My Grandfather’s World War I Log Book – Part 11 – Hot Breakfast in German Bunker

My Grandfather’s World War I Log Book – Part 11 – France September 26 – 27, 1918

Ate German Troops’ Breakfast Still Hot After They Retreated

My comments: My grandfather is with the U.S. Army 111th Engineers battalion.  They are now at the battle front in the Argonne Forest in France. This is the largest battle for American troops in all of World War I.

Log Book* quotes:

“26th – On hike at 5 A.M. Lieut. Singleton left behind as he was sick.  Capt. Moon taken sick also.  Walked to front, was shelled at 10 A.M. just outside of Neuvilly.

American wounded being treated in a shattered church in Neuvilly September 20, 1918 (photo by J.A. Marshall)

“26th continued – Repaired road all day under heavy shell fire.  Artillery battery close to us was shot up.  Six of the boys were hurt.  Quite a number of German prisoners were being taken back, some carrying our wounded men.  We have had no dinner or supper as our kitchen was left behind.

111thEngineers built road from Boureuilles to Cheppy, most likely through Varennes, September 26 – 27, 1918

“26th continued – Slept out in the open, raining like hell, told to be up at 12 P.M. Woke men up but could find no one who knew what to do, so told the men to go back to sleep.  No gas alarm tonight, but you sure could hear the machine guns & rifles popping away just 100 yards ahead of us.”

Went down into a dugout, where they [German troops] must have started serving breakfast, for everything was set and hot but they made too hasty a retreat to finish their meal. Quite a few of the boys picked up souvenirs – belts, stationery & postcards.  We made a meal out of their black bread, sugar & coffee.  Got some smoking tobacco too.  We are sure raising hell around here.” [Bold added]

Photo of 112thEngineers (not 111thEngineers) building a road in Argonne Forest (Photo in Ohio Army National Guard Collection)

“27th – Walked 8 kilos [5 miles] to our kitchen for breakfast, then back to work on road between Boureuilles and Cheppy.  Nothing left to the town but ruins.  Our men have advanced & taken Varennes, Very & have gone beyond Charpentry about 12 kilos ahead of us.  Was shelled while working on road at 2 P.M. with shrapnel, no one hurt.”

Ruins of Varennes, France – photo taken on September 27, 1918, the day my grandfather and the 111th Engineers were there (National Archives)

“27th continued – A regiment of cavalry going through to the front & sure would like to see them make that charge over about 30 kilos of open ground.  The 92nd Division of Negroes have gone up to the front today.  It seems as if our boys are advancing too fast for our artillery to protect them.”

Next post will be — Former town of Vauquois ” looks as if an earthquake struck it”

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*Quotes are from my grandfather Sergeant 1st Class Lou Sheckard’s World War I handwritten Log Book.  He describes his experience with the U.S. Army 111th Engineers from March 1, 1917 to June 15, 1919.  To learn how I discovered this 100-year-old family treasure, click here.

Peter Finkle bio: Husband, Father, Writer | Herbal Health Researcher | Co-Founder: Vets Vites dietary supplements

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