Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Under the Winter‘s Snow

     ((The Battle of Meuse-Argonne, October, 1918, WWI) (Narrative Poem))

Private Anton Siluk, 1917-18, on his way to The American
AEF (American Expeditionary Forces) in Europe, WWI

The General’s headquarters were hidden in the forest, the
       Argonne, during the Meuse-Argonne battle which was to Peruse on October, 31;
I saw him once, giving directions regarding operations and deciding
       whatever generals decide. 
I had fought in the Battle of the Selle, on October 17,
With the British Fourth, and was sent forward to fight some more, in
       the battle yet to be in the Forest of Argonne by the River Meuse… nearby the Lost Battalion!
       We had captured 1600-prisoners and twelve guns.
It was dogged attacks, which are what we called them, how we won: —we advanced four miles in the face of strong resistance:
Let me explain—resistance: we knew we’d have but little time,
For recuperation, after The Battle Selle, for the Battle of Argonne,
       that was to ensue on October, 31,
So our commanders told us, and we did as they said,
We pushed to attack until we were incapable of further effort—
Red from the cold, per near pale as death;
Marshal Haig said, we’d earn the lasting esteem and admiration of
       the British,
Alive or dead, but surely he meant dead. 
And surely enough the little time we had between the two battles,
       fourteen-days, resting in old cold winter dugouts, trenches the
       Germans had left,
Proved we fought without rest, in the face of resistance.
Anyhow, I fought—like many,
Many, without any thought of alignment, my right hand swelled like
       the belly of a porcupine,
And once attacking the enemy I had learned,
Never lose contact with the battle ahead, once you have found it,
       that is,
Lest you get disorientated, and your mind no longer can concentrate on: life, limb, and killing: and you must kill, willing!
Lest you lose your head by and by; and many did.
       I never looked at disadvantages of position,
Just: attack, attack, and attack, no matter how severe it was on us
       troops: we were the AEF, and it was calamitous for the enemy, If not for us, surely for me: and we attacked, and attacked,  north of
       Verdun road, in the cold, October of 1918, under the winter’s Snow.

#3415 (9-4-2012)

Perhaps interesting notes on WWI:  During WWI,  about October 1918,  there were about 250,000 French Soldiers still in uniform; about, 250,000 British  also,  they had taken big losses,  and,  1.3 Million AEF  American soldiers in uniform, along with 1.1- Million Germans in uniform; perhaps a 35% advantage for the Allies, at this point in time; in addition, it must be said, the Germans were mentally defeated, before they were physically, they were likened to the French and British,  worn-out; where as the Americans, were young and perhaps not as ripe as the veteran soldiers of Europe, but eager to  be tested under fire. The Allies had a 35% advantage over the Germans with guns (or artillery), once the Americans entered the war. The storage of American food at one point was 90,000 tons, for, forty days of command. Also, 80,000 horses were given to the Americans from France; also 59,000-beds were brought from America for the hospitals in Europe; one million cans of tomato soup were requisitioned regularly.  There were 54,000-officers in the A.E.F. They had 57,000-freight cars workable in WWI; 1900- damaged engines. America produced 60,000-additioanl cars for the Military, having only received 7,600 while in Europe during their first months of arrival.  The program accounted for 3-million American Soldiers in total. In July of 1917, $64-millin dollars was appropriated for aviation; in the first six months of 1918, 16,500 planes were to be built. Over $400-million was subscribed from the Americans for the war efforts between June of 1917 and February, 1919. It amounted to 50,000 tons of freight per day, for 2-million men in uniform. Over 45,000 tons of munitions and supplies were sent to the front by the Americans. Total loses, or casualties for the British in the year 1917, between Januarys to December, were 500,000.