America’s deadliest battle: World War I’s Meuse-Argonne Offensive 100 years later

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Fox News

A century ago Wednesday, the first shots were fired in one of the most important American military engagements ever — and the deadliest battle in U.S. history.

World War I’s Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which involved more than a million American soldiers and claimed the lives of 26,277, was launched in northern France on Sept. 26, 1918 to push the German army out of the country and reclaim a rail network vital to supplying enemy troops. The fight lasted a grueling 46 days and generated scores of stories of heroism and sacrifice.

But most notably, it helped bring an end to The Great War.

“In its scale and in the number of American and French troops involved, not only infantry but artillery, tanks, engineers… just the logistics in this, made it the largest operation that the American armed forces had been in to that point,” Doran Cart, a senior curator at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, told Fox News.

American soldiers, near Boureuilles, ride on top of tanks on the way to a division’s headquarters on the first day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. (National WWI Museum and Memorial)

American soldiers, near Boureuilles, ride on top of tanks on the way to a division’s headquarters on the first day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. (National WWI Museum and Memorial)

The offensive started Sept. 26, with the French town of Verdun as the centerpiece of the Allied operations, Cart says.

American infantry forces, supported by 2,700 pieces of artillery, 189 tanks, and 821 aircraft, according to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, spread out in an area about 15 to 20 miles wide, bordered by the Meuse River on one end and the thick Argonne Forest on the other[…]

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  1. Vassar  September 27, 2018

    I can’t say anything nice about WWI or the way Wilson rushed in to help a bunch of monarchies against another bunch of monarchies. “France will defend France to the last drop of American and English blood.” Far too many American crosses in France, much more than they deserve.

  2. Allen  September 27, 2018

    Why the civilian leadership sent them is above my pay-grade. But they were sent, Black Jack Pershing made sure that our American Treasure (sons, husbands, fathers) were under American Command. I was once a member of the First Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment. Our motto was “Rock of the Marne.” At the battle of Chateau Thierry the Regiment was bent but not broken. They held the ground and are credited with turning the course of the battle. Without American Divisions the Kaiser would have won handily.

    We can always argue tactics. WWI’s casualty rates were horrendous, it was a continuation of the American Civil War as taught by LTG Longstreet, dig in and use your most casualty producing weapon first. Civil War plus full auto machine gun is bad ju-ju. Then throw in chemical weapons. The trenches were hell on earth, cold, wet, disease, death… Then they tell you to climb out and charge certain death across fields of barbed wire.

    Those boy’s had some big balls.


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