Sgt Joseph Bernard Adkinson. Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 119th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: Near Bellicourt, France, September 29, 1918. Entered service at: Memphis, Tenn. Born: January 4, 1892, Egypt, Tenn. G.O. No.: 59, W.D., 1919.
Medal of Honor Citation: "When murderous machinegun fire at a range of 50 yards had made it impossible for his platoon to advance, and had caused the platoon to take cover Sergeant. Adkinson alone, with the greatest intrepidity, rushed across the 50 yards of open ground directly into the face of the hostile machinegun kicked the gun from the parapet into the enemy trench, and at the point of the bayonet captured the 3 men manning the gun. The gallantry and quick decision of this soldier enabled the platoon to resume its advance."
Adkinson was born in Egypt, Tennessee, and entered the army in 1917 in Memphis. By mid-1918, Adkinson and his division were involved in combat in France. On September 29, 1918, near Bellicourt, France, Adkinson, by then a Sergeant, found he and his platoon pinned down by heavy German machine gun fire located fifty yards to their front.
Adkinson, acting alone, charged the machine gun nest, kicked it over into the enemy trench, and using the bayonet fixed on his rifle captured the three man machine gun crew, allowing his platoon to advance forward. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1919, and was one of six soldiers from Tennessee to receive that medal for their service during the First World War. Another of the six was Alvin York, subject of the film Sergeant York starring actor Gary Cooper.
Adkinson died in 1965, and he is buried in is buried in Salem Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church in Atoka, Tennessee.
Somme Offensive, 8 August - 11 November 1918. On 8 August the British began limited operations with the objective of flattening the Amiens salient. This attack marked the beginning of the great Somme Offensive, which continued until hostilities ceased on 11 November. The British Fourth Army, including the American 33d and 80th Divisions, struck the northwestern edge of the salient in coordination with a thrust by the French First Army from the southwest. No artillery barrage preceded the attack to forewarn the enemy. Some 600 tanks spearheaded the British assault, which jumped off during the thick fog. The completely surprised Germans quickly gave up 16,000 prisoners as their positions were overrun. Ludendorff himself characterized 8 August as the "Black Day of the German Army." The Germans were forced to fal1 back to the old 1915 line, where they reorganized strong defenses-in-depth. Haig then shifted his attack farther north to the vicinity of Arras on 21 August, forcing the Germans to withdraw toward the Hindenburg Line. By the end of the month they had evacuated the whole of the Amiens salient.
The drive to breach the main Hindenburg Line began at the end of September. The American II Corps (27th and 30th Divisions), forming part of the British Fourth Army, attacked the German defenses along the line of the Cambrai-St. Quentin Canal, capturing heavily fortified Bony and Bellicourt on the 29th. By 5 October the offensive had broken through the Hindenburg Line, and the Allied forces advanced through open country to the Oise-Somme Canal (19 October). During this phase of the operations the 27th and 30th Divisions alternated in the line. When the American II Corps was relieved on 21 October, it had served 26 days in the line and suffered 11,500 casualties.
The British advance in the Somme region continued until the Armistice, constituting the northern arm of Foch's great pincers movement on the Germans' vital lateral rail communications system. The key junction at Aulnoye, southwest of Maubeuge, was reached on 5 November. A total of about 54,000 Americans participated in the Somme Campaign.