Was The ‘Rainbow’ Division Tarnished By Its Battlefield Behavior In World War I?

World Warfare I started in Europe in 1914, nonetheless, america remained impartial till 6 April 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the joint decision declaring {that a} state of warfare now existed between america of America and Imperial Germany. Three months later, in August 1917, U. S. Nationwide Guard models from twenty-six states and the District of Columbia united to kind the 42nd Division of america Military. Douglas MacArthur, serving as Chief of Employees for the Division, commented that it “would stretch over the entire nation like a rainbow.” On this method, the 42nd turned referred to as the “Rainbow Division.” It comprised 4 infantry regiments from New York, Ohio, Alabama, and Iowa. Males from many different states, amongst them New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Indiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Maryland, California, South Carolina, Missouri, Connecticutt, Tennessee, New Jersey, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania additionally joined the division and have become machine gunners, ambulance drivers, labored in discipline hospitals, or served within the navy police.

The Southeastern Division commander beneficial that the 4th Alabama Infantry be assigned to the 42nd. The commander of the 4th was Colonel William P. Screws, a former common military officer who had served from 1910 to 1915 because the inspector-instructor for the Alabama Nationwide Guard. Screws was broadly considered one of many main property of the Alabama Nationwide Guard, and his repute was seemingly a distinguished issue within the number of the 4th to affix the 42nd. To improve the 4th Infantry to warfare power, the switch of the required numbers of enlisted males from different Alabama Guard models, together with the first and 2nd Infantry Regiments and the first Alabama Cavalry.

On August 15 the Warfare Division formally redesignated the 4th Alabama Infantry because the 167th Infantry Regiment, 84th Brigade, 42nd Division. The regiment comprised 3,622 enlisted troops and 55 enlisted medical employees for a complete of three,677males. The first Alabama Infantry had contributed 880 enlisted males to affix the brand new 167th, the 2nd Alabama Infantry and the first Alabama Cavalry had supplied enlisted males to carry the 167th to warfare power, which was nominally 3,700 officers and males.

The Rainbow Division turned one of many first despatched to Europe in 1917 to help French troops in battles at Chateau-Thierry, St. Mihiel, the Verdun entrance, and Argonne. On 15 July 1918 the Division, appearing as a part of the 4th French Military, assisted in containing the ultimate German offensive on the Battle of Champagne.

Allow us to set the state of affairs for the matter of alleged American battlefield atrocities on the a part of the ‘Rainbow’ Division. On 15 July 1918, the Germans, of their remaining bid to finish the warfare of their favor, launched a large assault southward within the Champagne nation of France. Though many of the defending troops had been French, there have been some models of the U.S. 42nd Division additionally concerned within the protection and within the counter-attacks that ensued.

Regarding the battle participation of the U. S. 42nd (‘Rainbow’) Division within the Champagne-Marne Defensive battle of 15 July 1918, we learn as follows in Donovan, America’s Grasp Spy, by Richard Dunlop:

“The regimental commanders [of the U. S. 42nd Division] had been instructed to publish only some males within the first trench line, which might simply fall. Most had been to be positioned within the second line, from which they had been additionally anticipated to withdraw because the Germans swept forward.”

“On July 15 at 12:04 a.m., the German artillery commenced one of many warfare’s most great barrages. When at 4:30 a.m. the artillery stopped firing as abruptly because it had began, the silence over no-man’s-land was dreadful. The primary Germans appeared wraithlike, working towards the American strains by the morning mist. Minenwerfers [large caliber German mortars] abruptly rained down on the defending Americana, and machine weapons chattered loss of life. The People who escaped the primary cost scrambled again to the second line.”

“The Germans discovered themselves in full possession of the American first trenches; they thought they’d gained. They shouted, cheered and broke into tune. Then the American barrage opened on the trenches. Since each bit of artillery had been fastidiously zeroed in on the trenches once they had been nonetheless in American arms, the accuracy of the gunfire was uncanny. A few of the crack Prussian Guards nonetheless managed to achieve the second line of trenches, however they too had been repulsed, after bloody hand-to-hand encounters. The Germans broke off the assault.”

