Three friends check into a motel for the night and the clerk tells them the bill is $30, payable in advance. So, they each pay the clerk $10 and go to their room. A few minutes later, the clerk realizes he has made an error and overcharged the trio... Read more of The Missing Dollar at Free Jokes.caInformational Site Network Informational
Home - World War Stories - American Heros - Hero Stories - War Stories - British Navy

World Wars

The Thirteenth Regiment
The World War has shown clearly that all peoples are not alik...

The Soldiers Who Go To Sea
If the army or the navy ever gaze on Heaven's scenes, Th...

The Quality Of Mercy
There is an old saying, Like king, like people, which means t...

A Boy Of Perugia
In the year 1500, Raphael was a boy of eighteen in Perugia wo...

When the last gun has long withheld Its thunder, and i...

I Knew You Would Come
We are all very proud that America was permitted to have a sh...

A Carol From Flanders
1914 In Flanders on the Christmas morn The trench...

The Little Old Road
There's a breath of May in the breeze On the little ol...

America Comes In
We are coming from the ranch, from the city and the mine, ...

U S Destroyer _osmond C Ingram_
If you were standing on the deck of a patrol boat watching fo...

Why The United States Entered The War
The United States was slow to enter the war, because her peop...

Pershing At The Tomb Of Lafayette
They knew they were fighting our war. As the months gr...

The Kaiser's Crown
(VERSAILLES, JANUARY 18, 1871) The wind on the Thames ...

Where The Four Winds Meet
There are songs of the north and songs of the south, A...

November 11 1918
Sinners are said sometimes to repent and change their ways at...

Bombing Metz

The Turning Of The Tide
A division of marines and other American troops were rushed t...

The Call To Arms In Our Street
There's a woman sobs her heart out, With her head agains...

On slight pretext, Germany in 1864 and in 1866 had made wars ...

Redeemed Italy
Italy, since 1860 at least, has cherished the dream that some...

The United States At War--in France

Adapted with a few omissions and changes in language from the report of
General Pershing made November 20, 1918, to the Secretary of War.

Upon receiving my orders, I selected a small staff and proceeded to
Europe in order to become familiar with conditions at the earliest
possible moment.

The warmth of our reception in England and France was only equalled by
the readiness of the leaders of the Allied armies to assist us in every
way. We met and considered the best ways of working together.

The French and British armies could not be increased in strength and they
had been unable to drive the enemy from his systems of trenches in
Belgium and France. It was therefore necessary to plan for an American
force large enough to turn the scale in favor of the Allies. The problem
before us was one of the very greatest difficulty. The first step was
the formation of a General Staff and I gave this my early attention.

A well organized General Staff to put into effect the plans of the
Commander in Chief is essential to a successful modern army. However
capable divisions, battalions, and companies may be as units, success
would be impossible unless they worked together. A well organized
General Staff trained for war has not hitherto existed in our army.
Under the Commander in Chief this staff must carry out the policy of the
army as a whole and direct all the details of its preparation, support,
and operation. As models to aid us, we had the veteran French General
Staff and the experience of the British who had formed a staff to meet
the demands of a great army. By selecting from each the features that
best met our needs and helped by our own early experience in the war, our
great General Staff system was completed.

The General Staff is divided into five groups, each with its chief. G. 1
is in charge of the organization and equipment of troops, replacements,
overseas shipment, and welfare associations; G. 2 has censorship,
gathering and disseminating information, particularly concerning the
enemy, preparation of maps, and all similar subjects; G. 3 is charged
with all strategic studies and plans and the supervision of the movement
of troops and of fighting; G. 4 co-ordinates questions of army supply,
necessary construction, transport for troops going into battle, of
hospitals and the movement of the sick and wounded; G. 5 supervises the
various schools and has general direction of education and training.

It was decided that our combat divisions should consist of four regiments
of infantry of 3,000 men each with three battalions to a regiment, and
four companies of 250 men each to a battalion, and of an artillery
brigade of three regiments, a machine gun battalion, an engineer
regiment, a trench-mortar battery; a signal battalion, wagon trains, and
the headquarters staffs and military police. These with medical and
other units, made a total of over 28,000 men, or about double the size of
a French or German division. Each corps consisted of six divisions--four
combat and one depot and one replacement division--and also two regiments
of cavalry. Each army consisted of from three to five corps. With four
divisions fully trained, a corps could take over an American sector with
two divisions in line and two in reserve, with the depot and replacement
divisions prepared to fill the gaps in the ranks.

Our purpose was to prepare an American force which should be able to take
the offensive in every respect. Accordingly, the development of a
self-reliant infantry by thorough drill in the use of the rifle and in
the tactics of open warfare was always uppermost. The plan of training
after arrival in France allowed a division one month for acclimatization
and instruction in small units from battalions down, a second month in
quiet trench sectors by battalion, and a third month after it came out of
the trenches when it should be trained as a complete division in war of

Very early a system of schools was outlined and started which should have
the advantage of instruction by officers direct from the front. At the
great school centre at Langres, one of the first to be organized, was the
staff school, where the principles of general staff work, as laid down in
our own organization, were taught to carefully selected officers. Men in
the ranks who had shown qualities of leadership were sent to the school
of candidates for commissions. A school of the line taught younger
officers the principles of leadership, tactics, and the use of the
different weapons. In the artillery school, at Saumur, young officers
were taught the fundamental principles of modern artillery; while at
Issoudun an immense plant was built for training cadets in aviation.
These and other schools, with their well-considered curriculums for
training in every branch of our organization, were co-ordinated in a
manner best to develop an efficient army out of willing and industrious
young men, many of whom had not before known even the rudiments of
military technique. Both Marshal Haig and General Petain placed officers
and men at our disposal for instructional purposes, and we are deeply
indebted for the opportunities given to profit by their veteran

The place the American Army should take on the western front was to a
large extent influenced by the vital questions of communication and
supply. The northern ports of France were crowded by the British Armies'
shipping and supplies while the southern ports, though otherwise at our
service, had not adequate port facilities for our purposes, and these we
should have to build. The already overtaxed railway system behind the
active front in Northern France would not be available for us as lines of
supply, and those leading from the southern ports of Northeastern France
would be unequal to our needs without much new construction. Practically
all warehouses, supply depots and regulating stations must be provided by
fresh constructions. While France offered us such material as she had to
spare after a drain of three years, enormous quantities of material had
to be brought across the Atlantic.

With such a problem any hesitation or lack of definiteness in making
plans might cause failure even with victory within our grasp. Moreover,
plans as great as our national purpose and resources would bring
conviction of our power to every soldier in the front line, to the
nations associated with us in the war, and to the enemy. The tonnage for
material for necessary construction for the supply of an army of three
and perhaps four million men would require a mammoth program of
shipbuilding at home, and miles of dock construction in France, with a
corresponding large project for additional railways and for storage

All these considerations led to the conclusion that if we were to handle
and supply the great forces deemed essential to win the war we must
utilize the southern ports of France--Bordeaux, La Pallice, St. Nazaire,
and Brest--and the comparatively unused railway systems leading therefrom
to the northeast. This would mean the use of our forces against the
enemy somewhere in that direction, but the great depots of supply must be
centrally located, preferably in the area included by Tours, Bourges, and
Chateauroux, so that our armies could be supplied with equal facility
wherever they might be serving on the western front.

To build up such a system there were talented men in the Regular Army,
but more experts were necessary than the army could furnish. Thanks to
the patriotic spirit of our people at home, there came from civil life
men trained for every sort of work involved in building and managing the
organization necessary to handle and transport such an army and keep it
supplied. With such assistance the construction and general development
of our plans have kept pace with the growth of the forces, and the
Service of Supply is now able to discharge from ships and move 45,000
tons daily, besides transporting troops and material in the conduct of
active operations.

As to organization, all the administrative and supply services, except
the Adjutant General's, Inspector General's, and Judge Advocate General's
Departments, which remain at general headquarters, have been transferred
to the headquarters of the services of supplies at Tours under a
commanding General responsible to the Commander-in-Chief for supply of
the armies. The Chief Quartermaster, Chief Surgeon, Chief Signal
Officer, Chief of Ordnance, Chief of Air Service, Chief of Chemical
Warfare, the general purchasing agent in all that pertains to questions
of procurement and supply, the Provost Marshal General in the maintenance
of order in general, the Director General of Transportation in all that
affects such matters, and the Chief Engineer in all matters of
administration and supply, are subordinate to the Commanding General of
the Service of Supply, who, assisted by a staff especially organized for
the purpose, is charged with the administrative co-ordination of all
these services.

The transportation department under the Service of Supply directs the
operation, maintenance, and construction of railways, the operation of
terminals, the unloading of ships, and transportation of material to
warehouses or to the front. Its functions make necessary the most
intimate relationship between our organization and that of the French,
with the practical result that our transportation department has been
able to improve materially the operations of railways generally.
Constantly laboring under a shortage of rolling stock, the transportation
department has nevertheless been able by efficient management to meet
every emergency.

The Engineer Corps is charged with all construction, including light
railways and roads. It has planned and constructed the many projects
required, the most important of which are the new wharves at Bordeaux and
Nantes, and the immense storage depots at La Pallice, Mointoir, and
Glevres, besides innumerable hospitals and barracks in various ports of
France. These projects have all been carried on by phases, keeping pace
with our needs. The Forestry Service under the Engineer Corps has cut
the greater part of the timber and railway ties required.

To meet the shortage of supplies from America, due to lack of shipping,
the representatives of the different supply departments were constantly
in search of available material and supplies in Europe. In order to
co-ordinate these purchases and to prevent competition between our
departments, a general purchasing agency was created early in our
experience to co-ordinate our purchases and, if possible, induce our
allies to apply the principle among the allied armies. While there was
no authority for the general use of appropriations, this was met by
grouping the purchasing representatives of the different departments
under one control, charged with the duty of consolidating requisitions
and purchases. Our efforts to extend the principle have been signally
successful, and all purchases for the allied armies are now on an
equitable and co-operative basis. Indeed, it may be said that the work
of this bureau has been thoroughly efficient and businesslike.

Our entry into the war found us with little of the equipment necessary
for its conduct in the modern sense. Among our most important
deficiencies in material were artillery, aviation, and tanks. In order
to meet our requirements as rapidly as possible, we accepted the offer of
the French Government to provide us with the necessary artillery
equipment of seventy-fives, one fifty-five millimeter howitzer, and one
fifty-five G. P. F. gun, from their own factories for each of the thirty
divisions. The wisdom of this course is fully demonstrated by the fact
that, although we soon began the manufacture of these classes of guns at
home, there were no guns of the calibres mentioned manufactured in
America on our front at the date the armistice was signed. The only guns
of these types produced at home thus far received in France are 109
seventy-five millimeter guns.

In aviation we were in the same situation, and here again the French
Government came to our aid until our own aviation program should be under
way. We obtained from the French the necessary planes for training our
personnel, and they have provided us with a total of 2,676 pursuit,
observation, and bombing planes. The first airplanes received from home
arrived in May, and altogether we have received 1,379. The first
American squadron completely equipped by American production, including
airplanes, crossed the German lines on Aug. 7, 1918. As to tanks, we
were also compelled to rely upon the French. Here, however, we were less
fortunate, for the reason that the French production could barely meet
the requirements of their own armies.

It should be fully realized that the French Government has always taken a
most liberal attitude, and has been most anxious to give us every
possible assistance in meeting our deficiencies in these as well as in
other respects. Our dependence upon France for artillery, aviation, and
tanks was, of course, due to the fact that our industries had not been
exclusively devoted to military production. All credit is due our own
manufacturers for their efforts to meet our requirements, as at the time
the armistice was signed we were able to look forward to the early supply
of practically all our necessities from our own factories. The welfare
of the troops touches my responsibility as Commander-in-Chief to the
mothers and fathers and kindred of the men who came to France in the
impressionable period of youth. They could not have the privilege
accorded European soldiers during their periods of leave of visiting
their families and renewing their home ties. Fully realizing that the
standard of conduct that should be established for them must have a
permanent influence in their lives and on the character of their future
citizenship, the Red Cross, the Young Men's Christian Association,
Knights of Columbus, the Salvation Army, and the Jewish Welfare Board, as
aids in this work, were encouraged in every possible way. The fact that
our soldiers, in a land of different customs and language, have borne
themselves in a manner in keeping with the cause for which they fought,
is due not only to the efforts in their behalf, but much more to their
high ideals, their discipline, and their innate sense of self-respect.
It should be recorded, however, that the members of these welfare
societies have been untiring in their desire to be of real service to our
officers and men. The patriotic devotion of these representative men and
women has given a new significance to the Golden Rule, and we owe to them
a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

During our period of training in the trenches some of our divisions had
engaged the enemy in local combats, the most important of which was
Seicheprey by the 26th on April 20, in the Toul sector, but none had
taken part in action as a unit. The 1st Division, which had passed
through the preliminary stages of training, had gone to the trenches for
its first period of instruction at the end of October, and by March 21,
when the German offensive in Picardy began, we had four divisions with
experience in the trenches, all of which were equal to any demands of
battle action. The crisis which this offensive developed was such that
our occupation of an American sector must be postponed.

On March 28 I placed at the disposal of Marshal Foch, who had been agreed
upon as Commander-in-Chief o the Allied Armies, all of our forces, to be
used as he might decide. At his request the 1st Division was transferred
from the Toul sector to a position in reserve at Chaumont en Vexin. As
German superiority in numbers required prompt action, an agreement was
reached at the Abbeville conference of the Allied Premiers and commanders
and myself on May 2 by which British shipping was to transport ten
American divisions to the British Army area, where they were to be
trained and equipped, and additional British shipping was to be provided
for as many divisions as possible for use elsewhere.

On April 26 the 1st Division had gone into the line in the Montdidier
salient on the Picardy battlefront. Tactics had been suddenly
revolutionized to those of open warfare, and our men, confident of the
results of their training, were eager for the test. On the morning of
May 28 this division attacked the commanding German position in its
front, taking with splendid dash the town of Cantigny and all other
objectives, which were organized and held steadfastly against vicious
counterattacks and galling artillery fire. Although local, this
brilliant action had an electrical effect, as it demonstrated our
fighting qualities under extreme battle conditions, and also that the
enemy's troops were not altogether invincible.

The Germans' Aisne offensive, which began on May 27, had advanced rapidly
toward the River Marne and Paris, and the Allies faced a crisis equally
as grave as that of the Picardy offensive in March. Again every
available man was placed at Marshal Foch's disposal, and the 3d Division,
which had just come from its preliminary training in the trenches, was
hurried to the Marne. Its motorized machine-gun battalion preceded the
other units and successfully held the bridgehead at the Marne, opposite
Chateau-Thierry. The 2d Division, in reserve near Montdidier, was sent
by motor trucks and other available transport to check the progress of
the enemy toward Paris. The division attacked and retook the town and
railroad station at Bouresches and sturdily held its ground against the
enemy's best guard divisions. In the battle of Belleau Wood, which
followed, our men proved their superiority and gained a strong tactical
position, with far greater loss to the enemy than to ourselves. On July
1, before the 2d was relieved, it captured the village of Vaux with most
splendid precision.

Meanwhile our 2d Corps, under Major Gen. George W. Read, had been
organized for the command of our divisions with the British, which were
held back in training areas or assigned to second-line defenses. Five of
the ten divisions were withdrawn from the British area in June, three to
relieve divisions in Lorraine and in the Vosges and two to the Paris area
to join the group of American divisions which stood between the city and
any further advance of the enemy in that direction.

The great June-July troop movement from the States was well under way,
and, although these troops were to be given some preliminary training
before being put into action, their very presence warranted the use of
all the older divisions in the confidence that we did not lack reserves.
Elements of the 42d Division were in the line east of Rheims against the
German offensive of July 15, and held their ground unflinchingly. On the
right flank of this offensive four companies of the 28th Division were in
position in face of the advancing waves of the German infantry. The 3d
Division was holding the bank of the Marne from the bend east of the
mouth of the Surmelin to the west of Mezy, opposite Chateau-Thierry,
where a large force of German infantry sought to force a passage under
support of powerful artillery concentrations and under cover of smoke
screens. A single regiment of the 3d wrote one of the most brilliant
pages in our military annals on this occasion. It prevented the crossing
at certain points on its front while, on either flank, the Germans, who
had gained a footing, pressed forward. Our men, firing in three
directions, met the German attacks with counter attacks at critical
points and succeeded in throwing two German divisions into complete
confusion, capturing 600 prisoners.

The great force of the German Chateau-Thierry offensive established the
deep Marne salient, but the enemy was taking chances, and the
vulnerability of this pocket to attack might be turned to his
disadvantage. Seizing this opportunity to support my conviction, every
division with any sort of training was made available for use in a
counter offensive. The place of honor in the thrust toward Soissons on
July 18 was given to our 1st and 2d Divisions in company with chosen
French divisions. Without the usual brief warning of a preliminary
bombardment, the massed French and American artillery, firing by the map,
laid down its rolling barrage at dawn while the infantry began its
charge. The tactical handling of our troops under these trying
conditions was excellent throughout the action. The enemy brought up
large numbers of reserves and made a stubborn defense both with machine
guns and artillery, but through five days' fighting the 1st Division
continued to advance until it had gained the heights above Soissons and
captured the village of Berzy-le-Sec. The 2d Division took Beau Repaire
Farm and Vierzy in a very rapid advance and reached a position in front
of Tigny at the end of its second day. These two divisions captured
7,000 prisoners and over 100 pieces of artillery.

The 26th Division, which, with a French division, was under command of
our 1st Corps, acted as a pivot of the movement toward Soissons. On the
18th it took the village of Torcy, while the 3d Division was crossing the
Marne in pursuit of the retiring enemy. The 26th attacked again on the
21st and the enemy withdrew past the Chateau-Thierry-Soissons road. The
3d Division, continuing its progress, took the heights of Mont St. Pere
and the villages of Charteves and Jaulgonne in the face of both
machine-gun and artillery fire.

On the 24th, after the Germans had fallen back from Trugny and Epieds,
our 42d Division, which had been brought over from the Champagne,
relieved the 26th, and, fighting its way through the Foret de Fere,
overwhelmed the nest of machine guns in its path. By the 27th it had
reached the Ourcq, whence the 3d and 4th Divisions were already
advancing, while the French divisions with which we were co-operating
were moving forward at other points.

The 3d Division had made its advance into Roncheres Wood on the 29th and
was relieved for rest by a brigade of the 32d. The 42d and 32d undertook
the task of conquering the heights beyond Cierges, the 42d capturing
Sergy and the 32d capturing Hill 230, both American divisions joining in
the pursuit of the enemy to the Vesle, and thus the operation of reducing
the salient was finished. Meanwhile the 42d was relieved by the 4th, and
the 32d by the 28th, while the 77th Division took up a position on the
Vesle. The operations of these divisions on the Vesle were under the 3d
Corps, Major Gen. Robert L. Bullard commanding.

With the reduction of the Marne salient, we could look forward to the
concentration of our divisions in our own zone. In view of the
forthcoming operation against the St. Mihiel salient, which had long been
planned as our first offensive action on a large scale, the First Army
was organized on Aug. 10 under my personal command. While American units
had held different sectors along the western front, there had not been up
to this time, for obvious reasons, a distinct American sector; but, in
view of the important parts the American forces were now to play, it was
necessary to take over a permanent portion of the line. Accordingly, on
Aug. 30, the line beginning at Port sur Seille, east of the Moselle and
extending to the west through St. Mihiel, thence north to a point
opposite Verdun, was placed under my command. The American sector was
afterward extended across the Meuse to the western edge of the Argonne
Forest, and included the 2d Colonial French, which held the point of the
salient, and the 17th French Corps, which occupied the heights above

The preparation for a complicated operation against the formidable
defenses in front of us included the assembling of divisions and of corps
and army artillery, transport, aircraft, tanks, ambulances, the location
of hospitals, and the molding together of all the elements of a great
modern army with its own railheads, supplied directly by our own Service
of Supply. The concentration for this operation, which was to be a
surprise, involved the movement, mostly at night, of approximately
600,000 troops, and required for its success the most careful attention
to every detail.

