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.