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Word Count: 393
Service in sector varied widely in character but included sometimes preparing for the possibility of either side taking the offensive incessant efforts by each side to discover the intentions of the opponent through trench raids local attacks and frequent artillery and gas bombardments The most memorable event associated with Sector Occupation involves the deaths of the AEFs first men killed in action James Gresham Merle Hay and Thomas Enright all of Company F 16th Infantry 1st Division In his 1963 classic The Doughboys Laurence Stallings describes what happened When night fell on November 2 1917 near Bathelemont a German Assault Company was brought into their front line and sent to the deepest dugouts to await its hourExactly at three oclock in the morning all hell broke loose Enemy guns spoke in chorus tons of metal descended heavily along the Yanks front communicating trenches were plastered with mortar fire machine guns sent their whispering stream s of nickeled steel over the heads of the Doughboys in the line The fire was concentrated isolating in a box barrage F Company The box soon closed in on one platoon front There was nothing now on the face of the earth which could reach this chosen platoon The Assault Company facing it leaped from their trenches and started across the two hundred meters that separated Americans from Germans Bangalore torpedoes blasted a path through the wire The side of the box barrage nearest the Germans now vanished the other three sides roaring with breaking shells The platoon first knew of the Germans presence when grenades burst among them It was over in three dark minutes -- pistols bayonets and knives The platoon fought in the dark There was no mad rush for a communicating trench or a deep dugout The Assault Company left on a precise schedule taking their own wounded together with a Doughboy sergeant and ten men some of them wounded too and all of them stunne
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