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Second Army Corps

The Second Corps was organized February 22nd, 1918, and was commanded by Major General George W. Read. This corps, which was composed of the 27th and 30th Divisions during a greater part of the war, operated with the Fourth British Army south of Cambrai and with the Second British Army around Ypres. The insignia is an eagle and a lion with a Roman "II" between them, in white on a blue field. The combination of the American eagle and the British lion symbolizes the associations of the Second Corps with the British Army.

The Second American Army Corps was organized on June 19, 1918, for the administration of the American divisions training with the British. As has been related, the 10 divisions originally in the British area had been reduced to two. the 27th and 30th. In September the 27th and 30th Divisions became components of the British Fourth Army. On September 29 they were placed in line for the Fourth Army's attack on the Hindenburg line. The two American divisions took over a front between Le Catelct and Bellicourt, with British corps on either flank. The 102d and 105th Engineers laid the tapes for the Infantry jump-off, and one battalion of each regiment followed through on the reconstruction of roads over " No man's land" and the provision of water supply. Detachments of the regiments also were engaged in the destruction of enemy traps in captured works.

Attaining their objective, the two American divisions were relieved and the line was carried forward by the Australian Corps, which passes through them. The two Engineer regiments, however, were retained on road and light railway construction immediately behind the advancing front.

On October 6 the Second American Corps assumed tactical command of the two American divisions, and on that date relieved the Australian Corps. In the continuation of the Fourth Army's advance, the Second American Corps was in the center, the Ninth British Corps on its right, and the Thirteenth British Corps on its left. The 30th Division held the Second Corps' line and the 27th Division was in reserve. The sector taken over by the Second Corps on October 6 had for its northern boundary the line Haut Allaines (inclusive) Templeux-la-Fosse (exclusive), Templeux-la-Guerrard (inclusive), Mount St. Martin-Beaurevoir (exclusive), Fremont (exclusive), Busigny (inclusive). Its southern boundary was the line Brie Le Mesmel, Cartigny (inclusive), Hervilly (inclusive), Etricout Montbrehain (inclusive), Bohain (inclusive).

The Engineer troops of the Second Corps, outside of the divisional engineers, were furnished by the British when the sector was taken over. They consisted of two Army troops companies, two Australian tunnelling companies, three labor companies, and a detachment of electrical and mechanical troops. They were in command of a British officer, serving as chief royal engineers of the Second Corps, under the corps engineer. On the date of taking over, the 102d Engineers (27th Division) had been temporarily detached for work on roads across " No man's land," under the Thirteenth British Corps, but rejoined the Second Corps on October 8. They then served as corps troops until the 27th Division went into the line.

October 8 to 11 the 30th Division attacked and advanced the line to the west side of the Selle River. East of the line Premont-Brancourt, enemy demolitions were numerous, including some nine road craters, obstruction of streets in villages by blowing buildings into the road and the destruction of overhead railroad bridges. The 105th Engineers executed the advance Engineer work, and with the assistance of the Australian tunnelling companies, filled or by-passed the craters. The 102d Engineers as corps troops, at first maintained the Haricourt-Bellicourt road, and subsequently, assisted the 6th Canadian railroad battalion in the construction of a light railway line for the supply of the corps. The advance uncovered a considerable number of wells, and the water situation was thus relieved.

On October 17, the 27th and 30th Divisions attacked side by side, crossed the Selle River, and carried the line to the heights overlooking the Sambre-Oise Canal. Each divisional Engineer regiment within its sector And the corps troops took over all work in rear, successfully executed all bridging operations in connection with the crossing of the Selle River. The Australian tunnelling company substituted heavy bridges where necessary, and completed the clearing of an enormous pile of debris across the road east of St. Souplet. caused by the destruction of the high brick viaduct that had carried the railway over the road.

On October 19-20 the divisions of the Second Corps, exhausted and depleted by the month.s fighting, were withdrawn east of Amiens, except one battalion of each divisional Engineer regiment, retained for light railway work. Before needed replacements were received, the armistice had been signed.

Normally a corps was supposed to consist of four divisions, but this was by no means always followed. Neither was any corps constant in the divisions assigned to it. One would be withdrawn and another substituted, according to the exigencies of the occasion. So it is impossible to give the composition of the corps which will be correct for all dates.

  • 77th (National Army) Division, commanded by Major Gen. George B. Duncan, composed of New York troops. This was the first National Army division sent to France and to the front.
  • 35th (National Guard) Division, commanded by Major Gen. W. M. Wright, composed of troops from Kansas and Missouri.
  • 82d (National Army) Division, commanded by Major Gen. William P. Burnham, composed of troops from Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.
  • 30th (National Guard) Division, commanded by Major Gen. George W. Reid, composed of troops from Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia.
  • 28th (National Guard) Division, commanded by Major Gen. C. H. Mulr, composed of troops from Pennsylvania.
  • 4th (Regular Army) Division, commanded by Major Gen. George H. Cameron.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:36:03 ZULU