Robert H. Hoke Post 272


Corporal Robert H. Hoke was a member of the 79th Infantry Division serving in Company I, 316th Infantry.




The Namesake of Post 272 is Corporal Robert H. Hoke who was Killed in Action (KIA) in World War One.  Corporal Hoke was a member of  Company I, 316th Infantry, of the 79th Infantry Division. 

Corporal Hoke was reported Missing in Action in the fighting of September 26, 1918.

The following information is from the official history of the 79th Infantry Division: (In the description below, the fighting of 26 September was the action in which Corporal Hoke was first listed as MIA, eventually KIA)

History of the 79th Infantry Division Montfaucon and Beyond

The Meuse-Argonne offensive, to commence on the morning of September 26, is of tremendous historical importance. The German lines, from Switzerland to the North Sea, were still practically intact, and in the great allied drive which ended the war, the hinge of the whole operation was assigned to America, to break the main enemy communications through Montmedy and Sedan, and thus imperil the whole German army. On the right of the movement, running south through Verdun, was the Meuse River, and on the left, the Argonne Forest, whose ravines, hills, and elaborate defenses concealed by dense thickets had been considered impregnable. In the American lines, the 79th Division held a place of honor, facing the formidable citadel of Montfaucon.

Throughout the memorable night of September 25-26, P. C. Copinard had been a bee-hive, crowded with battalion and company commanders who assembled to receive copies of the Field Orders and to have maps, which had just been distributed, marked with sector lines for the advance. It was only at that time that it was learned that the formidable stronghold of Montfaucon, the famous hill citadel, was immediately in the sector of the Regiment. From the front line trenches, Montfaucon lay distant over six kilometers beyond the wild tangle of No Man's Land, the impregnable system of German wire entanglements and trenches, and a series of easily defended hills and patches of woods. As theofficers studied their maps it seemed like an impossible objective.

At 11 H, while the officers worked in the dugout, digesting maps and orders, the brooding silence outside was suddenly shattered. On the right, on the left, from far behind the line, the American heavy artillery had opened — a steady fire that smashed what remnants of Malancourt may still have remained; that shattered strongholds on Montfaucon Hill, and poured pitiless destruction into a hundred strategic enemy points located by the diligent work of French and American intelligence staffs.

It was not until 2 H 30 in the morning, however, that the real bombardment began. Then all the guns in the greatest concentration of artillery the world had ever known up to that time, joined in a monstrous chorus of destruction. The 316th was on the roads by that time, groping its way forward, still but faintly conscious of the immensity of the struggle about to open. Like a hundred rending volcanoes, the American and French 75's right behind them, tore away the black veil of night in thunderclaps of flame. It was the first time these men had been in front of the fire of their own guns. For a dazed moment there was a gasp of something like panic — scores dropped into the gutters beside the road — and then the true nature of all that cataclysm dawned on them, and somewhat sheepishly they rose to view in awe the spectacle imfolded. A thousand gorgeous sunsets — extinguished in a second, recreated in a moment — unceasing rolls of thunder, a night indelibly written in memory.

And meantime, without interruption, the company commanders were busily at work placing their men for the jump-off, the Third Battalion moving into position on a line with the right of the First, the men shoulder to shoulder in the trenches. Promptly at 5 H 30 the American fire lifted and became a rolling barrage, and the 313th Infantry went over the top' into No Man's Land. Zero hour had arrived — the American doughboy for miles to east and west was opening the Meuse-Argonne Drive and lifting the curtain on the last act of history's greatest drama. The German guns, which up to that moment had remained ominously silent, now burst forth on the American hues. The 316th in support, kept its eyes on the advancing lines, waiting for the 313th to gain the slated 1,000 meters. The sharp tac-tac-tac of machine guns cut through even that frightful din. A column of small tanks, like ugly ducklings, waddled its way through the waiting lines, clumsily but efficiently crossing shell-hole craters and trenches. The assaulting column moved on.

At 6 H 00 the required 1,000 yards had been gained, and the 316th stepped out into its first real baptism of fire. No Man's Land was everywhere torn and gashed with great shell-holes, 15 to 20 feet deep, many of them tangles of briar. No roads — no paths of any kind — were here to serve as landmarks, and maintaining contact became at once a trying problem. The compass was the only guide, and the line advanced slowly, with company commanders striving constantly to keep liaison.

In No Man's Land for a goodly distance the Regiment moved on without loss — undisturbed save by artillery shelling, usually wide of its mark. As the Boche part of the Bois de Malancourt was neared, there was a queer bzz-zz-zz overhead, an instant's puzzled speculation as to what the devil that might be — and then that much taught lesson in the little red book on the importance of "keeping down" was being graphically illustrated.

The assaulting regiment, moving steadily ahead, had unsuspectingly passed by a nimiber of concealed machine-gun nests, and the Boche gunners were now demonstrating to the 316th that being in support meant nothing — just less than nothing in the way of immunity. Followed a speedy issuing of orders to platoon commanders, cautious flank movements, and the Regiment was sending back its first prisoners, casting a hasty glimpse at its first war trophies, and leaving behind, sprawled under a torrid sun now high in the heavens, its first dead and wounded. It was this character of fighting which marked the entire Meuse-Argonne action. Concealed machine gunners, allowing the first lines to pass on, opened up on the second, and either bravely fought to an inevitable finish or shouted ''Kamarad" in time to save their lives.

The Regimental Headquarters was established by noon in the Tranche de Cuisine, the French name for the German front line. Nearby, at the entrance to a dugout, lay a number of dead Germans, surprised at their posts by the sudden American bombardment. At this P. C, Captain Feuardent entered the dugout with an empty pistol on an excursion of curiosity, and brought up three Germans, piteously crying "Kamarad." By mid-afternoon the Regiment had left the Bois de Malancourt, crossing Golfe de Malancourt, an open space heavily wired and entrenched around a strong redoubt, and had entered the Bois de Cuisy, where they had overcome some machine gun and sniper resistance. In these woods Captain Frederick A. Van Dyke was wounded by a sniper bullet, which put a hole through his identification tag and tucked it away, underneath his collar bone.

In the late afternoon a reorganization of the line was effected in this old German line of main resistance about the Golfe de Malancourt, and the Regiment spent the night with the First Battalion around the Regimental Headquarters on the southeastern edge of the Bois de Cuisy and the Third Battalion in German trenches west of Malancourt.


More Information, and the complete story of the 79th ID may be found here: