The United States Army Second Division Northwest of Chateau Thierry in World War I

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About the Book

In 1927, at the request of his superiors, John W. Thomason, Jr., set out to chronicle the history of the U.S. Army 2nd Division, particularly during the bloody action of 1918. A proven writer with a solid military background through his service in the Marine Corps and at thta time two successful books under his belt, Thomason was a natural choice to write this important document. The project ran into trouble, however, when Thomason made unflattering discoveries regarding command decisions of both Army and Marine officers. His subsequent removal from the project (at his own request) left the document permanently incomplete.
Here is Thomason’s manuscript, faithfully reproduced. The work of editor George Clark is deliberately limited to matters of spelling and consistency, with Clark’s comments (clearly set apart from Thomason’s work) present only when necessary for clarification. Clark also includes a short biography of Thomason and a brief historical sketch of the 2nd Division to place the action within the framework of the war as a whole. Illustrations include Thomason’s own maps and drawings originally intended to accompany the work.

About the Author(s)

The late George B. Clark, military historian and former Marine, wrote about World War I, World War II, and the United States Marine Corps. He lived in Pike, New Hampshire.

Bibliographic Details

John W. Thomason, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 253
Bibliographic Info: 15 maps, 17 photos, appendices, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2523-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1146-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Editor’s Introduction      5

Some German Divisional Records      9

1. Robert d’Espagne to Chaumont-en-Vexin      11

2. Chemin des Dames      14

3. Chaumont-en-Vexin to Montreuil: 27 May–1 June      23

4. 1 June—Deployment      33

5. Plan of Employment, 31 May–1 June      43

Chateau Thierry            45

Belleau—Belleau Wood—Physical      45

Torcy—Bussiares—Tactical      49

6. IV Reserve Corps (German): Movements, 27 May–1 June      51

23rd Infantry—2 June      55

7. IV Reserve Corps (German): 2 June      61

8. 2nd Division and French XXI Corps d’Armée: 3–5 June      66

3 June      66

5 June      71

2nd Division—Midnight, 5–6 June      73

9. IV Reserve Corps (German)      74

4 June      74

5 June; Condition of 10th Division      75

10. 4th Brigade Field Order #1—Hill 142      79

French XXI C.A. 81/P.C.      79

Attack on Hill 142, 6 June      82

45th Company—7 June      91

11. First Attack on the Bois de Belleau      93

pm 6 June      93

7 June      109

12. 3rd Brigade—6 June      111

23rd Infantry      111

9th Infantry      120

13. Relief of 10th and 197th Divisions, 7–9 June      122

14. Bouresches and Bois de Belleau      125

2nd Attack on Bois de Belleau by 3/6 on 8 June      125

3rd Attack on Bois de Belleau      127

4th Attack on Bois de Belleau—2/5 Marines      130

15. 237th and 28th Divisions (German): 10–11 June      145

16. 5th Attack on the Bois de Belleau, 12 June—2/5      149

Attack on Bouresches, 12–13 June      153

Gas Attack, 13 June      156

13 June      159

17th Company of 1/5 in the Bois de Belleau: 13–16 June      160

17. Relief of the 4th Brigade by the 7th Infantry      165

7th Infantry Regiment in Bois de Belleau      166

18. Final Attacks in the Bois de Belleau by 3/5      175

Note on Attack of 25 June      181

Note on 87th Division Prior to 23 June      182

Gassing of 3rd Brigade      183

Regimental Sectors, 4th Brigade            183

19. 4th Brigade, 25 June–5 July      186

20. Vaux: XXI CA, 12 June      189

Notes on 5th M. G. Bn. in Vaux Operation      201

2nd Trench Mortar Battery      206

4th Machine Gun Battalion      207

3rd Brigade Regimental Sectors      208

21. Relief of Second Division, 3–10 July      211

Casualties      215

He Takes the War Too Seriously      218

Appendix I: Biography of John W. Thomason, Jr.      221

Appendix II: Brief History of the 2nd Division, 1917–1919      228

Suggested Reading      237

Index      241

Book Reviews & Awards

“one of the foremost chroniclers of the Marine Corps during World War I…a great read…a must-have…highly recommended”—Leatherneck Magazine; “well-written…comprehensive”—United States Naval Institute.