James Delaney, Marine Corps, Bellawood discussed on American History TV
Thank you. Thank you so much for your service. Also, Tim Franks to the AMC and the society in many of my other friends are here, and my family, my mom and dad, I really appreciate your support. Thank you over the years. I've written eleven books in all of those books. If found me in one way or another and what I mean by that. It's not a cliche. The story finds me if it's, you know, Washington's immortals we're walking I was walking with the battalion commander. I was with influenza, and we found a rusted old sign that said here like two hundred fifty six continental soldiers Marilyn heroes were buried in a mass grave in Maryland in Brooklyn somewhere, and I wanted to know the back story of that story it's history in plain sight, and the unknowns is no different. I was given the opportunity to be a guy in France for the fifth marines and later, the wounded warrior regiment, and as we walked the the battleground the hallowed ground a bellawood which happened exactly one hundred years ago to this day where the Marine Corps in the second division help save Paris. They they stopped the German drive. I mean, we we look around the. The news, and there's very little talked about the battle of bellawood in that generation of of of dough, boys. It's the reason why I wrote the the announce it's an unknown generation. It's a forgotten generation that changed the world. We're walking around the shell holes bellawood. They're still mustard gas entombed in some of the the hardwood. Trees bellawood the land is scarred by World War One. And I was joined by brothers that I was with influenza, and it was quite striking. The two generation said met at one place in it was a situation where Volusia nearly killed all of us were the former Ottoman empire. Now, iraq. Was was directly a result of that. It was it was that that meeting of generations. That that made me wonder. And then I found out that Ernest a Janson main and epic charge on a place called hill. One forty two as we walked up to forty two. This is the high ground near bellawood. It was crucial the marines on June six nine thousand nine hundred eighteen charged across a wheatfield under heavy machine gun fire maxim machine gunners. They charged in civil war formation because they were ordered to by the French. It was a it was a bloodbath. Many of these men dropped from the machine gun bullets. They kept charging they kept making their way towards hill. One forty two in for unbelievably they were able to take out a position that was held by a battalion of Germans, and they seize the hill and against all adds the hill. But within twenty minutes, they knew what was coming next a German counterattack Jansen and George Hamilton. But the forty nine company. This book is a band of brothers on the forty ninth company as well as the body bears in this book, and the story of the unknown soldier braced for the counter attack and Janssen saw in the distance nearly a dozen stall Heim camouflage hamlets making their way up towards his position setting up several maxima sheen guns on heavy sleds. He knew if they were able to set those up they would sweep the hill and take it you let out a blood curdling cry and charged forward. And stop the attack the German attack disrupted the entire attack and potentially save the hill for his actions. He was the first medal of honor recipient for the Marine Corps. He was also Pershing's body bear. And what I found that out. I wanted to know who the other men work. It was at that point. The unknowns found me, and I spent years uncovering their story, which is an untold story. It's an untold story within multiple until stories that are hidden in plain sight the tomb itself. Has an incredible history. But it's history in plain sight. It's the back story behind the tomb. Who were the people that were selected to bring back? The remains how the unknown was selected all of these stories are woven into a single-story a narrative history, that's very cinematic that brings you to World War One through the eyes of the men the most decorated enlisted men of the war who saw some of the toughest action in every in nearly every major battle. But general Pershing when he selected his eight body bearers selected individuals from the army, the navy and the Marine Corps, and then within that he selected individuals from the combat specializations of combat engineers, for instance, in these aren't guys that built things they blew things up in the case of Thomas Saunders who was a body bear in this book, who's a native American given some of the most difficult assignments of the war had to bring the wire with. Only a pair of wire cutters and breached the wire making a hole to allow the rest of the infantry to go through you have the cavalry. It's hard to believe, but there were mounted troops in France. And one of our great stories is body there. Harry Taylor who is practically born in the saddle a cowboy that was raised in Wyoming and Taylor fought with the First Cavalry. For instance, for the at the beginning of his career was involved in numerous conflicts, and then found himself in France training men with the ninety first division, the wild west division who makes an epic charge. A suicide charge at a place called guests in the argon argon one of America's bloodiest battles. There's also the infantry Samuel woodville. One of America's most decorated dope, boys. There's the heavy guns. I mean, this is a forgotten aspect of roar one. They re rail guns in France and heavy artillery in one of the body bears is represented there Louis racks, the field artillery, forgotten branch in many ways, these are men that were with in most cases, French seventy five's artillery pieces that moved up with the infantry in some cases, they were in combat with the infantry as they moved up in provided close artillery support as the infantry advanced. This is the story that's in the unknowns. It's it's try general Pershing was trying to be very comprehensive in the way that in fair in the way that he told the story of World War One through the eyes of these men. And then of course, there's the extraordinary story. Of the tomb itself in how it was how the body the unknown was selected, and I I follow a Chicago and a Doboy named chart Edward f younger through the entire war. And younger was part of the second infantry division an elite unit within the the American expeditionary forces that fights in some of the greatest battles of the war. And and younger is there. He's a Doboy a regular grunt. A sergeant that fights from battle the battle. He's wounded twice very severely. And then I'll get into the story of how he selected. It's quite extraordinary. Patrick O'Donnell un-american history. His book is about the soldiers selected to escort the remains of the unknown. Soldiers home. And then there's the story of hall all of these men in individuals come together. Here in Washington DC, I on November ninth nineteen twenty one. And then they bring this the most extraordinary individual