“To Donovan’s [Colonel William J. Donovan, commanding officer of the 165th Infantry Regiment, from New York] disgust, the Germans resorted to subterfuge. 4 Germans, every with a Purple Cross emblazoned on his arm, carried a stretcher as much as the strains held by the 165th. After they had been shut, they yanked a blanket from the stretcher to disclose a machine gun, with which they opened hearth. The People shot them useless. Nonetheless one other group tried to infiltrate the American strains one evening sporting French uniforms. They too had been shot. All instructed, some breakthroughs had been made, however the Germans had been halted by the People. The People had not been defeated because the French battle plans had anticipated they might be. After three days of battle, the Germans started

to tug again.” 1

On 18 August 1918 the next cablegram was acquired at American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) headquarters, Chaumont, France:

“”A F August 18, 1918.

Commanding Normal, 42nd Division, Bourmont.

Following acquired from Washington:

“For Nolan. Condemned Related Press Dispatch from London acquired by Cable Censor ‘0055 Monday Baumans Amsterdam accusation that soldier[s’] of 42nd American line Division enraged at losses suffered 15/7 close to Rheims killed similar night 150 German prisoners is made by Wolff Bureau on “Creditable authority” and accordingly displayed in Saturday’s German papers’. Dispatch held for assumed inaccuracy. Examine and report.” Make fast investigation and report by wire this workplace. By route.


4.55 P.M. “” 2

A “Condemned Related Press Dispatch…” is assumed to be an AP dispatch which was intercepted by the “Cable Censor” and deemed unfit for forwarding (if despatched from F&F) or transmission (if originating in London) and thus was condemned. This motion would additionally presumably be taken if the origin of the telegram or cablegram was regarded as spurious and even despatched beneath false pretenses. The unique copy of this message was likely burned with the “Confidential waste” at AEF HQ Chaumont.

Pershing and his employees at Chaumont did the whole lot doable to manage the press and the AEF employees would shortly ‘condemn’ sources from reporters and reviews that weren’t run by Normal Pershing’s employees.

Relating to the day the telegram was acquired by AEF HQ on August 18, 1918, this might have been on a Sunday. “0055 Monday” within the telegram would consult with 12 August 1918. The telegram was acquired shortly after the Champagne-Marne Defensive Marketing campaign, and whereas the U. S. 42nd Division was preventing within the Marne Salient throughout July and August of 1918. The “Wolff Bureau” was the Wolff Telegraph Company in Berlin, a semi-official German new company in 1918.

The G-2 (Intelligence Officer) of AEF Headquarters, Brigadier Normal Dennis E. Nolan took immediate motion to research the alleged homicide of German prisoners of warfare on 15 July 1918 through the Champagne-Marne Defensive Marketing campaign. Nolan directed Main Normal Charles T. Menoher, commander of the U. S. 42nd Division to undertake an instantaneous investigation of the cost. The investigation was made on 20 August 1918 on the station of the U. S. 42nd Division, AEF, Bourmont, France.

The U.S. 42nd Division was composed of troops from Alabama, Ohio, Iowa, and New York. The troops that had contact with the German Military on 15 July 1918 had been:

2nd Battalion, 165th Infantry Regiment (New York); third Battalion, 166th Infantry Regiment (Ohio); 2nd Battalion, 167th Infantry Regiment (previously 4th Alabama), and Corporations E and F of the 168th Infantry Regiment (Iowa).

The power of the investigation fell on the 2nd Battalion, 165th Infantry, the third Battalion of the 168th, 2nd Battalion, 167th, and Corporations E and F of the 168th.

Based on the “Report of investigation of reported killing of German prisoners of warfare,” from the Division Inspector and to the Commanding Normal, 42nd Division, AEF, sworn testimony was taken from a complete of thirty-eight officers of the 42nd Division, and significantly from officers whose troops had been so stationed as to return into contact with the Germans within the Champagne battle of 15 July 1918. Twenty-three officers gave sworn testimony and fifteen company-grade officers had been required to provide depositions. The testimony was uniformly a denial that any atrocities had been dedicated through the preventing that day of 15 July 1918.

Based on the identical report, “All of the officers state that no German prisoners had been killed by American troops nor had been any mistreated; not did any officer hear something to that impact. Quite the opposite the prisoners had been handled properly, the wounded cared for and punctiliously transported to the rear and the prisoners given meals, drink and cigarettes. In at the least one case a wounded prisoner was carried whereas considered one of our wounded officers walked.” 3

The “CONCLUSION” of the report states: “That the statements contained within the telegram set forth in Paragraph II of this report are false and with none basis the truth is. That each one prisoners taken by troops of the 42nd Division had been turned over instantly to the French navy authorities, and that, due to this fact, no troops of the 42nd Division had entry to them aside from these whose statements are lined by this report.” 4

The “RECOMMENDATION” of the report states: “That no additional motion be taken.” The findings had been forwarded to AEF Headquarters and there the matter was dropped. 5

An unknown German newspaper purportedly revealed in Berlin, Germany, on Saturday, 17 August 1918 allegedly printed an article alleging that 150 wounded and captured German troopers had been summarily killed by troopers of the U. S. 42nd Division on 15 July 1918. There have been 5 newspapers revealed in Berlin on the date of Saturday, 17 August 1918: Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Deutsche Tageszeitung Germania, Neues Preussische Zeitung, Nordeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Vossiche Zeitung. Searches of the talked about German newspapers have been made by a number of historians. No atrocity articles have ever been situated in these German papers.

