Commander, Matthew Bullard, Pershing discussed on John Batchelor


Story of continental the attack on constantly America's first battle of World War One the first division, the first expeditionary division will make the attack in particular, the twenty eighth infantry regiment, but that is in front of his right now, March twenty first nine hundred eighteen the German high command Hindenburg, Dr they put together they put together a vast army because the Russians were out of the war and the Italians of virtually collapsed. So they concentrate on one hundred ninety two divisions to launch Kaiser schlock that translates into emperors blow. They're going to storm and take Paris with that they did not in one thousand nine hundred fourteen and end the war their tactics are brutal. And as they launch the the French and the British real back mmediately, they need the. Americans and they need the Americans to fight effectively. Matthew, they send America back to a place outside of Paris. That's the Paris. And then the marching orders to the front is this photo gambling is he panicking the throw the Americans into this offensive. Well, I would not call it panicking. They were doing anything they could. And I was trying to coordinate with the leaders of the of the main armies keep in mind, folks. Even though he was designated supreme allied commander. He really only had control over the command reserve, you had the the British army and the French army still, you know, the French army was under general pertain for the most part and the the English army was still at that time under Hague. So those two had he had to work in conjunction with them and Pershing at that time the Americans only had five divisions in France. It was Pershing who went to folks and said all I have is yours. What would you like and soc asked for a division and ask for it to be put in what was called the Monte de sector, which is the sector. We're counting was the most pronounced sailing. It was the westernmost point of the German thrust. And frankly, there was a Moroccan division. That was holding the line there and. Soc most likely understood that the Americans with their larger divisions. They had twenty eight thousand in the first division would be able to hold that line successfully. I don't think it was put in and there's no way to know. I don't have any documentation to say otherwise that it was put in to push the Germans back. But I think likely had quite a bit of confidence we need US first-division going over there into that sector. All right. We're going to concentrate, which is a farming village. And it is the front line. The Moroccans have been holding it the Americans are to take their place, it's entirely under the guns of the very heavy German corps artillery. So there is no safe place. The corps artillery can destroy anything it hits. And the Germans have by this time perfected coordinating with airplane spotting plane spotting. And so the Americans are walking into a part of which they call the valley of death. We need. To identify the commanders. Now, the commander of the division is named Bullard. He works very carefully. He's been chosen by Pershing to take command of the first division. The first commander did not work out and bully and Bullard has an artillery commander name Summerall. Matthew Bullard is a strong minded man who means to win. I'm fascinated with Summerall. What do we need to know about him? ES will Bullard. The most important thing about all how he ended up there. Some all comes on the artillery commander, which ended up being very important, particularly in this war on the western front. Summerall wins half the battle because he gives accurate fire to cover the the infantry. Please continue that that's exactly right, and it, and it seems vision of combined arms of artillery working closely with the infantry in an attack or defense that is so important and would serve as a model for the entire ATS. Robert Lee Bullard was a Major General. He was a class ahead of Pershing at West Point. He was very much a soldier's general, very folksy. He had served as a Colonel volunteers and the army in the early nineteen hundreds and the Philippine insurrection. And while he was there. He took great note of a young artillery. Lieutenant another West Point grad, I think he was six or seven classes behind a Bullard early. Eighteen ninety Charles summer all young Lieutenant some old battery gave such effective fire support. Bullard's inventory in the Philippines against the moros rebels that he forever remembered that fire support and kept his name and his mind. So when he took command of the first division, his very first move was to replace the existing artillery commander who was actually an engineer in that place because in Pershing's army. The artillery was not much of a focus. Focus was mostly on the infantryman Bullard asks for and gets summer all his field artillery. Brigade commander some all comes and he's a he's a native of Florida. He's a west pointer. He has been very innovative and on the cutting edge of artillery tactics, which was hard for a US army artilleryman because the US was so far behind most of the US is experience, and artillery and big guns was coast artillery. And they were still using old cannon and here, the French and the British for using modern field artillery life field artillery swiftly deployed, swiftly maneuvered. He already was on the cutting edge of that and had pushed for more artillery for the continue. We'll continue when we come back. We'll meet determines I over there. The attack on continuity, America's first battle of World War One Matthew Davenport is the author. I'm John bachelor. One zero five point nine FM and AM six thirty Washington. Small W A L. If you've got an Amazon echo, you've got a new way to listen to.

Coming up next