Something From History You Probably Never Knew...

1919

Soldiers of the 369th 'Harlem Hellfighters' wearing the Cross of War medal pose for a photo on their trip back to New York. In this picture we see: front row (left to right) - Private Ed Williams; Herbert Taylor; Private Leon Fraitor; Private Ralph Hawkins. Back row (l-r) - Sergeant H. D. Prinas; Sergeant Dan Storms; Private Joe Williams; Private Alfred Hanley; and Corporal T. W. Taylor. When America joined the Great War, the first African-American regiment to fight was the 369th Infantry, transported to France at the end of 1917. The racism and discrimination the soldiers encountered had begun during training in America, and continued in Europe, with many white US soldiers refusing to fight alongside the 369th. After April 1918, under the control of the French Army, such discrimination lessened. Nicknamed the “Harlem Hellfighters,” the members of the 369th were renowned for bravery, ability and ferocity. On their return to New York City after 1918, they received a euphoric welcome, marching up Fifth Avenue

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Yes, the 369th Infantry did well under French command. The French weren't as bothered about blacks fighting for them as we Americans of the day were. It probably had something to do with their experiences with their colonial empire in West Africa. The French appreciated the help and treated the men with the respect they deserved.
 
The Italians , well those over 45 still talk about the Mori, what they mean are the French Moroccan Goumiers , who raped and killed their way across Italy .

as in

The military achievements of the Goumiers in Italy were accompanied by widespread reports of war crimes: "...exceptional numbers of Moroccans were executed—many without trial—for allegedly murdering, raping, and pillaging their way across the Italian countryside. The French authorities sought to defuse the problem by importing numbers of Berber women to serve as "camp followers" in rear areas set aside exclusively for the Goumiers."
 
The Italians , well those over 45 still talk about the Mori, what they mean are the French Moroccan Goumiers , who raped and killed their way across Italy .

as in

The military achievements of the Goumiers in Italy were accompanied by widespread reports of war crimes: "...exceptional numbers of Moroccans were executed—many without trial—for allegedly murdering, raping, and pillaging their way across the Italian countryside. The French authorities sought to defuse the problem by importing numbers of Berber women to serve as "camp followers" in rear areas set aside exclusively for the Goumiers."
Very interesting. Another side of the coin and from the Second World War too it seems.
 
1919

Soldiers of the 369th 'Harlem Hellfighters' wearing the Cross of War medal pose for a photo on their trip back to New York. In this picture we see: front row (left to right) - Private Ed Williams; Herbert Taylor; Private Leon Fraitor; Private Ralph Hawkins. Back row (l-r) - Sergeant H. D. Prinas; Sergeant Dan Storms; Private Joe Williams; Private Alfred Hanley; and Corporal T. W. Taylor. When America joined the Great War, the first African-American regiment to fight was the 369th Infantry, transported to France at the end of 1917. The racism and discrimination the soldiers encountered had begun during training in America, and continued in Europe, with many white US soldiers refusing to fight alongside the 369th. After April 1918, under the control of the French Army, such discrimination lessened. Nicknamed the “Harlem Hellfighters,” the members of the 369th were renowned for bravery, ability and ferocity. On their return to New York City after 1918, they received a euphoric welcome, marching up Fifth Avenue

View attachment 452640

It's a myth that Pershing gave them to the French out of racism.

The issue was the black infantry regiments were alone in the AEF. There were no Black artillery or engineers, signals or the myriad divisional units to form an actual Black division. President Wilson had segregated the US Military a few years before so they could not simply be assigned to an otherwise white division. 369th was originally the 15th New York and had trained alongside the NY White regiments pre war @ Pine camp NY and Camp Smith, NY.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
The US Armed forces were racially integrated before the rest of CONUS had go their heads around the idea.
 
He was stationed there as part of the French occupation forces during his national service or whatever they did.
I'm sure he wasn't a volounteer,that's all i know. :salut:
Well I'm sure they had a beer together once the head count was finished :cool: . I mean either way If your Grandad had been in the trenches as my Grandad had, they certainly would have had something in common. La Guerre c es't la Guerre. Krieg ist Krieg.
 
It's a myth that Pershing gave them to the French out of racism.

The issue was the black infantry regiments were alone in the AEF. There were no Black artillery or engineers, signals or the myriad divisional units to form an actual Black division. President Wilson had segregated the US Military a few years before so they could not simply be assigned to an otherwise white division. 369th was originally the 15th New York and had trained alongside the NY White regiments pre war @ Pine camp NY and Camp Smith, NY.
I have a slight issue with that, I seem to recall that Pershing was placed under French control in toto to his total dislike. Unfortunately since we already were, there's wasn't much he could do. ISTR it was about how much leeway he got.
 
The US Armed forces were racially integrated before the rest of CONUS had go their heads around the idea.
Technically it wasnt Truman in 1948 but JCH Lee and Ike 1944 with something called the "Fifth Platoon"

Lee, OC of the Services of Supply in the ETO believed Black Soldiers could fight/soldier as well as Whites . He kept pressuring Ike to include them into battle and eventually during the Ardennes the US Army reached a critical point due to casualties.

