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A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes

Following The Tanks Into Battle

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Going back we were under almost as heavy fire as we had been coming up. When we were about half-way across, shrapnel burst directly over our party and seven of the prisoners were killed and half a dozen wounded. I myself was unscratched. I stuck my hand inside my tunic and patted Dinky on the back, sent up a prayer for some more luck like that, and carried on.

After getting my prisoners back to the rear, I came up again but couldn't find my battalion. I threw in with a battalion of Australians and was with them for twenty-four hours.

When I found my chaps again, the battle of High Wood was pretty well over. Our company for some reason had suffered very few casualties, less than twenty-nine. Company B, however, had been practically wiped out, losing all but thirteen men out of two hundred. The other two companies had less than one hundred casualties. We had lost about a third of our strength. It is a living wonder to me that any of us came through.

I don't believe any of us would have if it hadn't been for the tanks.

The net result of the battle of High Wood was that our troops carried on for nearly two miles beyond the position to be taken. They had to fall back but held the wood and the heights. Three of the tanks were stalled in the farther edge of the woods--out of fuel--and remained there for three days unharmed under the fire of the German guns.

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Eventually some one ventured out and got some juice into them, and they returned to our lines. The tanks had proved themselves, not only as effective fighting machines, but as destroyers of German morale.

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A Yankee in the Trenches
R. Derby Holmes

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