the unknown soldier to his final resting place in Arlington Virginia. Let me just kind of go back a little bit in time though in talk about some of these body bears because this book is about about stories. It's about extraordinary story extraordinary individuals that in many cases did the impossible. And I mean, what would you will you'll see in this? This book is individuals that had overcome extreme hardship. Talking about gas persistently all the time as they fought bodies that were covered with with with lot lice, and mites and. As as they fought through combat because they weren't able to change their uniforms. They also had battle and fight the greatest army in the world at the time the German army. The let me go back in time to nineteen seventeen. When America was unprepared. America went from an army of about two hundred and twenty thousand regulars to an army of over four million strong at the end of the war. It's an extraordinary story of growth in a in a in a time of great need, and we mobilized, but one part of the story is a forgotten story. And that's the story of the navy in World War One. The American navy in World War One in one thousand nine hundred seventeen in March nineteen seventeen president Wilson. Had a real threat on his hands. German u boats were sinking American shipping at an alarming rate, even before we entered World War One. There was a decision made to bring naval guards on board. Merchant ships to arm them with typically five inch guns and give the merchant ship accrue about fifteen naval personnel. These are known as naval guards in one of those individuals was James Delaney. James Delaney was a a tough Irishman from Boston Massachusetts. His body was inked with the ships that he served on. He'd been serving since eighteen his life was the navy, and he was given command of a naval gun crew on the USS the SS Capanna merchant ship and their their journey in one thousand nine hundred seventeen in the summer of nineteen seventeen actually was going pretty well. Until midsummer, and they were there are making their way back to the United States. And all of a sudden a torpedo nearly hit the ship. It was then quickly followed by our Tillery fire. The men manned their guns in began to respond you boat. Sixty one was proved by an expert. Diekmann? His name was Lieutenant Lieutenant captain diekmann who had sunk nearly forty naval ships from the allies at this point. And now his prey was the US Capanna James Delaney went into action with his crew they manned their guns, and they started to fire upon the u boat, but Victor diekmann the captain of the boat was was was quite quite knowledgeable on these fares and sunk many, allied ships. He wisely stayed out of range of the companions guns. But what ensued was a cat and mouse chase for hours both sides fired their guns at each other as the companion tried to flee the battlespace eventually you boat, sixty one rounds rebelled hit the side of the Capanna one near the engine compartment. James Delaney's men were were firing so many rounds at their eardrums began to bleed. But they ran out of aim mission. And several of the of the u boat shells struck the companion. Captain Oliver who's a New Yorker on the Capanna decides to strike, his colors and surrenders vessel. The u boat moves in close the go right by the the actual robots that they companions crew and James Delaney are in nearly wiped them out as they go so close to it. But then they have a boarding party that that that goes aboard the Capanna. They set several charges, and but before they do that they raid the food locker onboard the companion of life on board a submarine was very harsh. They only had canned goods or whatever they could bring aboard. Once the journey began the journey was also dirty and filthy the engines on board the u boat sixty one let off a lot of Greece in. There was inside the boat. There was something called U-boats, sweat, literally condensation would be inside the boat, and it would get on on on the men's clothes in their coffee in their food everything. So remarkably the first thing that they did when they went on board the companion was look for soap, and they went for the soap, and they try to clean themselves off, and they got the food, and they also look for anything of intelligence value, and they detonated the ship and sank it. And at that point the men, including James Delaney were brought him. Board. Six of these men were brought on board u boat sixty one and the captain is a remarkable figure. He speaks perfect English. And he begins to question, James Delaney. And here is a a meeting of two men, they both they become I wouldn't say there's a friendship forum, but there's a mutual respect that's formed including the respect with the crews because the men James Delaney's crew and his men endure with the men of the u boat endure, and if you've ever seen the movie daas boat, it's an America. It's a World War Two version of a u boat under see, but this is this is a World War One dot spout of what James Delaney goes through and the men of the u boat sixty one including Victor deepen their their depth charged. They have to they have the endured what's known as a Q Q boat, literally a merchant ship. The allies have that is actually a worship that's disguises merchant ship. But it's it's designed to is soon as the u boat surface to basically reveal hidden guns in attack the boat. They go through a minefield. And it's just an extraordinary story. Won't tell the entire story. But I will tell you that at the end of the voyage both crews lined up for photo in what James Delaney did know and the other Americans that day was that you boats. Sixty one's crew were all Walking Dead men because within a matter of weeks or months, they would never be seen again. This is the powerful stories that are inside the announce. That took me here stun earth, including here. Some of these stories were found here in the national archives as I on earth them. Another incredible story is the story of the forty ninth company of the Marine Corps. The helmet next to me is not the forty nine company. It's actually to five which is second second battalion fifth marines, but their story really begins at bellawood which happened exactly one hundred years ago to this day. I mentioned the the epic charge on June six where the men this was in a World War One day that nobody's ever heard about practically unless you're in the Marine Corps or unless you're World War One ball. This is where the Marine Corps advanced across several fields under heavy machine gun fire. But what happened before that was quite extraordinary at the end of may early June. The Germans have launched a major offensive year at Rome. Sorry at at. At paris. And they were breaking through the French lines literally. The French army was melting away the the archives talk about how it was like water on a hide iron. It was just a parading. The French army was Evaporating men from the forty ninth company in two five in the marines and the fifth and sixth regiment as well as the second division..