|Russia's Battalion of Death (Literary Digest, 1917)|
The attached news article from 1917 reported on the a Russian combat unit that consisted entirely of women soldiers called "The Battalion of Death":
"The Battalion of Death presents a new aspect of feminism which, while the wisdom and economy of its extension are consistently questioned the press is non the less serving the purpose of arousing its burning patriotic faith, something like shame in the men soldiers of Russia."
"The courage of the Battalion of Death when the actual test came is the subject of many enthusiastic Petrograd dispatches. They behaved splendidly under fire, penetrating into a first-line trench of the Germans and brought back prisoners."
Francis Grulick with the Y.M.C.A. (American Legion Monthly, 1930)
Twelve years after the end of the war, former Y.M.C.A. volunteer Francis Grulick wrote this moving account of her days as a canteen worker in France. She had vivid and colorful memories of her days in the forward positions bringing some measure of comfort to the men of the U.S. Army First Division, to whom she was devoted. She was with them at Gondrecourt, Bonnvillers, Boucq, Cantigny and Soissons. She filled their canteens, served them lemonade, poured their coffee, cooked their meals and also saw to it that cigarettes were plentiful. By the time the First Division arrived in Coblenz for occupation duty, she recognized that the unit was composed almost entirely of replacements and that she was the only witness to the First Divisions earliest days in France.
Is your name Anderson?
At the Front: Irene McIntyre of the Salvation Army (American Legion Monthly, 1928)
This article tells the World War One story of Irene McIntyre, a Salvation Army volunteer who served at the front during the most bloody period of the war:
"In her two-hundred and fifty-six days under enemy fire, Irene McIntyre was twice gassed and twice received the unusual distinction of a personal citation in Army orders. She saw more of the war at close quarters than any other American woman. One of her citations read:"
"'Under fire of high explosives and gas, she established and conducted huts that were noted for their good cheer and hospitality. Her courage and devotion to her voluntary work were a splendid inspiration to the troops.'"
Germany Deployed Women Soldiers (The Stars and Stripes, 1919)
This paragraph was lifted from a longer article regarding the battle-savvy Native Americans of World War One and it supports the claims made in 1918 by a number of anonymous allied POW's who reported seeing female soldiers in German machine gun crews toward the close of the war. There is solid documentation pertaining to the women who served in the Serb, Russian and French armies but very little as to the German ladies who did the same. The article appeared after the Armistice and this was a time when "The Stars and Stripes" editors were most likely to abstain from printing patriotic falsehoods.
If you would like to read another article about women combatants in W.W. II, click here.
An American Nurse at the Front (The Atlantic Monthly, 1923)
Always stationed to the most forward field hospitals during America's five major campaigns of the First World War, this reminiscence movingly recalls the sorrowful experiences involved when working among men who slowly die while in the bloom of youth. Haunted by the memories of these dying boys for a period of five years, the nurse asks her readers as to whether they feel the world has kept the promises made to those who sacrificed: is the France they died to protect a better place? is the country that demanded they fight a better place? As the veterans of that war go about their business, they
"think of those who bravely died. We think, too, of our dead selves who once vowed that these others should not have died in vain. Can we, dare we, travel our smooth road farther and farther away from those great peoples of the earth whose companions we once were?"
Click here for clip art depicting the nurses of World War One.