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September 4, 1986     The Ponchatoula Times
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September 4, 1986
 

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THE PONCHATOULA TIMES,SEPTEMBER 4,1986,SEC.B., PA-GE j THE GREAT WAR 191004-1918 An original history Co..,,,.B.Vi...,.cM.,o..,,-- CONCLUSION "By Bernard Vincent McMan , i i, Influenza: Top Killer of WWI Nor could any effective remedy be found. Various vaccines were tried but without much success. About all doctors could do was recommend complete rest as soon as the symptoms appeared. To the poor, who had to work or starve, this was impossible advice and they continued at their jobs passing on the dread disease to others, it spread with terrifying speed. One morning a school or factory would teem with the healthy, but by afternoon large numbers would be infected." Barrack rooms which the day before had been full of bustle and life," wrote one witness, "Would now be converted wholesale into one great sick rooms, the number of sick developing so rapidly that the hospitals were, within a day or two, so overfuil that fresh admissions were lmposs!ble and the remainder of the sick had to be nursed and treated where they were. Quarantine seemed the only means of stemming the disease. In Pittsburgh and other American cities movie houses and theaters were closed. The healthy were advised not only to wear fine gauze masks over nose and mouth but to use disinfectants and sprays liberally. So many Australian troops In Britain were afflicted that special cemeteries had to be set up on Salisbury Plain. And in Prance 70,000 American troops had to be hospitalized, a third of them dying. Before the pandemic ran its course 20,000,000 Americans would contact the disease and half a million of these would die. Throughout the world it was conservatively estimated that at least 27,000,000 perished - a toll far greater than all the battles of the Great War. Now it was time to take the death toll back to the trenches. One of the most enept French generals was fifty six year old Denis Auguste Duchene, commander of the Sixth Army, In trenches on a quiet sector whose center was the Chemin des Dames Ridge (a highway paralleling the Alsne River). He was told to lighten the front for an elastic defense. Instead the blockhead massed his troops in the front lines. American Major S.T. Hubbard warned the dunce that Ludendorff was going to attack his front. But this warning was coming from a green American staff officer who predicted the attack between May 25 and 30, 1918. The Sixth Army was made up of six poilu divisions and five battered British divisions under Sir Alexander Hamilton Gordon. Meanwhile fifteen fresh German divisions were poured into the trench system with seven In reserve, all supported by 3,719 guns opposite the French forty mile front. The American Second Division was in the quiet sector with electric lights, plumbing, mattresses, etc. No shots of any consequence had been fired for three years. On May 2*/, 1918 or Ludendorff threw his surprise party, with a bombard- ment lasting four hours. Allied troops were slaughtered in their trenches and behind the barrage came the German infantry, who in less than one hour took over the center of the Chemln des Dames line. The great rail center at Soissons was taken. "Le Boche" were just twenty miles from Paris. Cantigny Village, occupied by the famous American division The First, which traced its history back to the American Revolution. April 28 to May 27 was one dlng dung battle with Catigny changing hands two or three times a day: Finally _;eized and held by the Americans. As the Allied front was falling apart Pershing, -laig and Foch met for lunch, The result: Five American divisions rushed into the Marne area. They were met on the road by hundreds of Poilus w,,ho yelled at the "La American advancing troops Guerre FInle (The war Is over). Who won the war? Fresh American troops! C,neral Joseph T. DIckman C.O. of the Third Division was on his way to a quiet sector when French General Renouard detoured him to Chateau-Thirry. '"-e they stopped the advancing Germans while headlines in American papers J: "Germans stopped at Chateau-Therry with help of God and a few es." The Third Division never forgave American editors. American General .rd, given the Marine brigade, marched them up the Paris-Metz road where encountered thousands of French soldiers straggling to Pads. The Marines ed, "Here we are heading toward Metz while the French Army is moving on ish: and we're supposed to be fighting the same war!" , On June 1,1917 the Gremans