The French were generous in giving us assistance in corps and army
artillery and we were confident from the start of our superiority over
the enemy in guns of all calibres. Our heavy guns were able to reach
Metz and to interfere seriously with German rail movements. The French
Independent Air Force was placed under my command, which, together with
the British bombing squadrons and our air forces, gave us the largest
assembly of aviators that had ever been engaged in one operation on the
western front.

From Les Eparges around the nose of the salient at St. Mihiel to the
Moselle River the line was, roughly, forty miles long and situated on
commanding ground greatly strengthened by artificial defenses. Our 1st
Corps, (82d, 90th, 5th, and 2d Divisions,) under command of Major Gen.
Hunter Liggett, resting its right on Pont-a-Mousson, with its left
joining our 3d Corps, (the 89th, 42d, and 1st Divisions,) under Major
Gen. Joseph T. Dickman, in line to Xivray, was to swing toward Vigneulles
on the pivot of the Moselle River for the initial assault. From Xivray
to Mouilly the 2d Colonial French Corps was in line in the centre, and
our 5th Corps, under command of Major Gen. George H. Cameron, with our
26th Division and a French division at the western base of the salient,
was to attack three difficult hills--Les Eparges, Combres, and Amaranthe.
Our 1st Corps had in reserve the 78th Division, our 4th Corps the 3d
Division, and our First Army the 35th and 91st Divisions, with the 80th
and 33d available. It should be understood that our corps organizations
are very elastic, and that we have at no time had permanent assignments
of divisions to corps.

After four hours' artillery preparation, the seven American divisions in
the front line advanced at 5 A.M. on Sept. 12, assisted by a limited
number of tanks, manned partly by Americans and partly by French. These
divisions, accompanied by groups of wire cutters and others armed with
bangalore torpedoes, went through the successive bands of barbed wire
that protected the enemy's front-line and support trenches in
irresistible waves on schedule time, breaking down all defense of an
enemy demoralized by the great volume of our artillery fire and our
sudden approach out of the fog.

Our 1st Corps advanced to Thiaucourt, while our 4th Corps curved back to
the southwest through Nonsard. The 2d Colonial French Corps made the
slight advance required of it on very difficult ground, and the 5th Corps
took its three ridges and repulsed a counter attack. A rapid march
brought reserve regiments of a division of the 5th Corps into Vigneulles
and beyond Fresnes-en-Woevre. At the cost of only 7,000 casualties,
mostly light, we had taken 16,000 prisoners and 443 guns, a great
quantity of material, released the inhabitants of many villages from
enemy domination, and established our lines in a position to threaten
Metz. This signal success of the American First Army in its first
offensive was of prime importance. The Allies found they had a
formidable army to aid them, and the enemy learned finally that he had
one to reckon with.

On the day after we had taken the St. Mihiel salient, much of our corps
and army artillery which had operated at St. Mihiel, and our divisions in
reserve at other points, were already on the move toward the area back of
the line between the Meuse River and the western edge of the Forest of
Argonne. With the exception of St. Mihiel, the old German front line
from Switzerland to the east of Rheims was still intact. In the general
attack all along the line, the operations assigned the American Army as
the hinge of this Allied offensive were directed toward the important
railroad communications of the German armies through Mezieres and Sedan.
The enemy must hold fast to this part of his lines, or the withdrawal of
his forces, with four years' accumulation of plants and material, would
be dangerously imperiled.

The German Army had as yet shown no demoralization, and, while the mass
of its troops had suffered in morale, its first-class divisions, and
notably its machine-gun defense, were exhibiting remarkable tactical
efficiency as well as courage. The German General Staff was fully aware
of the consequences of a success on the Meuse-Argonne line. Certain that
he would do everything in his power to oppose us, the action was planned
with as much secrecy as possible and was undertaken with the
determination to use all our divisions in forcing decision. We expected
to draw the best German divisions to our front and to consume them while
the enemy was held under grave apprehension lest our attack should break
his line, which it was our firm purpose to do.

Our right flank was protected by the Meuse, while our left embraced the
Argonne Forest, whose ravines, hills, and elaborate defense, screened by
dense thickets, had been generally considered impregnable. Our order of
battle from right to left was the 3d Corps from the Meuse to Malancourt,
with the 33d, 80th, and 4th Divisions in line and the 3d Division as
corps reserve; the 5th Corps from Malancourt to Vauquois, with the 79th,
87th, and 91st Divisions in line and the 32d in corps reserve, and the
1st Corps from Vauquois to Vienne le Chateau, with the 35th, 28th, and
77th Divisions in line and the 92d in corps reserve. The army reserve
consisted of the 1st, 29th, and 82d Divisions.

