A single barrage of a moment from them, I believe, would have obliterated Hundom and all therein. Then there were [inserted]helmets[inserted], machine guns, automatic rifles, "grenaden-werfen", ["minenwerfen"?], tanks, parts of zeppelins, sausage baloons, and aeroplanes. I wondered what Boche had left to fight with. A captured U-boat lay in the Seine, loaded with torpedoes. To all who bought French Liberation Bonds was given the opportunity of seeing around the craft. I wasn't frankly able to [deleted]see around the[deleted] grasp the opportunity. Moreover, there were pretty girls gaily togged.
Leaving Paris at the expiration of our [deleted]allotted[deleted] 24 hours, we left for the front. [inserted]and[inserted] front was all we [inseted]then[inserted] knew. I reached my divisional area on Nov. 8, finding that [deleted]they[deleted] [inserted]my outfit[inserted] were in the line just east of the Meuse and south east of Verdun.
Nov. 8. - I found [deleted]my[deleted] our supply Co. at Pave, a suburb of Verdun. It was morning, and I [deleted]found that[deleted] was
informed that a ration train was to go up to the line at dusk. The delay gave me an opportunity of seeing the renowned Verdun, one that I shall always be [deleted]happy[deleted] [inserted]thankful[inserted] for. I enterd the south eastern gate, crossed the old [inserted]historic[inserted] mote and drawbridge, and beheld [inserted]Verdun[inserted], a completely irrecognisable heap of ruins. I [deleted] walked throughout the whole city and saw not a single house that had not been hit by [deleted] German artillery. No other [inserted]living[inserted] picture I [inserted]had[inserted] had gave me a more lasting impression of the real horrors of war. I was fortunate enough to see, [deleted] through the courtesy of a French lieutenant, at least a part of the Great Underground [inserted]([?])[inserted] City. Entering near the citadel I found a regular [inserted]army[inserted] cantonment, with all its [deleted] [appearances?]
and equippage. There were canteens, bakeries, and innumeerably barracks for French soldiers, [inserted]all[inserted] absolutely protected from hostle fire. I was told that the place was roomy enough confortably to lodge 3 divisions of soldiers.
In the afternoon I left for the trenches (with the wagon train). Big 12 inch [inserted]from the Pave valley[inserted] naval guns fired over us a goodly part of the way. The gave me a reminder of war coonditions. Having been [inserted]in the[inserted] back-area so long, I guess I needed it. I reported to my Colonel [deleted]a little[deleted] just in time to get invited to a good supper, [inserted]30 feet underground, illuminated by electricity[inserted]. [deleted]I went to bed not dreaming of what the morrow had in store for us. Nov. 9 At six o'clock[deleted]
Our sector was a veritable cemetery. We were holding [deleted]the[deleted] a part of the line where [inserted](was offered)[inserted] perhaps the [deleted]stiffent[deleted] stiffest resistance of the French was [deleted]put forth[deleted] [inserted]offered[inserted], [deleted]twice[deleted]
checking two desperate attempts of the Crown Prince's army to capture the pivot city of the surrounding country. Nine hundred thousand soldiers had [deleted] been killed and buried over the ground that I was then on, [inserted]approximately[inserted] 400,000 French and 600,000 Germans. The surrounding territory was [deleted] bare [deleted]by [?][deleted] [inserted]havingbeen subjected[inserted] to two years of constant bombardment. The country was pitted everywhere with shell holes. Skeletons, mostly in part 3, [deleted]were on[deleted] were visible [inserted]on all sides[inserted] [deleted]everywhere[deleted]. It was very frequent that a bone or two could be found [deleted]sticking[deleted] jutting toward the inner part of a trench. Some of the boys found [inserted]also[inserted] shoes and leggins with bones in them, helmets wth skulls on the inside, and such things. Dead Man's Hill more than deserved its name.
I went to sleep that night, little
realizing what the next day had in store for us.
Nov. 9 - At six o'clock we received the order that our division would do an attack at 8. My regiment went over in reserve. Our position of reserve, in brief, was Chatillons, our objective Etain.
Thirty minutes before [deleted]zero[deleted] [inserted]H[inserted] hour, our artillery began its preparation for our advance through the [inserted]great "unbreakable"[inserted] Hindenburg line, where Boche had been stopped early in 1917. We surprised and pierced the enemy's defenses. Our "wild cats" kept going ahead in the face of the stubbornest resistance that the 5th Prussian Guards could offer. We spent the night in a wood near Chatillons, the most trying of my army experience.
Nov. 10 - On the evening of the second day of the attack, we moved up to take