream. But Langille now thought as he looked around, "We have our suspicions as to the degree of neutrality practiced by the people. They are a suspicious looking lot, and seem to resent our being there."1 Thanksgiving was spent in the Grand Duchy, and the Rainbow men remembered the sheer pleasure of warm food and being alive. The Ohio Infantry was billeted in and around Ripweiler, a small village. The regiment, while there, began a regimen of close- order drill and the manual of arms. 2

The drill and inspections of all 3rd Army troops while on the march into Germany were prescribed for very good reasons. Constant combat did not lend itself well to a consistent reinforcement of military discipline. There was not much time spent on soldierly appearance when the troops were usually soaking wet and covered in mud. Many officers preferred not to be saluted while in the trenches, because a salute might very well be an invitation for an enemy sniper to fire. The orders sending the Rainbow on the march, therefore, stated:

The Division has earned a high reputation as a fighting unit, and while the campaigns that have brought it this reputation, have developed and intensified the combat qualities of the individual soldier, the necessary laxity of campaign life has bred a disregard of other qualities that make for the soldier, Viz., perfection of carriage, clothing, equipment and individual discipline and military courtesy. The conditions of the march do not lend themselves to the attainment of this improvement, but there will be occasional halts of several days on the march to the RHINE, and it is enjoined on all officers and non- commissioned officers to use every opportunity to restore the thoroughly soldierly bearing

-209-

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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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