World War I Podcast

Into The Trenches: Luneville Baccarat Sector, Feb-March 1918



In February 1918, General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force had only five divisions in France. One of those divisions, the 42nd “Rainbow” Division, had just arrived and had not yet experienced trench warfare. Along with the other American divisions, the 42nd was partnered with French units in order to learn to operate and survive at the front. Under French tutelage, the men and officers of the 42nd Division absorbed the combat tactics and other common sense survival skills while serving in the Luneville Baccarat Sector between February and March 1918. Typically a quiet sector, the arrival of the 42nd Division combined with the movement of German troops from the Eastern Front to the Western Front meant that the sector was soon alive with trench raids, poison gas, and shelling. (32:47)