On the night of Sept. 25, our troops quietly took the place of the
French, who thinly held the line in this sector, which had long been
inactive. In the attack which began on the 26th we drove through the
barbed-wire entanglements and the sea of shell craters across No Man's
Land, mastering all the first-line defenses. Continuing on the 27th and
28th, against machine guns and artillery of an increasing number of enemy
reserve divisions, we penetrated to a depth of from three to seven miles
and took the village of Montfaucon and its commanding hill, and other
villages. East of the Meuse one of our divisions, which was with the 2d
Colonial French Corps, captured Marcheville and Rieville, giving further
protection to the flank of our main body. We had taken 10,000 prisoners,
we had gained our point of forcing the battle into the open, and were
prepared for the enemy's reaction, which was bound to come, as he had
good roads and ample railroad facilities for bringing up his artillery
and reserves.

In the chill rain of dark nights, our engineers had to build new roads
across spongy, shell-torn areas, repair broken roads beyond No Man's
Land, and build bridges. Our gunners, with no thought of sleep, put
their shoulders to wheels and drag ropes to bring their guns through the
mire in support of the infantry, now under the increasing fire of the
enemy's artillery. Our attack had taken the enemy by surprise, but,
quickly recovering himself, he began to fire counter attacks in strong
force, supported by heavy bombardments, with large quantities of gas.
From Sept. 28 until Oct. 4, we maintained the offensive against patches
of woods defended by snipers and continuous lines of machine guns, and
pushed forward our guns and transport, seizing strategical points in
preparation for further attacks.

Other divisions attached to the Allied Armies were doing their part. It
was the fortune of our 2d Corps, composed of the 27th and 30th Divisions,
which had remained with the British, to have a place of honor in
co-operation with the Australian Corps on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 in the
assault on the Hindenburg line where the St. Quentin Canal passes through
a tunnel under a ridge. The 30th Division speedily broke through the
main line of defense for all its objectives, while the 27th pushed on
impetuously through the main line until some of its elements reached
Gouy. In the midst of the maze of trenches and shell craters and under
crossfire from machine guns the other elements fought desperately against
odds. In this and in later actions, from Oct. 6 to Oct. 19, our 2d Corps
captured over 6,000 prisoners and advanced over thirteen miles. The
spirit and aggressiveness of these divisions have been highly praised by
the British Army commander under whom they served.

On Oct. 2-9 our 2d and 36th Divisions were sent to assist the French in
an important attack against the old German positions before Rheims. The
2d conquered the complicated defense works on their front against a
persistent defense worthy of the grimmest period of trench warfare and
attacked the strongly held wooded hill of Blanc Mont, which they captured
in a second assault, sweeping over it with consummate dash and skill.
This division then repulsed strong counter attacks before the village and
cemetery of Ste. Etienne and took the town, forcing the Germans to fall
back from before Rheims and yield positions they had held since
September, 1914. On Oct. 9 the 36th Division relieved the 2d, and in its
first experience under fire withstood very severe artillery bombardment
and rapidly took up the pursuit of the enemy, now retiring behind the

The allied progress elsewhere cheered the efforts of our men in this
crucial contest, as the German command threw in more and more first-class
troops to stop our advance. We made steady headway in the almost
impenetrable and strongly held Argonne Forest, for, despite this
reinforcement, it was our army that was doing the driving. Our aircraft
was increasing in skill and numbers and forcing the issue, and our
infantry and artillery were improving rapidly with each new experience.
The replacements fresh from home were put into exhausted divisions with
little time for training, but they had the advantage of serving beside
men who knew their business and who had almost become veterans overnight.
The enemy had taken every advantage of the terrain, which especially
favored the defense, by a prodigal use of machine guns manned by highly
trained veterans and by using his artillery at short ranges. In the face
of such strong frontal positions we should have been unable to accomplish
any progress according to previously accepted standards, but I had every
confidence in our aggressive tactics and the courage of our troops.

On Oct. 4 the attack was renewed all along our front. The 3d Corps,
tilting to the left, followed the Brieulles-Cunel road; our 5th Corps
took Gesnes, while the 1st Corps advanced for over two miles along the
irregular valley of the Aire River and in the wooded hills of the Argonne
that bordered the river, used by the enemy with all his art and weapons
of defense. This sort of fighting continued against an enemy striving to
hold every foot of ground and whose very strong counterattacks challenged
us at every point. On the 7th the 1st Corps captured Chatel-Chenery and
continued along the river to Cornay. On the east of Meuse sector, one of
the two divisions, co-operating with the French, captured Consenvoye and
the Haumont Woods. On the 9th the 5th Corps, in its progress up the
Aire, took Fleville, and the 3d Corps, which had continuous fighting
against odds, was working its way through Brieulles and Cunel. On the
10th we had cleared the Argonne Forest of the enemy.

