“They come out of their trenches; we come out of ours. We met one another, faced one another like a bunch of animals. We lost our senses; we charged them with our bayonets. I saw a German, a six-footer, coming towards me – why he picked me I don’t know.
Anyway, I saw him coming. I don’t know what gave me the idea, what gave me the strength, but as soon as he came near me, I turned my rifle by the butt, broke his thrust and I hit him on the chin. All of a sudden he was bleeding. He let go of his rifle and put his hand toward his chin to find out where the blood came from.
That gave me a clear spot. I turned the rifle and I hit him in mid-chest with the bayonet. I left the bayonet there till he fell down. Looked at him, pulled out my bayonet – I know what happened to him, I know the conditions – and I just left him, and I kept following my other friends.
We chased the enemy, which was in full retreat, from trench to trench all the way down the embankment to the hill of St. Mihiel. When we reached the city of Château-Thierry I joined my division.
The place was littered with dead. Only a few days before, the Marines had met the onslaught. The ground was full of holes. Dead all over the place; dead mules, dead horses, dead people. Everything was putrefied.
The place smelled terribly. The rain, it rained constantly, which never helped any, didn’t help decomposition of the body. I have never had any training for this. My first action. I never expected to find anything so gruesome.”
– Private Di Lucca. US Army 42nd Division. 1918.
As we always say here at Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.