wheeled from the Chateau-Thirty moving i the ighway and shifting north drove into BeUeau-Wood. The U.. Ninth tn-tantry eployed against the Germans while low flying forkers strafed their columns. umble bum Duchene, still in command of the French Sixth, to Hobard" ommanding the Marines: "Your men must hold the line at all hazards. Also, dig trenches." Hobard: "We dig no trenches to fall back on. The Marines will hold heTe they stand." The Mrtnes sang: "We won't come back we'|| be buried ove !here." The Marines had not won the war, but their brigade had stopped the Germans on the Paris road. in June the U.S. Second Division had taken 1,687 German prisoners, the cost had come high. The division had suffered 9,777 casualties, 1,811 had died. Floyd Gibbons the war correspondent lost an eye, which he graphically described years later on American radio networks. July 4, 1918 Pershing announced he had one million American soldiers In France (most o( them were from along the eastern seaboard due to shipping; leaving many well trained troops stranded in the west). Pershing now wanted eighty divisions, the three prime ministers (Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and Orlando) wanted one hundred divisions. Secretary Baker promised eighty divisions. The Americans came with the Model 1917 rifle, turned out by thieving munition makers, that was all but worthless. Their uniforms were woolen in the July heat, with high choker collars. Foreigners are still taken aback. This was the A.E.F. In France in what the cynical Baltimore editor Henry L. Milklnen called the "Age of Boobery. As those of us in World War Two found, we wrecked the German morale. Our generals had German names (I read a London paper which showed a picture of General Dwight'Ei,'nhower which claimed he was a combination ot I:,nglisn, welsh, lrtsn and comsnl. Jerman prisoners told me they did not relish fighting their American cousins. Ludendorff in a dispatch to his troops said: "American personnel must be called excellent. Spirit of troops is hig h . Moral effect of our fire does not materially n " check the advance of the infantry. Nerves of the Americans are still unshake . In July on the Marne Lundendorff made his last chance offensive. Private Charles MacArthur watched the huns smash down the priceless jewel Reims Cathedral with their artillery, adding luster to German culture. The Germans swarmed across the Marne River in their final offensive but the Americans (including Douglas MacArthur of the 42nd Division) threw them back across the Marne. Lundendorff had failed. August 6, 1917 officially marked the end of the allied offensive (rum the Marne to the Aisine. In sixty days the Allies advanced only seventeen miles. It had cost more than 50,000 American casualties to go from the Marne to the Vesle. August 8-10, 1918 a new Allied drive was directed against the German salient near Amiens: the attacking troops were British, French and American, under Field Marshall Haig, and they advanced fourteen miles. At 4:20 a.m. on August 8, 1918 the big push began with squabbling between Foch and Haig. One of the idiots brought up a division of calvary which got in the way of the attack. The Battle of Amiens produced 24,232 French casualties and 22,202 British. The Germans' were estimated at 75,000. August the Eighth was called by the Germans "Black Day, as this was the day they conceded they could not win the war. The Allies captured 29,873 prisoners and 499 guns. On August 11, 1918.the Kaiser summoned a meeting of the German high command in which Hindenburg said, "I see that we must strike a balance. We have nearly reached the limit of our power to resist. The war must be ended. Lundendorff: "It is no longer possible to make the enemy sue for peace by an oflensive. The defensive alone cannot achieve that objective. Termination of the war must be brought about by diplomacy." The war went on, and on August 10, 1918 Pershing took command of the U.S. First Army. The American army had nineteen dlyisions (an American division in the square division had two or three times the French and British infantry men. To this was added six French divisions). The Target: St. Mihlel Salient, and the objective: the fortress city of Metz. The operations were worked out by Colonel George C. Marshall. From flank 665,000 were assembled for this one battle. If you wonder why the fools on either side did not call a truce and end the slaughter all that can be said is that men had lost their reason. There was a tank brigade commanded by George S. Patton Jr. It could not accomplish much with shortages of gasoline and mechanical failures, plus General Mud. The offensive had bagged 15,000 prisoners and 275 guns and recaptured two hundred square miles of French territory. The 7,000 casualties were considered light. The Meuse-Argonne was a hell hole and for some reason the German soldier came to life and massacred the green American army as it stumbled through the thickets. They stopped the Americans cold so they had to regroullllowing the Germans to bring up fresh divisions. The American 77th Dlvlsade only five miles in six days. Orient. 