In James J. Cooke’s ebook, The Rainbow Division within the Nice Warfare, we learn:

“”The Rainbows additionally had developed a really actual hatred for the Germans. In the course of the German bombardment on 15 July 1918, the medical doctors and nurses moved what wounded they might to a dugout, and the as soon as callow Lieutenant van Dolsen recoiled in horror at what he noticed”:

“Properly we bought down into the dug out and my pricey mom such a shamble I by no means hope to see once more. A protracted black tunnel lighted just a bit by candles, our poor wounded shocked boys there on litters at the hours of darkness, eight of them half beneath ether simply as they’d come off the tables their legs solely half amputated, surgeons attempting to complete and test blood at the hours of darkness, the ground soaked with blood, the hospital above us a wreck, three sufferers killed and one blown off the bed along with his head off. Imagine me I’ll by no means forgive the bastards so long as I dwell.”

Editor’s notice: Lt. van Dolsen, being an officer, was capable of ‘censor’ his personal letters, in any other case the sort of remark would by no means have reached the house entrance. Van Dolsen’s letter to his aunt, Occupation Forces, Germany, 19 February 1919, MHIA. See additionally Stewart, Rainbow Brilliant, 70-71.

“One Alabama personal who was within the thickest of the preventing on 15 July wrote to his mom, “All of you may cheer up and put on a smile for I am a bit hero now. I bought two of the rascals and completed killing a wounded with my bayonet which may have gotten properly had I not completed him…I could not be glad at killing them, how might I’ve mercy on such low life rascals as they’re?”

” little bit of this hatred resulted from the Germans approaching American strains wearing French uniforms taken from the useless within the first line sacrifice trench.”

“The hand-to-hand preventing was particularly extreme for the Alabamians and New Yorkers, and plenty of of their comrades had been killed or wounded within the preventing for the second protection line and within the counter-attacks that adopted. Including to the confusion was the occasional spherical of pleasant artillery hearth that fell quick and hit the People as they repulsed the enemy.”

“The Alabama protection and decisive counter-attacks on 15 July was praised by all, and established the 167th Regiment as the very best preventing regiment inside the division.”

“There had all the time been rumors of models of the 42nd Division taking no prisoners. Main William J. Donovan, in Could of 1918, described to his spouse the potential of the Alabamians’ of the 167th Infantry Regiment capturing and killing two Germans, and he ended his letter stating, “They [the 167th] wander everywhere in the panorama capturing at the whole lot.”

“Elmer Sherwood, the Hoosier gunner, reported the story that the Alabamians attacked a German trench with Bowie knives. “They cleaned up on the enemy,

Sherwood recalled, “however it’s no shock to any of us, as a result of they’re a wild bunch, not understanding what worry is.”

Whereas in Germany on occupation obligation with the Rainbow, Lieutenant van Dolsen wrote to his aunt again in Washington, DC, that the Alabams “didn’t take many prisoners, however I don’t blame them for that.”

“The New York regiment was additionally recognized for fierce preventing and taking few prisoners on the battlefield. This difficulty of battlefield atrocities by the U. S. 42nd Division would once more floor after the extreme preventing at Croix Rouge Farm, within the Marne Salient, the place the troopers from Alabama and Iowa had been closely engaged at shut quarters with a decided enemy.” 6

J. Phelps Harding, 2nd Lt., 165th Regiment, U. S. 42nd Division, AEF, wrote a letter house to his people on 22 September 1918. His letter states, partially:

“I am glad I had an opportunity to affix the 165th-it’s a person’s outfit, and it has achieved fantastic work over right here. One of many German prisoners, who met us right here and at Chateau-Thierry, however didn’t notice we had been at each locations, mentioned that America had solely two good divisions – the 42nd and the Rainbow. He did not know they had been one and the identical. I will not ask for any higher males than the Irish within the 69th (165th). They’re a tough hitting, dare satan bunch, very spiritual, afraid of nothing, and sworn enemies of the Boche. The regiment misplaced closely at Chateau-Thierry – my firm alone had 110 wounded and 36 killed outright – and each man has a ‘buddy’ to avenge. Lord assist the Boche who will get in the way in which of the ‘outdated 69th.’ We’re instructed to deal with prisoners as permitted by the war-that-was, when troopers had been much less barbarous than they’re now. After each motion we see or hear of mutilation of our males – and there is many a German who suffers for each one American so handled. I do not imply he’s mutilated – no American stoops that low – however I do imply that he grows daisies the place, if his colleagues had been a bit extra human, he may need been getting a great relaxation in an American jail camp.

Now I am going to actually cease – maybe I ought to have stopped earlier than scripting this final paragraph, nevertheless it’s mentioned, so it stands.” 7

Editor’s notice: As an officer Phelps was privileged to censor his personal writing. An enlisted man, nonetheless, involved about censorship, may need hesitated to jot down that ‘after each motion’ troopers discovered ‘mutilation of our males’ or to counsel that American troopers killed German prisoners in reprisal. Boche is the French derogatory slang time period for German troopers throughout World Warfare I.

In protection of the ‘Rainbow’ Division’s conduct on the battlefield, here’s a letter I acquired in 1997 from Clark Jarrett, grandson of Paul Jarrett, a lieutenant within the 166th Infantry Regiment. Clark Jarrett telephoned his grandfather (at his age of 101 years) and transcribed his father’s dialog:

“”I appreciated your letter very a lot. I did as you requested…I known as my grandfather the evening after I acquired your letter. We had an excellent telephone name. I learn him your precise phrases and took notes throughout our dialog. Here’s what he needed to say:

“I by no means noticed or heard of something about atrocities within the Rainbow. I can say that the 165th (New York) was not ready to go to the entrance when the whole division was prepared. I heard personally that the “165th was not match for service.” They had been thought-about playboys, not troopers. My regiment, the 166th, served with the 165th because the 83rd Brigade. On the Second Battle of the Marne (Battle of the Champagne) I used to be knowledgeable by messenger that I ought to pay attention to my left flank, because the Germans had entered the trenches of the 165th. I put my binoculars to my eyes and I noticed that there was trench preventing happening all the way down to my left. Thank God that the Germans didn’t break by. However I used to be conscious that they could at any second. After that, the 165th carried out in addition to another unit within the Rainbow.

As for the 167th Alabama…the one time I each noticed or heard of something uncommon was at Camp Mills, Lengthy Island, New York, after we had been in coaching to go to Europe. One evening, we had been known as out to separate the 167th from a Negro unit. Apparently the white troopers actually bought upset that black troopers had been within the division. Anyway, we needed to half the 2 models…however I did not see any particular violence. I heard that there was a fairly good struggle going earlier than we bought there. It was the 167th I used to be going to assist after I bought my knee fractured through the preventing on the Ourcq River.””

I hope this gives you one other piece of the puzzle, David. I quizzed him actually onerous concerning the info. He, as you already know, has an exquisite reminiscence, and won’t [I repeat] not, go together with something, nor any reminiscence of another person simply to fulfill that individual. He’ll inform it simply precisely the way in which it was.”” 8

“On the fourth day, when the 69th and the Alabama continued to carry, the French common [Gouraud] mentioned, “Properly, I assume there may be nothing for me to do however struggle the warfare out the place the New York Irish need to struggle it.” 9

Creator of The Final Hero, Wild Invoice Donovan, Anthony Cave Brown, tells us:

“And, Donovan was to confess, the Micks took no prisoners. “The lads, “he wrote,” once they noticed the Germans with purple crosses on one sleeve and serving machine weapons in opposition to us, firing till the final minute, then cowardly throwing up their arms and crying “Kamerad,” turned simply lustful for German blood. I don’t blame them.” Later when WJD [William J. Donovan] was required to take a seat in judgement on the German officers’ corps for its conduct in World Warfare II, he recalled this incident, realized that if World Warfare I had gone the incorrect means, he may need been arrested for having dedicated warfare crimes, and he refused to prosecute.” 10

It’s attention-grabbing to notice that, through the preventing alongside the Ourcq River, and after the Champagne-Marne Defensive Marketing campaign, the U. S. 42nd Division evidently once more turned concerned with the matter of battlefield atrocities. We learn as follows in Anthony Cave Brown’s ebook entitled, The Final Hero, Wild Invoice Donovan:

“Within the preventing the Micks once more started to kill their prisoners, and Donovan recorded: “Out of the 25 I used to be capable of save solely 2 prisoners, the lads killed

all the remaining.” 11

Editor’s remark: “Micks” is an ethnic slang expression for the Irish-People. As soon as once more we’ve the scenario the place an officer within the AEF is ready to write nearly any remark in any respect to the house people. One speculates as to what the typical enlisted soldier would have written, had he been permitted to take action. Main Normal William J. Donovan, commander of the 165th (previously 69th ) Infantry Regiment throughout World Warfare I, was later to turn out to be the founding father of the Workplace of Strategic Providers (OSS) and “father” of the Central Intelligence Company (CIA).

