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Author Topic: AN INCIDENT AT AISNE-MARNE IN WW1  (Read 963 times)

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Doug Bowser

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« on: September 28, 2016, 02:47:12 PM »


The Battle of Aisne-Marne (called the Second Battle of the Marne) took place on July 18 thru August 6, 1918. It was a continuation of the Battle of Champagne-Marne. The Germans drove a deep salient into the Allied Lines and the Aisne-Marne is the Battle that drove the Germans back and stopped the threat to Paris. My Father told me about an incident in this action.

The 42nd Infantry Division was involved in this Battle. There were a lot of rapid troop movements and some of our troops were caught out of their trenches and fox holes. His unit was skirting a wood line and they came under a heavy counter attack by German forces. The terrain afforded good concealment but not good cover. They set up a hurried defensive position and repulsed several attacks. He said they used their machine guns on the attackers and the casualties among the attackers and defenders were appalling. Of the 80 men that went into the woods, only 28 were able to walk out. It was one time that my father said he was sad about all the young men he stacked up in front of his gun. He hated the job he was given but he did it with determination and skill.

In this battle the French Army gave our forces some Chauchat Fusil Mitrilleur Modele 1915 CSRG Caliber 8x50R Lebel. It was an automatic rifle that was adopted in 1915 and used the same way our Browning Automatic Rifle was used. The main design flaw was a magazine that was open on one side, so the soldier using the rifle could tell how many rounds of ammunition he had left in the rifle. The mud and dirt in the trenches caused the magazine to malfunction. In addition to this, many of the parts used in the rifle were not tempered properly and wore out quickly. The US Troops called this rifle the Sho-Sho. My Father called it the Sho-Shit. When our troops were issued this weapon, they quickly discarded them and picked up another weapon. The concept of an automatic rifle that could be carried with a long sling and fired from the hip was a great advantage when advancing across No Manís Land. Some of the Chauchat rifles were manufactured in .30-í06 during the War. After the War, the French Ordinance Corps manufactured new magazines and improved the internal parts for the Chauchat. They did not have the open slots and the rifles worked much better. In 1939 the French Government donated the remaining Chauchat rifles and a large amount of 8x50R Lebel ammunition to the Finnish Army. They were used a secondary weapons and kept in reserve.


A French Chauchat Automatic Rile Model 1915 in 8x50R Lebel
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 06:12:37 PM by Doug Bowser »
Shooter of anything that goes bang. Student of Military History.

Author of "Rifles of the White Death: and Neutrality through Marksmanship".