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29TH DIVISION - WWI STORIES

 

Harry R. SCHUPPNER

First Lieutenant

29th Infantry Division

113th Infantry Regiment

E Company

On 12 December 1909 by voluntary enlistement Harry R. Schuppner joined Company “I” 4th Maryland Infantry serving in the grades of Private, Corporal, Sergeant and First Sergeant, attending the all summer training Camps to 1918 and serving on the Mexican Border in the Federal service.

In World War I he was selected to attend the 3rd Officers Training School 29th Infantry Division Camp Mc Clellan, Alabama from which he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Infantry 12th May 1918.

As platoon commander Company “M” and then as platoon commander Company “E” both units of the 113th Infantry Regiment 29th Division (Blue and Gray) he served in combat in center sector Haute Alsace, France.

From this duty he was selected to attend the Infantry Specialist School Fort Plesnoy near Langres, France. On graduating he returned to his unit and was assigned to Company “E” 113th Infantry Regiment in which unit he served in ??? operations.

On or about 10 October 1918 1st Lieutenant Schuppner the junior officer of the company then commanding the 3rd Platoon assumed command of Company “E” 113th Infantry Regiment during attack on Malbrouet hill when all other officers of the company then present for duty became battle casualties.

He led Company “E” in the attacks on Molleville Farm 11 October 1918, Grande Montagne 25 October 1918 and Bois de Etraye 26 October 1918.

During the action in Bois Grande Montagne against enemy strong point near Molleville Farm near Damogneaux France, about 20 kilometers NW of Verdun (Meuse Argonne Offensive) he was wounded in action by contact with mustard gas and other gases suffering respiratory lesions and external body burns.

On 25 October 1918 during violent enemy shelling upon exposed positions, captured from enemy; and in keeping with prearranged plan fro situation requiring deep protective cover, the remnant of Company “E” (about 65 men present for duty of original 242 present at jumpoff) occupied captured underground enemy shelter available within organized front line position of Company “E”.

During this violent enemy concentration of high explosive and gas shells a direct hit was made on command post of Company “E” by large calibre high explosive shell which caused collapse and complete blockage of one of the two exits and air shafts causing several fatal casualties and practically burying occupants about 80 feet underground and exposing them to high concentration of picric acid fumes and mustard gas.

Temporary chaos ensued, lights failed due lack of oxygeon and the situation was aggravated further by troops of another unit seeking shelter from storm of enemy shells, who completely blocked escape of men of Company “E” who were endeavouring to reach the surface for air and to carry out Lieutenant Schuppner’s orders to STAND-TO for possible enemy counter-attack which usually followed enemy artillery preparations.

Being unable to clean exit by orders and exortations Lieutenant Schuppner was forced to fight his way to the top in order to re-organize his command for further action.

During “Scuffle” on the crowded stairway of the dugout Lieutenant Schuppner’s gas mask was rendered useless and he was without protection until obtaining replacement from fatal casualty.

The position being held was near the bottom of deeply wooded ravine and vegetation and terrain was drenched with mustard gas which made the position of Company “E” untenable and it was necessary for this unit to occupy previously prepared positions on higher ground to the rear which action prevented further losses and permitted Company “E” to, hold original line by fire power, thereby accomplishing mission which was “HOLD THE LINE AT ALL COSTS”.

After reorganization was completed Lieutenant Schuppner received treatment at Dressing Station 3rd battalion 113th Infantry Lieutenant Denelsbeck M.C. attending, and then returned at once to his company, continuing combat missions until reaching final exploitation objective 29th Division when his unit was relieved (28 October 1918) for the first time since 10 October and sent to regimental reserve for reorganization and replacements.

On 26 October 1918 he was promoted to captain Infantry and after arriving at regimental reserve position with Company “E” the Regimental Commander 113th Infantry (Colonel Pope, Cavalry USA) ordered Captain Schuppner to report to Field Hospital #114 for treatment and advised him that there would be no further immediate need for his services for the regiment had been relieved from front line duties and was in forces of moving to reorganization area.

Captain Schuppner was admitted to Field Hospital #114 28 October 1918. Record of admission describes the cause of admission “ABSORBTION OF DELETERIOUS GAS, INHALATION AND CONTACT MUSTARD IN ACTION, DATE UNKNOW, LINE OF DUTY, YES”

Captain Schuppner suffered from throat and lung lesions which left him with chronic bronchitis which has continuously persisted and was subsequently materially aggravated during his tour of active duty from 28 October until separation 3 November 1945.

Captain Schuppner was next sent to Evacuation Hospital #20 from which he was sent to Base Hospital #22 Bordeaux France where the remained until February 1919. He was offered the opportunity to return home but requested return to his unit which was granted.

Upon return he was assigned to command Company “C” 113th Infantry and he remained with this unit until its deactivation at Camp Dix N.J. 29 May 1919.

(Submited by his son Harry R. Schuppner)

Copyright: Laurent LEFEBVRE