It was now necessary to constitute a second army, and on Oct. 9 the
immediate command of the First Army was turned over to Lieut. Gen. Hunter
Liggett. The command of the Second Army, whose divisions occupied a
sector in the Woevre, was given to Lieut. Gen. Robert L. Bullard, who had
been commander of the 1st Division and then of the 3d Corps. Major Gen.
Dickman was transferred to the command of the 1st Corps, while the 5th
Corps was placed under Major Gen. Charles P. Summerall, who had recently
commanded the 1st Division. Major Gen. John L. Hines, who had gone
rapidly up from regimental to division commander, was assigned to the 3d
Corps. These four officers had been in France from the early days of the
expedition and had learned their lessons in the school of practical

Our constant pressure against the enemy brought day by day more
prisoners, mostly survivors from machine-gun nests captured in fighting
at close quarters. On Oct. 18 there was very fierce fighting in the
Caures Woods east of the Meuse and in the Ormont Woods. On the 14th the
1st Corps took St. Juvin, and the 5th Corps, in hand-to-hand encounters,
entered the formidable Kriemhilde line, where the enemy had hoped to
check us indefinitely. Later the 5th Corps penetrated further the
Kriemhilde line, and the 1st Corps took Champigneulles and the important
town of Grandpre. Our dogged offensive was wearing down the enemy, who
continued desperately to throw his best troops against us, thus weakening
his line in front of our Allies and making their advance less difficult.

Meanwhile we were not only able to continue the battle, but our 37th and
91st Divisions were hastily withdrawn from our front and dispatched to
help the French Army in Belgium. De-training in the neighborhood of
Ypres, these divisions advanced by rapid stages to the fighting line and
were assigned to adjacent French corps. On Oct. 31, in continuation of
the Flanders offensive, they attacked and methodically broke down all
enemy resistance. On Nov. 3, the 37th had completed its mission in
dividing the enemy across the Escaut River and firmly established itself
along the east bank included in the division zone of action. By a clever
flanking movement troops of the 91st Division captured Spitaals Bosschen,
a difficult wood extending across the central part of the division
sector, reached the Escaut, and penetrated into the town of Audenarde.
These divisions received high commendation from their corps commanders
for their dash and energy.

On the 23d, the 3d and 5th Corps pushed northward to the level of
Bantheville. While we continued to press forward and throw back the
enemy's violent counter attacks with great loss to him, a regrouping of
our forces was under way for the final assault. Evidences of loss of
morale by the enemy gave our men more confidence in attack and more
fortitude in enduring the fatigue of incessant effort and the hardships
of very inclement weather.

With comparatively well-rested divisions, the final advance on the
Meuse-Argonne front was begun on Nov. 1. Our increased artillery force
acquitted itself magnificently in support of the advance, and the enemy
broke before the determined infantry, which, by its persistent fighting
of the past weeks and the dash of this attack, had overcome his will to
resist. The 3d Corps took Ancreville, Doulcon, and Andevanne, and the
5th Corps took Landres et St. Georges and pressed through successive
lines of resistance to Bayonville and Chennery. On the 2d, the 1st Corps
joined in the movement, which now became an impetuous onslaught that
could not be stayed.

On the 3d, advance troops surged forward in pursuit, some by motor
trucks, while the artillery pressed along the country roads close behind.
The 1st Corps reached Authe and Chatillon-sur-Bar, the 5th Corps, Fosse
and Nouart, and the 3d Corps, Halles, penetrating the enemy's line to a
depth of twelve miles. Our large-calibre guns had advanced and were
skillfully brought into position to fire upon the important lines at
Montmedy, Longuyon, and Conflans. Our 3d Corps crossed the Meuse on the
5th, and the other corps, in the full confidence that the day was theirs,
eagerly cleared the way of machine guns as they swept northward,
maintaining complete co-ordination throughout. On the 6th, a division of
the 1st Corps reached a point on the Meuse opposite Sedan, twenty-five
miles from our line of departure. Their strategical goal which was our
highest hope was gained. We had cut the enemy's main line of
communications, and nothing but surrender or an armistice could save his
army from complete disaster.

In all forty enemy divisions had been used against us in the
Meuse-Argonne battle. Between Sept. 26 and Nov. 6 we took 26,059
prisoners and 468 guns on this front. Our divisions engaged were the
1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 26th, 28th, 29th, 32d, 33d, 35th, 37th, 42d, 77th,
78th, 79th, 80th, 82d, 89th, 90th, and 91st. Many of our divisions
remained in line for a length of time that required nerves of steel,
while others were sent in again after only a few days of rest. The 1st,
5th, 26th, 42d, 77th, 80th, 89th, and 90th were in the line twice.
Although some of the divisions were fighting their first battle, they
soon became equal to the best.

On the three days preceding Nov. 10, the 3d, the 2d Colonial, and the
17th French Corps fought a difficult struggle through the Meuse hills
south of Stenay and forced the enemy into the plain. Meanwhile, my plans
for further use of the American forces contemplated an advance between
the Meuse and the Moselle in the direction of Longwy by the First Army,
while, at the same time, the Second Army should assume the offensive
toward the rich coal fields of Briey. These operations were to be
followed by an offensive toward Chateau-Salins east of the Moselle, thus
isolating Metz. Accordingly, attacks on the American front had been
ordered, and that of the Second Army was in progress on the morning of
Nov. 11 when instructions were received that hostilities should cease at
11 o'clock A.M.

