The Literal Watch on the Rhine

“THE WATCH ON THE RHINE” Occupation Duty, 1919.

Signal Corps Photo 111-SC-45142 via the National Archives

Official caption: Sentry posed upon a rock at the river’s edge resting on his rifle and looking off across the water. In the background arm stacked arms of Infantry Organization and few men warming themselves about an open fire. Chief figure is Pvt. Chas. H. Purviance of 310th Radio Field Signal Battalion. Men in the background are members of 301st Engineers, Co. D. Moselle Valley, Germany, 18 January 1919.

Note the stacked M1917 Enfields complete with rarely-seen canvas breech covers. Pvt. Purviance is well kitted out with leather gloves, a wool greatcoat, M1917 Brodie helmet, and a 10-pouch belt that is apparently well-stuffed with .30-06 stripper clips at the ready.

For reference, the 301st was part of the 76th (Liberty Bell) Division, which arrived to France late in the Great War and was largely broken up and used as replacement troops for depleted units.

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