Black soldiers in the SoS could volunteer for infantry training and assignment. They would lose any rank they had and be returned to Private. They were intended to be used in separate companies in White battalions but many units used them as integrated platoons and some units just assigned them to White platoons as individuals.

Ike needed 2,200 men to volunteer, he got 5,000 volunteers for 52 all Black infantry platoons. The following divisions 1st, 8th, 9th, 69th, 78th, 99th, 104th, 106th Infantry divisions and 12th and 14th Armored divisions all had negro infantry by 1945.
 
I have a slight issue with that, I seem to recall that Pershing was placed under French control in toto to his total dislike. Unfortunately since we already were, there's wasn't much he could do. ISTR it was about how much leeway he got.
Pershing was never placed under French Control.

Pershing alone among the Allied commanders had carte Blanche from President Wilson not only to run the AEF but to act in a political manner among allied politicians to negotiate as if he was the President.

Pershing went to Foch and offered American troops in 1918, during the german offensive but he was as much a French Subordinate as Haig was
 
Pershing was never placed under French Control.

Pershing alone among the Allied commanders had carte Blanche from President Wilson not only to run the AEF but to act in a political manner among allied politicians to negotiate as if he was the President.

Pershing went to Foch and offered American troops in 1918, during the german offensive but he was as much a French Subordinate as Haig was
I think there's something of a matter interpretation here, that is lost. The Western Front in WW1 was essentially a French show and the British had to fit into French lines. Essentially, at least at the beginning BEF was under French control. No matter how you slice it the same would have been true of Pershing. I don't think Wilson would have had to good a reception if he had said to Americans "our Boys are under French control". No siree. In other words he gave Pershing the fullest remit he could being in mind the timing of the Americans arriving. I seem to recall that they were initially and there was a hell of a row about it until diplomacy put an acceptable slant on it. Certainly Pershing made as much use of American positioning as he could for the US Benefit, but that was after all his job.

As to Haigh, well it's moot but essentially Haigh was slotted into French command structure-it was after all on French soil.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Moving on from the ironically named 'Black' Jack Pershing......whilst idly watching an anodyne clip on the current Corona virus outbreak, I came across this.

Short video posted by University of Cambridge two years ago on the 1918-20 pandemic, misdubbed 'Spanish' flu.

It gives a vivid notion with a lot of contemporary imagery of just how appalling that event actually was.

And in comparison with the current media inspired hysteria - we ain't seen nothing:



Seemingly rational newspapers are publishing tables of historical pandemics conflating COVID-19 with earlier global outbreaks as far back as the Black Death. Get a grip people.
 
I think there's something of a matter interpretation here, that is lost. The Western Front in WW1 was essentially a French show and the British had to fit into French lines. Essentially, at least at the beginning BEF was under French control. No matter how you slice it the same would have been true of Pershing. I don't think Wilson would have had to good a reception if he had said to Americans "our Boys are under French control". No siree. In other words he gave Pershing the fullest remit he could being in mind the timing of the Americans arriving. I seem to recall that they were initially and there was a hell of a row about it until diplomacy put an acceptable slant on it. Certainly Pershing made as much use of American positioning as he could for the US Benefit, but that was after all his job.

As to Haigh, well it's moot but essentially Haigh was slotted into French command structure-it was after all on French soil.
Since the BEF initially fought in Belgium in 1914 how do the french become the British higher headquarters

By your logic Ike and Monty were subservient to De Gaulle during the NWE campaign
 
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Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
Since the BEF initially fought in Belgium in 1914 how do the french become the British higher headquarters

By your logic Ike and Monty were subservient to De Gaulle during the NWE campaign
Because that was the agreed situation as defined by the alliance we were in with the frogs. We were based, headquartered and had established supply depots in France. The BEF advanced into Belgium after the Hun invaded. We were the junior partners on land at least in 1914-1916 and probably though most of 1917.
 
Since the BEF initially fought in Belgium in 1914 how do the french become the British higher headquarters

By your logic Ike and Monty were subservient to De Gaulle during the NWE campaign
No no comparison. Remember we supported the Belgians In WW1 The initial BEF was almost destroyed at Mons and Loos in holding the Germans back. That in itself was made possible by the .Russian attack on Prussia which made the Germans pull back critical divisions to fight in the East. IIRC the Germans plan was to pivot and then Attack Paris and we were in the way but we were positioned there at the French behest. I think it’s forgotten that just because Britain had complete autonomy viz the Navy, the Army didn’t. Mind in terms of the NWE campaign DG would have liked it to be, but they forget that we let him take Paris.
 
Seemingly rational newspapers are publishing tables of historical pandemics conflating COVID-19 with earlier global outbreaks as far back as the Black Death. Get a grip people.
My mother was born in 1918 In the southwest of Ireland. When she was born she and her twin sister were the youngest of six children, two years later she was an only child. Spanish flu.
 
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