At this moment the line of the American sector, from right to left, began
at Port-sur-Seille, thence across the Moselle to Vandieres and through
the Woevre to Bezonvaux, in the foothills of the Meuse, thence along to
the foothills and through the northern edge of the Woevre forests to the
Meuse at Mouzay, thence along the Meuse connecting with the French under

Co-operation among the Allies has at all times been most cordial. A far
greater effort has been put forth by the allied armies and staffs to
assist us than could have been expected. The French Government and Army
have always stood ready to furnish us with supplies, equipment, and
transportation, and to aid us in every way. In the towns and hamlets
wherever our troops have been stationed or billeted the French people
have everywhere received them more as relatives and intimate friends than
as soldiers of a foreign army. For these things words are quite
inadequate to express our gratitude. There can be no doubt that the
relations growing out of our associations here assure a permanent
friendship between the two peoples. Although we have not been so
intimately associated with the people of Great Britain, yet their troops
and ours when thrown together have always warmly fraternized. The
reception of those of our forces who have passed through England and of
those who have been stationed there has always been enthusiastic.
Altogether it has been deeply impressed upon us that the ties of language
and blood bring the British and ourselves together completely and

There are in Europe altogether, including a regiment and some sanitary
units with the Italian Army and the organizations at Murmansk, also
including those en route from the States, approximately 2,053,347 men,
less our losses. Of this total there are in France 1,338,169 combatant
troops. Forty divisions have arrived, of which the infantry of ten have
been used as replacements, leaving thirty divisions now in France
organized into three armies of three corps each.

The losses of the Americans up to Nov. 18 are: Killed and wounded,
36,145; died of disease, 14,811; deaths unclassified, 2,204; wounded,
179,625; prisoners, 2,163; missing, 1,160. We have captured about 44,000
prisoners and 1,400 guns, howitzers, and trench mortars.

The duties of the General Staff, as well as those of the army and corps
staffs, have been very ably performed. Especially is this true when we
consider the new and difficult problems with which they have been
confronted. This body of officers, both as individuals and as an
organization, has, I believe, no superiors in professional ability, in
efficiency, or in loyalty.

Nothing that we have in France better reflects the efficiency and
devotion to duty of Americans in general than the Service of Supply,
whose personnel is thoroughly imbued with a patriotic desire to do its
full duty. They have at all times fully appreciated their responsibility
to the rest of the army, and the results produced have been most

Our Medical Corps is especially entitled to praise for the general
effectiveness of its work, both in hospital and at the front. Embracing
men of high professional attainments, and splendid women devoted to their
calling and untiring in their efforts, this department has made a new
record for medical and sanitary proficiency.

The Quartermaster Department has had difficult and various tasks, but it
has more than met all demands that have been made upon it. Its
management and its personnel have been exceptionally efficient and
deserve every possible commendation.

As to the more technical services, the able personnel of the Ordnance
Department in France has splendidly fulfilled its functions, both in
procurement and in forwarding the immense quantities of ordnance
required. The officers and men and the young women of the Signal Corps
have performed their duties with a large conception of the problem, and
with a devoted and patriotic spirit to which the perfection of our
communications daily testifies. While the Engineer Corps has been
referred to in another part of this report, it should be further stated
that the work has required large vision and high professional skill, and
great credit is due their personnel for the high proficiency that they
have constantly maintained.

Our aviators have no equals in daring or in fighting ability, and have
left a record of courageous deeds that will ever remain a brilliant page
in the annals of our army. While the Tank Corps has had limited
opportunities, its personnel has responded gallantly on every possible
occasion, and has shown courage of the highest order.

The Adjutant General's Department has been directed with a systematic
thoroughness and excellence that surpassed any previous work of its kind.
The Inspector General's Department has risen to the highest standards,
and throughout has ably assisted commanders in the enforcement of
discipline. The able personnel of the Judge Advocate General's
Department has solved with judgment and wisdom the multitude of difficult
legal problems, many of them involving questions of great international

It would be impossible in this brief preliminary report to do justice to
the personnel of all the different branches of this organization, which I
shall cover in detail in a later report.

The navy in European waters has at all times most cordially aided the
army, and it is most gratifying to report that there has never before
been such perfect co-operation between these two branches of the service.

As to the Americans in Europe not in the military service, it is the
greatest pleasure to say that, both in official and in private life, they
are intensely patriotic and loyal, and have been invariably sympathetic
and helpful to the army.

Finally, I pay the supreme tribute to our officers and soldiers of the
line. When I think of their heroism, their patience under hardships,
their unflinching spirit of offensive action, I am filled with emotion
which I am unable to express. Their deeds are immortal, and they have
earned the eternal gratitude of our country.

General, Commander-in-Chief,
American Expeditionary Forces.

Next: The United States At War--at Home

Previous: In Memoriam

Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 3579

Untitled Document