So there I was, running through the shallow-muddy
trenches in my French military trench-coat and helmet. I was stationed
in the French front lines near the Argonne Forest. Let me introduce
myself: My name is Thomas Godwin, and Iím twenty years old. My father
William Godwin, twin brother Frederick Godwin, close friend David
Hickson, and I joined the war when it started. We are Americans from
North East Missouri who joined the French Resistance. It was February 1,
1917, World War I. There was gunfire overhead and the sound of cannon
I could tell some men were very afraid as I passed them. I was part of
the French army fighting the German army. I was trying to get to my
position by the bunker when a squad of Albatross D.V. biplanes, a type
of German biplane, started shooting at our trenches. Then British
S.P.A.D. biplanes came in from the side and opened fire on the squad of
Albatross D.V. biplanes. I felt like the Germans would charge at us any
minute. Down on no manís land, it was foggy and wet with the smell of
smoke in the air. Then fifty Germans soldiers in trench-coats and
helmets, sounding courageous and bold, took their sharp, pointed
bayonets, and they charged us.
We took aim and fired, but they were still coming. So we had our Lewis
gunners and mowed twenty down and the other thirty retreated back to
their trench. Our Char D Assault St. Chamond tanks came over a passage
that went over our trench and provided cover for eighty of us as we
charged the German ranks. As we were getting out of our trenches, German
riflemen fired at us, and I could hear the sound of the bullets striking
our tanks. We took cover behind our tanks.
We also had enough cover fire from our 75 mm guns and British Handley
Page bombers. Once we captured the first German trench, it was on to
where the German Commander Baron Danar, a respected German military
commander, was. His base was heavily guarded by German sentries with
rifles as weapons and it was a big, abandoned mansion in the Argonne
Forest. He was in command of 800 infantry soldiers and 70 artillery men.
So all of us rushed the sentries and took the outside courtyard with
crates of rifles, ammunition, two small cannons, and five military
vehicles. There were ten sentries on the top balcony, and they shot at
us. Then ten more sentries came out of the big oak corridors.
The gun fight lasted about twenty minutes and five of the sentries were
wounded. Then all twenty sentries surrendered. The commander along with
some officers came out and surrendered because he knew he could not
fight us off.
Another day of fighting is done. The next battle is going to be east
from here. Now it is time to return to camp and rest. We will march
onward tomorrow to the town of Verdun. I have a feeling of valor from
fighting, sorrow about what happened, and worry that my brother and
father are still alive. And this bloody war still rages on.