As October ended and November began, the position of the Central Powers was crumbling. As mentioned earlier, Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire gave up and agreed to armistices that amounted to surrenders.

Austria-Hungary began to fall apart and the map of Europe began changing. The new state of Czechoslovakia had already been recognized by the Western powers and the state of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was proclaimed by people of those ethnic groups in southern Austria-Hungary. It would eventually merge with Serbia and become the core of what would become Yugoslavia.

Hungary erupted in rebellion and the dual kingdom of Austria-Hungary would disappear.

Some of that made the newspapers, especially as Austria’s position in Italy collapsed and thousands of Austrian soldiers were captured.

Oct. 29, Gen. Erich Ludendorff, the man who devised Germany’s plan to try to win the war in early 1918 before the U.S. forces could tip the balance of power in Western Europe, resigned as Field Marshal Paul Von Hindenburg’s chief deputy in a dispute with the chancellor, Prince Maximilian, over military authorities being placed under civilian control.

And in early November, as the German high command prepared to send the High Seas Fleet, which had been inactive since the Battle of Jutland, out against the British, the operation was called off because of mutiny in the fleet.

Germany was clearly on the brink of total defeat, but the fighting in France and Belgium went on, with the British, French, Americans and Belgians registering victories all along the line and breaking the Hindenburg line in several places. In reading of the advances, it seems the only thing slowing them down was not the German army, but the inability to keep the advancing armies supplied.

Reports like these on Nov. 5 were typical:

“British troops in their offensive southeast of Valenciennes have captured the fortified town of LeQuenoy after having completely surrounded it.”

“From the Dutch Frontier to east of the Meuse the 200-mile battle line is aflame today as the British, French, American and Belgian troops crush the resistance of the enemy and push on for important gains.”

Or from the Sedan front: “The American Army has thrown a formidable force across he Meuse to the west bank. The enemy resistance here has been broken to the point of demoralizing the German army and the Americans are pushing northward toward Stenay.”

It would soon be over.

Reports of more local deaths filtered in. Oct. 28 it was reported that Benjamin Carter, 28, son of Mrs. Ella Carter of 1102 W. Vine St., had been killed Sept. 1 “somewhere in France” while serving with the 370th Infantry, a black regiment.

Nov. 1, the Banner reported that Thomas B. Welker, 23, nephew of Mrs. W.B. Anderson of West Vine Street, was killed Sept. 28.

Oddly, the headlines in both cases said the individual was the second Knox County soldier to be killed in action, but the Welker story concluded by saying he was the fourth.

Oct. 29, the Banner reported that Corp. Elton V. Faddis, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert E. Faddis of Mount Vernon had died of pneumonia Oct. 7 while serving in France with the 15th Field Artillery, Second Division.


Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews




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