5 Prince Max, the new German chancelor who had dallied for days beforeliking up his duties, cabled President Wilson for a cease.fire based.on the presid urteen points. This cable, verified of course, would nave collapsed the rmy. So what did the steely minded ex-college professor and presiden He sat on it for several days, giving no Inkling to the War Departmer; the press or his cabinet, .Wors,.,e sll, W!lson ,did, not tel!,A.!lld leaders. In the meantime soldiers were dying, un uct.  ne caused r-nnce x clarification. Clemenceau saw through him. He commented: "I can't understand a man who plays the Lord God one day and acts like Lloyd George the next." Admiral Scheer ordered the German fleet out to sink or die on Nov. 3, 1918 his men (not Wagnerian war Gods) mutinied and murdered their officers, raised the red flag, and turned the ships around and sailed back to port. Pnnce Max now demanded the Kaiser abdicate and the crown princ2 retire. On November 8 at 7 a.m. General Foch met with the German peace delegation in a railroad car at a siding in the Campiegne Forest where Matthias Erzberger asked for an armistice, but Foch countered with terms that floored the Germans. The Germans requested an immediate cease fire but Foch dawdled on for a deadline of November 11 at 11 a.m This was agreed to and soldiers on both sides continued to die. The Kaiser, when informed of the armistice and the request that he flee to Holland, flew into a violent rage. "1 will wait here in spa for the armistice and then return home at the head of my army." By pure chance, the head of the United Press, Roy Howard, was paying a courtesy call on Admiral Henry B. Wilson before his boat left for America. His escort was the brest Adjuctant Major C. Fred Cook, formerly news editor of The Washington Star. While they were waiting in an outer office Admiral Wilson came out, a paper in his hand: "Here's a telegram from Jackson in Paris saying the armistice was signed at eleven o'clock this morning, effective at two o'clock this afternoon." Astounded, Howard blurted out, may I quote you? Admiral Wilson replied, "! guess so." I'!1 a see you later, said Howard and together with young Ensign James Sellards he dove down the staircase. The two stopped off at the local newspaper, La Depeche, whose lease wires were used by the U.P.I. to transmit messages to America. It was now about 4:3Q_l.m. Paris time. The news was read in French and English at an outdoor concert in the Place du President Wilson. The band struck up "There Will Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight". News reached the Western Union cable office at 16 Broad St. It was passed by the New York censor (freedom of the press, baloney). A moment later it was relayed to the United Press on the third floor of the Pulitzer Building: "Unipress Paris Urgent --- Armemistic Allies Signe Snornlng (cablese contradiction for "this morning") hostilities cease two safernoon --- sedan taken smorntng by Americans, howr-- simms." No one doubted the message's authenticity since it carried the name of the president of the U.P. and its chief European correspondent. With the Paris deadline it had to be censored by the French. In seconds the most important news in years was sent all over the nation. New York went wild on that beautiful Indian Summer day, November 7, 1918. There was a din of factory and shop Wht automobile hems, and church bells, crowds flooded onto the streets from, and factories. Traffic was at a standstill, a storm of confetti and ticker descended from office windows. There were similar scenes all over America in small towns and villages as in the great cities. In La Crosse, Wisconsin, home of many Germans, Toland took his two children downtown to witness a scene of unbridled joy, soda pop was passed at Begun's Drug store. From exulation, America into gloom. "One of the famous fakes of history," edltorilized the New Tribune. There was no radio or television so the news of the real armistice Nov. 1] 1918 spread across America by word of mouth-telephones, telegraph newspapers. President Wilson issued a statement, "Everything for which fought has been