Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Richard H. Jackson, United States Staff Representative in Paris, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

ET                                      [File No.] 16/3/1

Cablegram Received       CFB  <September 4, 1918.>

                              <12:25a.m.>

Comfran Brest (Paris Naval Staff Rep)        [Serial No.] 5966

<Ref’d to        Date>

  <N-1           Sept 4 1918>

<B>                   CONFIDENTIAL

Simsadus

     5966. Enemy has withdrawn from western front to the vicinity of Hindenburg line.1 Rear guard actions steadily continuing with obstinate resistance certain strong points. Principal method resistance consists machine gun nests placed strong positions. General policy is to follow up retirement with steady pressure until Hindenburg line is reached. Southeast Lensline broken by tank attack and considerable opening made, forcing gradual evacuation Lens now outflanked Queant.2 Continued capturing machine guns and certain quantity prisoners daily. American contingent north Sotrison <(Soissons?)> endeavouring to outflank Chemine Des Dames and force retirement from Aisne.3 002404 5966

Wilson|4|                    

12;25 AM Sept 4, 1918             

N.B. “Sotrison” comes ungarbled probably “Soissons”

Source Note: C, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date notation just before the signature.

Footnote 1: The British name for a series of German defenses stretching in an arc from Lille to Metz. The Germans called it the “Siegfried Position.” Stevenson, With Our Backs to the Wall: 127.

Footnote 2: On 2 September an attack spearheaded by two Canadian divisions broke through the “Drocourt-Quéant Switch,” a formidable German defensive line that outflanked a portion of the German line. Ibid., 126-27.

Footnote 3: Chemins des Dames, also known as the Saint-Mihiel salient, was the scene of an American-French offensive begun on 12 September. By 14-15 September, the salient had been captured. It should be noted that the Germans had decided to withdraw from this ground before the Allied attack started, though they did fight a delaying action to allow German troops still in the area to get away. Ibid., 128-29.

Footnote 4: Although from Jackson, the staff of RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, at Brest forwarded it to Sims.

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