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Rock Of The Marne group
Old 09-06-2019, 08:48 AM   #1
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A little box of items from Ray Craddock 38th Inf Regt 3rd Inf division.


The 3rd Infantry Division, then known simply as the 3rd Division, was activated in November 1917 for service in World War I. They were fighting the Germans by April 1918. The green troops of the 3rd Division were thrown into the line in the midst of a strong German attack along the Marne River.

The Marne had been the site of a significant battle that had turned back the German onslaught into France in 1914. It would be remembered once again in 1918.

After the Germans' Spring Offensives had ground to a halt, they still sought a breakthrough of the Allied lines. Hoping to draw forces away from Flanders, where the Germans hoped to eventually drive through to Paris, they launched a large scale offensive to the south in the vicinity of Reims.

In the early morning darkness of July 15, 1918 the Germans began crossing the Marne River in assault boats.

Under a massive artillery barrage, the German Seventh Army smashed into the French Sixth Army. Under the brutal bombardment and onslaught of German stormtroopers, the French fell back in disarray. All along the line the Germans were quickly gaining ground – except for one spot on their right flank.

This was the position held by the 3rd Division. Particularly stubborn resistance came from the 38th Infantry Regiment under the command of Col. Ulysses McAlexander. It was dug in along the riverbank with a secondary line holding a raised railroad embankment. As the Germans crossed the river they were met with murderous fire from the Americans.

"Firing in three directions, blasted by artillery fire, taking all flesh and blood could stand, the regiments held on doggedly and threw the enemy back across the Marne."

As they landed, the Germans quickly found themselves engaged in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Unfortunately for the Americans, there were simply too many Germans and slowly but surely the advanced platoons on the riverbank were wiped out. The Germans were then met at the railroad embankment, where according to Capt. Jesse Woolridge, they gave a thousand times more than they took, but even those positions became untenable. Reinforcements were quickly rushed in and smashed the beleaguered German troops.

This effort finally broke up the attack.

In Woolridge's account, he states "it's God's truth that one Company of American soldiers beat and routed a full regiment of picked shock troops of the German Army."

While the rest of the 3rd Division was pushed back, the 38th Infantry was giving the Germans hell. Refusing to relinquish his position despite his exposed flanks, Col. McAlexander pulled his two battalions on the flanks back to form a horseshoe shape. The shape of his defense and the stubbornness with which he held it earned McAlexander and the rest of the regiment an enduring nickname – the Rock of the Marne.


The nickname eventually came to encompass the entire division for their stellar defense of their sector during the massive German attack. The Division would later adopt the special designation The Marne Division as well for their part in the battle.

At the Second Battle of the Marne, the 3rd Division also received its official motto. As French troops retreated, 3rd Division soldiers rushed to the scene to hold the line. The division commander, Maj. Gen. Joseph Dickman, gave his famous orders, in French so their allies would understand, "Nous resterons la!" – We shall remain here!
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File Type: jpg P1120473.jpg (163.6 KB, 197 views)
File Type: jpg P1120474.jpg (235.4 KB, 196 views)
File Type: jpg P1120475.jpg (95.4 KB, 195 views)
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:50 AM   #2
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und
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:51 AM   #3
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:52 AM   #4
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Old 09-06-2019, 08:54 AM   #5
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and
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Old 09-06-2019, 09:22 AM   #6
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Great presentation!
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:51 AM   #7
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Robb,


Here is a VFW medal for the 38th.....


..........
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File Type: jpg Rock of the Marne 2.jpg (153.0 KB, 154 views)
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:16 PM   #8
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Very cool Ron . Funnily enough I don't think many Americans have heard of The Rock Of The Marne. Rob
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:21 PM   #9
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Good stuff there!
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:42 PM   #10
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was able to find these documents online. Ray enlisted at the end of May 1918, so He wasn't participaiting in the Marne defence, but was there in time with 3rd Inf.Div. for St. Mihiel offensive in September
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looking for a Polish pre 1939 10th Infantry Regiment badge
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:48 PM   #11
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Wow you found a lot online . No Marne that's a shame but in 6 months it looks like he saw a lot of action. Rob
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Rock of the Marne
Old 09-09-2019, 03:19 PM   #12
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The May enlistment explains the lack of a Aisne-Marne clasp.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:01 AM   #13
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Very, very nice Robb, congratulations!

Best Regards,

Alan
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:55 PM   #14
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Very nice Rob,

Sad it s already sold
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