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Shawnee County Casualties in WWI

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Brief composition & history of the 89th (Midwest) Division in US training & in France
89th Division Insignia

The 89th (Middle West) Division, part of the National Army, was formed in August 1917 at Camp Funston, Fort Riley, Kansas. The majority of the enlisted men and officers were selected from the states of Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and South Dakota.

The composition of the 89th Division (authorized strength - 991 officers and 27,114 men) was constituted as follows:

    • 178th Infantry Brigade
      • 353rd Infantry Regiment
      • 354th Infantry Regiment
      • 341st Machine-Gun Battalion
    • 178th Infantry Brigade
      • 355th Infantry Regiment
      • 356th Infantry Regiment
      • 342nd Machine-Gun Battalion
    • 164th Field Artillery Brigade
      • 340th Field Artillery Regiment (75-mm guns)
      • 341st Field Artillery Regiment (75-mm guns)
      • 342nd Field Artillery Regiment (155-mm howitzers)
      • 314th Trench-Mortar Battery
    • Divisional Troops
      • 340th Machine-Gun Battalion
      • 314th Engineer Regiment
      • 314th Field Signal Battalion
      • Headquarters Troop

After assembling and training at Fort Funston, KS in May 1918 the division began a move through military camps in New York, Massachusetts & Canada to ports prior to embarkation for Europe. In early June the division sailed for Europe, stopping briefly in Liverpool, England, before moving to Le Havre and Cherbourg in France.
The Division was moved to training areas near Rimaucourt and Toul in eastern France for further training and front line exposure until it was moved to participate in the first major action of the American Expeditionary Forces, the reduction of the salient at St. Mihiel.

The St. Mihiel salient was roughly triangular in shape, and was important in that it allowed the Germans to interrupt traffic on the Paris-Nancy railroad with artillery fire by cutting the critically important Verdun-Toul railroad.  It also covered the permanent fortifications of Metz, protected the Briey iron basin, and would seriously threaten the flank of the proposed Allied operations scheduled for the Meuse-Argonne region in late September, 1918.

The following paragraphs, in italic, are a synopsis of the service of the 89th Division in the Lucey Sector, St. Mihiel Offensive and the Euvezin Sector.      

At 5 a. m., September 12, the division attacked between the towns of Limey and Flirey with three regiments in line. By midnight the division had organized a line south of the enemy wire south of Beney. During the night, battalions moved in advance of this line to the army objective, Xammes—middle of Bois de Xammes, which was occupied on the 13th. On that day the left regiment advanced to the northern edge of Bois de Xammes, but was withdrawn, under orders, to the objective.
Reconnaissance of the outposts of the enemy’s new position, the Michel Stellung, was carried out on the 14th and 15th. On the 16th the division advanced its outposts to the northern edge of Bois de Charey, and organized its main line of resistance on the army objective.
The St. Mihiel Offensive merged into sector service on September 17. The portion of the front held by the 89th Division was called the Euvezin Sector. A raid against Bois de Dommartin was made on the night of September 21-22, and a demonstration against Charey on the morning of September 26. Successive extensions of the front followed the withdrawal of flank divisions. On October 7 the 89th Division was relieved by the 37th Division.

Total Division losses (wounded, died from wounds and killed in action) for the St Mihiel action between Sept 12 and Oct 11 were 4,483 of all ranks.

The following is a synopsis of the service of the 89th Division in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive:

After the conclusion of the St. Mihiel campaign, the 89th Division was assigned to be in reserve of the V Corps on October 12. On October 13 the division marched to Bois de Montfaucon, and on the following day continued to the Epinonville area, in rear of the 32d Division.

The 89th Division, as the right division of the V Corps, relieved the 32d Division in Bois de Bantheville on October 20. The mopping up of the wood, reorganization of the position and preparations for the general attack of November 1 engaged the division’s attention until that date.

By evening of November 1 the division had captured Bois de Barricourt. On the following day the right of the division captured Tailly. On November 3 the division reached the line of heights from Beauclair to Le Champy Bas. On November 4 the advance reached the northern edge of Forêt de Dieulet, and on the 5th, the west bank of the Meuse.
From November 6 to 10 the division was engaged in organizing its position and preparing to cross the Meuse. It crossed in force at Pouilly-Sur-Meuse on the night of November 10-11 and by 11 a.m., November 11, had gained the high ground northeast of the town. Elements of the division also crossed to the west of Stenay, and entered the town on the morning of the 11th.

Total Division losses (wounded, died from wounds and killed in action) for the Meuse-Argonne action between Oct 20 and Nov 11 were 4,124 of all ranks.

Interesting 89th Div. facts: The first confirmed case of the Spanish influenza epidemic in the US was observed at Camp Funston early morning on March 11, 1918. By lunch on the same day 107 soldiers had reported sick.

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