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WW1 Era M1917 US Tunic


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Here is a 1917 type tunic worn by most of the troops going "over there" from 1917-1918. This coat, unlike the M1912 version was made from a much coarse wool and could range in colors from a khaki to a green hue. The coat is lined and has a internal slit pocket at the breast, at the bottom of the liner, a makers tag is present, but not easy to read. On the wearer's left sleeve is the Division patch for the 77th Division. The 77th was known as the "Metropolitan" as it was made up of men primarily New York City or the "Liberty Division" due to the Statue of Liberty on the patch. This unit had several companies from the 154th Infantry Brigade fight at Charlevaux ravine, which would later be known as the Lost Battalion. Below the 77th patch is a red chevron, indicating honorable service/discharge from the Army, below that are two gold colored service stripes, each indicating 6 months overseas duty. 

This particular tunic is for the 305th Artillery regiment (1 of 3 in the Division) "A" Battery as indicated by the collar disks. Early in 1918, the 305th had 698 men sent to France as replacements before the regiment itself went overseas, naturally they had to train up the replacements. In late April 1918, the regiment left Hoboken, New Jersey aboard 2 transport ships, bound for Brest, France. Upon the debarkation, the regiment marched to Camp Pontanezin which was a major US training and transient base. Troops fresh off the boat were taught the latest weapons, tactics and defensive measures before heading off to the front. From there the Regiment traveled by train to Souge, France, which was slightly north of Le Mans. There the regiment got their new guns, the famous french soixante-quinzes. While training on these guns in May of 1918, word got out about a German Offensive, although the men were itching to go, they had just begun getting familiarized with their new guns as well as gas warfare training, they would have to wait a little longer. 

After training was complete the Regiment moved to Neuf Maisons which is described a small village of a few hundred people, in which every house had artillery damage. Battery A set up in La Haie Labarre which was a wooded area that was close to French Batteries. Once the other Batteries of the 305th arrived, the French departed, leaving the US troops with a somewhat fortified line, the US troops improved upon the lines, digouts, etc. Not long after, they were attacked by German Airplanes (8 were counted), followed by artillery. Afterwards the Regiment was in action on and off until the war ended. Unfortunately the tunic is not named, as I also have the trousers, overcoat and helmet. 







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