By Ben Wheeler
HISTORIC footage has come to light showing American troops of the 27th Infantry Division preparing for World War One.
The pictures show officers arriving at the vast base which is located in the valley of the River Somme, host to the Battle of the Somme, in which three million men fought, making it one of the bloodiest battles in history.
Soldiers at a training base in Corbie, France, are also shown going through marching drills as well as taking place in sporting activities such as Boxing and Sprinting, helping boost morale of the men who had flown half-way across the world to fight.
The 27th Infantry was one of only three American divisions formed from one state, New York, and had over 27,000 enlisted men. They were to sustain 8,209 casualties during WW1.
Its insignia was designed to reflect this with the letters ‘NYD’, standing for ‘New York Division’, forming a monogram within a large ‘O’ after their commander John F. O’Ryan, who is pictured overseeing the boxing tournament in the company of other generals.
The troops, also known as O’Ryan’s Roughnecks, saw plenty of action on the battlefield during the First World War, fighting at the Battle of Dickesbusche Lake and the Battle of Vierstratt Ridge.
Significantly, they were successful in breaking the Hindenburg line during the Somme offensive, forcing a German retreat which lead to a successful final confrontation for the Allied forces at Selle River.
Upon the success of this final mission, surviving members of the division were sent home in February 1919.