Going again to the 167th Infantry Regiment (previously 4th Alabama), Professor James J. Cooke, creator of The Rainbow Division within the Nice Warfare, informs the creator that:

“The matter of the atrocities involved primarily the 167th Infantry and I used to be very involved with it due to the investigation performed by the HQ, AEF. There had been issues with the 167th being very aggressive in fight. However, after I looked for references in German papers, such as you, I discovered none. It appeared that HQ bought their info from reporters who merely heard rumors, and many others. I do imagine, nonetheless, that HQ was properly conscious of the onerous preventing tendencies of models just like the 167th and needed to research shortly. I included the investigation primarily as a result of it was HQ that ordered it achieved somewhat than from any German or poor sources. That’s so far as I bought when doing the Rainbow ebook. I did certainly analysis AEF data in RG 120 at Nationwide Archives II, particularly the JAG [Judge Advocate General] and G2 [Intelligence] data, however discovered, such as you, a brick wall so far as the origins of the reported atrocities. By the way in which, after I ran throughout “condemned” sources it was normally for reporters and reviews that weren’t run by Pershing’s employees. As you already know Pershing and his employees at Chaumont did the whole lot doable to manage the press.” 12

The troopers of the 4th Alabama Nationwide Guard Regiment (167th of the U. S. 42nd Division) appear to have been a somewhat totally different ‘breed of cat.’ A lot of them had been backwoodsmen, avid hunters and crack rifle photographs. It’s mentioned that lots of them introduced their private Bowie knives over to France and that they used them in battle. 13

In a letter to the house people, Ambulance Corps driver George Ruckle wrote, partially: “The Germans name us barbarians, they do not like the way in which we struggle. When the boys go excessive or make raids they often throw away their rifles and go to it with trench knives, sawed off shotguns, naked fists and hand grenades, and the Bosch does not like that sort of preventing. The boys from Alabama are significantly skilled with knives they usually normally go over hollering like fiends-so I do not blame the Germans for being afraid of them.” 14

A younger officer within the 42nd Division, made the commentary in a letter house in early 1918 that, “the Alabamans, a tough, quick-tempered lot, all the time spoiling for a struggle, misplaced their tempers.” This remark was made with regard to an altercation between the lads from Alabama and the French civilians.

Might the outdated adage that, “the place there may be smoke, there have to be hearth” apply right here?

In putting all of those items of proof of alleged battlefield atrocities dedicated by the U. S. 42nd Division on the scales of justice, how does all of it weigh out? Within the opinion of this historian, the ‘Rainbow’ Division in all probability stands responsible of some extraordinarily aggressive battlefield conduct throughout World Warfare I. It is usually my distinct impression that the investigation performed by AEF HQ was a complete whitewash.

People are detest to just accept the concept that their soldiery, in any warfare, both take pleasure in killing their enemies or are able to committing warfare crimes of any kind and particularly battlefield atrocities in opposition to enemy troopers or civilians. People are all the time so shocked and horrified each time their troopers act (or react) like anybody else on this planet, as if “our boys” occupy an ethical excessive floor distinctive on the planet. However, if one is to be true to historic reality, one should settle for the concept that American troopers haven’t all the time behaved honorably on the battlefield. There’s ample testimony to this impact from World Warfare I, World Warfare II, Korea, (e.g., the incident on the tunnel at No Gun Ri in 1950, the place quite a lot of civilians had been allegedly massacred by American troopers) Vietnam (e.g., the Mylai incident, the place Vietnamese civilians had been allegedly massacred beneath the command of Lt. William Calley), and from Iraq, the place all too often a few of our preventing forces are accused of getting shot unarmed prisoners, or having tortured them in jail.

