One of the scariest sounds for any of the Kaiser’s foot soldiers in the Great War had to be that of the Vickers gun, ready to rattle away in .303 all day.
The below amazing eight-minute video is the sight and sound of 16 Vickers machine guns rocking and rolling at a recent event saluting the centenary of the disbandment of the British Army’s Machine Gun Corps. Held at the Century range at Bisley, Surrey, it was pulled off by the Vickers Machinegun Collection and Research Association. Set up as a machine gun company, the guns represented gunners from 1912 through 1968, including one team of female factory testers.
“The Kaiser’s necklace, compliments of Camp Lee, Va.” showing Doughboys training with a Vickers gun and holding up one of its 250-round cloth belts. Both the 80th “Blue Ridge” Division, drawn from volunteers from Virginia and western Pennsylvania, as well as the 37th “Buckeye” Division of the Ohio National Guard trained at Camp Lee. (Photo: The Library of Virginia)
Men of Iron by Don Troiani : Doughboys assault German positions in the Bois de Mort Mare during the Battle of St. Mihiel.
Battle of St. Mihiel, the Bois de Frière, Sept. 12, 1918
The 3/358th Infantry, 90th Division, was designated the assault unit for the American attack on the morning of September 12. As they were moving forward toward their jump-off positions before dawn, the unit was caught by German counter-battery fire. Major Allen, battalion commander, was wounded and evacuated while unconscious to an aid station in the rear. Regaining his senses, Allen removed his medical tag and sought to rejoin his unit, which had already advanced through the Bois de Frière. Allen gathered a group of men separated from their units and led them forward. They discovered a group of Germans bypassed by the first wave of American troops emerging from their dugout. Allen led his men in desperate hand-to-hand combat with the Germans. After emptying his pistol and despite his wounds, Allen fought with his fists, losing several teeth and suffering another serious wound.
Allen and his men are shown engaging the Germans in the trench. On the morning of September 12, American troops wore raincoats to protect against the rain. Allen is using his .45-caliber pistol which was standard issue for American officers. American tactical doctrine required the assault battalions to advance as quickly as possible toward their first objective line. Follow-on battalions were given the task of mopping up German strongpoints bypassed by the leading troops. The American early morning artillery barrage drove many German units into the protection of their dugoutsand many were passed over by the first wave of American troops. During the St. Mihiel offensive several American support units engaged in desperate battles to clean out small groups of Germans scattered throughout the woods.
Allen would rise to command the American 1st Infantry Division in North Africa and Sicily in World War II. Criticized for lax discipline, Allen was relieved of his command by General Dwight Eisenhower. Allen was then assigned to command the 104th Infantry Division and he led them through the Battle of the Bulge and Germany’s surrender in May 1945.
An American attack in the Seicheprey region, in a watercolor by the artist-correspondent Harvey Dunn.