American Rifleman - August 2017 - 51
BY KENNETH L. SMITH-CHRISTMAS
& MARK R. HENRY
Marines carried their newly issued M1918
Browning Automatic Rifles during their
assault across the Meuse River on the
last night of the war, Nov. 10-11, 1918.
The eagle, globe and anchor insignia
that some Marines wore on their helmets
denotes them as "Devil Dogs"- a
translation of "Teufelhunden" (or, more
correctly, "Teufelshunde"), the sobriquet
bestowed on them by their German adversaries, according to Marine Corps lore.
s the figures in field-gray
uniforms emerged from the
woods, formed up in ranks in the field of
ripening wheat and began their assault
across the field, raspy-throated sergeants,
nearly a half-mile away, barked out sight
adjustment details to the prone riflemen
in forest-green and olive-drab uniforms
spread out in front of them on the small
ridge. The Marines of the 2nd Battalion,
5th Marine Regiment, lying in the grass
at Les Mares farm, carefully adjusted
the sliding apertures on their rear sights
and dialed in the windage estimations
on their Model of 1903 Springfield rifles,
while laying out five-round stripper
clips of .30-'06 Sprg. ammunition beside
them for easy access. When the long line
of Germans came to a point hundreds
of yards away, the Marines opened up
on them and kept on firing, until the
repeated German assaults were broken,
and the enemy retreated. The attacking
Germans never made it to within 200 yds.
of the Marines' position, and this was the
closest point that the German army ever
came to Paris during World War I.
As Col. John W. Thomason, one of the
most famous chroniclers of the Marine
Corps, described the action: "Already,
around Hautevesnes, there had been a
brush with advancing Germans, and the
Germans were given a new experience:
rifle-fire that begins to kill at 800 yards;
they found it very interesting."
"The Last Night of the War"by F.C. Yohn; U.S. Navy Heritage Command; courtesy of the National Museum of the Marine Corps
The U.S. Marines in France would
earn the name "Teufelshunde" or
"Devil Dogs" from the Germans
they faced. The Marines fought
five major battles during World
War I, mostly with the same
small arms used by the U.S.
Army, but with a few exceptions.