12 September 1918 American medics of the 103r…

12 September 1918

American medics of the 103rd and 104th Ambulance Companies give medical attention to wounded German prisoners.

(Note the German soldier in the centre of the pic is wearing a camouflaged M-1916 “Stahlhelm” steel combat helmet. By 1918, orders came down from the high command with explicit instructions on how to camouflage the M-1916 helmet to reduce visibility. Large geometric shapes, separated by ½" thick black lines, were painted to break up the helmet’s distinctive outline.)

These prisoners were taken from second line trenches during the opening attack of the Bttle of Saint Mihiel on the 12th of September 1918.
This dressing station was set up at Le Cloche, about 3km to the rear of Vigneulles.
Before the start of the attack, these two Ambulance Companies were being held in reserve at Rupten-Woevre.
At 8:00 am the infantry went over the top and found little resistance, advancing steadily until late afternoon and taking thousands of prisoners.
The 102nd Infantry Regiment, was then moved forward to Vigneulles along the Tranchee Calonne.
A this time the 103rd and 104th Ambulance Companies were sent forward, following the 102nd Infantry Regiment and
establishing a dressing station at Le Cloche, about 3 km from Vigneulles.
The dressing station cared for approximately 500 casualties during the entire attack.

The 103rd Ambulance Company was renamed from the 2nd Ambulance Company, (originally the 2nd Massachusetts Ambulance Co., Boston)
The 104th Ambulance Company was re-designated from the 4th Ambulance Company (originally the 1st Rhode Island Ambulance Company, Providence)
Both companies were part of the 101st Sanitary Train, which was the medical unit of the 26th Division.

(Colourised by Benjamin Thomas)