accomplished. It will now be our fortunate duty to assist example." The Kaiser fled to Holland to a friend's house and asked his host fo strong cup of English tea. General Pershing deplored the fact that the armistice permitted Hindenburg and his high command to march their men home with flags and to blame his defeat upon the betrayal of the politicians rather than collapse at the front. The crass utter stupidity and cruelty of the West Point officers who attacks up to the eleventh hour can be matched only by the American Civil West Point officers. Here is a description by lieutenant Harry G. Rennagel 101 infantry (26 Yankee Division): "We jumped off at 25 minutes to eleven, 10:5,5 a minenwerfer fell among my men and I was told one wanted to see hurried over and there lay five of my best men .... " 'What is it old man (to wounded young soldier)?' I asked. 'Lieutenant, ! going fast. Don't say I will get better. You know different and this is a unhappy time for me. You know we all expected things to cease today. I my girl, we were to be married when I returned, and told my folks that I was and, well, about my plans, and now by some order I am not going glanced at my watch. It was 11:05 November 11, 1918. I looked back -- gone." THE END Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc. 1986 Meml00rship E Friday Emergencies happen everyday. When they do, it is crucial that you, your family and your community have the best possible emergency lifesaving services available. Acadian Ambulance Service renders these vital services daily. Only through your support of Acadian Ambulance can you assure that these services will continue to be available. For the fourth straight year, Acadian Ambu- lance membershp rates have remained the same. You can still be a member of Acadian Ambulance for only $45 a year per family. Non-members pay $240 for basic life support emergency care. The deadline for Acadian Ambulance membership is here. Please purchase a membership at a bank in your community before it closes on Friday, September 5th, or fill in this application form and mail it to Aca- dian Ambulance. Call 1-800-523-2823 Anniversary Established 1971  \\;\ MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION I hereby alopty for rnemtrshtp wdh Acadian Ambulance Serwce, Inc for me anO my family members as defined and listed on this applCahOn Acceptance by AASI of the enclosed membership fee may entitle me/us to use the ground and air transpolaPon serwces of AASi at no d*rect cost to me for mecflcal emergency trips tO a host al wthin the State of Coursana and al a reduced rate to dest rod- tions other than a hospta! I hereby authorize ano direct my ,nsurance company dUO/or mechcal benefits Drowder to pay drectty to AASI such sums that are OWing to AASI for services reheated me As a Dart of the consderatoo for the undertaking of AASL I as=gn to AASI my rJhts and benehts under my medical insurance po=cy for serwces DrovOecI to me by AASI I understand that AAS! wdi sane the bill for serv=ces rendered. directly to my insurer o other mechcal benefits prowder tot paymen! In the event that rny medical benef*t s Drovicter fails to I:ay/UkSI for servK;es renclered to me, or d  have no meclm-,l benefts AP, SI may charge me 50% ot ,is usual and customary charges for such serwces Out-of-state ground transportation and emergency ar services may be Drov=ded to memDets at a discounted rate The avaiability and arnobnt :f such dscounts will be betermmecl at the time services are requested Emergency requests have first Drorty PhysiCian authorization may be required for no-emegecy tansters. Dspatchmg and transportlng dec=sK)ns w be maOe by the staff of AASI Th=s membersh=D is non-refuflclable and huh'transferable MernbershD takes effect September t, 1986 and will exp=re August 31. 1987 RETAIN THIS PORTION FOR YOUR RECORDS Enclose check or money order in the amount of $45.00 payable to Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc. Please check the parish where you live: Ascension I7 Livingston [] E. Baton Rouge [] W. Baton Rouge [] Lafayette  Vermilion E] St. Martin [] Acadia [] Jeff Davis I St. Mary [] St. Landry I Thibodaux Hosp. Dist. I-1 Terrebonne [] Iberia [] Evangeline" [] Assumption [] Pointe Coupee  Tangipahoa [] St. Helena [] Visa [] MasterCard Acct, No, ExD, Date Name of Cardholder PLEASE PRINT THIS IS NOT AN INSURANCE POLICY Form 101. Name Age __ Mailing Address Phone_ City & State Zip List spouse and unmarried children under age 21 Age Age DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 5, 1,86 -- THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT ,. TInS PomrmN FOR ULTION