Enroute from Bourmont Training Area
to the front lines southeast of Verdun
along the heights of the Meuse
in the Toul Sector
Map showing probable train route of 6th MGB
Breuvannes to Lemmes, marked in yellow,
with Ancemont & Sommedieue,
which they reached by hiking,
just to the east.
Hdqtrs, 2d Division
March 5, 1918
Specifies uniform articles, pack articles, roll articles, storage of additional property, rations for men & animals, machine gun & ammunition supplies.
Hdqtrs, 2d Division
March 10, 1918
Detailed instructions regarding movement of 2nd Division to new area.
AR Appenheimer billeted in village of Germainvilliers in the Vosges
foothills, part of the Bourmont Training Area, where he is in training
with the 6th Machine Gun Battalion as part of the 2nd Division, A.E.F.
~~ Orders received by 6th MGB from Headquarters, 2nd Division,
that the Division would begin move to new area on the 15th, with the
6th MGB beginning movement the following day.
All men of the 2nd Division in preparation for move to new area.
General Order No.23 contains a table specifying 30 numbered trains,
stations and departure times for each unit of the Second Division,
from March 13 to 18. According to this table, Headquarters 6th
Machine Gun Battalion, Companies 15 & 23, Headquarters Ambulance
Section, Sanitary Train, Ambulance Companies 1 & 23 and Field Hospital
23 are to depart from Station "B" (Brevannes) on March 16 at 1:30
p.m. aboard train No. 18.
At 8.45 a.m., Headquarters and supply train march to Breuvannes,
arriving at the railroad station in Breuvannes at 9:30 a.m., loading
onto Train #18 beginning immediately. 5th & 23rd Companies, being
in Breuvannes, march to station nearby and begin loading, this being
completed at 11:30 a.m. Train leaves station at 1 p.m., proceeds to
~~ AR Appenheimer, with Headquarters Detachment, records in his diary
(mistakenly dated the 17th): "Left Germanviller, boarded cars at
"Directions for Loading French Military Trains" was issued by Headquarters, 1st Army Corps, A.E.F., on March 29, 1918, just two weeks after the 2nd Division made its train journey to the Verdun Front. In all probability these detailed instructions were derived from the experinces of the 2nd Division in loading aboard the 30 trains at Bourmont and Brevannes. The directions begin with the following description of French trains:
"French trains are of uniform composition, namely: 30 box cars, 17 flat cars, one officer's coach and two cabooses. These vary in size and capacity. Box cars will average aboutr 36 men and 8 animals in capacity. Flat cars vary from 19 to 29 feet in length and are 9 feet wide. They are all placed in center of train. Their sides are made in different ways: Some with sides which can be lowered for their entire length; others divided into several divisions, many only having one-third of the side movable, making a rather narrow opening for loading large vehicles."
Three sections of the instructions, #6, #11 & #12, pertain particularly to teamsters:
6. PICKET LINES. This should be established on quai for use of artillery organizations and others having many animals to entrain.
11. METHOD OF LOADING WAGONS, CARTS, ETC. Wagons should be driven to within 20 or 30 feet of the car they are to occupy, rear and towards car, wagon making an angle of 30 degrees with the car. Mules should then be unhitched and sent towards picket line or box car they are to occupy, the harness being placed in a gunny sack and the sack loaded on the wagon. A good detail would be one n.c.o. in charge, 3 men on each rear wheel, two on each front wheel, 3 on the tongue and one extra man. The wagon should be backed towards the car at best possible speed, striking aprons or ramps at an angle of 30 to 40 degrees, if possible, using continuous pressure on wheels, the n.c.o. incharge directing the tongue detail when to cut the pole over. Block should be provided and wagons centered on car. Heavy vehicles should be loaded first. Machine gun carts may be placed in two rows, front to rear, carts tipped and nested, with shafts folded. As many as 14 can go on some cars. Wagons should not be too heavily loaded, as it causes difficulty in loading. Their height should not be over 9'10" from car floor.
12. METHOD OF LOADING ANIMALS. Animals, after unhitching, should be led to picket line, or towards the cars they are to occupy and placed lengthwise in car in 2 rows, head to head. A little straw on ramps and floors is desireable. If animals do not occupy all the box cars they should be loaded towards center of train as sometimes the quais are not as long as the train, especially at detraining stations.
Train #18 arrives at Lemmes at 4:00 a.m. Troops immediately begin
detraining. When detraining complete, organization marches & billets
as follows: Headquarters, 15th Company and Supply train in Sommedieue,
23rd Company in Ancemont.
A.R. Appenheimer records in his diary
(mistakenly dated the 18th): "unloaded at Lemmes, and hiked all day to Somdue."
Field map showing Lemmes & Ancemont
Field map showing Ancemont & Sommedieue
Second Division troops entering the Verdun sector over a camouflaged road
Lucien Jones, Official French War Artist
Description of Sommedieue by a corporal of the 6th Marines who entered the ruined town one day after Appenheimer
"That evening we arrived in Somme-Dieux. Somme-Dieux was a battered town a few miles from the Front and was division headquarters. The town had been decorated by the French soldiers in our honor, for we were the first American troops to billet in that town. Six of us were billeted in a room on the first floor of a stone house. the room had a fireplace, which we made good use of until we were caught. Of course the first thing a soldier thinks of when he hits a new place is vin rouge and cognac. So while a few of the boys went scouting for wine we stole potatoes from the commissary and used our influence with one of the cooks for some bacon grease. The result was a big feed of fried hard tack, French fried potatoes and vin rouge.
We stayed six days in this burg which the boys named the
town of interruptions, because Fritz would always drop a few
shells in it when we least expected them. When this took place there was a grand rush for the cellars. Aviators also pestered us and for hours we had to stay in the cellars until the intruders were gone. There was a klaxon horn in every block and when an enemy plane was sighted, all the klaxons would sound the Under cover alarm."