In coming all the way down to the 12 months of 2005, we’ve Marine Corps Lt. Normal James N. Mattis, referred to as “Mad Canine Mattis” to the troops he led in Afganistan and Iraq, publicly stating that “It is a whole lot of enjoyable to struggle, you already know. It is a hell of a hoot. It is enjoyable to shoot some individuals. I will be proper up entrance with you. I like brawling.” The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Mike Hagee mentioned, partially, “Whereas I perceive that some individuals might take difficulty with the feedback made by him, I additionally know he supposed to replicate the unlucky and harsh realities of warfare.” 15

The homicide of surrendering prisoners will not be distinctive to World Warfare I. That has been a barbarous apply in all wars. Nevertheless, one facet of World Warfare I preventing has been maybe uncared for; maybe the homicide of surrendering prisoners was extra frequent in that brutal warfare than we want to imagine.

Whereas courageous, kindly and charitable acts additionally characterised World Warfare I, we should always not neglect that it additionally produced its share of battlefield atrocities. A sure de-sensitization concerning the worth of human life could also be essential to cope within the stress of performing a job that requires killing, a chilly mentality that have to be stored on the battlefield.

Maybe the very best tribute to preventing potential of the Guardsmen of the Rainbow Division got here from their enemies. In a examine made in post-war days, the German Excessive Command thought-about eight American divisions particularly efficient; six of these had been these of the a lot maligned “militia” or Nationwide Guard! When the German troopers had been requested which American fight division they most feared and revered, the reply was all the time, “the 42nd”, and “the Rainbow.” For some cause the Germans by no means made the excellence. 16

Editor’s notice: On German opinion of the 42nd Div., see e.g., The US Military within the World Warfare, XI, 410, 412-13; Thomas, Historical past of the A.E.F., 221.

George Pattullo, a World Warfare I correspondent for the periodical Saturday Night Put up, and accredited to American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in France in 1918, wrote as follows in his article entitled, “The Inside Story of the A.E.F.,” Could 6, 1921:

“Simply as it’s not possible for a person to view his household’s relations with outsiders impartially, so it’s past the capability of nationals of 1 nation to see something besides their very own facet in coping with different nations. The tendency to attribute base motives and double dealing to a rival is common; then again, the whole lot that one’s personal nation does is nice and noble and of pure goal. And naturally an enemy is all the time a scoundrel.

The extremes to which this type of pondering will drive individuals are typically laughable. I keep in mind two good outdated women from New England stopping a returned warfare correspondent on Fifth Avenue to query him about sure tales they’d heard of warfare prisoners in German arms.

“Was it true that the Germans prodded prisoners with bayonets and kicked them, too, to make them stroll quicker?”

“Properly, warfare’s a tricky recreation,” answered the correspondent who was a bit fed up with

the entire enterprise.

“It is canine eat canine, and each military has males in it who go in for tough stuff.

You must, in a struggle!”

“Oh!” gasped the women, all aflutter, “However not our boys!

They’re too noble.” 18

Howard V. O’Brien, an AEF officer stationed in Paris, wrote an illuminating assertion in his 1918 diary:

“Acquaintance rising up amongst totally different areas of U.S. Oregon reg’t and

outfit from Boston on similar ship. Mass. boys at first doubtful of “wild” Westerners-which had highest proportion of school males and usually bien élevé of any outfit I’ve seen. Most refractory bunch but encountered, from Alabama. Pistol toters. G.O. [general order] dominated rods out. After that, all scrapping Marquis of Queensberry, and a number of other good lickings helped.” 19

Victor L. Hicken, in his ebook The American Preventing Man, states:

“So far as the worry of the German soldier for the American soldier in 1917

was involved, there may be some foundation for this rivalry. A French officer, observing the Yanks, wrote: “He arrived a born soldier….I believe the Germans are afraid of him.” Rumor unfold behind the German strains that it did not pay to struggle properly in opposition to the People; for they seldom allowed the Germans to give up after placing up a stiff struggle. One American regimental historical past, that of the “Rainbow Division,” substantiates this risk by claiming that its males “fought to kill,” and that few prisoners had been normally taken. Certainly, the info on the “Rainbow Division” present that, for the quantity of preventing the division did, only a few prisoners had been taken.” 20

A German is reported to have mentioned:

“I didn’t meet the People on the battlefields however I’ve talked with German troopers who did. These troopers had been in opposition to the Rainbow Division close to Verdun and mentioned they do not need such preventing as they encountered there. The People had been all the time advancing and acted extra like wild males than troopers.” 21

In People in Battle, we learn:

“An historian of the Rainbow Division admits that its males fought to kill, an admission borne out by the mere 1,317 prisoners taken by the division.” 22