(LEFT) Lt. Oakley Parkhill and First Sgt. Robert H. Gibson, Co E, 61st
Regiment use shell crater for foxhole, near Cunel, Meuse, France.
(RIGHT) Unidentified soldier on alert in well used trench.
Early in June 1918 the 5th Division was deemed ready for combat and
order to relieve the French 70th Division starting on the 11th of June. The
relief was completed on the 14th of June 1918. The 61st Regiment now
occupied a portion of the front in the Anould Sector and began to learn the
way of life in the trenches. These trenches stretched for miles, on both the
German and French sides. They had been occupied for a number of years and in
many places were infested with rats and other vermin. Drainage was poor and
mud was everywhere. Walls of the trenches often
collapsed and required constant maintenance. The trenches added a new phrase
to the US soldiers language: Trench Foot. Constant immersion in water and
poor hygiene, no dry socks or boots were available, led to a rotting of the
skin and this was followed by infection. Trench foot caused more
causalities than German action for the newly arrived troops.
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