The Harlem Hellfighters in France — This 1918 photo captures the men of the 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly the 15th New York National Guard Regiment, in Northern France during the Great War. According to Wikipedia:
The US Army decided on April 8, 1918 to assign the unit to the French Army for the duration of the United States’ participation in the war. The men were issued French helmets and brown leather belts and pouches, although they continued to wear their U.S. uniforms.
All summer long, the 369th would see action in the trenches, including the Second Battle of the Marne. In August, the regiment went off line for rest and replacements. But not for long:
On September 25, 1918 the French 4th Army went on the offensive in conjunction with the American drive in the Meuse-Argonne. The 369th turned in a good account in heavy fighting, sustaining severe losses. They captured the important village of Séchault. At one point the 369th advanced faster than French troops on their right and left flanks, and risked being cut off. By the time the regiment pulled back for reorganization, it had advanced fourteen kilometers through severe German resistance.
After the Armistice, the 369th was the first Allied unit to reach the banks of the Rhine River. Not long after that, the regiment was relieved from duty with the French army and returned to New York and eventual demobilization in 1919. More details later as my Black History Month series continues.