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Albert B. Replogle

Submitted by: Ramona Replogle {Daughter}

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Albert B. Replogle born around 1893. Albert Replogle served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

 

Sgt. Albert B. Replogle

“L” Company, 362nd Infantry 91st Division “The Wild West Division”
Grass Range, Montana

We arrived in Tacoma in September, conscripts and a few enlisted men from,the nine Western states and Alaska territory. Montana had more recruits per capita than any other state.

Camp Lewis was prepared for us and we started drilling immediately. My division, the Wild West Division but officially known as the 91st, was given an insignia inspired by the Wild West: a green fir tree circled in red with a red 91 on center. We were proud to be the first American Army division formed in America and the first to be shooting in France.

We boys from Montana and Wyoming made up the 362nd Infantry Regiment, and we excelled at everything, We were the best in the mock trench battles, open warfare training, rifle fixed bayonets and hand to hand combat, and of course we were all expert marksmen and experienced shooters.

We needed some good Western passwords. We choose “Powder River”—a broad and dangerous looking stretch of wide water and coal-blackened sand running through Eastern Montana and Northern Wyoming. Not as formidable as believed at first sight, being actually only a few inches deep. A fitting thought while facing the Hun. It became our battle cry and we coupled it with “let ‘er buck”....the universal command of every ready-mounted Bro co Buster from corral to rodeo chute: Powder River - Let ‘er Buck became our war Whoop, our battle cry, our motto, our cheer. The motto of the French Army was, “they shall not pass”. We replaced that three year old watch word with our Wild West equivalent of let’s go...."Let’er Buck”

 

Our regiment kicked off at the Saint Mikiel Salient in early September, relates Marcus Frysland, (Winnet, Montana). The fighting was extreme with charges and counter charges, point blank fire. Grenades and bayonets. It rained day and night. After some ten days of extreme fighting we were sent back a few miles to a rest billet and rolling kitchen. Before we had been deluged, the order came down that we had to get back. The general offensive was starting!  The Argonne Forest where our 362nd was almost wiped out from Buck to Brass”

 

So as not to give away our strength and positions all troops and equipment were moved out at night by trucks and horse and wagons sloshing through the rain and deep mud and always under a barrage of constant shelling. Fear of being seen and destroyed, our rolling field kitchens would hide in the Woods all day and serve us only at night under darkness. Many on kitchen duty were nonetheless killed or wounded keeping hot coffee ready for our battle weary troops. Heavy traffic on those muddy, crowded clogged roads kept our ambulances bogged down.

Our wounded had to shelter for days in dugouts or the bombed-out cellars of Very. Our wounded who could,walk staggered back through the lines towards the field hospitals. Our critically wounded. Outdoor only just sit propped up against trees and wait . We became used to the constant ear-splitting barrage of overhead artillery and exploding shells; we never became used to the terror filled screams of the wounded horses, never.

The night of the 25th we started moving forward to our front positions. Our heavy artillery started the bombardment and increased steadily louder and louder all night. The the counter attack began: artillery, explosive one-pounders, whiz-bangers,and machine gun shelling from all directions. We hit the dirt, hugged the ground and prayed. By early dawn the mist and clouds of smoke and gas concealed our. Ovements across no mans land, and we forged ahead through the fog unseen.

Later it was thought we had bellied out ahead of our line, and we may have done so, it was hard to move through the smoke and fog and keep our alignment, but we were ble to advance when others could not, and records will show my division was the first to penetrate the Hindenburg Line in the Argonne Woods.

Our rations gave out on the 27th, we had no warm food for four days. The nights were cold...no shelter, no blankets, we were wet and tired and had been fighting continually all the day and night with terrible great losses. It rained all night. We got little sleep. Seems like it was always raining . We had been outfitted with two sets of steel trench boots at Camp Merrirr and they were our saving grace, those and our gas masks. The Germans used chlorine and mustard gas against us.

At dawn on the 28th we were hit with gun and artillery fire which continued steadily Day and night. Orders came down to advane the next day at 7:00 regardless of the cost. Our objective was a line of hills at Gesnes, Hill 288.

At 6:55 while we were adjusting our gas masks to go over, a shell hit in the middle of our section, killing over half of our men and wounding most of the others.

The Battle of Gesnes was bloody and costly for the 91st. There were 500 killed or wounded in the first five minutes, 1,500 killed or wounded in the first forty-five, 3,000 in the first four days. Our colonel, Gatling gun Parker took four bullet wounds. Every single one of us took Shrapnel. On October 3rd, the 91st was relieved from the front line and placed in the corps reserve.

Note: Sargent Replogle was badly wounded including one leg and several fingers shot off. Physically unable to continue ranching on his Montana Homestead, he studied law, passed the bar, and became a prominent Montana Lawyer and State Legislator. They say he was upset when his only son, Bert Junior was drafted in WWII. He felt he and his comrades in arms had already fought the War to end all War. He wept.

Submitted by his youngest daughter, Ramona. I do have more of his memories, including his letters home from the front, newspaper clips from the time, etc.

Sincerely,
Ramona Replogle
(Mrs. Ola Bang, Florida)

 

 

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